After d-day, I told Mindless I could promise him 100% complete honesty, but that given all he did I could not promise him fidelity just yet. He told me it made him sad, but that he understood my need to work through that decision and it was mine to make. He would be faithful, loving and do whatever he could to show me that we are worth saving.
You see before d-day, I did not allow myself to flirt or notice flirting, in fact I was pretty withdrawn from that aspect of the world. I was afraid to look pretty. I was afraid of a man noticing me. I was afraid of doing anything that threatened Mindless’ ego, because early on in our marriage it had resulted in him pouting for days. I did not want to do anything to hurt Mindless or threaten his ego, anything. After d-day, that just wasn’t something that I was going to let rule my world any more. I was so hurt, so vulnerable and so crushed after all my years of devotion and protecting his ego and essentially giving up myself to do it.
He wanted to show me that his ego does not rule his world anymore that he cared more about helping me heal than anything else in the world. Knowing that has helped me so much. And, no, I have not acted out, though I have flirted. The thing is I have told Mindless every single detail of everything immediately, about anything that could possibly even be considered a flirt. He always replies with, “of course you’re being noticed, you’re beautiful,” etc. . .
At first, oh boy how tempted I was to take it as far as I could. Mindless and I talked for hours/day. Through our intense discussions of all he did and all I was experiencing with this new flirting, we really started looking at the differences between ego and self-esteem. Over the course of time, I have realized that though it would build my ego, it would do nothing for my self-esteem to act upon it. With each passing day, as I become stronger within myself, I realize that acting out of ego with someone else, who would only be doing the same, actually makes me feel a little sick inside. I don’t want that. I want to be whole and happy within myself, and not build a foundation of who I am and how I feel about myself from external sources. Now I just take the compliment for what it is, enjoy it, share it with Mindless and that is that.
After several years of seeing how much Mindless is working on building his self-esteem and letting go of ego, after several years of seeing him put his love for me and our marriage above his ego, I am on my way to heading back there myself, but in a way that will never again compromise my true self. I like math, I like being mechanical, I like looking pretty. I am glad he is giving me the space, time and openness with him to be able to work through this aspect of recovering my true self.
Now, we talk openly together in a way we never did before. He also shares with me when he thinks a woman is sending signals and what he is doing to protect me and us. And I share ALL with him without fear. I will tell you this, the sharing of all of this kind of thing has really brought us closer together and, I believe, is helping make us stronger partners, safer partners for each other and have a stronger, safer marriage. By the way, I went back to school to get my MBA. Over half way done and it is wonderful to see Mindless supporting me in this endeavor in a way I never thought possible before. He is now my biggest cheerleader!