the shadow behind the wall…temptation

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cognition / emotional health / human experience / relationships / Uncategorized


 EMPTY house. Empty bed. Morning shadows peeking in from closed curtains as if to see if he had made a decision regarding his own fate yet.

IT felt almost certainly that it was a one-sided relationship he’d been experiencing these last few years.  Most men might not have noticed; however, he was intuitively keen-sensed and more in touch with feelings than he was able to show overtly. There was some kind of unspoken agreement that he didn’t ever remember being asked his input on, nor was he given an opportunity to consent to. The  S—–P—–A—–C—-E  between them, for lack of better visual, was almost painful in it’s distance that kept him from her.  It created havoc in his emotional wiring, which tended to be fed by reciprocation and validation.  Both of which, he lacked. He felt no telepathic magic going on with this dangerous game anymore.  His powers of intuition were now shot. He’d done what he had never intended to do. He got lost in her. He broke boundaries and probably held court in a person’s head who had no business taking residence in his. In this case he received no comfort or warmth that he generally required of a relationship.

THE mere idea of her gave him such strong longing that, at times, holding back with it’s need for resistance created such pressure, such a sense of tension, that he felt powerless to it. Left alone with his thoughts, he obsessively spent hours second guessing past conversations that he’d assumed meant one thing, and yet maybe they meant something else altogether. He studied everything about her. All of his senses wanted to be around this mysterious being with the dark glances and broodingly quiet presence. He yearned to crack her open to see a beating heart. Surely she had one. Though it was kept hidden deeply inside herself. Buried deep underneath layers and layers of protection, as she’d been burned before, and deeply.

HE knew this about her like he knew her smell and the sound her soft chuckle made when he attempted what now seemed like inappropriate tries at building rapport. The only way he could identify with this type of emotional pain was to hit something and keep hitting it until his hand bled and his knuckles throbbed. His pain was then real to him. If she couldn’t see his genuineness then he would feel it for both of them. It didn’t seem fair and it didn’t feel right…this “thing”, whatever they had.

EACH and every response he got from her, be it verbal or nonverbal was akin to that perfect golf shot one gets; yet these were few and far between. He would think to himself that he must not be doing this right. He was the judge and jury as his motives were constantly being questioned. He sought boundaries and some semblance of a rule that might help him to understand why it wasn’t ok to have these feelings (lust? love?) while in the same breath he could rationalize them as just wanting sex. It was okay. It was normal. It was what guys do.

BUT it wasn’t. He felt more. He wanted more. He felt the need for her presence. There was a connection there. Pheromones? Souls colliding? What. The. Hell. Was. This. Bullshit?   IMG_3218

SO he would stop. He told himself this repeatedly. Historically he had always done whatever he had the urge to do.  He had been gluttonous almost and was able to reconcile that with the fact that he was a good person with all good intent. If there was to be a mess he would be the first there to clean it up. There were no consequences in his mind greater than the desire he felt to have it all. To have her love him. Or maybe need him. Which was it? He demanded of himself to know. He had to know. He had to organize this in his mind.


IN his current situation, though, he constantly questioned whether his good was good enough. He found that it may never be the right time or place for him to get it right with her. His best intentions were making a mess of him.  He’d like to pretend it all didn’t matter, that it would go away with time and distance. He would like very much to think that he didn’t need it in his life.  That there was no place for this one-sided friendship. It was becoming too much work for not nearly enough yield. Or maybe he hadn’t believed in himself and the power and strength that he had over good and evil. Maybe he could fight this magnanimous force with the thousand pound pull. Maybe he didn’t want to.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to give in to temptation without fear of consequences? Didn’t he deserve to feel a sense of comfort and warmth with each tug and pull at the sleeve of that which provided minimal attention at best?

WHAT made him grab for the steel ring below when the platinum one hung at eyelevel?  He learned in his CCD classes decades ago that a sin was equal to the amount of awareness and  intent present in an action. A mistake, rather, was something that just happened. There was no intention or plan to be deceptive or to be untrustworthy. Therefore, his actions in the form of his feelings toward this woman were merely based on honest compassion and aided by his life circumstances at the time. A millisecond of relief rose in his heart and mind. Until he realized that he’d known all along what he’d been doing. What he didn’t understand was why the pull to her was so strong when there was so much to lose. A temptation that he felt testosterone-driven to acquire? Or a person that he might be able to love deeply. Madly. She, who wrapped around a soul that shared his own?

AND what about this life he already shared with a wife and children who he loved? He buried his head in his hands. The usually loud, vibrant sound of young children weren’t home. His dedicated, unassuming wife was out with them. He’d begun to sob quietly. How could this even have happened? How could he have allowed this to happen? He heard a voice inside himself beg to let it go. Let her go. Make this obsession leave him at peace to focus on his wife. His beautiful children. HIS LIFE.

Shadows fell as the sunlight dimmed in his quiet home where he placed his throbbing head on his office desk to alleviate the pain. He would fix this. He would manage this as he did his 237 employees. He would put this away in a neat, confidential file in his brain. He would attend church more.

He would resist temptation.


The Author

I am a licensed clinical social worker who just happens to adore the written word. I have had a private practice and am now writing a memoir on my life in the company of my father and many of my clients who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I hope to dispel some myths and break down some barriers for those with mental illness. I write out of need and complete joy, which I hope to convey throughout my blogs. The human experience is not exclusive to one group. I hope to appeal to most as I touch on some pretty heady material with some self-deprecating humor and raw emotion thrown in for good measure. I have four amazing children, one HUGE dog and a tolerant husband. I am blessed.


  1. Why thanks, Tony! Strange how I feel things sometime, like I can get into people’s heads. I greatly appreciate your feedback- the good the bad and/or the ugly. I think you’re one who “gets it”…have a capacity to feel and mostly accept yourself for it. At least I hope you do. I am learning to both accept and respond more appropriately to the gift that has often been a curse in my life.

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  2. These words there are the nightmares of my life. So afraid that these are words that loop through my husband’s brain over and over. And while a nightmare is only there when we sleep, I’m afraid they have taken on life of their own, as I can see these words in his eyes when I dare look


    • Oh Chely….It sounds like you are so haunted by this it’s possibly become your obsession. Could you be reading your own fear into his eyes? Do you talk to him about this or are you afraid of what he might say? Would he be honest with you if you did and would you even believe it? Have the two of you been to marital therapy? Is that even a possibility? I am concerned for you. Keep me posted, friend.


      • Unfortunately, I have become obsessed with it all. I am trying not to be, but it is difficult when I don’t have all the pieces to work out in my mind. I offered grace to him right off, but I explained that he would have to earn the trust part back. While he is kinder (most of time) to me and we do more things together, it feels forced. I do not believe he is in love with me, except in the terms of length and familiarity, married almost 20 years. No he has never cared about how hurt, how I feel, my opinion or me unless it has to do with/benefit him. The sex is all about him though he’s skilled about making you think it’s all about you. There is no emotional intimacy, never really was I suppose. But I feel her presence around us, in his lost and faraway thoughts, and when I think of the various things he did say in the couple of conversations about the mess, he protected her talked about if only it was a different place and time when they had met. blah, blah, blah. But you don’t keep an affair going for that long (at least 5 if not 10 years of weekly communications), receipts for jewelry not given to me, and I even suspect he may have gotten someone pregnant by some incriminating evidence. So I pray that I fight my co-dependant tendancies and be able to leave this (so called) marriage


  3. I will pray along with you on that. This sounds like two people who have a tenuous connection at best. Is that satisfying for you? What makes you stay? Why do you think he stays? It seems to me that either you let it go and truly forgive or you let him go and live on without him and work toward loving yourself enough to let yourself be loved in return. Trust, as you know, is huge. Are you working toward trust or just hoping it’ll somehow come to you? As it is now at least one of you is fairly miserable, always looking over your shoulder or waiting for the next shoe to drop. How long are you going to be able to sustain that? I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Chely! ❤


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