The ocean is not wide enough to keep us apart...

I have a sad story to tell, but one I am hoping will have a happy ending. I must hope...

I have found my soul-mate, but we are separated by 6,000 miles, 15 years and the Cold War.

I am an American woman and 20 years ago I lived in the Soviet Union, just as it was collapsing. I was a journalist. I lived in the USSR for two years on assignment and while I was there I met the love of my life, a Russian man named Nikolai (Kolya). We became very close friends. We have so much in common it is unbelievable. Even though we are from different countries, it was as if we were twins. I cannot explain it. It just was.

But I was an idiot then, and filled with self-doubt, and did not see his love for me. There were cultural misunderstandings and of course we were both still very young, in our 20's. He never told me that he loved me and I ended up leaving Russia with my heart torn to ribbons.

The years went by. I worked as a journalist in the US all of my life. The life was very hard on me. Eventually, I married out of pure loneliness, to an American man. He has been a good husband, but with him I never feel like I am reaching my full potential. We are like friends, but there has never been a romantic spark between us and sex is very rare. It is really more of a friendship than a marriage. We never had children. My husband became very sick shortly after we were married, and it turned out that he had caught a virus which settled in his heart. I supported him for three years as I watched him die slowly day by day. It was horrific. He finally got a heart transplant. As luck would have it, a Russian doctor performed the surgery. It was so comforting to have that familiar Russian accent, and Russian warmth around. The doctor was very kind and compassionate, always holding my husband's hand, always telling me it would be OK, that we would make it.

My husband is healthy now, but I am sick. I suffered a nervous breakdown at the end of his illness. I simply ran out of energy and collapsed, lost my job and have been unemployed for two years. I write freelance articles and spend a shameful amount of time on Facebook.

But on Facebook, I met Kolya again. And I listened to some songs he had composed right around the time when I left Russia. The songs were all written about me. I was in shock. His heart was broken when I left Russia and he sang about how he would stare at the constellations and wonder why life had to be so hard. It broke my heart to hear his songs. He never told me!!

So now, I am trying to build a bridge back to Kolya. He never married. But that doesn't mean he is available. And I currently am married, although it is not an ideal situation and I cannot say I am happy. I love my husband, and I am glad I was able to help him through his sickness. But now I am so tired, so worn out, and sometimes I wonder if I am meant to have any happiness in this life. If I were to leave my husband, I do not think he would be alone for long. Perhaps he could even find his soul-mate and they could have great sex which I am unable to provide, although I really do try!

Kolya and I have been talking for over a year now, but it is very slow. He has told me that I was always in his heart, that I was like a ray of sunshine in his life during the collapse of his country. He is very kind, but he is also much more reserved than he used to be and sometimes he will not answer me for weeks at a time. My biggest mistake was that I asked if I could download his songs - before I realized they were about me. He replied very simply that he did not know how to do that, and then he was quiet for weeks.

I am trying so hard to just go with the flow here... let the current carry me where it will... and to believe in the good. It is so hard. My heart is broken and I cry often. I want to stay connected with Kolya, never lose him. But to be separated like this is agony. I am trying to find a way to travel to Russia just to see him again... my husband knows about this and has actually been very supportive, even though he has a few (justifiable) fears that I may take off with Kolya.

I do not want to break anyone's heart. Am I selfish to ask for some happiness in my life, if it is not already too late? Am I crazy? After this many years, can love still exist....?
Shutka Shutka
5 Responses Mar 19, 2012

I May seem a little young but who knows,i sit here with a tear in my eye,I found my soul mate in your beloved country,Yet unknowing of the future and what cards we get dealt,If you can chase it hold it and embrase it as who knows what tommorow deals us,All my love and hopes your dreams do really become reality,Take care

Update: Kolya and I talk every day now. Our feelings are in the open a lot more, although we haven't officially "talked" about anything. He is helping me to find work in Russia. My husband and I have agreed to a divorce, but he is so totally cool about it. He is letting me stay with him until I can find work overseas. I am so blessed to have two such beautiful men in my life. I pray every day that my dear soon-to-be ex-husband will find a woman who can love him in ways I never could, who can give him all the pampering and nurturing that I have been unable to give.<br />
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This is how good things can be when two honest people who truly love each other (not just sexually) can work things out peaceably. I wish it could be this... I won't say easy, because it isn't easy, not ever.... but I wish it could be this calm, perhaps? For everyone.

Wow, your husband is very understanding. Sometimes we start things in our youth, that we think we can walk away from, just brush ourselves off and move on. But then it doesnt die and we realise that we continue to live with this emptiness that nothing seems to address. I dont believe that we will ever be the same as we were when we were at 19/20, whatever the age may be. But we are unable to kill those feelings we used to have, those memories. We need to go back, even if its just to finally have it die a natural death. I thought I could do it. I thought I could carve out a life for myself without her. I'm smart enough and pretty strong too. So here I am 30 years later, dreading to have to accept that I've failed. I cant manufacture it. I am successful beyond my wildest expectations. I earn well into 6 figures, enjoy good things. I have the trappings of a successful life, but I am no longer able to convince myself that I can fill the pothole that was driven into my heart so many years ago. Shutka, what you are doing is so hard, but I think you have to do it, while you still can. I have tried so long to make it work, that I'm out of time now. I have no more tricks to try, no more options. I am now working hard to accept that my life is going to end this way, with this big ole hole in my heart. I wish you well.

Thank you so much!!! I am still trying to find work in Russia teaching English. Kolya still has feelings for me. It's so amazing... feels like a dream... you are right, money doesn't fill the hole. But you must still believe in love... and you can still find it! Just embrace the good feelings, let go of the hurt.

Not much to update yet. Due to the economic situation I am still living with my husband, and he is OK with this. He is more understanding of me than I would have thought possible. I wish that I could be in love with him, but truly I never have been.<br />
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Kolya and I are in touch and he is helping me to find work in Russia. He still has feelings for me, but he seems to feel guilty about it and still goes into quiet periods of no talking. But so far he always comes back to me.

Update: My husband and I have agreed to separate. I am going back to Russia to teach English, clear my head and gain some perspective. I have not told Kolya about my feelings.

How are you Shutka, what has happened? My best wishes go with you on this journey of yours.