“I trust that life’s bigger than what I can see. I trust that there is a divine order beyond my control. And I trust that no matter what happens, I will be all right.” -Oprah
I felt my stomach drop as I awaited his confession, the same way it might atop a huge roller coaster hill, anticipating the unstoppable plunge.
I closed my eyes and must have made an unconscious vow not to open them again until I’d learned everything this relationship was here to teach me.
“Legally, I’m already married.”
Married? Oh, okay that must have just slipped your mind during our first conversation, when we were talking about our relationship statuses. Or perhaps I misunderstood that you and the mother of your son divorced a few years ago. Damn that language barrier!
My lips did not convey any of these thoughts. I just listened with the open mind I was trying on for size.
According to his story, someone had offered to help him a few months prior. He didn’t know her very well and had believed her when she said she’d felt spiritually inclined to do this, with no return expectations. Jesus had suggested the idea, apparently.
I managed not to laugh but did raise my inner eyebrow. Either this was the most naive man on Planet Earth, or I had suddenly become the most naive woman for entertaining this story. Go on.
The marriage had ended (in theory) because it turned out she did expect things. Sexual things!
I’ve been part of many an odd conversation, but the one where you learn your boyfriend refused to have sex with his wife is its very own brand of batshit bizarre.
If I chose to believe it, it made our connection seem even more special. I wasn’t so sure I was going to.
I let him know I wasn’t remotely concerned about what he’d done before we met and encouraged total honesty. He insisted they’d never even kissed. He was proud of himself for refusing to compromise his principles. He’d witnessed many friends pay for citizenship with money or their bodies and had vowed never to do the same.
He couldn’t understand why he had drawn this situation which he detailed in ways I won’t. It’s not my story to tell. I don’t have that vivid of an imagination.
I say that in hindsight, well after the roller coaster car flew off the tracks altogether. Even now, I have no proof that every word of it wasn’t absolutely true. At the time, I didn’t see how it could be. How could someone who seemed so grounded end up with someone so unstable, even briefly?
I figured he just wanted to believe her. Like I wanted to believe him. And that’s exactly what I chose to do.
I believed him because up to that point, his words and actions all indicated that this was my equally evolved partner, a man who oozed authenticity and integrity.
I believed him because some of my own life stories read like creative screenplays, and I understood that sometimes very well-intentioned people end up in someone else’s ill-intentioned scripts.
I believed him because I had some prior understanding of the marriage-for-green card industry. I had once been offered a large sum of money to assist someone. As much as I wanted to help that friend, I’d declined.
I believed him because I chose non-judgement and compassion. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a country where I don’t have the rights and privileges I take for granted. The fact that he’d gone as long as he had without doing this in a less ethical way was impressive.
I believed him because you either trust life or you don’t, and my personal growth was my highest priority. I knew my ability to trust was not contingent upon someone else’s honesty or lack thereof, and it spoke nothing of me if it turned out to be the latter. Closing my heart hurts me more than it does anyone else and I was ready to play for Team Trust.
I believed him because he didn’t have to tell me, at least not then and there, and that it took a certain degree of his own trust to do so. While I would have preferred for him to have told me upfront, I fully understood why he waited for what felt like the right moment.
But most of all I believed him because I wanted to.
The alternative was walking away prematurely from someone I was falling in love with, and spending considerable time wondering if I’d made the right choice.
A look of pure relief washed over him as I told him I didn’t judge him. I said I may have made the same choice a hell of a lot sooner had I been in his circumstance.
I let him know I understood him waiting for what felt like the right time to tell me, but from that point on I expected immediate honesty from him. If he had anything else to “confess,” now was the time to do so.
“No more secrets,” he promised.
I believed him.
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