We drove to the resort. It took a couple hours to get there. I let her badger me into letting her drive part of the way. I had to argue with her to get her not to smoke in the car. At the resort we spent some time at the swimming pool. I don’t recall whether it was that day or the following day that I bought her a massage treatment while I lifted weights. Later, we went out to some restaurant for dinner. Here’s another particularly painful admission. As sometimes happens at some restaurants, a guy came around selling roses. I bought one for her.
Just before I did, I had this thought: “I want to seduce this woman, so the right strategy is to buy her the rose.” I also thought, “Wow, if TL learned of this she would be crushed. She’ll recall another time, 15 years before, when we were out at a restaurant with couples friends and a flower seller came around. Without asking, every guy but me bought their wife a flower. I, completely failing to empathize with TL and completely failing to stoke our romance and friendship with a small thoughtful gesture, asked TL whether she too wanted a rose.” She replied, “not if you have to ask.” I failed to buy her the rose. I told myself all sorts of stupid things like, “She knows I love her, she does not need a trite gesture,” and “If I buy her the rose after stupidly asking about it, it will appear I’m just doing it because I was asked to do it.” In any case, even if I had otherwise been a good husband, this would have been a painful experience for TL. It showed that not only was I not a good husband — I had so many selfish thoughts and selfish ways — but I was also miles off course in terms of understanding love and truly loving my wife. And, to rub salt in the wound, there I was choosing to give a rose to an affair partner, as a way to seduce her, after failing to do that for TL.
The AP and I went back to the hotel, had quick and unsatisfying sex, and slept. That is when I should have been calling my child with birthday wishes. Since I was so obsessed with seducing the AP and not reminding her of my marriage, I was too cowardly to stand up, pick up the phone, and call my family. I could have walked out the door, even briefly, to call my family. I chose not to do so. I said to myself, “Maybe I’ll have a moment alone to do that in a few hours.” A few hours went by. I told myself to wait a few more hours. And so it went, until the time had rolled away and I had hidden in my double-life until I missed my child’s birthday.
I wasn’t enamored with the other woman. I wasn’t unhappy with my child or my wife — not specifically, acutely unhappy, but only my chronic, pathological habit of looking at each glass as half-empty. I was behaving like an addict, hiding in my illicit life, hoping for more sex and flattery there even when it was clearly insufficient, and too damned cowardly to step away from my illicit life even for a moment. This is no excuse, but I do strongly suspect that my many problems include obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was pathologically compelled to keep pursuing sex and flattery whenever it seemed at all obtainable, even when it was clearly hurting me and hurting people I loved. In my weakness, selfishness, and cowardice, I again chose my sick obsessions instead of my family.