Thursday, November 03, 2005

My second counselling session with boyfriend number 1

Early last week, I did a lot of thinking about my relationship with boyfriend number 1 and became quite upset, thinking that my 16 year relationship with boyfriend number 1 is probably finished. But somehow I felt a bit happier after our second counselling session together.

Seated with the counsellor, it was boyfriend number 1 who starts the talking:

"Since last week, I've thinking about one thing most of the time. I had thought that you'd just been with one other guy who you met in Singapore, but last time you said you'd been meeting 'men' for casual sex, not just one 'man'. How many more lies are there?"

"OK, I do want to be honest, but ...", I search for the words, "there's a couple of things I want to say before I answer that question. Actually I've been thinking about all this a lot since last week."

Both boyfriend number 1 and the counsellor are listening.

"If we split up, I do want to look after you to some extent. I know you don't have anywhere like the money or income necessary to stay in the area of London where we live at the moment. So if we split up and you wanted to stay in the area, I'd want to buy you somewhere to live, perhaps a one-bedroom garden flat if that's what you'd want."

Not much reaction, apart from a slightly muffled grunt from boyfriend number 1. I continue anyway

"I've also been thinking about my behaviour. I do accept that I was wrong to start seeing other guys for casual sex without discussing it with you."

The counsellor butts in, "Why didn't you?"

"I know what the reaction would have been, very very negative. I guess I wasn't brave enough, but I accept that's no excuse."

Boyfriend number 1 looks slightly happier. At least he's got an admission of guilt from me.

"But to answer the original question", I continue. "Over the years I've met lots of guys all over the world for casual sex, including a lot of guys in London."

"How long has this been going on?" asks boyfriend number 1 anxiously, slightly taken aback. "Have you been doing this since we first got together?"

"No, I only started meeting a few other guys about 10 years ago. But it's got worse this year. Before I never got emotionally evolved at all, but now I do feel emotionally involved with the guy I went on holiday with over the summer."

"Have you done it with any guys we know socially?" he asks. I know why he's asking this, because there's one of our friends in particular who I get on with very well, and boyfriend number 1 is thinking that we might have had a few encounters together.

"No, everyone I've met has been completely outside our social circle. And I've never brought them back to our house either, it's always been elsewhere."

"The idea that you'd had other guys in our house never even crossed my mind" interrupts boyfriend number 1. "So how many guys have you met?"

This is it. I'd been counting up so I've got my answer ready. "This year, it's probably been about fifty".

"FIFTY??", says boyfriend number 1. "How on earth did you manage that? Where did you find the time?"

"Oh I don't know", I say honestly. It sounds a lot even to me, but I know it's the right number. Anyway the last thing on my mind is perhaps the most important:

"I've got one more thing to add at the moment". Sharp intake of breath, "I'm wondering whether we wouldn't both be happier if we split up! Over the years, I think all our arguments have boiled down to one thing. I've been after an adventurous life, but you've always been after a quiet one. I guess I've been having my adventures, meeting these other guys, but I'm thinking that this is a fundamental incompatibility that we've been ignoring because we get on OK on a day-to-day basis"

I found it very hard to get the words out. But boyfriend number 1 doesn't react much. The councellor picks up on this and we talk about it a bit, but soon the discussion has drifted onto other matters. For me, the last point still needs to be resolved, one way or the other.

Now that I have been completely honest with boyfriend number 1, we seem to be getting on a bit better at home. Somehow, I guess, he knows that I'm telling the truth now. I'm sure he noticed things over the years, although he never wanted to draw the obvious conclusion that I was playing away. I don't know what's going to happen next, but after the counselling session last week at least I'm feeling a bit better about the situation.

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