On the phone with Monty the other day, he started to tell me about a conversation he had with his (soon-to-be-ex) wife. He only told me a little of it, something about her insisting that she couldn't be married to him, but saying that she missed him. Then somewhere, he thought better of talking to me about it at all. He did say that he was not interested in trying for a relationship of any kind with any one right now. It's mostly a realistic view; he doesn't expect anyone to put their lives on hold while he is incarcerated.
I mentioned before that he had wanted more out of our friendship than I ever wanted or needed. I've always been reluctant to talk to him about my boyfriends or the men I might be dating out of respect for his feelings. I've always known that he considers me "the one that got away." I'm not sure how the conversation progressed into that topic, really. I'm not oblivious to the things around me; I've known that, through a handful of girlfriends, two wives, and a fiancé, he wished the other party was me. He told me there were times when he felt stupid for wishing that or, rather, for wishing that still. For years we have joked that we would marry each other if neither of us were married by the time we reached 40, so as to not be alone. Well, for me, it was a joke. For him, it was a sincere offer. "That I have no intention of taking off the table," he said.
The conversation ended with him telling me that I don't have to avoid talking to him about the important people in my life just because I don't want to hurt his feelings, even as he just finished saying that he has to hate any man in my life on principal. I won't hold that against him, I imagine it would be quite a lot of him trying to figure out what any beau of mine has that he lacks. Criminality aside, I couldn't define that if I wanted to.
He did say something that made me feel good about myself at the same time it made me feel uncomfortable. He said I was very hard to get over. For him, it would seem so, given that he hasn't been able to do it in at least ten years. Things look very different from my side, but that's a story for another time and place. I don't think this conversation changed how I will approach talking about the important people in my life to him. It really affirmed that I’ve been making the right decision in trying to avoid talking about my relationships wherever possible, and will continue to do so.