Joe doesn't cry. Never has. All of the moving, happy, scary or touching moments in our lives have worn on his face the same. He laughs regularly - but he doesn't lose control of his laughter like I do. He's impossible to read. This has bothered me. I'm talking deaths in the family - no tears. Shawn's diagnosis of Down syndrome - no tears. When I told him back in the miserable years that I didn't want to be married - no tears. It has been difficult for me to know what and how he feels. His answer is always the same. He's fine. Like I said previously - no fun to fight with.
I got mad at him a few times in the spring of 2018...
- mad that the car needed repairs and he didn't seem to notice. A little mad about this and a little mad about that. Even voicing my stress over the fact that he doesn't take care of things - showing some moderate anger - he didn't flinch. No expression - just calm and gentle words. Pretty sure he's an Enneagram 9.
Over the years, I have really enjoyed my girlfriends. GNO is a significant priority for me - whether it is one friend or 6, or 20. I have considered time with my girlfriends as part of my self-care routine. So last June I was out to dinner with one of my girlfriends in Franklin and code-red alert walks in. A guy I knew in my mid-twenties, now an actual man.... at first I didn't think much of seeing him. I had been attracted to him way back then but he never knew that. He had a girlfriend and I didn't get in the way. But I recall being pretty darn smitten. Our paths stopped crossing back then and that was that. I never even thought about him again. Not once. I didn't find him on Facebook - nothing. Out of sight - out of mind. But days after I was accepted to Seminary with plans to start that fall - there he was. And I'm not going to lie to you now - not after telling all this truth - he was aging very well. So handsome. We ended up talking for a very long time. All of the things I had seen in him 20+ years ago were still there. Charm. Wit. None of that alone would have thrown me off course - but you toss in a couple of significantly tight, long hugs - and you've got yourself a first class mess. He made a few revealing remarks about his marriage, a couple of reminiscent words about me - and I was a goner. We parted without much ado - but I was a wreck. For the next 48 hours, I barely slept or ate. Here's the part that is truly hard for me to confess - but if it helps anyone at all, I can survive. I found his email address - that was easy - and I began a dialogue with him. He had certainly implied some availability on his end, so I went fishing. Within a week we were communicating regularly and all was on the table and pretty clear. Praise be to the Lord Almighty that this man had only been in Franklin passing through - and that he now resides far away from Tennessee. I would have sworn on bibles that I wasn't capable of infidelity - and there I found myself trying to make a way. Not only was I toying with wrecking my own marriage - but his also - all while preparing to register for seminary courses.
We didn't see each other - but our communications were frequent and fun. I felt all the feels. But when I wasn't either writing or reading an email or text - I was in the most gut wrenching agony of my life. I explored every possible path in my mind. I lost sleep. I cried a lot when I was alone. I was the hottest of hot messes. It was a level of grief that I had not ever before felt. The grief had two sides - grief over the state of my marriage and how I had come to this point - and grief that there was no way I could be with that man without destroying something.
I told my best friend. Told her everything. Sent her copies of texts and emails. I didn't realize at the time that this was what I was doing - but by confiding in my faith filled Christian friend, I was allowing light to shine into the darkest places. She was a very good friend to me - in every way. She said everything that needed to be said - didn't say anything harmful to me. Most importantly, she began fiercely praying. I continued to keep her in the loop, but I also continued to communicate with Code-Red. As for Joe - I just kept getting pissed and more pissed. Everything he said and did made me furious - because the abandonment was now back in the midst - all of the pain and loneliness that I had long ago made peace with was jabbing me repeatedly like a devil's pitchfork. One night there was an issue with one of our vehicles that Joe neglected and it flew all over me. I lost it. I effing lost it.