Miracle is the most apt word I can come up with – I did not in fact send O running as others have. We have settled back in to an almost normal rhythm, only occasionally disrupted by my continuing medical ban on sex. H is away for a few days at the moment and the loneliness has set in. O asked if I wanted to hang out, but when I asked about his plans our schedules didn’t line up well. He insisted repeatedly that the offer was open regardless. O is honestly just too good to me sometimes…okay, most of the time. I do my best to return the favor, and in fact he told me recently that he was working on his divorce papers. I lent a sympathetic ear as much as I was able, but I didn’t have any brilliant comfort to offer I’m afraid.
As usual, my feelings are conflicted. My heart aches for O’s loss, I know he valued his marriage. I don’t know the final details, just that things are amicable. I wish I could take his pain away, or do something to help. At the same time, that same selfish part of me just wants to occupy his life and seems to feel entitled to his time and attention. I try to strangle that rebellious, twisted thing inside of me out of existence, but alas I have yet to succeed. I almost never contact O first because I feel like an imposition, like a disgusting, demanding, needy thing that could only ever drag him down. Although not rational, by the time you add this to my ongoing depth of feeling for him and the minefield associated with that, it just seems the wisest choice in spite of how sincerely I value talking to him. Unlike when we first met, he now reliably contacts me even in the face of my silence.
While I have been perhaps exceedingly upfront with him for some time now, I have always strayed away from what I felt the most dangerous topics between us were – that of my strength of feeling for him and the comparatively low standing I’ve always occupied in his life. He invited me to stay with him tonight, and I was hard-pressed to refuse. This isn’t the first time he’s offered, but it was by far the most difficult as instead I have to sleep alone tonight with H briefly away. I want O, so much more than just sexually or as a friend. I want all of him, and I just don’t think my marriage can allow for that at this point. Nor would that be at all fair to O who directly told me fairly recently how he wants the whole deal, marriage, commitment. I know sharing isn’t his thing; that doesn’t stop that damned selfish voice from whispering fantasies in the back of my mind.
Anyway, when O first suggested we hang out while H was gone I told him I still can’t have sex and he immediately assured me he’d be happy to just spend time together. I was touched. Tonight as he attempted to convince me to stay with him, I finally explained that I am not certain sleeping with him overnight would not do damage to my marriage. In fact, there’s a possibility me even asking H if that would be okay would do some damage. O’s immediate response to this information was, “Okay, I don’t want that”. Seriously, how am I lucky enough for this guy to even give me the time of day!?
I attempted to defect by assuring him I’m confident he has a wealth of other options for a cuddle buddy, which he denied. I edited down to, “Okay a handful” giving him an easy out (out of what exactly I’m not even sure) but he responded candidly, “I have no cuddle buddies right now”. Indicating my surety that wouldn’t last he admitted that when he’s looking he’s done well, but he isn’t looking right now. Understandably. I mentioned the temptation of bailing on my plans tomorrow and he immediately suggested I spend the day with him. “Doing what?” I asked. “Staying cool for one” he said, one obvious issue there: “Without being naked lol” not impossible, but…he said “We can try” and if it is too hot we could remove one article at a time. I had told him earlier adult friends of the opposite sex don’t have sleepovers in the same bed, and he said he’d done it. I told him that even so, whatever we are I don’t think it’s “just friends” and I’ve always wanted more than that. He agreed we’re more than just friends, he was just trying to make it easier for me to come lay by his side and spend time together. I kind of wish it was that easy.
Anyway, after he voiced the idea of taking one article of clothing off at a time I couldn’t help but response, “Cuz that’s gunna be platonic”. He asked if I was afraid I couldn’t control myself, to which I promptly admitted “I never could around you”. He was willing to take the chance, but I explained my preference that he continue to exceed my expectations by not breaking my heart. He asked why I think that would happen, and I admitted I assumed that would happen from the start. In addition to past experience, I was always more in to O than he was in to me. His response was interesting and not what I might have guessed, “Well whenever got a serious chance when we first started.” He went on to ask if I think we would have worked out? My poly lifestyle is not something he’d be okay with in a serious relationship – he’s not one to let his wife be with other men.
Something I just noticed – when I read that text initially I didn’t think twice about his use of the word “wife”, seeing it as a comparison of his relationship with his wife to my marriage with H. Now that awful voice in the back of my mind is whispering that perhaps on some level O thinks we could have been married…NOT HELPFUL! Anyway, I’ve thought about whether or not O and I could have worked in a serious, committed relationship for years. Perhaps I should have given him a brief answer rather than revealing the amount of thought I’ve put in to that very question (which I honestly never expected him to ask). Instead, I went with my pattern of not holding back with him and practically text him a novel:
“I don’t know if we would have. I married H because in many ways he helps me be more the person I want to be. I was far more closed-minded and judgmental back then, and I really don’t know what I’d be like now without his influence. He is so much kinder and more forgiving than I am. He has softened me significantly. It took mea long time to figure out that I’m poly-minded but he primarily isn’t. He knows better than most how casual sex used to be for me, so my having sex with other people didn’t threaten him initially because there was zero intimacy, and things started with a lot of strict, clear boundaries and have evolved significantly since then. Maybe it would be easier if we hadn’t had the four way disaster we had a couple years ago, but he is definitely not poly. He is threatened by my being close to other men. I chose when I married him to put our relationship first, and I make that choice anew every day. I frequently sublimate instinctive desires such as being poly and submissive in an attempt to do what is best for us as a couple. So I imagine we could have had a shot because I know when I choose someone I do so willing to put them first. But it’s though to be at all certain since I’m sure I would have changed a lot during that same period of time, but in likely different ways if we [O and I] had been together. And I’m not sure what changes you [O] would have helped me make. I’m not sure if that makes sense…I was also still suffering badly from PTSD and completely unaware of that fact, so that’s kind of a wild card.”
I went on to say that I wasn’t sure how O expected me to answer, but guessing none of that was it. He said he really didn’t have a set answer; a lot of unknowns, we are were we are now. Indeed. It being late and O having gotten up ridiculously early for work today, he bid me good night. I haven’t stopped trying to figure out who I’d be now if I’d spent the last several years with him. And, beyond that, I can’t help but wonder what precisely he was referring to in saying we never got a serious chance. We met on a dating site and started sleeping together; we had good chemistry and seemed to mutually enjoy spending time together in and out of bed. I feel like there’s something more there that I’m not aware of; however, perhaps I’m better off emotionally remaining in the dark. Or perhaps the moment didn’t have some hidden meaning.
I still haven’t made a decision about my plans for tomorrow. Worse, if I do cancel my plans, do I hang out with O? If I do cancel my plans, do I ask H if it’s okay if I hang out with O? H obviously knows I can’t have sex so he will know it’s nothing like that, but I can’t help but think H will feel threatened by the idea of me spending time alone with O while he is briefly away. Would H get angry if I asked? I’m so confused, particularly once I throw into the equation the fact that H told me it would’ve been okay for me to see Star Trek with O as long as we went as friends. Too many questions and no answers in sight…perhaps it’s time to simply thank my lucky stars that O is still in my life and sleep on it. I’ll never know what might have been in this lifetime, but all bets are off next round!