A while ago G told me that an ex of his had tracked him down on Facebook (as we all do) and that she’d then called him to chat (she lives in Durban and is married with 2 kids, and her husband also works off-shore like G). I was pretty chuffed that he’d told me this out of his own accord, but I also guessed, before he said which one it was, that it would be THIS particular ex because it’s that one we all have from our past that still has this special place inside us – because we were young and it was all sweet and passionate and lovely. I could see he was happy to hear from her. I get that.
Anyhow, flash forward to last night when we’re eating our ‘last supper’ – G and R and I always go out for dinner on the night before he flies back out to Angola.
We’re in fairly good spirits, the steak is tasty, the beer cold and after recent stressful times we’re actually getting on well, and R is laughing along with us. G starts to scroll through his phone (next to me) looking for some or other text I’d sent him in order to prove a point (story for another day) and I’m laughing and looking over his shoulder as he whizzes through his inbox and then I see HER name. Once, twice, three times – just this week. And as he scrolls there are more of them, scattered among the names of his other friends and me. And I start to feel a little sick.
So I say, “I didn’t know you were still in touch with her?” and I can hear my voice has gone funny and I can’t help it. He shrugs it off and says yes she was asking him some questions about blah blah something random and boring that she could have found out by Googling. And then I remembered that when he told me originally that she’d been in touch she had told him her marriage wasn’t all that happy and that (in other news) she was planning a girls’ weekend in Cape Town in the next few months and she would love to see him.
And I understand this because if an ex of mine was in town that I hadn’t seen in years I would also want to see them, so it hadn’t bothered me. Till now, when I see her name all over his cell phone.
Meal ends on a slightly meh note and even R comments that I have ‘that face’ – the one, he says helpfully, where I’m smiling but I’m sad.
Now I’m stuck. I am no good at pretending something doesn’t bug me when it does, but it’s G’s last night and the last thing I want is another fight.
This is what happened.
Home, get R into bed, G starts to pack, I start running a bath. Then he calls me from the bedroom where he’s now lying down (he always packs in stages with little breaks in between). He tells me to come lie with him, pulls me down next to him. And asks me what I’m feeling. I tell him, scared. He says, why? He doesn’t get it. She lives in Durban. She’s married. I’m in touch with some of my exes and it doesn’t bother him. So I remind him that I’ve been cheated on. A lot. And lied to. By various men, including him. Not since we’ve been back together these 3 years, but during the time he was living with S.
And he tells me, I can go and read the messages, all of them. And lets me sit up. But I don’t move. If I do it will mean I don’t trust him and I can’t do that. It’s not him I’m concerned about, it’s her. Why is she telling him about her marital problems? Why is she confiding in him? Why make up random excuses to text (and, I assume, call) him once they’ve done the initial ‘nice to hear from you again, this is what I’m doing, these are my kids etc’ thing.
And he actually gets that. He nods and says “maybe…”
Then he tells me. If he ever was intimate with anyone else again it will be because we’re no longer together. And that he told her, when she was moaning about her husband, to ‘buck up and deal with it and support him’ because he’s away earning money for them. And then he wiped away my tears and didn’t make me feel stupid, didn’t shout or get offended or defensive. And then he finished running my bath.
As I said, I’ve been lied to before. By him, even. And insecurity is part of the baggage I bring into my relationships. But I knew he was being honest and I loved the way he handled the situation and me, feeling so fragile in that moment, and I love him for it.