To My Ex And My Emotional Affair: Thank You For The Fairy Tale Ending
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By Julie Finchum, Guest Author - July 27, 2017

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I’m mad and grateful at the man I had an emotional affair with. And frankly, at the man I married and divorced. But, I do sincerely thank both of them for a fairy tale ending that worked out exactly the opposite of what I thought.

 

Once upon a time, this wonderful man shook my hand. He introduced himself as new to the area. My heart pattered. One simple handshake struck a spark I wasn’t sure I’d felt before. I melted in his smile and his voice became the only in my head.

But he wasn’t my husband. The beginning of a not-so-typical fairy tale for sure.

The friendship grew quickly and passionately. He shared my interests, he was incredibly polite and his spirit contagious. He texted to say be careful and wanted to know when I made it safely. He shared his dreams as did I. Was I falling in love? Was I having an affair? I couldn’t be. I shouldn’t be. But I felt so cared for, so loved, so protected. Romantic stuff I’d longed for my entire life.

I'd found myself, somewhere I never thought I'd be...in an emotional affair.

Hard to even admit, but that’s what it was. The fairy tale was about finding comfort and support in a man because my husband wasn’t making me feel that way. And honestly, I didn’t care. I was smitten.

I sensed he felt the same. So, one day I randomly took his hand. I took a knowingly reckless and dangerous yet exhilarating and breathtaking chance. I struck gold. He longed for the same thing. He helped me believe in myself and who I was. I did the same for him. We reached relationship levels we never imagined – well, levels you can reach within the boundaries of both being married. We connected with words, philosophies, and stories; promises, celebrations, and sorrows. It seemed our souls were blended. I said, "Would you wait until my kids are older?” His response; "I don't want to."

He lied. Or maybe he didn’t, maybe he really cared for me. But I bought it.

I bought the whole damn story. It ruined my happy ending. Or did it? Maybe believing in it for a while was actually ok.

Whether he was lying or not, I should have left my ex-husband anyway. My marriage lacked foundation and trust long before I met this new guy. That was on me and my ex. This new Prince showed me I deserved better. He showed me that just because it had always been a certain way didn’t mean it had to stay the same. He supported me in ways I needed and showed me what I really wanted in a relationship. Right or wrong in our actions, he helped me see that sticking it out until the kids got older was simply not a good option, especially when life is too short to be unhappy. I knew this. He just helped me see, feel it, and believe it.

That’s when my real fairy tale began. I started over. Without my husband and without him.

Through the first year of my divorce, this man’s friendship actually kept me in line. I didn’t jump in bed with the next 10 guys I met or even date. I stayed out of the bars and I focused on my kids and being a good parent. I worked to figure out how to solo-manage my household. Yes, it may sound like I’m trying to justify my divorce or my emotional affair, I understand that. But the irony is…

Even though I got divorced.

Even though the other man didn’t leave his marriage.

Even though I thought he would and deep down wanted him to.

The best thing for me was to get out of my marriage and take care of me and my kids. Period. Without or without the hope of a relationship with someone else.

I’m mad and grateful at the man whose hand I shook. And frankly, at the man I married and divorced. But, I do sincerely thank both of them for a fairy tale ending that worked out exactly the opposite of what I thought.

All these experiences were exactly what I needed at that moment in my life. My counselor calls this, people coming into your life like a season. Like the sun and hot temperatures give us what we need for summer growth, harvest and fun, the fall breeze and cool temps arrive to prepare us for winter and help us recharge for a new year. These men were in my life at times I needed to grow. My

These two men were in my life at times I needed to grow. My ex didn’t ruin my marriage on his own, this other man didn’t make me decide what do with my marriage – those were my actions and doings. Both of them were seasons and the beginnings of my new story.

I still wonder what might have been with both my ex and the prince who rode in on the horse. As angry as I am for being a fool, I say thank you to the man I left and the guy who didn’t leave.

I’ve gained a sustained sense of self-worth that I deserve.

I’ve learned to live a life that is worthy of preserving.

I’ve experienced seasons in time I’ll remember so grand.

I’ve made memories and moments stored in the palm of my hand.

I've moved on with hope, heartache, love, tears, and laughter;

Which means no matter what, my fairy tale will always end happily ever after.

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