Once I was back home from going to see Matt, things continued as normal.
He sent me some property listings for homes in his city. Modestly sized but comfortable, which was exactly what we liked. We kept each other updated on what we were doing to simplify our lives and our finances.
I tried not to ask when he was planning on finally telling her, but inside I was anxious for things to get moving. Mostly for selfish reasons but also because sitting in limbo was making him sick. He had a constant flu, nightmares, and repeated panic attacks.
We eventually agreed to talk a little less so he could get his head together and move forward.
After that, his notes to me were increasingly chilly. Instead of being notes to his girlfriend, they read like causal emails to a college buddy. He signed off with “Hope all’s well!” instead of “Miss you, love you, xo”.
I eventually mustered up the nerve to ask if he’d changed his mind, if he wanted me to go away. If he never wanted to talk to me again. His only response was “Yes, I think that’s best.”
I was crushed.
My initial assumption was that almost leaving had made him realize how much he wanted to be with his wife, and how little he wanted to be with me.
It filled me with shame that I wasn’t like her. I am not busty or beautiful, I can’t cook dinner for 30 people, and I will never be the kind of woman who has a craft room. She is not the kind of woman who would sleep with someone else’s husband. I felt particular shame around not being a mother. While I do have work and financial responsibilities, my time is largely my own. I have not sacrificed my body, my time or my career to raise children. She has so much on her plate and still manages to look like she walked out of an Anthropologie catalog. I was ashamed that I let my pride and ego get in the way and allowed myself to think I could be as missable and loveable as he’d described; that I really thought I could measure up to his wife. That I thought he could really want me – actual me – that much.
Thanks to Google and social media, I learned that two weeks after our last email they bought a beautiful, sprawling mansion. They were going on date nights. They went on a vacation. It seemed as though our affair had renewed their romance.
Loneliness that comes from knowing that the person you love is happily with someone else is a special kind of ache. When you’ve brought it all on yourself, it hurts even more.