A turbulent mind
For the past couple of months I have been incredibly confused emotionally. It is affecting my home life and my work.
I have been with my wife for over 14 years and married for three. We have a beautiful little daughter of two and have what most of our friends perceive as the perfect relationship. But recently that has changed. A couple of months ago I went away with friends and one night I met and got chatting to a girl in a pub. We spent the next few hours talking and getting on before my mate and I walked her and her friend back to their hotel. Then we went back to ours and that was it. Nothing inappropriate happened at all. I thought no more about it, other than 'that was a cool night.'
But when I returned home I felt like something had shifted inside me. Like a switch had been flipped. My wife noticed and we had some very frank discussions about our relationship. I admitted that it bothered me that she is the only woman I have ever slept with and, with the exception of one brief 'relationship' at college, the only woman I have ever even dated. I have recently lost weight and got much fitter, and while away, women were taking notice, which has never really happened to me before. I think this is what flipped the 'switch'. I told her this and through the course of the conversation it became apparent that she had been feeling frustrated too and that we were both feeling very similarly. We discussed the concept of an open relationship and both decided to see where that might lead.
Then, the real problem began. The girl who I had met on that weekend got in touch with me on Facebook. It started harmlessly enough, but over a few weeks we chatted almost every night and we discovered we had so much in common. Far more than we were able to discern in the hectic environment of the pub and club we'd been in together. We struck up a genuine friendship - something that is seemingly possible in this digital age! In honesty, 95% of our conversation was harmless; exchanging music, talking about books and films. But there was an element of flirtatiousness and we both agreed that, however unlikely it was and despite only actually having spent a few hours together in person, we missed each other. It is frankly the strangest and most intense connection I have ever had with someone - other than my wife in the early days.
I don't think I would have let things go as far as they did if my wife and I hadn't had the discussion about an open relationship. But I suppose I thought I could 'have my cake and eat it'. I even asked my wife if I could go to a gig with this girl. But then she became suspicious and read my emails and saw some of the conversation I had been having. At this point my wife realised that the open relationship thing was not for her at all and she was deeply upset by my conversations with the other girl. I immediately broke contact with the girl, realising that my marriage and more importantly my little girl's stable home is the most important thing. And I love my wife deeply, even if the passion has faded and we argue far more than we ever did before.
But the real problem is how I felt when I broke contact with this girl who I now considered a friend. The thought of literally never talking to her ever again evoked a feeling like I was grieving. As absurd as it sounds, when I hit 'unfriend' on Facebook, it felt as though my heart was breaking. There have only been a few times in my life I have had such a visceral reaction to something or cried so hard. And since then I have thought of her every day. I am not a teenager moping about after someone they can't have. I'm a grown man and father who is desperately trying to do the right thing, but feels as though things are slipping away from him. I don't want to feel this confusion or feel the awful guilt I have about my wife. But equally I don't want to forget about the girl either. You only live once don't you? In my gut it feels wrong to let that friendship go. I sometimes wonder if I'm in love with her. But then realise that's absurd. Whatever it is, it won't let go and it's bringing me down every day, knowing I can't ever see her.
I love my wife, but I feel as though we are drifting apart. And an awful part of me (a part I hate) is fine with that.
I haven't slept with anyone else. I haven't had an affair. But I have connected with someone who is not my wife on a very emotional level - and perhaps that's worse?
Thanks for reading (sorry for the verbosity!). I really just needed to vent, but any comments would be gratefully received, even if they are just 'pull yourself together man'.