Our schedules coincided, and I couldn’t help but look forward to the gym. I was staying longer, talking for hours after, learning about each other’s children, sharing our hopes for the future, career goals, family expectations. We shared our disappointments about where we were and what we thought life should be. We cried with each other, for each other. Our connection was one that I had never felt, even after being with my husband for over 25 years. It was easy to wrap myself in his arms, trusting him with everything I was, he held me tight without even touching me. When we moved our relationship to that next level, deciding that this was where we were headed, it was without regret. It’s funny when I look back, it was me asking him if he was sure he wanted to go there. He had always said he was holding out hope that his wife would change her mind, and that they could be the family that he craved.
She was cruel to him. I can say that without fear of being the judgmental other woman. He shared emails, their emails with me, as she berated him for being sad about the state they were in, telling him she could not be there, she was trying to figure things out for herself. Or at least this is how I saw it at the time. I held him in my arms that day, pulling him close, feeling his hot tears on my chest, the sadness for the life that he felt was slipping through his fingers. He explained how hard he tried, changing his behavior, seeing a professional to delve into his own issues, trying to reach perfection within the relationship. His loyalty was misguided and not appreciated. He described her as cold and distant. On their anniversary, she had their daughter pick out and give him his card, being sure he knew that this was a necessity, not a bridge in their gap. If he was upset and needed someone to provide comfort, she, through email, would state she understood yet could not be there for him, that theirs was not a relationship that could continue on that platform, urging him to talk to his shrink or find a friend. Although it may be hearsay, she was closed off, not wanting to have him in her heart, her bed, yet unwilling to give him the gift of freedom. She knew the way to manipulate the situation, to reel him back into her life, to keep him from seeking happiness for himself. But he did. Something clicked and he decided he was worth more than he was receiving. I fell in love that day, for the man that I saw, the father I knew he was, for the husband that I knew he could be.