I jumped online the next night and told him I wouldn’t be coming to town. I blamed it on my daughter not really wanting to attend college so far from home. We broke up (again) that night. I considered unfriending him, but wasn’t ready to totally disconnect. I still had to check on him via his Facebook page and see what was going on in his life without me in it (even though I hadn’t been in it for 35 years) Did he love his wife? Did he think about me? Was I being a total immature idiot?
Four months passed with no chat activity. I was over him, finally. A few weeks ago I posted something about my mom being very ill. My chat window popped up with this message from him, “thinking about you, give my love to your Mom and take care of yourself.” The freak in me wondered, give your love to my Mom, what about me? I hated Facebook chat at that very minute and unfriended him.
What has the online revolution done to us baby boomers? It used to be that we would only see our ex-boyfriends at class reunions, with our husbands safely in tow.
So, here’s what I learned from this whole experience.
1) Fantasies don’t always play out well. Sometimes leaving those great memories untouched make them more valuable. I am not happy that I gave in to Facebook temptation and actually went searching for a lost love, especially since I am married to one of the greatest guys on earth.
2) Doing something secretly does not make it more exciting. I told one friend about this guy and she immediately advised me to stop; that I was wading into dangerous territory. I should have listened. I never brought it up to her again and continued my communication. It was just too easy. All I had to do was sneak into my office and, to my family, it just looked like I was working late.
3) I will never again search for someone online (and yes, there are more). Initially, after we connected, I felt giddy and silly, my self-esteem was boosted and I went about my business during the day looking forward to a hot date every night. In retrospect, I realize now that I was using my evening muse as a distraction from small issues in my marriage that needed my attention.
4) After it was all over, I viewed Facebook totally different. I focused on my business and developed professional relationships that needed to be nurtured. I took the energy I was clearly wasting on this fantastical situation and transferred it to a few hours of productive work – minus the wine – and noticed a huge payoff in the form of increased referrals.
5) I truly believe this was my mid-life crisis. No one got hurt, nothing was acted upon and I moved through it realizing just how lucky I am to have a man who loves me, two daughters who depend on me, and, most importantly, the good sense to realize I was being tested in some odd way.
I did give his love to my Mom. I shut the door on years that cannot be taken back, decisions that cannot be changed and quietly thank him for telling me to take care of myself. Because that is exactly what I am doing.