“Look at me and tell me I am insane. I love another man. Did you hear that? Another man. But I am married. Married to the man I love, to the man I still madly love”.
Suddenly she looked like the words left her mouth involuntary. Like her mouth just opened and spat them out without consent. What do I do?
This still count among the most difficult conversations I ever had or I ever ATTEMPTED. I doubt I made sense. But she was a kind woman. She thanked me for talking. I think what she really meant was that I allowed her to talk without inhibitions. She had no clue, but my mind was racing against time, thinking of the most intelligent thing to say at the end of her confession.
I must confess I don’t find relationship conflicts easy to deal with. In the rare instances where grieving partners confide in me, I hardly know what to say or do. For the most part I panic because I fear I might cause further damage to a bleeding heart. These people would have shared so much of their lives they probably would not remember life before that. Their hearts so intertwined you would struggle to know whose is which. They perhaps have fears of what would remain after the severing, even scared for their lifespan were they to remain joined. Myriads uncertainties!
It was a tough conversation for both us. For starters we hardly knew each other. We had met a few years back through a mutual friend and hardly ever met after that. As such this came as a shock in the middle of a busy mall. I think I stopped checking my time and worrying about onlookers after about two hours; so please don’t ask how long we sat on that bench. Just know my plans went flying through the window.
I thought of two possibilities. Either she had struggled with this for a long time to almost a breakdown; you know those kinds of things you want to talk about so much you ache all over. The types that have to happen or you go insane. I also thought maybe she believed it would be embarrassing to confide in people she met often, the people who knew her. In her mind secrets were safer with near strangers. I know what you are thinking. Traitor! No. I have her consent.
Thank you for allowing a near-stranger to tell your story. You are one of the bravest women I know. Thank you for trusting me to listen to you. I am not a counselor as you realized. Given a choice I would have hidden from you. I often feel too inadequate, too wanting to offer any advice on love matters. I still do not remember much of what I said. I was panicky; my hands were sweaty. I was afraid I could not help; even too scared you would hurt yourself. You said I helped. Thank you. You really looked confused and afraid. You were panicky and weepy. I am sorry you went through that phase. But I salute you for saving your heart and your marriage. I respect you for calling your heart back home. I admire you for going against your head and sticking with your spirit. Staying with what you knew was right. It did not feel like it then, or as you put it, the love for your husband was crowded out by the feelings for a strange man. I was amazed by your maturity and objectivity in the middle of such confusion of feelings
“I do not want to talk about this man and my husband at the same. It would be an insult. My husband is a good man”
You shared your confusion, how your head space was, to your surprise, crowded out by a man, who a few years earlier, was just a good friend. You never could have imagined this with him. You talked about the disturbing dreams about him. You were nervous you would say his name in your dreams. Now here I thought you were stretching it.
Your contradictory feelings distressed you. You were sad because you were not sure the feelings were mutual, at the same wishing the feelings could just evaporate. You were also embarrassed that he had probably observed this change. That he had seen your sheepish look whenever you met.
When we talked you were still trying to figure out the origins of these feelings, thinking that the cause could help solve the puzzle. I was not sure. Did I say it or was it in my head? “Run away, run too far away, block his numbers, emails, Facebook and anything that could be blocked”. Block! block! block! I mean you said you prayed and fasted to have this stranger leave your feelings, but when we met, it was still raw. Your eyes twinkled when you mentioned his name. You were not sure it was wise to tell your husband or it was your singular battle. I wasn’t sure either. I haven’t met your husband – and I hardly knew you.