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heartbroken_kk posted 1/8/2014 15:26 PM


Where to start. I guess this is going to be long and ramble a bit and maybe TMI.... sorry for the length SIers but you know sometimes you just gotta write it out.

I'm S for two years. D is moving forward. NC firm I only discuss D related topics and only if it benefits me. I got robust boundaries with STBXWHPANPDFTG that protect me from his crap. Basically I've moved on. The D is lagging a bit behind where I'm at emotionally, but I am trying to get it done. My therapist has been awesome, I've worked really hard on myself and I've done a HUGE amount of healing. We have moved beyond M and into FOO territory. I've recently been HAPPY. Single and happy. I posted an update a bit ago in D/S

My body has been generally quiet with riding the bus the last couple of years. I wasn't pining for the good ol' days of morning boners. I didn't experience hot dreams of lusty sex. Basically, didn't miss it. I missed companionship. I missed being part of a couple, a united duo, a team. I missed the "We" but not the sex so much.

And then, Firehouse Guy, the topic of today's post. Oh dear. I've known him for a long time - over 10 years - as a friend, and with my new work situation being sorta in the same department as his we reconnected. He's always been sincere and he expressed concern for me and my situation. So I shared what was going on and he lent a very nice ear listening as we did some work projects together.

Anyway, after a bit, Firehouse Guy's friendship warmed up and he started flirting with me. He invited me out to dinner for my birthday. It took me completely off guard initially and I told him I wasn't dating, but I would share a meal with him. It was really nice and sweet and 99% platonic and light.

So, the next dinner invite was for me to come over for dinner at his house.

There's an issue with his housemate the Dog Lady. A woman with whom he had a romantic live-in domestic partnership for years. I met her 5 or 6 years years ago. Had some nice convos with her. They seemed like a nice couple at the time although in a convo just between us she let on that he wasn't really a long-term fit for her (he was still legally married but S for something like 8 years from his wife and son's mother - and she rolled her eyes about him "not really being available for commitment", and I'm sure I mumbled something sympathetic).

Anyway, a few years later he bought a house with her, go figure. They still live together in this house they co-own. But this is California and we do culturally strange things here (eat sushi, invent facebook, wear pink dreadlocks, legalize pot, gay marry) and I know a lot of households with mixed gender but non-romantic arrangements (with the cost of housing few can afford to live here alone so there are lots of shared housing situations) so who am I to judge?

Remember I told Firehouse Guy I wasn't dating? Well, before agreeing to go over to his house for a second "date" I started asking some really pointed questions. I wanted to know more about Dog Lady. I'm not going to be anybody's OW, no F'n way. I'm NOT GOING THERE.

I thought Dog Lady was your girlfriend? [No, she's not.] What happened? When? Are you serious that you no longer have a romantic relationship with her? Really? You don't sleep with her? [We aren't really suited for each other, she's really negative, it's been years since we were a couple, we live in separate parts of the house, have our own separate food and schedules] Why did you buy a house with her? [Our living arrangement seemed to work OK, the house is set up for a roommate situation, it was supposed to be a great investment, seemed like a great idea financially at the time] Does she know you have invited me over? Is this going to be an issue for her? Does SHE think you are still a couple? [No, she's going to be out of town, No, but I don't want to rub it in her face, No however we did make an agreement that neither of us would bring anyone else into the house for overnight so we didn't stir up things in the house]


I told him that given everything I'd been through, under no circumstances would I allow myself to be the source of another woman's pain. If he wanted to invite me over to his house for dinner, I needed to know that Dog Lady knew and was OK with that. After a day or two, he assured me he had talked to her and that because she was going to be out of town it was fine for me to come over.

OK, do I believe this? I got trust issues here, yaknow? Geeselouise just wave a whole flagpole full of yellow flags at me will ya?

I looked him straight in the eye and told him that I'm not gonna put up with anyone lying to me. He assured me this was the whole truth. So here I am, a BW, trying to trust. I hadn't even kissed him yet but this housemate thing was making me really uneasy. Damn this is awkward as HELL.

OK, you with me so far? I went to dinner at his house. It was nice. I got a gentle peck on the cheek when he walked me to my car. But the flirting in the weeks following... hmmm... let me just say that I didn't put up boundaries and kinda went with it.

With him being in Govt, there are rules against dating in your own department. Technically I'm not a Govt employee but a contractor, but he had some oversight of my work. We kept it pretty clean for a while but I got a little drunk off the attention. Meanwhile he had applied some months before for a promotion and a transfer. We flirted some more...

We started crossing the line from flirting to outright mutual pursuit. He brought me some mistletoe from a tree he found while working on a forest fire. Damn. That stuff was POTENT! I got ALL hot and bothered!

Anyway, we kept our attraction for each other and nascent romance quiet and just between the two of us. I made it clear I did not want to jeopardize his job in any way....

And then he got word that he got the promotion. He was going to be packing up and moving out of the firehouse where my contract position was located and into another unit. In other words there would be no rules imposed on us to prevent our dating or having an open relationship.

Since then our relationship seems to be moving along. He's been to my place a few times, I've been back to his once. A few hours here, dinner and such. I would say we make good F-buddies and really good friends but we're not really much more than that at this point. My body is awakening and I like it and the hop off the bus has been nice for my self esteem.

OK, good. Right? Right? We can do this? We can date each other? Share some romance? Well... except no sleep over? WhuH? Now I really miss the skin time. Sex is good and all, but now, now I'm craving the cuddle and spooning and warmth. Dammit. I was happy without any of that, remember?

Firehouse Guy is concerned about upsetting Dog Lady. According to him he agreed not to have overnight guests, and he needs to do as he said he would. OK, that's honorable. It's integrity, right? So I've invited him to my place for an overnight... and he has... a dog, and Dog Lady's dogs. Even when Dog Lady is out of town he has to go home to feed and care for them.... anyway we have plans for him to bring the dogs over this weekend for dinner and a sleep over (and I also have a dog so this sorta works).

We've talked a bit about his marriage. You know the one that kept Dog Lady at arms length. He is finally wrapping it up legally, his son is an adult, and it seems like we both might end up with D papers in the next 6 months. His D is more complicated than mine, with his STBX also co-owning a house with him and wanting ongoing spousal support (she lives several hundred miles away, and he's been gone 13 years)

I asked what happened? [We grew apart. I was complacent. I didn't work on our M enough. We fought about money. I was miserable at 40 and didn't want to spend the rest of my life that way. I met someone who made me feel better about myself and I decided I had to get out] OH CRAP! A Wayward?!!! I asked did your wife find out about your girlfriend or did you tell her? [She wasn't a girlfriend, so nothing to find out but I did tell my wife the M wasn't working and I moved out]... GAH!

SI Peeps, I don't know what I'm doing with this info. I don't know if I'm hearing spin or honesty. I don't know if he really dealt with his issues or just buried them or ran away from them. So now, Firehouse Guy is on my mind a lot and I don't know how to process it. I'm a very mental person and he's a puzzle so my brain is constantly working on the puzzle. He's got my body's attention too. I'm liking having an F-buddy. I am really liking the attention and affection.

How do I proceed? I feel like I have healed from the wounds of my M to STBXWHPANPDFTG, but I'm still working on FOO in therapy. Am I attracted to someone who is "wrong" for me? Can I do this? Is this "safe"? Am I strong enough to have an F-buddy relationship with someone who has all these complicated and still connected not-really-past relationships? Clearly I am wanting more than that. Am I headed for heartbreak again? I've never been one to do things light. Serial monogamy, with me diving in head first into each new relationship FAST and not really taking time to let things unfold slowly.

I realize I really really miss being bonded, being part of a couple. I want that, BAD. I am trying to not glue myself to this guy but it is really creating quite the internal struggle.

I wonder if there is a lesson here for me in my healing and it's going to be OK, or if I'm just making a really stupid mistake. Tomorrow I see my therapist after almost a month off due to the holidays. I am hoping I can sort some of this out. Thanks for reading and listening!

k94ever posted 1/8/2014 16:09 PM

Get back on the bus. They are saving your seat for you.

He's a mess and a player.


abbycadabby posted 1/8/2014 16:14 PM

Firehouse Guy is concerned about upsetting Dog Lady.

Oh, I SO hope that I'm wrong but I'm thinking you might be an OW. If I'm wrong, at the very least, why is it more important for him to appease Dog Lady in this rather than appeasing you? Why are her feelings, as a roommate, more important than yours?

I think a frank discussion between you and Firehouse Guy is in order. The agreement was made, yes, but if they are truly just roommates then Dog Lady should understand circumstances have changed for Firehouse Guy.

cayc posted 1/8/2014 16:47 PM

They can co-own a house together but can't dog sit for one another?

Your spidey senses are tingling because you know something isn't right. This is one of those things where it may not be what you think (you're an OW) but does it matter? He's up to something. He's made you uncomfortable enough that you were compelled to post paragraphs about it here. Because you know. You need to cut ties with this guy.

(And btw, the fact that he coerced you into breaking the rules of "dating" while being co-workers of a sort shows you the type of guy that he is. To me, that's the biggest red flag of all, willingly shitting where you eat.)

Crescita posted 1/8/2014 17:10 PM

Whatever he has done or is doing, it seems like you want more than he currently offers. Reasons don't matter, he is not available. I'd call it a bad fit and move on.

tryingagain74 posted 1/8/2014 17:15 PM

He sounds WAY too complicated. I can't begin to figure out his bizarre personal life... still not divorced after how many years? Somehow caught up in something with Dog Lady?

Ugh, there are too many layers of dysfunction here that I wouldn't bother to peel back.

I totally get wanting companionship, and it would be lovely to have a sex life with a hot guy. I've been on the bus for more than two years now. But I also want straightforward and direct. I want clarity. He's single. I'm single. He doesn't have strange relationships with maybe ex-girlfriend roommates. I can date him without feeling like he's under a cloud of suspicion.

I say you next him. You deserve better than to wonder if you might possibly be the OW in this relationship.

Catwoman posted 1/8/2014 17:44 PM

Couple of things that have me scratching my head.

First, he owns a house with his Ex AND one with Dog Lady? In California? Does he own a gold mine or stock in Microsoft? Seriously, most people cannot afford to get a loan for two houses. So either he makes a lot of coin, the story isn't true (red flag) or Dog Lady owns the house and he is a tenant, not a co-owner (actually, this makes a lot of sense, seeing that Dog Lady makes all the rules, including the no overnight rule even when she is not there).

Second is his reluctance to have you interact with Dog Lady. If they are such marvelous pals, wouldn't he want the two of you to meet? Most people enjoy introducing their new SOs to their circle of friends. Why is this different? Good question to ask.

You have only been to his house twice and never spent the night. Not a good thing.

I also don't care for the two of you breaking company policies to date. Policies exist for a reason.


jemimapd posted 1/8/2014 19:10 PM

I realize I really really miss being bonded, being part of a couple. I want that, BAD

I had a few of the thoughts that Catwoman did, firstly how did this guy afford two houses.

Have you done any background checks on him? For example, have you checked the county auditor's records to see who owns the house. In my state you can do this online but I am not in CA. I would also check the local court records for civil cases, especially debts, and for criminal. But the main issue I'm focusing on here is money. You can then search the records as to his wife and that house.

What steps has he actually taken to get divorced? You. An check civil filings for that in my state.

You cannot be in a couple with this guy because he is (a) married and (b) living with another woman whom he has no reason to be living with IF it is purely platonic. Has he introduced you to her recently? Why can't you go for dinner while she is at the house IF it is all over between them?

Unfortunately he sounds a lot like my ex who spun the OW all the right lines. I heard him on a VAR. but the reality was he was married and wanted fun on the side. He threw her under the bus on D Day.

Judge him by his actions, not his promises.

heartbroken_kk posted 1/8/2014 21:12 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I want to respond to some of the questions and comments about rules and breaking rules.

Personally, I'm not a real "law and order" type. I have broken a lot of rules in my life and "Question Authority" is, well, not exactly a mantra, but I follow rules I agree with or which breaking have serious consequences, and I have been known to bend or break rules I think are stupid, arbitrary, unfair, excessive, etc.

My analysis of the "no interoffice dating" rules, was that I was neither a co-worker nor a subordinate. Several layers of authority were between us (my boss @ the NGO, his boss @ the Govt) and so I didn't think the rule applied to us. But he was a little worried that because he had some peripheral input on my work others might be able to claim it did apply. We discussed the issue because it was something that he brought up. So out of respect for his concern I made sure our behavior in the office was beyond reproach.

heartbroken_kk posted 1/8/2014 21:17 PM

Anyway, about some other comments you all made, I just got done with a long phone call with Firehouse Guy and it was one of those awkward difficult ones where you force yourself to talk about things that are hard...

We talked about his current household. He described his house co-ownership with Dog Lady as a huge mistake. She's 60% he's 40% owner. Real estate took a huge hit in the recession here and they lost a ton of equity shortly after purchase. He says their relationship now is "sometimes we hate each other and sometimes we are good friends." I asked him when that change in their relationship happened and he said it was shortly after they bought the house (which was about 5 years ago). So he's been "stuck in a rut" living there with her because to get out would have meant losing everything he put in. I told him I was having trouble trusting that he was being honest. He said "I can see how after all you've been through it would be hard to be trusting, but that's the truth."

About the "no overnights" rule, I told him I felt like he was giving her too much power to dictate his social life if they in fact were not a couple. He said he's been so busy with work and trying to make improvements to the house to try to bring up its value over the last few years that he hasn't even bothered trying to date other women and the rule hasn't been an issue until I came along - most unexpectedly. He told me he's been on the bus for over three years too.

Dog Lady is out of town now on vacation, so it's not a matter of appeasing her, she wouldn't even know if I spent the night.... it's that he is sticking to his word. To tell her that he's met someone new and he wants to change the rules, well frankly I can see how that would be hard for her to hear since she isn't dating anyone either. I can just imagine, it's pretty much the death knell for their situation. The market has come up and they have already been talking about selling to get out from under it and away from each other...

I agree with the comments that he should have the conversation anyway, even if it is painful and awkward. But it's his life, his home, his former GF and I don't think I can do more than tell him how I feel and what I want and sit back and watch. She will return next week and they will have a chance to discuss in person then. I should be patient and just wait to see what action he takes.

Obviously for me to move forward with him there's really no way for our relationship to develop in a healthy way unless he has a heart-to-heart with her and reveals that he has found someone he wants to date and have a relationship with.

heartbroken_kk posted 1/8/2014 21:31 PM

I'm still legally M to STBXWHNPDPAFTG. I'm 4 years post D-day and 2 years in complete S with firm NC. D was filed 6 months ago and will be final possibly as early as 2 months from now. Emotionally I'm done.

Firehouse Guy is still legally M to his STBX. He is at least 13 years in complete S, stayed married for financial reasons and paid SS, CS, and mortgage voluntarily. I don't know when they filed for D but he said they almost have an agreement, have court next month and it sounds like it will be done maybe in a few months? Emotionally he's done.

As for Dog Lady, they've been what sounds like in-house S for 3 years, with boundaries. It "sounds like" emotionally he's done.

No shit it's complicated. We aren't young and our lives have been connected to other people and we are both taking steps to extricate ourselves from past ties.

We are both technically and legally unavailable in some ways. We are both emotionally unprepared, and maybe emotionally unavailable too.

Talk about a need to take things S. L. O. W.

nomistakeaboutit posted 1/8/2014 22:02 PM

We are both emotionally unprepared, and maybe emotionally unavailable too.

What do you mean by this?

heartbroken_kk posted 1/8/2014 22:34 PM

We are both emotionally unprepared, and maybe emotionally unavailable too.

What do you mean by this?

Well, neither of us were looking to date anyone. I was actually clear that I wasn't dating at the time when I accepted his first invitation out to dinner. But it was my 50th birthday, and I was alone. He was a long-time friend who I've really enjoyed knowing for over a decade.

And with each passing interaction, our fondness for each other seemed to grow and the flirting evolved and... well, you know.

I didn't intend to get involved with anyone. I'm still M and wanted to put the D behind me before trying to connect with someone new. So emotionally I hadn't prepared myself to be dating.

And if his storytelling is to be believed, he is in the exact same boat as me.

I will fully and freely admit that I am enjoying my time with Firehouse Guy. We have lots in common, mutual interests and personal style and so forth so it is easy to allow myself to be attracted to him.

In fact my pleasure is one of the yellow flags as I don't entirely trust myself to make good decisions when I'm feeling this way.

My gut isn't screaming RED FLAG! My head is actually the problem here. The spidey senses say I'm OK, I'm safe, he's honest. My head says he's got a mess of problems disconnecting from past women in his life and HELLO HEART! Pay attention!

I have talked to my therapist about him a couple times and I go in tomorrow for a head adjustment. Writing here is good for me to work things through so my session in more productive.

Thank you everyone for comments and questions!

nomistakeaboutit posted 1/9/2014 04:28 AM

Thanks for the explanation about the emotional availability, or lack thereof.

Good luck with your IC meeting today.

cayc posted 1/9/2014 07:29 AM

Well I'm one of the first to say that midlife dating is messy because people come with problems and baggage that you cannot predict. It's not like dating in your 20s when the biggest issue anyone has is that they hate their parents or just failed that midterm.

So given the no baggage scenario is likely a pipe dream, it makes it hard to evaluate what's ok baggage and what isn't. Between triggers, well meaning advice givers on SI who over react in their desire to protect each other (I'm not knocking it but we are definitely a careful bunch) it can be hard to determined if something is just odd or if it's a deal breaker.

The weirdness of two people who have managed to be almost D but not D hooking up aside, not being able to stay at your man''''s house? And it's not because of kids? How can that be okay? This dude *needs* to sort that. Because if he can't, that to me is a red flag. Not a cheating red flag, an unwillingness to be in a relationship red flag because he's using this barrier to protect himself and make if impossible to fully commit. And while you might think today that's ok, the risk is really high that you'll want more in the future and be in too deep emotionally and just get yourself hurt.

[This message edited by cayc at 7:32 AM, January 9th, 2014 (Thursday)]

FaithFool posted 1/9/2014 08:20 AM

Wow, what a mess... I'm curious how you've known him so well for ten years but you're just finding out all of this now.

You agreed to go out for dinner with him even though you thought he was still in a relationship, right? What made that OK for you?

Anyway, he's fair game now because they're not together anymore. But wait, they are, sort of....because oh shit, he's not allowed to have sleepovers. So he has a mommy and you have to toe the line here, or you can just go ahead and break that rule, sleep over and see what she says over coffee in the morning. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for that one!

Thing is, you talk about FWB, but FWB technically is just screwing to scratch the itch.

There's no cuddling, spooning, luuurv talk, dinners, breakfasts, long romantic drives or sleeping over. You do the deed and he goes home. Ideally a drive-by, taking no more than half an hour.

I think he's one of those folks who has managed to arrange his life into a scenario that's tailor-made for avoidance of intimacy.

He was unhappy with wife #1, but instead of doing the right thing and confronting that and divorcing before getting involved with a new lurv, he went ahead and did that and let marriage #1 limp along to an almost-close.

Thirteen years is an awfully long time to be almost-divorced.

He sort of commits to Dog Lady but then that doesn't work out, but jeez, here he is stuck in a real estate situation he can't get out of and he's committed to being her Dog Minder until the house sells maybe never.

What incentive does she have to sell when she has a nice home, a guy who promises never to bring anyone to the house and looks after her pack when she travels?

There is so much unfinished business here it makes my head spin. I know we all have baggage, but real grown-up adults usually manage to tie up the loose ends before diving into exciting new adventures that require time, energy and cash investment.

But people who like to live on the edge and bend or break rules tend to live they way they want to, and he's living the life he wants.

So it's up to you to decide if that's the kind of life you want.

You haven't tied up your own loose ends yet, so yay! you get to do it together, and in that sense you're probably a perfect match.

If that's the life you want, then I say go for it. It's exciting isn't it?

I'll look forward to updates.

PS And I have to say the mental image of you two canoodling surrounded by a panting pack of canines makes me giggle...

[This message edited by FaithFool at 8:47 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]

Charity411 posted 1/9/2014 09:17 AM

I'm with FaithFool. I hate to say this but I think you're being color blind. The flags are red. I think it's time to start checking out some of the things he's telling you.

Maybe because I'm not clouded by chemistry with this person, I really don't believe this whole integrity excuse for why you can't spend the night there or be there with Dog Lady is there. In my opinion he doesn't want Dog Lady to know about your relationship. He seems to have a perfect explanation for everything. Start checking out some of what he tells you. You can easily check on the ownership of the house.

The biggest red flag is that you know he cheated on his wife. Still is if you really think about it since he's still married. I think you're asking the right questions but not necessarily listening to the real answers.

ajsmom posted 1/9/2014 09:22 AM

Wow...all that you're dealing with makes my hair hurt.

But people who like to live on the edge and bend or break rules tend to live they way they want to, and he's living the life he wants.

So it's up to you to decide if that's the kind of life you want.


For every concern of yours you throw his way, he has a smooth answer.

Maybe it's just me, but I really like romantic relationships where there are just two people in them.


Newlease posted 1/9/2014 10:36 AM

Dating after 50 does include baggage, no doubt about it. But this isn't baggage, this is a big fat mess. This guy has unfinished relationships with 2 women. You have an unfinished relationship with your STBX. Wouldn't it be best to step back until all this is resolved before you get in any further?

I also had a hot sexual relationship with a fireman that started 9 MONTHS after my D was final. He said all the right things - he pushed fast for overnights - even with his young daughter in the house. I ignored my best judgment because I thought it was going to be just FWB, but my emotions got the best of me. After I fell in deep, I found out that he was "seeing" another MOW of a fellow firefighter. But wait, they weren't physical, they were just friends.

I can't begin to tell you how damaging that relationship was to my fragile psyche. I didn't end it when I found out about OW. I was determined to make this man choose ME - because my XWH chose the OW. Somehow I made it a contest and he was the prize. It took me a year and a half and SO MUCH PAIN to realize he was no prize and I lost my dignity along the way.

Thankfully I recovered after I implemented scorched earth NC and some work on my self esteem. I feel pretty confident that I will never slide into anything like that again.

I know it feels good to feel wanted - it seems like such an ego boost, but in the end it can do the exact opposite if it isn't right.

Sending strength and peace.


sparkysable posted 1/9/2014 13:28 PM

I would run if I were you, and don't let the breeze from all those madly waving flags distract you! Jeez!! How much you wanna bet Dog Lady is actually his Girlfriend?

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