He Caught Me. Cheating.

IMG_2090Rudy has been, for the past year or so, questioning himself. Wondering if there is any meaning behind the fact he can’t just seem to find a job, in his field of expertise, or anywhere else. With every phone call about his resumé, listing his superior qualifications, to the several interviews, leading nowhere, he’s gone from a high of believing he can do anything to a low feeling he can’t.

People occasionally ask me how I am dealing with his situation, without much complaint. The thing is, I do complain, if that’s what you want to call it, to him, where my words should be aimed. I don’t talk in a way that makes things worse, rather I express how I am feeling, hoping he’ll understand that we are both affected by his lack of participation, in life. His desire to succeed has diminished. He’s frustrated, angry, and overall disappointed in himself. I handle it by looking beyond what I actually, physically see and go deep, observing what is not so apparent. Taking clues from what’s not being said.

The other day, Rudy and I were in the kitchen, talking, but not really, when he needed to tell me about a dream he’d had.

In the dream, he began, I saw you, hanging all over some young guy, your arms wrapped around him, and you were laughing, having fun. I never could see the guy you were with. He was so young, but you were you, the age you are now. 

As I was listening to his tale, trying to understand his reason for telling me his love affair dream, his knees suddenly gave out. He began to breathe rapidly and his eyes widened liked someone experiencing a traumatic, unexpected moment. He grabbed a chair, sat, and lowered his head between his shaking knees. He seemed lost, unsure. I thought for sure he was going to faint, so I walked over to him, coaxed him into a sitting position, cupped my hands on both sides of his face, and gently told him to breathe.

Slowly, I told him. Slow down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Slow.

I wanted to calm him, soothe him, let him know everything was okay. But, also, inside my mind, behind all my kind words I wondered who the heck I had an affair with that caused Rudy so much turmoil. Once his breathing was, again, under control, he looked at me with eyes full of sadness, a kind of heartbreak I had never seen before.

The guy, he continued, never looked in my direction, and when I asked you what you were doing you shouted at me ‘That’s your problem, not mine!’ and that’s when the young guy finally looked my way, looked right at me. And I couldn’t believe who he was.

Again, Rudy cried, smashed his palms into his eye sockets. I stooped, rested my hands on his thighs, and waited for him to tell me more.

It was me! he shouted. It was my 21 year old self! You were having an affair with me!

Tears once again filled his eyes, reflecting the overhead lights, before splashing down his cheeks.

You? It was you? I asked, just to confirm.

Yes. Me. When I was probably only 21. When we first met. You were you, your age now, and you were cheating with me, but a young me, he answered.

That’s pretty intense, I told him.

All that I could think about was the symbolism within the dream. How it was full of meaning. His internal story. But, I didn’t say anything. I remained quiet, wondering what he thought about it. Yet, Rudy couldn’t control his crying. His blubbering. As if he realized the dream was trying to tell him something. I embraced him. Held him tight. Knowing this may be a breakthrough. A turning point. A new beginning.

And then he spoke. It means you miss the young guy I was, he told me. That I have left that not-a-care-in-the-world kind of guy, the ambitious one behind and have forgotten about him. And that is what you are seeking. The real me.

I do miss him, I honestly said, the person I met all those years ago. The guy I’ve grown up with. But, I needed to add, just so we’re clear here, if I was going to cheat, it’d be with you.

I laughed, but it was his smile that brightened the room.

11 thoughts on “He Caught Me. Cheating.

  1. This is such a loving example of your life together. Personally, I worked so hard to grow “out” of my youngster self and into the responsible adult…I ended up leaving a lot of good parts behind. It’s good to be reminded that there are parts of our younger selves that can be brought back to life. Maybe Rudy is recognizing there are parts of him that he’s left behind who’s resurrection is going to be integral in his job search now. You are both so fortunate to have each other.

  2. Hi Daphne I totally understand what you are going through. Brett had no job since Kate was born. We survived on little website design jobs and I mean little. He finally got a job after 5 yrs of being unemployed. We never collected unemployment or got help. And I wasn’t working because to go back to work min wage and have to pay for childcare did not make sense. I couldn’t go back into my field, no jobs. We couldn’t go back to college we had to SURVIVE on what meager earnings Brett could scrounge up. I can not believe we went through those years. He just got a job a few weeks ago. Now he can list that he has a job and get another if needed. OMG I am there with you. Seriously. Hang in there and love him. You guys are great together. I like what k~ said “you have gone through this together” :) Take care. If you need to talk you can always call me. Jeanine

    • thanks so much, jeanine. i know you understand. keep moving forward is my motto. there is no other way to go. i am glad to hear brett has found something, bringing him full circle.

  3. I am so touched by Rudy’s pain. I’ve been there. The feeling of not good enough and not understanding why. No one wanted me, no one wanted me to work for them no matter what job it was. I am a good employee. I screamed inside my head more than once! You people are missing out, again blaring inside my brain. But no job. No income, unemployment gone. It was horrid.
    I finally got a temporary job that I held for 7 years. Not a job I wanted at all, but ended up loving it and supporting my children with it after the divorce.
    I believe my (and Rudy’s) situation was meant to ground me or maybe humble me. Whatever it was, it was viciously destructive to my confidence and my feeling of worth.
    As hard as everyone in my life tried to keep me up, I felt no value of self until the temporary (6 week) job fell into my lap.
    It will happen for Rudy, if it’s meant to. If not, there is a reason. I wish I could advise you and him how to rebuild that feeling of value, but it never learned it for myself.

    I will pray for him and for his wife. Perhaps the most compassionate person I know.

    • Thank you, Jo. I do believe whatever is meant to happen will. This is a major stepping stone for Rudy… just the reflection of a dream is huge… coming from you, your comment means a lot!

  4. Wow, left me speechless and teary eyed. I too was where Rudy is, moving here has been difficult, but in silent, because I wanted my husband to believe everything was okay, but it wasn’t. I put on a façade for months. Through the months it has gotten better but not to where I would want it to be. I pray daily for guidance! There is no one else I would rather be with than my husband, and he keeps trying hard to make sure I’m fine. It’s a pressure when there is only a one income family. I truly feel bad. But the Lord has been kind, I have a job that gets us by on a bill or two. (you’ve probably seen me advertise it *chocolate* but when I see my husband smile because of it I know I’ve accomplished something. Your story tugged at my heart today and THANK YOU!

  5. Such a touching story Daphne, both for the part of him he misses (not just you) and for the way in which you embraced all of him in the conversation. You two have been through a lot, but you have done it together. There is no reason to think it would be any other way. Blessings to you both, for having found a way to be both vulnerable and strong, together.

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