When his phone notifications sound in the middle of the night, I feel the urge to throw his phone across the room. Or gently place it in another. Or deftly change his settings to vibrate.
But then again, I no longer touch his phone.
I still remember how it felt in my hand when I took it from his bedside. How my heart dropped from my chest when I read his texts to another. How my heart raced as I walked it outside. As I neared the bamboo glade, the phone felt weighty in my palm. Surely, he’d be steps behind me, demanding its return. My fingers quickly stumbled across the keys as I typed a series of brief texts to her–some blonde who bore the same name as the town she lived in, just 45 minutes away.
And then, with my heart now pounding in my ears, I turned off the phone, watched the screen turn black and threw it. I threw it as far as I could into the bamboo. I heard it hit the hard stems, a sharp crack, and then the brush below give way somewhere in the darkness.
I no longer touch his phone.
For months, he had his phone password-protected. For months, I caught glimpses of a few numbers he used, but then he enabled fingerprint scanning and I let it go.
His phone still remains locked, but he has told me his password.
Still, I do not touch his phone.
Slowly, we’re re-establishing trust.
What he does on his phone is nothing I can control, I remind myself. Nor can I control those who may be on the other side of those activities. And yet, he does not hide his social media accounts from me. He does not seem anxious as I lay my head on his chest at night as he scrolls through his news feeds. Nor does he seem edgy when a text message comes through while I’m close enough to read his screen.
He is largely transparent with his online activities.
And I’m growing more transparent with my boundaries, as well.
No, I’m not comfortable with you bonding with your children by making jokes about how crazy I am. Yes, I really appreciate you checking with me first before your daughter became a part of our weekend plans. Sometimes I struggle to be in the present when I’m missing my kids, and no, I just don’t know what to do about that. Yes, I would like you to pay me for half the groceries, as agreed.
It’s not easy. When I do find the courage to speak out, I’ve surely already had the conversation to-be–silently and in my head–only for him to respond quite differently than expected.
I can see that.
That’s something I can work on.
It’s disarming. The stillness of the peace between us is eerie. There is no raising of voices. No hurtful defenses. No name calling. No escalating.
There is just–quiet. And a deeper understanding, a greater compassion, and an unspoken vulnerability that suggests that a deeper connection may be possible.
Experience. Strength. Hope. —at home.