I found out in early July that Bennett was (still) cheating on me (with the same woman as before), so I ended it. I didn’t want to believe it–who does?–but I knew in my heart that if he was lying to his family as much as he was, he was probably lying to me, too. (I was right.) He finally opened up to me enough to tell me what he was really thinking, and what his parents and brother thought of me, too. It’s ironic, since I’ve been asking him to open up to me for the entire duration of the relationship (from mid-Nov. 2004 to early July 2007… two and a half years or so) and he only does NOW, when things are on the rocks.
Apparently, his parents think I’m nice and easy-going but naive and his brother thinks I’m a depressed lunatic. His other brother doesn’t know me well enough to really have an opinion of me. I don’t think I’m naive–I knew what he was doing, or at least suspected it, especially after I found out the first time in late March–and I am pretty odd sometimes, and have a tendency toward depression, but that doesn’t make me a depressed lunatic.
What I don’t understand is that Bennett told me that the most important aspect he looks for in a partner is loyalty, and yet he was incredibly disloyal. The aspect I look for in a relationship is honesty–something I told him near the beginning of the relationship–and he wasn’t that either. He told me that he was irritated with his parents because they kept bugging him to come clean with at least one of us (me and/or the “other woman”). He said that, of all the things he’s fucked up in his life, his relationships weren’t a part of that. Love, he said, is one thing his does well. I have to disagree. Yes, I’m bitter, but honestly: who thinks that when he’s dating two people at once without the people’s consent/knowledge that he’s doing love well? That’s not love; it’s trying to have your cake and eat it, too.
Look, I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to who someone wants to spend his or her life with… it’s not a big deal. Polyamourous relationships do happen and they do work, but HONESTY is required for that to happen. Each member of the relationship must be willing to step out and trust the other person/people. It’s one thing for a man to enjoy watching his wife have sex with someone else… it’s completely another for him to walk in on her and his boss going at it. One involves informed consent; the other is a crime against the relationship.
In early April after I found out about the “other woman”, I wrote Bennett a letter telling him that he was an immature, selfish, confused young man (in about those words, too… I think I have a copy of the letter somewhere; when/if I find it, I’ll update this paragraph) and that I loved him and wanted to believe him and IN him, but my trust had been betrayed and I didn’t know what to do. When he got the letter, he called me (I had deleted his number from my cell’s phone book by that time) and we talked for three hours… in the end, I told him that everyone deserves a second chance (which was true then and still is now) but that I was NOT going to be one of those women who keeps taking a man back just because she doesn’t want to mess up the status quo or doesn’t know what else to do. I refuse to be emotionally abused like that.
Bennett helped me so much while we were dating. He was the first person I told the whole truth to and who didn’t look at me in disgust afterwards. He challenged my beliefs and gave me access to a city I’ve fallen in love with, New York. We both grew up a little… or at least, we both grew… I still think he’s immature and selfish. But, I was devastated when I learned that he was cheating on me in March, and when I re-discovered that, I was more disappointed. I put my faith in him and he let me down. It’s just kind of pathetic.
I’m optimistic, however. Last time I had my heart broken (via a rejection from my first-choice undergraduate school, Reed College in Oregon), another opportunity came along that better suited my interests and personal development (acceptance into and attending F&M) and for which I’m sincerely grateful. So, I’m hopeful that something similar will happen in this case. I don’t know if I’ll find another person to fill the wound Bennett has left me, but I think I’ve come out stronger and better prepared. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for him. He was right when he said he fucked everything up… except, I’d have also included fucking up the love part, too.
Sorry this post is so long. Just had to write my thoughts out to better understand them.