Hard Conversations

Last week I spoke my mind with Bennett, knowing it wasn’t easy for either of us to accept the hard reality that our time is probably coming to an end.

I have committed myself to not being involved with a married man through these holidays.  I really just don’t think I can do it.

I am not so fussed about Bennett living at home, I understand coming out of a marriage takes time when there are homes and children involved.  But, I am fussed about the sneaking around and the lying.  I don’t want to deal with it and I hate being a part of it.  More than once in my life this path has ended up hurting me as well as the other humans involved and frankly I am just too selfish to continue sharing.  Part of me would like to say I feel guilt, but honestly, I don’t.  Shame from an affair, or guilt, or stepping into the other woman’s shoes has never been my strong suit.

Bennett and I had a few arguments over the weekend that led right up to this morning.  He has been struggling with his mother and some heavy family issues as well as the pressure he feels from me.  I know why he is behaving as he is, but it doesn’t mean I have to accept it.  We went back and forth from debating to normal conversation pretty much all weekend.  At one point he was upset that I continue to get text from random men and was particularly upset that I didn’t shut out Denver entirely (yes, I told him).  Pot, meet kettle.  He knows it too, but it doesn’t change the way he thinks.

I became upset that he seemed to be looking for a “way out.”  He claims this isn’t the case, but this is what my gut is telling me.  He is looking for a way for me to be less than the perfect ideal he has made me out to be so far.  Bennett claims this is untrue, that nothing can flaw his opinion of me, just that his “mind wanders” and he starts to think.  I suggested these thoughts were a reflection on his own behavior.

Bennett likes to put himself in the good guy bucket.  He’s the type that has his “reasons” and his “needs” for cheating.    He doesn’t want to compare himself to the men who cheat endlessly on their wives, still have intimate relations with their wives and maintain a false intimate relationship.  This is one thing that makes me nuts, and it also makes me equate him to my x.  A lie is a lie.  Cheating is cheating.   Even if you don’t have intercourse, oral sex is still cheating.  Kissing is still cheating.  He is maintaining a false relationship, that of an intact marriage and family.  He is a liar and a cheat.

Then he questions why I would want to be with him if he is such a liar and cheat.  There are no real answers to that question.    Do I accept him for what he is and his reasons for doing it?  Yes, I do.  Because I believe I understand him.  I hope my gut is right when I make that decision.

His past behavior, right or wrong, is irrelevant to me.  The way he perceives himself today does have an impact on me.

I do understand that I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes….who wants to rip a family apart and have your children dealing not only with the death of a beloved grandmother but the divorce of their parents?  While some people may not feel this is a good enough reason for him not to start the conversation with his wife, I understand how he wants to care for his family.

The bottom line of what created the first fissure between us is that I said I can’t continue this relationship through the holidays.  He finally admitted today he did not think that he could manage that timeline.

Frankly, I breathed a sigh of relief.

An answer, no matter that it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, is still an answer.

I can’t continue to see him and have empty threats that I would end our relationship, that is ridiculous.  I don’t want to continue to cry wolf.  I need to stand behind what I said to him about my timeline.

I believe what started to happen over the weekend, as he acknowledged to himself that he couldn’t meet my timeline, that he began to look for “other reasons” to exit.  He came up short, realizing he was making something out of nothing, as he has no leg to stand on.  This is what created the tension, and then arguments between us.  Both of us have a hard time arguing, to be fair, we really just want the other to be happy and tend to back away from the difficult things.

Bennett is in a horrible place.  I want to be here for him, I do.  But I can’t get past the feeling of being made the fool.  I just can’t.  It’s eating at me.  If he loved me the way he says he does, there should be motivation to have the first conversation with his wife.  I don’t believe this is happening any time soon.  The way Bennett works is pretty much all or nothing and I believe he sees himself as the father who holds this family together through the death of the matriarch until at least after the holidays.

And then, who knows?

Bennett has never wavered, he is consistent in telling me he is coming to me, but it’s the “when” that is unclear.  He has asked me to wait, but also knows this is unfair to me.

Part of me wonders if I leave, if anything will change for him?  Will he really be encouraged to move forward?  Or will he remain inert?  Part of me feels like it’s a dangerous game for me to play with a man I feel is so good for me…why would I jeopardize what I have just to see how he responds and end up entirely alone for the next few months as I work through the heartbreak?

There are no answers in this post for me.  I’m just laying down where we are at the moment.  I am certain of our love for one another, but if the timing is against us, there is nothing I can do to control it.


I’m adding a late postscript here….based on a comment from MaggieMay:

Perhaps I need to live without Bennett and see how that feels for me.  I would never be able to get through the next months the way I feel now,  but if I love him the way I claim I do, wouldn’t I find a way to manage this without being a nag?  I can see both sides to this coin which isn’t helping.  But, maybe, just maybe, it’s me who needs to be without him for a while so he can get his act together.



Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

41 thoughts on “Hard Conversations”

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head with the statement “if he loved me the way he says he does, there should be motivation to have the first conversation with his wife.” Not making a decision….is making a decision. Don’t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That feeling I have about being able to see long-term with Bennett hasn’t changed, I really do see him as my one.

        And if that’s the case, I also need to question myself why I am unwilling to wait.


      2. You are a strong, capable woman. If you ultimately decide that he is worth waiting for, you will. Remember how you fought with yourself when you first became involved with him? You may surprise yourself. Some things are not worth waiting for. Some things are.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This could all still end well. As I said somewhere else, Bennett has no incentive to change his life if he can have his cake and eat it, too. If you hit the pause button on your relationship, that gives you both the space to judge how important it is. He can focus on being fully present for his mother in her last moments. If he decides its time to leave his marriage, it wont be just because of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In that time of separation, you decide for yourself whether to hold yourself for him or not. It may be that you want to do so for a while, and then, if there is no movement on his part, you start dreaming about finding that connection with other men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think I need a break from everything. I also feel like I need to do some soul searching about waiting for a married man to make a move. If I tell myself I will wait, there is no chance I am making myself emotionally available to anyone, I’m just removing myself from Bennett- which just seems at odds to me.


  4. Maybe he wants his kids to have a happy Xmas?
    Walking out on the family, before the holidays especially with the grandmother dying atm is a big ask, and more than likely a step too far for him – as you mentioned he likes to think of himself as the good guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I totally think this is what he sees.

      But I am not asking him to leave his home and family, I am asking him to come clean with his wife so we don’t have to have an entirely illicit affair. I would be ok if he wife knew the situation and he was in a separate bedroom. But even this is not happening.

      I do think it’s too much to expect the family to fall apart right now, it’s unfair. And that eats at me that I add to his stress.

      He claims he doesn’t know how his wife will react and may make everyone miserable or try and throw him out or make him a pariah to the kids. He doesn’t think they can have a contained adult conversation.


      1. Following on from you thinking it’s too much to expect his family to fall apart right now and the fact that his wife is likely to react in all the ways he say’s she will. Perhaps take a step back.
        It looks like you can have this man in all the ways that you have been and that have been making you blissfully happy thus far, but must look elsewhere if you need to be with a man prepared to come clean with his wife and kids and suffer the consequences.
        Sigh – I wish you all the best in your wish to be coupled up Madeline but do agree with you that you are shooting yourself in the foot embarking on another married man scenario if what you want really is honesty and exclusivity. Bennett does not sound like a guy that can provide you with those things and he will not take this step you are asking him to as it comes at too high a price for him right now.


      1. Maybe……….. but not if it leads you to the truth – As in you really, really have a need to find a man who can truly be there for you – not the pseudo being there stuff that you get from a man living a dual life and keeping up appearances for his wife, kids and mum. .
        Being in love with you is probably a wonderful distraction from the horribleness of watching his mother die, you’re probably the only thing making him happy right now. But as the wannabe ‘Good Guy’ at heart – he will always find reasons to give you up before hurting his family. Sorry M.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know that really got me thinking last night and struck a chord somewhere deep within….sometimes I think I bury these thoughts so deep I can’t access them – but the whole “good guy” thing…I think you are on to something. I do think this is what is ultimately prohibit him from moving forward, I don’t think he will have the backbone.

        He just said yesterday I am the only thing that makes him happy.

        Your comments really resonated with me and I appreciate it.


  5. The dialogue is open. Good.

    This is the part of your situation I definitely don’t envy. Since I’m new here….I don’t have all the facts. So, forgive my intrusion and my questions… Has there been any other major life issues, besides his sick mother, he’s had to deal with in your time together?

    The reason I ask is because these things tend to delay that ultimate decision you need. Assuming this is the first one (or that there have been very few others, as well as this one), then honestly, I’d give him time to deal with that, get through the holidays, and then I’d revisit the topic of the conversation with his wife. Patience right now might be the thing that helps your relationship grow closer, stronger.


    Might be time for a timeline for yourself. A hard deadline. If he hasn’t begun transitioning to something more permanent with you by X date/month, then that will be your walking time. Yes, it’s an ultimatum, but you don’t have to share it with him right now.

    Take some space for yourself in the meantime. Decompress. See other friends and family over the holidays, stay busy, it’s so important to take care of yourself at this juncture. But I wouldn’t necessarily pull the plug right now at this point, especially with his mom being sick. Just be there for him, if you can. If you can’t, that is certainly ok, too.

    Good luck, you. Have a lovely week. 🙂


  6. I don’t know if I’ve already said this on one of your posts or not. But it’s worth saying again if I had…

    Every time I have had to talk myself into or out of doing something, it is almost always the wrong choice.

    You seem to be trying really really hard to talk not only yourself in to something, but to talk someone else in to something. And I understand why, because love is a drug. Or more accurately, the feeling is a drug.

    Doing the right thing may be hard at the beginning, but it is always much easier once started and in the long run.

    Bennett is not the “the one”. He is the one in front of you right now. He is “a one”. There are THOUSANDs of men who are “a one” for you. Just like Dawn isn’t “the one” for me. Yeah I want her, but she’s not the only woman who would be right for me.

    I wish you strength.


    1. Hmmmm not sure I can agree with this – I feel like I am trying to talk myself out of being with him. My head is saying go but my heart is saying stay. I don’t have any gut feeling that this is all wrong and usually I will when it is wrong. I’m not trying to talk him out of leaving either. I simply stated my position, that I don’t think I can manage the holidays in this same situation. I don’t plan on raising it again.

      However, my words and actions don’t often match. I think one thing and usually do another.


      1. I was really trying to hint at the reverse. It’s incredibly obvious that he is a FY for you. But it’s not so clear if you are a FY for him. At least not in all of the ways you want it to be.

        BTDT myself. It’s a crappy place to be, and I really feel for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well this is a hard position to be in. For both of you.

    I totally understand his desire to not make any move over the holiday. BUT there can always be some sort of excuse for why the timing isn’t right. If she is going to make things hard on him and make him out to be a pariah etc she will do that at anytime and he is going to have to deal with that.

    From your side of it being a naughty little secret over the holidays is NOT going to be fun. It’s going to hurt and I doubt you will be able to contain that hurt and it will likely cause some arguments around what is supposed to be a fun holiday. But you know this and I know you want to avoid that pain.

    I wish I had a magic answer for you. It’s clear from your post that your mind is working this all over and you know your choices…it’s the action that will be the struggle. It is for any one of us. It’s easy to say what we would do as bystanders but so much harder when your the one in the midst of a love affair.

    Out of curiosity….has he ever mentioned if his wife is miserable in the marriage too or does she think their marriage is acceptable?? If she is unhappy with it as well has he considered discussing the idea of an open marriage? Opening mine was the best thing I have ever done and the man I have been seeing for four months is also in an open marriage. Certainly not an easy conversation to have but sometimes saying “hey, we don’t seem as happy as we could be…let’s try this” is easier than “hey..so I met this other woman”…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would prefer if he didn’t mention me at all to be honest which is also a motivation for not being in the relationship with him while he exits his marriage.

      His is not the type of marriage to open, he will be in or out.

      His wife is accepting of their situation to some degree. She had an affair (he believes) last year or the year before. He doesn’t believe she is doing anything now. They raise their children together and have no other connection to one another. So I’m told.


    1. “My date the night before had told me that this particular friend was in a bad marriage and I asked Bennett about this immediately because I really am trying to make better dating decisions. Bennett has just moved out of his home a month ago after 21 years of marriage and hasn’t even hired the lawyer yet.


      Now what?

      My thoughts are jumbled on this one and I am wary. I know the beginning of any divorce is not easy, but I feel somewhat confident that his head is out of his marriage, even if the paperwork isn’t started. He is extremely nice and sweet and we have had several great conversations on and off the phone. There is clearly a chemistry and connection.”

      In other words, why begin a new relationship with such a huge lie? I do not believe this man is ever going to leave his marriage and that’s really too bad that he’s stringing you along like this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t debate this point, he did lie. They spoke about divorce in an argument and he left, but moved back in some weeks later when his mother was diagnosed. They supposedly haven’t discussed it since.

        I don’t have a leg to stand on other than my belief he is telling me the truth.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Best Answer: Of the couples that divorce after infidelity, only 3% actually go on to marry the other woman. And, of that 3%, 85% end up divorced within 2 years.

        Oh and P.S. to make it clear, that 3% is only of those that divorce after infidelity, not out of all of those that are unfaithful. To give you an idea… 87% of married couples stay together for at least 5 years after infidelity (shocking but true). So 3% of 13%, and out of that 85% divorce anyway. What great odds!”

        Infidelity couples counselor.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I say if he makes you feel good keep up the affair, with no real expectations. Have a lot of fun! But if you are waiting and hoping that he will leave her and the rest of the family, I sincerely doubt it.

        Liked by 1 person

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