4. This was.
I said I have been loved, wholly. I said it was not by you.
When he and I met, we were nervous. This was new territory for both of us. This world we were entering was not one of clandestine meetings in dimly lit hotel rooms (although we did share a few of those). There were no secrets where we were headed, no lies, no shroud of deceit hanging over us.
This was an Open Relationship.
This was, “Tell me about your wife, and how you met,” and “This is what my husband and I have been working toward and planning for.”
This was friendship from the very beginning. This was sharing a space with someone who could see straight through my facade, who could see past the persona I was trying to project on the world- and just see me. My flaws did not make me broken, they made me whole. I didn’t want to hide them, and I couldn’t hide them, and for the first time I could remember, that was okay. I was okay.
I thought you and I were good- we had an understanding, and a history, and a long standing agreement that it is unfair to expect one person to fulfill everything for another. We talked, and answered the “what-ifs” and mutually agreed to a plan. We went for it.
When he and I met, I think you could see it was different somehow. I think you saw even before I did, how much more of me he could satisfy. Some deep, inner core of my very being that had hidden itself away for safe keeping.
Yes, I fell in love with him. No, I never stopped loving you. I do not love one of my children more or less than the other- they are different people and I love them differently. We connect differently. We see the world differently. That is part of what helps us grow.
But he and I had something… else. Chemistry. That thing we’ve been lacking for so long. That thing you seem to so desperately want and need but which I have completely given up on. He and I share it.
It took a year for you to be genuinely honest about your jealousy. You didn’t use words- your actions have always been the way to see your truest thoughts. Your words betray you when emotions run high. But you told me. Your actions always do.
You told me about your jealousy and your longing and your fear. You used a tripod, and your Shame.
I HAD to put up walls between us, had to protect myself from more hurt, from your emotional distance, from the toll your shame and self- depreciation was taking on us.
And while I distanced myself from you, I was being replenished. I was being filled to the brim with love and adoration and words and simple touch. Touch. That thing I couldn’t stand from you.
I learned to love ME again. Learned to see my flaws as just a part of what makes me, me- not something to fix or hide but just to be with and accept as a part of my whole.
And because I was learning to love myself, I was able to continue giving to you. If I hadn’t had him, there would have been no more “you and me” a long time ago.
I can see now that you and I weren’t as “good” as we thought. But we were as good as we may ever be.