The downside of vulnerability is that when something bad happens, it hurts more. My hard candy shell no longer exists, so everything hits raw nerves.
After a very revealing week with BFD, I am left reeling a bit and trying to incorporate our new knowledge of each other into our existing relationship. And I hurt.
The big revelation that he had been married has shaken me more upon reflection than it did at the time. Initially, I was mad he had not told me and I felt weird about it, like why didn’t he tell me. Logically, I know why . . . he was young when he was married and divorced, it was 15 years in the past, and telling me about his marriage would have meant telling me about his wife, which would have revealed a lot about him early. Now, I have to balance the BFD I know from the BFD who existed as a young man.
I do not know that I would have gone out with him again had he told me on our first date. It would have shifted how I think of him too significantly when I had no other knowledge. Not the married part . . . I was nearly married twice, once when I would have been a year younger than BFD when he married, and then to A. But the fact of who he married.
I often do a terrible job of maintaining the slight anonymity under which I write while being honest about the emotional issues with which I am dealing. There are lots of complicating factors involved to which I have alluded, but I am always worried that providing a couple of details would make everything immediately obvious to everyone. My need to express how I feel is more important than sketching out for a casual reader precisely why these issues exist, but this one is important.
Both BFD and I dated significantly older people when we were in our 20s. We had discussed this back in December over dinner. It’s part of who we are, early success often leads to being surrounded by people older and there is a thrill that comes from being around very sophisticated people when you’re still trying to figure out your own style and taste.
BFD was married to an older woman when he was a young man. Not old, but older. In some ways, I am happy knowing that he was married to a trailblazing, smart, successful woman. I am also happy knowing that he may have fewer issues with the ravages of time on my body.
I also understand that he missed/skipped his opportunity to tell me early on. We disclosed broad stroke past relationships on Date One, with no details. I told him about A and why we split, he told me about his last two girlfriends he dated in the last town in which he lived. He told me he considered me as having been married after so long with A, which is accurate, and yet he never told me he’d been divorced.
We really do not talk about our romantic pasts — we come to each other with a clean slate and no histories, which is how A and I handled things, too. Since many of my exes are still floating in my universe, I prefer it this way.
My mother is convinced that he knew very well he had not said anything before and took an opportunity to tell me while we were physically separated. I was not even looking at him when he told me. He was stretching on the floor while I was sitting on the sofa. I think she’s wrong; it felt too organic to the conversation for a bombshell to be dropped, but perhaps she’s right.
As we get closer, these little revelations become more important. We both know we’re constantly testing each other right now because the stakes are so high. Will we get married? Will we have children together? That’s what we’re trying to figure out.
The second big revelation, which chronologically came first, was our discussion about how an interest he has coincides with knowledge I have. Of all of the truth-telling we’ve done, that revelation is the most important. Having the discussion, and subsequent reveals, has put a whole new spin on our relationship. I worry that he thinks of me differently now that he knows. He had suspected, but now he knows. More than knowing, he thinks he wants to be involved in that part of my life. He wants to be involved in every part of my life. He wants me to be involved in every part of his. Even the secret, scary ones.
We have a whole new level of trust and honesty. That secret stuff you’d never admit to anyone, that’s what we now know about each other.
I have been a little worried that this rawness and vulnerability will separate us somehow. I hate being vulnerable unless I am completely committed. I feel this overwhelming urge to rebuild some walls, and I am trying to figure out if I rebuild them around me or around us. I think I have been worried for nothing, though. After Thursday’s big reveals, we had our great Friday date and the Friday reveal. Even after the Friday reveal, we laid together and kissed passionately, which might have been my favorite part of the date.
Every bad thing hurts more when I feel so vulnerable. For now, I have to continue to resist the urge to rebuild the wall between us.