About a year ago…
With some trepidation, I approached my boss: “I’m thinking of taking a two-week vacation with the children while my husband moves out.”
To my surprise, she was very supportive. “Do what you need to do,” she said.
So it was decided. I looked for and bought airline tickets, made plans with the children’s teachers, reached out to friends and relatives on the coast and began to form a plan. Max, of course, was among my friends in the region we’d be visiting.
To my surprise, he was the first to respond with an email, “I think you need to come and stay with us. We have an extra room for you.”
Wow! I was intrigued, titillated, flattered and VERY hesitant.
I confessed the news of Max’s offer to my coworkers in the morning as we met for coffee. “Absolutely not,” my boss advised. “That is a horrible idea!” The other gals agreed that it was quite sweet for him to offer, but sympathized with how difficult it might be for me.
My life was turning into one big swirl of crazy: one of my girlfriends was leaving her husband for another man, another married girlfriend was exploring her sexuality outside of her marriage, and yet another friend suggested, “Maybe Max and his wife are in to threesomes.”
All this weirdness drove me straight to my counsellor’s office, where I told her every last detail about what was going on in my life and all around me and, of course, about Max…with whom I was pondering staying for part of my family vacation.
Finally she remarked, “It sounds as though you and Max have developed a good friendship. Staying with him and his wife could be very good for you. Being around the example of a healthy, loving relationship may be just what you need.”
Whew! Finally I could confess that I had come to the same conclusion. It would be good to spend time with Max and his wife and children. And having my children there as well would provide remarkably solid guard rails against any temptation I might have.
Still, I felt I had to call Max to discuss:
“Thank you for your generous offer to let us stay with you,” I began. “Have you discussed with your wife?”
“Of course,” he said. “She’s looking forward to seeing you.”
“I hope you’ll understand if I take some time to think about it,” I went on. “It might be kind of difficult for me emotionally, and I’m not sure I’m feeling that strong.”
“Okay,” he said doubtfully, as though he couldn’t possibly understand how this might be an emotional dilemma for me. “We’d love to have you. And the children are eager to make love new friends.”
“I’ll let you know, ” I said and said good-bye.
I suspect men have a lot more practice being friends with women who they find attractive. Personally, I don’t recall having much experience having platonic relationships with men I’ve been drawn to physically and emotionally. Determining how to just be friends with Max was a new challenge for me. And I had no confidence that I’d be any good at it.