So, sometime in the last month, I hit the true one year no contact mark. The last time I heard from the ex affair partner, he called me at work because he had gotten wind of an email announcement my husband and I drafted together last May. It was a message we decided to jointly send to our mutual friends (friends with us and the ex affair partner) to tell them that the affair happened, and ask them to not mention the ex affair partner to us anymore. We also asked them to keep it confidential. Obviously since he called me about it someone told him... not surprising I guess. We all were part of a pretty close-knit group of friends while the affair was going on. It's been five years or more since we have all lived in the same state, but we knew most of our mutual friends still kept in contact with the ex affair partner. So it follows that one of them was still close enough with him to tell him we had sent the message.
Anyway. Here's what it felt like to hear his voice on the other end of the phone that day last May: panic. Pure panic.
When my husband found out about the affair in November 2007, I had fudged an answer to a direct question he asked me. He asked me: "when is the last time you spoke to him?" Now, he found out on a Thursday, and at the time the question was asked, the true last day I spoke to the ex affair partner was the Monday after that. But when I was faced by my very hurt spouse asking that hard question, I don't know.... Saturday just sounded like a better answer. Saturday had been the last time we had a substantial conversation. Sunday and Monday were really just shrapnel. So I told him the last time was that Saturday. Later on when he requested work cell phone call records, that whole lie was exposed. It almost ruined us. I still shudder thinking about how hurt and angry that made my husband. That lie after the initial lie. It made everything exponentially worse.
So when the ex affair partner called last May.... over five months after what I thought was our last contact ever, I felt panic and fear. The first words out of my mouth were, "whatever you have to say to me, I just want you to know I'd really prefer to be able to tell my husband about this call." As it turns out, he was calling to check damage control details. One of the mutual friends we told had been.... oh yes, here comes one of the awful parts... his girlfriend at the time the affair started. So I knew there would be repercussions telling her. In fact, I'm pretty sure she was the one who would have called him screaming after we sent our email out to friends. So why did he have to do damage control? Well, I did tell you I am despicable. (As if that wasn't abundantly apparent already about me in this post.) And even for whatever I've been able to redeem, I can't lie... even to this day there are still some parts of what really happened in the affair that I shelter my husband from. Here is something those of you still having affairs may not realize: your husband will want dates and details. Lots of them. And if you are like me, the full weight of the truth is a crushing prospect to consider. After discussing it with our marriage counselor privately, she agreed that as long as the information wouldn't come out another way, it was better not to tell him any more than I had decided to. Which was the bare minimum. The basic difference in what my husband knows and the reality of the past has to do with the number of times I had sex with the other man. One of those awful details nobody in an affair wants to ever have to face, and one of the details your husband will DEFINITELY want to know if he ever finds out. Not an easy decision to make, but I made it and have to stick to it.
So I told my ex affair partner that day last May that I would keep our call a secret and agreed to go over our story. But I asked him to never call me again, because of the position it put me in. I said that in our own best interest of future health and sanity, the contact had to stop, unless imminent death or life-threatening illness was involved. I said we had to get the details straight that day, or never. I said, "write this stuff down somewhere that only you can get to, do whatever you have to do... but you can't ever call me again to ask about keeping our story straight." He promised to take our secrets to the grave and to never call me again. We confirmed details, and then the call should have been over. But then he tried to tell me a non essential detail. His new girlfriend was having health issues. He started dating her during our last attempt at ending the affair (in fall 2007, almost immediately after our last physical contact.... he met her and hooked up with her one week after our last tryst.) In the last "official" conversations we had in the days immediately after my husband discovered the affair, he had told me she had just been diagnosed with cervical cancer. This information was linked to him sharing the GREAT news that he also felt compelled (rightfully so): he had just found out he was a carrier of HPV. Wasn't that nice to know. And to have to tell my husband, along with everything else he was bearing right then.
Anyway, back to the May call. Basically the ex affair partner tried to get chatty and give me the latest news on his girlfriend's health and recent hysterectomy. I interrupted him and was as cold as I've ever been to him. I said I didn't want to know, I didn't care, and that the bottom line was, we couldn't play for the same team anymore. I said I was sorry, but our conversation had to end there. I said goodbye and hung up and didn't even think twice.
I am still recovering from that panicky feeling. When I got home that night, I felt sure my husband would read the betrayal on my face. Even after all the lies he had endured, he did not know and still does not know. I felt like I was cheating fate by getting away with that. Since that day I have wished and hoped and prayed the ex affair partner will hold up his promise and never call me again. And yet, here's another paradox: just about a month ago, I finally sat down and processed the thoughts and words of closure I've had for him in my mind for the last year and a half, and put them down on paper.
I did not send them. I'm still not sure I ever will. I started the letter (which I wrote in my password protected Word document that serves as a diary) with the words, "letter to ex affair partner that you should not even THINK about sending until November 2009." November 2007 was the date of my husband's discovery. So 11/09 would be 2 years after that.
I don't know where I read this, but somewhere I read that it takes half the total time of a relationship to get over that relationship. The ex affair partner and I were involved for just about four years, so at some point I decided that two years would be a good watershed point to look back on it and figure out what it was about. In the first year after discovery, I would think about him a lot. Like, not just every day but.... hourly. To get myself through, I would tell myself I was not allowed to even CONSIDER the faintest plan of looking into his life or even thinking about contacting him until at least two years had passed. Some dates: our affair started in October 2003, our last physical contact was September 2007, the last time I saw him was October 2007, and the last time we spoke on the phone about breaking down and wanting to make plans for our next rendezvous was November 2007. At the end of that month, my husband found out. End of story. Fast forward to May of 2008 and you have our last real phone call, the one my husband will hopefully never have to know about.
So really, my true 2 year date is probably May 2010. Do you agree? Does the mere sound of the ex affair partner's voice on the other line re-inject the poison, no matter how cold I was to him? There is something about having passed this May that makes me feel I've reached a new level of being over him. If that is my "true" one year mark, do I owe it to myself to find out what the true two year mark of no contact feels like before I even CONSIDER sending that letter I wrote, however innocent?