Monday evening came and saw Alexander and me enjoying dinner at Barrafina’s on Adelaide St before crossing the Thames and going on to the National Theatre. It was a short play and we came home to mine by half ten. There was time for some tea afterwhich we went upstairs for bed and more. He had to leave early in the morning but we still had time to indulge in a little more intimacy before he had a shower, returned me my shirt I’d inadvertently left at his last week and finally, most deliciously, he had kissed me goodbye until Thursday, before he closed the door and descended the stairs and went out the front door.
The previous evening we’d talked frankly about his home circumstances – the depression his wife suffers and how that affects her ability to cope with their children; the involvement of the borough they lived in to ensure that the children’s needs are met, the meetings with council staff to weigh up and consider the instruments for satisfying such outcomes. He clearly has a lot to contend with. I’d suggested to him that he could just go home at the end of our date if it was easier to negotiate travel, etc for such a meeting the following morning. He had given me so complete a look of anguish that I felt a mixture of guilt and satisfaction for proposing it.
He also told me about his past girlfriends and how he had always been attracted to strong and independent women. I observed that it didn’t seem as though the women he married had those characteristics. He said that when he first met her, his current wife had come across as such and it was only later on that he realised she was particularly needy and emotionally unstable. Like most marriages they had had good times, she was sexually adventurous and he had been attracted to that – they had enjoyed holidays in Europe at naturist sites. He blamed his own optimism and hope that things would turn a corner for not leaving earlier. When the atmosphere at home had reached a certain level of toxicity that saw some physical violence, he had realised then that it was time to walk away. He had been unfoundedly fearful of outcomes which had actually borne an opposing result – he was more at ease, regained his confidence and ability to parent singly, met and tentatively formed friendships with other women, rediscovered his sexuality, and so on – as such none of the fears that had held him back from walking away had come to fruition.
Before he met his current wife he had been seeing someone based in Europe and the few occasions they’d met had been alluring and exciting until it all went wrong somehow. I guess the more at arm’s length someone is kept, the greater the danger of miscommunication and misunderstanding.
For now we are on the same page – this is clearly an arrangement that suits us both – we have dependents and commitments that keep us on our toes, maybe even test our stress levels at times, such that the intimacy and dates we have with each other offer release and a break from reality. That I can be content with. For now this is good enough.