What Might Have Been


I saw him, last night, at dinner, as he might have been.

The light was just right.  He had his leg angled so his weight didn’t show.  He was so handsome, with his broad hands and shoulders, muscular arms, and his smile with all the dimples, and his eyes, and his beard.  He was so handsome.  Beneath all the layers of self hate and self protection and disgusting sex and lies and tortuous betrayal and overeating and lack of self care, the man I fell in love with is buried.

I don’t know how to explain.  I don’t know how to make him understand.  I suppose he never will, and I will always be alone with this pain, always alone.  No one ever really understands us, do they?  Just a fantasy, that someone, just one someone, really ‘gets’ us. I suppose that is how con artists and narcissists pull us in.  Mirroring, using their sense of compassion to ‘understand’, to ‘connect’, only to abuse that connection in order to manipulate and control.  Maybe it is safer, that we are truly alone in our skins.  Maybe it is safer, that no one really understands who we are.  Maybe it is safer, that someone else is unable to really see who we are, feel what we feel.

That power is too great to not be abused.  We are safer, if someone else must be kept guessing.  Kind of like a lie, I suppose.  Kind of like forever hiding.  I thought that was the point of a loving, trusting relationship, to tune each other’s thoughts and memories and nervous system so that the other felt never really alone, always had a second part to see themselves, to love, to be a part of.

Maybe.  I don’t know.

I cannot explain the impact of his actions.  The pain.  The hypervigilance.  Every web site with motorcycles and ‘hot chics’.  Did he go to that site?  Did he see those objectified female bodies?  Did he really just look away, or did he fall into old patterns without even thinking about it, and it is all another trick, and a monumental lie?  Did he do that search, and see those same pornographic images so easy, too easy, to bump into?  Did he even care what that means about his sobriety?  Does he have any idea how much it hurts me to have to wonder what he is thinking?

I didn’t care, before.  I wasn’t obsessed with what was on his mind, what he looked at, what he was lusting over.  I thought he was with me.  Maybe he doesn’t understand.  I THOUGHT HE WAS WITH ME.  And he wasn’t.  All that time, he wasn’t with me at all.  He was either lusting, or fucking, or wallowing in self pity and justifications, or his guilt, or lying and deceiving, so he was NEVER WITH ME.  I didn’t count.  I didn’t matter except as a way to feel even more shame, which just fueled the thrill the next time.  More guilt, more potential pain for me, more thrill for him.

So much fear.  So much fear.  So much triggering.  Every day.  Every day.  I worry what will happen every day.  I try not to care.  But the impact of his actions is so huge.  It mattered so much, I tried to make him understand how much it mattered, but it never did.  I didn’t matter enough.  I wasn’t listened to.

So much for invisibility spell.  So much for someone understanding how much it hurt to be cheated on and lied to over and over.  So much for someone who gave a damn about me enough to be with me, to be a real partner.

He wants to now.  Now that I hurt so badly I can’t even look at other people.  No one.  Not women.  Not men.  I can’t look at the world now.

Cleaning up my side of the street.  But the damn filth just blows back in, and I can’t get rid of it.  Like a tornado, destroying everything I thought we had built.  But he wasn’t there for me, all that time when I realized what a joke my life, my marriage, really was.  He wasn’t there all those years. He is the tornado.  He is the destructor.  He is the abuser.

He wants to be there now.  Now.  After.  After.  Not before.  Now.  Sometimes.  I don’t have the strength to be perfectly understanding when he isn’t strong enough.  I am not strong enough at all.  My strength has been broken beneath the weight of his ‘disease’.

I hurt.  I hurt.  I hurt.

He divorced me.  Long ago.  He has to win, to earn me back.  I’m not waiting for him anymore.  I waited, for all those years I waited.  I waited.  I waited.  I tried to reach out, and I waited.

I know that he isn’t perfect.  I know he isn’t able to be so strong.  But he was so willing and able to break me down, to tear me down, to drag me through the shit and dump me out the other side.

Years.

Years.

I hurt.

I looked at him, in that light, with the clouds rolling slowly in behind him.  I saw what might have been, the strong, healthy, confident man that might have been mine, my husband, with me.   The sexy, attentive, supportive partner.  The man I thought I would get to become closer and closer with, stronger and stronger, caring for each other.

And I felt so deeply the broken, heartsick, esteem destroyed person that I am now.  Impact, of his actions.  Fear.  Obsession.  Unable to look at people.  Unable to go to the store.  Watch TV.  Drive down the street.  Sleep.  Think.  Without pain and triggering.

Impact.

Oh, the love that might have been.

In sickness and in health?  Yet I feel I am still expected to be the stronger, the healthy, the only one who keeps this shit together.  And I can’t anymore.  I don’t feel strong.  Ever.  I am weak, and tired, and dispirited, and just a pretend person. 

I am broken. 

I know he wouldn’t be here, with me, if I had been the one who had betrayed him.  I know he would have hated me, and dropped me, and blamed me and run away, far away.  He wouldn’t be here.  He said so.  If I were to end up like him, as damaged by his acts, he didn’t want me.  He wouldn’t accept it.  Since it was wrong, now he can decide, now that he already did whatever he wanted, now it is wrong.  And I am supposed to accept him when he wouldn’t have, still wouldn’t, accept me.

Impact.

Stupid apes.

I grieve for what might have been.  I grieve for what may never be, because it is probably just more fantasy.  I grieve for the person I once was.  I grieve for the person I will  never be.

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