Did I love TL? Did I love any of the APs? TL reminded me of a time before D-day when she had asked me whether I loved her and I had asked, “What is love anyway?” Today, I learned something more about that. I was so impressed after D-day when I learned from Rick Reynolds what love really is. It is a choice, to put the other person first — a choice to love them. You don’t fall into it, nor do you fall out of it.
But, today I understand the corollary. I understand that I didn’t love TL before D-day. I had a connection to her. I was extremely infatuated, intrigued, and aroused by her. I wanted to possess her. I was proud of her, attracted to her, and impressed by her. I wanted her and needed her. I wanted her to take care of me. On the whole, and despite my demands, anger, selfishness, and childishness, I had a positive view of her that I never had for anyone else.
I wanted her to meet my needs. But, by the true definition of love, I had never loved anyone in my life. I did not love TL before D-day. And, I did not ever love any AP or other person.
Then, there’s a really sick thing I did with love. I told AP3 I loved her. As I wrote that to AP3, I knew it was not true. After D-day, TL asked me whether I had loved AP3. At first, I confessed, I was still confused about what love is and whether I had loved AP3. Later, when I learned what love is, it was clear to me I had not loved AP3. I don’t recall telling AP1 or AP2 I loved them. Maybe I did say that. I don’t know.
What’s worse is that by my old, warped, wrong definition of love, I did love the APs and did not love TL. My old definition of love was: this person meets my needs. So, by that definition, at the time I told myself, “This AP gives me sex and flattery. She meets my needs. TL does not give me the one-sided, male-serving sex I want nor the exaggerated, mental-masturbatory flattery I want.” Never mind that TL gave me real love, care, loyalty, attention, friendship, financial and career partnership and stewardship, family, beautiful experiences, devotion, and countless other precious things. I was so sick, that I saw sex and flattery out of perspective from all those other precious aspects of life and relationships. By that sick definition of love, I loved the APs and not my wife.
But, that’s not love. That was an incorrect definition of love. Soon enough there came a point when each AP could not meet my needs. I needed them to give me sex without reminders of my jealousies, insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy. I knew that with AP1, those feelings would come after me if I put any real emotional capital into a relationship with her. Those feelings followed me. They emanated from me. I invested emotional capital into TL, and my sick obsessions haunted me. I treated APs like sexual cattle and the sick obsessions didn’t bother me at all with them.
I thank God for D-day and the opportunity to get my head on straight. I understand now that I had not loved TL, APs, nor anyone before, and that I can love TL and only TL now. I understand that my sick old definition had me thinking I loved APs before and not TL. And, I understand that prior to D-day, regardless of love, I did have special feelings for TL that — however incomplete and imperfect my feelings — were unique and reserved only for TL.
Read “Romanticism: Don’t believe the lie,” by Rick Reynolds. And, no, we don’t have a financial relationship with his Affair Recovery business nor do we advertise for him. We did take his class and I continue to read a lot of his work because I find it very helpful. Maybe it will help you. Maybe you’ll find other sources that help you more.
After you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your reactions.