Butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I looked down at Niall’s message, I felt a twinge of curiosity.  Who was this guy?  His message seemed so harmless.  So simple.  So innocent.  What could possibly happen by replying?  I didn’t get the feeling that this conversation would go anywhere, which I can say in hindsight, provided a false sense of security.  Or maybe I was already compartmentalizing or justifying my behavior.   But I definitely didn’t think at the time that this would end up in an actual, long-term affair.  I really didn’t.

Feeling confident, I hit the reply button and responded to the faceless profile photo and generic name: beachCEO

For some reason, I thought about Billy in that moment.  And how we had locked eyes across the bar and had mad chemistry at that first glance.  That was what I was chasing…not an affair.  I was chasing butterflies.

Well this would be interesting seeing as I am older than you! Hahahaha, but in all seriousness, after reading your profile, you seem to be seeking most of what I am too.  And logistically, you’re my neighbor so this could work out perfectly. But I am really picky. And what I crave is that instant attraction, the one that makes your heart flutter and you can’t wait to see them again. And I am patient, so although AM markets itself as “the place” to have an affair, so far, I haven’t found anyone “affair worthy” or worth my time.

I have only given my photo out once. I don’t keep any photos on AM. So if we chat long enough and I feel a connection, perhaps we can meet for a drink. I would send you my photo long before that of course. But the one guy who met me said I was beautiful, girl next door, refreshing, couldn’t believe I was on AM, a busy-mom-on-the-go, down to earth, and very easy going.

So tell me about yourself. What is your ideal situation? Are you married or just in a relationship? Depending on your answers, I will give you my personal email and then we can chat from there…

Hi there.  Yes, I am married.  Two kids.  I am very new to this site.  Not looking to change my situation (nor anyone else’s).  But looking to find someone I connect with mentally as well as physically.   Most importantly, I am looking for absolute discretion.   I take care of myself and hope to find someone who does as well.  Love to cook (can make a mean lamb roast) and love to travel when I’m not working.  You could say I am a bit of a foodie.  I’m an executive working in start-ups, looking to find someone special who will literally take my breathe away.

What about you?  Have you traveled much?

I hope you have a nice day 😉

Me too.  Married, not looking to change my situation whatsoever.  But I miss that spark that comes with someone new.  I am very new to this site as well.  Like I said before, I’ve only shared my photo once (the guy I met for a drink).

I’m 5’6, 135 lbs, brownish blonde hair, green eyes, tan, fit.  I am not going to say I have the body of an 18 year old.  Heck, I have had two kids!  But yes, I take care of myself as well.  I run 4-5 times a week.  Love to be outdoors etc.

I use to live in Europe, have traveled all over the world…EU, Africa, south east Asia, Oz/NZ, Fiji etc.

Discretion, of course, is part of this.  It’s imperative 🙂

Hope you have a good day as well.

 

Did you really travel to all of those places?  I’m officially jealous.  I’ve always wanted to do a safari in Africa.  You’ll have to tell me all about it when we get a drink.  My favorite country in Europe is Italy.  The food and the wine are phenomenal.  And the architecture!  You must go, if you haven’t been yet.

And I want to assure you now, that I am not interested in the body of an eighteen year old.  Chemistry matters most to me…and finding a sexy, classy woman is what I seek- which by the sound of it,  you are 😉

You must get inundated with messages all day.   I’m flattered that you responded to mine.  Tell me more about yourself.  I want to discern your tastes and know more about you.  Do you have any plans for NY’s?

Your friend,

Niall

 

Wow…he gave me his name. That’s brave.  It must be fake.  Or he is really stupid to be putting his real name out there like that.  I couldn’t help but think, “Keep your guard up, Kate.  You don’t know who this guy is.  He could be some axe murderer for all you know.”  But there is a certain level of faith one needs to have when dipping your toes into these cheating waters.  But I…wasn’t quite there yet.

Cautious.  That was me.  Niall would have to gain my trust before I would ever reveal who I was…or agree to meet in person.   I took a deep breathe, twirled a lock of hair between my fingers, then abruptly formulated my response.  Our messages, were like a tennis match, volleying back and forth in real time.

I too want that chemistry, which can be so elusive.  If I am going to cheat, it’s going to be with someone who rocks my world for lack of a better phrase.   So far most of the guys on AM are Neanderthals!

I have lived an interesting life. I am sure you have too. I moved abroad in my twenties, first Paris then London where I finally lived for about 6 years. I worked for various fashion companies. Then relocated back to the states where I continued to work.

As for NY’s, 1 party…not sure if we will go. Our sitter is sick so it will be a game day decision. What about you?  Fascinate me with your life story in a paragraph or two 😉

It was at this point, that I took a breather from our conversation.  Time was flying by and I was getting sucked into this non-stop conversation.  Which if you knew me, wasn’t really my thing.  I had things to do…miles I wanted to run.  And kids that needed tending to.  Talking to Niall was bleeding into “my time” throughout the day.  And I noticed that immediately (this is a huge warning sign of affairs).

I grabbed my running shoes and started lacing them up.  But not before refreshing my inbox one last time.  There, on the page, was a shiny golden key which Niall had sent me.  For those of you unfamiliar with how AM works, that means you’ve been sent private photos.  I immediately clicked on the message and staring back at me was a baby faced, slightly rounded face, 34 year old.  One photo was a close up in business attire while the other was a full length, in more casual clothing.  He had dark brown hair and chestnut eyes.  Was definitely taller than me but looked very, VERY young.  That wasn’t really the look I was aiming for (I wanted someone older, slightly greying- like Billy, to be honest).

I only had an instant to stare at his photos.  Because at that very moment, my husband came home and flung open our bedroom door.

I quickly turned off my computer, laced up my running shoes and headed out the door….chasing butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I woke up this morning, like every other morning, and went for my run.  It’s a poignant day because two years ago, Laura (in my story) sat me down and said, “Start exercising everyday”.  Well, I took that to heart–nearly 1700 miles later, I can say, it’s been one piece of advice that I’m grateful I followed.  In short, it’s been a blessing.

But it’s also been a curse because as someone once said off-line to me, “Don’t you find exercise to be incredibly hard?  Because it is for me–that is when my brain goes nuts and I think back to my affair.”

“Yes”, I said.  “I do too.  But thats also why I run.  To work through all my pain.”

But like Forest Gump, here’s what I discovered during the end of that milestone…I could only ever get so far in my recovery because the one person I needed to talk to–to move forward and heal in my life–I wasn’t supposed to contact.  Yeah….CEO.

For months, my brain has been screaming at me to reach out.  To make peace with him.  To seek his forgiveness for shutting down, walking away, not talking to him or replying to his messages.  For not protecting him from the fallout of my confession.

No matter how hard I tried to move forward with my life (and make no mistakes, I have), this issue remained front-and-center.  I circled around these thoughts for miles, upon miles as I ran every week.  Until I finally sat by the ocean this morning, looked out towards the sea, opened my phone and broke 16 months of no contact.

Yes, my dear friends.  That was me today.

I apologize if I have disappointed you all.  But this is my true reality.  This is my story and how I struggle to remove CEO from my thoughts.  I am trying to move forward with my marriage, at warp speed no less.  But how can one truly move on, when there is this giant bolder of pain sitting over there that needs to be forgiven?

I recognized how unhealthy it was to hold everything in.  Clearly, I’m an expert at that.  Heck, I haven’t even begun to write about our actual affair that’s how great I am at holding every card to my chest.  But I needed to say the things that I did.  My contact with him was for MY healing.  To move forward with my husband and not have this constant dialogue running through my head.

I was taught as a kid that if you did something wrong, you sought someone’s forgiveness.  And all this time, I wrestled with doing just that, in order to fully move on and heal.  Going “no contact” and pretending that you caused no damage to another persons life and marriage is naive and cowardly.  I had a part to play in all of this and I needed to face it head-on, or else I felt I would never move past where my husband and I had worked so tirelessly to get to.

So as heartfelt as I could, that is what I did.  I contacted him.  CEO’s response was terse, and awkward.  Hell he could have been in a meeting for all I know.  But once I started, there was no stopping me.  Reaching out was about my healing.  And I told him this.  His responses really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  I needed to follow my heart, seek his forgiveness and say the things that have been on my heart for a very very long time.

Did I say everything, cover every last thing in this talk?  No.  Not even close.  You can’t sum up everything in a short message.  I explained that I wished I could explain everything but even if I had an entire day to talk, I doubt that would be enough time to convey everything.

Do I regret it?  Nope.  Because I know this isn’t to reestablish contact.  It’s to move forward.  For me.  To ultimately give every piece of myself to my husband and to not look back any longer at CEO.  For closure on every side.

With breaking no contact, I do feel a sense of relief in addressing how things ended.  I asked for his forgiveness and he granted it to me.  I shared that I wake up every day, thinking he hates me.  He said, he doesn’t.  It’s been healing to see those words, after telling myself over and over that he must.  I explained that I don’t have an enemy in this world, but because of how things ended, I believed that’s how he viewed me.  He said no, he has no enemies.  He doesn’t hate anyone.  That’s not who he is.

So, I have a heavy heart in knowing I broke NC, but my intentions were good.  When my husband came home, I told him immediately.  Read everything I wrote and everything he said in return.  Full transparency my friends.  It’s not easy but it’s the only shot we have at making this marriage work.

There was a part of me that wanted to not tell my husband, because I don’t want to cause him any further pain.  But I knew I had to.  I was emotionally drained and every fiber in my muscles were aching last night.  Strangely, it felt good asking for CEO’s forgiveness but interacting with him brought those all too familiar “friends” along for the ride–fitful sleep (non-existent is more like it), a swirling mind (Did I word my contact properly?  Did I seek his forgiveness in the right way?), utter exhaustion and fatigue.  I wasn’t expecting that to happen.  Truthfully, I don’t miss feeling like that.  But while CEO was in my life, that’s exactly how I felt.

Conflicted.  Over-analyzing everything.  Trying to perfectly word everything and not just be…myself.

I long for the peace and serenity to return to me.  I expect it to.  This would have set me back tenfold had I done this a year ago.  But I wasn’t ready.  I could only reach out on my own terms, when I was strong enough to do so.  It’s taken me sixteen months to get there.  And along the way, you guys have not just been my readers but a few have become genuine friends.  I may have lost CEO’s friendship, but ironically I’ve gained more friends by opening up and sharing my pain.  Real friends that know everything–the good, the bad, the ugly side of Two Cheating Hearts.  And still love and support me regardless.

Thanks for holding my hands Woman Invisible, even during your crazy day yesterday you were there.  And thank you RecoveringWoman for your sage advice and friendship.  It’s helped keep me on this path to restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innocent Words

Saying goodbye to Billy was the right thing to do.  But it wasn’t easy at the time.  I poured myself into running each day, while the sound of the ocean lulled my mind from the heartache I felt inside.  The constant pounding of the pavement soothed my soul more than therapy ever did, turning me into a water runner.  It became my place of solitude.  A time just for me, which was something I hadn’t experienced since having our first child.  To be honest, I never felt as if I could take a step back, away from the constant demands of motherhood.  I came last and had for a very, very long time.

Mile after mile, I tried sorting everything out in my head, hoping for answers beyond my immediate reach.

You will get through this I thought.

No. No you won’t, I would hear back.

He made your heart beat again.

Yes, I know…and now, it’s suddenly gone.

Eventually Laura’s words would invade my battling dialogue whispering, “I don’t think you’ve dealt entirely with your husbands affair.”  I would quiet her voice as much as I could, running next to the sea.  As the onshore winds pulled tear drops out from my eyes, I continued to analyze various scenarios running through my mind.  Should I divorce my husband?  If so, how and when?  Should I wait till the kids are older?  Should I just suck it up and keep plodding along hoping somehow, one day, he will wake up from his passivity towards our marriage?  How will we split our assets?  How would we manage joint custody of the children?

I was feeling the pressure mounting in my chest, as I dissected each and every question apart, looking at it from every possible angle.  The final straw was realizing that if we did indeed divorce, one or both of us, would likely re-marry.  Incorporating another person into our broken family unit is a reality both of us would have to face.  Someone else, yet unknown, would share the responsibility and privilege of raising our precious children.  That was a realization I was not ready to face or comprehend, yet it lurked in the inner recesses of my thoughts.  Urgh, I was so confused and stressed out thinking about the realities of divorce, but even more so after calling my brother for advice.

“It’s financial suicide.  The reality is over 70% of divorces are initiated by women but the statistics show, it takes a tremendous amount of time to recover from the financial impacts of divorcing.  Kiss your lifestyle goodbye, or get over it.  He’s not a bad guy.  Most men cheat on their wives at some point, he was just stupid enough to tell you.  He didn’t have to.  Give him a break.”

My brothers condescending words echoed in my head as I reached the end of my run.  My shirt clung to my body from miles of perspiration, as I recounted what he said to me the night before.  As much as I felt our marriage had run it’s course, I felt incredibly trapped.  Neither he, nor my mother, thought I should divorce.  “Well you can’t divorce him. It will mess up the kids.  That’s what is so wrong with the world, everyone just throws in the towel.  Why do you think there are so many screwed up kids now?  Because of parents divorcing just like this.  Did you honestly think it was going to be easy being married?”

Their words reverberated through my mind as I drove along the coast back home.  Every song on the radio seemed to bring me to the brink of tears, but I pushed them back, willing myself to have a positive day.  As I turned the key to our front door, I was met with complete silence.  Both kids were at school, at least for the next few hours.  I had time to myself which rarely ever happened.  Zane had just started preschool and I was adapting to this new phenomenon–absolute stillness in our normal bustling home.  As I jumped into the shower, I again heard those all too familiar words, “Honey, I don’t think you’ve entirely dealt with your husbands affair…

Laura’s voice kept haunting me until I finally turned off the valves.  Stepping out of the hot shower, I threw on my robe and walked over to my nightstand.  My pruned fingers opened the drawer and I gently lifted several robins-egg blue Tiffany boxes.  Under the boxes laid the triple-folded letters which had laid dormant for over a year.  These were my husbands confession letters, safely hidden away, for my eyes only.  The first was his initial attempt at being truthful.  The second was his updated version of events.  The third and final letter- a one page addendum if you will.

 

To my wife,

This letter is an addendum to the confession letter I provided you on May 15th, 2011.

In my first letter that I provided you, I did not disclose the whole truth.  There were sections of that letter that I left out details and others where I lied.  In the account of the New Jersey trip where I took a girl back to my hotel, I lied about using a condom.  Also, I lied about the girl leaving, as she stayed in my room that night.

I know that given the gravity and seriousness of what I had done, there was no detail that could make the confession worse.  That being said, I still chose to try to “soften” my confession by telling these lies.

This letter is to clarify that these details I had provided were a lie and to validate that everything else in the letter is accurate.

I am very very sorry to have hurt you so deeply.

Love, Me

 

It had been a long time since I read his confession letters.  But in an instant, I was transported back to being pregnant and holding these very pages, now covered in brown stain marks from the tears that originally fell upon them.  It had been over two years since he gave me these letters and during that time, I felt like we transitioned into just friends co-parenting our children.  I felt no anger towards him.  There was no malice in my heart.  I just felt indifference, really.  The reality was we were parents now.  And in terms of working well together, we did.  But the heart-stopping love that I felt on our first date was no longer there.  Truthfully, the passion I had for my soul mate died after his confession and my heart had been on life support ever since.

Seeing Billy after so many years made me realize just how far our marriage had actually fallen.  How incomplete it actually was.  And essentially how empty my heart felt.

Sitting on the edge of my bed, I reached over to my nightstand again, this time grabbing my iPad.  I started searching “husbands who cheat” or something to that effect.  Hoping Dr. Google would somehow have the answers to my marriage woes, I pressed on looking for answers.  The search results brought up marriage rebuilder websites and various betrayed spouses screaming at the rooftops about how angry they were.  On one hand, I understood their pain.  But on the other hand, that just wasn’t me or how I would ever choose to deal with my frustrations.

Reading the hatred and vile words exuding from their hearts, I had no endeavor to add rage into mine.  I needed to understand the mechanics and motives for adultery and how our marriage got to where it was.  I didn’t need to fill my time listening to strangers egg each other on about how they were somehow “better than their cheating husbands”.  From the bottom of my heart, I knew I was no better than my husband.  God taught me that we were both sinners in His eyes.  Sin is sin.  Sure, mankind wants to create a ranking system here on earth.  However, God certainly doesn’t lay it out like that.  You are a sinner too.  Laying judgment upon my husband wasn’t going to solve our problems.  It was just going to add more sin upon my own heart.  I had enough pain in there, I didn’t need to heap on more.

However, I didn’t want to listen to that advice brewing around in my mind.  I knew it.  But I didn’t want to follow it.  I wanted to run away from God because I was hurt that he would bring me this broken man as my husband.  This man God?  Really?  This is who YOU planned for me to marry?  I devoted my life to him.  And where did it get me? Last.

Shaking my head in disbelief, I called out to God and heard…absolutely nothing.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if God existed anymore.  With everything that had happened since moving into our home: a difficult pregnancy, being harassed by the crazy neighbor, my husbands confession, a death in the family– where was God through all of this?  I found myself wondering, “Is God even real?”

I started searching for answers and reading voraciously.  Hours worth in fact.  I finally came upon an article that captivated me.  It was the first story I had ever read, that spoke about affairs in such a way, that I finally “got it”.  It was so intense, so passion-filled that I felt like a voyeur looking through the peephole of two cheating hearts.  Naively as it was, I read on, not entirely understanding the subjects lives.  But wanting to.  Curiosity had me engrossed reading paragraph upon paragraph and just how they came to be in each others arms.  It was utterly foreign to me, this adulterous underworld they both lived in.

As I contemplated whether or not this was a work of fiction, I was interrupted by a flock of bright green iridescent birds squawking high above.  Despite their raucous behavior, I envied these parrots for they were free.  Able to fly where ever they wanted, through the canyons of Malibu to the southern tips of San Diego, they roamed the skies.  Free birds is what I called them.  And oh, how I wanted to be free.

Listening to the parrots, I turned off my tablet resting it against my smoothly shaven legs.  I sat there soaking up the sounds of nature while dismissing the lovers story as a work of fiction, too far fetched for real life.  Just a work of epic erotica, I thought.  But there was something mentioned in the article that popped back into my mind weeks later.  The details of that story would marinate in my thoughts as I ran by the sea.  Within a few weeks, my curiosity had grown to such an extent that the next time I found myself alone, I tapped away on the glass iPad keyboard two, simple, innocent words.

My life would irrevocably change from that moment on.  In retrospect, I gave up on my marriage in that very moment, for which I would profusely apologize to my husband in due time.  But that was the moment another domino fell in my life.  And they only seemed to pick up momentum as each one tumbled before my eyes.

Playing with fire will get you burned, or so they saying goes.  Mess with the bull, you get the horns is another.  I’m old enough to know better, but still crazy enough to think I can outrun them both.

And I did for a while.

Until the fire of another mans touch consumed me down to my core.

First course please.

 

 

Amuse-bouche

After coming home from my run, showering and getting dressed, I snuggled up under my duvet pulling out my iPad.  There I sat with my eyes closed, listening to the silence of our home.  All I could hear was the beating of my heart and the occasional dog barking in the distance.  I knew I didn’t have long to formulate my thoughts.  The kids would be arriving back soon, so I started pecking away at the glass screen.

When I was done writing, I opened Facebook and saw Billy logged in.  My heart raced even faster as I contemplated sending it immediately or waiting till after he logged off.  In the end, I chose to send it then, while he was active.  Talk about nerve wracking.  Billy read it in real time, as I switched between the two applications.  A solid lump formed in my throat as the “Seen at” time stamp updated, adding to the theatricalness of it all.

 

I have so much to say Billy.  I wrote you a letter but I’m just going to cut and paste it into Facebook.  I wish we could have spoken face to face, just to get some closure.  As you can probably guess, I talked to Laura today.  I am grateful that you were honest and candid with her.  I wish you could have had the courage to do that with me.  I definitely feel like I have more clarity now.

(Seen at 5:04 pm)

I said before that I wished I could undo meeting you.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  You showed me that I am just as capable of cheating on my husband, as my husband was able to cheat on me.  Although nothing happened between us, it’s given me a new understanding of how easy it is to get sucked away from your spouse.  And for that I thank you.  I think this whole experience has given me a deeper understanding and a deeper sense of forgiveness for what my husband did to our marriage.  And that I’m not perfect either.  It’s a good life lesson for me–something I needed to learn/see for myself.  Obviously, two years hasn’t been long enough to heal.

(Seen at 5:05 pm)

I still think you’re a good guy Billy, always have.  But I do think you have a lot of issues which explains why you are not close to people, and frankly why you are still single.  For the record, there is no elusive “perfect” woman.  There will only be a perfect moment when you stop playing musical chairs and finally commit to someone.  Don’t be afraid to love or commit Billy.  I promise you.  It’s amazing to do things for the people you love and not live a solitary life.

You know I’m a risk taker at heart.  I laid it all on the table when I felt something between us after all these years.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  But if you don’t throw the dice, you lose every time.  Do I regret it?  Not at all.  I felt something the second I saw you staring at me from across the bar.  Chemistry like that doesn’t just come along everyday.

(Seen at 5:05 pm)

Yes you made it clear you wanted nothing to do with breaking apart a marriage.  But your messages said you were “overly” attracted to me.  But I was married.  However, once I was single, we would be a possibility down the road.

I told you I wanted you in my life.  And you replied, “maybe”.  Reading your messages one last time, I really felt like you were keeping the door wide open.  Keeping your options open.  I get it, you’re single.  That is what single people do.  But at each junction of me stating how I wanted you in my life, you never once stepped up to say you didn’t want me in yours.  I just want you to be honest with me Billy.  Good or bad.  I can take it.

(Seen at 5:06 pm)

Laura explained that you didn’t want to hurt me.  I respect the fact that you shared that with her.  It only reconfirms that there was something between us, whatever that was.  If you didn’t care for me in some capacity, I don’t think you would have considered my feelings at all.  But that is water under the bridge now.

Seeing so many old friends reawakened something in me.  I miss everyone.  We use to all be so close.  And we certainly shared a lot of laughs along the way.  At the very least, I will come out of this staying in contact with several people who I drifted away from.  I just wanted to clear the air with you so that if by chance we ever bump into each other, it’s not awkward.  Or at the very least, won’t be as awkward.  There might be another party one day, or someone has a kid or something….and well, it just might happen.  Who knows what the future holds.  We might just laugh about this at the next reunion when your bald and ugly and certainly no longer hot (Can you please be ugly at the next one?  It will make things so much easier).  And by the way, I am going to look stunning at the next one just to rub it in–hahaha 😊

(Seen at 5:07 pm)

Anyways, I have thought long and hard about whether or not to tell my husband.  But it would only hurt him.  Right now we are discussing a trial separation, but everyone is saying I am making a mistake.  That he loves me so much.  That he is a good guy who screwed up etc.  I don’t need any drama in the future and nothing physical ever happened between us.  So I am just going to put this behind me.  And hope that I am making the right decision on that.

I wish you the best.  I will always think of you when I see vintage cars.  You have certainly cursed me in that way.  Maybe over time, this will all feel like a big mistake.  But I am still wrestling with, “I can’t explain it.  It’s what I am attracted to….it wants what it wants.”

I am not expecting a reply, but rather wanted the chance to say my peace.  Get everything off my chest and finally say…goodbye.

(Seen at 5:08 pm)

 

It took two more days for our friendship to be severed.  But only twenty-four hours for my racing heartbeat to suddenly stop.  Yes, it stopped.  Finally.

I wish I could say that was the end of my story.  But the truth is, it’s only the beginning of my sordid tale.

An amuse-bouche if you will.

 

 

 

 

Four Words

I wanted to see Billy and that’s the honest truth.  Had he talked to me face to face, it would have provided much needed closure on my part. But we don’t always get what we want, now do we? Sometimes, you need to roll with the waves and let things settle where they may. But that’s not how I felt then. I really wanted to talk to him face to face.

Now if you and I were sitting across from each other in this very instant, I would reach over and open a nice bottle of wine. Then hand you my phone, so you could just read the messages for yourself. Surely that would be easier than trying to convey the undercurrent of our conversations. I racked my brain over and over reflecting back upon our talks. It’s a fault of mine, but something that I rarely do unless I feel invested in the person. And I felt invested in Billy, to a certain degree. For he caused an immense physical reaction that went unabated for weeks. I just couldn’t walk away from that, knowing how infrequent that occurs in life.

But for the sake of providing more clarity and looking back upon that time, Billy and I talked about a variety of things: mutual friends, vintage cars, memories of when we were younger, work and kids. Not just mine either, but his nieces and nephews.

They lived out of state where his business was located. And each time he flew back, he stayed with them. It was actually quite cute listening to him talk about those kids, with the same amount of love that I have for mine. “We had movie day today,” he wrote while sending me a photo of two gorgeous little girls. “Omg, they are adorable. What are their names? They must love having you as an uncle. I’m sure you spoil them.”

“That’s Maggie, we call her Mads. And Ella, who goes by Ellie.” Smiling, I wrote back, “Is that Maggie in the braids then? Nevermind. Either way both are cute. Glad you stayed over the weekend, it’s obvious the girls adore you.”

Billy answered, “Thank you, and the kids aren’t that bad looking either ;-).”

A little bit of flirting crept into our conversations, which had been growing in length over that time. We always had a fair bit of banter, even when we were young. So this wasn’t unusual for us. I said to Billy that weekend, “Hope you have a nice flight home.” Billy replied, “Sometimes the pilots let me fly, so that’s awesome.” Knowing what a smart ass he was, I volleyed back “So, you get air points for flying and the mile high club? Awesome, good to know…you must be racking up the miles.” Laughing he wrote, “I wish I was a mile high club member!!!”

Not exactly hard core sexual banter, but Billy was never that kind of guy. At least not with me.

The next morning, I volunteered in Viviane’s classroom when my phone suddenly went off. It was Billy messaging me again. “The girls asked if I was going to be home by trick-or-treat time :-(.” I knew he was sad to be leaving his nieces, so I replied, “Ahhh, breaks your heart. Just wait till you have your own. It opens your heart more than you could ever imagine. It is by far my greatest achievement in life.” He replied, “I agree” while I quickly interjected, “and just for the record, I’m an awesome mom.” Billy answered, “I can totally tell…..Urgh, Southwest sucks. Just getting on my flight. Middle seat and the plane is full.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Billy was over 6′ tall and squeezing him into any seat, coach no less, would be brutal. “Next time, try flirting with the check-in desk. Gotta use those looks before they fade–haha.” Being ever so humble, he replied, “I lost them years ago.”

“Lost them? What are you talking about. You know you’re a good looking guy Billy.” Sensing that I may have made him blush, I followed up with, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.” He replied at the same time, “You’re awesome.”

I think I explained previously that the day Billy first messaged me, my heart didn’t stop racing. And this wasn’t for just a few moments either. All day and all night, I had it. It was really annoying but eventually, I kinda got use to it. It felt as if I was living off of adrenaline with no end in sight. That physical sensation represented something so tangible that I kept thinking, “This has got to mean…he is the one.”

Have you ever walked into a room and caught someone’s eye, only to feel in an instant that there is a real, undeniable chemistry there from the start? Well if you have, then I am sure you can relate. I am not talking about the type of attraction that builds over time. I am talking about an instant reaction that is so tangible, that it literally takes your breathe away. You both feel an incredible pull towards one another. Like magnets I tell you. At the reunion, that is exactly how Billy and I were–like magnets to one another.

So despite Laura and Kara counseling me against starting a relationship with Billy, my heart was telling me otherwise. I spent a few nights tossing and turning, reflecting back upon my marriage. And the following evening after I got the kids to sleep, I uttered four heart breaking words as my husband sat next to me on the edge of our bed.

“I want a divorce.”

No tears were shed. The words were said calmly while I looked into his eyes and explained, “I am old enough to know that people are who they are. I need a husband who is a leader and stronger than me. I know this deep in my heart. No matter what, it comes down to that core issue over and over. The way I see it, I either accept you as you are, or move on and hope I find that dynamic with someone else.”

I wish I could say he was stunned. But the truth is, he wasn’t. We had talked about my desire for him to be the leader in our marriage for many years. His affairs were forgiven. And despite putting my best foot forward and not running away the moment he confessed, I was now deciding that my happiness meant more than his or the kids. I could no longer live for them. I could no longer be defined by my role as mother, wife, volunteer and friend. I wanted to be the sexy woman that I knew I was. The one that had come back to life that fateful night I locked eyes with Billy.

As I turned off the bedside light, I flicked open my iPad and sent Billy a simple message.

“I told him I want a divorce. It’s over.”

 

 

 

Overly Attractive

It was so surreal to be opening up my heart to Billy in this way.  We hadn’t even kissed, just talked.  But I felt so strongly that he would be my husband.  That he was truly “the one” I was meant to have married.  Chemistry like that doesn’t come along often.  I felt in my heart that Billy and I would have ravishing, mind-blowing sex.  The holy grail of connections coupled with an intense love and chemistry so elusive, it’s only written about in novels or shown in films.  It was that electric between us.

I continued, “Whether we end up together or not, I can’t say.  But I deserve to have a faithful husband.  And that is all I truly want in the end”.  He said, “You totally do.  But I’ll tell you what I told Anna.  That decision has nothing to do with me and you need to make that decision as if I was never born…And if I’m around, I’m around.”

Our flurry of messages stalled.  I didn’t know what to say.  So I sat there reflecting back on my husbands confession.   Pondering my age and questioning if I had the wherewithal to endure a divorce, when Billy finally replied.

“I do find you overly attractive.  But I’ve been in this once before.  It caused all kinds of problems for all kinds of people.  And I can’t do it again.  No one can blame you for doing that.”

It wasn’t exactly the response I was expecting.  And it confused the hell out of me to be honest.  I felt like he didn’t want any part of me divorcing, but once I was single, if he was still single, then yeah, something would happen between us.  In a nutshell, he was leaving the door wide open.

I didn’t know what to do at this point.  And ironically, both Kara and Laura eventually called to discuss the party.  Kara started with, “Honey, I just want to come right out and ask you something.  How is your marriage?  You’ve been on my mind for the past two weeks but I’ve been so busy with the kids.  I meant to call you earlier.”

Fucking Kara!  Her gifting, as they say, is intuition.  At several junctions throughout my life, she is like having a conversation with my conscience.  Which is why, during my affair with CEO, I rarely took her calls.  I just knew the truth she would be speaking and frankly, I wasn’t ready to give that relationship up.  But that’s getting ahead of things.

I really wanted to talk to her about Billy, so in that moment, I finally opened up.  Very few people really know me, struggles and all.  But Kara is one of them, which is ironic because we see each other maybe three times a year.  Perhaps it’s because she has known me since I was a kid.  Whatever it is, she can pry me open like a can of sardines.  “Kara, things aren’t going so well.  And I am starting to have feelings for someone else.”

“I know who you are talking about…”  She said, “It’s Billy huh?”

My heart dropped.  “How did you know?”

“Sweetie, I could see the chemistry between you two at the reunion.  He spent the most time talking to you.  There was an obvious connection.”

So I told her everything about Billy.  I explained how he had reached out to me.  How we had been emailing back and forth.  And how I was utterly confused as to what to do.  She replied, “You’ve always clicked.  This goes all the way back to Miss Blain’s 7th grade English class.  Don’t you remember the three of us sitting at the back of her class talking?  You guys had a connection way back then.”  Honestly, I didn’t even remember that.  I still don’t. But she is that friend that remembers everything about everyone, going back to when we were little kids.

The next call came from Laura.  Kara must have filled her in because she phoned the following morning.  I sat in my car, with tears in my eyes, confused because I really wanted to talk to Billy face to face.  But he was being distant, and not his usual self.  My heart was racing uncontrollably and I felt as if it would never stop.  Laura gave me two pieces of advice.  The first one being, “You know, your emotions will change over time about this.  Our emotions can and will deceive us.”  My rebuttal was, “Well I have always followed my gut.  And that has never happened before.  I mean I get what you are saying, but my gut has never steered me wrong in this way.”

“Start exercising.  Do something every day.  It will help stabilize your emotions about this whole situation.”  Looking back now, I can say emphatically, that it was great advice.  And I took both to heart, in the deepest of ways.

I started walking, then running.  Religiously.  That first month, I logged 125 miles.  I ran as much as I could.  Even if it was just ten minutes, I carved out time just for me.  Something I hadn’t done since before I had kids.  And I quickly realized, just how much I had missed it.  And how much I loved running again.  It was the only time where my heart got back to a regular rhythm.  For sure, it sorted out my head.  During that entire time, Kara and Laura were there counseling me.  “I know how much your husband hurt you, but I do believe God can restore your marriage.  I think you forgave too soon and perhaps, this connection with Billy isn’t so genuine after all.”

Both Kara and Laura told me to unfriend Billy immediately.  And they went on to say, “Although Billy was a great kid growing up, he’s actually kind of a trippy guy now.  He can’t even give you close to the life you lead.”  And they were right, he couldn’t.  Deep down I knew.  But it took them verbalizing this for it to sink in.

Collectively, we agreed that Billy would always be a bachelor filled with wanderlust.  Never willing to truly commit to another or settle down.  They were right.  Plus I knew leaving my husband would be financial suicide.  We worked so hard to get where we were in life.  It would ruin our kids and turn facets of our lives for the worse.  If I thought things were difficult in my marriage now, they would be compounded once divorced.

But I still didn’t want to let Billy go.  I simply…couldn’t be the one to unfriend him.

 

 

Signal Red

“They call it signal red.”  Billy was trying to enlighten me about the finer characteristics of vintage cars, something that wasn’t exactly on my day-to-day radar.  This was after explaining, “I like the red better than the green one.”  I laugh about it now because I know nothing about cars.  But as fate would have it, my brother crashed his Cayenne that morning.  I forwarded Billy the photos knowing he would cringe looking at the twisted heap of metal.  He quickly responded, “Oh man, that sucks.  He must be so bummed.”

“He looked down at his phone to read a map, rear-ended some lady.  50k of work and they haven’t even gotten to the frame yet.”

“Ouch!  That’s gotta hurt.”

“Don’t feel bad for him.  He can afford it.”

We stayed up talking till 1:00 a.m. that night.  It wasn’t a regular habit of ours.  But that is the night I shared the story of my husband cheating.  He was genuinely saddened to hear that, as he met my husband and thought he was a really cool guy.  As an outsider looking in, we make a striking couple, accomplished and successful with a few kids thrown in for good measure.  But I shattered that vision when I bared my darkest secret.

“That’s a tough position to be in.  I’m sorry.  Tough feeling like you don’t quite have a choice because of the kids.”  I countered, “He’s doing everything he can to keep me.”  Billy waited a second then replied, “As he should.  You’re a keeper for sure.”

Fast forward to the night of the party…At 3:00 a.m. my husband went to bed, leaving me with a small group of friends, Billy included.  We sat on the outdoor lounge furniture side by side.  He showed me his crooked finger, the one that got broken so severely in a college basketball game that it no longer lays flat with the rest of them.  Billy told me about all his surgeries.  But I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw it for myself.  I touched his hand, moving it about, trying to figure out how the surgeon did such a horrible job of resetting his bones.  He didn’t get his money’s worth, that’s for sure.  For several seconds, I didn’t want to let it go.  It was the only moment I had to touch him and I wanted to savor it for as long as I could.

The next day, my husband left.  We previously arranged that I would spend the morning helping Laura clean up.  You know, get her house back in order from the party.  As Laura and I started to wash dishes, my mind wandered to the previous night.  I kept thinking back to the garage and I really wanted to talk to Billy.  I wanted to apologize for putting him in that situation.

I messaged him, hoping he would meet me.  “Billy, I’m so sorry.  I shouldn’t have put you in that situation last night.  It was wrong.  Can we talk?  Either I come to you, you come to Laura’s or we meet at a coffee place?”

And you know what happened?  Nothing.  Total crickets.  He was mute (although I could see he had read the message).

So I upped the ante and sent him a photo of my red bra and matching lace thong.  I wasn’t actually wearing it people.  Come on.  It was just a photo of the actual lingerie, which for me was pretty brazen at the time.  You could say, it was the first sexy photo I had ever sent a man.  In my life.  As in ever.  I know such a prude eh?  But don’t you worry, what I lacked in frequency, I more than made up for it with CEO (and those college photography classes certainly came in hand–it’s about angles people!).

With my heart racing, I hit send with the following message, “Billy, don’t push me away too.  Unless…you don’t want my version of signal red in your life.”

Finally!  He coyly responded, “I do like that red.”

“But you’re married and that’s a bit heavy for me.  I’ve been down this road before.  And I can’t do it again.  Remember at the reunion, you asked why I was single?  Well the girl I told you about at the bar?  You know, the one I pushed away–Anna?  She left her husband and I was the shoulder to cry on.  I can’t do it again.”

“I don’t need your shoulder Billy.  You’re not responsible for the demise of my marriage, that happened two years ago.  I’m stronger now, ready to tackle this head on and leave my husband.”  My heart was pounding as we typed a flurry of responses back and forth.

“Billy, I really wanted to say this face to face.  Not over email.  Not like this.  What I wanted to know was….Do you feel what I feel too?  I’m not looking for an affair.  You deserve better than that.  You deserve all of me.  I need time to wind down my marriage.  I guess what I wanted to know was…would you wait for me?”