Let me preface this with I don’t think my lover is having an affair.
There’s been a niggle in the back of my mind for a day or so, though I haven’t had any clue what’s prompted it. Something’s been off, but I don’t know what.
I was in bed next to my lover and attempting to drift off about half an hour ago. Slowly, lines began to form in my mind.
He picked me up from work on Friday, which is an anomaly but we’d made plans for dinner because we hadn’t expected to see each other since Tuesday morning (he was away for work, but we’d ended up seeing each other on Wednesday night). He was on the phone when I got into the car, and I’d gotten the impression that he’d wanted me to be quiet even before I got in (he gets work calls at all hours so I’d assumed it was a work thing).
I got in to the car quietly and waited for him to finish his call, which was being conducted on speaker through the car stereo. Because of that, I could see the name of the person he was talking to on his stereo’s display – a female friend who he mentioned a couple of times when we first got together, but hasn’t mentioned since. In spite of the lack of mention, I know they’re in touch reasonably often because I read things around me, usually without meaning or trying to. He gets a message on WhatsApp when I can see the phone, and I’ll usually notice who it’s from. I try not to read messages, but I’ll admit to noticing that they sign off their messages with xx.
I trust him. I assume they have gone through something deeply personal and there’s a closeness there that I’m not yet privy to. So far not an issue. (Ending messages with kisses is not something that I do, or have ever done, outside of this relationship. It’s weird for me that people do it.)
Back to the car: I keep quiet, the conversation concludes and she says something like “I’ll meet you at yours at 9.” I don’t notice at the time, but he doesn’t let her know that I’ve gotten into the car. He usually lets friends know I’m in the car (and able to hear what they’re saying) so that seems odd to me now. I assume she knows I exist, but I don’t know for certain that she does.
Conversation over, and we start talking about our day, the things he’s been doing during his week, general catch up stuff. Then he starts listing off what he’s got planned for the next week. No mention of the catch up with the friend he’d been talking to. Noted.
Two other things to mention:
- He’d recently received a message from a different female friend, which I’d noticed had been signed with kisses as well. All of his messages to me end with kisses and, largely because of that, most of mine to him do as well. Those times that my messages haven’t included kisses have inspired “what’s wrong?” types of conversations.
- I once dated a girl who was, well, dodgy as fuck. I was at uni at the time and spending most of my nights at her place. One morning, I got up, went to uni, discovered my day’s lectures were fairly uninspiring, and decided to go home (her place) early. I walked in and found another girl sitting on our bed, talking to her. The other girl was clothed. The girl I was dating wasn’t. It wasn’t post-coital, but something was off. Apparently they’d been catching up regularly “just to talk.” I don’t know when, but they did end up hooking up while I was still with DAF. Now, well, I like to know if people are coming in to where I live. I don’t want to experience any more of those kinds of surprises.
Jump forward to me in bed with lines forming. Kisses at the end of messages grabs me suddenly. I have never particularly liked it, but I like it even less now that I know he does it regularly with female contacts. I identify as genderqueer. This wouldn’t be so upsetting if he signs messages to male friends with kisses, but he doesn’t. He has lumped me in with the other women he knows. First of all, fuck off. I do not identify as female, and this feels like part of me has been forgotten or glossed over. Second of all, fuck right off. He has lumped me in with the other women he knows, like I am no different to any of them. If he dies tomorrow and someone goes through his phone messages to determine something about his life, my messages do not stand out from any of the others. More importantly, his messages to me do not stand out either. Finally, FUCK RIGHT OFF. Who in their right fucking minds thinks it’s appropriate to sign messages to only their female friends with kisses? What does that say about what he thinks about women? What the actual fucking hell?! I’m concerned that he treats men and women differently, and that he thinks this is okay.
I roll over, wake him, ask him if we can please stop signing our text messages with kisses. I do not articulate all of these reasons, but I let him know that I know he does it with his female friends and it makes me uncomfortable.
Now that some context has been provided, back to the statement at the start of this post. I don’t think my lover is having an affair. That statement stands, though if I was going through this with anyone else I’d probably have serious concerns. It doesn’t look good.
My lover has a history of being controlled in relationships. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that’s contributing to what’s going on in relation to the friend he’s catching up with (maybe regularly?) but no longer mentioning. He’s quite possibly concerned about how I’m going to react, so he’s keeping it to himself.
That explanation works to a certain point for me. I suspect there might be more to this particular friendship, potentially in the form of flirting that he appreciates and is not comfortable divulging to me or that he doesn’t want to stop. It’s weird I don’t hear about this person at all anymore, even though they communicate regularly and she has potentially even been to my home. It seems like there is more to know here.
And I think that’s the root cause of the niggle. Something’s not quite right. There’s something that’s not being communicated with me, I suspect. It might be nothing, but if it’s nothing then why does he never mention this person?