FOFs and the men they loved and left

FOF Susan (not her real name) sat down in the seat across from me this morning in the train as it was pulling out of Grand Central Station, and we hit it off in minutes. She has a funky style, like I do, and she’s open and friendly, like I am. By the time she got off the train, we had exchanged business cards and learned that we shared more than outward style and amicability. We both had long-term relationships (she for 13 years and I for 12) with men who a.) had no intention of making commitments to us b.) were selfish c.) we finally left.

Susan, 53 and previously married, didn’t live with Matt (not his real name, either.) He lived with a former girlfriend, believe it or not, but he and Susan spent most of the week together. He had never married. Susan is divorced. Susan finally had enough when Matt wouldn’t join her at a number of family celebrations and important business events this year.

“One evening, I returned home with my 17-year-old niece from a wedding and Matt was in my bed. He wouldn’t come to the wedding with me, but there he was, waiting for me to return…in my apartment! When he did a similar thing a second time, I told him I wanted to speak to him. ‘This isn’t working anymore,'” I explained. Matt didn’t fight to keep Susan from breaking up their long-term relationship.  He returned her apartment keys and left. He started to pursue her again within a short time, even said he’d marry her, but she turned him down. “It wasn’t easy,” she told me, “but I had a big support system and went to therapy on and off for years to be able to come to that point.”

“Why did you stay with him for so long?” I asked.

“It was comfortable. We had a lot in common. He was a workaholic, too, so I could do my own thing. Sex was great.”

“But why didn’t you give him another chance when he tried to come back and make amends?”

“It was too late,” Susan said.

I left Edgar when I was 53, Susan’s age now, although I discovered soon after that he was secretly living with his next door neighbor in Florida, so maybe he left me first. Edgar died soon after I called it quits, and his secret lover/neighbor never had a chance to say her own goodbye.

Thank goodness, I had a chance to say “good riddance.”

Thank goodness, too, that my new FOF friend, Susan, isn’t wasting any more time. Sometimes, it takes being FOF to do what we should have done years before. But, as they say, “Better late than never.”

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