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Each time I post recently it’s been about some aspect of the emotions I’m experiencing.  It’s occurred to me that I’m procrastinating on writing chapter 4 of my story.   Our journey to the land of infidelity.  I think that I’ve avoided it because reviewing it all is a deep conflict for me.  It’s both so obviously simple and in your face and yet also complicated.   Writing it is going to look bad.  It’s going to make me look very stupid and weak.  It’s going to make him look very selfish and heartless and manipulative.   All things I have tried to avoid coming to terms with during all these years together.   Writing something in black and white often makes things just that,  very black and white.   It takes away the gray areas.  It makes it difficult for the reader to know the subtle details or the full personalities of the characters, especially if you are trying to sum up years of experience in blog length entries. 

Sigh…..  never the less, my purpose here was to sift through the entire ugly thing and try to find an understanding and path forward.   It needs to be written.

Rewind 7yrs 3m ago.  There I am.   I’m separated.  I’ve filed for divorce after 10 years of marriage and 12 years together, I’m a few weeks from finalization.   Let’s not hold anything back, I’m leaving a husband who’s had three known affairs.  Possibly others.   It’s true.  From the discovery of my fathers affairs through my current life I’ve obviously created a pattern of men who stray.  It’s humiliating to admit.  I’m smarter than this.  I’m worth more than this.  I’m WAY more together than this.  But it is what it is. 

 So, I’ve moved into a new home.  Much smaller than the symbol of success I’d lived in previously.   I much prefer this humble bungalow.  I like it’s freedom, it’s potential, it’s simple charm.  The simplicity feels so right!  Despite being comfortable financially I’ve no desire for status homes, fancy cars, toys or jewels.  I’m drawn to my Midwest roots, family values, life on the farm.  Living far below my means also serves a purpose.  It removes the pressure and the complications of everyday life.  It lets me stay connected to the inner artistic me which is so much more comfortable and free than the corporate me.   It allows me to build a nest egg, maybe retire early to pursue my real passions and most importantly to see to my child’s life long care.  (I’m the parent of a special needs child)  Yes, simplicity was exactly what I needed in my life!

There I am.  Excited for a new beginning.  Not a new relationship, a new beginning. This was an amazing time in my life!!  It had been so very long since I felt alive inside and hopeful about the future, let alone fully content experiencing each new day.     The rediscovery of me.   Of new writings, new art, new experiences.    I’m practically giddy with the anticipation and the freedom of it.    It’s like being born again.   A fresh start…  

I should have been sad about my divorce.   But the relationship was so toxic that it felt like instant healing to move on.   It was rocky at first but we settle into a decent friendship and we moved on.  I’ve never been happier about moving forward.  I should have been overwhelmed by the prospect of being a single mom, trying to maintain a demanding career.  Parenting the full range from teenagers to special needs children. Absolutely, I was tired.   I had worries.   Oh, but I had hope aplenty!   I had energy that showed up out of nowhere. I had optimism and for the first time in a very long time….I had a sense of peace.   I had an inner drive to flush out the inner me, open the cage, let her out,  let her breath.   I knew it would take time.  I was conditioned to be practical, responsible, the rock of the world.  There was little room left for the exotic, artistic, rebellious me waiting inside.  It would take time to reach her, time to free her, time to let the people who expected so many things from me to understand I also had to be things for myself.  True to myself.

It’s at this point that I falter.   That I enter a realm that I probably shouldn’t have entered.  This is where I begin my e-harmony experience referred to in earlier chapters of my story.  This is where I meet my current partner.  

It took close to 2 months before I would agree to meet for lunch.   We communicated first through eharmony then email and then eventually by phone. He was charming, had a good sense of humor.  An incredibly sexy deep voice.   I wasn’t exactly drawn to his photographs.   He didn’t fit “my type” at first glance.   Though he did have dark eyes.   I was fascinated with his line of work and would soon be awed by his talents.    I loved his creative nature.  I liked that the more we talked the more we seemed to have had similar experiences in our life. Many common interests.  He seemed competent.   He made himself out to be very successful and I was very careful to look close enough and pay attention to enough details to know that perhaps he wasn’t as wildly successful as he claimed but I didn’t see anything initially that indicated that he wasn’t very capable on many levels.   Earning a living would never be a problem for him, even if he didn’t achieve the “status” he wished he had.   Being self sufficient I had no concern for the amount of money a man makes, my concern was stability and reliability, ethics,  talent, things along those nature.   He was passionate about his work and his interests and I liked that as well.  He told great stories.  I like a man who can carry on a conversation.  I liked being with him. It was comfortable and easy.  It felt natural not like an effort.   He made me laugh.   He made me sigh.   He came across as part bad boy,  part professional, part artist, part tender vulnerable boyish charm.    It did not take long for me to fall under his spell.   It also didn’t take long for me to recognize strong narcissistic tendencies him.  What at first was his fun stories and animated speaking eventually turned into a constant stream of “all about me”   I realized he didn’t listen to people or question them much but he talked at them often.  For people just meeting him he comes across as the nicest most friendly guy in the world.   Which don’t get me wrong. He is a friendly guy who is for the most part very nice to people.   But after a while a person began to understand that he was much more concerned with his image and himself than genuinely interested in the people around him.  I began to notice he was basically a loaner.  Many many acquaintances but very few if any close long term friends.   I later realized that this may have been because he never made an effort to go out of his way as a friend.   He expected others to go out of their way for him but it was a bit of a burden to do so himself if there was nothing to gain from it.   This eventually became the story of our relationship as well.   As long as he was on a pedestal in my eyes, then I was ok in his eyes.  As long as I was giving constant reinforcement and pleasure then I was princess of the universe.  The hottest woman on the planet.   But if I dare question his actions, motives, decision, etc.  (even in the most loving concerned way)    I was the most terrible hurtful person that walked the earth.

 

Needless to say what started out feeling like I had stumbled on to the person God had custom made for me,  soon started to feel more and more complicated.    Our relationship wavered between hot and cold as  he pushes me away and pulls me back.  I catch him cheating on line repeatedly.  He makes me feel paranoid and irrational, tells me lies and pushes the betrayals under the rug.  He is constantly manipulating the situation to make me feel like I can’t trust the reality I know I am seeing.  We’re a semi-long distance relationship so he has ample space and freedom and a big bag of excuses and lies to cover his tracks.  I can choose to trust or I can be suspicious of everything.  I don’t want that life, so I take a deep breath and choose trust.    And the blinders go on.   I choose to be the supportive girlfriend who lifts him up.   I have just opened the door to make life very easy on him.   Finally we begin to level out.  In fact things are going pretty well.  He’s talking about our future plans and dreams.  We feel like a couple.  He shows up when he is suppose to.  Most of the time.   There are no conflicts or tensions.  We’re more than two years into the relationship and finally I feel like we could be happy together.  We have serious potential.   This could be the love of my life.  Yet there are still moments he makes no sense.  Still circumstances that feel wrong to me, questionable to me.  There is still that constant turning of the stomach.    The feeling of instinct being ignored.   He still manipulates things against me.  Still makes me constantly feel like I can’t do enough for him.   Still occasionally accuses me of not being serious in the relationship.      And then one night, the doorbell rings and it’s his wife.    Not the ex wife I knew he was divorced from.   No,  another wife.   A current wife.   A lady he was seeing when he met me and later married..all while still seeing me.    And now they too are divorcing but not before she tracks him to me. He is living a double life.   I’m shocked to numbness.   I knew something wasn’t right but a complete second life?  What the hell?!   

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