Coming up on three years since I last saw him

I am still in a good healing place. But tonight I felt I had to come downstairs from trying to fall asleep to get these thoughts on digital paper. He has been quite present in my dreams of late. Not consistently every night, but every week or two he pops up, and it's that amazing feeling of waking up from a dream where you were with your best friend... and then you miss them so much because you didn't really talk to them, and with every waking moment you remember less and less of your reverie. I found myself in bed tonight recognizing something. There is still a piece of me... I'm not prepared to call it small just yet.... but it's a piece that wants to be in another life. It's not just about the exAP either. Tonight what set this off was thinking about something as mundane and banal as furniture and bedding choices. Regretting the poor taste I had when I bought the cheapest thing available without a critical eye to what I want my surroundings to look like... and having this overwhelming thought of, "wouldn't it be kind of cool to just leave and start with a totally clean slate?" I mean, come on. My overly country-themed daybed is bad, but bad enough to make me want to leave a marriage? Maybe there's something else there. And maybe that's why the exAP is coming up in my subconscious again. More after the jump...

I've linked him in such a complete way to a fantasy escape of my life. My life that involves a less than impressive salary, a real, true-to-life, human, flawed spouse, a home that would never be in a magazine, and a closet full of clothes that seemed like such a good idea at the time, but were really just a bad case of sale goggles. Who doesn't think about chucking it all from time to time and starting fresh? We all do. But here's the thing: for me, I think this is about that same core issue of self-hatred. I not only dislike my daybed, I hate myself for being so uncultured as to have bought it with its outdated, frumpy oak wood finish. I think what a dumpy, out of touch midwesterner this choice makes me out to be. All of this! Over a fucking piece of furniture! Girl, I know I am better than that. Who the fuck is this asshole voice in my head and how did it get there?

To me, the exAP was such a balm for that because he not only embodied the kind of cool grace and style I still hope to emulate in my life, but he also magically saw in me the qualities I refused to see in myself. Here is the awful trick of it all though: I still have those qualities whether I make up the fairytale that he and only he saw them and therefore brought them out. Besides, why give him the damn credit? I do have good taste and style. It's just a fucking daybed. And I can replace it someday. Not today. But I also can proudly say I don't have credit card debt, unlike other friends who might be completely on-trend and well-furnished and well-heeled every single day of the week. Yet are in miserably unsustainable positions in other ways in their lives.

What is important in my life? Look around my home and you'll see that material things are not a huge component of that answer. Yet I get caught up in it. It's not all there is to the story, at all... it's just what brought me down this sad, familiar road tonight. I was just laying down, mind racing away, and I found myself articulating the wish: "Let me visit him tonight. Let it be in OUR special place. I miss it and him so."

Escape. Fantasy. So much easier to deal with than reality. Don't you think?


  1. I finally decided it was time to end my internet stalking after 18 months of periodically checking your blog. Your updates have provided an interesting perspective as I live through my wife’s affair. My wife re-connected with an old boyfriend via Facebook in early 2009 and started an on-line romance that later turned into illicit meetings while I was working. While their affair was very brief (3 months), it clearly impacted her greatly. It’s no 18 months later and I’ve just lived through her latest attempt to start everything back up. She is on a 3-6 month cycle of trying to make contact and coming up with stories to cover her actions. Funny thing is… It is completely obvious when it’s happening. Her entire demeanor changes towards the family. All I have to do is check e-mail or text message records to find the hard evidence. As much as I’ve wanted to just walk away, I just can’t seem to throw away 17 years of marriage, and chance the effects of a divorce on my teenage children.
    Your comments about fantasy being easier to deal with than reality struck a chord with me. It’s something my wife says often. She calls it “la-la land” and it is way easier to live there that to deal with daily stresses. I struggle to understand the link between fantasy land and the ExAP. Hell, I struggle to understand the link between needing an escape from reality and finding it outside the marriage. But I suppose that is why I have not cheated and she has.
    I guess the real question is; how do you dispose of the association between the ExAP and the feeling that you are “better” with him than with your husband? Or maybe; how do you make that connection that you are the same person with or without either the ExAP or your husband?

  2. Idahoboy: thanks for your comment, and for reading. First of all, I'm really sorry to hear about the pain your wife is putting you through. I can't speak for her, but as you have probably gathered from my posts, my remorse for the hurt I caused my husband is still quite immense. And even though I haven't acted on my wonderings and made contact with the ExAP, when I think about him it makes me feel like I'm not a good enough person to deserve my husband.

    What I have learned through this, is that these are all normal human reactions. Nobody is perfect, and unfortunately it is easier to live in fantasy world. However, for me what has kept me away is simply working on the hole within myself that makes me want to go to fantasy world in the first place. Has your wife been in therapy? Have you done counseling together? What I learned there is that the "connection" I thought I felt with the ExAP was almost like the connection you feel with a character in a movie. I made up a lot of what I thought he gave me. And it is BECAUSE my husband cared enough to go through counseling with me, and that he cared about and supported me in working out my issues I had to work through in my counseling, that we were able to rediscover our love together again.

    That said, nothing is perfect. I still wonder about the ExAP and probably always will. I can't control that. What I can control are my actions, and it empowers me and helps me repair all the self-hatred I have had over the years every day that goes by that I do not cave in and call or email that other man.

    It comes from the core issues. Everyone is different, but your wife should get a good therapist (as should you) if you haven't already. My best wishes to you both and thanks again for reading.

  3. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Coming up on 3 years.... wow. I am coming up on a year. And I am doing really well. This is my first visit to your blog, but I intend to read more. I hope you are well. I hope you are healing.

  4. Thank you for the comment! Your blog looks fantastic also, can't wait to read it and also check out your blogroll. Stay strong... I am still healing but it gets easier every day!

  5. Anonymous2:08 PM

    I think it isn't so much the escape/fantasy aspect of it that is the issue for me. It has more to do with the whole "self love" thang. When I think of my ex-AP, I feel horrible for thinking of him, given all of the damage that was done. I shouldn't think of him at all - or if I do, it should be with utter disgust and disdain. And since I do think of him, and since I don't hate him - that must mean (still) that I'm a horrible person who doesn't deserve my husband and hasn't changed at all. I know those things aren't true, but when the feelings hit, they can be very hard to work through. The negative voices are ALWAYS so much louder than the positive ones. And in my case, the negative voices were the ones that sent me down that road to start with, so I have to work hard to quiet them.

    I'm glad you're writing again - know that it helps the rest of us out here.