An Affair To Remember… Forever

An Affair To Remember… Forever

An Affair To Remember… Forever

LTME-postDearest Angel,

It’s been almost six years since our affair ended. March. It’ll be six years in March. Not more than a small handful of days has gone by in all those years when I haven’t thought of you. I thought it would get easier, that I would forget you, re-commit to my marriage, and start over with my wife. Though she deserves better than me (and so do you), the deep-seated flaws in our relationship remain. Plus, other stress-inducing issues have crept in, making it hard to go forward. I once described my lingering feelings for you as a “sea anchor”- holding me in place, keeping me from becoming a better husband, father, and friend. That is as true now as it was in 2013, when we briefly communicated in the mutual search for closure. I am quietly, miserably functioning on a day-to-day basis. I think there are many middle-aged men like me who feel the same.

This is not to excuse my behavior (or yours)- the affair was wrong, the deception and lies a stain upon both of us. But, the feelings remain. Sadly. I wish I could just turn them off, but I cannot. What we felt as 17 year old kids, me the clueless American in the middle of Hickville, USA and you the wide-eyed, courageous foreign exchange student who entered my world via Fate, ignited into an intense, nearly all-consuming, and passionate affair, even though we were half a world away from one another. But the flame that burns brightly also burns dangerously. You were right to end the affair in such a way that there could be no turning back, no backsliding into re-igniting the flame- we’d gone down that road several times before.

And now, I’ve just found out that you’re married (I think). I figured it was bound to happen, it’s just . . . hard to accept. Yet, I’ve no right to begrudge you your happiness- we are finished, it ended poorly, and I made my choices. For the sake of my children, for my wife, and for my standing in the community, I passed on the chance to be with you. This letter, which you’ll likely never see, is just a way of coping with the hurt. Of the thousands and thousands of words I’ve written about you since the affair ended (my form of self-therapy), these words are the hardest. Hope has died. While I’m happy for you and wish you all the best, I know that my life will likely not get any better. I bear a very large share of the blame for that gloomy outlook, so I’ve no one to be angry with but me.

Goodbye my Angel, my Darling, my “African Jungle Queen” (inside joke), my passionate lover- I miss you terribly.

7 Comments

  1. Me 2 years ago

    I am sorry for the pain you are feeling. I too was in a situation simikar to yours. I wish I could tell youbit gets easier but it doesn’t. You just learn to cope. Its crazy that something so wrong was one of thr best experiences of your life.

    I tell myself, if you love something let it go.

    My heart goes out to you.

  2. The American Idiot 2 years ago

    Thanks, “Me.” As per usual with my life, things have gotten more complicated, more painful. But, I have no other option than to but shoulder the burden and carry on. Well, there’s the “walk in front of a bus” option, but that really isn’t an option. Some would say “divorce is an option,” but recent events have ruled that out, at least for the foreseeable future. So, you cope. My coping usually involves a glass of bourbon- numbing the pain. I suppose I could have *more* than a glass, but only sharpens the memories and vision of what I left behind, it doesn’t blur it.

    Your words have a great deal of wisdom (to love something enough to let it go), but I never had the courage to make the choice, it was made for me (the affair was revealed by the Other Woman, who I still have feelings for). Crazy, I know. I try to rationalize where I’m at by thinking that she, the Other Woman, is much better off now, much happier than I could have ever made her, and that I *should* take some solace in that. And, I should- we were friends before we were lovers. Still, it’s difficult.

    What I need to do know is probably find some counseling. I need to talk with someone about recent events (dire medical stuff) and where it has put me. And, related to, what I still feel about the Other Woman and how those feelings impact my marriage, currently. I used to put that off (only a weak man resorts to counseling, I thought), but now I think it will save my life. Thanks for you words of support.

  3. Isa 6 months ago

    I have both cheated and been cheated on…cheating is NEVER okay. At all. Ever. Period. Your wife deserves the truth. Your “standing in the community” doesn’t mean squat. How you stand before God, yourself, etc….that’s what really matters. If cheating has not made you realize this, then you really are hopeless.

  4. The American Idiot 5 months ago

    Then you would consider me hopeless, Isa. I’m not a theist, so I have no need for guilt or god in my life. I do agree, though- cheating is bad. I do feel remorse. I also feel that the years of emotional and physical neglect I dealt with (still deal with) is wrong, also. Meeting one another need’s and wants, not undercutting your spouse’s self-esteem and worth, is part of a marriage, right? Even a religious marriage has some expectations of physical intimacy, I would wager. When the “tap” on that affirmation and aspect of love gets turned off shortly after the wedding and one suffers through 15+ years, that no conversation regarding the “truth” could correct, it can lead one to make bad decisions. I’m not here to argue religion and/or fidelity, though- you live your life and I’ll live mine. I’ll not judge you; you don’t get to judge me.

  5. Jacko 5 months ago

    The American Idiot:
    Why stay in a loveless marriage, that is, if it is indeed loveless. An ounce of love is still love, but is it enough? Clearly, it is not enough. Why are you staying in it? A traditionalist may contend, I did it for the kids. A theist may say, the marital vow was sacred. Why are you not walking? I must admit, I have no experience with marriage, I respect and indeed hold the institution of marriage to a high regard. However, 15 years appear to be an awfully long time.

    As a man, supposedly of Ok resources, what is keeping you behind. Have you considered that sometimes not getting what you want may be the best thing that happened to you, as one may not have fully considered the counter-fact. What if, the other woman had been “the” woman. What guarantee did you have that it would be a lasting love? Can you truly differentiate between love and lust? Is it possible that physical pull was so strong that one may as well call it “love”?

    If you are still keeping secretive tabs on her life, whether through social media or some other way then do you really endorse her decision to decisively end the matter? If you were to meet her today, would you unreservedly marry her and walk away from the social standing and the rest of it? If there is the slightest of reluctance, then doesn’t it beg the reasonable question that what one has may well be better than what is on offer? After all, we carry thousand little cost-benefit analysis without even realizing it due to intuition. Is it a case of, a man always loves the face of his own child and the idea of another woman? I have a feeling I too may end up in a situation like yours. A loveless marriage, only difference being that she will love me endlessly in a unilateral way. I will never be able to love her the way I loved the “other one”.

    May be what we want is not what we need, and what we truly need is not what we want.

  6. The American Idiot 1 month ago

    Jacko,

    You raise lots of interesting questions. I’ll try my best to answer them. The marriage isn’t entirely loveless; there’s love, but not so much passion. For a long time, I felt unwanted, undesireable. She said it was low libido on her part. Is it enough? Well, at a certain point (when the affair with the Other Woman started), it wasn’t. Or, it wasn’t enough in comparison to what the O.W. offered. There were lots of reasons to stay, as you noted- kids, social standing, but not theistic reasons. Yeah, resources were an issue, too- I was not wealthy and we racked up a lot of debt. A friend of mine once told me this: “the poor just walk away from a marriage, the rich buy their way out of it, but those in the middle have to stick it out.” I think that’s true. Then there are the vows, which though they were secular, meant something. Family (parents, brothers, sisters) played a role also- how would they react?

    The O.W. was an amazing woman. Still is, probably. But, that ship has sailed; she found another and got married. Like you note, I did a thousand “cost-benefit” analyses when it came time to make a decision. Everything got thrown into the equation- kids, status, family, money (or lack thereof), love vs. lust, and the prospect of “happily ever after” with the O.W. Though amazing, the O.W. was also volatile; a side effect of her passion. And, statistics show that 2nd marriages with the O.W. fail about 90% of the time. While we probably would have had some amazing moments, there could also have been hard, bitter times, too. Not necessarily because of incompatibility between us, but other, external forces could have wreaked havoc on that 2nd marriage. I considered ALL of that.

    I’ll admit, I do check out how she’s doing via various social medias. Not healthy activity, I readily acknowledge that. The question of what I would do and how I would react if I met her again is probably mooted by her marital status. As much as I would love to hear her voice again, I know it would leave me riven. As such, you and I may suffer from loving someone who we cannot be with, or is not the one we are with. A flame still burns inside me for the O.W. It flickered to life when we were both teenagers, 34 years ago. It has nearly died on numerous occasions, but still glows, a bit. I think what she needs, and wants, is the life she currently has; I have no call to intrude on that.

  7. Mare 2 days ago

    You sound like a man I know sad story but what’s really sad is living ur lie and fooling your wife who truly loves u,what will u do if ur wife leaves you for her past love before you ,love is not a game life is and u my friend need to go to Zambia to get your Closure set ur wife free I don’t think she deserves this

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