My StorySorry so long but I need to tell someone who won't judge -
I had married my high school sweetheart and stayed faithful to him for 20 years. Unfortunately he could not say the same. We had children, and I believed that this life I had would be the best I was ever entitled to.
Then 10 years ago, I changed jobs and met a man who instantly became my best friend. I'll call him "R". While of course I noticed his attractiveness, I never thought of cheating on my husband and also believed him to be uninterested in me. We worked closely together for years and got to know each other well. He was single when we met. Soon after he met a woman at his second job, they decided to marry. I thought it was too fast but it wasn't my place to deny him happiness.
Within the first year or so it seemed clear to me that things weren't going well. We would share stories of our marriages and try to figure ways to make them work. After their 2nd anniversary, he decided he wanted to divorce her and started the process, in a desperate move she got pregnant in an effort to "bring them closer". So he stayed once the baby came. He was so miserable and felt trapped. Nothing had happened between us yet.
Around the same time, my mother passed away unexpectedly and that event really changed me. I lost weight, worked hard on improving the me inside and out. It brought into sharp focus for me all the cracks in my own marriage. We'd been in counseling on and off for years (at least 8) and he was emotionally abusive to me. I decided life was too short and I filed for divorce after yet another long, unsuccessful round of counseling together and apart.
Once the divorce was underway and R standing by my side every step of the way, well, things did get out of hand and like the tired cliche "it just happened" that we became involved. At first we tried to stop, he went back into marriage counseling, and at one point we decided to end the friendship because it seemed we could no longer feel "just friends" was where we wanted to be. The counseling went badly for him and he quit after only a few sessions. I once asked him why he'd married her when he had realized so fast afterward that it was a mistake and his reply was a simple "because you are already married".
We resumed our affair after my divorce and have been steadily seeing each other since (7 years). Our relationship has grown and deepened so much over these 7 years that we've been romantic and physically connected. He helped me select my house, he does work around the house, helps me out financially when he can (I won't always accept). He is with me nearly every day for at least 3 hours, and sometimes as many as 6. He tells me that he considers this to be "our" house, and here is the only place that he feels like he can relax. He has a key and the garage code, and will even come and eat and hang out here when I'm not around. he cooks for me, we watch TV, he even watched the animals when I am out of town.
My kids are grown now, and have known him as long as I have. I've told them about us and they are fine with it - they say the see how happy I am now, and know how unhappy their Dad and I were (their Dad is still with the woman he moved into the house within a month of my moving out).
A few of my close friends know the story and are supportive, but mostly it's a secret I can't tell. I did have a period after my divorce that I dated other men as well, actually at R's encouragement since he knew I'd had very little experience dating. None of them came close to R in my mind and heart. I did get serious with one man who proposed to me, but when he did so, my only thought was "what about R?" so I knew I'd been trying to force myself to have feelings for someone when I loved another all along. It isn't "someone" that I want to go out in public with be with, etc, it's R. Only and forever R.
That experience has shown me that for me, as incredibly hard and lonely as it is to be the OW, he is the love of my soul, and I don't want another man. I'm sure some will be skeptical that he wants to leave and why he stays, but remember our beginning. He was single and I was married, and I've watched him experience it all, every single step - so I know it's the truth. All of it. I know the man he is and how he thinks. He once told me that she is his obligation and I am his heart.
I do feel that someday we will be together, in all the ways I want. It may be a while yet, the child she created to "save" the marriage is in 1st grade now. But, the time will pass slowly either way, but there is no way I want to live my life without him. He's been in it so long.
Somedays it's so very hard. But when I'm with him, when we talk, and even when we bicker, when he is here when I get home and is fixing something I didn't even know was broken, when he tells me how he feels, and mostly when he holds me in his arms, I am home.
I know this isn't everyone's story and some of you will think I'm crazy or maybe pathetic, but he is my soul.
Any advise? Thoughts? Perspective? Anything but hatred is welcome