During my divorce from my abuser, I connected with a college buddy who had been separated 2 years and was ending an abusive relationship with his girlfriend. We picked up our friendship where we left off some 30 years ago and would sit for hours talking through our pain and getting to know each other again. At some point, I was aware that our feelings for each other had changed but I did not pursue it. Eventually, he did, and we started dating.
Because my divorce was new, I did not want my children in my love life. We kept our visits strictly friendship at the house and the kids grew to love him as a friend. Our love life was kept strictly to his apartment. This planning turned out to be perfect timing when the two schools in our town decided to merge their robotics team and our sons happened to end up on the same team. We did the right thing and juggled our estranged spouses at the events. No one ever suspected our relationship and very few knew.
We bonded and connected quickly as friends but even more so as lovers. We never fought. We came up with ground rules for our relationship such as questioning texts before getting mad and questioning what the other person had said if we felt offended. We knew we were bringing baggage into this relationship. We were aware enough not to want to move it into ours as much as humanly possible.
We took things very slow. We had actually waited a whole year before dating or any intimate relationship. We were together about a year and a half when I realized I was sharing him with his estranged wife. I wasn’t sharing him sexually but there was a bond and emotional piece that was still home with her and the kids. He was faithful, he was loving, he was amazing. He was something I had never experienced before. We were closer living separate than my ex-abuser and I were living together and married. I knew the issues he and his estranged wife had, and they were valid on both sides of the relationship. I had no issues with him having dinner with her and their boys at her house because I knew he was coming back to me at the end of the night but there came a point in time when I realized as much as he loved me and wasn’t in love with her, he very much would always love her as the mother of his children and her house was home base for him because of the boys.
I sat him down and told him that I loved him. He said he will still be loving me when we are 80 and I loved the idea of growing old with someone I trusted and loved but I knew I had to send him back so I told him, “We can’t be together until you go back home and heal the relationships and know in your heart that you can walk away. You have to decide if you want to live with your friend (his wife) or your lover and friend (me). He didn’t want to go. “I’m not in love with her.” I knew that. “I just go to be with my boys for dinner.” I knew that too. But I also knew that as patient and understanding as I was, I did not want a third person in our relationship until she and I could establish a relationship and understanding and that right now he had the best of both worlds. Her home and being loved by me. He had to either love me completely and wholly or fix his relationship with her, he could not live in both worlds.
He finally went back, and it was difficult for both of us for a long time. I told him not to call me or text me for 3 mos. Three months on the nose, he called. He missed me, he had to see me. So I saw him. It broke my heart. He said, “I’m trying like you asked. She’s not in it. I never should have gone home.” I encouraged him to keep trying.
From that day on we spoke almost every day. I held onto the hope that we would indeed end up together. I could see he was healing his family and that things were falling into place, but he still was not happy with his relationship with her. I kept the hope and he kept the hope alive for me. We still had a very verbally, intimate relationship. I knew things about him before she did, and I would talk them out with him before he would tell her. I knew all of his financials and personal life, but I knew that this man did not have the balls to move forward. He was happy being stuck. He was fine with a roommate and she is a wonderful woman, he could do a lot worse, but I knew for my life, I would never settle for a roommate or not having love. I lost respect for him for that. He was so strong and in charge in so many aspects of his life but when it came to his own happiness, and now the boys were old enough (one out of college and heading to college) and he still was stuck. So, for the longest time, I held out for true love. I lived my life and did not dwell but still thought I had lost the only love I would know that closely but I was thankful that we still had our close friendship.
I think it is easy, once we’ve been abused, to think we have found true love when things seem so right and I am not denying that they were right and if he had come back, I would probably be living my life with him but as happy as I was with him, I was still aware enough to know that someone was in our relationship and I was brave enough to let go and take that chance of him not coming back because I did not want him only half the time. I had already spent my life from 18 to 50 feeling like second place. I don’t mind sharing a man with his children, and I think it is great if he and his ex can be friends for the children’s sake, but it was getting to the point where I had to draw the line in the sand to the double life he was living since I was a part of it.
So, why am I telling you this? Because God has his plan. The universe knows what it is doing. I owe that man a lot. He helped me heal. We healed each other. It was a joint venture and I needed him. He told me I was beautiful when I had been told every day how ugly I was. He told me I wasn’t broken when every day I was told I was. He told me he was proud of me when I never got acknowledgment from my ex. He lifted me up and I lifted him up and maybe that is why we were thrown together. So, I could give him the tools he needed to return to his estranged wife and he could give me the courage to move on and love and trust.
I am now with someone who I have known for 40 plus years and I never thought I could be more connected to anyone else, but I am. I am at a whole new level with this man and I trust him to the ends of the earth and back. He makes me feel safe and loved and wanted. He is even more perfect for me than the man before and we have more in common, which I did not feel was possible. It is a completely different relationship and it is built on a solid foundation of friendship, love, and respect. This man has guts. He goes after what he wants, and he gets it. He makes up his mind and doesn’t monkey around. In other words, he has the balls to change his life when he needs too, and he is constantly learning and reading and focused. We bring out the best in each other. We support each other and push each other to think outside the box even though we are both out of the box thinkers. We push each other to greater heights. We talk A LOT. Sometimes about our day, sometimes about our dreams and expectations, sometimes about our life together. I could take up pages boasting about how perfect this man is for me, but I won’t. I will simply end by saying that true love is worth the wait. Whether it is at 16 or 56. My life has been leading me to him. I have known this man as my friend most of my life and my life has been preparing me to be by his side. And I know that it is divine intervention because until now, in those 40 years, I never once thought of him as anything more than a friend. Then one day, after the healing and the working on myself and the ended relationship, a light went on for both of us and we said, “let’s see if we are compatible.” It started slow and grew into this amazing, ever-growing relationship. I have told him things I have never shared with anyone. He just makes me whole. I describe it as being a puzzle with one missing piece. I am me, you can tell who I am by looking but that one piece completes the picture. You don’t need it, but you want it.
The first guy? I ended the emotional/intimate relationship with him when I got involved again. I don’t believe in emotional affairs. I give 110% to the person I am with but we remain good friends.
The bottom line, and it is hard is sometimes, we must trust the journey. I’m trusting our journey. It’s not smooth sailing yet, we live miles apart right now, but it will be, and I am going to appreciate and love every minute of our life together and him. I will never take this man for granted, he means too much to me. I believe I have found true love.