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I Know The Love Of My Life But I'm Not Married To Her

More than 20 years ago I fell completely and totally in love with the finest woman God ever put on this Earth - no argument. We connected on pretty much every level - hours and hours chatting to each other every day whilst together at work; long, long letters back and forth at the same time, extremely sexy daily lunchtime encounters and an afternoon of complete bliss once a week or so. Why not more? because she was engaged to a boyfriend she'd had since her teens and who had supported her through the very traumatic experience of the death of her father. She's was torn between two very powerful types of love and in the end reacted as many do by wiping the slate clean of both - continuing either, she felt, would have meant carrying too much baggage around.
We continued to see each other platonically as friends for a few years after the sexual relationship ended, each of us going into relationships which ultimately became marriages before we both allowed those occasional lunches to peter out.
At the time, for my part the woman I ended up marrying was a 'safe' choice. We got along pretty well, had a fair bit in common, but more to the point I knew that she couldn't inflict the massive emotional pain I'd felt over the break up of the earlier relationship. I really didn't think it would last and had decided to end it myself when she fell pregnant and so - having been a weekend dad before and not wanting to repeat the experience - we got married; I in the hope that a deeper affection would grow with our family.
After the birth of our second child, our relationship as a man and woman began a slow and steady slide over several years into what became - a couple or three years ago - not only a sexless marriage but one lacking the other intimacies.
Of course, the general cut and thrust of life furnished enough matters of common interest to provide 'displacement' activity and conversation that we could both kid ourselves meant we were still a functioning couple, but even that has now diminished and we really only have running a household and caring for the kids in common.
We'd had plenty of 'where's all this going' conversations as things deteriorated but basically kicked the can down the road every time it felt like a crisis point was about to be reached.
Whilst me being rejected physically eventually led me not to try any longer to initiate matters, when she felt inclined, I guess like most men, I would always respond. That said by a couple of years ago the combination of the deeply unsatisfactory physical state of our relationship and my wife putting on a considerable amount of weight - and beef does nothing for me - had brought me to a decision point.
I decided to give the relationship (and yet another of her diet/exercise fads) six months to produce results and if nothing had improved, get out of it.
I suppose I also need to say that throughout our married life, I have been burdened by a massive sense of loss for the woman I first described (let's be twee and call her Miss X). Quite literally, pretty much all day, every day I, well, pined for her. I couldn't get her out of my mind, couldn't help thinking how much happier I would be with her. It only took a moment's day dream, imagining, for example, how I would have felt on the day of our marriage, to become utterly overwhelmed by a wave of emotion.
Now, I'm not so lacking in self-awareness as not to realise that such feelings for a lost love could only have had a very adverse impact on my marriage. I did my level best to control them and to nail the lid down on the box into which I had placed that lost love. And I thought I had succeeded to the point where any decisions about my marriage would be about it and it alone.
That was where I was at when I decided to give it another six months.
Sooo, I figure you can guess where all this is going. Completely out of the blue I received an anonymous SMS around 20 months ago. Despite no contact whatever in more than a decade, I knew immediately who it was from and lids burst from boxes.
Turned out Miss X was apart from her husband and had confronted some pretty serious issues. Why did she contact me? Because, she said, I am the love of her life (as she is mine) and she needed to find me. We corresponded; we met again eventually and it was as though time had stood still - we slipped straight back into the old intimacy, including for a while the physical intimacy.
I'm not sure I can find the words to describe just how powerful that was for me, especially the one occasion where we managed to engineer a night together.
That's now well over a year ago. We still meet, we are still close, but the physicality stopped when she decided to allow her husband and father of her beloved children back into the home. She could not, she said, contemplate returning to her family still charged by the passion of us having spent, ahem, time together and look either her children or her husband in the eye as if nothing had happened. That was an experience she had had previously and didn't wish to repeat.
I, on the other hand, have no such scruples. It is not a matter of choice so far as my desires are concerned: whilst I respect her position and do not try to undermine it, I want her now as much as I did 20 years ago - it's utterly visceral and not something I can intellectualise my way out of.
So there we are: I'm in a sexless marriage with someone with whom I have progressively less in common and with whom I have striven vainly (far more than can be captured in this resume of events) to make a relationship work. I have to love of my life back in my life, but not now in the way I would wish. I have no desire to develop a new relationship with someone else - though as very much a sexual creature I do not want to spend the rest of my days as a celibate. And I can't bring myself to call it a draw with my wife (although I feel living alone would be preferable) because I cannot bear the idea of jeopardising my kids well-being during their important teenage years or risking my relationship with them should they take their mother's part.
Right now, every future pathway feels like it ends in a cul-de-sac.
You know, I have absolutely no idea why I'm putting this out there to a community of people that I have no knowledge of...
VeryConflicted VeryConflicted 56-60, M 7 Responses Jul 11, 2012

Your Response


it sounds like a lot of 'i can't' to me. as a fellow i'can'ter, you're lying to yourself.<br />
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if you both are the 'love of each other's lives' then get with it. children will grow and adapt, time is wasting. <br />
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don't blame your wife's 'fatness'. you never loved her, and she was in the negative numbers category from day one and could never catch up. <br />
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would have been better if you HAD been a weekend father. at least bring your all to THAT game. your kids absorb your misery that pervades the household and will repeat it in their own lives. do you really want that? <br />
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the best thing that they can know is that their parents love them, and that the parents are not hopeless husks of people but individuals who are trying to fulfill themselves. if they see that, they see that it can be done, regardless how difficult it is. wouldn't you rather they try to emulate that, than the existence you're currently leading?

What I am reading here is a situation containing assorted elements, a few of which are under your control and can therefore be advanced, and assorted things that are NOT under your control and therefore can't be advanced.<br />
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Your dysfunctional marriage is the primary matter that you can resolve. By ending it. There are ways of managing this process to minimise the fall out. But there is no way of avoiding fall out. There will have been fall out already by your kids seeing your marriage in action as their model.<br />
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The logistics and upheaval that will cause will be quite enough to keep uou busy, and for some considerable time I would imagine.<br />
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After that has played out, there you will be. On your own. Maybe open to the concept of another full on relationship, maybe not. But at least free to pursue that agenda unencumbered by still being in a dysfunctional marriage. Who-ever the fates might decree the subject of that pursuit might be.<br />
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Tread your own path.

Also, this is TWICE now that this woman has rejected you and chose different paths for her own life.<br />
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Think about it.<br />
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In real life, this woman has given you no commitment and passed the opportunity to try and be with you. Love is action, my friend. You are living out a fantasy of what it would be and not even looking at the reality that this is not what she wants.<br />
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And, all love will be tested with time. The romantic craziness of an early relationship passes and once you were actually with this woman and the day to day set in, it would be a whole other reality then you are weaving in your head. Romantic love can be a part of marriage, but it is far from the whole thing. Friendship, trust, AND compatible lifestyles and goals are all key to making marriage work and keeping the romantic love alive.<br />
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Good luck

As someone who has gone through an affair with a man that I could not have, I know the pain, longing, and constant sorrow.<br />
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It took me YEARS to recover from an affair I had after a previous marriage. In this man, I felt I had found everything I ever wanted in a man. He broke it off with me because it was long distance and it was too intense for what he was seeking after a fresh divorce. But, I know it was hell for him in a way. He tried to contact me a few times after the break up but I had become involved with my now ex. The logistics of distance, my new commitment, and my resentment of how he had pushed me away all conspired that we never met up again.<br />
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It took me years, but eventually I realized that despite the passion and similarities we shared, I was living my life in a dream. The reality was that the relationship did not exist in anything but the story lines in my head. My fantasies of finding him again, in reality, they played as nothing but diversions for addressing the issues in my own life. And, I realized that was no way to live. <br />
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So, I engaged in living the reality I had made. I tried my best with with ex, but though we were (and still are) friends, I could not force a romance out of it. I came to the table for what was in front of me. I sought out new friends. New interests. I ended up divorced.<br />
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I ended up falling in love with someone real who actually IS all the things I always dreamed instead of living in a hopeless fantasy.<br />
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I guess my advice is simple yet extremely hard. Let go.<br />
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And, you will find ground underneath your feet.<br />
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Good luck

Thank you for your story. I am living a microcosm of what you describe, earlier this year while my divorce was pending I had a brief but very intense sexual affair and fell deeply in love with my affair partner. I broke the affair off two months ago after my soon to be ex wife discovered it and threatened to derail what had been up to that point a very amicable split if I did not, I agreed as I felt it was necessary to preserve goodwill for the benefit of my kids. My lover is now with someone else and I feel the same longing and regret you relate in your story; I can forsee the feelings not diminishing in intensity even after the passage of many years. I feel as though I had met and forever lost my one true love. I now try to tamp all those wily emotions into that same little box and keep them from tearing at my heart.

I wish I could offer you some comfort that the feelings pass in time. After the relationship with the love of my life went pear-shaped the first time all those years ago, I said to myself that the feelings I had would pass in time. After all, I had been in love before (two or three occasions) and lost them and had found that the pain did eventually weaken and go. Trouble was that for this love the feelings did not go. Ten full years elapsed between our occasional meetings ceasing and that fateful day when she sent the SMS. And throughout those ten years I was gripped by the, well, bereavement I felt every single day. Only towards the end of that period had I learned to control the yearning somewhat (that is, recognise when the feeling of loss was about to rear its head and make a very focussed effort to put it to one side - not always successfully, I must say).
Others who have posted have made very sensible observations about the need for a reality check and entirely understandable comments about my love's motivations and so on. They may well be right - and on the evidence probably are - but how I feel is down to me, not down to what she does or does not do, how she does or does not respond to me. I'm not explaining this very well, but my feelings for her wouldn't change if she were dead to me (as she was for practical purposes for 10 years as I had no hope or expectation of ever seeing or hearing from her again and would never have risked jeopardising her home life by trying to get in touch with her).
How she reacts or behaves really won't make a difference to how I feel about her and my love for her, I think.
Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt having re-read my first post, I think I should say that my wife is a good person who very much deserves to be happy - so there's a very big part of me that feels I'm denying her that opportunity every year we stay together.
Thank you for posting and I'm sorry that this reply may bring you little comfort.

You know, just for the sake of making your thinking more clear, perhaps some devil's advocate is necessary. You've never lived with the love of your life - passion is always fueled by intrigue which in this instance has been quite apparant on both sides of the fence. I just heard the other day that women who are attracted to married men want the control and passion but have intimacy issues. I would imagine ba<x>sed on what you've said of her choices this could be true of your lover. She meets with you, you fill a need and then you are put on a shelf when you become too dangerous for her. (She's admitted to issues as you have stated). I say this all only in the hopes that it will help you clarify your thinking. It's not lover+me=happiness, it's me+insight into my life+work=happiness. Happiness begins at the top of your skull and ends at the bottom of your feet. Just some gentle food for thought.

You have done a great job of articulating your situation, one that is fairly common on this board. <br />
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I am a believer in karma. I believe what is supposed to happen will happen and your actions or lack thereof will not change your ultimate destiny. Your actions or non-actions, however, can definitey change the path you take to get there.<br />
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It is entirely possible X may be the love of your life, but that doesn't necessarily mean she is the one with whom you should sail off into the sunset. If you are meant to be with her, it will happen no matter how hard you try to control things. What I've learned through this long process is to be patient. <br />
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It is hard to be patient when you feel yourself dying inside and there is someone out there who you feel will fulfill all your desires. You know your intimate marriage relationship is dead, and your longing for connecting with another just grows. I know the feeling. This longing is a wonderful guide if you use it properly. It is a guide that will strengthen your resolve to seek what you need and want - the timing is not yours to determine. That is up to the gods. X is not available right now and neither are you. I think kids matter - if you and your W are better together as parents than you would be apart, then the kids are better off having you together. My H and I are wonderful co-parents and always were. I couldn't imagine our children not having us together until our son was finished with high school. That time is now, and we are separating amicably. I waited 6 years from the time we began truly dealing with our marriage issues, but the time was not wasted. I am a better, more centered person than I ever would have been without having to deal with this expereince.<br />
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Time can be your great friend if you allow it. Having said this, your life can be fulfilling in spite of your limited marriage. Your happiness is in your hands. You are a smart man - listen to your heart - it always leads you the right way.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write such a very thoughtful comment - feel a bit choked actually as I didn't have any notion what my post might bring. May I take the liberty of wishing you well as you move into a new phase of your life.