I suppose it’s an apt description for someone who claims to have been struck by lightning.
On the night of our second date, Bennett, literally, bolted.
Ann thought I was joking when I said so and thought I meant bailed, but, no, I really did mean bolted like a shock of lightning. It certainly qualifies as the most interesting effect I have ever had on a man.
Bennett maintained constant contact with me after our first date. Never more than 2 hours would slide by without me hearing from him in one way or the other. He admitted to being jumpy every time he saw the 4 letters “Mads” pop along his phone screen. He couldn’t get enough of me.
I went on as usual, life is busy and Bennett just filled in all those normally more quiet times.
I needed to go into the city for an afternoon for the outplacement service and arrived early, so Bennett wanted to pick me up at the station and walk me to the location I needed to be for my appointment.
He maintains that all time stopped as he saw me come down the escalato. He said he thought his head would explode when he saw me and insists he could smell my distinct perfume from quite far away. As I reached him he pulled me in close and breathed me in deeply, kissing my neck. Then he held me there for a moment. He was once again rendered speechless.
It makes me feel like a priceless gift given to someone who never believed they could have it and will treasure it beyond belief.
As soon as we began walking he held my hand and we made our way to one of the beautiful city parks for a brief respite from the hot sun. As we sat, he still had a hard time gathering his thoughts so I continued to babble on over nothing. He apologized to me later that he didn’t hear anything I really said because he was so busy trying to drink in my eyes.
That little bit of time together was pretty wonderful. I felt at ease, happy and peaceful.
We parted at the outplacement service about an hour later with a lovely kiss and didn’t expect to see one another again that week as Ann was arriving in a few days and my child-free time would be given to her.
However, as it turned out, I needed a plus one for later that week as Ann made arrangements to meet another blogger, so I asked Bennett to spend the night with me in the city. He was over the moon and readily agreed.
Of course, all the best laid plans always go by the way side and the day Ann was due to arrive, her flight was delayed by many hours. Our night began to turn upside down with each passing hour of delay and by the time she arrived, it took almost 2 more hours before I found myself making my way to my hotel. Bennett had been kept apprised of these plans. I realize now that all the changing and waiting on the evening probably was making him jumpy because all he wanted to do was be with me and the night was suddenly off kilter.
During this time, my local friends asked if they could join Ann and I for drinks and we agreed. As mentioned, and in hindsight, including Bennett in this mix would not have been a good idea. While he is a corporate media executive and I have no doubt he can mingle with the best of them, he is still much too nervous around me to be settled down to enjoy himself. I guess this is why they say things happen for a reason.
Here’s where everything starts to go sideways.
The girls were all flexible with moving plans around, though we lost one of my friends due to time. I was so late arriving to the hotel that I asked Bennett to be at the hotel for me and check-in. The room was paid for but they may ask him for a credit card for incidentals which I would swap out when I arrived. I figured this could save me 10 minutes or more upon arriving and give us a little time for a quick kiss.
Bennett did as I asked and we went straight to the room after a lovely kiss hello. We didn’t have much, if any, time, as my friend was already close to the hotel and would be waiting for us downstairs. Bennett undressed, leaving his pants on the edge of the bed, while he showered.
While Bennett was in the shower, I was texting quite a bit with Ann and my friend to get organized for meeting and I wanted to sit on the small bed, so I moved Bennett’s pants to the edge of the bed. In doing so, his wallet and money clip slipped out of his pockets and I picked them up and placed them on top of his pants and went on communicating with my friends, never giving that small action another thought.
When he came out of the shower, things got weird.
The best way I can describe Bennett’s reaction to the moved pants was fear. Absolute panic.
He claimed that his spider-senses were up and something was wrong and telling him to leave, immediately.
I tried, a few times, to speak to him calmly (because there was absolutely a visceral reaction happening here – he was sweating after the shower) but could not get an answer out of him what happened. He could only say that the fact that I asked him to check into the hotel, then obviously moved his phone/money was making him uncomfortable.
I was dumbfounded.
He told me days later that he thought, somehow, he was being scammed. That no woman as beautiful as me would ever be interested in him or have a genuine connection with him.
While this hurt, it was also an attack on my character.
I cannot describe my feelings in the moment since it happened so quickly. While he was in panic mode, my friend was consistently pinging my phone as she was downstairs in the lobby waiting for me because the last text I sent was “be right down.” I could clearly see I was going to be unable to talk him off the ledge since I couldn’t identify what the root cause of the problem was. Nor did I want him coming out to dinner in the state he had worked himself into. The best I could do was walk down to the lobby and switch out the credit cards in front of him before he left.
And, as the title of this post indicates, Bennett literally bolted out the door like a frightened deer.
Of course this scene played out in front of one of my closest friends, who, while she won’t judge me for making the choice to be with him, goes right to a place of “he’s guilty, get rid of him, move on and don’t look back.” For her, interactions with men should be simple and straightforward, when they don’t treat you right even once, move on.
All I can say is I knew this reaction wasn’t created of guilt, it was something else. I know it looked like guilt, worry that his wife would see the bill or that I might see something on his phone (which I need to assume is probably locked anyway) Where my friend dismissed Bennett without a care, this is where I am supremely thankful that Ann was here to analyze this with me.
I was a bit kerfuffled for a while and happy to have their company and some bubbly to calm down. I really and truly didn’t know what happened or why and was baffled.
While my friend believed he was guilty, Ann thought (as I did) the type of reaction indicated something else. I knew deep down the reaction had nothing to do with me. I just knew.
After all, our night was lovely, the 3 of us shared drinks and dinner and it turned out that Ann’s date was also unavailable so we had the night to have a girls catch up instead. I am glad it turned out this way in all honesty. And, even though my dear friend Ann doesn’t like oysters, we shared a lovely bottle of white wine and the night was perfect.
I did hear from Bennett once or twice after he left with text that didn’t provide any explanation. I answered him to say I was upset and didn’t understand what happened, but I didn’t press him for answers. I didn’t sleep well that evening, indicating it was probably more sincerely on my mind than I gave it credit for.
He called the first thing in the morning and we spoke for about an hour-and-a-half. At first he was flustered by his own actions, and in a defensive mode, but because I don’t argue that way, I was quick to dismantle that reaction and get him to a place where he felt comfortable enough to be honest with me around what happened.
Bennett then explained about being crossed many times by people he loves (particularly women) and how it has created a natural distrust for people. This is when he told me his wife cheated on him and that he has family members who have lied to him and abused his relationship with them.
Rather than write out the entire conversation, the bottom line is that Bennett is very insecure. He was not able to control his emotional reaction to an entirely innocuous event and fled the scene like a coward (his words, not mine). Then, when he realized how supremely he had embarrassed both of us, he then figured the best mode of action would be to tell me to “go find someone else.” I wasn’t about to tolerate this nonsense, he was going to need to apologize properly and acknowledge his actions.
We did get to that place quickly because I was calm and talked through it with him.
If I am honest with myself, I was ok talking through it with Bennett, but as I sit here some days later and write this post, I have a growing unease or sense of deep-down dislike for Bennett. There were too many moments where he blamed his actions on others, blamed his situation on how he was molded to react in a certain manner. This is a classic symptom my x exhibited and now when I see it played out in another person my skin crawls. I realize that’s a little unfair, the way Bennett handles things may not be the way my x handles things, but this particular behavior and sense of “it’s not my fault, it was years of action/reaction that caused me to behave this way” scares me and makes me want to run as far away from it as I can.
I am not saying people are not built on their experiences, of course they are. But how you learn from bad experience and then adapt to new ones is what counts. I had not given Bennett any reason to distrust me on any level, it was the sheer fact that I was “too beautiful” for him that must have been he reason I was scamming him. (This was how he articulated his thoughts to me: no one that beautiful could be interested in me)
I’ve made dozens of mistakes while dating. Thinking that I could manage things differently, see an alternative outcome, reinterpret behaviors and I don’t think I would go back to change those mistakes because I learned from them and work consciously now to improve my choices and behaviors go forward. But, I have a growing sense that Bennett is not going to learn from this. When the day comes to break, which isn’t far in the distance, he will still blame me, that a person of my caliber would be unable to have a connection with a regular Joe like him. This is a weakness, an insecurity I cannot tolerate. So while there are lots of intangible things I adore and admire in Bennett, if this is ultimately his character, the ending will be more swift than I originally expected.
That may sound harsh but I am assuming this part of his character will rear its ugly head in some other way sooner rather than later, I just have that feeling. There have been other little signs along the way and one too many road markers to his personality.
One of those would be his own negligence in understanding where I am in my life, including dating others. I have tried to broach this more than once, but he isn’t listening.
Does this make Bennett a bad person? Absolutely not, just not the person for me. He is truly a wonderful and loving man who would do anything for me.
I have never experienced such open generosity of character since my separation.
At this point, I felt the only thing I could do was try once more to give Bennett a chance. There was just too much good for one mistake to take down the house of cards.