Our next separate date had a subtle, yet distinct, undercurrent of change. It was as though we were waiting for my husband and Amy to finish their date instead of focusing on the one we were on. Brad seemed far away and distracted. I noticed him checking his phone often for updates even though there weren’t any. It reminded me of swinging with couples who weren’t fully secure yet with exchanging partners. The insecure person will keep glancing over instead of focusing on the new person. We spent most of time talking about how he was scared of the emotional connection between his wife and my husband, as well as his own hesitance about his feelings towards me. He also had serious issues with Amy exploring her sexual fantasies without him.
For the first time our relationship felt tenuous as he rehashed previous discussions between Amy and himself. They all had a theme: she would casually reassure him that things would work out fine, but he would remain unconvinced. He expressed doubts whether he could be involved emotionally with someone other than his wife. My natural inclination was to run away, but it occurred to me that this was a pattern in my life that I was all too used to. My long-standing difficulty in being vulnerable with others was a constant limitation and I was ready for change. Despite all my instincts telling me to run, I made a conscious decision to stay present with him. I reached out even though he was emotionally distancing himself and had been for awhile. It resulted in a victorious breakthrough where we were both vulnerable with each other. I held his hand with no guard up, and he responded by dropping his own wall. We both had tears in our eyes as we acknowledged the overwhelming fear we felt. The beautiful connection closed the distance between us and gave us a renewed confidence that things were going to be okay. Little did we know, it was actually the beginning of the end.