In the type of work I was doing, each assignment could bring a different crew of coworkers, and because we were scattered all over the state and country even, it took a while to get to know everybody. I went on an assignment with a supervisor I knew, one auditor I knew, and one auditor I had not yet met. On the first day of the assignment I learned that the auditor whom I did not know was taking a week's vacation and would not start until the following Monday. That next Monday, W walked into my life, and we met for the first time. As companies often do, they stuck us in a small room crowded around a fairly small conference table. A dot matrix printer sat in one corner. Blessedly, it was not often used, but when it was we inevitably jumped when it started up. Poor W was the one that sat closest to it, probably because he was the last to arrive at the assignment.
The four of us auditors got along pretty well with one another and most days ate lunch together in the company cafeteria. I got to know W a little through our lunchtime discussions. He was not domiciled here but in another part of the state and was renting a short term apartment near the company and going home to his wife on weekends. Soon W and I were both arriving early to the job and having breakfast together in the company cafeteria. At one point, W asked me to go out to dinner with him, which I did. He took me to TGI Friday's. (It just so happens that this particular TGI Friday's is no farther than a mile from where we now live, and we still go there for dinner occasionally.) After dinner he invited me back to his apartment. I went. We talked and played cards. His wife called and they talked for a bit. When he got off the phone I said I had better head home and did.
J and I continued to be in touch, but I wasn't putting as much effort into it. I was putting even less effort into Kurt. W became my main focus. Now I knew that W was married. My thoughts on that subject were that his marriage was his business, and if he was comfortable dating me on the side I wasn't going to worry about it. I know that sounds terribly callous, and I was. I was very callous in that regard. I'm not proud of it, but it was what it was. Now since this post is supposed to be my history with J, not with W, I'll try to get back to J. If you want more details on my history with W you can read these posts on my other blog:
this one chronicles the start of my relationship with W, and
this one continues my history with W up through a few years ago
I will repeat some of what is in those other posts here, the parts pertinent to J (or Ex as I refer to him on my other blog):
It wasn’t long before Hubs left his wife, and we moved in together. My next assignment was to take me to a city far away from Hubs’ next assignment. Showing an utter lack of maturity, common sense or wisdom of any form, I called my boss and quit. Just told him I wouldn’t be showing up for the next assignment and basically gave him no reason. At the same time, I followed Hubs to his next assignment and ended all contact with my family and friends, including Ex and [Kurt]. What was I thinking? How could I do this? I believe I was running scared. I knew that I had pushed the boundaries beyond what anyone I knew and cared about would see as acceptable. I had done unthinkable things: taken up with a married man, a much older married man with children older than I, broken up his marriage, quit my job to be with him. Nobody could possibly understand those choices. I’m not sure I understood those choices. So I chose to disappear with no forwarding address.
Shortly after we married, I received a letter from Ex (apparently Mom & Dad had given him my mailing address) saying that he was now ready to think about marriage, and, if I remember right, asking me to return home to him. I cried when I received the letter. I cried and cried and cried. It was too late. I had loved Ex so much for so long and never felt that he returned that love (which, I believe, is at least part of the reason I continued to turn to other men throughout our relationship). Now he wanted me, but I had already moved on. I was already married to Hubs. I couldn’t turn back. When I looked at the way Hubs accepted me for who I was, making no judgments, just loving me each and every day, and compared that to how Ex had treated me, teasing me about my weight and about the facial hair I hadn’t yet learned to get waxed on a regular basis, and always holding back from giving me the love and acceptance I so coveted; I had to choose to stay with Hubs. I didn’t think I could ever live up to what Ex would want me to be, and I never gave him the chance to prove otherwise. I wrote to Ex explaining that I had married. I don’t know what else I said in the letter, but I do know there was a pain in my heart when I put it in the mail. I loved Hubs, but I also loved Ex. I don’t remember for sure, but I’ll bet you anything I binged big time the day I mailed that letter.
I moved on, putting Ex out of my mind (most of the time) and focused on my relationship with Hubs. We shared everything with each other, told each other our deepest, darkest secrets, and accepted one another just as we were, imperfect by far but neither worse than the other. I felt that I was okay, good enough, for the first time in my life. Somehow, somewhere in the back of my mind continued the nagging feeling though that I wasn’t. I was good enough for Hubs, good enough for this new life half a country away from my roots, but I would never be good enough to return to my family. I would never be truly okay.
So that's it. That's my history with J. That's all there is to know prior to the start of this blog.