It's rather freaky at times how much our stories are parallel these days! I've read quite a few posts from you that seem to describe my recent experiences and feelings. And now reading your history above, I start to see why.
It needs mentioning, probably, that before I got together with Ren, I'd never had a serious long term relationship. I had never really been in love. I had never had my heart broken. I had never been committed to someone, I had never experienced a relationship with all the lovely and not so lovely things that it brings - closeness, disappointment at times, friction, expectations, etc.
So at 42 I am starting out as a relationship novice, having only the experience of being with Ren for almost 20 years.
Increase the age by a few years, and that's me, aside from 2 long affairs. In one of them I was just too young/immature to properly work out relationship issues, though we did try; in the other we never talked about issues/expectations, and this ambiguity became very stressful for me. And my husband is not much of a communicator, so we failed for years to address problems.
So just truly learning emotional/relationship skills in my 40s, and in a relationship I jumped into way too fast, with tons of (unrealistic) expectations. It's been quite the crash course and emotional roller coaster. And I had a break up a few weeks back that turned into a non-break up, although I still don't really understand the what form the relationship will take now.
(This last reminds me of both of your relationships - it looks to me like neither C nor MrB wants to lose you. Even with the complications and mistakes (which we all make) they are still interested in you.)
So I'm also vowing to do it all very differently next time around, and feeling better equipped to do so. And looking back, I see that the affairs did grow more naturally, from relationships that were friendships first, and that provided some comfort at the time.
FWIW, from a fellow novice, it seems to me like you're handing this crisis period pretty well, and doing a good job at taking care of yourself and navigating through the grief.
I wondered why, though, in responding to C, you didn't tell him this reaction:
quote: Ugh. So typical. Not a word about how he feels. Putting all the responsibility on me. /quote
Does he already know this, or is it implied in the answer you gave him? Because to me it seems like your emotional reaction and the answer you gave him don't fully match, and I wonder if communicating your true reaction more clearly might be beneficial.
Hang in there, and glad that you've decided to continue to hang around here!