won't be part of his deception

I won’t be an actor in a play filled with lies

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For the first time ever, Tony told me he loved me. Despite some of you thinking it was manipulative, it seemed to me to be said more from surprise and compassion. I’d suspected for a long time he did love me, but it was wonderful to finally hear it.

Even if it was too late, and wouldn’t change a thing.

I punched him in the chest and say “you ass, why didn’t you ever tell me that before?”

He just looked at me blankly and said “I dunno Ann. Because I’m a guy? But I do love you.”

It brought some levity to an otherwise very intense hour.

He held my face in his hands, wiped the tears from my eyes, looked at me intently and said “Ann, you are the first woman ever, in my entire life, that I’ve enjoyed having sex with. I mean it. And it’s not just the sex. I think of all the amazing times we’ve had together. I enjoy every second I spend with you, and you’ve become a huge part of my life.”

It was nice to hear, but I also realized that I am more important to Tony than he is to me. Not because I don’t love him, and not because he’s not special, but because I have great relationships with my family and wonderful friendships. I have a good support network: more than one person I can call when I need to talk.

We talked more about his almost-decision to move back with Mary. I reiterated what I’ve said many times: despite thinking being a family together is better, it’s not better when a child grows up with parents in an unhappy marriage. Believe me, I spent 15 years with someone who had no idea what a healthy relationship looked and felt like. It’s a painful education.

Tony’s son will be on the same path if they don’t get their shit sorted. It’s not pretty.

I asked him what the plan was for moving back. He said it wasn’t all sorted out, there were things that had to get done in the house first.

“I’m sorry?” I said, “what would have to be done in the house before you can move back in?”

“We have to finish the renovation of my son’s bedroom.”

“Tony, you do realize that’s ridiculous and makes no sense, right?”

“Yeah… I do. But I don’t want to make a rash decision.”

I roared with laughter. He looked forlorn. “Oh Tony,” I said, “you are nowhere near making a ‘rash decision’. It’s been two fucking years!”

It wasn’t the first time I thought to myself the two of them probably made a good pair. They have both maintained their status quo for almost two years, and to continue in limbo even after talking about him moving back? It would drive the planner in me bat shit crazy.

He told me with his own hospital scare and his mother’s illness, he had been thinking a lot about family. His Dad died when he was young. He said “me and my brother and my Mom, that’s all the family that’s left. The men don’t live too long in my family. I can’t stand the thought of my son being raised just by Mary, it’s not right, I have to be with him.”

Tony simply cannot see any option that has him in his son’s life the way he wants, without also living with Mary. He cites his freelance job and schedule as the reason it won’t work. For him, being the Dad he never had means he and Mary are living together.

I’ve tried before to tell him there are other paths, but he can’t see it. I didn’t try again; there’s no point.

What I did tell him was one of the things that frustrated me about him and I was he never really gave our relationship a chance. By never trying to integrate anything with family and friends, he never saw or felt how it could work.

He did admit to thinking about getting our sons together on occasion. Of course, it never happened. I’m sure I could write thousands of words dissecting why, but I think it still comes down to him wanting to keep his options open with Mary, knowing if she found out about me and my role in his life, it could jeopardize his options.

In processing all of this stuff with Tony, I’ve realized in many relationships when it’s just you and the other person in your own little bubble, things can be wonderful. But the bubble can shield you from the outside world for only so long.

For example, Ian told me his relationship with his now ex-girlfriend started to disintegrate when their children were introduced. His daughter didn’t like his girlfriend. Fox has been dating a woman since shortly after our breakup. She has three small children, and as he is sending his off to college and contemplating downsizing, there is significant conflict in what to do next.

Tony and I were wonderful in our own world, or even with my friends, but when I started to realize the natural progression of our relationship was halted because he needed to keep his options open with Mary, I knew it was only good when we were in our bubble.

He stayed overnight. I don’t regret it.

I’ve seen him once since then. In the aftermath of all this, it dawned on me that going on a vacation with Mary would not have been out-of-the-blue. Perhaps the actual decision was, but I knew it meant he was being more intimate with her recently than I thought before, and I mean intimate in the broadest sense of the term.

I don’t know when the nature of their interactions shifted, and it doesn’t ultimately matter. But at some point, he went from largely being dissatisfied with their interactions to pursuing something more. My guess is in the last month or two, as the aftermath of our breakup set in. Maybe when he realized I was dating seriously. Or it could have nothing to do with me at all. But I know in my gut it wasn’t just after he was in the hospital.

He said they only had sex three times since they broke up, and I believe him. But that isn’t the thing that bothers me the most.

I am now clearly part of a big lie.

It was one thing when he wasn’t on a direct path back to moving in, but now that he’s on the path? As far as I’m concerned, he’s cheating on his wife. With me. I asked him how she would feel if she found out about me, and he said “she wouldn’t be happy.”

I think a better term is “apoplectic”, don’t you?

I have avoided being involved with married men who aren’t in open relationships. And here I am, in a friends-with-benefits-on-steroids relationship with someone who may be back living with his wife any day now.

So I told him I couldn’t be part of his deceit. That I wasn’t a mistress. He hates that I use the term so I clarified for him – I use it to describe a person who is on the sidelines and the shadows, who cannot be part of an everyday life of friends and family. It is not to diminish how he felt about me.

I had another big revelation. I had never spent time considering what would happen to our friendship (emotional or physical) when he went back to her. To cope with walking away, knowing he wasn’t right for me as a boyfriend, I told myself he was never going to move in any direction.

I asked him how it was possible either of us ever thought we could survive him moving back. He didn’t know what to say. I said:

“You couldn’t tell her about me when you weren’t together, so how the hell do you see this working? Are you going to actually tell her who you’re going out with or talking to? Of course not. I will be even more hidden than I already am. And I’m not going to be intimate with you when you’re being intimate with her. I am not willing to be a mistress and I won’t be part of your continued lies to Mary.”

“Here’s the problem, Tony. You and I have never been able to see each other in person without coming together like rare earth magnets. So what are we resorting to? A surreptitious phone call every few weeks? I simply don’t think it’s right.”

He said “Oh Ann, I’m not ready to say goodbye. I don’t want to say goodbye to you. As much as the sex with you is the greatest I have ever experienced, I’m willing to give it up to keep you in my life. I’m not ready to face not talking to you. You are so important to me.”

I decided to not cut him off entirely. I don’t need to, at least not now. I may see him once more in the near term – he is using the excuse that he has a long-overdue Valentine’s gift for me, and wants to give me some of my stuff back. Which is fine; I know it’s an excuse and I will probably put myself in a Tony bubble for a couple of hours.

Afterwards, my intention is to not see him. Or at the very least, not see him in a private place. I know it will be very difficult to stick to my decision.

But the thought of his deceit with her literally makes my stomach turn. I don’t want to be having sex with him as he’s having sex with her. I want to be able to defend my actions (to myself, primarily), and I can’t if I continue time and time again to see him.

I’m at 1,620 words, and I’m sure if I cut this post in two I will have hell to pay with some of you. So apologies for the length, if you’re still with me, then thank you.

One final thought.

I realized yesterday Tony was a crutch. He’s been a stable influence in my life for a long time. Since last fall, he’s been there for me when I needed him. We spoke almost every single day. He made me feel like a sexy powerful wonder woman.

Facing being single was easier because he was in my life. There was always Tony who could fill my time.


41 thoughts on “I won’t be an actor in a play filled with lies

  1. I wish I could reach out and hug you now. I have become emotionally connected to your journey. Each turn takes me deeper. I can’t explain it, but with tonight’s post it’s clear. I REALLY want happiness for you. I’m a 61 yo man and I feel what your words portray. I don’t know if this is normal for general blog readers, your readers, or if it’s just me. I’m not sure I like it, but I will wait for the next installment and try to keep my s**t together.

    • I got sucked in years ago with the Johnny chapter. Ann is a rare bird, I think, and the more you read, the more you feel for her and feel connected like family. I totally get what you’re saying.

      • Thank you, Tara. I started “following” a few blogs in the fall, but ASV has captured my heart(?). It started as titillation, there were some hot stories, but soon I was able to see that the woman behind the “sex” had many layers and facets that fascinated me. I’ve, at times, thought “This can’t be real. She is the made-up creation of some romance writer.” And, deep down I guess I’ll never really know, but ASV seems to me to be as real as they come. Her writing takes me to places I’ll never go, albeit in the perspective of the opposite sex. I continue to wonder at the life she lives and the loves she pursues. Along the way, I hope for her happiness and learn a whole universe of relationships. I’ve even put a few bits to use at home!

        • I needed to see these words today especially because I didn’t solicit them. Thank you. There are enough people around here who have met me and can attest to my reality. I’m flattered immensely you think I could be made up.
          Thank you for your ongoing support – it means so much at times like this. xo

        • When I tell some of my friends about these posts, they also think she makes it up and it can’t be real. I always say, no one can make all of this up and keep track of it.

          • Lol no, if I was making it up I’d write myself thinner, more easily able to walk away from shitty relationships, less flawed, and fewer men would bail 😉

  2. I have to commend you on the self actualisation you have managed there. I hear a painful truth when you say Tony was a crutch. Hopefully this is a sign that you can move forward and realize that that you do not need that particular crutch any more.

    Good luck with moving forward.

  3. I’ve just sat in bed with my Sunday morning cup of tea and read that series of five posts, and traveled that journey with you.

    I think like you’ve implied, the lying seems worse when you were meant to just be friends, like surely after everything, he could at least have been honest since you broke up in January. I hadn’t twigged (or I’d forgotten) that he’d never actually told you he loved you before. I know a couple of people like Tony, and like you’ve said, we can keep looking at their intentions and forgiving them because we genuinely believe their intentions aren’t bad, but unless they can learn to make their actions better reflect their intentions then eventually the forgiveness must end, or at least the expectation that anything will change.

  4. Ah Ann. Something just doesn’t stack up for me with Tony. It’s never going to work the way you want it to. Sorry buts that’s as I see it.

  5. Hugs Ann. Big hugs.
    And some love too. I think that’s what I’d need were I in your place.
    And lots of positive energy that things get better for you as you move on with your life.

  6. Wow, I’m so sorry–I know he means so much to you. And he’s not a bad guy, he’s just not a grown-up in so many ways. But I think the silver lining is that you will finally exorcise him from your life and more importantly your heart. When you start dating a great guy (and you will), Tony will be in your past and not your present and you will truly be able to move forward.

  7. On the one hand, it’s good that you’ve come to the realizations you have. On the other, I think if you continue to see him in any capacity and indulge that urge (both yours and his), this will not go well, it will just keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns that could continue like this for a long time.

    Given the “rare earth magnet” pull that you cannot resist with Tony I think it’s pure folly to think you can continue any sort of platonic relationship with him without it ending up with you continuing to be his secret mistress. The only way I see this ending well, not just for the sake of his life with his wife but for your long term emotional and relationship health, is to go cold turkey from him. Whether you’re truly ready or willing to do that however, is another matter.

  8. Ditto. I believe cold turkey is the only healthy way. Yes, you may have some scars, but the damage won’t be permanent. Hugs, Ann.

  9. Wow, Ann, what beautifully articulate rendering of Tony and you. You ability to unpack and examine such a myriad of complex emotions is impressive. And your ability to acknowledge and understand this relationship and all it entails leads me to be confident that, in the end, you will come out of this much better than Tony. Well done.

    • Thank you John. I’ve dug pretty deep on these, it’s been important to me to understand why I got so angry when i had let go wanting him as a boyfriend. Or had I? That kind of thing. I don’t like to feel foolish, I was hurt, all those things… And getting angry directly at him really helped me let go of some things I’ve been holding onto for a year.

    • My neck felt better the next day, thank you for asking.
      I have some happy stories, at least an update on Ian and a promising new first coffee date.
      Right now I’m with one of my closest girlfriends and things are good. Tony has gone for three days for work, I’m practicing not reaching out like I normally would. I know I will be fine… Eventually, more than fine 🙂

  10. The realization that Tony lied to you feels worse than the actual reasons behind it. Or that could be me projecting events and friendships in my own life. Either way, I’m saddened by the turn of events, particularly Tony’s inability to recognize that being there for his son and being a very active, hands-on father does not need to mean that he stays unhappily married to his wife.

    • I don’t think you are projecting, that was a big piece of my hurt and anger. I was also relatively arrogant assuming what wasn’t going to happen. Overall now I’m just sad… Sad for him for the reasons you state, sad that this important person really can’t be in my life without causing me pain (I won’t like wondering how thins are going with them and thinking about their intimacy and family times).

  11. I’m sure my ex husband’s girlfriend can relate to this, and in a way, I can too. A man on the fence with two women is never a good thing (neither is a woman, for that matter).


  12. I totally get how Tony was a crutch for you. I’m in the same boat with my ex. Being single and alone (or at least without a significant romantic relationship) is hard! Being with someone that you have feelings for (and they for you – at least you hope so), especially when you are having great sex, does make things easier – and it makes you feel sexy, and wanted, and confident. But the downside is that those feelings of love and attachment are hard to keep at bay. While the relationship may have been defined as “friends with benefits” – when you have loved someone – still love someone – I don’t think that the hope that things could become more permanent really disappears. We may fool ourselves into thinking that we have a “no strings attached” relationship – but if we look deep down into our hearts, past that tough, independent exterior, hope is there. Even when you know logically and realistically that the relationship could never work (at least while things are as they are with the other person) – that pesky love still remains. I have arguments with myself on a near daily basis – I want to be with him, I DON’T want to be with him, it’s all a moot point because he has given no indication he wants to be with ME (and he wouldn’t/couldn’t even if he did – because he can’t have a conversation about deep, meaningful, hard things – which is one of the reasons we aren’t together in the first place!), I like the sex, I deserve more than just sex….and so it goes. Sigh.

    • Why do so many of your comments leave me wanting to say OH COME ON NOW. Tony adores me on many levels. Sexy and powerful and like I can do anything. Work, home, physical. How on earth do you see it as a bad thing when someone appreciates all of my various facets?

What do you think?