A nightmare woke me up a couple of hours after I went to sleep last night. Probably had it because my husband is headed to his hometown today to visit his dad, in the hospital with a heart attack. I have a reason to feel insecure, but I’m trying not to be selfish.
I don’t really know whether this is me being unselfish, or if I’m making a mistake and being unkind to myself by putting my needs last in this. Here’s why. When my husband had his affair, it was with an old girlfriend who lives in his hometown, and one of the things I said at the time was, “The days are OVER when you get to go visit your folks without me. If I’m too busy with work or too sick to go, you don’t go either.”
But his dad is in his 70s, and he had a heart attack yesterday.
And this weekend and early next week I’m wrapping up my biggest project of the year at work with deadlines that depend solely on me. I’m a one-man operation at my job. There’s no possibility someone else could fill in for me on this short notice. So he is traveling alone. What kind of monster would I be to tell my husband that my fears are more important than his ability to visit his dad in ICU? It’s just not in me. I’m feeling insecure, but not that selfish.
I think that’s why I had a nightmare that some awful new revelation came up about his affair. The affair went on for almost four years, by his reckoning (it was a slow build-up, so there wasn’t one “it started here” date). And it’s been over for almost that long. We are still together and working on our marriage, but I remain profoundly changed and it’s still painful. After I found out about the other woman, he tried briefly to sell me on the “We’re just friends!” lie that he’d been telling himself, and he finally admitted it was truly an emotional affair. He has always insisted that they never had sex. It was strictly long-distance (she lives almost a six-hour drive away), although he admitted “things were headed that way.” (Oh, the euphemisms.)
So here was my dream. I’ll call my husband “H” for this:
We were in our car, and he was driving. He told me, with a devastated “this can’t be happening to me” look on his face, “Effie, now she’s telling me she’s pregnant.”
I said, “Now how does that happen if you never had sex?”
I was sad because I knew it was over for the two of us. But I was calm. I said, “I always knew you hadn’t told me the whole truth, H. How involved did you get? When did you find time to go see her, and how much did you two have sex?”
A heartbeat later, I realized. I remembered that the affair had been “over” since mid-2012. “You never stopped seeing her, did you?”
That’s when I woke up.