petite anglaise

September 21, 2005


Filed under: mills & boon, navel gazing, parting ways — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:51 pm

I soon arrived at the conclusion that for a working mum, committing “adultery” would be logistically rather complicated.

A typical day consisted of getting Tadpole ready, dashing with her to the nanny’s, leaping into the metro, breezing into work five minutes late and then doing the whole thing in reverse come 6pm. From Tadpole’s bedtime onwards, I was “free”, but trapped inside the flat, unless there was a babysitter on offer. Hence my strong presence online.

But I simply had to take things further after our first meeting and its rather dramatic dénouement. I couldn’t not. I needed to know.

I had never been unfaithful before. I had very black and white ideas of what was right and wrong, and any sort of cloak and dagger behaviour or sneaking around was most definitely wrong in my book. Nor had I experienced a modern electronic courtship, punctuated by rapid fire exchange of text messages and emails. But over the next week the feeling that something momentous was happening intensified with every shred of contact. I had to see him again, and soon, whatever the consequences.

He evidently felt the same as I did, despite his huge reservations about interfering in my life and causing me to lie to my partner. After all, he’d been on the receiving end of this type of behaviour in the past, and described the experience as “wretched”.

I lost five kilos that week. I shook like an alcoholic with the DT‘s, adrenalin coursing through me. I barely slept at night. It felt as though guilt was etched indelibly into my face, and I couldn’t quite believe that Mr Frog hadn’t noticed that something was amiss.

Fear and excitement were bound together in such a way that I couldn’t work out where one began and another ended. I caught myself staring at my daughter through hot tears, barely able to grasp the enormity of what I was contemplating and what it would mean for her. My only desire was to curl up in a ball under the bedclothes, shut out the real world and lose myself in the scenes which were playing out across the inside of my eyelids. Making dinner or attempting normal conversation with Mr Frog was hell; an agony of going through the motions, my mind elsewhere. I took evasive action, in the form of long baths or evenings spent cowering behind my monitor; he snoozed in front of the television in the next room, happily oblivious.

When the time came, my alibis were rehearsed and ready. I told my boss that the childminder was sick and left work abruptly. I dashed, heart racing, to a hotel in the Marais. I spent an afternoon there. And an evening. And a morning. In between, I picked up Tadpole and waited for the sitter to arrive; I crept back to our non-marital bed in the small hours.

The very next evening I told Mr Frog I would be leaving him. Because even though I couldn’t be sure what it was or would develop into, this new, very precious thing I had stumbled upon, what I did know was that me and Mr Frog were a thing of the past, and had been burying our heads in the sand for far too long.


  1. Yes. Sometimes one has to grab it; the chance of happiness. We only have one life.

    Comment by Mr Wibble — September 21, 2005 @ 1:34 pm

  2. You did what I should have done, and what I wanted to do after the first time I went to a hotel with my lover. But I didn’t, and three years later he gave up on waiting for me. I can’t blame him, but I do sometimes blame myself.

    Comment by Just Jane — September 21, 2005 @ 2:54 pm

  3. Well done – for taking the chance on happiness, for telling mr frog immediately, and for sharing it all with us. I am now completely addicted to your blog – your writing makes me feel like I’m having a chat and a cup of tea with one of my best friends. Which is good as most of my best friends live many miles from me and don’t blog!

    Comment by mary — September 21, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

  4. Fascinating and beautifully written. As a jigsaw puzzle aficionado I love the way your posts are like missing pieces, fitting perfectly into the picture.

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — September 21, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

  5. I was once living with someone, in a relationship that I was very unhappy in. Then one night I was out with friends and met a man who totally bowled me over, and he felt the same way, I could tell. One night soon afterward I engineered an invite to a party where I knew this fabulous man would be (it turned out he had also only gone along because he thought I would be there). At the end of the evening we shared an illicit kiss and my knees shook.

    The very next day I did exactly the same as you and I told the man I was living with that it was all over. I had no idea whether the new man would want to be with me at all, but I was just relieved I’d finally found the impetus to get out of a dead relationship.

    The new man and me have been together for six and a half years now and he still rocks my world.

    Comment by stressqueen — September 21, 2005 @ 4:09 pm

  6. Mirror images are what can often attract us. I see the reflection of my life in your snippets and suggestions.

    I agree with Mary, I feel like I am sharing a cup of PG tips with you (or maybe Twinning Prince of Wales which is a nice blend we get here in Oz) and that i sthe strength of your writing.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and helping many of us feel a kinship rather than excluded from the experiences of the world.

    Comment by Nicole — September 21, 2005 @ 4:30 pm

  7. beautifully written [hot tears – love that]

    happiness is a risk worth taking

    Comment by andre — September 21, 2005 @ 4:37 pm

  8. ‘De-lurking’ to tell you that I am always on the verge of tears when I read your posts. I am always glad to hear about love – and while it’s always worth waiting and fighting for, sometimes the road is full of bumps. A lot of people think the bumps mean it isn’t ‘meant to be’ – I disagree. I think it means that when you get there, you really know what you’ve got.

    Absolutely love your writing :)

    Comment by fifi — September 21, 2005 @ 4:48 pm

  9. Lovely. You must take those chances in life. Happiness is imperative.

    Comment by theinsider — September 21, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

  10. Yet another corker. How do you do it, day after day? Bravo, to the English lady with the buggy and the inner glow.

    Comment by Hannah — September 21, 2005 @ 6:18 pm

  11. Good for you! If you’re not happy in your relationship, you need to move on. It’s for the best for the both of you – and your child.

    Comment by la.dauphine — September 21, 2005 @ 6:24 pm

  12. Wow, it rings true of a situation I was in not too long ago as well. All I can say is that it was absolutely the right thing to do, and I’ve never looked back and I’m now tre happy!

    I do hope you’re a lot happier from this. The heart wants what the heart wants.. That’s it!

    Comment by Bonobo Love — September 21, 2005 @ 7:02 pm

  13. Where are all the people who usually accuse me of being a hussy?

    I’m feeling quite disappointed.

    Comment by petite — September 21, 2005 @ 7:07 pm

  14. Hussy!

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — September 21, 2005 @ 7:36 pm

  15. Well you took the plunge and it has worked. Good for you.

    Comment by Universal Soldier — September 21, 2005 @ 7:41 pm

  16. Perhaps the accusers read slower?

    Comment by Greavsie — September 21, 2005 @ 7:45 pm

  17. Yes, this post also had me in tears but I can’t say why because this is the internet and you just never know, do you?

    Beautiful writing, as always.

    Comment by christina — September 21, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

  18. OK, since you asked I’ll join Jim – How could you, you . . . you . . . hussy!!!
    But it did sound like a good move.

    Comment by joeinvegas — September 21, 2005 @ 10:04 pm

  19. Argh, I tried to post this comment earlier from work, and something went wrong. I had just the right wording then, and now I’ll have to try and remember it.


    Black and white ideas of what’s right and wrong. Between black and white there’s a whole spectrum of colours. Nothing is ever completely right or wrong. Explore. We’re missing out on so much if we don’t.

    (Something like that, anyway. It was a better comment earlier, I promise!) :-)

    Comment by Vaughan — September 21, 2005 @ 10:20 pm

  20. vaughan – I can’t comment on here from work either :(

    Now, you must be that brazen Parisian adultress I’ve heard so much about! Well, I think it’s appalling… ;)

    But seriously, we get one crack at life. Sometimes your heart just tells you what to do. Sometimes you meet someone who just makes you feel alive again.

    I was nearly a married man’s mistress once. He couldn’t go through with it in the end. But there was a connection. Those kinds of connections don’t happen very often.

    It’s hard to say what’s right or wrong. All you can hope do is be true to yourself and respect those who are affected by your actions.

    I’d better shut up now… I think I’m just talking in clichés…

    Comment by anxious — September 21, 2005 @ 11:30 pm

  21. Just what is it about the human condition that renders us,after years of self imposed imprisonment within our own lives,panic stricken at the thought
    of once again drawing BREATH? When freedom is on the horizon,we become immoble:deer in headlights
    (pardon the cliche.) We dare not think for even a moment that we are deserving of happiness!!!

    I was in a relationship similar to yours for many years,finding the strength to leave only after rediscovering my true worth.

    Congratulations to you for doing the same. You are strong,proud,witty,loving and VERY talented! Now, when are you going to end the suspense and get to work on that bestseller we all know you have in you? You’ve got a helluva voice,Petite!!

    Comment by Belle — September 21, 2005 @ 11:43 pm

  22. No one has posted this question, so I will. Petite, (and this is no judgement, just a curiosity.) if you and Mr. Frog had been married, and everything else about your situation was the same, would you still have had the courage to do what you did? Could you have told Mr. Frog goodbye if you had the ring around your finger and the signed paper somewhere in your home?

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — September 22, 2005 @ 5:57 am

  23. Petite, seems you were honest with Mr Frog and with yourself.

    I did feel sorry for Mr Frog at first, but now I think you did the right thing. So good luck to you and Jim. Sorry If that sounds like sitting in judgement, I guess we all do it to a greater or lesser extent.

    I have just met a lady on the internet, I hope it works as well for me.

    Comment by Keith — September 22, 2005 @ 9:50 am

  24. Dave – I find that one hard to answer, as one of the problems between us was that Mr Frog wouldn’t make that final commitment and couldn’t really explain why in any way that made sense to me.

    But honestly, if I’d been in a marriage which suffered from the same problems and lacks that our relationship did, I think I would have owed it to myself to leave that too.

    Comment by petite — September 22, 2005 @ 9:51 am

  25. How is Mr Frog btw?

    Comment by Parkin Pig — September 22, 2005 @ 11:13 am

  26. Delationships are difficult things…but I really don’t think there’s any point in staying in one if you’re constantly living with ‘what if’ hanging over your head.

    *fingers crossed*

    Comment by clair — September 22, 2005 @ 12:01 pm

  27. First comment for me – beautifully written post as always. I am an English woman of your age, used to live in Paris, now in Madrid, and also return regularly to York to see family!

    However, I am going to weigh in on Mr Frog’s side here in the marriage debate. I have been with my bloke (English) for 13 years, and we are in agreement about not wanting to get married, so luckily that’s not a problem for us.

    The thing I don’t agree with here is seeing the stance of not wanting to get married as lack of commitment. Perhaps in some cases that’s true, but certainly in my case, and that of many friends, the emotional, financial etc. commitment has already been made and marriage would make no difference to that.

    Do you really think getting married would have resolved all the problems in your relationship?

    The thing is, Mr Frog’s wish not to get married could be just as strong and just as valid as your desire to get married. It annoys me to see friends who have finally given in to the pressure of their partners and got married, even though they feel strongly against it. And general opinion (as evidenced in your comments box) always seems to side with the person who wants to get married.

    Anyway, hope this doesn’t come across as personal criticism – it is not at all intended as that, just a general comment.

    Comment by MarL — September 22, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

  28. MarL – the marriage thing was the tip of the iceberg, but there are many facets of the relationship I didn’t explore on the internet, out of respect for our/his privacy. Believe me, that wouldn’t have been a decisive factor if all else had been rosy.

    Parkin – Mr Frog seems to be getting on okay. We have a drink and a chat from time to time, and are managing to remain friends. I’m quite jealous of his social life…

    And he now spends more time with Tadpole than ever before. A very good thing.

    Comment by petite — September 22, 2005 @ 1:02 pm

  29. I have a question that is totally indiscrete. So just ignore it if you wish, but it something that intrigues me about couple splitting up (not just you) and moving quickly onto new partners.

    What would you have done in you had met “The lover” at a point when your relationship with Mr Frog was more positive and that you were still in love. Do you think you would have been receptive to the ‘special feeling’ that now exists between you and lover anyway.

    In other words is the fact that your relationship with Mr Frog was on a final downhill run make you open to finding someone new and falling in love again? Or would this have happened even if things with Mr Frog had been better. Do you believe that you and lover were meant to be ?

    Perhaps lover would like to know this too…..

    Or perhaps this is impossible to answer……

    Comment by P in France — September 22, 2005 @ 1:05 pm

  30. Do we really need to know this? I’m not interested in whether you’re a hussy or not, but don’t you think some things should be private, if for no other reason than than out of respect for your former partner (quite humiliating for him), your new one (doesn’t he consider this special and between you two?) and for your daughter, who may one day read these postings?
    And apart from all that it wouldn’t take a Sherlock to work out your identity, from all the whopping hints you’ve left.

    Comment by Tess — September 22, 2005 @ 1:06 pm

  31. Once in Paris, I was somehow convinced by my man in the States to stay in a dead, and at that moment, long-distance relationship. I tried to be in love, and if you can convince yourself you are, isn’t that close enough? It was. Or I told myself it was. Until I met my “ame soeur” at a dinner party and I fell entirely, completely, no looking back. And in one fraction of one instant, I knew what love might be, and I knew it had nothing to do with that stranger on the other side of the atlantic. And I told him the next day, without hesitation, despite the uncertainty of any future in what had finally become, for me, the city of light.

    Now, with both feet firmly planted on european soil, I still cannot express to my lover how happy he makes me.

    (As an aside, I’ve noticed that my French friends (from 25-35 especially) in Paris and in Marseille, are often in unmarried long-term relationships in which they have children but do not ‘tie the knot’, which is more unusual in the States. I may marry/PACS here, but honestly, it’s not the deciding factor, and my reasons are mostly financial, ie, to have the right to work in France.)

    Comment by Cecile — September 22, 2005 @ 1:11 pm

  32. Tess – I would just like to defend Petit for a moment, although I don’t think she really needs it.

    If you don’t like what your reading and you find it offensive why bother reading it, no one is forcing you to. You can click to go away, just as easily as you clicked to get hear.

    Obviously Lover knows all about it and I guess Mr Frog too, so what’s the problem.
    I’ve always found the details fairly vague and in fact Petit, some of us out here in Internet land would be quite happy to read a few more juicy details (only joking)

    No way would I personally open myself to the public in the same manner. Open to questions like mine, comments from people you don’t know, and criticisms such as yours, I’m far too much of a coward.

    Comment by P in France — September 22, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

  33. Life isn’t black and white for me either. But it does bother me that so many of us these days think it is ok to be dishonest, especially if it is for a “short” period of time. Somehow that justifies the dishonesty. (Notice I included myself in this…not pointing fingers at anyone. More on the specifics below.)

    When one is being dishonest, it is easier to justify than when one is the recipient of someone else’s (especially a significant other) dishonesty. What if Mr. Frog had had a fling with someone from his work place? Would we be consoling petite now and ripping apart Mr. Frog?

    Why can’t we have the courage to say, “Our relationship isn’t the best right now and I need some space.” What stops us from saying this?

    I was in a similar situation a number of years ago…was living with someone…things weren’t going well. I stepped out, and then told my live-in I was leaving. I am now married to the person I stepped out with, but I have always regretted I wasn’t honest…that I was unable to be honest from the start. Looking back, I wonder what I was afraid of? I hope I can raise my daughter to be less of a coward, so she can speak her feelings.

    In retrospect, I wish I could have had more courage.


    Comment by Elle — September 22, 2005 @ 2:43 pm

  34. Whatever your previous stance on right and wrong, until you’ve confronted a particular situation you can’t be sure how you’d behave. Infidelity becomes an option when your current relationship no longer meets your needs, whether you acknowledge it or not, and you therefore become open to a kind of contact with potential replacement partners that is instinctively avoided by the happily paired.

    (And people who never shut off their radar don’t tend to have long-lasting relationships, but I don’t think that’s relevant in your case…)

    Comment by Susan — September 22, 2005 @ 2:48 pm

  35. Tess – I doubt you “need to know” anything which appears on this blog. I write because I like writing. I use my life instead of creating fiction. You don’t have to like it. Or read it, for that matter.

    Lover fell for petite anglaise before he met me, so he always knew he risked being written about (and rather likes it). Mr Frog doesn’t read it, never really did, but will never find anything here that I haven’t said to his face.

    And as for whopping hints? Well, no-one I know has ever stumbled across this blog without me telling them about it… I just didn’t want to be googled using my real name. By my boss, say. If you do know my real name, I would just ask that you refrain from using it here.

    Comment by petite — September 22, 2005 @ 2:54 pm

  36. Try again.

    Petite – I like this blog. I enjoy all your rants about work/ France/ the French, and share a lot of your experiences. Being from up north in Paris is not always easy but is always interesting.

    however, the details about your love life are just a tad too navel gazing methinks, and you seem to have gone all Jane Austen on us. And as for your Lover – he is now your Boyfriend. I know everyone has already mentioned it but I just thought I would put in my two centimes.

    Was that a nice way of saying that this post sucked?

    Comment by cheria — September 22, 2005 @ 4:07 pm

  37. To P in France and Petite, I began reading this blog when a colleague told me about it who thought I might enjoy reading about life in Paris as seen by a Brit living there. And that is what I found it to be initially. Then I found it to be increasingly annoying when it began divulging rather a lot of very personal stuff that I would cringe for anyone to know if it were me. You’re right–I don’t have to read it, and I stopped several times. When I returned I found little tidbits about life in Paris once again. And then we go back to the “adultery” story, which obviously Petite is much exorcised by, or she wouldn’t keep calling HERSELF an adultress. It’s far too much like group therapy for one. Is there never meant to be any critical input or is everyone just supposed to go on saying how wonderful you are?
    Mr. Frog’s friends might well read it, even if he doesn’t, to go on to your next point, Petite. And I personally know people who were at Bath when you were.

    Comment by Tess — September 22, 2005 @ 4:13 pm

  38. I happen to like my navel.

    However my blog was ‘advertised’ to you, I can’t promise to stick to the brit’s eye view of Paris formula. There’s never been a mission statement.

    Of course you are free to say negative things (which I never delete). But am I the only one who happens to think it’s a bit rich coming onto my site and telling me what I should or should not write?

    Comment by petite — September 22, 2005 @ 4:13 pm

  39. There is a comments box for a reason. I do notice that when people criticise you you get a bit defensive. When I do work of any kind, I like feedback. That includes taking the good with the bad. Of course no-one is telling what you should and shouldn’t write. We are just giving our opinions on what we like and what we don’t like. If you don’t want that kind of thing, then don’t allow people to leave comments.

    But if you do want comments, and that is part of the fun, then expect us to whine about the content as well as praise.

    Taking criticism is part of being a grown-up.

    Comment by cheria — September 22, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

  40. Petite – As a fellow Brit in Paris (well very near) I know more than I need to know about living in Paris. Just you wait till Tadpole is older and you will be considered a foreign Mum. My 6 year old even went to the extent at his last birthday party to inform me that I was ‘Maman’ for the afternoon and that no english would be tolerated infront of ‘ces copains’

    So I like the navel gazing, I don’t get Eastenders in my Paris suburb. I don’t even need it I’ve got blogs to read !

    Comment by P in France — September 22, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

  41. Er, I think I’ll take my defensive little self off now and possibly come back when I’ve finished growing up.

    But please do continue this debate in my absence.

    Comment by petite — September 22, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

  42. Hi Petite,

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve felt the urge to comment – having seen some of the really unpleasant things people are saying, I thought I should come to your defence!

    I too began reading because of the ‘Brit in France’ angle (having been one myself – 5 months in Limoges in 2003), but have never found myself ‘annoyed’ by your more personal posts. On the contrary, they’re so beautifully written that I’m more in awe than annoyed! Ignore the critics – this is your blog and you should post whatever you want. As you say, if there’s nothing about Mr Frog/ lover on here that you haven’t already said to their faces, what’s the problem?

    Anyway,just my opinion. Should probably get off the net and do some work…

    Comment by Sausage — September 22, 2005 @ 5:14 pm

  43. Sigh…..

    Comment by JonnyB — September 22, 2005 @ 5:14 pm

  44. It seems to me that Petite writes about whatever she wants to on *her* blog, be it Paris life, adoption, Branston pickle or her private life.

    Tess – you’ve used the click away option before, so you know the easiest way to avoid getting upset about the content of Petite’s posts. Sure, stay and read, sure, be critical, but don’t expect no response to criticism in the form of subjective disapproval.

    Others have voiced doubts, but in a constructive way.

    Cheria, what makes you the arbiter on whether I am Petite’s boyfriend, lover or anything else? Again, nobody objects to constructive criticism, but pointless admonishments from some imaginary moral/creative high ground don’t come into that category, and rightly cause people to bridle. Which renders your comment about being able to take criticism as being part of growing up all the more disingenuous.

    Was this a nice way of telling you to get over yourself?

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — September 22, 2005 @ 5:24 pm

  45. Again not that she needs anyone to defend her, but…

    Petite, like most of us, is a whole person. She is not “a brit’s eye view of paris” nor is she her blog nor is she here for our approval. I, for one, am glad that she risks being criticized to show various aspects of her life, and that her blog isn’t some trite journal of all the funny, cute, and strange things parisians do.

    As a sociologist, I find blogging a fascinating cultural phenomenon that has many manifestations, which often include some of what you call “navel gazing” and what I’d like to call, in this case, “self-reflection.”

    I imagine that Petite welcomes criticism, though “this post sucked” isn’t exactly my idea of anything constructive. Also, considering how moralizing and self-centered the posts were (just because some people consider certain things ‘private’ does not mean they are intrinsically so)I would probably defend myself as well.

    Comment by Cecile — September 22, 2005 @ 5:26 pm

  46. Haha!! You get so defensive when people criticize you! Jeez! I love it when people constructively criticize my writing. Especially the type Cheria speaks of which is focused on such important elements of the craft of writing as my life choices and the feelings that reside in my heart and my value as a human being. Afterall, I’m getting old and it has been a long time since I covered all of that in freshman English 101.

    I rarely read comments on other peoples’ blogs because most are as pointless and self-serving as the ones I leave myself, but I’ve consistently read yours since the lover has come on scene just out of a sociologist’s curiosity–wondering how long it would take everyone to come around after branding you with a scarlet letter…it is happening, slowly but surely.

    In the meantime, who are these people who seem to confuse reading a blog with going to Burger King where you “have it your way”, ordering up the content they desire???

    Comment by Sarah — September 22, 2005 @ 5:26 pm

  47. I’ve been lurking around reading this blog for nearly year, adding a couple of comments now and again. As a fellow 30-something British girl in a foreign country I find lots of aspects that I have in common with you, Petite. What I don’t have in common is the honesty with which you write about your life and your feelings. I think that your detractors are envious of the way you have made your life-changing decision and told us about it without fear of what your readers think. I think that there are few of us who actually have the courage of our convictions and take hold of opportunities when they arise.

    Looking back over the last few years I wish too I’d said things rather than kept them back, broken off relationships rather than tried to keep them alive, taken chances rather than stand back thinking of the consequences.

    Don’t listen to your detractors Petite. Please continue navel gazing, or talking about Paris, or discussing Branston pickle. These snippets about you and your Lover, and all the rest of your blog, are the highlight of my working day.

    Oh, and whoever said that you were turning into Jane Austen in a disparaging way really has no idea what she’s talking about. Also I think “Lover” has a great ring to it – much nicer than boyfriend, partner etc.

    Comment by Hazy — September 22, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

  48. This is wonderful you know that you’ve hit A-list blogging fame when your commentators start bickering together. Petit thats worth a gin and tonic celebration in its self!

    Come on guys it’s only a blog. Everyone has different opinions and if you have a comment section your sure to get things you don’t like. People are quite mild here compared to comments I’ve seen elsewhere !

    Differing opinions,blogging arguments, all part of lifes rich paegent….. What do they say in French
    “Toutes le monde voir midi à leur Porte”

    Comment by P in France — September 22, 2005 @ 6:32 pm

  49. And oh, how boring literature would be if it were always “sanitized” for the Conservatives among us…

    We’d have to make do without Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen or Emily Bronte. Or Hamlet, or The Great Gatsby, or anything written by Steinbeck or Hemingway. And, of course, “The Scarlet Letter”. I, too, am a soon-to-be PhD’d Sociologist – but I know good writing when I see it.

    Comment by Francaise de Coeur — September 22, 2005 @ 7:42 pm

  50. I’m completely amazed by some of the comments about this post. A blogger chooses their own subject matter and lays it bare for people to read or not read, to enjoy or not enjoy. I’m staggered that some people have missed the point of this so completely that they feel they can not only criticise her subject matter but actually tell Petite what she should call her partner.


    Comment by Emma — September 22, 2005 @ 7:47 pm

  51. It’s a strange sensation to come here after years of very little contact and be submerged, or better yet, drowned in such honest and open words about your life. I have to say, you write beautifully and quite captivating :)

    Thanks for sharing this with me.

    PS. On the note of DT, if anyone ever has the chance and enjoys beers, or more accurately Belgian style beers, “Delerium Tremens” is one to experience.

    Comment by Lost Cousin from Vegas — September 22, 2005 @ 8:13 pm

  52. Lovely site. You should definitely come to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to get some insight into some of the things you mention here.

    Comment by Prof d'anglais anglais a Montreal — September 22, 2005 @ 8:20 pm

  53. I’ve got to stick my nez in for a moment…

    Everyone has an opinion for everything – some based in fact and reason, others in emotion, and many in ignorance.

    Really, truly, and at the end of the day – whether or not Petite wants to discuss her love life or the cost of pears in Provence, it is entirely up to her. Let’s not forget that we’re guests here – take your shoes off at the door and be polite when you leave.

    Comment by fifi — September 22, 2005 @ 8:44 pm

  54. Nice one Jim!

    Comment by Antipo Déesse — September 22, 2005 @ 9:20 pm

  55. Yes, it does show a level of interest when your commentors can get into a debate on YOUR blog.

    But keep writing whatever you want to write.

    And sorry about the social angle, we can find a babysitter, come on out with us for a piece of pie and some coffee. (sorry, not much of a bar drinker). Or bring along and we can have a swim in the pool.

    Comment by joeinvegas — September 22, 2005 @ 9:59 pm

  56. Great post. It was very brave of you to seize the moment and go into the unknown. People always find it easier to continue ‘cheating’ rather than chance their arm.

    Comment by NML — September 22, 2005 @ 11:20 pm

  57. I agree with the clever handsome swine from Norfolk.


    Comment by andre — September 22, 2005 @ 11:46 pm

  58. Cousin – I’m sincerely sorry. It must have been a bit of a mindf*** stopping by today!

    After a few glasses of wine, am now feeling calmly philosophical about the whole comments thing. If I choose to bare my soul on the internet, someone is bound to trample all over it without wiping their feet first…

    Comment by petite — September 23, 2005 @ 12:19 am

  59. Hazy says she thinks “the lover” has a great ring to it, but I’m curious. All is disclosed, we know its him, so why not call him – “Jim”? Is it just all part of the bloggers world, where people have their blogging identity and alias to distinguish & separate their blog life from their ‘conventional’ life? I’m not a sociologist,(thnk god) but I muse on how bloggers sometimes/often merge or overlap their blogging life & identity with … dare I say it, reality! It does seem to irritate some of the readership, perhaps because it reduces the element of mystery? Of course, for a blogger, blogging IS an aspect of reality, much more so than for idle commentators such as myself! Is there a philosophy of blogging? Philosophy is fun, but sociology I can do without.

    Comment by Fella — September 23, 2005 @ 12:26 am

  60. Tess wrote:

    “Then I found it to be increasingly annoying when it began divulging rather a lot of very personal stuff that I would cringe for anyone to know if it were me………And then we go back to the “adultery” story, which obviously Petite is much exorcised by, or she wouldn’t keep calling HERSELF an adultress.”

    You are coming off as a whiner Tess. Blogs can perform many functions from the mere informational kind to the kind we see here in Petite’s version. Yes, it would be very dull if everyone agreed with her 100 per cent of the time. You find it annoying that she divulges so much personal information? Here is a clue. IT IS HER CHOICE TO DO SO, NOT YOURS! I truly dislike people like you who are essentially proselytizing as to what constitutes “proper” behavior. When you can say that you have stood where she is now, then maybe you will have the right to judge her motives for what she does, her blogging included.


    Regarding my marriage question: Thanks, I figured that would be your answer. Does France have common law marriage on the books? (Don’t know whether or not this was something that would have presented a problem in your case.)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — September 23, 2005 @ 12:29 am

  61. Can I just *sigh* in a very British way as well, please?

    And can I then get exasperated and say: Christ, some people beggar belief, they really do.


    Thank you.

    Comment by Vaughan — September 23, 2005 @ 1:01 am

  62. This is a touchingly personal and extremely well-written blog and I enjoy Petite’s postings thoroughly. Its always a pleasure to come here and find a new post to take me to Paris for a few minutes.

    Thank you for being such a fantastic blogger.

    Comment by Kim (lurker) — September 23, 2005 @ 1:31 am

  63. I had a brief yet intense affair with a married man. Sometimes you do things that up till then you could have sworn hand on heart that you would never do and sometimes they turn out to be the right things, whether morally wrong or not.

    Comment by Ellie — September 23, 2005 @ 1:31 am

  64. You hussy… I hope you wore some seriously negligent underwear! And hopefully it was french to satisfy the purists amongst the readers.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Sarah — September 23, 2005 @ 2:16 am

  65. You hussy Petite, I mean! (just in case Ellie thought I was referring to her with my last comment)

    Comment by Sarah — September 23, 2005 @ 2:58 am

  66. I don’t think Tess is whining. I think Tess is one of the few commentors saying what a lot of us are thinking, but not saying out of respect to you, and all you’ve been through.

    Falling in love with another man might have enlightened you as to your ideas on what love and a relationship should mean, to you. But are you trying to convince us, or yourself?

    Not that I think you shouldn’t be with Jim, who sounds just dandy! (hyuck hyuck) Love, true love, must be grabbed at with both hands (dirty minds are working double-time).

    I know it’s difficult. I would like to give you a hug, electronic or real. But from someone who knows first hand what it feels like to cheat (what an ICKY word!), it’s not a simple thing to justify, nor get over.

    Comment by nardac — September 23, 2005 @ 4:35 am

  67. pass the wine please!

    Comment by jan — September 23, 2005 @ 7:27 am

  68. Nardac: That’s certainly not what I’m thinking! To me cheating would be seeing your lover whilst carrying on a relationship with your partner. I think you were very brave Petite to say you were leaving the very next evening.

    Now what I’m looking forward to are lots of posts about doing up a crumbling Brittany farmhouse……..

    Comment by Hazy — September 23, 2005 @ 9:17 am

  69. I wasn’t passing judgment on Petite’s actions. I might have let my annoyance get in the way and let it slip that I personally am not interested in that side of the content, yes, but the REAL point is I think Petite might want to consider that she is unlikely to know where she will be or what she will be doing, or with whom in ten or fifteen years. Once you send something into cyberspace it’s gone. You can’t reel it back in. So if she WILL insist on sharing these things (whether for literary reasons or so the cheerleaders can help her over her guilt complex) then at least you will agree, other readers who have any common sense, that we don’t need to know the real name of her grammar school or what year she went to what university? Protect yourself, Petite. People from Texas to Adelaide have stumbled over your site, so who’s to know who else might? Leave your personal life flapping in the wind, but leave out the identifying details. And don’t worry, I won’t ripple your pond again. Such sensitive readers!

    Comment by Tess — September 23, 2005 @ 9:18 am

  70. Interesting point about personal blogging in general. Perhaps when I’m a famous movie star/pop star/Mills and Boon writer I may regret some of this. Although I doubt it.

    I have said before, I’m only hiding from about 3 specific people by being anonymous. If someone from my old uni/school reads this, I really don’t mind. If my daughter reads one day, I don’t see how she could object either. Dooce’s daughter will have plenty to read, whether it be about constipation or depression, and her full name is in the public arena. Petite Anglaise isn’t breaking any new ground here.

    As for why, Nardac. I’m not sure I know myself. To commit certain things to memory. To flex my teeny weeny writing muscles. To romanticise my banal little life. Sometimes as a letter to a person in particular. As therapy. To exorcise guilt.

    I’m not sure it matters why, as long as no damage is done.

    Comment by petite — September 23, 2005 @ 9:30 am

  71. Right you are, petite.
    Maybe you didnt know where you were going – but you knew you were through with Meeeester Frog.
    At this stage i think its always best to call it quits and not lie. Surtout ne pas mentir, ne pas mentir, ne pas mentir. Ni a Tadpole, ni a mr Frog.
    And people : stop whinging, will you. If you want to read about Paris, visit
    Wish you lots of happiness and petits bonheurs.

    Comment by nanakilouche — September 23, 2005 @ 10:02 am

  72. Ooh, I love a bit of controversy!
    And I loved that Jim came galloping over on his white charger to defend his damsel in his typically eloquent way!

    Here’s my tuppence ha’penny worth: it’s a blog, and you can write what you want on a blog. Any (potential) risks involved in writing personal things are for petite to decide over. It’s not our problem.

    As for her motivations, it doesn’t really matter to me why, I just enjoy reading her stuff. Here’s my theory though: as well as being therapeutic and a creative outlet for her, I reckon Petite and Jim get a few kicks out of this. Petite is partly writing this for Jim. It’s not as extreme as having sex in a public place, but there’s a similar element of exhibitionism involved…

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — September 23, 2005 @ 10:53 am

  73. Another sigh………….keeping the comments count rising.
    Look what happens when you write about something that really hits the spot.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — September 23, 2005 @ 11:44 am

  74. Petite 9:30am. Well said. Why you write I do not know, I’m not sure why I’m moved to comment either, but please keep writing, it’s great.

    I just hope the negative comments don’t hurt too much.

    Comment by Keith — September 23, 2005 @ 11:52 am

  75. Er, not really, Mancunian Lass! I mean that I don’t get a kick out of some exhibitionism thing. I like reading petite’s stuff (well-documented!), and it makes it a bit more involving – and sometimes flattering – being part of it, but I’m certainly not getting off on posts like this! I hesitated before making my comment above because this is petite’s blog, and has nothing to do with me. I don’t want to think that she feels censored by anything to do with me, and as said by others, she sure doesn’t *need* anyone to defend her. What I wrote above was in defence of the points, not the person (Although obviously I don’t like it when people I care about get flak that I view as unjustified).

    I think any of the people who have commented in defence of petite do so with the same motivation as me. I’m not a “cheerleader”, thank you very much, but I thought the criticisms made were inapproriate and wanted to say so. Another point often made by those doing the criticism is that it’s “defensive” to respond and that we should be “grown up” enough to take it. What, and that means that you can’t *respond* to criticism? Mr Pot? I have a Mr Kettle on line 2 for you…

    But, obviously, if I catch anyone staring at my bird in the pub, I’ll punch their lights out (caution: irony may be closer than it appears)

    Comment by jim in rennes — September 23, 2005 @ 1:56 pm

  76. I’m getting bored now. Will have to write something new as a decoy.

    But, if you do want to shout “go petite go” and wave your pom poms, please ensure they are colour coordinated with my blog design. Dirty pink only.

    Comment by petite — September 23, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

  77. *rolls eyes in exasperation*
    Ferchrissake, who CARES why petite writes? Does anyone ask, I don’t know, JK Rowling or Peter Mayle or Helen Fielding why they write? Does it matter? Personally I enjoy reading this blog, that’s why I come back. I admire petite’s courage too- comments like some of those above are the precise reason why my blog and most of the other stuff I have written shall remain private- I’m too thin-skinned to take criticism like that. The only thing I’ve ever had published was in a small circulation expats’ magazine, so I’m keeping my audience small ;)and with it the risks!!
    Anyway. Nice post petite. There’s no law against navel-gazing as far as I know. And I hope you and Jim will be very happy together. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be. Enjoy it, the judges are just jealous.

    Comment by suziboo — September 23, 2005 @ 2:33 pm

  78. I never addressed the idea of whether she was “writing” for herself or for us.” I was wondering if she was trying “convince” herself or us. There’s huge difference. Pay attention, pom pom girls.

    Comment by nardac — September 23, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

  79. The only thing I can say is if I came across Tess and Cheria’s moralising guff elsewhere on the internet I would never return, whereas Petite’s consistently powerful, thoughtful writing keeps me impatient for each new post.

    Silence, green-eyed monsters!

    Comment by Bug — September 23, 2005 @ 6:49 pm

  80. petite, I enjoy your blog because 1) you are an excellent writer; 2) you write about topics that interest me, particularly those that are about relationships; 3) your introspection inspires me to do the same; and 4) I enjoy your observations.

    People are often superficial these days, so I find your openness in blogging very refreshing. Are you this way in person?

    Comment by Elle — September 24, 2005 @ 1:31 am

  81. Oh so the boyfriend is Jim in Rennes. God I’m so slow.

    Comment by claire — September 24, 2005 @ 9:31 am

  82. I join the sighing brigade.

    You know, someone accused me of navel gazing the other day. Said i couldn’t stop talking about myself for two minutes.

    Comment by anna — September 24, 2005 @ 4:03 pm

  83. Although having just read that back to myself, I begin to think they may have a point…

    Comment by anna — September 24, 2005 @ 4:04 pm

  84. Elle – with some people, yes, I suppose I am. Not with everyone though.

    Comment by petite — September 24, 2005 @ 5:52 pm

  85. I thought you might be open with people who were more than acquaintances. I should have specified people you knew vs. strangers.

    I love your blog, but I am not a pom-pom (dirty pink or otherwise) waving kind of gal. I never did quite fit in with the cheerleading crowd.


    Comment by Elle — September 25, 2005 @ 12:07 am

  86. I stopped reading at comment 60 something, these are far too long… just one thing Petite: I know how it feels to be criticized for one’s writings for I (and others too) have experimented that almost daily for more than a year…I know it is tough to take “distance” (le recul necessaire) not to let you touched by that in any way. I still haven’t mastered that by the way. So I dunno if it could be of any help but just be sure criticism is “le lot commun de tous les blogeurs”.

    Keep on going you are doing a great job (and I personnally loved this post).

    Comment by Miss Pink — September 26, 2005 @ 5:23 am

  87. Nice blog.I like this.

    Comment by Nick — September 27, 2005 @ 6:53 am

  88. yay Petite!

    A “grown up” response to criticism does not involve automatically doing what the person providing the criticism suggests. I’m going to join the ranks who say It’s Petite’s blog, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    There, I feel better now.

    Comment by vegcat — September 27, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

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