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