I’ve written at length about my husband’s addiction, but very little about mine. T. T is my addiction, or at least the target of my addictive behavior. I write about him here as if our relationship is mutual. Maybe it is mutual to a point. But it isn’t a grand romance, and I am not his lost love. And in the time that we are apart…the in-betweens, where one or both of us accepts that what we are doing is harmful to our marriages and subsequently gives the other up…he is just fine. He thrives in fact. Or at least I imagine he does. He never does anything to prove me wrong.
We are, at this very moment, in one of the in-betweens. Or maybe it is a “forever apart” instead. But I wait for him still. I wait for an impulsive text. Something to show he cares. That he misses me. I’ve been waiting for nearly ten weeks. Still nothing.
And so I will try to be more realistic. I will expose our relationship for what it is. Predatory and pathetic. Morally bereft. Wrong. Simply wrong. And hurtful too. It was a way to boost our fragile egos, bruised as we were by our critical, inattentive spouses. It was a way to get back at them for their wrongs….a pitiful form of revenge that was safe and unknown. It was cowardly and childish and immature. And it hurt. It hurt to want something I couldn’t have. To love, and to not feel loved in return.
The truth…the pictures made me feel objectified. Used. Used and then discarded when the novelty of them wore off. He gave instructions…suggestions, I suppose. Positions and angles and specifics…what he wanted to see. Faces were never shown. It was, after awhile, impersonal. Clinical. I could have been anyone. Anyone foolish enough to say yes.
Maybe it would hurt him to read these words. Maybe he would disagree, and say it wasn’t that way at all. There were moments that he said something kind. Moments during our awful break-ups where he seemed sad and hurt. Moments that his voice softened when he heard mine, or where he texted something sentimental and sweet. I lived for those moments. I clung to them. I shaped a relationship out of them.
Why…why would you do it? Why would you let it continue so long, with such risk, and so much pain?
I don’t know. I don’t have a good answer. I was hopeful. Hoping that if I waited long enough I would either get over it…lose interest maybe…or life would improve for the better, and I wouldn’t need it anymore. Hoping that he would fall completely and utterly in love with me. That he would save me from the disaster my life had become. And I would save him from the misery of his failing marriage. And we would live happily ever after. The end.
It was a distraction. It was an escape. It was a way to forget about the things that weren’t working in my life. He was someone else to be mad at. Someone else to blame. Our relationship was something else to focus on. Something to think about other than my alcoholic unemployed husband.
The addiction. My addiction…
I would think about it for hours. The words I would use, the message I wanted to convey. I would type them in to my phone. I would look at them for awhile. Debate. Should I sent it? It was not me. I am not flirty or forward. I do not say inappropriate things. I am quiet. Shy. A wallflower. But I would write terrible things. Do I send it? My heart rate rises. My hands sweat. My thoughts swirl about. Fuck it. And I hit send. My lungs contract. My stomach falls to the floor. A thousand elephants stand upon my chest. And I smile and feel I’ve gotten away with something.
I wait for the return text. The vibration of my phone in my hand. The sound my phone makes.
When it comes…it’s like a drug injected deep within my veins. A rush. A high. Endorphins. Dopamine. Adrenaline.
I can survive on that rush most of the day. I can go without food or sleep. And sometimes I did. I ate little. I slept little. I lived it. Breathed it. Waited for my next fix. Planned it. Again, thought of exactly what I’d say. I lost 7 pounds the first three weeks. 3 more in the months after that. And at its worst, when it consumed me, 4 more gone in a flash. For awhile I had to pull up my size nothing jeans.
After the rush wears off…after the conversation by text is done…ending as it usually did, with parting words, “Hope you have a good day” or “Talk to you next week”…after the rush comes a bit of a low. The adrenaline wears off. The excitement is gone. The drug has been abruptly withdrawn from my system. I fall into a dark depression. If the words were unkind, such as during our many breakups, I am beside myself. Inconsolable. Kinder words might result in a gentler reaction. A sudden exhaustion overcomes me. I close my eyes and fall into a deep, contented sleep.
I talk of all of this in the present tense. As if he may text me at any moment. Truth is, he is done. He is gone. There aren’t any texts. Not even a few words to ask if I’m ok. He has closed himself off from me emotionally. He is indifferent. Cold.
And it hurts like hell, and it breaks my heart. Why does he have to be that way? Why can’t he love me?
I love my husband. Leaving him for T was never my end goal. Common sense says it isn’t justified to grieve. But I do. I love him and I lost him and he was always there for me….for the last four years anyway…just a few moments away at the other end of my phone. And then he is gone.
I am desolate.