I didn’t hear from Matt for four months after I went silent.
I filled the time with work, trying to figure out a retirement plan. I had wanted to change gears for a long time. I dated someone else who was handsome and funny and kind. I would lie to him about having insomnia. Instead, sneaking out of bed to cry myself to sleep on the couch. No matter how great he was, he wasn’t Matt.
Eventually I broke it off. I felt like I was being unfair to a very nice person. A few weeks later, I got a letter from Matt in the mail.
He’d had an accident; one that could have killed him. He said it made him question why he was staying married. It made him realize how much he loved me and missed me and wanted to be with me. These were all things I’d always wanted to hear.
As temporary as I am in my professional life, so too am I in my personal life. Exes only came back when they couldn’t get laid. No one ever missed me – actual me.
I should have responded that I wouldn’t talk to him until he had moved out, but instead we quickly fell back into emailing and texting.
All day, every day.
I challenged him over and over, saying I didn’t believe he would actually get a divorce. He insisted he would. He showed me what he’d done to his finances to make things more stable. He started therapy, something I’d been encouraging him to do for a long time. He told some friends about me, saying it felt good to finally say my name out loud. All of this, he said, was proof he was fighting for me.
I flew to his city to see him. It had been six months, which felt like ten minutes and fifty years all at once.
We agreed to meet in my hotel room because I was worried about how I would react seeing him. It ended up that he was the one who cried. He looked so different. Older and without the light in his eyes.
When I asked him about it later, he said it was because he had missed me and wanted more time with me…because he was worried about the big change that was ahead. In retrospect, I realize this was the moment that I lost him. Something clicked, telling him he didn’t want to be with me after all, and now he had to get out of it.
Unsurprisingly, we ended up in bed.
The sex was awkward and stilted at first. I was nervous he wouldn’t like my body anymore, even though it hadn’t really changed. I could tell from the way he kissed me (and fucked me) that he had been with his wife at least semi-regularly. He was doing things that were someone else’s preference. I had to fight to keep the images of him on top of her out of my head.
When we stopped and I found the spot on his chest I loved to lay on. Things started to melt back to normal.
He told me that he did finally go see a provider, but it had left him feeling dirty and empty. He didn’t want that to be part of his life anymore.
We talked about our dream life: a relationship free of secrets and lies. A life more focused on experiences and time spent together than on things and excess. I left feeling happy to have seen him but a little unsettled: it was the first time since he’d been a client that we’d had sex and not slept together in the same bed.
To Be Continued…