AW - Naturally he was wrong. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> How is the Clan?

Well, AJ and I had a very long discussion night before last, until oh, 2am or so. All about during the A, dynamics, etc. Some of it I had heard him talk about before, but I had some very enlightening moments, too.

I really need to get busy on my final edit, but I really need to not explode from too much bottling, too. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Especially since I already had a lot I had been storing up even before this.

A quick summary of the main issues that have been waiting for a while:

1. A few months ago I finally realized I was still living, acting, and reacting, as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe because I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is still a work very much in progress, but I can see that this won't work forever, and I am trying to begin putting some faith in the actions I have been watching for almost 2 yrs now.
2. Taking the kids to school every day just down the road from Gargamel's house has been hard. It feels like the whole area is polluted. Well, it is. But there I am, sneaking around MY OWN places where I BELONG, looking over my shoulder constantly in fear of running into her, as if I were the interloper and not her. This, too, is still a work in progress. I am trying to take back my hill, with a "bad" (:)) attitude because that's the only way I can force myself to be courageous.
3. I still find myself thinking of her too much on a daily basis, and little affair-loops running and running in my head. This I am having more obvious success with, having gotten pretty adept by now at re-tracking my thoughts. I just have to catch them, to realize what I am doing, and I can make it stop. This has been quelled to more of an annoyance stage, rather than a bona fide problem.
4. About a week ago I triggered really hard, to the point of feeling like everything had suddenly gone dark, while I was standing in the sunshine. It was such an eerie feeling - being knocked unconscious while still awake. I hated being out of my rigid control of thoughts and feelings for the time it took to shake it off. I would have thought I was past that, but apparently not. Being so rare, this is not a big problem either, like the first 2 are, but was severe while it lasted. And it was about 2 days before I started feeling really normal again.

So we talked. A lot. Although we do discuss infidelity in general on a regular basis, mainly regarding people we know, we don't talk about our own experience with each other nearly as much.

He had mentioned the house he planned to rent, just down the street, before. But this is the first time I knew that he had not only thought about it, filled out an application for it (as I found out eventually), had her offer to pay for it (as I found out even more eventually), but he had put down a deposit on it.

He gave her the money, and she wrote the people a check for it. They kept it on hold for him for almost a month and a half, until he finally went to them and told them he would not be moving in. None of this did I have any clue about, before the other night.

Lots of things about the way he was doing things were very irritating to her. She was pushing him from the start to move in with her. He said no, he had kids and needed his own place for them to be able to come. She said fine, we will get a place together. He said no, I am still married, and I want my wife to be able to come there any time she wants.

(I am laughing as I write this. WS logic is beyond belief!)

Though not happy at all that he wants to live just down the street from me, she is apparently willing to try to live together all as one big happy family, barf. Even in his stupefied state, he understands that this will not work. Ditto the threesomes, of course.

We already knew she was not happy when she found out he was still having sex with me. ("Of COURSE I'm still having sex with her - she's my wife!" Bwaaaa!!!!) But after it had been going on a while, she told him that she knew he was still having sex with me, and that had better change shortly.

She was very confident she could get him to leave me for keeps. She actually told him, "I can make men do whatever I want." Guess she thought she had THE POWER, lol.

He made her mad all the time by refusing to stay the night. (Could it be it made her feel sleazy when he had to sneak off in the middle of the night so he could go crawl into bed with his wife???) It sounded like this was a big source of conflict between them, as was the next item.

For some reason, she had a really hard time getting him to screw her.

AJ has sleep apnea, totally untreated during this time, so he was chronically exhausted already, and then trying to juggle a double life on top of that. He was soooooo tired!!!!

You know, all this time I had considered my efforts in the sex dpt a failure. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't keep him too exhausted to have any sex with her at all. But to listen to him describe his take on my fervent efforts, it had more of an effect than I thought. Apparently it wasn't any last shreds of willpower, or some tiny bit of decency, that kept him from boinking her more than the few times he did; it was sheer inability.

Though I'm sure she tried to mask it somewhat, he was able to sense that she was very very unhappy about his lack of attentiveness in this area. "I'll just have to go take care of it myself." Flounce, flounce. "Fine, you just do that." So it definitely caused conflict, much more than I thought even yet.

Note for balance: although I made the choice to continue sex during the A, I would fully support anyone who chooses not to, as well. In most cases, sex is not the crucial issue, and even in my own sitch, I think it would have still turned out fine without the sex, though I do not regret doing it. And apparently there would have been much more boinking going on without it, too.

It drove her nuts that he wouldn't decide, and yet she had every confidence that once he did decide, he would pick her. If only she had read MB, she would have known better. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Just as a suspicion, I told him I thought she had probably read a number of the TM's I had sent him about our steamy showers, and that was why she kept trying to get him to take a shower with her. He thought I was right, that now it seemed strange how she was always trying to get him in there with her, and he would make all kinds of lame excuses why he didn't need a shower just then, and then go off and leave. Can we all say lead balloon?

I told him while we were talking that he had been a sad disappointment as a boyfriend. He stammered that it was hard having sleep apnea and living a double life. I said yes, and I had done everything in my power to encourage him to be a bad boyfriend, too, and I guess it worked.

Well, she bugged him, too. All was not hunky-dory in Fantasyland. The drinking we knew about, and it's always the first thing he lists when he talks about the things he didn't like about her.

Now that he can see it, he hates the manipulations and how she tried to push him to do things. The housing is only one example.

She kept on him about the divorce papers, which he at one point started to fill out, then stopped. She oh-so-sweetly offered to fill them out for him. Such concern, such willingness to help. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif" alt="" /> It makes him angry now, how eager she was to break up his family. (Yes, he knows that he was trying to break up his family too, but he was certainly not eager.)

One thing he COULDN'T STAND about her was how messy she was.

This floored me.

I am not always tidy either, however hard I try. And I do try. But I am not super-organized, and I have a Dervish, so it's an uphill battle. If I try really hard, I can usually keep three rooms at a time nice and clean. Right now I'm doing a deep clean of my bedroom, and already the living room has a light dusting of clutter. The dining room has a heavy dusting. By hook or by crook, it will be gone by the time AJ gets home.

All this time I have assumed that part of her attraction was peace, quiet, and clean. I mean, how could you not have kids, not have a husband, and not have it all clean? Sparkly and shiny?

This kind of goes along with the waiting for the other shoe to drop thing. All this time, I have kept cleaning and cleaning frantically (if not effectually), always trying to outrun the spectre of what she must have been like. Always worried that if things weren't perfect he might decide he wanted her, instead. Always fearing that if I didn't measure up, all my hard work of the last 2 years would be wasted. And always failing, never having everything clean at once, always having something left undone to fan the fears.

All this angst, and she was a slob?????? Messy house, messy car, he tells me now!!!!! Couldn't stand it, he tells me now!!!!!!!!!!

He had said something to her several times, and finally toward the end, no doubt sensing him slipping away and trying to do anything and everything to draw him back, she cleaned up for a while. AJ said her roomie/XBF was really mad because she even made HIM clean his stuff up.

Don't get me wrong. I am not taking this as permission to just let everything go. Clearly tidiness is very important to him. But I can also see clearly, for the moment at least, that I don't have to be perfect to keep him, either. And who knows? Maybe not being so frantic will mean I will work more effeciently. Hey, a girl can hope.

That was such a freeing thing to learn!!!!!!! I can be good enough, and I am good enough. (Repeat 3 times.)

He told me that she had been nice to talk to, and there had been some times during R when he missed that, and wished he could talk to her again, but that when that happened he put thoughts of her aside, and really focused on clinging to me and thinking of me.

Of course I wished he had told me at the time, and told him so, but was also glad he had told me now, and told him that, too. I asked if he still thought of her much now, and he said hardly ever, and when he did it was generally in connection with the money.

I warned him that he couldn't assume he wouldn't be tempted ever again, and that any time there was a low spot, that Satan would be there to try and tempt him and stir up those feelings again. We made a mutual agreement that he will talk to me at the time if it happens again, and I will talk to him at the time if I am having a hard time with something. (No surprise I still need to work on that one.)

He apolgized with such remorse for hurting me like that, I nearly cried. It's not that his earlier apologies aren't meaningful, but the more time goes by, the more understanding he has of the devastation he caused, along with his willing accomplice.

Also, he told me the things I mentioned on LilSis' thread, about the strong pull of history, home, and family. He couldn't just walk away, even when he thought he wanted to.

And now? I already have my Valentine's Day present, which is just as well, since the real V-day is only 2 days after D-day, not that I expect he remembered that.

He gave me a precious card, my own copy of Bookworm (<img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" /><img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" /><img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" />), and a set of 3 Andrew Lloyd Weber CD's, all carefully wrapped and put in an XOXOXOXOXO bag.

The card had some money tucked in it, for me to spend just on me (he knows I hardly ever do this without being made to), so I got some sparkling grape juice (which I like but he doesn't, so I usually just get the sparkling apple, which we both like), a nightshirt with a penguin on it, and a bag of a Cajun snack I really like. All things I would not normally get, just for me.

So I am feeling all pampered and spoiled, just soaking up all the love, and giving it back, too.

In some ways this was a hard talk to have, and a few times I had to swallow hard and self-soothe for a moment, listening to him describe things, but it was so worth it! Not just for me, though that was important, but he must have needed to talk about it then, too, since for 3 hours he did almost all the talking. I was so glad he turned to me when he needed to talk.

It's been so long since I had to think over the whole thing at once, and it was a little overwhelming. Usually I think of this little anecdote here, and this other little anecdote there. This probed some uncomfortable places, and, I think, scraped out a few spots that were still infected. There are probably more left, but every little bit helps.

It left me feeling very good, overall.

Well, it's a good thing I made this brief so I could work on the final draft. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/pfft.gif" alt="" /> I feel smaller and lighter, somehow. There will be plenty of time to delve more into #1-4 later on.

Happy evening to all. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
~ English proverb

Neak's Story