Hanging On, By A Thread

Quick post because I don’t have time, but I do have enough time to send a text and I am trying to avoid that.

Received and email today from Bennett – interesting choice on his behalf that it wasn’t a text or call – which said:

I’m dying a slow death….however I’m determined to deliver a progress report shortly….and I know I’m breaking protocol but I don’t care

I haven’t replied, but boy is my heart itching to reply.

Where are all my cheerleaders?!

I do have a first date tonight, and then a new one for next Friday.  Both mature, well-established and very communicative….both good starts.  Let’s hope I like them to take my mind off Bennett and his progress, or lack thereof.

My only concern, which is not overriding my ability to go on a date, but the thought is there: if I start dating, or even having sex, I know Bennett will be terribly upset with me.  If I was in his shoes, and in his situation, I know I would be thinking “does she really love me that she couldn’t wait for me?”  While I know most of you here will simply say “he’s married! he can’t have expectations!”  I get it, I know it.  But I also know him better than you and I know this is what he will think simply because it’s what I would think.

And, maybe, just maybe the inkling of a thought crept into my mind that this is why he’s trying to communicate with me…because he knows I am getting ready to date, he knows I’m on the dating apps and it’s just a matter of time.    He’s desperate to ensure I don’t turn away from him.  Because, I really believe, once I do turn away – there is no going back.

And maybe that’s why I hang on so long to these men, because I hope beyond a reasonable hope that they will come to their senses and realize what they have with me.  I know that makes me sound like I am full of myself, but I do think that.  I do know that what Bennett and I share is unique for so many reasons, and maybe he finally realizes how bleak life will be without me.



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.

38 thoughts on “Hanging On, By A Thread”

  1. What does he mean by “delivering a progress report”? Is he wanting to update you on the state of his marriage? Or is this a work report he has to submit? Haha. I’m so confused.

    Don’t respond! At least not yet. Think about it for a couple days. Draft and re-draft a reply; get a friend’s input on it before sending… if you do decide to send.

    I hear you on always expecting lovers to come back. In my case, it happens most of the time – which is possibly even more upsetting because it makes it hard to move on. And, like you, once I move on, I can’t go back.

    Thinking of you. Hold tight!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Since I can’t quite read his mind…I do think a progress report means his progress on telling his wife and moving forward with separation – however, I thought the same thing you did “is this a work status??!”

      I had a momentary lapse where I “needed” to text him and I wrote the post instead. So it’s passed, for now…..

      If the date goes poorly, I’m probably in trouble though!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So if Bennet thinks “does she really love me if she is able to have sex with other people”….can this not be turned around to have you ask “does he really not love me since he can so easily let me go and stay with his wife”. Your choice to move on with your life is not a reflection of your feelings for him and it’s not fair of him to hold any of that against you or question your love for him.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This almost reads like Manipulation, Part 2. I assume you meant it is he who is hanging on by a thread, given the strength of your conviction I read in your comments on the last post. He sent you flowers, and now an email – where he acknowledges that he’s breaking the NC rule and he doesn’t care. How do you feel about that? That he’s chosen to ignore the NC you established. I think your inkling is right about his concerns that you might move on.. and so would explain why he keeps “reminding” you of his existence and his feelings for you. There is an old expression the old folks used to say – “Either piss or get off the pot.” He needs to follow that advice. Stay strong! Enjoy your first dates! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It doesn’t bother me that way – because I have done it myself and I was disrespectful of someone who requested the same from me out of love and desperation. Get it with Bennett and I can only treat him as well as I was once treated at the end.

      It’s time for him to act, he knows it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hang in there, M. I wouldn’t give up completely on Bennett. You can go on dates and have fun, be you. It doesn’t mean that if and when the time is right, you guys can’t be together. It’s just a first date. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah, M, don’t get sucked back in by him. He wants you back, but I guarantee his progress report is dismal. If he had done anything meaningful to extricate himself from his marriage, he would be singing it from the rooftop.

    As for his jealousy, that’s just too bad. You aren’t dating him, you are a single woman, so he cannot expect you to disappear into a convent to wait for him.

    I agree that this is Manipulation 2.0. Perhaps he means it with love and longing to be with you, but he knows what he needs to do to be with you. Anything short of that is not acceptable. Don’t engage in dialogue with him, it rewards him for bad behavior.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I don’t want him to sing from the rooftops – I want him to be sad about the end of his marriage….he should be – they raised a beautiful family for 22 years and honestly have had a good partnership. If he treats her well through a divorce I will have more admiration for him because my x was so cruel.

      He is clear I am dating, he knows the risks now. Either it will drive him to act or it won’t – but those are his decisions. It doesn’t change that I do feel a little guilty.


  6. Hi M,
    I know its been a while since I last communicated but I see you still behave like me…hahahahahaha Don’t respond to him…. He knows you the best and knows your weakness. He is not doing anything to end his marriage and though I know it could be difficult to end one it is still possible. You should not feel guilty for dating. As matter fact you should date to get distracted. Besides you have to remember he is married and already has the person he is going to grow old with not unless he changes that to you but from the signs he isn’t strong enough. Remember you also deserve the happiness of finding the one who will be at your side till he ends it, you deserve to be looking for your happiness. You never know maybe he will wake up and realize you are serious.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I recognize that hope! It can be treacherous so many times… 😦 but then once in a blue moon, the hope is right.
    I still believe you are doing the right thing, going on other dates. It is always good for perspective and gaining a distance.. and if B. comes back, well, then he will habe to understand…! Just like you perhaps then understood that he “took his time” with getting out of his marriage etc. Understanding has to go both ways. Good luck 😊🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Do not worry about going on dates, and how he will feel about that if he ultimately decides to come to you. You need to do what is best for you now, based on the reality on the ground NOW. Based on my own past experience, it is quite possible that he will come to you halfway—he may even begin some sort of conversation with his wife (albeit an incomplete one) and use that occasion as a springboard to get back with you. Then, later, as he continues to waffle and doubt what to do, and conversations with his wife are ongoing, he will remain on the fence. He will tell you that his wife plans to wait him out instead of throwing him out. He will be conflicted about this, unable to be the one to leave home, and he will continue to seek comfort in you, especially once his wife “knows” about you. The problem is, during this period of conversations (him with his wife, and him with you), he will be scrutinizing you and your love for reasons to doubt YOU and to justify staying in his marriage. He will interrogate you about your dating activities while you were A FREE WOMAN, and he will use whatever you say [in his mind] as a reason not to leave his wife. “If M REALLY loved me, she would not have started dating so fast. . .” It’s a corrosive process that will torment you both. The thing is, your behavior one way or the other while he STAYS MARRIED is not going to change anything. In the end, he is a man who will ultimately do precisely what he wants to do and what he thinks BEST to do. Most likely, he will stay in his marriage. He might decide it is best to be with you. Either way, how you behave in the interim will not be the decisive factor. As he moves closer to a final decision to stay in his marriage, he may [unconsciously] attempt to make you feel somehow responsible for this outcome, like it happened this way because you were untrue to him, but that will only be his way to protect himself and let himself off the hook emotionally for his actions and inactions. This is a difficult situation for you. You love him, you want to support him in difficulty, you want to be true to your love, if you can. I empathize deeply. I have been in this exact place. Years later, I can look back and know with 100% certainty that I should have put myself first and let my lover take full responsibility for himself and his decisions–on his own. I continued to engage with my married lover for a year and a half AFTER he told his wife about me. By the time he told his wife, I had been out of my own marriage for a year (oh, and, I left my own marriage, in part because of my feelings for this man, whom I had known since I was 17.) He never left his marriage. He agonized about it. I agonized about it. I should have moved on, with finality, until, at minimum, he physically moved out of his marital home. When I did finally move on, it was a crucial point of self empowerment. Even so, it took me 2.5 more years of dating, as well a longer term on-off relationship with a man who was single but emotionally unavailable until I was able to be completely clear about what I wanted and needed in a relationship and was able to hold to that truth above all other considerations. It has been a year now since the happy day I met the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. Your story resonates with me deeply, and I wish you well. I believe good things come to women who are clear and firm about their desires and needs. It is a slow process getting there sometimes, but I can see that you are on that path. It is not a straight path, that’s for sure, but it’s worth staying on even when you must pause to grieve the loss of a powerful love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You hit the nail on the head – I am very worried about him telling his wife and then staying put for a long time. I can manage until the kids go to college this summer, but no longer.

      Thank you for sharing your story as it’s one I think about often. I know the path to dissolving a marriage is not an easy one and he is only taking the very first steps – there are 10 thousand more to follow.

      I am ok managing some grief and some hope right now – I just refuse to nurture the hope and I will not allow him to cultivate any more within me. This is now his decision to make and I am art risk, he has never been more clear about this than now.


      1. Maybe he is a narcissist – it seems like thats a standard label here on the blogs.

        Conversely, no human in this world has ever cared for me the way Bennett has – the small things he does for me, the way he takes care of all things I need are certainly not motivation of a selfish person.

        I think he’s broken, like all of us. I think he feels a sense of responsibility to his family that perhaps I don’t feel – I think I am even more selfish than he is.

        I think he’s a good man in a crap situation. He knows this is all on him and only he can fix it. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. But, I will not give him any more until he has the conversation and comes clean that their marriage is over.


      2. ugh..I hate how easily the word Narcissist label gets thrown around here on so many blogs. Just because he wants his cake and eat it too doesn’t make a man a Narcissist. Bennett is certainly not one. He is a man struggling with the loss of the passion and fun in his life. He is choosing to stay in an unfulfilling relationship..and is grasping at ways to keep hold of what has been bringing him joy. Selfish..yes (but aren’t we all?? when we engage with married men because of how they make us feel, regardless of the reality that he is not ours to have..this is most certainly out of selfish desire) but a Narcissist he (and many other men falsely labelled here on WP) is not.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah LB, I don’t think so. I know maybe it appears like that in writing, but I know him and his heart. I think he is miserable and doing everything he can to build up his courage.

      I am still strong, even with this email. I feel for him more than I can muster up anger because I was him a year ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Life is short.. the moments escape us in the blink of an eye
    Though your heart is breaking – let yourself be free to enjoy life
    You are amazing I’m certain – you deserve a love that is as amazing – one you can be free in.. keep moving forward – if it’s him then it will work – if not – you will meet an amazing love
    Trust it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do trust that what will be, will be. But I over-analyze everything because it’s my nature to do so.

      I am truly not lying in wait for Bennett, but would be lying to say I have utterly no hope. I know that hope needs to be controlled and not allow it to affect the better decisions of moving forward as I planned.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry, not sorry… I not only see this as manipulation, but something more insidious such as a bit of psychological abuse. What are you, his submissive or slave? Haven’t you touched on all the reasons why you were all over and done with B? Stressed, cried, agonized and tried to keep yourself busy until the worst was over?

    He will do anything he can to keep you in his life. That is what unhappy cheaters do. If you really and truly were finished with a capital F, you would never see him again and block him as a contact. Remove him from your call list. You would be eager to see these new men, and be searching out other possibilities. Instead I almost sense you’re going about the whole dating thing with leaden steps as if it’s school homework you are dreading.

    Have you thought about seeing a counselor? I’m not suggesting you’re disturbed, but someone with an analytical mind, with years of experience in just this sort of thing, could help you sort out precisely what you are, and are not feeling. What the next best step is for you. And how you can move forward in your life without wondering if each move is the correct one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do disagree that anything about Bennett is insidious, he’s heartbroken and desperate. I have done what he is doing myself and couldn’t see the harm I was causing to the person I was doing it to.

      I never said I was finished, not once. I simply said I had to let go while he was remaining married without any form of communication and honesty with his wife.

      I’m not eager about dating because my heart hurts and I’m still raw. I’m trying to adjust and I am sure that will come with time, but I don’t expect the hurt to go away overnight.

      I think I know exactly what I feel – hope, heartbreak and a sense of doing what is best for me right now.

      Any move I make in my life is going to be analyzed because its my nature. I will agonize over all my choices that affect a long term outlook or my family, including this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Makes sense. I think you’re both heartbroken but he feels dedication to his family. You can’t blame a guy for that! I wonder how his wife could actually be so clueless as to have no idea he is unfaithful, or does she simply know and not care, as long as he always returns to her? Still, were he to come begging to you and admit he finally has left her and filed for divorce, would you go back to him knowing he will still have family obligations and (no doubt) joint custody? How would you feel deep inside being the “other woman” who helped to end their marriage?

        I say these things, not to make you feel bad or remorseful in any way, but because I find your ongoing story and musings about B so fascinating. The “what ifs” are just chock full of ideas which I find myself pondering now and again throughout my day!
        Maybe because I myself have never considered myself a person capable of true deep love. Even my dear darling husband/Master… who adores me – I love him, but it is and never has been that wonderful head-over-heels rush of ecstasy I hear about. I WANT to feel that way, but I never in all my life have and doubt I will.

        So I suppose to me, to hear someone acting on emotional as well as rational thought is very intriguing. I applaud you for the self-analysis, which I think can only serve you well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know I wonder about his wife too and I think he does as well. I am going to go with she has no clue and even if she did, she doesn’t really care as long as he continues with everything at home the way it is…he doesn’t put any stress on her and she doesn’t have any financial burdens.

        I am not fussed about his (good) relationship with his wife, nor should I be. His children are 17 and 19 so custody isn’t such a big deal at that age, it’s much more about how the wife will be able to take care of herself and the fact the house would need to be sold (he is very worried about displacing the kids, even if they are in college most of the year).

        I am not the one who helped end his marriage – this is all on him. When I met him he was out of his house and making his first steps and then things changed. We have also discussed not becoming public for some time even after his conversation with his wife so in all truth, the next part will be as hard as this part.

        I was always certain how I felt about love but you sound like my x and one of my closest friends who claim they cannot feel true deep love. Bennett states this about his wife was well. Perhaps some people are just more alike than others and Bennett and I are definitely the type of people who fall deeply in love. We both believe in that deep and everlasting love, although I lived with a man for 22 year who did not and truly started to believe I would never find this kind of love. My x almost had me convinced I was delusional to think it existed.

        Thanks for the kudos. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to go through these things and we all make our best choices. I only get frustrated when commenters use canned responses because I do believe everyone has a different situation. I don’t know the outcome of mine, but I do know that staying apart from him for some time is the best decision.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. To be very honest, I would be devastated if the tables were turned. No matter what anyone says, I know how he thinks and I know this could be an impediment if we can move forward – even if it shouldn’t be.


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