James lied to me. About a woman. He even got his kids to cover for him. He claims that they are merely friends. Photos and flirtatious online banter suggest otherwise. Impossible to really know.
The worst part? I already broke up with him once over this person. SEVEN MONTHS AGO.
I wanted to believe him. I wanted it to be true that nothing untoward was happening between them. I wanted it so much that I ignored my intuition. I heard the good stuff and forgot the rest. As James likes to say, the fantasy was so much better than the reality….
My ex-husband used to derisively call me a Pollyanna. “If you only look for the good in people, you’re always going to get used and walked on,” he’d say. I would tell him that he was wrong, that I was a good judge of character, and that most people will treat you as you treat them. He’d shake his head and laugh at me.
I feel foolish beyond words. I feel simple and stupid and naive. Just last week, when I hurt James’ feelings, I bought him flowers (he likes flowers) and a sweet card and delivered it to him during the work day because I felt so bad that I’d hurt him. When I think about it now, I physically cringe at the memory.
I’ll be getting that “Moron” tattoo on my forehead tomorrow.
I am an intellectually smart woman, and sometimes I think that gets the better of me. I think I assume that because I’m smart, I’ll figure these things out before they have a chance to hurt me. I have a law degree from a school that, as one of my friends likes to say, “98% of the world can’t get into,” and yet I am ridiculously easy to deceive. Spend some time with me, say a few nice things about me, and I’m onboard. Happy and oblivious. That same friend frequently points out that my law school doesn’t bestow “degrees in common sense.” It’s true, and a damn good thing, because obviously I’d have failed out miserably.
Reality isn’t any fun at all. The fantasy feels so much better. At least until it collapses in on itself.
I have cried so much tonight that my eyelids are raw. I have tried not to remember all the stupidly sweet things I have said to him in the last month. I have tried not to dwell too much on the fact that I knew this — KNEW IT — last December and yet still took him back. I wanted to believe that it was a misunderstanding. I wanted him to be the man I thought he was. I wanted to fool myself into thinking that he cared about me as much as I was coming to care about him.
Stupid is as stupid does.
He apparently doesn’t trust me, either. He suggested that K.C. and I are possibly more than friends. The irony tastes like metal in my mouth: I adore K.C., but only as a friend. The thought of his hands on my body or his mouth on mine feels wrong, wrong, wrong. I have concealed nothing about K.C. and K.C. has supported my relationship with James all along, never once trying to undermine it or disrespect it. He wants me to be happy. And all I wanted was James.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I never would have found out any of it if it weren’t for James’ children. His precious, sweet, innocent children. Their unknowing questions… their complete and utter lack of guile… their openness and transparency…. these things betrayed him.
Perhaps it’s fitting that I shared individual moments with the three youngest tonight. Special little moments that they will soon forget, but I will lock away in my heart forever. The memory of his 5-year-old daughter looking up at me tonight and asking for a good night kiss brings fresh tears. God, how I care about those children. I will pray for them forever.
I wish I knew how to not be such a Pollyanna. I have clung blindly to this aspect of my personality in the vain hope that someone, someday, would see it as something to be treasured and respected and protected. But I am gradually realizing that perhaps no such person exists and it is doing me more harm than good, at least as it involves my romantic life.
Surely it is time to join the rest of the world and get smart. Finally.