Pre knowing The Player was a player and when he traveled, he used to call me at the end of the day to touch base. As couples do, we discussed in brief our day which typically involved the kids, the home and whatever went on in The Player’s day including his stressors and successes. These calls would come to me usually when he was “in his hotel room,” or sometimes because time differences, while on the way to or back from dinner or an event at a conference, which was a lot of times, free-flowing with alcohol.
Looking back now, of course, it’s clouded with anger and pain. He will tell you the majority of the time, it was as it was presented to me. The Player will tell you there were hundreds of times he wasn’t trying to flirt the night away with some whore. He will tell you that he did stay in his room after we spoke. He will tell you that majority of nights he was alone, after having had dinner with friends (and “friends”) or drinks and he went back up to his room alone and he didn’t even fuck anyone. Sure, many of his calls were in fact, truthful. Of course, those calls aren’t the problem. It’s the ones where he was just using the call to get it over with to go and do what he wanted to, which it turns out as we all now know, was to play.
Too many times to count he would quickly get the call “out-of-the-way” so he could go and do what he wanted. Sometimes it was to stay out drinking, jumping from hospitality suite to suite at an event, free drinks, don’t you know. Sometimes it was to hangout at a bar after an event with a group of people with one or more of the women on his hit list, “hit list.” I say hit list, because there is a long list of women he just flirted with but never had the opportunity to work them into being someone he fucked. But hell if that didn’t stop him from trying.
So fucking pathetic, even I can’t believe it.
So in the one to two years since I found out the entire truth – after gaslighting me for over a year – he has tried to make me feel safer while on the road. When I say “tried” I mean, you know, he hasn’t actually done that all the time. When he is traveling to host a meeting or event, or there for a client, and he’s “busy” he sort of fails. He loses track of time, he bounces from one meeting to the next, he’s entertaining, meeting for drinks and side bar meetings, he having meetings between meetings, etc, you know I’ve heard them all. The problem is that he managed my expectations that he was going to stay in contact one way and then he didn’t for those reasons above.
On a recent trip he didn’t call me or touch base with me at all for nearly three days in a row. The contact was sporadic and when he did, it was open-ended, “sorry I missed you” in one text, or “At dinner, will call you later,” if he texted at all. On the last day of the trip I was so fucking worked up that I was crying because he had the nerve to call me from outside a bar, where he said he was going to have, “one drink” with a client and then would be returning to his room. It was already a couple of hours time difference, so I had to sleep and said, “Forget it, do not call me back.” I was so fucking pissed and hurt.
I thought, “Fuck that.” I was tired of being a second thought on those busy trips, busy trips that he arranges that way – so I said, “Fuck this,” when he called back. I said, “You had the fucking nerve to call me from outside of a bar? In the same way you used to touch base with me so you could then go fuck someone? Fuck this.”
Then I hung up.
Something changed in me about his contact while on the road. I just refuse to live like that. There was a time that I craved the time alone. His traveling meant easier dinners, less work for me, time for me to see friends, spend time doing things I enjoy and certainly not worrying about if he has called me or not.
I am not that kind of person, the kind that waits for her husband to call her and gets upset when he doesn’t. Or at least I didn’t used to be. That last night of that trip, I swore I would be changing this arrangement.
As it so happens sometimes, we had a therapy appointment together scheduled the next day. I was able to announce my new stance. “I don’t give a shit if you call or don’t call when you’re traveling. I’m letting it go because I’m tired of being disappointed by you. I’m taking responsibility for how I respond to your actions and I’m letting this go.”
The Player did not take this well. He wasn’t upset at me or anything but he does not like when I use the word “distancing” and I used it several times in that session. The CSAT had to say, “Distancing has worked well for you in the past, I can understand why you want to do it.” He added to The Player directly when he was concerned about it, “We have to respect what she needs to do for her.” The Player said several things like, “I understand you deserve more from me.” I said, “But I don’t care anymore. You’ve gotten me to the point where I don’t care anymore.”
The next trip that The Player took was to a city in which The Player had a lot of personal fun in. I mean, he fucked a lot of people, or tried to anyway and guess what? I didn’t give a shit that he went and I didn’t expect to even talk to him because remember, I decided to let it go. He did stay in touch a lot, which great, one trip! Good for him. Whatever.
A friend in the infidelity family asked if this lowering my expectations was setting up an unsafe environment for me and I basically told her that it was an illusion anyway. Even if he called me every hour it wouldn’t mean he wasn’t acting out. I told her there were behaviors that were not conducive to us being married but him calling me? That really isn’t one of them. As long as he’s still working on himself and sharing with me what he is learning and allowing me to talk freely about his recovery and our recovery, I am okay with his lack of contact on the road. Distance has been good for me.
I recently wondered if distance on his issue is creating distance in me in other ways. I can’t tell if I’m distancing myself from the drama that the lack of contact caused me or making myself apathetic to him in general.