About the Long Day

In my last post, The Long Day, I went through the narrative of my day. It was a long day which started and ended with Claire, but was filled with Sydney in between. This is often what an affair looks like. It’s two different worlds happening in parallel. I thought it was a good example of how that plays out.

This type of mental split may seem crazy, but I actually think it’s more common than we give credit. Think of the various groups of people you hang out with, from family to school friends to to work friends to friends you grew up with. We have different types of relationships with all of them. When those worlds collide it can be a surreal experience, such as a wedding or graduation.

However it can be draining because a romantic relationship takes a lot more mental energy. Especially when trying to hide one of them.

Why then go to the effort? Is it a thrill? Is it a fantasy? The risks are enormous. I could not say for all affairs, but for mine I go to the effort because the relationship with Sydney is uniquely fulfilling in ways I can’t get anywhere else. It is not the thrill. I actually hate that. I’m not an adrenaline junkie of any kind. The risks scare me quite a lot. I am really trying to play it somewhat safe although I admit we were a little careless on the long day. However my worlds did not overlap.

Sydney fulfills something missing in my relationship with Claire. I don’t fully know what it is. I know how I feel when I’m with her. It’s like a melding of minds. I don’t feel that way with Claire. I never have. There had always been a distance. Even though Sydney is quite different than me on a lot of preferences our thought processes are so similar it feels good to be around her. She is fond of saying that it feels like we are cosmically brought together. Indeed.

On the other hand, she has already rejected me as a long term option. Worse than that though is that she plans on sticking with her boyfriend which means cutting back on our physical relationship. If she were single there would be more options for the future but she is not. To me she is more than just a platonic friend. There needs to be an intimate connection as well. She knows this. She feels it too. Sydney is trying to make sense of the feelings she has for two very different men.

Her boyfriend is more of a match for her on paper. He checks a lot of the standard boxes. I have more of a connection with her and know her at a much deeper level, which is attractive. But I also have a lot of differences she feels are too risky going forward considering she would have to throw away a sure thing to test us out. I understand that. If we were both single surely we would use the dating process to figure these things out.

Which leads me back to the long day. As you noticed we spent a fair amount of time together and were very flirty and handsy. She wants all of that. She wants the dating life with me. I honestly think she’s not fully convinced in her boyfriend, but I’m also not exactly single. So we have weekday “dating”. A secret version at that. It is how we spent most of the long day. She tells me repeatedly I am the highlight of her day. She couldn’t stand not seeing me or cutting back on our time together. Yet she sees no future. Very confusing to me.

I have told her that I don’t want this much longer. Either Claire and I figure something out or we separate. If I become single then I don’t want a secret relationship anymore. I want our relationship to include sex. I want us to be able to hold hands and be a couple in public. I told her all this now because the thought of losing her is heartbreaking, and becomes more so with each passing day. Better to end early if we are not in agreement. Also if she needs to start having open marriage conversations with her boyfriend then start now.

My honest gut feeling is that this relationship with Sydney is nearly over. But then we have days lake the long day which make it seem that we are right back at square one. I don’t think she is lying to me, but I do think she is having a hard time understanding her own feelings. Logically we both keep trying to make sense of things that are emotionally driven. In the end if Sydney is already choosing Dave as her long term partner then we need to start winding this down. Of course the same goes for me.

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A Long Day

The day started with a kiss from Claire. It was nice. We had a slow easy start, and the kids were happy. I got out the door a little late, but still one of the first to work.

About thirty minutes in I left to meet Sydney in our secret location in the city. She didn’t have a lot of time, but we both look forward to this time together in the morning. Previously she said she wanted to scale back the physical side of our relationship, but I don’t think that’s totally true. I texted her in the morning, and said I was feeling very good and wanted to hold her and feel her body against mine. She agreed.

Rather than meet at the tables to talk first, we went down to the stairwell directly. A couple of hellos and then we embraced. It was very nice. We looked at each other, and I asked if I could kiss her. She said yes. It was a good start to the morning.

We went to lunch later at a fancy ramen place together. We talked a lot. Over many subjects. It was easy and enjoyable.

Our company hosted a big happy hour in honor of a project I’ve been leading. Normally Sydney wouldn’t attend, but she did specifically for me. We had a good time mingling all around the happy hour. I have really honed my networking skills. I float around and get face time with everyone. Totally draining for an introvert, but all part of the job.

This time though Sydney was with me. We hung out a lot through the happy hour. Eventually sitting and talking at a table with others. Our legs would brush together, and every now and then a hand hold. It was sweet. Like high school. It was getting close to time to go, and we both ran upstairs to get our stuff. On the way up I got a little handsy and stole a kiss. She loved it.

Back downstairs with the group I sat waiting for my wife to show up so we could go out to dinner in the city. Sort of a novelty for us these days of suburban life with two kids. Claire was running late. She is always late. Another thing that can drive me crazy about her. Eventually she showed up, and I met her at the car and off we went.

It was a special occasion for us so we went to a very nice restaurant. I mean very nice. It’s a French place. I knew my wife would like it because it had an option for a chef’s menu paired with wines. We had done something similar in France, and she enjoyed it immensely.

We spent a lot of money and a long time at the restaurant, but had a great time. There was a lot of snuggling, kisses and great food and wine. It was a full five course meal with premium wines brought out by the sommelier.

After dinner we were both a little tipsy and Claire was really frisky. We spent some time walking around the city as it was a pleasant evening, and Claire was dressed up quite beautifully. Eventually ending on a bench near some shops, but everything was closed. We made out a bit until we noticed the security camera near us. Mood killer.

The way home was eventful as well. I started undoing her buttons on her dress and slid the skirt up. Using my hands to tease her. She was really enjoying the attention and the exhibitionism of it all. Something that would’ve never happened in our past life.

When we were closer to home I had her pull over so we could switch. She ripped her dress off leaving only a beautiful matching lingerie set on. Then she maneuvered herself into position to please me. It was a fun and short drive home.

We spent over an hour having really intense crazy sex at home late into the night. No kids to worry about made it quite interesting. I won’t bore you with all the details. The night ended well.

Sydney Heartbreak

Apparently she really wants to work things out with her boyfriend. Things have been going well the last couple weeks for them. He’s accepting her proposals for things like BDSM and what not. She sees a future with him. They are talking now of getting married and having kids. Not right away, but the possibility. Good for them.

Where does that leave me? Out of the picture. She claims she doesn’t want that. She just wants to scale back. She is having a hard time reconciling the way she feels about me with the risks of a future with me. I’m not safe. Even though we have an incredible connection she wants to make her life choice on what’s less risky. In other words she is rejecting me.

Sydney wants to stay focused on the here and now when we are together. Enjoy our time together while we have it. Don’t think about the future because she doesn’t see one. But that is hard for me. It’s very draining. However I don’t want to leave her either. Being around her makes me happy.

It’s funny she didn’t even want kids before meeting me or BDSM. Now she just doesn’t want my kids or to be in a BDSM relationship with me. She loves the way I make her feel and open her eyes to things but it’s not enough.

It’s possible she isn’t really making any decisions and it’s just a matter of time. Kind of like when you are dating someone you don’t jump straight to marriage. Maybe over time she will see more clearly how we fit together and change her mind. We are sort of dating.

Right now it hurts. I know some sort of a future with her was a long shot, but now it is zero. Not a simple zero, but one where she still wants me around all the time. Yet in secret because, you know, she has a boyfriend. What does that make me? Just a fun thing on the side? I don’t want that long term.

Frankly I told her if things turn south with my wife then this won’t be enough for me. I need an open and physical relationship with her. She knows we have a crazy romantic attraction, and she wants to have sex with me intensely. But she also wants us to not go there, and avoid situations where we might end up having sex. She does not trust herself to say no in the moment.

Back to my other life, there is no woman waiting in the wings for me. I have a lover who I don’t have sex with, and doesn’t want a future with me. I have a marriage going down quickly. On the one hand I’m glad I don’t have someone directly to fall into the arms of. This is a decision I should make for myself. On the other hand it was kind of a blow to the gut.

Contempt

One of the four horsemen according to Gottman. While going through the series with Claire it started to dawn on me how much contempt I had toward her. On many things. Really it’s a lack of respect.

I do not respect Claire in many areas of our life. Some of them quite important. My sense is that I found those missing elements in Meredith and Sydney. They became a stand in to represent a relationship without contempt.

For example, when it comes to intelligence all three of these ladies are very intelligent. Claire is a doctor and Sydney and Meredith are both white collar professionals. Where their intelligence falls differs. Claire has a very no nonsense book smarts about her. She does not go deep into philosophical reasoning or get lost in high level discussions of the world, politics or the self. Yet she is still a brilliant person and clinician in her own right. Sydney and Meredith both fall on the side of philosophical. They enjoy the same types of discussions I do.

This ends up manifesting as contempt because I begin to resent Claire for not being able to discuss things with me that are important to me. She appears to half-ass it at best. Mostly though she just doesn’t engage. In reality it is not her thing, but I begin to see her as less than me. Less intelligent in the way I am intelligent. I don’t mean to feel this way because I do respect what she has accomplished with her life, but in the end I do feel more intelligent than her and it manifests within our relationship as contempt. A very unhealthy thing, and as Gottman said, the leading indicator of divorce.

Claire and I have very different intellectual styles. Even early in our marriage she would joke with me that I was so much more intelligent than she was, but she made up for it with effort. I suppose that is probably true. Those feelings of contempt started very early for me because of our differences. Probably the best way to imagine it is that a relationship forms in your brain similar to that of a parent-child relationship. The feeling of superiority forces you to think less of the other person whether you mean to or not.

Mostly I would hide these feelings and tell myself I was wrong. Tell myself all the ways she was smart. Yet we still were missing an intellectual connection so it never really fixed the problem.

There are other things too. Such as the way she interacts with other people, especially my family; her naivete around sex; her naivete around things like drugs and pop culture; her inability to discuss or watch the news; her extreme confidence in all things; etc. At times I find it almost embarrassing, but the worst part is that when these things happen I end up feeling a parent-child relationship form. It makes me lonely that I can’t be understanding of the same things with Claire. We don’t connect. It definitely takes away from sexual attraction.

Now I can recognize that these things are happening in my marriage but I still don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know if there is anything to do about it. We will keep working through the series together, and continue to do to counseling.

One last thing about counseling. We keep drudging up things about our relationship that have been bad for a long time. It’s crazy that each time is something my wife had been neglecting. I keep waiting for the shoe to drop on me, but maybe that’s one reason I ended up in an affair. Claire is a wonderful person, but she has not been a good wife.

Just a Sucker With No Self Esteem

It’s possible this embodies my relationships with Meredith and Sydney. My inability to stop them is obvious even to me. A weakness.

Late at night, she knocks on my door

She’s drunk again and looking to score

Now I know I should say no

But it’s kind of hard when she’s ready to go

I may be dumb, but I’m not a dweeb

I’m just a sucker with no self-esteem

I mean she doesn’t come to my door drunk, but I see her everyday at work and she definitely wants to score. I do know I should say no, but I seem to have no ability or even desire to resist her.

Perhaps I have some serious self esteem issues. Because one affair could be an anomaly right? But two? There is something else there. Why though did it take this many years for it to happen? Was it me? Was my relationship with Claire better at some point in the past? Maybe I’ve finally become desirable? I don’t know.

Why can’t I just follow the rules and ditch her? Why am I drawn to her like a moth to a flame? When I’m not with her I just want to be with her again. Sydney helps me to think straight. To process things.

I suppose it’s all bullshit. I’m a bad person lacking morals. I was always a bad person trying desperately to not be. Now I am. It’s confirmed. It’s not just a mistake. Perhaps I should just cut and run. Stop my marriage and move on with my life.

Sometimes it all just seems so hopeless. A decision I made at 21 is now determining my life course even when that decision doesn’t work anymore. Our society says those are the rules. No take backs. No do overs. At least not when there are kids involved. The only option is to tear the family apart.

Perhaps what I’m doing with Sydney is some sort of self-sabotage. Clearly I am seeking someone like her. Two of them in two years points to something going on. I’m either sabotaging myself or just completely lacking in self esteem required to stop such an affair.

Parenting

Sydney has enormous reservations about me because of my kids. The idea of becoming a parent scares her.

As you have also surmised, it means she is spending time thinking about our future. That is something we both have a tendency to get caught up in. Living in the moment is quite hard for us.

What to make of all this? If kids are not for her then she is not part of my long term future. In many ways that is a load off. Just enjoy the moment and stop worrying about the long term.

Breaking Point

We went to more counseling. It was really good. We were very open and honest talking about what we went through this past week. It was an intense week full of sex and open discussion. I learned more about Claire over the last week than much of our marriage. I think she learned about herself too.

At one point she said. “I feel that you still don’t believe we will make it.” To which I replied that she is correct. Although the sex is working out wonderfully we are still missing the emotional and intellectual connection. The chemistry.

I brought up the example of my Dad. We spent several days together this week working on a project and just spending time together in close quarters. We got along splendidly. Everything was very smooth, and we knew just what the other should be doing and where they were. It was sort of an ESP connection. We did talk but not nearly so many words as my wife and I require. Claire responded that I am just like my Dad so I must be looking to marry myself. Which is not true.

You see there is a spectrum of personalities. We all exist along this spectrum. Some people are closer to us and some are farther. Similar and opposites. Claire and I are quite different. Yes we have some similarities, but our personalities are very different. My Dad is much closer to me in personality, but we are no where near the same. Claire made a gross generalization.

What I seem to be looking for is someone much closer to me on the personality spectrum. The distance between me and Claire I just don’t think will be overcome. We are who we are.

****

After that discussion Claire turned to me and asked me to tell her about the details of the sex I had with Meredith. All the details. I was nervous about that, making her confirm that it was what she wanted. She did. Although it made her sad, it also turned her on big time. So I told her. Every detail.

Which led to some really intense and amazing sex. I mean she was ready for anything. When it was all over I was completely satisfied and she couldn’t even remember how many orgasms she had. Clearly there is something there.

****

Now we need to work on a couple things. Mostly to get an understanding. I feel that we have reached an understanding that we are at a breaking point. From here on out the marriage is over unless we find some new information to save it. We will watch the Gottman series on relationships, and we will do a couple activities testing our ability to navigate space well. We will do that in order to gather information to discuss during counseling.