My four-month emotional affair with a married man ended six years ago last May.
I wish I could tell you that I went triumphantly on, that I met the love of my life, that I’m happily married now, that life morphed into something wonderful.
No. Instead, here I am, a dumpy little middle-aged woman watching my skin change, my stomach balloon like the Michelin man’s, and my boobs sag. Observing the onrush of old age with apprehension.
The past six years have been brutal. I finally understood last year this person was never coming back, despite the fact that he did three years prior, reporting that marriage counseling had been a bust and trying to see me platonically again.
(Yeah, right. I know how long that would have lasted.)
The truth was, I didn’t trust myself four years ago. I knew he was unhappy, and that he could have been happier with me and I could have been happier with him. (How much happier? That’s the debatable part.)
How long before I would have started working on him? Oh, come on. You know you aren’t happy there.
And that would have been a disaster.
The reason I know this is that I had had a passing interest in astrology for quite some time. I predicted when my husband would pass away. I was one week off.
When I started speaking to my affair partner, I started looking up our charts. What I saw was so accurate I began an intense study of the discipline.
What it showed me was that, right at that time, an entire string of transits told the story of a very destructive affair that would end up wrecking the lives of all three people. All because I felt entitled to force another person into the healing he should be doing.
I was trying to raise my self-esteem by “saving” someone else.
Sometimes the healing of another person is like a flower opening. If we force it, we destroy the flower.
Therefore, if we want to see the flower blossom into beauty, we have to leave that flower alone and let it bloom in its own time.
Even if that means we won’t be there to see it, and it will end up blooming for someone else.
I tried to hang around and wait. After all, I wasn’t idle. I had tons and tons of my own inner child work to do, and that took six years.
But, you know, six years is some long-ass time.
This flower may be like the kurinji plant, which takes twelve years to bloom. Will this guy even remember me in twelve years? Probably not.
In the meantime, I see cheaters spilling intimate details of their sexual encounters and fantasies.
Maybe these episodes are ways of getting back at a spouse they believe has failed them. Maybe they are ways of feeling free.
But what speaks pretty loudly to me, as I read depictions of sweaty, furtive couplings in hotel rooms and cars, is the sleaze.
Would I want to do this to someone I care about?
When I finally decided to tell him how I felt about him, I did so for two reasons:
1. He was so obsessed with his wife, watching her every little twitch, I figured nothing I said would disturb that dynamic. I’d probably be told I was inappropriate and get frozen out. (That didn’t happen, but, oh, well.)
2. He had such low self-worth. He knew I’d had a good marriage, so if I said he was desirable and lovable, he’d probably believe I was telling the truth.
If I wanted the guy to feel better about himself, well … how much better would he have felt about himself after a furtive, sweaty, sleazy coupling in a car someplace? Hiding tawdry, dishonest sex from other people?
We may miss each other forever, or we may not, but at least we’re two people who didn’t do that. If we can’t have love, at least we’ve still got our pride.
When you break up an illicit relationship, you savor your integrity.
I may have denied us a real relationship forever, but I think preserving his and my integrity was a far more loving thing to do.
P.D. Reader, a student astrologer, blogs as The Thinking Other Woman. She blogs about affairs, relationships, and astrology.
This article was originally published at Medium.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.