I did a stupid thing. I asked Bennett why he cheated on me. I asked when he started lying to me. I thought I was okay enough to handle it, but I wasn’t. I’m not a total wreck or anything, but my chest hurts like my heart is being ripped out and my back hurts like I’m being stabbed with a sharp pointy object. It’s NOT a fun feeling, to say the least. It was a stupid move on my part for a couple of reasons.
First, it just re-opened a wound that hadn’t healed. It’s been a little over a month since we broke up, but I’m not over it. Not at all. I thought I was getting better, especially since I’ve known about his infidelity since late March, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Second, I assumed that, because I told him that honesty was/is important to me, he would tell me the truth. Which he did… sort of… after I found out on my own. He told me at the beginning of our relationship that (1) it wouldn’t last forever, and (2) he would lie to me to protect me. I told him not to lie to me and entreated him on more than one occasion to tell me if he wanted to see someone else.
My logic was: if he tells me the truth about wanting to break up with me, I’ll know I can trust everything else he told me before the break up (that he loved me and wanted the best for me, etc.)… His logic was: She’s told me what she wants, and I’ve told her what I will give; they don’t quite match up, and that’s okay.
Third, after all this, I still believe him when he says he loves me. Even after he broke my heart–twice–I still have hope that it could eventually work out. I know I can never go back to the way it was before I found out about this other girl, but I believe him when he says that he gets different (positive) things from each of us.
If I was on the outside of this situation, I would tell myself not to be caught up in hope. It sounds cruel (it is cruel), but I would tell myself to give up on the whole thing, especially because he’s hurt me so much this past 4 months or so. But it’s different on the inside. It is easier to forgive him because I know him, and I know that he really didn’t mean to hurt me. His logic is twisted, but that seems okay because it’s him and not someone else. He’s still searching, and our relationship wasn’t going to last–he made that clear from the beginning, but I still manage to hold out hope, even now.
He said something the other night that twisted the knife and forced my heart into my stomach, half out of despair and half out of renewed hope. He said, “…frankly If I could have had my way I would make it such that I still had both of you. You always missed that point. It was never a zero sum game. Love never is… What kills me is that I know it’s not the FACT that I had an affair, it’s the KNOWLEDGE that matters. What the heart does not see the heart does not feel.” It hurt so much to learn that he still wants me and loves me but that he wasn’t willing (or able?? in his current, severely depressed condition) have me on my terms–only his own.
I guess that’s fair. If I want to be with him, it has to be on his terms. I guess it was always on his terms… only now I believe it is/was. There was something I read on one of the forums at RealMentalHealth.com a while ago (and I kick myself every time I think of it because I didn’t bookmark it or anything) written by a woman who was struggling with her husband’s bipolar disorder (or something pretty severe, I don’t remember exactly what)…
Anyway, the woman had asked for advice from the forum about how to deal with her husband’s erratic (and–at times–dangerous) behavior. After a slew of responses like, “I think you should leave him–for your own safety” and “Maybe you should have him committed” she responded with something to the effect of, “You wouldn’t give up on your child, would you? Why are you asking me to give up on my husband? Just because he’s not my flesh and blood doesn’t mean he’s not my family.” She understood that they were trying to help her–she had asked for advice, after all–but she wasn’t willing to do the one thing society would deem acceptable at that point: give up on her husband.
Her statement has had a profound effect on me since I read it sometime last year. I am more patient with transgressions, or, at least, with the transgressors themselves. It was an epiphany, I think. I realised that just because someone has hurt you doesn’t mean you should give up on him or her, especially if that person is hurting also. I may be rationalizing now, but it makes sense more generally, too.
Bennett forgave me a lot of sins I committed while we were together that I don’t think I could’ve forgiven him for if our situations had been reversed. He supported my decision to work as an escort and he supported my decision to stop working as one when I realised that escorting wasn’t something I wanted to continue doing. He supported my (rather rash and ill-thought-out) decision to star in a pornographic film and comforted me when I called him later that evening, hysterical because I’d made a foolish choice. He loved me even when I lied to him.
So, why do I still feel so hurt? Isn’t this a fair trade? Do my beliefs need adjustment, or do his? I have been a poly-amorous woman since I realised that polyamory was even a choice… Bobby and Katie can tell you about my troubles with that during my freshman year in college. -_- I have not always (or ever, I suppose, considering my track record) been the best at explaining my feelings, especially when I have feelings for more than one person at a time. But this wouldn’t be a case where I would be the poly-amorous one; it would be him. I would, in effect, have a “sister girlfriend” (like a polygamous “sister wife”) with whom I wasn’t really involved.
Is that okay with me? Am I willing to “share” a person? I’ve learned through research that polygamy (one man and many wives) is actually good for women in the long run because it’s better to share one rich/intelligent/handsome man than it is to “settle” for someone not as wealthy/smart/attractive; see this article as one example out of many. I know this: Bennett still needs me, and I’m not ready or willing to give up on him yet. Am I justifying continuing a relationship with him? Have I thought it out enough? Am I setting myself up to be hurt (again)? Does it matter what other people think of me if I know I am helping someone I love? How far am I willing to go?
Even if I am willing to go the distance and turn against the advice of many of my friends to help Bennett, what about this other girl? How am I to handle her? How will she handle me? Will she even know about me? Will Bennett still lie to me about her? Will he lie about me to her? I need to tread carefully. From what I know of her, she is tempestuous, judgemental, and an all-around spitfire. Will we get along? Are we even going to speak to each other? How is this “sister girlfriend” thing going to work? Am I being idealistic to think that such a situation can even work at all?
My thoughts continue to reinforce my belief that it wasn’t really the cheating that hurt me (although, yes, it did hurt), it was the lying about it that really tore into my soul. So, if I continue to have a relationship with Bennett, I need to set out some ground rules: (1) Be honest with me. (2) Give me time to accept/adjust to/work out changes in the relationship; don’t just dump them on me. (3) Give me a part in the relationship’s decision-making; don’t cut me out of big choices (like seeing other people). (4) Move out of your parents’ house. Seriously.
I need to sleep on it for a night and then talk it over with a friend or two (maybe Bobby and Katie, if you two are willing ^_^;;).