After I cried and wailed and was generally a basket case over Yummy Mummy, Papa Bear agreed to slow things down with her. The next day, after the fog lifted, he was still struggling. I told him he didn’t have to slow things down with her if he didn’t want to, and he said “I have to. Otherwise I’ll lose you.”
I said I just didn’t understand why he had to see her. He had been seeing another woman (a 24 year old British lawyer with good hair), and had just started seeing a young blonde who likes cosplay. Why did he have to see Yummy Mummy? She was too intense and it was too serious and I couldn’t handle it.
He replied “I’m not going to be her boyfriend. We both know that can’t happen because she needs a boyfriend that’s monogamous. I had just hoped, that after 3 years I could have the chance to be her lover for a little while. But you mean the world to me and I’m not going to throw that away just for some sex. Even sex with someone I care about.”
I realized then that he wasn’t just being a playboy. I mean, he is a playboy–and I think after 20 years of being married to someone who made him feel unattractive and stupid, that it helps him to know there’s lots of women out there who would want to be with him–but with Yummy Mummy it was different.
He really cared about her, and would be truly sad if he had to end it because I couldn’t handle it. So I told him he shouldn’t break it off with her. He is clearly poly, even if maybe I’m not as poly as I used to think I was. And the only way to know if we can work long term is to try this for real. If I can’t allow him to follow his heart, then we’ll never be happy.
Papa Bear promised he’d think about what I said, and he thanked me for being brave. Then, the story goes, the next time he talked to Yummy Mummy, they both said at the same time “I think we should just be friends.”
When I asked him about it, he said that he’d kind of had a fantasy of what it would be like to be with her, but in reality it wasn’t like that at all. That it was just weird because they’d always been so close, but when they were together the chemistry was off. That he loves her very deeply, but he is not in love with her, the way he is with me.
The next time they got together she said “I don’t know why, but I’m really relieved we decided to just be friends.” I guess it didn’t feel quite right to her either.
Part of me feels guilty for saying anything. I feel like maybe if I’d kept my mouth shut, it either would have ended on its own, or it would have continued, but at least I’d know I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But Papa Bear says I am a thinker. That I think things through to the end, and sometimes to death, and if I wasn’t there to make him realize he needs to think about things, it would be very easy for him to just jump in head-first without considering important factors–such as whether or not he wants to be a step-dad to four young kids (answer: he doesn’t.)
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had started a relationship with her. I really like her and we get along great, so I think that personality-wise, it could have been awesome. But Papa Bear says that it would have been a disaster just because of everything she is going through right now. It would have put a ton of strain on both me and him, as well as on our relationship. He said he didn’t think he’d be relieved to end it with her, but that is definitely how he felt when they decided they just wanted to be friends.
Now you’d think that after that, everything would be okay–but it wasn’t. It’s hard. Things changed. I think before, I thought that I had to be poly because my husband isn’t sexual and I need to have sex. And at one point, I desperately wanted the connection that comes from a group of people who all care about each other. (I really wanted a poly family, but as of right now it’s too scary to think about. I can’t handle the thought of being rejected by another one of Papa Bear’s lovers, the way his wife rejected me. It’s too soul-destroying. I’m not saying I’d never try it again, but whoever she is, she would have to be really special. )
Now, though, I am questioning everything. Because if I’m honest with myself, deep down inside, I thought Papa Bear and I only continued to be poly because I’m still married. That as long as I was married, we’d stay poly. But if my marriage ever ended, it would just be him and me.
But through these brutally difficult discussions, he made it clear that being polyamorous is who he is. He’d say that he would be willing to give that up for me, he loves me that much, but I could never allow that. You can sacrifice things for the people you love, sure. But you should never have to sacrifice parts of yourself.
So, what could I do? I didn’t want to break up with him–I love him. And even if I did break up with him, I would still need another relationship because I cannot go the remaining decade until my kids are grown up without sex. So I’d end up right back here with whoever else I ended up sleeping with–unless I didn’t care about him. And while just having a fuck buddy seems much, much simpler, it also seems hollow. I don’t want to lose what I have with Papa Bear and replace it with something meaningless.
I still enjoy the occasional one-night-stand or whatever, but when I’m with Papa Bear, we touch each others’ hearts. I need that, and more to the point, I feel like I need him.
So, I decided. I would go back. I would go back to when we first started dating, when we said we couldn’t promise each other forever, but that we love each other “right now.” I would revert to my submissive ways, and instead of fearing his other women would take his time and attention away from me, I would simply go to him when he called for me. I could not be upset when he already had plans with someone else if I never asked to see him. I would not wait for him and I would not figure him into my future plans. If I wanted to go to Europe, then I’d save up for it myself, and if he asked to come along then maybe I’d let him. No more thinking that everything had to be “us.” I decided to pretend there was no “us.” Just him, and me, and this thing between us that may not last after all.
You’ll ask, how did that go? Not well, as it turns out.
More to come.
Visits to the doctor to assess my meds.
Looking for a new job in frantic bursts, then doing nothing on that front for days at a time.
Hours spent in bed, hiding in a book, because fuck reality.
Crying, then raging, then going numb, then feeling fine, rinse, repeat.
I can’t say much more than that. Writing more would require being able to untangle whatever is wrong with me, which I can’t. Can’t make sense of it.
I need an 8 hour therapy appointment, but that isn’t going to happen. Slowly waiting for the dust to clear so I can see what we’re dealing with here.
Ok. I’ve got it. I have no close friends and no real family to speak of. I have my husband but as amazing as he is, I try not to lean on him too much because he has a lot of his own demons to deal with. His lows can cause me to spiral, and mine can do the same to him, so we’re careful with each other.
My two best friends live on the other side of the country and I haven’t seen them in two years. Even when I lived back home we were in different cities and saw each other a few times a year tops. I miss them so much and I’m so lonely.
I don’t share much with work friends because most people wouldn’t get the poly thing so I leave them at arms length. When I spend enough time with them to realize they’d judge my life if I told them, I stop hanging out with them.
I tried to form a poly family and that was a disaster. It led to so much heartache for all of us that I really seriously doubt ever wanting to attempt something like that again.
Then there’s Boss Man and he has been close to me since the beginning. We right away felt like we could be open with and trust each other. Yes there was a sexual attraction and a really strong connection that isn’t quite “in love” and isn’t quite friendship but something else unnamable. And I was lonely and sad and I asked him to fuck me.
Whatever was between us caught fire and exploded and expanded and took on a life of its own. And since then we have been trying to make sense of it.
Maybe we’re in love or maybe we’re soul mates or maybe we’re just sexy friends or maybe we’re best friends or maybe we hate each other. Maybe he’s using me for sex or maybe I’m using him for sex or maybe we’re just both unimaginably fucked up and can’t help self destructing together.
Today I finally talked to him about it. I told him I felt like I had no real friends, and he was not my friend. That he’d only spend time with me if he wanted sex and that he keeps blowing me off when we make plans to hang out.
He told me he feels like I only want sex, or that if we hang out together we’ll end up back at his place fucking and be back to square one.
I told him the way things are is making me feel used, and that is would really prefer to just be his friend but I feel like sex is the only way to get him to spend time with me.
So. No more sex. No more kissing or ass grabbing or dirty texts. Not because we feel guilty or because we don’t want to get fired or because we have no future. Not because of external situations. Because we want to be in each other’s lives and fucking just screwed it up.
He says he is crazy about me, but that this part of our relationship–the part where we are intimate, can’t stop touching, kissing, loving each other–is over. He says his girlfriend deserves better than what he has given her lately.
I know he is right. I need to let go. Why is it so hard? What is it that makes it so fucking painful to stay away from each other?
I can’t have him. I can’t. I can’t. He says he wants me but he can’t have me, but it’s the opposite. He can’t have me all to himself, that’s true, but I am the one who can’t have him at all, anymore. I would be his girlfriend, his love, his partner, but it wouldn’t be enough for him. So I am the one who can’t have him. It’s heartbreaking,but it’s fact, and I need to move on.
I need to let go. I need to say goodbye. Yet I can’t keep away from him. I have no choice. I am only hurting myself, we are only hurting us both. Tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I need to steer clear. Tomorrow, I need to make sure my eyes don’t meet his. Tomorrow, I need to open my hand and let go of whatever it was we had. Tomorrow, I need to put one foot in front of the other and walk away.
I love him. God, how I love him. But I will never have him again. Our friendship will need downtime. I will need space to heal. I will need to stop thinking of him as my love, because he isn’t. I don’t want to lose him altogether, but right now I need to focus on not losing me. I have been helpless to resist him, but tonight and tomorrow I will be strong. One foot in front of the other until I am gone.
Today I told him to say horrible, awful things to me. To be inhumanly mean, so I never want to see or talk to him again. I told him it would be better if we hated each other, but he just told me to have a good night.
He said he is crazy about me, and I can’t fucking stand it.
I am dumb as a fucking brick. That’s why I did it. I did it because I felt ridiculous loving someone who didn’t love me back. He knew I loved him and I was embarrassed. I managed to integrate it into my life–this man I work with, that I love, with whom I have a close if not entirely healthy friendship, who is monogamous and has a girlfriend. I accepted it but I was embarrassed. But as soon as he told me he was still interested, that he was tempted beyond belief, that he loved me too, I abandoned my dignified embarrassment.
I told him I wouldn’t help him self-destruct, that I wouldn’t help him go behind his girlfriend’s back, that he should call me if he’s ever single again. And then I crumbled like a castle in the sand because I thought feeling his love would make me feel better.
All it did was make me hold my breath for when he’d pull the plug. All it did was give him control of my heart strings. I did not get any power or pride back because I am a fool wrapped around his finger. Before I may have felt embarrassed and pathetic, but now I feel both of those, plus guilt and shame too.
The heartbreak I feel is almost boring. I haven’t earned the right to wallow in self pity because I brought it on myself. I don’t deserve the breakdowns at work. Chick flicks won’t console me because they aren’t meant to placate the “other woman.” I want to skip the sad songs and the alternately starving myself and binge eating–forgo the long, hard runs through the rain.
This isn’t a breakup, this is stupidity on steroids. I get it now. I understand my motivations. But although I deserve to hurt, I haven’t earned the right to wallow. I brought it on myself.
I didn’t get in trouble at work. The big wigs contacted Boss Man that Sunday night for reasons that had nothing to do with him or me. Yet I can’t help thinking how reckless we were. Almost like we wanted to get caught, lying on the stairs with his fingers inside me, hiding in the kitchen pressed up against the wall.
Why did I do this? I still don’t know.
Am I just not used to being happy, so I feel like I need to court misery? Maybe I don’t know myself without it. Maybe I think that happiness will never last, so I need to keep pain around as a constant. And yet, its not like my life was perfect. Things with the husband are a constant work in progress, work can be stressful, there is never enough money and my kids are more of a handful than I have hands for.
Maybe I entertained a fantasy that he and his girlfriend would break up, and then he would come back to me and stay with me for longer this time. Not forever–never forever, he wouldn’t have it, he needs a partner who is all his. But maybe I thought we could be together, learn from each other, have something that we could look back on one day and smile about. One of those break-up that transitions nicely into a friendship between a couple who “remains close.”
But am I close with any of my exes, still? I want to be, so badly, but they won’t have me, not even as a friend. My first love who I think should be over it enough by now to be able to chat with me, will not talk to me. I wish I knew why–it was over more than a decade ago–but she says she can’t. She won’t be my friend.
The first lover I took after I was married, who was my best friend in jr. high, disappeared without a trace after our week of passion and presumably doesn’t care whether or not I’m alive. Sugar Daddy, he was never my friend, and I don’t talk to him because all he wants from me is sex and submission. Boss Man is my friend, first and foremost–one of my closest, one of my dearest. I know part of what I wanted was a lover who still wanted me in their life, even after the romance was over.
Was it worth it, though? God, it feels like it wasn’t. It feels like nothing could be worth feeling this way. Nothing is worth hiding in the locker room at work, sobbing and gasping into his chest while he rubs slow circles on my back and I beg him to tell me why losing something that never had a shot hurts so goddamn much.
He says we met at the wrong time, but at least we met. I’m glad we met too, but should I have slept with him, even once? Maybe. I did recover from that, even though it hurt. But after he had a girlfriend? No. No, it did nothing but fuck with me. And yet, at the time, there was something so sublime about finally knowing that he loved me back. That he feels our connection as deeply as I do. That he wishes to god we’d met ten years ago. That I will always also be his one that got away.
Of course, that changes nothing. Because we’re still not together, and we never will be again. Because he loves Tinder Girl and she wants to marry him and have his kid. Because even if they broke up, a few more months or a year with him would not change the ending. He will always end up with someone else. Better now than later.
I want to find another job. I never planned to stay for more than a year anyway. Its time to move on professionally, and he is the only reason I haven’t. And now he is my motivation for getting away as soon as possible. Its impossible, and it hurts, and it broke us both.
He has a girlfriend. If things go the way they plan for them to, he will marry her and make a baby with her. And she’ll never know how he cheated, and that is my biggest regret. It’s gross. I feel gross. If I can’t live with it, how will he? Just another question I don’t really know the answer to.
I really want to believe that I’ve learned my lesson. I do believe I’ve learned it. That I won’t enter into something doomed again because I don’t know that the experience is worth the heartbreak. Love is not rare and precious. I could fall in love with someone new every year, but that doesn’t mean that I should if it’s not right. I also want to believe that I’ll never get involved again with someone who is cheating, regardless of the passion.
I hope I have a good memory. I hope I remember this pain for the rest of my life. I hope I never go there again.