What a difference 24 hours makes

Yesterday started out like any other day then rapidly imploded!

I received information from a “friend” about him, something he’d denied, not simply avoided.  It was unsolicited by me, but provided all the same…to “protect” me.  He’d lied! If he’d never brought the matter up in the first place or never used it as a means to complain about his wife, it wouldn’t have been such an affront.

I tried to deal with my emotions alone, process, not confront him, but rather avoid him until I’d had time to think the matter through.  My mistake was reacting!  I sent him a message stating I felt like such a fool, an idiot, I was hurt.  Nothing more.

He responded with short messages, questions.  Repeatedly.  Then he called.  I tried to avoid him, tell him I was fine, would be fine, but needed to deal with the “matter”.  I didn’t give him a straight answer, didn’t tell him what hurt me, why I’d sent the message.

I received a call I’d been waiting for and was able to get off the phone with him abruptly. But only temporarily avoiding the inevitable.

He called again, after messaging several times which I didn’t respond to.  Again, I tried to not say anything, gauge my emotions, process what I’d discovered.  He pushed, wanted to know who I was upset by, with, asked if it was him.  I finally answered yes.

He didn’t understand what he’d done to upset me, what he might have said that had hurt me.  I told him I’d been lied to.  He’d lied.  I told him what I’d found out and how.  He was instantly defensive, felt he’d been “injured” by my “friend’s” digging for the information. Then he was upset I’d discussed him with someone.

I explained how the information had been discovered.  How I’d not betrayed him, but instead had shared my relationship with someone I’d known for quite a while.  No secrets, no risk.  I explained I’d given her his first name.  Her innocent attempt at helping me had caused her to come across his last name.  Her not-so-innocent additional search had discovered what she thought was information I needed to know…his marital status.

His anger was exaggerated, more than I felt was justified given his blatant lie about a subject that was in essence a non-issue had he been upfront and honest to begin with.

We solved nothing on the phone and he was forced to end the call to start on the return trip home from his business trip.  He was a passenger with other co-workers and unable to continue with an audience.

He messaged, I replied, we went back and forth.  Things became angrier and more distressing.  I told him he was free of me, if that’s what he required for my “grievance” of sharing with a friend.

He felt I had placed him at risk, risk he’d done everything to avoid, the very reason he’d lied to me.  I assured him I’d not placed him at risk, I’d done nothing to encourage her, she’d acted recklessly, of her own accord.  I further explained I had far more “cards to play” against her should she do anything to hurt either he or I.

We came to an impasse.  I apologized, accepted his apology, but knew we’d come to an end.  He claimed not, but I could not see a remedy, a repair.  I was broken – heart, mind, and spirit.  I found myself out of control, emotionally.  I was inconsolable.  The end of what I hoped was going in a more positive direction.

I walked, cried, drank, walked some more, drank much more, cried lots more.

He called once he was back to his own car, driving alone towards home.  I couldn’t hide the fact I was upset.  I couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t pull myself together.  Showed weakness I hate!  Gave him his leave, told him to forget about me, to let me to my grief. He refused.

After trying for over an hour, doing everything he could to dissuade me from letting him go, telling him to find someone else, he made the decision to come to my home.  I told him not to come, to stay away, I was finished, not worth his time.  He came anyway.

He sat beside me, held me, told me the only way I would be done with him was if I looked him in the eye and told him I no longer loved him.  I couldn’t.  I do love him.  I don’t want to be finished with him.  I don’t want him to be finished with me.  He told me he loved me.

I cried some more, for the silliness of the day, for the useless knowledge I’d obtained and thought was a big deal, for almost losing the man I love!

We came inside, went to bed, made love for hours.  We lay beside each other after our bodies were spent, fell asleep in each other’s arms.  I rested, fitfully, exhausted from tears and sadness.

I was awake when I felt him stir beside me.  He reached across, touched me, caressed me, hugged me.  We made love again, hungrily.  All upset from the previous day forgiven, excused.






Only in death

We had a very nice weekend.  Spent all of Saturday together, both day and night.  We drove to a favorite place of mine, a Mennonite community with a farmer’s market.  I’d mentioned it to him in the past and he wanted to experience it with me.  After buying several different kinds of produce, we went for a hike along the Ocoee River in the gorge. We hiked and talked for several hours.  I love hearing him talk and he wanted to share about his past, his history.

He wants me to get to know him, know who he was, who he is, who he wants to become. He’s sharing with me about his aspirations, wishes, dreams.  He already tells me about his days, his nights, his family, his friends, his activities.  He wants me to know all the things he wants to do, how he wants me involved, wants me along for the journey ahead.

In the middle of the night, around 3:00 am, he woke up, or so I thought, and said “I’m so tired!”  I asked why, and he mumbled, “life”.  He fell right back off, or deeper, since he actually was sleep-talking.  I, on the other hand, was up the rest of the night worried about the implications of what he said.

I found out the next morning when I asked him about it.  He had no recollection.  I told him what he said and he said he wasn’t surprised after the week he’d had with work and preparation for 2 upcoming business trips on top of the previous weekend battling with his wife.

I told him about my night, my reaction, my worries that my presence in his life was causing complications to his already crazy, out-of-control life.  He said he immediately wondered if that’s where my mind had gone.  He reassured me without me in his life, his constant, he’d not be able to continue.  He not only wanted me in his life, he needed me in his life now and always.

He left that morning to finish packing and drive to meet peers to travel together for the first meeting, an annual planning summit in Myrtle Beach.  He sent me a message reassuring me “death is the only way you will never have me in your life”.  He wants me to know he is sincere, he “cherishes” me, he feels cherished by me.

We’ve talked about not rushing our relationship.  He knows his parents want his divorce.  They don’t like his wife, they fear for his safety with her, they know how horrible she treats him.  They want him to be with someone who loves him, treats him as if he’s the most important thing in their life, but they also might not be supportive of his jumping right back into a committed relationship.

His daughters don’t like his wife.  The older only comes around or allows her around for his sake.  The younger won’t come around at all.  She has never liked her and has been vocal with him about her dislike and distrust of her.  She pegged her from the beginning, saw her true character, tried to warn him.  He was blind to what she saw.  He knows both of his daughters want him to be happy, to be loved, but they also will not be okay with him jumping right back into a committed relationship.

I have reasons of my own for not rushing things.  I receive alimony from my ex, support for the 19 years of marriage we shared, for the final five years of complete disconnect he created, for taking care of him following his accident, subsequent surgery, and then disability.  I deserve it for everything he said and did and didn’t say and didn’t do.

A condition of my receiving it is I don’t live with anyone or get remarried.  If either occurs, the alimony stops.  My ex moved in with his girlfriend before I ever filed for divorce, but if I so much as move in with someone or move someone in with me I’m penalized.

So although we both love each other, know our feelings are real and true and know we want to spend the rest of our lives together, we are forced into moving slowly and taking things at a rate others around us will be better able to handle – those who have no way of knowing about the months we’ve already spent getting to know each other and falling in love.







Turmoil and uncertainty

He’s scheduled his appointment with the attorney.  He has no idea if she’s done so.

She’s made some feeble attempts at playing nice.  She’s suggested counseling for them both and she’s mentioned her going to see a doctor about “anxiety” medication.  She’s reached out to a brother she alienated 9 years ago and is trying to reach out to other family members she pushed away or ran off.

He has seen similar responses from her in the past when they’ve had a major break, but he’d never gotten to the point of being finished like he is now.  She’s aware of the change in him and he says she’s obviously very frightened of the impact a divorce will have on her current lifestyle.

She no longer will be able to work 2-3 days a week and take 4 months off from October to February every year.  She’ll have to move and find a place to live she can afford and not have the luxury of his income to support her frequent trips and leisure activities.

He’s making calculated moves, protecting his interests, his personal safety given her violent mood swings.  He’s staying away from home more, for longer periods of time, avoiding confrontation and conflict that might escalate.

I’ve been able to spend much of this time with him.  He’s keeping me apprised of all the decisions he’s making, what, why.  He’s reassured me I am not the reason he’s divorcing her, she is.  Her anger, her bad attitude, her negative outlook, her critical nature, her volatility and violence.

He does tell me he loves me, that I’m a breath of fresh air, my personality and happy nature are a 180 degree difference, and he’s able to relax and breath around me.  He loves the intimacy and physical connection we share, but more so than that it’s the friendship we’ve built.

He’s never had anyone care for him, cherish him, appreciate him the way I do.  I feel exactly the same about the way he treats me.  We are a perfect fit!  We laugh, we cry, we share.  We appreciate all the little things about each other that often get overlooked.  We have the same desire for family and friends, for interaction and contribution.

I don’t want to rush things and he needs to do what must be done to separate himself from her.  He needs to seek the guidance of his attorney, do what he must to protect himself and all he’s rebuilt following his first divorce.  He needs to do things the right way this time.

The first time he let his emotions dictate what he thought was right.  His first wife was the mother of his daughters.  He did what he felt was in the best interest of his girls.  He didn’t insist upon setting the funds aside specifically for the girls thinking their mother would do the right thing and use his support for them.  That never happened.

There are no children from this marriage.  There are no connections apart from the 8 years they’ve been married – 8 years of arguing, discord, lack of intimacy, isolation and alienation of friends and family.

He feels he’s failed yet again, but I remind him daily there are two people in every situation responsible for either success or failure of a marriage.  She pushed him over and over again, took him for granted, abused his kindness and generosity, refused to accept responsibility and compromise.

He’s a caring, loving, nurturing man.  He’s creative, gentle, kind.  Her broken spirit and angry nature drove him away and made him become a lonely, unhappy man.  In his loneliness and unhappiness, he sought a friend, someone to talk to, connect with, never imagining he’d fall in love.  And then we met!

I’m on this journey with him, to help him remain focused and not get down, to encourage him and remind him he’s not the person she wants him to believe he is in order to make herself feel better.

There are going to be obstacles, hurtles, speed bumps, but I’m his friend first and foremost and I’ve promised him to be along to provide whatever support he needs along the way.  He’s worth it to me and my love runs deeper than any struggles to be faced during this journey.

I’m afraid of the unknown for him

Things are deteriorating rapidly at his home.  She is becoming increasingly more angry, saying very hurtful things, treating him horribly, abusing him verbally.  He’s miserable, grasping at straws, trying to figure a way out off their failed marriage with the least amount of collateral damage as possible.

Yesterday she disappeared for the day, leaving only a sticky note that she was out.  No details, no timing for her return.  He had meetings all day, from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Following work, he had to run to town to pickup supplies for a guy scheduled early this morning to finish a new dog run for their dog.

She returned after he got back home and was finished unloading the supplies.  They didn’t exchange words, in fact, didn’t speak.  He decided to leave rather than hide in the barn or dealing with the uncomfortable silence of being in his own home and waiting for the next confrontation to occur.

He messaged he was gone, going for a long ride, getting away for the night.  I offered to go along, listen if he needed to vent, remain quiet if he simply wanted to not think about any of it.  He took me up on the offer and picked me up.

We went and got his hair cut first then went to dinner.  We talked about lots of things, but avoided talking about her and their marriage.  The stress he’s facing, the pressure and the weight of his situation, was palpable.

I asked if he wanted to go to the park and walk, ride around the lake, anything.  He wanted to come back to my place and relax.  We sat on my couch in the growing darkness and I allowed him to talk.

He shared stories from his past, his life until now, some I’d heard before, others I didn’t recall.  He asked if there was anything I needed to know about him, any questions I needed to ask.  He wanted to be sure I was comfortable with him and was still interested in continuing my relationship with him.  I told him there was nothing he could say that would make me not feel the way I do.

We finally talked about how things were right now, our marriages, my divorces, his first divorce and his impending second.  He talked about how negative and judgmental his current wife is and how I’m always happy and settled and easy to be around.  He said how much different it was being around each of us and how wrong their marriage had always been, from the moment they said “I do”.

She picked out the ring he was to buy, when he was to give it to her, how he was to propose.  There was no spontaneity, no passion, no surprise.  He said she steered it from the beginning and he should have known something was wrong, but he was hopeful and wanted to believe she was right for him.

They were buying a house together, getting married, getting ready to start their journey. It should have been a happy time.  Instead, the minute they were married, she stopped being the sweet, caring girlfriend and became a demanding, controlling, angry wife.  She revealed her true personality and the stories she’d told him about the end of her first marriage started making sense and became clear what fault she’d actually played in it’s end.

On Thursday, he mentioned he needed to find a different attorney, one more ruthless and interested in protecting his interests than the one he’d been seeking counsel from.  I told him about the attorney I had used and how well respected she was.  I also told him about her aggressive nature in dealing with difficult marriages/divorces and told him I’d forward her name and contact information.  If nothing else, it was an option.

He started talking about taking out a loan against the house to pay his wife off, what he’d do alternatively if he needed to sell the house, move, where he’d go, what he’d do.  I told him to stop until he spoke with the attorney, how it was a waste of time, energy, and unnecessary stress to plan anything until he’d talked with her and knew if there was a need to.

He asked me if I was sure I wanted him.  I looked into his eyes, told him how I wished he could see himself through my eyes, how amazing he was and how much I care for him.  I told him I was his, committed to us, no matter what he had or didn’t have.  I reminded him “stuff” doesn’t matter, it can’t go with us in the end, and whether we had everything or nothing, as long as we’re together I had all I’ve ever dreamed of.

Time passed all too quickly and he was exhausted.  He thanked me for spending time with him, for listening, for loving him.  He needed to go home and sleep.  We held each other, kissed briefly, tenderly.

He messaged he was home safe and was going to sleep, with one eye open!  Her volatility a constant fear.  I told him to leave and go somewhere safe for the night, I worry about him.  He tried to lighten the mood and said he’d be okay, “stairs creak”.  Not a comfort!

It needs to end, no matter the cost.  He needs to be safe in his own home.  He needs to be free to live the rest of his days in peace.  He needs to be happy, whatever that is for him. Regardless of my presence or not in his life, he needs to do it for his own well being.  I care more for him than being concerned with whether or not we remain together.  I love him enough to sacrifice myself and my happiness in order for him to be in a better place.





Slow change

Monday at dinner, things started changing.  He asked questions – questions he’s not asked before.  Questions about us being together, about what I’ll do with all my furniture, about how I’d feel if one of his parents passed and the other were to move in with us, about so many other important, relationship building type things.

He’s thinking future!  He’s making plans for our lives to merge!

Then Tuesday, he said it was time for me to come to his home and see where he lives.  It’s his pride and joy and justifiably so!  It’s beautiful!  He’s poured his heart and soul into his home.  Created a sanctuary in the mountains!

He’d given me the address a few months ago, along with his parents telephone number, in the event I didn’t hear from him and became worried.  It was his way of demonstrating his complete trust in me and his way of saying he would never willingly stop being in touch with me.  It was also his way of impressing upon me her volatility and his precarious living environment with her.

He gave me a tour of his home and while he wrapped up a few things for work, I sat on the screened porch enjoying the breeze and listening to the sounds of nature, catching glimpses of hummingbirds at the feeder.

When he was finished, we went for a jeep ride and he showed me his barn workshop, where he escapes to get away from her, and where he creates the most amazing furniture and projects.

After, we rode all over his property.  He showed me the boundaries and the extent of the land he owned.  He took me to other see other mountain vistas he enjoyed during his walks and his favorite views.  It was enjoyable seeing a deeper, more hidden side of him I’d not yet seen.

When we returned to the house, he told me he wanted very much to be able to take me inside and make love to me in his bed, in his home, but he was hesitant knowing he’d have to testify in the divorce, swear before a judge, in their divorce.  He didn’t want that in his mind, clouding his conscience.

We left and went to dinner then came back to my place for the rest of the evening and night.

He told me he wants us to be together, forever.  He wants me in his future, as his partner, as his wife.  We discussed my hesitancy and pulling back, the reason I’d stopped using the “L” word.  He said he’d noticed.  I explained my fear of getting hurt, of falling too hard, too fast, and hearing what he’d said about love taking time to grow and us not having known each other long enough to test what it was we were feeling for each other.

He told me I shouldn’t listen to what he says, he loves me and he knows he does!  He said he has known for a while I’m the one for him, the one who his heart beats for, the one he cherishes, the one he can’t imagine ever living without.

He said he’s shared everything with me in hopes of not losing me.  He fears that’s what’s happening and he said he can’t allow that to happen.  He said if she doesn’t leave willingly, of her own accord soon, he’ll make a settlement offer with her in hopes she’ll  leave.  He doesn’t want her to have anything, since she doesn’t contribute in any way, but he doesn’t want to continue their marriage any longer and wants her to decide to leave so he’ll not be forced to provide for her.

I want him safe, I want him free, and I want to have the opportunity to build a life together for as many days as we have left.  I want to make him as happy every day as he makes me, not just the few, spread out snippets of time we’re able to share now.

The change is coming and I’m hopeful and very glad.



Being judged unfairly

I haven’t blogged in a while.  Why?  Because of the judgement of a reader.  And why did I allow their comment to upset me?  Because I was already feeling confused about my situation and my decision to be involved in an affair.

The reader left 4 simple words, “Have some self respect.”

There was nothing more.  No words of advice, no wisdom, no further condemnation. Only 4 simple, but thought provoking words.  I don’t know who the reader is.  As far as I know, they hadn’t read my story from the beginning.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter who they are.  What matters is what those 4 words caused me to do…pause.

After lots of thought and reflection, I know I’m where I want to be.  I’m with who I choose to be with.  He’s my heart, my soul, my love.  He’s who I want in my life.  It’s not the ideal relationship, right now, but isn’t anything great worth waiting for? investing time in?  fighting for?

Our time together is wonderful.  It’s easy and it’s real.  I matter to him and he matters to me.  We both know in a perfect world, we would have met years ago, fallen madly in love and spent the rest of our lives raising a family, creating memories, growing old together.

We don’t live in a perfect world so we make the best of the one we do live in and the manner in which we did meet in the circumstances we’re faced with.

Neither of us knows how the future will play out.  No one does.  We do know we want it to be a future spent loving each other, sharing the rest of our lives together, the ups, the downs, the in-between times where everything coasts easily along.  I can’t imagine him not being a part of my life and he can’t imagine me being gone from his.

Yes, it’s messy and complicated, unpredictable and uncertain, but tell me a life that isn’t. I didn’t think my life would be as it is when I started out.  It’s taken so many twists and turns I could never have imagined being where I am at this junction of my journey.

I do have self respect.  I am a strong woman.  I’m intelligent, determined, and head strong.  If I didn’t trust he loves me when he tells me he does, I’d walk away.  He’s ready for things to change.  I’m ready for things to change.  And they will change when they’re supposed to.

Until then, I will continue to look forward to Mondays and Tuesdays.  I will anticipate the unexpected additional times we’re able to spend together because of routine scheduling changes.  I’ll cherish the emails, phone calls, and messages he leaves.  I’ll enjoy the trips we’re able to take together and the experiences we’ll have the chance to share.

Why?  Because he means that much to me and because I choose to.  Don’t judge what you don’t understand.  Until you’ve been where I am now, you have no idea the courage it takes to be committed to a married man you may never have all to yourself or how long you may have to wait for things to change.





The Dreaded Weekend

Every Friday it rolls around – the weekend.  Along with the weekend comes the knowledge his work stops and they’re home together.  No matter how many times he tells me they co-exist, she does her thing and he does his, I know they sit together, on opposite couches, each evening and watch movies.  He calls it “safe” meaning they watch, don’t talk, and don’t interact beyond the shared experience.

I find things to keep myself busy and distracted.  Lately, that means filling my time with meaningless dates.  I’d feel bad if it weren’t for the fact I know what they will be doing, alone, together.  Coupled with the fact most of these guys are out for one thing and stupidly think I don’t know or care.

Maybe I’ll get lucky one of these weekends.  Maybe she’ll tell him to pause the movie, explain she’s met someone else or decided she no longer wants to live in their hollow shell of a marriage and she’s moving out.  Maybe I’ll get his message saying one or the other of my imagined fantasies and he’s free.

Or maybe one of my filler-dates will actual turn out to be with someone decent, kind, actually interested in a meaningful, honest relationship.  He’ll sweep me off my feet, convince me to give him my undivided attention, I’ll be comfortable to trust him to be real and not misleading, and I’ll message him and tell him we’re through.

Or maybe the world will stop spinning and we’ll all fall off into outer space!

Yes, I know, this is all a huge stretch!  I can’t help but dream.  Our Mondays and Tuesdays are awesome!  Our occasional trips out of town together are amazing!  The thought of her eventually leaving and them divorcing keeps me focused on the reason I continue to see him and hope for the day we can move forward together, without any distractions.



Why does the post-after glow happen

I wish I could shut my mind down and not overthink things.  I wish I could not remember every word he’s said, every answer he’s given, and every feeling I’ve had go without expressing.

When we’re together, I can forget he’ll have to go home eventually.  I can almost forget she exists.  I know she either texts, emails, or calls to check in every night.  I know this, but I can ignore it, for the most part.  I can choose to not ask about the texts or emails and pretend it’s work.  When she calls, I can get up and walk away, find something to do for distraction until they’re off the phone.

When he’s gone and we’re in our long stretch of not spending time together, Wednesday through Sunday, my mind gets the best of me.  I start thinking.  I begin rehashing conversations we’ve had about why he’s with me and not attempting to make things work with her.  Why he’s not left her so we can spend more time together and see if there’s something special between us beyond the affair we are in right now.

I’ve told him I can’t move in with someone or have someone move in with me for at least 2 years, the duration of my alimony.  It was a condition of my divorce and I’m not willing to compromise or forego what I’m entitled to after 19 years of marriage.  I’ve explained I will not be with someone who pushes for more than I’m willing and able to give with that in mind.

What I didn’t say was I’d like those 2 years to be a building phase with someone I might consider being with more long term when the deadline passes.  I don’t want to wait until the end of those 2 years to begin the process.

He’s told me he doesn’t “push her buttons” any more because he knows how she’ll react and he doesn’t want the confrontation.  But the status quo only keeps them in the state of limbo they’ve lived in for years now.  They co-exist, co-habitate, live symbiotically, without any risk of change.

Change is what he wants.  Change is what he kept telling me was going to happen. Change is what I want for us.  Without change, nothing will be possible.

I’m a risk taker.  I refuse to live in complacency and co-exist.  That’s why I separated from my second husband and why we eventually decided to divorce.  I won’t settle.  I don’t think I should have to.

And I can’t help but feel I might be settling with him.  He says he wants more with me, but is he willing to do what might be very hard for him in order to make that a possibility?

If she digs in her heels and refuses to leave the financially comfortable world he’s created for her and he’s unwilling to push her to go, will I be settling to continue in this affair with no hope of something more?

I’m trying to date other guys.  I’m trying to find someone worth spending more time with.  I’m trying to find someone to replace him in my life.  But I compare every one of them to him and none of them measure up.  They don’t have as many of the same shared interests as he and I do.  They aren’t able to have deep conversations about varied topics like he and I are.  They don’t make me laugh like he can.  They don’t tug at my heart strings just being near like he does.  They don’t want the same things he and I do in our future.

Dating for me is pointless.  Yes, it fills my time when he’s with her.  It provides a minimal distraction and provides me with the chance I might actually meet someone different, worthwhile.  But until I open myself up to potential and stop making comparisons with him they’ll never be able to meet I’ll be spinning my wheels and setting them up for disappointment.





Making memories…at least I am

We were finally able to spend time together.  She was working her normal schedule and he was free in the evenings.  His meetings ran long Monday so he wasn’t able to come over until later, but he spent the night.  Tuesday he came over a little earlier and we went for dinner before coming back to my place.  He spent the night again.

We were able to talk, face-to-face, sit side by side, hold hands.  And then we were able to go to bed, hold each other, make love, fall asleep in each other’s arms, and then wake up beside each other the next morning.

It was good, it was amazing, it was normal.  We were a couple.

He left this morning to return home, to his office, to work.  She came home this afternoon.  Things returned to the other normal.  The Wednesday through Sunday normal for all of us.  Him at home, her back at home, and me alone, at my home.

But for those two nights, I had him and he had me.  We were able to relax, breath, experience the happiness we both feel when we’re together.  We were able to get a glimpse of what we could have if she left and we had the chance to be together, dating, like a real couple should.

Things are right when we’re together.  We are comfortable and at ease, talking, sharing, laughing.  He’s able, if only for those two evenings, to forget the stress of being around her, the tension of not knowing when she’ll snap and about what.  I get to pretend, for only those two evenings, he chooses me.

Being together is nice.  Anticipating the intimacy, his body pressed against me, his lips gently touching mine.

He gave me his schedule for the next 4 – 5 weeks.  I don’t want to expect it, get overly excited, and lose sight of the fact there might and likely will be changes.  I still haven’t commented on it.  He hasn’t questioned me about not making any comments.

I think I’ve decided to play it by ear.  I hope to see him next Monday and Tuesday.  And the next, and the next, and the next.  If something comes up and we’re not able to spend them together, we’ll be together again as soon as we’re able.  Just like we always have.