I'd like to say I don't know why you're letting him back into your life and bask in that ignorance, but I do know why. You're almost 35 now and want nothing more than a flesh-and-blood child of your own with a man you love—more than you wanted that master's degree, that great job you have, that beautiful house you bought with your own money or that strong, athletic body you worked so hard to get back after he broke your heart the last time and ran off with someone else. The Frisky: In The 21st Century, What’s Considered Cheating?
I understand why you let him come over now that he's single again, clean out the gutters above the garage, and cook chicken and vegetables on the grill. The online dating sites didn't work out and all of your friends of friends in that smallish town are married (most with kids), so it's a comfort to have someone around who's more than a friend—even if he'd never dare utter the words "I love you" after leading you on for seven years, making you believe he'd commit.
I never told you that he came on to me one night long ago when I was home on vacation from college. I was watching a movie in mom and dad's room by myself while you were downstairs, probably helping dad with the computer like the patient daughter you are. He came in, sat too close to me and made a comment that made me uncomfortable; I laughed it off and suggested we go downstairs. I guess I never mentioned it to you because I was afraid you'd think I flirted back. The Frisky: Four Reasons You’ll NEVER Get Dumped
And I never told you about how years later he told me—with an earnestness that almost made me believe him—that he was going to propose to you. This was after he'd left you, but you—being your forgiving self—had invited him out to the bar because he was "feeling lonely." I never told you because even though I hoped it was true, I knew he'd never do it, and I didn't want to give you false hope.
Sometimes, when you're able to stop masking your pain with that comedy routine about the last of your viable eggs, you open up to me on the phone. You tell me, with the kind of sincerity that could make cynics weep, that all you want is something simple—a beer on the porch after work with a man who loves you, a family. You tell me that you just want to be touched. Meanwhile, I'm on the other end, unsure what to say, watching my boyfriend make funny faces at me as he cooks us dinner. A lump fills my throat as I fight back tears, both from how sad I feel to know that you're sad and how unfair it is that I have someone to share these loving acts of simplicity with, and someone as amazing as you does not.
So what should I tell you over the phone when you say, with what I imagine to be glossy eyes, that it's no big deal, that the two of you are friends now? I'm too much of a coward to tell you to kick him out of your house. If it makes you feel loved to have him there, the last thing I want to do is take that away from you—even though I know the best thing would be to get tough with you. Sometimes, though, those loving acts of simplicity aren't so simple.