I met him at the bar I worked at. I had a bf at the time, wasn't interested in meeting other guys, but as bartender it was my job to a certain degree. He began coming in regularly and I found myself talking to him for hours. Sometimes he'd stay for almost my entire shift. It was crazy, time just flew by when he was there and it wasn't long before I was actually looking forward to seeing him. And when I would it was like sparks flew. My heart would speed up, I'd get this rush that I'd never experienced before with anyone else. It was like magic. I fell fast and I fell hard. I started feeling guilty. I had a bf and here I was interested in this other man. He was older than me, I'm usually not into men more than a few years older but the attraction was undeniable. He told me he was 45, divorced for about ten years, two sons in their late teens. We'd talk about everything and anything and so easily. There were never awkward pauses, everything he said captivated me. I was totally hooked. He began to ask me if I'd see him outside of the bar. I told him I couldn't. He knew I had a bf, knew I didn't feel comfortable seeing him outside of my work but he kept asking anyway. He gave me his card and told me to call him if I changed my mind. A few months went by, he continued to come in during my shift, but one day he told me he couldn't anymore if I wouldn't see him outside. He said he'd become too attached and didn't want to become even more so if it wasn't going to go anywhere. His manipulation worked, I broke down and agreed to meet him for a drink. It was at a point in my life where I was pretty vulnerable, things with my bf hadn't been going well. So we met, and we clicked just as wonderfully outside of the bar and I continued to see him. It was about a year before it became intimate though. Something inside of me had made me hesitate, something told me he was too good to be true. We'd see each other but something just didn't feel quite right. I started seeing him less at that point and I got back together with my bf. That winter my bf had moved out of state for work, and during a visit to see him over Christmas he proposed. I accepted. I told "L" that I couldn't see him anymore, told him I was moving out of state to be with my fiance. I said goodbye to him, gave him a big hug and told him I'd miss him but hoped he understood. His eyes welled up when he saw my ring. I felt awful. But I made the move and had stopped calling him completely. He continued to text me though and had started e-mailing my Mom. They'd met once, briefly, but I guess he felt comfortable talking to her about me. And they did talk about me. He told her how much he missed me, told her he regretted not letting me know how much I'd meant to him, also told her he was devastated over my engagement, had actually been planning on proposing to me over Christmas. My Mom told me these things and I was surprised. They conflicted with the gut feeling I'd had that he wasn't seriously interested in me though. But I began to think of him constantly. Started texting with him again too. Things started going downhill with my fiance. I began convincing myself that I'd made the wrong decision and made the decision to move back. I felt bad about my fiance but it wasn't fair to him, staying with him while I was having all of these mixed feelings about "L". Things were growing between us and crumbling with my fiance. I felt awful. But the connection I felt with "L" was so different, so strong. I'd realized that I really was in love with this man and felt that I needed to see it through. By the time I left I was sad, it was bittersweet, but I was so excited to see "L" again. I felt like I had stars in my eyes just thinking about how it would be to see him again for the first time when I returned. All of the things he'd said made me think that we were drawn together and for a reason. He was on my mind all the time.
But when I got back it wasn't the way I'd thought it would be. In no time at all I was back to feeling like he just wanted to play, didn't take me seriously, he didn't even seem to want to spend that much time with me. I was beside myself. It was about 4 weeks after I'd returned and there it was, my intuition telling me I'd been fooled. I finally just called him out on it, asked why he seemed to be a different person when I was out of state, told him I didn't understand what had happened between now and all the wonderful things he'd said. He told me; "Sorry but you're just not a priority in my life right now." I felt my heart sink all the way to my stomach. How could he say something so cold to me? Where had the guy that I'd absolutely adored gone? And what had changed how he felt about me?? I was so confused, so upset, began sobbing on the phone. He seemed so distant, so detached. Told me; "I have to go. You're freaking me out." Hung up on me. I've never cried so hard in my life. I seriously felt like I wanted to die. I didn't talk to him for several days and then when I did he acted like nothing had happened. More confusion. More heartbreak. I contined to see him but he was not who I'd thought he was and I started sinking into a depression. Also this nagging voice inside of me returned, kept telling me that something was very wrong. There were good times too of course, we'd have fun, but the feeling never left me. I'd ask him once in awhile if he really loved me, watching his eyes, he'd say yes and then tell me I was acting crazy. I guess I started to believe it myself. I started dismissing those gut feelings, telling myself I was overthinking. But I still didn't understand why he kept me at a distance, why I'd never met his kids, why he didn't ever want to show me his home, always wanted to get together at mine. He'd tell me that he needed some space and some time. He'd remind me of how I'd "left him" and I carried that guilt over my own head, he didn't even have to. I didn't push it. I figured he was right, time is a healer.
But one day I'd been texting him all afternoon and he hadn't been replying. We were supposed to get together later that evening, after his golf game, so I was confused. Out of character for him. At about 4p.m. I finally got a call from him. I picked up, "hi you! What's up, I've been texting you all day!" The voice that responded wasn't his. It was a guy who'd found his phone on the golf couse, had seen my number, figured I was the gf, called me. Told me he was going to leave the phone in the clubhouse, suggested I call one of "L's" friends, hung up with me. I sat there with my phone in my hand realizing that I didn't know any of his friends. Not even one. I started feeling a little pissed. Something drove me to my phonebook that day. I looked up his last name, found him in the book next to the listed address that I knew was his. Next to it was a phone number. A landline. He'd told me that he didn't have one. But here it was. I dialed. My heart was pounding. A woman answered. I almost hung up. I asked her if "L" was there. She said no, asked who I was. I told her I was a friend of his, asked who she was. She responded; "I'm his wife". Oh my GOD. I'll never forget that day. I almost fell to my knees, they'd turned to Jell-o. His wife??? How could that be?? She asked again how it was that I knew him and I almost lied. I still can't believe it but that was my first instinct, to protect him. But I couldn't. Woman to woman and hearing her voice the way it sounded, I had to tell her. Her breath caught. She asked how long. I told her. I began sobbing. She was calm. I asked her if we could meet somewhere. She was hesitant but finally agreed. We met at a restaurant down the street from me. When I saw her for the first time I was surprised. She was the exact opposite of me. Clearly at least twenty years older, prim, conservative, poised, dressed in what looked like The Gap meets Laura Ashley. I'm 33 but I look 23, showed up in a tank top & jeans, baseball hat with a ponytail, tears streaming down my face. She ordered some iced tea, I drank 3 martinis. I'm not a big drinker but I was that day. We talked for over 3 hours. Out it came, they'd been married for 30 years. He was 56, not in his forties. Details emerged such as his money clip, he'd always told me he'd designed and even sautered it himself, she had. His favorite movies, his taste in literature, hers too. A woman he'd told me he'd been seeing before he met me, her best friend. I was shocked. Felt so betrayed. I felt like I wanted to vomit. I couldn't believe he could hide this from me and for so long. Couldn't believe he'd had no problem interfering with my life, my engagement even, under the guise of being available and having real feelings for me. By the time we'd parted ways I was numb. I had a friend pick me up from the restaurant and I cried my eyes out all night long. I cried for weeks actually. And I didn't hear from him at all that first night or the next morning. No call asking me if I was okay. No call saying he was sorry. Nothing until the following week. It was afternoon and I'd been crying still, feeling completely lost. The phone rang, it was him. He sounded like he was a million miles away. He sounded stiff, cold, void of emotion. I asked him why and he said he didn't know. I asked him if he'd ever loved me and he said; "No, I guess I didn't." My heart dropped to my feet, the blood totally drained from my face. I felt dizzy. "So you just used me? Played me?", I asked him. "Yes I suppose I did" was his answer. "And I need to see if I can work it out with my wife, I hope you understand". I felt , the numbness just completely washed over me. I wanted to die. I felt the same feeling I had on the phone with him that day almost two years before but worse. It was like I was talking to a complete stranger who had just moments before been my best friend, my lover, my baby. This person was now stabbing me in the heart, in the stomach, in the knees, I couldn't even stand up. I couldn't even hang up the phone, though he had. I felt like I wanted to disappear. Or like I just had disappeared.
Weeks went by and his wife called me a couple times. We talked for quite a while each time. Talked about our feelings, about him, about how we were handling it, she'd gone on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. Was having trouble sleeping. I wasn't sleeping much either. She told me she'd decided she was going to divorce him. I told her I'd probably never want to see him again. It was so painful. On top of finding out about his marriage, I was dealing with feeling like I'd gotten thrown away. Also dealing with how it felt to know his wife and kids were so hurt. And that I was part of the reason. It was like lie on top of lie on top of my whole relationship with him felt like a lie.
They're in the middle of the divorce process right now. A couple months after she told him she was divorcing him I saw him. Talked to him. He'd been texting me. Telling me he missed me and was so sorry about everything. Told me that he'd only said what he'd said to me on the phone that day because she'd been standing right there. He told me he did love me, does love me, or it wouldn't have gone on for so long. Said he'd never just come out with the truth because he was certain he'd lose me. Lose us both. said he'd felt trapped, like he didn't know what to do anymore once it had gotten so deep. I believed him. I'd wanted to, I guess. I started seeing him again. It took awhile for the denial to wear thin. Then I started feeling really angry. I'd ask him questions and he never wanted to discuss it. My anger turned to rage. I stopped seeing him, would only text with him. He wanted to talk at that point but I was beyond that. I needed to process it. I needed to feel that anger and decide what it was that I really felt and if I still wanted him in my life.
That's where I'm at right now. I love him so much but I'm afraid that I fell in love with an image that he projected. That it's not really him. I haven't seen him in weeks but I'm still talking to him. I don't know how to let go, I don't know how to hold on. I'm at a total loss. I don't know what to do. But this time, I'm listening to my instincts. I'm going to trust them to guide me. I think I know in my heart that I'll have to let him go but it's a struggle between my heart and my head. I can't believe this has happened to me. Still. Still in shock I guess. And it hurts.