The Other Woman (On Gratitude)

Dear Nikki

 

At first I hoped you wouldn’t answer. I wasn’t sure what lie ahead if you did. I was nervous. I always am, when it comes to you.

And then when you did answer, I got even more anxious. Should I just relay Nate’s message and leave it at that? Should I bring up our scheduled ‘talk’ if you didn’t? Thankfully, you did.

And when you did all my worries faded away. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear your words, to know how you feel, to know I still have a chance.

Even more, I want you to know how elated hearing Nixon’s and Nathaniel’s voices made me. How excited they were to talk to me, to hear from me again, to hopefully see me. How Holden gasped when I told him he could speak to his brother and his sister. All of those things mean more to me than anyone could ever know. They brighten my world.

I know we’ve been through a lot. I slept with your husband and you abandoned your kids and we both held resentment for each other for a long, long time. But speaking on the phone made me feel like we were old friends catching up and that gives me hope.

I know we’ll never be ‘old friends’ again, but I hope we can at least get as close as possible, even if it’s just remaining friendly to each other.

But mostly, I want to thank you.

Thank you for the memories you’ve given me over the years, even though many of them weren’t so great.

Thank you for giving me the time of day after all I’ve put you through. I know many other people may not do the same. I know I probably don’t even deserve it.

Thank you for understanding my desires are not selfish, but for the kids. Of course I want to see them as well, but all I’ve ever really wanted was what’s best for them, and I know you do, too.

Thank you for giving me the chance I’ve longed after for so long. Thank you for letting me give you the chance you may have not even cared about.

Thank you for growing, for maturing, for understanding, and letting me do the same.

Thank you for being honest and kind. Thank you for coming back after all that time. Thank you for taking the time to heal yourself.

I may not be able to fathom leaving my child, but I completely understand needing to fix yourself for them. Thank you for fixing yourself.

Thank you, for everything.

Tempest Rose

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This is the third letter in the ‘Other Woman’ series. Click here for parts one, ‘On Apologies,’ and two, ‘On Forgiveness‘.


If you’ve read all three Other Woman posts, I’d love your input. Should I trust her? Should she trust me? Is it going to take us a long time to get to where we need to be? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Let me know!

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Confession: Adultery in the Heart

I’m told every woman does this, but I’m married and find myself having massive crushes on other men. They’re not men I know, mind you, but usually people on TV. I seem to be especially drawn to guys on Project Runway which bothers me all the more because I feel as though I’m obsessed, which I definitely have a tendency toward. I suppose that’s an “extra” confession.

The main reason this bothers me is that every relationship I have had with a man has had something to do with cheating.  I’ve had quite a few boyfriends and every one of them has either been cheated *on* or cheated *with*. A few of the latter knew what they were but, as far as I know, none of the former has ever found out. At least, not that they’ve said. I don’t know if openly seeing three guys the way I did once “counts” as cheating. Being able to date all these guys was a big ego boost since I was the ugly nerd in high school but, trust me, it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

I am not afraid I will cheat on my husband, but it bothers me that I’m more attracted to men I see on TV than I am to my own husband. I’ve been undergoing treatment for bipolar and on medication that all but kills your sex drive nearly the entire time we’ve been together, so that explains that. At least, it could. Maybe the injury causing me not to be able to have sex contributed too. Perhaps it’s not that I’m more attracted so much as that I make up fantasies in my head about sex and romance with them. I’m always younger in the fantasies, so perhaps I just feel old too. I feel as though I shouldn’t need to do this if I’m happy in my marriage. I do love him, more than anything…so why do I have to keep fantasizing about having sex with other men but not about him?

I’m a horrible wife, a horrible Christian and a horrible person…

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This confession is brought to you by The Prozac Queen. To submit your own confession, please visit The Confessional page.

Infidelity 101

Today’s class is brought to you by Tempest Rose and Mr. Gardener, and this infographic.

Infidelity Dilemma

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T:
Hello, my name is Tempest, and I am a serial cheater.

When we were first together everything was wonderful. Obviously, that’s how it always starts. We were blissful and perfect. But somewhere along the way things went wrong.

I don’t remember exactly why I’ve cheated on every person I have. I don’t remember exactly when or why or how things went wrong. I just know they did.

And someone was always there to pick me up. When things weren’t perfect I ran. I ran for my life and I ran for my love and I held on too tight to someone who was not available while letting go of those who were. That’s just how I worked.

I have no reason or grand scheme or super apology with a definite answer. I just did it. It happened. I apologize, of course, but I don’t think it’s enough.

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G:
Hello, my name is Gardener, and I have been cheated on in every serious relationship I’ve been in
, and boy did that get old.  Each one was different, people being what they are, but I’m going to stick to the last 2, Mandy and Mary.  I’m staying with these 2 because I know for a fact that they each really loved me, and regretted their actions.

I was raised in the shadow of infidelity on the part of both my parents, who engaged in an array of bad behaviors beyond that.  Like some children I rebelled against my upbringing, and sought other role models.  Because I considered my parents’ infidelity one of their many evils, I adopted a monogamous mindset.  My future love would be my one and only, and I wanted to be the same to them. This of course didn’t work out the way I had hoped.

*  *  *  *  *

T:
When it happened I felt high — almost euphoric. Like something had taken over my body and my mind and I wasn’t all there.

When it happened nothing else mattered but that very moment.

There was no moment of clarity. There was no what the hell am I doing? question burning in my mind. There was only him and me, and passion. So much passion. Maybe I mistook it for love. Or maybe not. I really can’t say.

I don’t blame it on the alcohol or the drugs, which were involved most of the time, but something within myself that never learned how to quite care about these things.

Sometimes it was about the who, like when it was with Nate. Sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes it was about the what. The attention, the feeling, the desire. Even the danger, I guess. It was just something. Whatever something I was missing. In hindsight, maybe I was missing myself.

*  *  *  *  *

G:
I never got an answer on why Mandy cheated, I didn’t need one.
 Fact was she cheated with the wrong person.  I think she had been drinking at the time, which was something she rarely did.  She hid this from me for a month before being forced into telling me by my friends who had caught her in the act. Mandy and I had some problems, and from my side it was that she was a very difficult person to deal with, especially for my friends and family.

When she told me the news of what she had done, I threw her out of my life immediately, I was that angry.  The following 20 minutes after the news were the last I would ever see of her.  After some time to heal, and get my head back on straight, I realized that while we had a great time (most of the time), we just weren’t meant to be together, and from there I moved on.

Mary cheated on me with a mutual friend of ours, and again I was angry.  Mary is such a wonderful and amazing person, I was hurt beyond measure.  There was such love between us, and I felt it acutely when she cheated.  It hurt like hell.  She succumbed to temptation due to drink, but she’d always had a thing for this person.  She told me what she had done a few months after the fact, just wanting to get it off her chest, and again I was very angry.

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T:
Afterward, nothing was better.
But nothing was really worse, either. Things just went back to normal.

I never felt all too bad about what I did until long, long after. I rarely felt the need to confess my secret. Now I can understand the pain I’ve caused and I feel horrible, but back then I didn’t. I felt fine. I felt like myself. I felt like all the warnings I’d given the people I dated in the very beginning were sufficient enough to make up for my wrongdoings.

If there was fallout, I would cry. But more-so because I felt like I should be crying. I feared my partner abandoning me immensely, but more than anything I was angry. I was angry at them for being angry at me. I was angry that just sex was such a big deal.

If there was fallout, I would refrain from doing anything else for a while. I would “work” on my relationship. I would fall madly in love again and do anything to keep my partner.

If there wasn’t fallout, I would be out again the next night.

I ran as soon as I was loved. Once there was too much love, I got bored. For a relationship of mine to work, I have to be in constant fear of the other person leaving. What does that say about me?

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G:
My response to being cheated on was definitely to question myself worth
, because I think thats natural.  I had self esteem issues from a childhood of neglect, so I didn’t have a great sense of self worth to begin with.  I can say I’m not bad a potential partner goes.  I’m handsome, smart, kind, funny, helpful, and as vain as it may sound, pretty good in bed, but whatever your sense of self worth, you will question yourself.  Moreover it was just simple hurt.  I’d always been a very loyal person, and my loyalty was never returned, and it felt like I’d been wasting my time being honorable.

Mary I would forgive, in small steps, across years.  It took a long time to attempt to restore our relationship.  Intimacy took a while, trust took forever, although I can say I trust her now.  Mary was too important to me to simply cast aside like Mandy, but recovery was very difficult.  I’ve heard a refrain from other betrayed spouses on the blogs that even many years later, you can flash on the event, and the anger returns like the day it happened, and that did happen a lot until just this past year.

I just couldn’t let her go however.  She is kind, and loving, and always there for me, and I consider her stepping outside of our marriage to have been a singular mistake.

However, I don’t think I finally let it go until I myself had stepped outside of our marriage and slept with (a few) someone else(s).

*  *  *  *  *

T:
Now, looking back, I think I know.
I can’t explain where my sympathy or empathy or remorse was, but I can explain one of the reasons I did it.

I was searching for that first kiss feeling. Like an addict who spends their life trying to get back to that first high, I was trying to get back to mine. The early relationship high, when everything is wonderful and grand and there are no problems other than who finds out.

It’s not healthy, I know. It’s not an excuse. It’s not even remotely enough to help heal those I’ve hurt. But at least it’s a start to an explanation I’ll no doubt uncover in time.

*  *  *  *  *

G:
Me becoming a cheater myself had only a little to do with having been cheated on
.  Sure, its there, that sense of having been betrayed is not totally absent from the equation, but it was something else that pushed me over the line on that one.

I’m sorry to my fellow cheatees out there, I know your pain.  I’m sorry for the bad example I’m setting now, though I don’t regret doing it at all now.  To love, and have the capacity to love, is to invite pain.  This is life.  These things will happen. Its unfortunate, but there it is.  To those that have been betrayed, I’m very sorry.  To those that betray, well, know why you are doing it, and maybe try and find a better way.

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To read more from Tempest, check out the rest of Nonsense & Shenanigans.

To read more from Gardener, check out his blog.

Trolls and I Have an Awesome Relationship

They take out their frustrations on me, and I get new writing material. YAY.

So, the usual Nephila has spammed me three times since my last post calling her out. I have taken to editing the comments to better please me, but saving them on my computer for times like this.

I was also graced with another spam comment from this lovely person — I responded slyly at first and then just had to say how hilarious the comment was. But I didn’t actually take the time to give a decent response to either, because that’s what they want, right?

Well, that’s what they’re going to get. The comments were just too good to not respond to in some way.

Plus, new writing material (and getting to call someone out on their shit) always equals YAY.

(This post may get a little lengthy. I implore you to at the very least skim through to the quoted sections to read said spam comments.)

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Your Villain is My Super-Hero

I think it’s time I talk about my best friend; my boyfriend; the father of my child; the man who would undoubtedly be my husband if it weren’t for the next sentence.

He’s in prison. He stabbed someone.

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Nate and I met when we were fourteen at a mutual friend’s get-together the summer before 9th grade. It was 2002, I think in August or the beginning of September. I was wearing baggy pants and a super tight orange tank top. He was wearing a bowler hat.

He had a box of some sort of food but I forget what so I want to say Munchkins. He sat there quietly and ate them, all night. He and I never said a word to each other, but we noticed one another.

I hooked up with some other guy that night who turned out to be crazy.

Then I ran into Nate again, randomly, while walking through our local church’s parking lot. It was called the Tabernacle.

I don’t remember how it happened. I don’t remember how fast it happened. But I know soon after that we became inseparable and had our first kiss. I fell in love with him immediately.

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