Ghosts in Staying Connected

  • Aug. 30, 2020, 12:16 a.m.
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  • Public

I did it. I survived the week. My husband promised me that tomorrow, I could sleep in as late as I need to.

You know, it’s the strangest thing. Being so unprocessed and emotionally vulnerable this week, I found myself dreaming of many people from my past. The main characters popped up of course, but I was surprised to have some less significant figures show up. For example, a guy I slept with for maybe two to three months when I was 18 years old surfaced. Every night, as I was having these dream-flashbacks, the feeling was one of great nostalgia. I felt intense comfort in the dreams.

Last night it was, of course, Ian again. He’s always the first person to show up—always. With him I’ve felt the entire spectrum of feelings, from deep love, to confusion, to disgust, to hatred. He showed up repeatedly in the past week, and last night the intense comfort was certainly present. In the dream, he started sweetly kissing my neck and, while I did feel comforted by that, I gently pulled away and reminded him that I’m married now.

Today I was exhausted all day. It was the kind of exhausted where, if I just lay down on a flat surface, I could nearly immediately fall out of consciousness. A couple of times, I did just that, and each time I did… there he was. Dream Ian. Like he was just waiting for me to return, and I, too, looked forward to returning.

This evening, I thought of contacting him—just to say hi. I wondered, for the thousandth time, why I come back to this over and over again. It’s been twelve years since we broke up. That’s four times longer than we were even together. Not to mention, I am married— happily, I might add! So, why?? Why does my mind do this?

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to explain it, but I suspect it has something to do with the way he made me feel. It’s a way I don’t expect to ever feel again, for the rest of my life. It’s what I explained before, the whole spectrum of emotions. The straight up euphoria. The full body tingles. And the kind of pain that penetrates so deeply, I couldn’t feel joy for over 12 straight months. I’m scarred, for better or for worse. And sometimes, I miss feeling so much. That’s just the way it is.

So, I did it. I contacted him. You want to know what? It felt right. I’m not going to tell my husband, because it will only hurt him. Ian and I didn’t talk about anything hurtful. We just… talked. He told me how he’s spending his time in quarantine, and I told him what I’m up to. He told me about his travels in Egypt and Japan, and I told him about Greece and Costa Rica. And in a way, it was like I brought my dreams to life.

He asked me to send him $1 on Venmo, and I said, “Why? You want to send me money?” He refused to answer me and said, if I did what he asked, he’d make it worth my while. I said I didn’t want anything from him. He even said, “please.” A part of me wonders if he’s still trying to clear his conscience for what happened between us, which just confirms to me that I did the right thing by not sending him $1. I don’t think there’s anything I’ll be able to do to get him to forgive himself. It’s clear to me, though, that the feelings I have for him won’t ever go away.

For the record, I’m 100% confident this interaction is absolutely no threat to my marriage. It’s just a thing that needed to happen.


Last updated August 30, 2020

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