There’s still a lot of damage to repair. Much of where we are is simply because I gave up trying to heal things and focused on accepting things, again. Don’t misinterpret that to mean that my partner has done nothing or made no changes. He has. He’s done more than at any other time in our relationship. But he also closed the door on a lot of our healing potential by first lying about the details of the affairs for the first 3 to 4 months and then withdrawing from the process because he was afraid of and wounded by my anger and my sadness. He simply could not face it or deal with it and it became apparent that the only way forward would not be in me waiting for him to help to heal the damage he created in my heart but in me simply learning how to move on. There would be terms of course. Any further indiscretion means good-bye forever. There are certain things he has to be able to honor or come through on before I can commit to full reconciliation for a lifetime. But aside from those I’m working on accepting that it is up to me. Only I can get myself through the final stretch.
And so that’s perhaps why this week is starting out a bit more uncomfortably than I’d like for it to. This week my partner is away from home all week on business. His line of contracting takes him to many local locations and puts him in contact with a lot of different people, including single women. That’s just the way it is and something I have to accept but this week he is not just exposed to new people, he is away from home. Out of sight. Off line. And…… he is suppose to pick up a woman from another location on the east coast at the airport and give her a ride a couple of hours away to the hotel and/or back and forth to where ever they are holding this conference/meeting each day.
Do I think he cooked the whole thing up to meet someone? No, of course not! But that doesn’t make it any easier to know that he is chauffeuring another woman around all week. Establishing a connection, possibly sharing dinners, etc. Now, I can add to my sense of safety by telling myself that he is also traveling with another man. For some reason that just doesn’t add a lot of confidence. In fact, sometimes you wonder if men get in more trouble alone or in pairs. Lol. Certainly having another male along for the ride ups the ego ante and causes a lot more posturing. I know nothing about this other man. Or how he behaves away from home.
Maybe those are the elements that leaves me feeling uneasy. For all my partners good behavior these past 15 months, he really has basically been in a changed routine of working and reporting home at the end of the night. Sometimes they are late nights, sometimes it feels a bit questionable and uneasy but his where abouts are mostly accounted for and his opportunity to slip into his old ways of behaving and thinking have been limited from 90% opportunity to 20% opportunity. And I don’t press him. I choose to accept what he tells me and wait for my gut to tell me otherwise. I am learning to distinguish, at least part of the time, the difference between my brain telling me I should be worried and my gut telling me. My brain often over analyzes and gets me in trouble. But my gut is usually correct. Still, I have to ask myself how much has he changed? Some of the key areas that contributed to his affair, self confidence and the need to have his ego stroked are still dominate parts of his personality.
He still looks for praise and carries a need to be recognized. He still thrives on attention and is happiest when he is the center of a conversation with either men or women. Still is compelled to make sure he finds opportunities where he can inject bits of interesting information or stories about himself. You can watch his expression change and his eyes just light up when he thinks someone is watching him or is interested in him. You can see his wheels turn when someone else is talking and he is thinking about how he will respond with his own colorful story or antidotes. He stills pulls the conversation back to himself if someone changes it. And he still has that slight tendency to find fault in everyone around him, to judge others harshly and to find himself blaming them for things that go astray when perhaps he played at least some portion of a role in the chain of events. Most of all, he’s still heavily sex driven.
So it’s not inconceivable to imagine that this is a prime opportunity to take this time with this new male recruit and this female and to perform to his hearts content and if this woman shows any interest at all in his stories or his humor or his business knowledge or his kind gestures, that single thing alone could be fuel enough to feed his fire. I can literally see his whole demeanor changing if he senses any interest at all and of course, if this woman should be attractive at any level, well then…. That’s pretty much a recipe for danger then isn’t it?
Maybe this woman will be older, frumpy and married. However he has talked with her on the phone once and already knows quite a bit about her, including the fact that she’s just attending for the hell of it but not really to have to learn anything new and that during one of the last business gatherings her and her co-workers spent the week laying on the beach instead. So much for older and frumpy. The odds are she is at least average if not pleasant to look at. And….. a recent text tells me that they just visited the Nascar hall of fame this afternoon. They didn’t exactly rush to get to the work events. Not surprising, considering his love of racing, but it’s not likely that he would veer off course between the airport in Charlotte and the destination in Tennessee if her company was proving too difficult to tolerate. There are flashbacks involved for me here as well. I was once taken through Charlotte years ago to be initiated into all things race related, while he spun his web, while completely unaware that he was already involved with someone else.
One last thing eats at me today. We had a brief weekend as he worked and prepared for his trip but Saturday night we made time for dinner and a movie. We entered the movie theater behind a young couple, barely 20 years old if that. The girl was cute, slender, wearing tight jeans, nice toosh. I saw him watch her as she walked in across the parking lot. As we stepped into line my man remained slightly off set from the line giving him a view of this couple who was further ahead of us by 3 or 4 people and as he pulled out his wallet (usually I pay but he grabbed his wallet immediately) he bent his head as though to peer into his wallet for cash but his eyes went directly to the girls ass before returning to his wallet and then darting at me briefly to see if I was looking at him. She is less than half his age. Younger than his daughter. Usually he’s slightly more subtle, though I always know when he’s scoping out other women. I don’t know why this bothered me. It’s not as though I never appreciate a good looking man. But it cut like a knife!
I know, I know, he’s a man, it’s normal. FORGET ABOUT IT. And I did. I didn’t bring it up, I didn’t let on I noticed, I tried not to wonder if he was picturing her when we had sex later that night and by morning the next day I had talked myself into never raising the subject. But there is something about that knife to the gut, that painful reminder that he still wishes I were 20 not 40 something, still fantasizes about greener pastures and is now traveling out of sight, off line and with a woman whom I have no idea what she looks like or what she is capable of.
It all leaves me with that slow creeping nausea that tells me there is more damage for me to repair than I have been admitting to myself these past few months. This isn’t just about him being out of sight and for the most part I’m not really worried he will do anything. It’s something more. There is more than just a few chips to my exterior, there are some major and painful confidence issues I have to find a way to deal with in order for me to stay with this man. Some heavy repair work to the way it made me feel and question myself.
I have wondered often over the past 15 months how you learn to trust and the answer I always come up with is time. Time and evidence that he’s worthy of it. The other question I have asked myself over this time is where do I find my confidence again?
Will I ever, or is it gone forever?…..