The view from Papa Bear’s high rise is magnificent. I love sitting in this comfy lounge chair, watching the sun come up, watching the sun go down, watching the city lights at night, or the mist rising over the skyline in mid-morning.
I love our quiet time. I love drinking my coffee while he makes bacon, or just snuggling together and enjoying the fact that we have nowhere to be and nothing to do.
I love our little happy place at the top of the world.
Papa Bear moved out.
He has been in his new apartment a week today.
He tells me he is so, incredibly happy. And he seems happy. He gets to wake up later in the morning because he doesn’t have to make coffee for the Ex-Wifey before he leaves for work. His commute is shorter and easier. And he is way closer to where I live.
Instead of getting home from work and dreading what he is going to be in trouble for now, or what he is going to have to do for the Ex-Wifey, he just comes home and does whatever he wants. He relaxes. Or takes a nap. Or puts together furniture in his underwear. Or walks around naked.
His apartment is nice. It’s small, but new. Hardwood floors and lots of windows, in a high rise downtown with a gym and a pool. He is excited to have my kids over to swim.
Still, sometimes, the immensity of what has happened overcomes him. Still he tells me, sometimes he wonders “What have I done?”
I understand. Who wouldn’t have those reservations? What kind of person would leave a 20+ year marriage without some second thoughts? When he feels that though, he reminds himself of how bad it was. And of everything he has gained. And the panic slowly fades.
He says I am the most important thing in the world to him. I think its because I support his freedom, and respect his autonomy. Also, of course, is our amazing, heart-stopping, intense connection that just continues to grow and grow.
We are both so relieved–if that’s an appropriate word to use. We just want to be together, without having to walk on egg shells, or wait for permission, or feel guilty. He tells me he is excited about our life together, and being able to define it without a bunch of constraints.
I agree. We are soul mates. And now we can stop pretending that that doesn’t matter.
When the cab pulls up at his place, he is waiting outside. In the pitch dark, I can only make out his silhouette. The howling wind blows my dress and his shaggy, hipster hair as I walk towards him.
I close the space between us and grab his shirt, pulling his mouth to mine. His lips are soft–so impossibly soft. Our hands roam all over each others’ bodies, as we fumble our way through the door and down the stairwell.
I drop my bag. He pushes me against the wall. My hands under his lumberjack flannel shirt, his in the space between my short green dress and my thigh high boots.
“Do you want a smoke?” He asks. “Because otherwise the dress is coming off.”
I need a minute. “Yes,” I say. “Smoke.”
We go outside. We smoke. I have no idea what we talk about. Our lips find each other again and he pulls me back into the apartment, then begins kissing my neck from behind.
“I wish I could date you,” he murmurs into the space between my shoulders.
“Why can’t you?,” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“Because I would want you all to myself. That’s why.” The tenderness and passion in his voice floods all my senses.
He flips me around and I fall back on the bed. We pull each others’ clothes off and he slowly kisses my body, and then he’s inside me.
I gasp. “Oh god.”
He moves in me until I come over and over.
“Get on your back,” I growl. He complies.
I climb on top and ride him. “You feel really good,” he moans. I moan back.
When we’re done, we lay together, kissing passionately, running our hands up and down each others’ bodies.
“Can you believe we did this?” I laugh.
“Yep,” he answers with a smile.
He softly asks me why I’m not single. I softly ask him why he’s not poly. Then our mouths are together again, getting as much of each other as we possibly can in this one night.
“I hate that I want you again already,” he admits. He kisses my neck, as I run my hands over his body, moaning. He enters me, this time alternating between pushing into me with his cock, and licking me to orgasm. I scream, grabbing his hair with my hands, digging my nails into his back, until I am spent.
And then we talk. Office gossip. The kinkiest thing we ever did. When we got our tattoos and why. The most fucked up thing we’ve ever done in heartbreak. Whether or not we believe in forever. What happens after we die. The moment we each realized we wanted each other, and the moment we each realized we wanted each other for more than sex.
“This is the most interesting post-sex conversation I’ve ever had,” he admits.
“What do you normally talk about?”
“It’s usually ‘I see this going somewhere…'”
“Ah,” I replied.
“Can we agree, no feelings?” he asks me.
“Define feelings…”I press.
I agree. Ownership, I do not need.
We smoke another cigarette, talking the whole time, and then take turns going down on each other. After another round of viciously delicious orgasms, I fall back against the pillows, panting.
“Let’s get breakfast,” I say. It is 2:30 in the morning.
We get in his car, and go for breakfast. We talk about what it would be like to keep seeing each other. What would happen if this one night turned into a full-blown affair. What would happen if we got caught.
Pancakes and bacon, and then back to his place to fuck and talk some more. Every time I pull on my panties to go to sleep, he asks why I am wearing underwear, and tosses them back across the room.
I start to giggle. “Well, if you can’t laugh during sex, you’re doing it wrong,” he says. And then his head is between my legs. We are insatiable.
So much of it is a blur of touch and hands and mouths and grabbing and bucking and kissing and petting. So much of it, except, this one moment:
Our heads in a cloud of blankets. Faces inches apart. His hands on my skin. Mine hands on his. Our eyes locked, hazy from exhaustion and wanting. His auburn hair mussed. Both of us floating. Not saying things we shouldn’t be saying, but definitely feeling things we shouldn’t be feeling.
If there is one moment from that night that I will take with me wherever I go, it will be that.
Around 4 AM, he tells me I must sleep. I’m in a meeting the whole next day. I tell him not to boss me. He tells me he is being a good friend. We spoon, and crash, pressed against each other.
My phone’s alarm blares at 6 AM. I rip it out of the wall. We both laugh, looking at each other in amazement.
“Good morning, ” he says. He uses my name.
“Good morning,” I say, using his.
We are kissing and then we are fucking. We are both wide awake.
We smoke, then make love again.
“What’s your weak spot?” he asks.
I smirk in response.
“I will kiss every inch of your body until I find it.”
I raise my eyebrows. Challenge accepted.
He starts at my hips. He kisses my belly. When he pulls a nipple into his mouth, I moan instantly. I moan again when he gets to my neck, and then our mouths are together and I flip over so he can enter me from behind.
He dresses and goes to the kitchen to get us something to drink. I follow , sliding up behind him, pulling open his shirt, pulling off his pants, until he is naked. I run my hands up and down his shaft until he turns and I kneel, taking him into my mouth.
He groans, and I stay there for a few moments, on the kitchen floor. “Back to bed,” he says, lifting me to my feet, carrying and tossing me onto the mattress. His head is between my legs again. I am so sore I can barely stand the contact but our time is almost over. I want as much as I can get.
He says he is going to shower, and then take me to my meeting. I wrap my arms tighter around him.
“You can’t pin me,” he laughs, so I wrap my leg around him too. He slowly kisses my neck. Runs his lips over my collarbone and towards my mouth. He turns me onto my back, gets on top of me, and fucks me into ecstasy one last time.
Then he chuckles, and walks towards the bathroom.
“It was totally worth it,” I laugh back. “I don’t even care.”
In the car, we are quiet. I pull a cigarette from his pack. “Do you want one?” I ask, and he says “Yeah.”
I put his to my lips and light it, handing it to him first, before I draw on my own.
“And they say romance is dead,” he says.
I’ve been MIA for awhile, for no particular reason. Just taking some time to let things sink in, I guess. Everything is just in this weird in between space, and I feel kind of un-tethered.
Papa Bear is still living in the family home with The Wifey. At first they had hoped that they’d be able to make a platonic domestic partnership work, but Papa Bear realized pretty quickly that he needs to move out. He says the house doesn’t feel like his home, anymore.
I’m still not allowed over when The Wifey is home, which causes no small amount of stress for us. Sometimes she won’t let him know her schedule ahead of times, so we can’t make plans. The last time he asked her what her plans were, she shouted at him and said he needed to “stop pressuring her”. She then went on to say that this is all his fault, he has no integrity, he ruined their family, etc, etc.
She has told Papa Bear and their kids, that she doesn’t blame me for their separation, or believe it is my fault. It’s a nice thing to say, but Papa Bear says that if its true that she doesn’t blame me, she absolutely does blame him.
So now he is planning on moving out as soon as possible. It is just too stressful and painful for him to continue living there.
They have told their children that they’ve split up. His daughter understands (because she still lives at home, and has been witness to all of the screaming and crying), but apparently their son took it pretty hard.
We are both dealing with the question of when we would start dating other people again, and how we would handle it if we did. We’ve gone back and forth. Papa Bear was considering getting to know a girl he met at a poly group, and they have been chatting, but he feels like he won’t be ready to move forward with anything until he is moved out and has spent some time getting used to living on his own. And until he and I have had a chance for things to stabilize for our relationship. Once the dust settles, we want to make sure we’re still good.
I had a quite long flirtation with one of my supervisors, which started as harmless flirting many, many months ago, transitioned into heavy sexting, and culminated in us making plans to spend the night together one Friday after work.
He bailed at the last minute. Apparently him being my supervisor, and us having a secret affair (in terms of work, he’s unattached), and me being married–it is a line he just cannot cross. I respect that, but I’m not going to say I didn’t walk away wondering if I was shameful and dirty and not good enough for him.
We said we’d keep being friends and spend time together in PG scenarios, but he’s been sick and now I’m sick so I haven’t actually seen him since. We’ll see how it goes. Part of me wants things to just go back to normal, and part of me hopes that eventually we’ll get drunk and do it anyway.
As for actual dating, I know I’m not ready for any more relationships, and I honestly may not be until my kids are pretty much grown. Two partners is plenty.
Papa Bear and I are taking a little getaway next week, which is desperately needed. We are going to the mountains and staying in a condo on a ski hill. I honestly do not care if we don’t do anything but cuddle, fuck and drink. I wouldn’t even say I’m so much excited, as I am relieved. I feel like we have not been able to just BREATHE in so long. It cannot come soon enough.
I keep having arguments with her in my head. Telling her what I want to say, imagining her response, and trying to refute it. It’s a habit I developed back when I figured that one day, for sure, we would have to sit down and hash things out. That there was no way we could move forward without doing that–without at least being heard.
Hearing from Papa Bear, however, what she thinks and feels about me, makes it clear that no amount of talking would make any difference. He says that once she has made up her mind about a person’s actions and motivations, there is no convincing her otherwise. I find this maddening, but I guess in a way its also freeing. Because it doesn’t matter what I do or say, I’m going to be the villain–so I don’t have to worry about what I do or say.
She believes that every action I have taken, every move I have made in my relationship with Papa Bear, has been carefully and methodically calculated in order to drive them apart.
She is still angry about the time she invited us to dinner, when we were on a date, and then suggested twice that if I was cold I go sit outside. She firmly believes that the reason I actually went and sat outside, was to snub her, and to take Papa Bear away from her (even though I told him to go ahead and stay inside with her). Apparently when she said she’d like to cook dinner for us, she meant she’d like all of us to cook dinner together, and I was rude for leaving. There is no room in her mind to accept the fact that maybe it was a misunderstanding.
She maintains that she is baffled–baffled!–as to why I would have got my feelings hurt over not being invited to their movie night at Christmas. The fact that this was a tradition that included all their friends, for years, and I wasn’t invited, should not have been hurtful to me. The fact that she and her boyfriend and his wife, sat three feet across from me and discussed it, knowing I would hear, knowing that I wasn’t welcome, should not have hurt me. Because it is their family event, and they have the right to decide who is invited and who isn’t, and the fact that I made a big deal out of this just shows that I do not respect their marriage. Papa Bear told her that I did not “make a big deal”–that it was a big deal, because I was actively hurt by her actions, but she refuses to see that she did anything wrong.
There is so much more that she is still angry about. The time that Papa Bear and I were 20 minutes late bringing food to the games night, even though we already had plans to hang out with someone else, and rudely and hurtfully cut it short because The Wifey decided to hold an event that same night that Papa Bear was required to be at. She is fuming because people were waiting, and refuses to see that she had no business requiring us to cut our plan short after an hour so we could be there for what she was doing.
In this entire thing–as it relates to me, but also, worse, as it relates to her relationship with Papa Bear–she has not apologized. Not once. She does not believe anything she did was wrong. She places the blame squarely on us, and mostly on me.
I would love to just move on. I would love to just sigh and say its in the past. But unfortunately, even though I have not seen her in months, she is still very much a part of my life, because she is a part of Papa Bear’s life. Before the break-up, she told him that she could not handle having me in the house while she was in the house. I did not want to be in the house with her either, but instead of merely going out whenever I planned to be there, she now wants Papa Bear to plan when he sees me according to when she has other plans. Papa Bear says he will give her a month as of the day of the break-up, but after that, she is just going to have to deal.
When I’m there, though, I feel like an intruder. Like I don’t have the right to be there. Papa Bear and I decorated our bedroom at his place to look like a cabin, and that is the only place in the house where I don’t feel on edge. On the weekend we spent some time in the living/dining room, and I remained perched on a dining chair, even though my body hurt, because I didn’t feel like I could sit on her couch. I don’t like using the bathroom where her vast collection of necklaces hang on display. I prefer to drink coffee only from the mug that I bought Papa Bear.
I wish he would move, but I know its complicated. I also know its his decision, and I’m not going to push him, because any decision he makes about any of it, needs to be 100% his. He confided to me that every option terrifies him. Staying in the house. Renovating the basement so they can rent it to cover the mortgage and house taxes and he can afford his own place. Selling and being buried in tens of thousands of fees from the bank. Renting the whole house and forcing her to leave her “dream home.” All of these options sound like crap to him.
So I just need to wait and see what happens, like I did when he and his wife were trying to work things out. Be silent, be supportive, wait and see. Like I’m doing while they are trying to see if they can be friends. Like I am doing to see how long he will let her tell him when I can and can’t be in the house. Like I am doing with all of it.
When the anxiety gets to be too much, I think about making another appointment with my therapist. I lose myself in a good novel. I go for a walk and let the fresh air and sunshine do their work. I talk to a friend. I blog. I clean the apartment from top to bottom. I tell Papa Bear how I feel, but not what to do. I let him do him, and I do me.
So here’s what happened. She came home one morning, after having spent the night at her boyfriend’s. Papa Bear asked her how her night was, if she’d had a good time, etc. She said “We need to talk.”
So he sat down across from her at the table, and she said “I can’t do this. This isn’t working.” She went on to say that she could never feel safe with him as long as he was in a relationship with me, because as long as he’s with me, he won’t care for her or prioritize her.
She went on for awhile about all the ways he’s disappointed her, and about how my goal since the beginning has been to break them up, and all he does is defend me. Blah, blah, blah.
When she was done, he said, “Okay. Then we won’t be in a romantic relationship. If you can’t feel safe in a relationship with me, then we shouldn’t be in one.”
I’m not sure what happened after that, but that was the break-up.
She spent the majority of the next week sick in bed, but he told me that on Thursday after he got home from work, they were going to have a chat about logistics. They were supposed to talk about what to do with the house, about their daughter Lucy, who still lives with them because she is disabled, about what to tell their kids and their family and friends, and what to do about the upcoming vacations they have planned for the year.
They started off talking about their trips, but then The Wifey got angry and started to shout at him. She said he was a “fucking asshole”, that he didn’t realize what he was giving up, that she couldn’t believe he was willing to give up on their relationship, that one day he would wake up and realize he’d made a huge mistake and it would be too late.
He told her that he didn’t “give up” because he stopped loving her, or because he was sick of her, or because he’d rather be with me. He gave up because he realized that no matter how hard he tried, and no matter what he did, it would never be enough. And so he could continue to beat his head against the wall, to try and fail at making her happy, for the rest of his life, or he could just admit that it wasn’t going to work, and they could both move on.
She either implied, or directly stated, that if he would break up with me, then he wouldn’t have to be frustrated or feel like he is failing her. And he said that one thing he has realized, is that he has to be free to define his own relationships. He has to be free to determine how they will go, what place they will have in his life, whether he continues or ends them, without coercion.
He told her that he had given up relationships with some of his best friends, because she didn’t approve. Because whenever he wanted to spend time with them, she would complain that he was taking time away from her, or spending his money on other people, or not considering her. Or, if she didn’t “get” the people he was friends with (which was usually the case–they do not have the same taste in friends or lovers at ALL), she would just say that his friends were completely fucked up, or that they were immature and childish and stupid, or whatever else, until it was easier for him to just not spend time with those people. That he wasn’t going to do it anymore. He is allowed to choose his friends, he is allowed to choose his acquaintances, he is allowed to choose his lovers, and he will not be in a situation where he is expected to do otherwise.
He told her that the only thing that would happen if he broke up with me, was that, in a very short amount of time, he would be back to doing whatever she wants, because that’s what would make her happy. And that the only difference would be, that now he knows he has the right to live his own life, so he would hate himself.
She didn’t have anything to say to that–for once. He says that’s because she knows that he’s right. Or maybe she was just shocked that she was “giving him another chance” and he still wasn’t backing down.
They finished discussing their logistics. Their mortgage isn’t up for renewal for another 2 years, so they can’t sell the house now without taking a significant financial hit. If she can be reasonable and stop attacking and trying to get him to leave me, they may try to be platonic domestic partners for awhile. If it doesn’t work, then he may have to move out, which means she would have to as well, since she can’t afford the house on her own. There’s other options floating around, so we’ll see what happens.
I’m still not 100% sure this breakup is going to stick. We’ll see.
He says they broke up.
I can’t gauge much from a text.
He says he can’t talk about it yet.
I say we should take a break. Maybe she will be more willing to work on herself and the way she treats him without the stress of our relationship. They can go to counselling–three months, six, a year. They can approach it from a different place, without jealousy crippling their (her) ability to reason. They can rebuild, or fail, but know every possible measure was taken. We can wait until we know for sure that they will work, or that they are doomed, before he lets it end.
He says it won’t help. He says it’s too late. He says she had already made up her mind–that she needs to be away from him.
I feel nothing. I feel numb. I am in shock.
I am going to be sick.
He says he is sorry–this will be hard on our relationship. It will shake us–the blast radius.
I tell him not to worry about me. I tell him I have his back.
I don’t know what to think.
Maybe this isn’t really happening. Maybe they will fall into each others arms tonight and vow to make it work. Maybe he will tell her of my offer. Maybe she will take it.
Maybe the kids won’t have two Christmases. Maybe they will still take vacations all together. Maybe they will eat dinner and play board games around the same table into infinity.
Maybe that’s what I want. With or without me.