Saturday, February 12, 2005

So here I am....

So. I've begun. Apparently, I am finally officially unable to restrain myself from adding my own blatherings and acid wit to the mix... just what the world needs. It seems like such a huge responsibilty to take this nice fresh, empty page and attempt to put something of some mild interest on it... although I imagine that since I am likely to be the only person reading it, it shouldn't much matter! So here's what prompted the blog-response; I had a minor (major?) crisis in my life that threatened my entire sense of being, and destroyed my peace of mind. My world hasn't actually changed all that much at all... but it *feels* as though it has, and I am trying to get a grip, or come to grips by composing my thoughts and expressing them in such a fashion that I can move on and put this whole thing into the past.... comments are welcome... though I secretly hope that they will be the helpful type, although they don't have to be.

Here's the scoop;

About three weeks ago, I was suddenly niggled by thoughts concerning one of my wife's ex-lovers. I'm not sure why, or how, or where the thoughts came from, but they did... I am prone to doing this, though I am not, and never have considered myself to be even slightly psychic, or to have any sorts of special abilities. Nonetheless, I will often focus on something out of nowhere only to learn that it has some context through the subsequent unfolding of events. I suppose that I somehow pick up on small details (I am *extremely* observant, and have been told that I have an unsettling habit of focusing on, concentrating on, and putting together bits and pieces of information and coming to conclusions that I really shouldn't be able to arrive at... I'm not sure how or why I do this, but I always have, everybody basically hates it, but there it is.... so I'm mildly freaky in that way... but I can't help it. I am what I am. As far as the ex-lovers go, in a general sense, I have no problem with them... in particular, I know a few of them... like at least one of them. But this one, I really can't stand. I'm not even sure why. Anyway.... I was suddenly taken to thinking about him, seemingly out of nowhere, and wondering if she thought of him, missed him, fantasized about him... all of the darkly disturbing thoughts that I imagine many somewhat maladjusted folks must have about their significant other's past lovers.... (or perhaps I'm the only one disturbed enough to harbor these thoughts....)

So. This was on a Monday.

The day before that, I had woken up and went to sit next to my wife while she was doing whatever she was doing on the internet, and she became decidedly toasty with me, which miffed me and sent me on my way grumbling and complaining to myself... I had sort of taken note that she was seemed somewhat impatient with me of late, but I hadn't verbalized it at all up to that point. I assumed that I had interrupted her thoughts, but I was a little surprised by the welcome, or lack thereof, since we usually enjoy our Sunday mornings together... making love, listening to "Sunday Baroque" on NPR, or just sitting and reading, going out to breakfast, or making it ourselves... whatever we decided to do... Sunday was 'ours' as a general rule. And here I had just been given the bum's rush for no apparent reason.

On the Thursday following, she suddenly announced out of nowhere; "I got an email from ...." (Hmmm.... what to call the ex-lover that you can't stand?? I guess I could get really nasty and make up an entertaininly unflattering name here..... nah. I'll just call him G.). Back to the main event;

"I got an email from G", she said. My blood ran cold.... (talk about an ice water enema... this was about the last thing I wanted to hear....). I tried my best to play it as cool as possible...(yeahright, I'm so entirely cool... pfwhssh...) and asked what he had to say, and how he had gotten her email address. She replied that since she had had the same email address for quite some time that he had simply kept it. But I remembered that she had changed her ISP, and that her email address was now a hotmail account which she decidedly *didn't* have when he was in the picture... a very small flag went up, but not majorly... as my wife is not one to lie to me about things. Of course one never knows for sure, but I truly believe this to be so.... ANYway... I digested this for a bit, repressed the urge to go out of my fucking mind, and let it go. (But it doesn't actually go anywhere at all, does it? Except around and around and around in my warped brain.)

I'm not sure what causes my mind to work the way it does, but it definitely works... and early the next morning while I was driving along on my way to work I got broadsided by a certainty that I had not been dealt with as honestly as I might have. I turned my ass around and went straight back home and walked into the bedroom and sat down on the chair by the bed.

My wife, who's a bit of a light sleeper, woke up and immediately sensed that something wasn't quite right.... "I need to talk to you about something, but it's a bit awkward..." I said helpfully, not wanting the lass to get upset over my uncharacteristic behavior (as an aside: I am not, or at least have never been a jealous person. I understand that people have pasts, ((I have one myself, believe it or not... )) and that I'm not the only person that my wife has ever known. Furthermore, I also know that I *am* the one that she has chosen to marry, to love, to share life with, and to be best friends with... so why must I be such a complete dick??)

At this, she sat bolt upright, sensing the tension in my voice and not knowing what the hell I was likely to say... and, I think, from the look on her poor gorgeous sleep muzzied face, afraid that it was likely to be something rather unpleasant.... I sat and let my thoughts whirl about in my head for a few seconds, trying to gather my thoughts amidst the maelstrom of emotions that were gripping me at that moment... anger, confusion, panic, fear, betrayal (?), outrage, love, sheepishness, who knows what all the hell I feeling at that moment.... at any rate, I finally managed to gak out something along the lines of "Were you entirely truthful with me when you said that G had sent you an email? Did he get in touch with you? Or did you get in touch with him? Did you really just get in touch with him as of yesterday?? Or have you been in touch for awhile?? Am I crazy??", at which point, I started to cry.... tears, snots, sobs, and all.... it was pretty hideous, but I was more or less losing it at that point.... you see, I love my wife, above all things in the universe. In fact, she *is* my universe....all of it. Well... at least the part that counts the most to me.... and the thought that she may have been being dishonest with me, or that she may have refocused her attentions on someone else, someone from her past particularly, who she had once loved quite strongly..... I felt as though cold miserable hands had gripped my heart, and were wringing it out.... I could feel my blood pumping in my ears... feel the adrenaline coursing through me... feel my hands and knees shaking.... and felt as though my world were coming down around my ears..... I felt the world *shift* underneath me.... She looked stricken at the question.... looked down at the bedclothes for few seconds.... ran a hand through her hair, gave me the sidelong glances of a pigeon-kicker for a few seconds, eyes narrowed in accusatory pre-thought, and after a few seconds of a very profound silence, accused me of being a psychic, and a decidedly creepy and weird one at that, admitting that she had actually been the one to look him up (major stomach heave on my part.... someone was tearing my guts out with a hook...and just why the HELL would anyone want to look HIM up anyway!!! Damn!!), and that they had exchanged a few emails, but only for a few days. I *knew* this already.... the fact that she was straight about it helped a bit, but I just felt horrible about the whole thing. I didn't want this guy having even the smallest piece of her. I didn't want him talking to her, thinking about her, or trying to take her from me. I didn't want to think that she had been missing him, thinking of him, fantasizing about him, planning, scheming, wanting, yearning, aching for him (casting him as a secret stand-in for me during sex?!). This was so much more than I wanted to deal with. But there it was. Questions, both sane and insane, flooded already frazzled brain... I may or may not have asked any or all of them... I don't remember...

I asked why she hadn't told me this from the beginning, and she said that she had contacted him on an impulse (an independance rant?), and that she didn't really want to even bring it up to me, knowing that I wouldn't take it well, but that she felt wrong about not saying anything so she decided that it was best to keep it in the open and so she told me that she was in contact with him. She didn't want to open a can of worms by admitting that she hadn't told me at first, afraid that I would read into it that there was some dark secret that she had been keeping from me.... (bing! right on the head; I probably would have read that into the situation.) so she thought that would be easier for all concerned to tell me the way that she told me. At about that time, it was time for me to get on my way to work. I was so upset that it actually made me physically sick... and I spent a little while getting acquainted with the porcelian.... (this is a rather embarassing little tidbit, as I don't generally get knocked off my keel very easily, and along comes this rather mundane issue and I completely lose all traces of sanity.... jeez.)

Needless to say, the brain kicked into overtime at this point. I somehow made it through the day without going (completely) nuts... and then I started to more or less act like a baby. Which is stupid. But I did. I found that I couldn't eat. I didn't want to talk to her. I didn't really want to be around her. I didn't want to be away from her. I wanted to rip G's head off of his shoulders, shit down his neck, kick a mud puddle up his ass... and stomp it dry. I then didn't want to do any of those things. I wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. I wanted to cry and go to sleep forever. I fantasized about what they may be talking about... reliving old times, reestablishing the love that they had. I thought about how I would handle the news when my wife announced that she was no longer in love with me and that she was going back to G. I had 'unmasking' fantasies, about what I would tell our friends and family when they asked what had happened. I went through about every feeling I think I can possibly have. I felt let down and betrayed. What was wrong with me?? Why wasn't I good enough? Why couldn't she just be happy with me?? Why did she need him? Why couldn't he just be left in the past where I felt he most certainly belonged? I didn't feel a need to dig up my past and contact old lovers. I was perfectly happy with the way things were. Could it be that this entire relationship was not what I had thought it was from the very start?? Did I construct the whole thing in my mind?? Was I insanely in love with a woman who was more or less indifferent to me and who was so bored with me that she felt driven to contact an old flame?

I was terrified, angry, heartbroken.... and very, very melodramatic. The truth being that this was a situation over which I had absolutely no control, and which was very capable of destroying my life as I knew it. Of course, I am also quite possibly capable of destroying my life as I know it as well..... I was viewing this situation as though it were a tiger sleeping on my lawn; It could be the nicest, kindest, most tame and gentle tiger in all of the world... in which case I had no worries. OR. It could be the fiercest, strongest, fastest and most cold-blooded killer that ever stalked the face of the earth. The problem was, at least for me... that whichever sort of tiger I happened to have on my lawn, there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it... which sucked more than I can say.

So. Prior to this, in Bear's cosmology, there were the gods. A male one and female one (at least), perhaps a smattering of other gods and demi-gods, spirits, and other entities.... doing their deific best to keep things going as planned in the universe, all of the celestial bodies in their proper motion, and all of the neutrons and electrons going where they are supposed to go... Then there was the rest of us, one of whom was me. I lived in my little cottage, in Patchogue, on the south shore of Long Island, surrounded by a beautiful little cottage garden... there are some cats, both the inside and the outside variety. Sleek little silky wonders who never cease to cause me to wonder about the mystery that carry around in them in their little spirits. There are birds, 'coons, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, possums, snakes, and all the other wee creatures that live here with us, that I love. And mostly there's H. My wife, my love, my very, very best friend, and light of my life and pillow of my soul. I work in a rather mundane, semi-shabby dorky job that pays at least some of the bills.... (I have had more adventurous careers in the past... but now, I live a somewhat quieter existence....), I do my thing... don't bother anybody... and hope that nobody decides to bother me.... and I am basically happy for each day that I am able to share with H. I don't ask for much, and I don't complain about what I don't have.... I enjoy the small things. I nurture my spirit. I love the world around me... and all of the beauty in it... I'm a happy guy.

Suddenly, In the space of a few seconds.... ("I got an email from G"), I find myself in some OTHER place. Now I'm suspicious, afraid, neurotic, and basically acting like an asshole. And none of it was part of my plan.

Since we aren't a couple that is prone to fighting, arguing, screaming, name calling, or any of that sort of a thing.... we eventually talked about this. I maintained that it was wrong, and that it was taking an unecesary risk with the relationship. She felt that there was nothing in the slightest wrong with keeping in touch with an old friend. She said that they had promised one another that they would always stay in touch, at least every couple of years (Aha!! A secret pact!!) (Am I an odd duck?? Or is this way of thinking common???). She said that she loved me. That she chose me. That I was the only one that mattered. And yet... she was looking him up, and who the hell knows what they were discussing. I wondered if while we were together she was secretly yearning to check her email to see if she had gotten a message from G. I guess I can cut to the chase and basically admit that I have more or less thought up and worried about just about every possibility that could be bad as far as I'm concerened.

After not eating for about 4 days, she finally started to get a little crispy with me. She said that I was trying to put her in a position where she would feel compelled to break off the communication with G so that I would eat again. (A hunger strike! Welcome to Long Kesh America!). She accused me of perpetrating emotional blackmail. To be honest, I don't think that that's what I was doing. At least it didn't feel that way to me. It didn't resonate. I more or less just didn't want anything. I wasn't the slightest bit hungry. Besides, when the world is coming to an end, who can eat??

I read somewhere that the most common sexual fantasy among women revolves around thier ex-lovers. Great.

At some point, I started to feel somewhat sheepish and stupid about the way I was feeling/thinking/acting. We discussed it, knocked it around, avoided one another, talked about it some more, felt weird around one another, discussed it even more, and I am doing my best to come to terms with the fact that things are just the way she says they are. She loves me. G is her friend, and that's as far as it goes. I still hate it. I considered looking up old girlfriends... but it doesn't seem to be the right thing to do. I thought it might help me to understand what is going on in her head. It just seemed to be something that would only muddy the waters more than they already are.

We are getting along fine. She loves me, and I love her. But, G is always hovering around at the edges of my thoughts. He comes unbidden and unwanted. I feel intruded upon. I don't suppose it's the right way to feel... but, this is my blog, and I'm being honest about things. If you don't want honesty, go get your own blog and write what ever you like.

I suppose I will be dealing with this new thing for quite some time.... I have many mixed feelings about the whole thing. I don't really know what to think, or how to feel. I know that putting chains around her is the wrong thing to do, and I haven't asked her to stop emailing him. I know that I don't want it to progress to phonecalles and certianly not to personal meetings, thought that may take place, in which case I will most likely freak again.

I trust H. I don't trust G. I don't even believe that he ever truly loved her. He's married, and his wife would probably be upset to know that her husband is in contact with H.

I guess just about the only thing that I can say with any certainty is that I really just don't know very much about how to deal with this situation. I know that I have a marriage that is better than most. And I know that my wife is trustworthy and that she wouldn't hurt me. I feel that I should be less twisted up over this than I am, and to be sure, I'm not really sure why this situation has affected me this way. But it has, and it is.

Zen and the art of dealing with the Othello syndrome.

So this is where I am today. I know that this is most likely a stupid problem to most folks. To me, it's a stupid problem. But it's still a problem.

I know that I'm being an asshole. I just can't seem to work out whether I'm an asshole for freaking out over this, or whether I'm an asshole for not freaking out enough.

Enough ranting and raving for one day.

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