The First Holiday

Well, here it is. The first holiday of the holiday season. I’m coping knowing that Bennett and I are ending.  Not great exactly, but just fine.

Thanksgiving is probably the easiest holiday because it’s not a hugely important holiday for me anymore.

While my mom was alive, and the early years my brother was married, we had a large Thanksgiving dinner.  I loved it even though it stressed me beyond belief. I loved the hustle and bustle and I’m a pretty fierce cook.  I loved the house filled with family.

Even if my x and I fought like cats and dogs every year,  I persevered because my parents and kids loved it. My mother loved my pecan pie and my Dad my cheesecake.  So I cooked and baked everything from scratch, soup to nuts. It was exhausting and wonderful.

Then my mom passed and my brother started going to my in-laws for every holiday.  Mothers seem to be the ones to hold families tightly together. My in-laws would and my Dad still came but the three years after my mothers death were never quite the same.

One year I had an all out battle with my x-sister-in-law and kicked her out of my house for good.  It was the Thanksgiving before the end of my marriage.  She was every and cruel and 20 years of her punishment was enough for me.

The first Thanksgiving after separation was weird but palpable. The x and my Dad came over, for a while it was ok.  The kids were satisfied and that’s all that mattered.

Last year the x cancelled on us at the last minute and went to celebrate with his family instead. My Dad and my kids were disappointed.  Thanksgiving was a large, loud  family event.   It had deteriorated into something much less fun and I didn’t want it to feel that way.  Holidays are for family and laughter, in my opinion.  Our family had shrunk too small that year and created nothing more than a normal Sunday dinner.

This year I suggested to my children to go with their Dad to his family.  They still have large, loud family gatherings and I knew my kids would feel at home there.  I offered to bring them to my cousins home, but I know they are not as comfortable.  They were not happy about separating from me for the holiday, but I thought it was the best solution for everyone.  It was a good decision.

I found out that my x brought his girlfriend-not-girlfriend to his family home for Thanksgiving.  My kids didn’t seem to affected by it, though they did want to talk about it.  They implicitly assumed if the woman was there for a major holiday that she was probably his girlfriend and he is still lying to them. This upsets them but they don’t feel like their Dad will tell the truth.  I don’t think it matters if they are friends or not, the kids perceive it differently than what he is telling them and they don’t like feeling uncomfortable with their own family.  

I did let their Dad know what they told me. While he doesn’t communicate with me regarding any “talks” he has with them, I have always believed that parents need to be transparent so one knows what the other is doing/saying so they can be aligned.  He doesn’t subscribe to this belief and it’s one of the reasons we didn’t stay married – the communications master doesn’t know how to communicate.  I try not to let his style force my style anymore.  

I had a really lovely dinner at my cousins home. I helped prep and clean up, but my cousins husband did all the cooking and it was fantastic.  My kids would have loved the food.  We were a nice size group of about 15 or so, and more friends and family followed after dinner.   

Bennett had been chatting pleasantly throughout the day and I suddenly reached a point where I couldn’t manage the “normalacy” any longer.  In my head a tape was playing “why are we talking like nothing happened, there’s a huge elephant in the room!”   Further, the fact that neither of us took initiative for having lunch Tuesday and neither of us were about to take initiative for seeing each other Friday before my 2 week business trip told me that we had pretty much come apart at the seams.  It was simply a stalemate with no resolution. 

I sent a text:

Maybe it is time to say goodbye. We can’t solve this. We are at a stalemate that cannot be resolved. 

I love you so much ❤️️

Goodnight. Goodbye. 


His replies were:

I love you too. 

I’m not having this conversation over text.  

Enjoy the time you have with your cousins. 


And that’s been it since dinner time last night. No good morning. 

I feel numb. 

Sometimes I feel like crying. I feel an immense sadness.  But nothing is coming up.  I want to reach out to him but know there is nothing more to say. Nothing can be done. 

I don’t expect to hear from him for some time. He will be mad at me for writing goodbye in a text.  Just as I am mad at him for not “fighting” for me by “figuring out” how he could spend quality time with me around the holiday if he wanted me to wait for him. 

It’s such a strange feeling.  But I just can’t compromise this time. I don’t have it in me.  And that’s a brand new feeling.  

To put it bluntly, I am worth his time and if he can’t come to that conclusion on his own, then he’s not worth mine.  I am sure we could have built something amazing, and he’s said that for longer than I have….so it’s time to put action behind his words.  

And it was time for me to put action behind mine.  


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.

24 thoughts on “The First Holiday”

  1. Actions do speak louder than words, every time. I hope you are coping well over the Holidays. Glad to see that you are standing up for yourself and what you need and so on. You are right about everything you say about you being worth his time, and a good answer about everything. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As I said on an earlier post, I think you should cool it with Bennett until he comes through on his promise to begin ending his marriage. As I said then it’s time for him “to put up or shut up”. That is the right reason for ending this stage. But being stubborn and ornery is definitely NOT the right reason. You must have logic and reasonableness on your side. Yes, I am saying reach out.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Reach out to say you both need to talk. Clarify what is on each of your minds. Not hide behind curtains of resentment and indifference. Clear the air so that if this is indeed “an ending”, you are friends and there are no lingering doubts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Stuck” and “stubborn” are synonyms here. That’s what I’m saying … get unstuck … reach out. I know you don’t want to, but you will be happier after you do. You sure aren’t happy right now, are you?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you could always say what Losers’ OW (while he was still actively playing husband to me) said to him after he chose to spend Christmas with us….”you had better never choose your family over me again.”
    He never did choose us again and told our children that if from then on (we still weren’t divorced) if they didn’t welcome her, they wouldn’t see their daddy.
    You situation is different. Losers’ OW needed his money and he needed her companionship since he knew I was never going to take him back.
    I don’t know Madeline. Maybe it’s time to let the hammer fall and see how he reacts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My sense in reading these posts is that deep down Bennett does not really want to leave his wife. I believe his game is trying to keep you around by being extra attentive and romantic, saying he wants to leave, yet staying married, or he will force your hand and you will leave, and then he will continue to stay with his wife because without you around, there’s no real incentive to leave. It’s a little catch-22 that will never really produce what you want. If you leave him, you have the opportunity of leaving with your dignity and self respect. If you keep hanging around, you may get to the point of him rejecting you and choosing his wife over you, which will be hugely painful and humiliating, I guarantee. I know that may be hard to imagine as it seems like he’s so into you, but the fact that he’s doing a lot to hide the affair and keep it compartmentalized is a tell that he can walk away with little in the way of consequences. I wish you the best and I’d love to see you explore a real relationship with a man that’s not an affair. I don’t believe that an affair really gives an accurate sense of what a potential committed relationship with that person might really be like

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t think he wasn’t to exit his marriage/family because he does see himself as the good guy and the man who does the right thing. I do think this is a massive struggle for him Internally and definitely going to be a problem when push comes to shove.

      I do think he will leave. But when or how is a whole other question. I don’t think their marriage is going to be resurrected. But, as I have learned, you never know.

      I agree we don’t know what our future looks like or a real relationship. We can’t even argue over basic things because it al revolves around the marriage/family/situation.

      I am willing to give him until January if he can give me the time I need over the holidays. I won’t go back on my word. But I have also realized this week that I can let go if he cant do what needs to be done.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Are you scared that if you talk to him frankly, then the Romance will disappear? I don’t mean just the relationship, but the Romance – that world where you are Bennett almost never disagree and fly to the moon and back five times a night. I very much understand that even when you are mad, and you hide behind indifference/resentment, you can very-much keep stoking that little flame of the Romance. As far as I was concerned, there was a time when this became very unhealthy. The Romance, both the stolen moments with my person AND what was going on in my head, became increasingly at odds with reality. Not sure if you are there yet. Still, there is some wisdom to not making drama over actual Holidays. Let Bennett just be with his family through the weekend. Any time you can make to really just be with yourself and not be always consumed by thoughts of BennettBennettBennett is healthy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m truly not worried about romance. There is something much deeper at work here with Bennett.

      This week was hard because neither of us is happy with our situation. He blames himself and I can be inflexible.

      You are right that this isn’t the time for drama. It hasn’t been sitting well with me and I think I have made a decision.


  6. Your business trip is timed well. You need some space from the situation, although I agree with Marty about discussing things face-2-face. Focus on work & this trip – that should be your top priority because it’s your chance to show your employer that they hired a rock star. Hugs because I think you need them regardless.

    On the holiday front, be careful about sending the kids off to the Ex’s family. I have been doing that and it bit me in the ass this year. Here it is Saturday afternoon and I’m still waiting for my son’s visit. He has been in town since Tuesday afternoon and heads back to school Sunday morning. I’m officially pissed. My point is don’t concede too much time for the holidays because its tough to reclaim.


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