Most women (and therefore, most men) have a someone in their past...The 'What Might Have Been Man' is what I think of it as. Unless you married your first love, there's likely at least one WMHB when you look back on your life so far.
Funny enough, my WMHB was my first love. I was all of 14, he was 17. We broke up over a stupid, stupid issue, all my fault. But it didn't end there. Years later we got in touch again, at my instigation. And, believe it or not, I was too stupid to realize that he was dating me again. The man would drive an hour and a half to come 'hang out', and I didn't realize we were dating. D'oh! (Hey, I'm book smart, not life smart...at least not then, and probably not as much as I could be now, despite all of my varied experiences.)
Even after he was married, we kept in touch...again, my doing. Nothing major, a phone call when Diva was born (not his, btw, just a call anyways), an email here and there...last time was over a year, probably two years ago.
So, my WMHB has been a presence in my life, but not recently. We live across country from one another now, so I suppose that's why email was safe.
Here's the worst thing of it: I know, in my heart, that I still love my WMHB. Not with all my heart, but with a part of it...he was the first person in my life to have treated me with any respect, caring. I was important. It was a heady feeling for a girl that grew up as I did.
Problem is...I'm not his wife. Never have been, never will be. I need to let go of my WMHB, and give everything I am to my husband. To do less is robbing him, and our children, of everything our marriage could be.
You'd think that not having had contact with WMHB for a cpl of years would have made this a moot point. Not so much...not when a vivid dream has you in tears the next morning. The realization that a part of my heart was still so wrapped up in WMHB was devastating to me on many levels. Even, if I'm to be completely honest, at the idea of giving it up, letting it go. That feeling of being loved, securely, being safe, protected, unwavering devotion is something that I've never known before WMHB, or since.
But how could I possibly, if I'm measuring unconsciously against WMHB? Yes, he's a real person, but any idea is now a fantasy, if that makes sense.
I'm looking over my shoulder instead of at what's in front of me right now, and to the future.
Here's the really, REALLY ironic part: my husband shows his devotion to me daily. He takes care of me, in such a careFULL manner. Goes out of his way to bring me something special, just cause. Scrubs the walls because it makes me nuts that they're dirty, but I can't manage it on my own. Lets me sleep whenever I need it, encourages me to go out of the house when I don't feel like I can, but need the break...he's an Action/Service kind of person. I've always been a Touch person. Learning to appreciate my husband as he is, rather than what I *think* I need has been an awakening experience. I've been told, time and again from those outside our relationship how lucky I am. Heck, just the RSD issue...many marriages break up within a year of such a diagnosis. Here we are, at two years in, still going strong, probably stronger in many ways than we've been before.
So, here I stand, at the threshold of a decision, one that needs to be made, committed to. Today, I say good-bye to my WMHB, in my mind, my heart. I'm sure I'll find a way to be able to treasure memories from the past instead of daydreaming (or night dreaming) about changing the facts of it. To thank my WMHB for being who he was and is, but to let go, and dedicate myself wholly to my husband.
I don't know why I have a lump in my throat now, or eyes brimming with tears...perhaps because wondering, dreaming, thinking of WMHB has been such a part of me for so long.
I feel as I should apologize to my husband for this...a form of emotional cheating, even though its been just in my head, and any contact with WMHB was with the knowledge of my husband...but I need to let go.
Ridiculous, isn't it? That a single dream can bring all of this out? Some would say that its just a dream, no big deal...until the emotions spilled out, on to my waking life. Sometimes dreams are more than just dreams...and its time to say good bye to this one.
Good bye, WMHB. I loved you. And that teen girl always will. But the adult me needs to say good bye and mean it, and keep it and live it.
Countdown to my 41st Birthday
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