December 03, 2003

She Sleeps

On Thursday (as you know) I was on the southern English coast and I met Mr. Y for coffee, then had a mad dash to make myself look pretty in time to meet him.

He picked me up and we drove to a lovely little restaurant, a quiet and pricey place that served English cuisine. The stars were in abundance, a chill wrapped around my legs (I confess I was not wearing any stockings, as I wanted-should the night show promise-to slip off my panties and hand them to him when I came back from the toilet. I am a cheeky cow that way), and we drove in companionship and with good conversation.

Once there, they sat us in a lounge with a drink. An antique music box stood in one corner, and after I fed it 50 pence it played a lovely rendition of “The Wedding March”. We sat by the fire, warming up, talking, and I think that we left scorch marks on the couch from the little branches of electricity that shot between us. We let our arms touch. My ankle sometimes rubbed his. I felt like nothing had changed between us since we last saw each other, like time had stood still.

The dining room was very nice-small, eclectic, and with a minimum of excellent service that made you feel like they cared very much about you, and cared even more that you were granted privacy. We spent time catching up on where we had left off, what had been happening in our lives, and laughing over memories.

In short, it was wonderful.

We also covered the difficult-my job hunt. How my Partner Unit wants to move to China with Company X (they are keen to have him), but since I am no longer an employee of Company X I would be moved as his Partner only and not be able to seek employment there. I would be a stay at home woman along with the Swedish wives of the others there, and forced to live on sponsored Company X property (which they call “The Compound”) spending coffee morning and celebrating Swedish holidays I don’t like anyway.

Now, I’m not religious, but I think that’s my definition of hell.

We covered his life. Since we had parted, he had started new work. He was feeling just as lost as to where he belonged and what he should do. But the biggest factor was that he and his Partner Unit were splitting (and I know it wasn’t just a line, I do actually know that this is the case).

That’s right, oh ye perceptive readers. I loved Mr. Y madly, but someone else got to him first.

We had the most magical Thanksgiving dinner I had ever had (come on now-if you had your choice between a fight with your sister over the bread rolls while your stepdad snoozes in the armchair, versus a romantic and cozy dinner with the love of your life, what would you choose?). The meal was wonderful and as the coffee rolled by I realized the evening was drawing to a close,

And I realized more than anything that I didn’t want it to.

When we drove back into town our hands reached across the seats, and I felt his thick skin of his thumbtip rubbing the pulse point of my wrist. I crossed and un-crossed my legs a lot, shivering in the night chill. When we got back to my hotel, it was a no-brainer.

I invited him up.

When we got into the room, I walked in and removed my coat. He removed his. Then in a few strides he crossed the room, grabbed me, and kissed me. It was a thorough and commanding kiss that I felt all the way down to the floor. He eased my sweater over my head and in what felt like seconds we were naked on the bed, hands and lips everywhere.

And it was all how I remembered. The thick fur on his chest. His blue eyes, pale and guileless at the looked at me wide-eyed, as though he was trying to memorize my face. The curve of my hips met the jut of his pelvis as though we were from the same cookie cutter mold. Our lips met repeatedly, and I saw the slim arc of my hand in the place where it always felt it should be-cupping the side of his face, his skin stubbly on my hand.

I should have felt bad. I should’ve felt guilty. I should’ve felt it was wrong.

I should’ve.

But I didn’t.

And we made love for two hours, long into the night. We opened the balcony windows and let the sound of the wind and the ocean join us. His mouth, his hands, his fingers brought me to orgasm again and again. And when he first slid inside of me, gently at the entrance and then with the full thrust that sex demands…well…it was then that I realized that once you have had champagne you can never go back to root beer.

When we were done, he curled up behind me, just like in my dream. The liquid of our romp leaked down the inside of my thigh and was along my back where he pressed against me. His arm went around me, cupping my ribcage just beneath my breast as his legs went up behind mine.

And for the first time in what feels like a lifetime, I slept. I fell asleep with no sleeping tablet and no medication. I had no Kafka dreams, and no pains. I slept through the night, and in the morning when I woke up, it was like my dream had come true-he was still in the bed with me. He still had that magic, of being the only man I could sleep with. And when his eyes opened up and he looked at me, I realized that now that I have remembered what it felt like to be together, life alone can never be comfortable again.

I flew to Amsterdam that morning, sore between my legs and with huge bruises and scratches down my back. My heart was torn-on the one hand is my sweet and gentle Partner Unit, who loves me more than anything, but whom we are headed for disaster with. On the other hand is Mr. Y, the grand passion of my life and who may be single again soon, but perhaps the resentment demons of the past are too great a burden to be exorcised.

And all I knew was this-my life is at the greatest crossroads ever. I could never tell him this, but perhaps Mr. Y is now firmly at the basis of my sub-conscious, and my hopes and dreams of finally getting my shit together and being with the Right Guy are here. And maybe they are stupid, silly, worthless spun sugar dreams.

But I know one thing and hold it to my heart-we slept together. Slept. I curled up with him and fell asleep, the kind of sleep that recharges long-dead batteries. And knowing that, I can never go back to the sleepless nights without a fight.


Posted by Everydaystranger at December 3, 2003 03:16 PM | TrackBack


what an entry.
that's almost my story too.
I left my PU - didn't tell her about Mr Right, though. Just that we were over.
We're married now. And I wouldn't swap him for anything!

Posted by: melanie at December 8, 2003 09:47 AM

Oh, Butterflies. I'm so sorry and yet so glad for you. I have no words of comfort or consolation, but suffice to say that I previously had another love whom I got 4 wonderful years with, before his death.

I'm so sorry.

Posted by: Helen at December 6, 2003 09:25 AM

I have something to share.I was married for 20 yrs to a man that I loved and who was my best friend.But we didnt have that*spark*of sexuality.I met a man who made me cum just by talking to me.It was the most wonderful feeling and after agonising about it,I left my husband for my lover.And I could sleep at nights without medication!We have wonderful lovemaking and we adore each other.Hes really the man I looked for all my life.Now hes just been diagnosed with cancer.weve had 2 wonderful years together that have made me become the woman I always knew I was.But hes going to die.Now..should I have stayed where I was in my comfortable life or was it worth it to have found such love? And all I can say is that its all been worth it and I plan to love my man til he takes his last breathe.Life is short and no-one knows whats going to happen.I agree with those who say..follow your heart...for however long that you have on earth.Take care Helen.

Posted by: butterflies at December 6, 2003 03:12 AM

> What kind of "man" do you want him to be? Do you
> want him to make promises he can't keep? Or won't
> keep?

Are those our only choices? How about ones he can keep? Or will keep? You didn't list those.

We don't know the truth. We only know snippets of the truth...if it is the truth. Many of our comments are based on our own experiences, our own needs and our own ideas of what is right and wrong.

I understand what you are saying. But I don't see a need to "lighten up" on Mr. Y. To suggest he should try to keep, or proclaim his dedication, for something he has helped create seems absolutely appropriate to me.

Was that night in Winchester a moment of singular passion, a fulfillment of a fantasy based in the past, a sign of the future to come or only a result of present difficulties? We don't know. We only know Helen's thoughts, which she has shared with us. And we have her best interests in mind. She's our friend.

But then again, I'm just a you.

Posted by: Rob at December 4, 2003 05:32 PM


My two cents: don't tell PU about Mr. Y. Go with what you said...tell him you're leaving (and you know my feelings about that), tell him you've been drifting. That you both have. And that leaving is the right thing to do. Don't mention Mr. Y. What good would it do?

As for the general comments here, most are good. Even ones that conflict are both good. As you know, I am a critic of circumstantial morality, but I have to admit your life is a good argument for it. It was wrong to cheat. But in your circumstances, maybe not so much. I just can't say you were morally wrong for reaching out in a time of need when the person who you were supposed to be reaching out for wasn't there for you. So you reached out to someone who was there for you. I can't condemn that (and, in fact, advocated for it just a week ago).

Your life is pretty complicated, Helen, and complicated problems resist simple solutions (all cliches to the contrary). I will resist giving advice, as always, but will just remind you of all the people who are pulling for you. You've got fans, suitors, and friends here.

And to all...lighten up on Mr. Y. He doesn't owe Helen anything except the truth. And none of you, nor I, know whether he's met that moral standard. But both he and Helen seem to be OK with their interaction, so let it go. What kind of "man" do you want him to be? Do you want him to make promises he can't keep? Or won't keep? He's facing his own tough decisions, with kids involved, so it's not a simple thing for him to pledge his undying love to another woman. As long as he's honest, he's got nothing to apologize for. IMHO.

Posted by: Jiminy at December 4, 2003 05:20 PM

Bravo Annie - excellent comment!! I only wish I wrote that well.

Posted by: Clancy at December 4, 2003 03:07 PM

Yeah, what Annie said.

Wow, that was a great comment...

Posted by: Rob at December 4, 2003 02:50 PM

“What am I to do...!?” is the wrong question, Helen. You already did it. It didn’t catch you by surprise. You knew exactly what the likely outcome was going to be before you ever saw the whites of his beloved pale blue eyes. Anyone who’s ever been in no-holds-barred lust / love knows that once those bubbles explode in your blood, you’re toast. It’s a delightful and delicious form of mental illness. It’s also the worst state of mind from which to make long-term decisions.

Regardless, one decision has already been made. Except one of the key players doesn’t know that.

Come out of the dark. Let PU know that you have disengaged from the relationship with him, and that it’s time now to begin the inevitably painful process of deconstructing your shared life as a couple.

If you can’t figure out how to start, imagine for a moment that the players in this drama are reversed. Imagine how and when would you want PU to tell you he’d shared his bed and body with an important woman from his past and wants now to explore the potential of a rekindling? That’s your ‘script’.

You have the chance here to do the honorable thing. It’s bad timing, to be sure. But life is like that sometimes. How you handle this quandary will impact your self-esteem for a long, long time. It’s important for you to experience yourself doing the Right Thing. You are making your own history here. Don’t fuck it up.

Yes, it’s risky. But it is clear that you are done with the relationship with PU. Stop the (bad) karma now. End it. And trust a benevolent Universe to provide opportunity and happiness … that may or may not include Mr. Y. This isn’t about Mr Y. It’s about how Helen terminates an implied ‘contract’ of trust. Bottom line: What you *know* of yourself is a lot more important than what anyone *thinks* of you. You have all the answers within you You know that. Listen. Act. Risk. Trust.

Take it from a woman old enuf to be your mother and who has sometimes walked tall and other times crawled on her belly down this treacherous road. I know the price; I know the reward. It's not about finding "the Right Guy", Helen. It's about discovering the "Right Woman" -- yourself.

Posted by: Annie at December 4, 2003 09:21 AM

I know, I have to suck it up and tell Partner Unit. I know I do, I know he deserves it. But the truth is, when I tell him I won't talk abou Mr. Y. He doesn't deserve to be broken knowing about another man. I will just mention that we have been drifting for a while, and with geography and jobs, I don't think we can make it.

I also am not sure when to have this talk.

And to the anonymous poster-I am soooooooo not worried about catching an STD from him, nor do I have one. But thanks for the Schoolhouse Rocks guide to STD. Insulting, but realistic.

Posted by: Helen at December 4, 2003 08:45 AM

You ate English food and still managed a magical night of wanton abandon? You are a strong woman.

There's no right answer here, but there's a right thing to do. That is to at least let PU in on the whole thing so at least that part can be resolved. Then let what happens flow.

Posted by: Simon at December 4, 2003 04:37 AM

You made up your mind about PU a while ago, we've all seen the decision dancing in and out of your posts; it's done. PU deserves the truth, but I agree with ..someone down there; do what feels good, not what's right. Mainly because "right" was forgotten the moment you decided to meet Y for thanksgiving. ;]

Hm...People will probably send me hate mail because there was almost a judgemental undertone to my previous statements, but I...When I say "right was forgotten", it was - you're otherwise attached and I'm fairly sure you knew what would go down that night - I think, however, that all Y-things that have occurred recently have been what you needed, so all Y-things have been good.

Did that make any sense? Eh.

I do hope, though, that Mr Y is more to-the-point when speaking to you in private, than he is when commenting publically on your blog. If he dances around the point like that, though, I would suggest you not stick around for too long. ..But then, it may be a good thing to do.

..I'm just going to stop now, because this is more all-over-the-place than usual.

I'm quite sure you'll do what's best. Ignore all of my suggestions. :P

Posted by: Jamie at December 4, 2003 03:43 AM

i think you just broke a dozen guys' hearts with this one, helen!


for me, i can't wait to get home to my partner unit ;)


Posted by: jcrue at December 4, 2003 02:19 AM

Be very careful, babe..good luck, in whatever course you choose...

Posted by: Eric at December 4, 2003 12:49 AM

Helen, do what you need to be happy. And don't listen to us, we have no idea what we're talking about, especially Mr. STD down there :-)

Posted by: Rob at December 3, 2003 11:51 PM

STD's have no class.

Neither do anonymous posters.

Posted by: S. at December 3, 2003 11:19 PM

If you didn't use protection it would be very reckless and hurtful of you not to tell Partner Unit, or prevent him from getting anything till you can fully be checked.

Y may be the man of the hour to you, but either way clouds can be thick. STD's have no class.

Posted by: at December 3, 2003 10:31 PM

H & Y, well there are never any guarantees in any relationship but maybe it's time you two cleared your way and gave it a go. The thing is, at this point, if you don't go for it then for the rest of your lives you will have this big fat "what if?" hanging over you. Hardly a good way to live. Time to lay your cards on the table.

Posted by: nisi at December 3, 2003 10:29 PM

I can't speak with any authority about affairs of the heart, but I can say this: Don't go to China if all you'll be is a corporate "wife". You'll go mad.

Posted by: LeeAnn at December 3, 2003 10:21 PM

Never underestimate the power of a good night's romp and a really good night's sleep!

What does your partner unit know or think about any or all of this? It will hurt like hell to him, I'm sure but its the whole band aid philosophy, rip it off fast and it stings for a minute, tear it off slowly and the pain lingers for much, much longer.

But I'll stay tuned as the news rolls in.
Glad you had some bruisingly excellent sex though!

Posted by: Johnny Huh at December 3, 2003 10:14 PM

Dear Helen,

IMHO, no matter what, a serious talk with PU is in order. (Is it just me, or does it say something that he's pee-euww?) If you don't feel you can just talk to him, you may want to try composing an email or a hand-written letter - or you may want to ask your therapist if he/she will run a joint session for you to talk about this.

I've dealt with a similar situation quite recently, and although certain peculiarities apply in each situation, I'm betting on one thing - you hurt. You want, and you can't have, and you have, and you hurt because you don't want, and you hurt because you do want. I wanted to tear my skin off just to show the world that I hurt.

If you bottle this up, it can leave you a bitter, broken woman - I'm trying to avoid that, myself. I'm not going to tell you what to say, except that in order to slice the Gordian knot, you'll need to be honest with yourself. Whether you need to be perfectly honest with everyone else - well, that's a matter of perspective that I don't possess.

I suspect that you've already dealt with Mr. Y as you wish, and that's good - because what matters in the long run is being happy. You can't be happy if you don't feel comfortable with your decisions. Therefore, you'll need to make decisions that you feel good about. Whether they're 'good' for you is irrelevant - what matters is how you feel - as long as you're happy, nothing else matters.

*hugs* I feel for you and with you, and if I could make it all better, I would. In the meantime, I offer what I can, which are mere words.

Oh, and Mr. Y? Be a man.

Posted by: Courtney at December 3, 2003 08:58 PM

Don't you love it when there is no 'right' thing to do, only scary options?

But from someone who's been cheated on - admittedly in *very* different circumstances - please, be honest with PU. If the two of you are finished, make it a clean break. Let the two of you remember each other well in the years to come.

And there's no judgement here, sweet. Just hope that you find the path that's right for you.

Posted by: Kaetchen at December 3, 2003 08:58 PM

Mr Y.
Is it me or is this totally unfair....for quite a while now you have had the advantage of reading H 's blog. What her heart says, what's deep in her soul. (which is quite amazing, to say the least) How she feels about you. How she puts you on a pedistal. I'm sure you did have a great weekend. But, you must never give hope to a woman who is as vunerable as her that is if you don't mean it. Maybe you do. But, give her something to go on. Give us something to go on as well....what is that secret that Helen won't say.
H -
I have been there and done that. It's sad to say but, many of us has. Whether they will admit it or not. It's not for any of us to say what's right or wrong. You follow your heart and listen to that little voice in your head. It's called your guide and it will not lead you astray. If alarm bells go off. Listen to it, don't ignore it.
I missed you while I was away in California! I'm glad your back as well. Keep your chin up. We love you no matter what.

Posted by: Tiffani at December 3, 2003 08:24 PM

I am not one to talk but since I did have an affair behind my girlfriends back all I can say is that after it was over it is one of the biggest regrets I have. Not so much because I did it but more because I hurt someone who loved me to death and didnt deserve to have that done to her. She gave me trust and love and all I could do was to do something to break that.
It dosnt matter if PU ever finds out but the fact will remain that you will know and the relationship will never be the same.

Sorry for the downer.

Posted by: Drew at December 3, 2003 07:21 PM

Mr. Y wrote: “…things are never quite as simple as they appear - but there is hope and there are possibilities.” Emphasis added – mine.

Y – this is shit. Hope is an ugly, ugly, ugly, foul thing to do to a woman. Things are that simple. Either you do or you don’t. The American saying is “Shit or get off the pot.”

Posted by: Clancy at December 3, 2003 07:19 PM

I'm with S (I like the trailer park way much better). Make Y tell you what he wants. And while we're on it, maybe you should get Partner Unit to tell you the same thing. He wants you to move to China with him, but he wouldn't move anywhere for you? That seems a bit shady.

And on a different note... I know I will probably get things virtually thrown at me for this, but what happened with your interview?

Oh, and S is right. Houston would love to have you.

Posted by: amy t. at December 3, 2003 07:03 PM

H is indeed a wonderful woman and she knows well my feelings for her. Last week was truly magical.

And the future? Without going in to too much detail, things are never quite as simple as they appear - but there is hope and there are possibilities.

Posted by: Y at December 3, 2003 06:58 PM


I think everyone has already said this, or you’ve acknowledged it in so many words, but just to clarify it all… I think it’s pretty clear that with or without Mr. Y, your relationship with PU is doomed. Any decision you make about your Partner Unit must be made independent of anything to do with Mr. Y.

If the decision to leave PU is made (and that seems inevitable), then you can consider Mr. Y. But stick to your guns; don’t allow a repeat of Helen and Y Part 1. If his relationship with his PU is truly on the ropes, then insist that he cut that rope before you two can have a future.

And Mr. Y – we know you’re lurking in the shadows. Speak up. Tell this beautiful woman what’s really truly in your heart. And if that is that you two are to be together, then get busy making it real.

Posted by: Clancy at December 3, 2003 06:40 PM

Aww man! See, I go all trailer trash and say "fucking go for it" an Kat goes all eloquent and says "leap and the net will appear." Why can't I be the eloquent one?!

In any case, you already nailed Y. Now nail him to the wall and ask him the million dollar/euro/pound/swedish-demonimation-here question of whether it's gonna happen or not. You've only to gain.

And you're welcome in Houston anytime. (As is Luuk.)

Posted by: S. at December 3, 2003 06:35 PM

I agree with Jim: it's time to do something, but even before that, it's time to get your bearings. Be honest with you Partner Unit, talk with Mr. Y about where each of you wants this to go, and then take whatever option seems best for you.

Take care!

Posted by: Gudy at December 3, 2003 06:18 PM

it does seem to be decision time now doesn't it? yes, you are at a's a zen saying that applies:

"leap and the net will appear."

follow your heart. (((hugs)))

Posted by: kat at December 3, 2003 05:58 PM

Sorry, had to remove two comments here (they were my own, so no worries, I am not censoring anyone).

Posted by: Helen at December 3, 2003 05:58 PM

Believe me, I'm not waiting to have the next one lined up before moving on. That's not what this is about. Mr. Y's return into my life was recent-if you have followed my posts for a bit, you can see my relationship with my Partner Unit has been deteriorating for a very long time, coming to a crashing crescendo now due to jobs and moving. It's simple: I've lost my job. I will try to find another in Sweden. If I cannot, I must move. If I move, he has told me he is not coming with me. So, in essence, am I being loved due to my geographical location?

What am I made of? No idea. But I will try to figure that out.

Posted by: Helen at December 3, 2003 05:55 PM

Oh what a tangled web we weave....
What is a relationship that is built on deceit and a lack of honesty? Are you waiting for a "Come on and let's get together" before getting rid of PU? Is that not using him - you say he loves you and he is wonderful - what about respecting him?! Sorry, I give you two thumbs down for lack of respect, lack of honesty, and just plain using another human. Is that what you're really made of?

Posted by: Anonymous at December 3, 2003 05:51 PM

Jim's right, you need to be proactive about this.

Posted by: Rob at December 3, 2003 05:23 PM

You may need to go ahead and kick him in the ass enough to get that out of him, Helen. There's no way you can make a good decision if you don't know what your options are. Don't wait for him to fill in that option because he might not do it on his own volition. I'm not saying that he wouldn't commit to being with you when you're both single again only that due to your past relationship and the stuff going on in both of your lives right now he may not have the courage to make the overture unless you broach the subject.

You've got big decisions to make, my dear, and depending on Y you'll be making them in entirely different option sets. Get the info.

Posted by: Jim at December 3, 2003 05:17 PM

I actually agree with all of the advice that has been posted here. It's so confusing. Rob's and Maynard's advice made me think of the pain I'm inflicting. Abs made me think about what makes me happy. I wanted to tattoo S's advice on my ass.

And Jean, you've hit a big one. He has never specifically said he will be with me if we split up. He has said he wants to be. But he hasn't asked me if I will be, and my heart keeps waiting for that one.

Posted by: Helen at December 3, 2003 05:03 PM

Have you and Mr. Y discussed becoming a pair when he and his Partner have detached? Is that actually something that can happen? 'Cause, oh, Helen... if the fates are spinning their threads such that yours and Mr. Y's can now do more than just cross, disentangle from Partner Unit!

Otherwise, if becoming permanent with Mr. Y is impossible, I'm with Maynard.

Ah, but I so hope... ;)

Posted by: jean at December 3, 2003 04:55 PM

Helen, life is too short and too cruel to go nancying around worrying about every little decision. If you see a chance to be happy grab onto it with both hands and don't ever let go. Those types of chances don't come along often.

Your situation with a married man will be complicated, and you'll probably get hurt, but that hurt will be less than the pebble-in-your-shoe regret you'd feel for the rest of your life if you don't at least try.

My only other advice would be to let Partner Unit in on this. As a guy who has felt the sting from a woman gone astray I know he's going to be hurt by what you've done. You've already crossed a line, so you're going to have to deal with him getting mad at you. Better you should deal with the situation now before things go too much further with Mr. Y.

Just my two cents. I know you'll make the right decision.

Posted by: Rob at December 3, 2003 04:53 PM

As a girl who's been single for 7 years and one who hasn't been in love for 12 years, I'm going to risk being the voice of descent and say: FUCKING GO FOR IT!

Posted by: S. at December 3, 2003 04:34 PM


please be careful. Don't do this- at least don't do this this way. Whilst I can with no authority say that I've been where you are, I can with every authority say I've been somewhere that looks, sounds, smells and tastes very much like where you are. Exactly the same objective situation. I too had a sweet and gentle loving partner; I too had a blisteringly intimate passion with a married man. I too craved everything the passion could reignite in my crushingly lacking life. I too cheated. It was the biggest disservice I have ever done myself. At the time I thought it would save my life. Respect your partner sufficiently to leave him. Don't tarnish the sweetness and the gentleness by continuing to fantasise about, and liaise with, Mr Y whilst still with your partner. Don't continue accepting your partner's love and support unless you intend to happily stay with him and love him right back, walking away entirely from Mr Y.

That would be my advice. But I entirely respect your right to do what you feel you must. I felt the same compulsion. Sincerest good wishes.

Posted by: maynard at December 3, 2003 04:03 PM

I have been on eggshells waiting to see what happened : )

my only advice, considering the turbulence in your life a tthe moment? - The answers are already in you....

cliched but true!

abs x

Posted by: abs at December 3, 2003 03:48 PM
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