Day 1

Insecurity.  It’s something I have battled with all of my life.  Never measuring up.  Never feeling good enough.  Looking in the mirror and seeing faults rather than gifts.  It’s something that has followed me thru every relationship that I’ve had in my life.  This relationship with Charlie has been no exception.

It’s been over a year since we first met and fell in love.  Long distance relationships are difficult.  Long distance relationships involving two other spouses are insane.  He travels for work.  He’s gone for long periods of time.  While he’s away, often he meets friends who happen to live in the city he’s working in that week.  Oftentimes, those friends have been women.

Charlie is the kind of man that women love to be friends with.  He’s sensitive and kind and has a very strong feminine side.  He’s a good listener and most of all he’s charming.  He knows how to flirt.  He knows how to gain the attention of a woman.  The broad smile, the sparkling eyes, the little wink he gives – it all works in his favor.  When we first began talking, he told me about his female friends.  He told me that he has many he talks to on a regular basis and some he visits with.

So many times over the past year I have had a feeling in my gut.  A “knowing” that I can’t explain and can only describe as persistent dread.  I knew something wasn’t right about some of the stories he was telling me.  Stories about how he knew a woman on his facebook page or excuses about where he was last night or who he was with in the city he was working in.  There was also the time I caught him after he spent nearly all night with a woman.  These are horrible spots in our history.  Charlie always had a good excuse and somehow I always ended up apologizing for not trusting him.  I didn’t listen to my gut and instead listened to the man that I was in love with.

Yesterday was Charlies birthday.  What began as a day of meeting him for lunch turned into Charlie finally coming clean about the things he had done.  I’ve asked him time and time again over the past months to tell me.  I knew there were things he had kept from me.  I just knew.  Over and over again he’d insist that there was nothing he was hiding.  I was assured that I was the only one.  I was told that I needed to trust him.  For whatever reason, yesterday he finally had the courage to tell me.

“I had sex with a woman in Vegas”.  Those words hit me like a slap across my face and changed the course of our relationship forever.

It’s been a hell of a few weeks.  I have no one to tell about it.  No one can know.  Yet I need to talk about what happened.  I need to sort out how I’m feeling.  If anyone knew what he’s done, they’d tell me to run.  Yet I can’t.  I can’t go.

I always knew there was something he was hiding.  I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right.  He’d always assure me that I was the only one in his life and somehow I’d feel guilty later on for questioning him.

Hearing that he had sex with a woman in Vegas floored me.  Completely blew me away.  And then to find out who it was and the circumstances.  I think that was one of the worst moments of my life.  Sitting there, in my car, parked in the cell phone lot at the airport, trying to make sense of the words that were pouring out of his mouth.  It’s very painful.  One lie turned in two lies turned into 3 lies uncovered turned into our whole relationship has been marred by lies.  What was real?  What was the truth?  Was there anything left to believe in?

And then the crying began.  Sobbing.  Him begging me to understand that it was always me and that it was just something he couldn’t control.  Over and over again he told me how much he loved me and that he couldn’t live with the feelings of guilt anymore.

But I love him.  And I can’t NOT love him.  And I saw how sad he was and how remorseful he was and I don’t think It was just because he was getting caught.  I truly believed at that moment that he just couldn’t keep up the lies anymore.  He needed to be rid of the guilt.

I didn’t hold onto the anger.  I tried to get rid of the hurt and push forward but it’s so hard.  It’s so fucking hard.  I heard his voice and saw his face and try to believe him when he tells me he is determined to make a change.  He wants just me.  It was never me not being adaquate enough.  I was something separate from me and us.  It was an addiction.  He gave up alcohol and drugs and used sex as a tool to soothe his soul.  He needed the affection and the thrill of the chase.  To get someone that would never do this to fall for him.  I wonder if that’s what I was to him in the beginning.  I wonder if that’s how we began?  Suddenly I don’t feel so special anymore.  I try not to go there in my head and question every part of our story but it’s hard.  I have to trust that there still is truth.  I have to hold on to one truth -unconditional love exists between us.

There are moments during the day that flashes of images come thru.  I see the women he was with .  The women that shared something I thought was sacred to us.  I see him kissing them and touching them.  I see his face and hear the sounds he makes when he’s aroused.  It changes everything. It physically makes me sick. I look at their pictures on Facebook. I try to see why he chose them. I try to make sense of what drew him to them and risk what we had. Were they better than me? Did they kiss him better? Did they make him feel things I haven’t? When he saw me after he fucked her and looked into my eyes how did he feel? When he was deep inside her did he think about me? When he’s with me does he think of her? Horrible questions and one begets another until tears are running down my face and bile is rising in my throat.

Somehow I forgive him. And somehow we push forward.

I saw him last friday.  I needed to see him.  I didn’t want to kiss him when i saw him.  I didn’t want to touch him. I needed to see him.  I didn’t know what I wanted to see. Perhaps a new version of himself that he promised? He greeted me at the car and I forced a smile. We walked thru the hotel making small talk. I was relieved that he was in a different room than last year. Last year in the room next door he spent the night with Patty.  The next night I unwittingly slept next to him in the same bed.  We entered the room without the usual hugs and kisses.  Again, awkward small talk.  I wanted to hate him.  But as the moments went on and that awkwardness faded I just saw him.  The man that I know so well.  I don’t think he’s ever looked at me like he did that night.  We spent so much time just staring into each other’s eyes.  I don’t know what he was trying to see but it felt like he was looking for my soul.  I was trying to search his eyes for reasons.  Why did you do this?  Yes I know the rational reason but how could your heart do this to me?  How could your soul do this to me?  I thought we were soul mates and twin flames?  How could this happen?  We both went into that night not wanting to make love but we did.  Afterwards as we lay together he said “I failed you.  I told you that you were safe with me and I lied.  You weren’t safe with me.” I lost it at that moment.  I cried and cried.  He promised me that he would never let me down again.  I want so badly to believe him.  I have to let this go.

Forgiveness is easy. Healing the wound takes time.  I can’t say he hasn’t tried his best. He has. But, like a wound, after it begins to heal and the pain subsides, you forget about it and end up doing something stupid to make it bleed again.  This has happened a couple of times. He’s a man, after all. Seemingly harmless things to him are painful reminders that trigger the hurt all over again.  During these times I worry that we won’t survive it. But we do. Somehow we do.  And Day 1 begins again.