17 years and still counting

by L'Ann
(MD, USA)

What can I say? It's been 17+ years, on and off, living near one another, then worlds apart from one another, and then almost next door to one another, back and forth, in and out, up and down, good and bad (but always good between us), yes and no, black and white....”maybe and could’ve been’s”, “we’ll see’s and I’ll try’s” --- we've been together a long time.

I feel his presence everywhere I go and with whomever else I am with. He is a part of me, no doubt. When we first met, I can say for me, it was destiny. Immediately upon shaking his hand I felt we would marry “someday” – ”one day”….and I stated so to a co-worker standing nearby when he walked out the door that day….and here I am 17 years later still married to the same man and he remarried to another. What happened? When we met he was married with small children. We couldn’t be together because he said the children were small – “when they grow older” he said. He retired and moved away to his home state and I moved away, too with my family – to Europe. There was no internet then. I sent Birthday cards each year with no return addresses.

Years later I moved with my family to South America. I had a premonition. It was true. That he had divorced and was contemplating a major life decision. I didn’t know what the decision was, but knew I had to contact him. After a few years of online searches, I hired a PI to help me locate him. He did. I sent a gift with my email address. He responded. I was elated to have found him. I was also devastated to learn he did not try to search for me (he’s not really that kind of a romanticist), but had a girlfriend that he was living with and that he loved. He told me he never stopped loving me. We planned to meet in Vegas. And we did. The initial contact was electric, but it did not last, at least for him, because guilt set in for him and he got physically ill. I recommended he fly home early. It would come to pass two years later that I would get to see him again, this time, as fate would have it, I was living in the states just a few miles from he and his girlfriend. We met on several occasions for lunch and Birthdays, and he would cancel on me because things would “come up”, so the time had come for me to “bow out” of his life again when I had another premonition that he had married. I wanted him to have the best possible shot at happiness with his new wife and I knew me being in his life would not allow that and afford him that opportunity.

We exchanged a brief email during the holidays the next couple of years and 3 years ago during one of those exchanges he wanted to know more about me and if I still thought of him. Today, after three years of love and turmoil, we are still “together”. I see him the equivalent of about 36 days, (probably less, since the days are only partial) a year out of 365. That says a lot, doesn’t it. When someone loves you, they should want you as the center of their universe. He is the center of my universe – everything I do, I do with his thought and well-being and happiness in mind. I, however, am not the center of his. He is still married and claims he “loves” us both. I have no doubt he does love me, however, it’s never to love me “enough” – not enough to miss me enough at night to want to lay his slumbering head next to mine; never enough to want to receive my love full time; never enough to want me to be the center of his universe. The maintaining of his fear and cowardessness (his claim) of moving forward to be with me are more important to him than his love for me. He puts his fear and cowardessness ahead of wanting to be with me. I do suspect his fear is more important to him and the love for me will never be “enough” to make him strong enough to want to break through it and be with me.

Is the love strong? No doubt! Is it enduring? Forever. It is strong enough to test the hands of time, to move through and past highways and oceans and mountains.

But will it be strong enough to break the cowardessness to move forward? It will be up to us to put the strength of our love together and move those mountains as one. It will be up to us, and us alone to take the steps to make forward movement. For no one knows but us, nor knows better than us and God, how we’ve gotten to where we are and where our hearts and hands should be when we part from this world.

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