Eyes on the prize

In times of stress and uncertainty I retreat into routine, enforcing order on a life I sometimes feel isn’t really mine.

With workplace insecurity and my relationship with Kandi slowly drawing to a close its no surprise that my new found love of the gym has become firmly entrenched in my day-to-day life. I love that my body is changing as I ever so slowly shed fat and gain muscle, but its also partly the comfort of knowing that for four evenings a week I can forget everything else in my life and focus on obtainable goals – one more rep, another few kilos – that keeps me coming back.

The friendship between Inamorata and I is slowly coming back to something approximating what it used to be, we now talk most days via message and on the rare occasions we meet up the chat is free and easy. I still have to occasionally step back and center myself when things get playful, its all too easy for me to get lost in that beautiful, painful place where dreams and memories collide, but until the day our bodies collide again I’m resigned to loving her from afar whilst trying to build a brighter future for myself.

In a universe of infinite possibilities everything is equally likely and improbable, but working towards what you want might just help shift the odds in your favor

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Dark days indeed

I could never have imagined how prophetic the final words of my previous post would be. Last week both Inamorata and I lost members of our respective families, hers heart-wrenching but inevitable, mine more sudden and unexpected.

Inamorata and I had had vague dinner plans for a while before all this happened, but I was still a little surprised when she invited me out to dinner recently – we’d never been out to dinner together locally before (for obvious reasons). The evening went well, and although work talk far outweighed any discussion of our respective losses it was good be able to meet up and chat as friends do.

It wasn’t until later that night as I was tucked up safely in my bed that I realised just how much I missed her…

I know we’re incompatible, and I know that our lives are separate and always will be, but I still can’t help but want her

five steps into a seemingly endless journey

I realized the other day that it’s not over, not by a long shot. Everybody nowadays seems to be looking for the quick fix, instant gratification, but there’s no fixing a broken heart. Emotional heartbreak mirrors physiological cardiac damage, the heart can’t regenerate damaged tissues but it can adapt to cope with it, and this is what I must do.
The five steps outlined in my preceding posts weren’t like the steps in a recipe that when followed correctly result in a great meal or signature dish, they are five tools to allow those of us unlucky enough to still be enamored of our previous partners to begin to move on with our lives.
And therein lays the crux of the matter – it’s still (relatively) early days for me.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination, and whilst there may be setbacks and some days may be harder than others, armed with my new tools I can hopefully make a little more progress each day.

There are dark days on the horizon, but beyond that, who knows….

Step Five – Love Yourself More

I’d never thought about if or how I love myself before reading the article these posts are based on. Depression and suicidal thoughts were just a part of who I was, partly fueled by a negative body image that (bar cosmetic surgery) is beyond my power to correct. In Step Three I elaborated on my inability to let go of past mistakes and for the most part I’m beginning to do so, but this step requires things to be taken one step further, this step requires self-love.

Step FiveBelieve in Yourself

I honestly thought that this was it – I would leave my fiencie, Inamorata would leave her husband and we would live happily ever after.
Obviously things didn’t turn out that way, and for along time after I considered myself toxic, a destroyer of lives and happiness, cursed. I had torn apart my ex’s life, caused untold worry and financial hassle for my own family and, worst of all in my eyes, Inamorata was no longer the happy, smiling woman she used to be.

Time and endless introspection and re-evaluation have taught me otherwise though. I don’t know what’s going on with my ex-fiancée, she broke contact with me after I told her I was dating Bouncer, but she seemed to be doing well, so all I can do is content myself with hoping she’s still happy and healthy. Inamorata still seems to be happily married, but knowing her as I do I can’t help but sence that, for all the fancy holidays and the love she espouses for her husband, there’s still something missing from her life. This, no matter how much I may wish otherwise, is not something I can influence however, and as such I have to let it be. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to see her happy, but her life is her own and she guards it fiercely so again all I can do is hope she finds the happiness and fulfillment I believe she deserves.

Which leaves only me. After so long believing my life is forfeit and the world would be better off without me coming around to the idea that I am deserving of happiness isn’t easy. I would love to be in a stable, loving relationship with someone who shares my values and treats me well, but the darkness at my core still fights it.
In a recent exchange of messages Inamorata enquired as to how my relationship with Kandi was going – I replied that it’s nice to have someone to spend a bit of time with but I wasn’t sure where it was going. Inamorata responded that it doesn’t matter where it’s going as long as your happy, but that comment got me thinking. I don’t love Kandi, she’s nice enough and the sex is pretty good, but without the emotional draw I feel like I’m just passing the time with her.
Having (begun to) let go of the past I find myself looking to the future. I’ve already resolved to end my relationship with Kandi and continue my search for love (in due time) but the darkness within insists that it’s futile, that I’m doomed to a lingering, loveless life, and that anything positive that happens is only setting me up for yet more heartache and misery.
It’s hard to keep going when deep within yourself all you want to do is die, but I do it every day (more for those around me than for myself).

Loving myself seems to be the only Step that has eluded me so far – I wonder if I’ll ever grasp it

Step Four – Remember : Love is a Beautiful Thing

Love is never wrong. Some may argue that falling in love with, and being loved by, someone who is already married is inherently wrong, but we don’t choose who we love, or when we fall in love with them.

Step FourUnderstand it’s OK to Still Love Her

In the beginning there was lust. We got on like a house on fire, the chemistry was just there. But more than the lust we bonded on a deeper level – we shared our hopes and dreams, spoke truths and recounted events that you wouldn’t share with just anyone.
But through it all she saw far better than me that, whilst we had passion and chemistry, the timing was wrong.

Love in and of itself can’t support a relationship, there’s too many other factors needed that we just didn’t have. Timing was the obvious one – she was married and, to begin with, I was engaged to be married – under different circumstances we could have strung it out into an affair that lasted years if not decades, but that was not to be. From the start she knew she’d never leave her husband, and, as I’d eventually come to realise, she knew that we weren’t really that compatible. So many times she told me that I needed to forget about her and find someone who could love me the way I deserved to be loved – and now I finally understand.

But taking a love that was once white hot and turning it into the fraternal love it (possibly) should always have been isn’t easy. With so much history, so many memories and dreams tied up within it, the love between us has taken time to temper.
Here I must accept the vast majority of the responsibility. In my life I’ve not known much love, but the love I have known has always been intense. Inamorata understood this and knew she couldn’t give me all I needed. It was my immaturity that dragged us down, my own anger at myself for the mistakes I made and that she made obvious that soured things between us, and my own oh-so-slow acceptance that has drawn out what should have been an easy and amicable split into the seemingly endless cycle of on-again off-again friendship.

But all is not lost. I’ve come away stronger and wiser for all the pain I’ve been through, and to top it off I still believe that, though it may never be said aloud, a trace of love still remains between us.
I had my first ‘friendly’ text conversation with Inamorata today – we chatted about work and she enquired as to how things were between Kandi and I, and, slightly strained though it was, it was good to talk to her again without the pangs of yearning or regret that so often accompanied our conversations in the past.
I hold no hope that we will ever rekindle what we had. The passion is passed and I doubt we can ever overcome the wounds inflicted during the long separation process to ever share anything like the friendship we once had, but that doesn’t preclude us from being friendly. Sure, our interactions may be a little clipped and awkward, but beneath it all I still feel we hold each others best interests at heart.

Love is a beautiful thing. It may not always turn out the way you want it to, but its always a blessing to experience it

Step Three – Let Bygones be Bygones

All my life I’ve had difficulties letting go of past mistakes. Situations and events replay in my mind, and it’s not uncommon for a random memory from childhood or adolescence to surface and leave me feeling anxious and even nauseous as my mind drags me back to times and places I’d rather forget.
Needless to say my time with Inamorata has left me with a fair few extra moments I’d happily never think about again, but combating them is the next step.

Step ThreeMake Peace with the Past

God only knows how many times she tried to end it over the years. Shortly after our first kiss (but before we first slept together) she told me she couldn’t go through with it, that she loved her husband too much and didn’t want to hurt either him or me.
Oh how I wish I’d listened to her.
But back then we were both slaves to our desires, and the unmistakable undercurrent of sexual tension between us was growing day by day.

At first she was angry when I told her I’d split from my fiancé and asked her to leave the house we’d shared together (back then I was still under the delusion that Inamorata would eventually leave her husband and we’d love happily ever after). I kept the split a secret from everyone else at work for weeks afterwards, eventually letting it slip out as I faked yet another bout of depression. Secretary though I was overjoyed – with my ex out of the way my house was free to use as our love nest, and use it we did.
But Inamorata is a capricious soul, and not being very good at reading her moods I regularly fell into the trap of being over amorous when I should have been laid back and understanding. The arguements that ensued, and the crushing feelings of rejection and loneliness I felt each time she walked out the door, were hideously painful, but they were not the worst.

I’d nurtured suicidal thoughts from a very young age. As I grew older and depression sank it’s claws into my soul they combined with my propensity to hold on to negative experiences and emotions until I was beginning to seriously consider acting on my dark desires. My father has always had tendency to talk in detail about his funeral plans and ‘end of life experience’ (especially when drunk) so it had always been a ‘normal’ kind of thing to think about as far as I was concerned.
Inamorata taught me otherwise.
Being told that suicide is disgusting and selfish and that depression is something made up by people too lazy to deal with their problems was a real wake up call.
I can’t say I agree with either of those sentiments, but I do understand them. After I went back into counselling I talked alot about my childhood, my mothers long illness and eventual death, and my own feelings towards life and its ultimate cessation. What I really wanted to talk about through all those long hours of soul searching was the affair I was having, but Inamorata forbade me from divulging anything about our situation (as apparently she doesn’t believe that patient confidentiality trumps good gossip). This left me hamstrung, unable to get treatment for the real problem in my life, and although the sessions did help they could have helped more if only I’d been able to be honest. Unfortunately though I’d made a promise to Inamorata to take our secret to the grave, and it’s a promise I intend to keep.

When things did eventually fall apart it happened fairly rapidly. I can’t remember what started it but tensions at work didn’t help, and soon we were frenemies. Alot was said and done by both of us back then, stuff I’m sure we’d both rather forget, but life isn’t that kind. I can’t recount every slight, every hurtful word or action, most don’t even register in my consciousness untill a sight, sound, thought or even a flux in brain chemistry triggers them, but when it happens I’m there, back in the moment, reliving the pain, sometimes over and over again.

It’s taken me far too long to realise that as painful as these moments are they’re in the past and I should just let them go. Now when they come (which, thank the gods, is far less frequently than it used to be) I try to let the pain wash over me. Yes, the situation occured, but its done now, I can’t change it, all I can do is live with it. Dwelling on the past used to be second nature to me, but my time with Inamorata has taught me that what’s done is done and there’s no going back, so why look back.

I can’t stop myself from wishing I’d done things differently, but I have learned some valuable lessons. The pain I’ve been through, like the pleasures we shared, have made me who I am today, and maybe, just maybe, the new me will get a real chance at happiness one day.

All is forgiven my love, we are who we are

Step Two – Face Facts

Thanks in no small part to my new routine Step One is slowly working. I still want to talk to Inamorata but the urge to contact her is slowly dimming. I still think about her (its hard not to when she’s still regularly referenced in the workplace) but I’m finding those thoughts are now more compassionate than sexual; I’d like to know that she’s happy and healthy, but, for the moment, I’m gonna settle for just hoping that’s so.

Step Two – Let Go of the Dream

I knew we were a match long before we embarked on our affair – we flirted and laughed and talked like old friends, and there was definate chemistry between us. Back in those days we talked about sex almost constantly, and Inamorata would regularly tease me with “All you have to do is loose your morals.”
But when push came to shove my morals reasserted themselves – Inamorata and I had only slept together twice when I took the fateful decision to leave my then fiancée. It wasn’t just the guilt of the physical infidelity that gnawed at my soul (Inamoratas whispered comment of “I don’t like being the other woman in your life” might have helped as well), it was knowing that as much as I cared for my ex I’d known this moment would come – I’d fallen in love with someone else. If only I’d known then how long and how hard that fall would turn out to be.
Even at the height of our affair there were as many nights when she’d turn up at my house and we’d end up arguing as there were nights that ended in passion. I was smitten, a naïve and emotionally immature man-child entirely beholden to his new love.
But this wasn’t Inamoratas first time at playing away. The dream I nurtured clashed with the reality she lived in. This was supposed to be a bit of fun, and then emotions got involved.
Looking back I can see she started to pull back long before things ever turned sour between us. She even told me straight that I needed to find someone else as my infatuation with her wouldn’t end well. If only I’d listened earlier.
But I didn’t – I still clung to my dream that one day we would end up together. Even up until a few months ago we still joked about taking a holiday away together.

Hindsight is always 20/20, or so they say, and looking back it’s clear now that in her own way she wanted to let me down easy. She knew she’d never be able to give me what I wanted – she loves her husband too much to ever really consider leaving him.

It’s taken me a long time to let go of that dream. I’ve known that whilst we have have chemistry in the bedroom were almost entirely incompatible on every other level, but, foolishly, I chose to ignore that truth and see only what I wanted. Here was a woman who is stunningly beautiful, sexually voracious, strong, independent and also, in her own special way, just as damaged as me – how could I not want her?.
It was only as I’ve decided to pull back that my eyes have been opened to the truth – there never really was a chance. Where Inamorata reveled in ambiguity I delt in absolutes, where she answered a question with a non-answer I filled in the gaps with what I wanted to hear. I dug myself a hole from which I have only just started to extricate myself.

The most painful bit is that I was laying in bed next to Kandi the other day when I realised how badly I’d messed up. Kandi and I had had a lovely dinner followed by foreplay on the sofa which lead to a roll between the sheets, and as she lay there cuddled into me it occurred to me that this is how it should have been with Inamorata – we meet up, have a good time, then go our separate ways…..

It should have been a bit of fun, then emotions got involved

Step One – NC

Almost every day for the last week or so I’ve read and re-read an article I found online about how to move on when you still love your ex. I should know it word for word by now, but each time I read it I still see, feel, something different – memories, realisations; like fresh rays of dawn sunlight breaking over a dark horizon.
In an effort to concrete those steps into my consciousness I’ve decided to try to relate those words to my experience.

Step oneCut off contact

It took me a while to figure out what NC ment when I first started reading posts and comments on here by people in similar situations to myself. For so long I’d wanted to run away, to leave my job, the city I live in, everything, just for the chance to free myself from her.
Unfortunately family and financial commitments made that dream impossible. The fact that i worked with my AP and she was above me in the company hierarchy also made things uncomfortable.
Fate seems to have intervened to my advantage recently though – Inamorata got a promotion that took her out of my department and, for the most part, out of my life. But even as our personal and professional lives drifted apart I still clung on to a past that could never be relived – before the affair Inamorata and I were good friends, but once the NRE kicked in we were almost inseparable, talking for hours about our hopes and dreams, sharing experiences and revelling in the warm glow of our illicit happiness.
This all fell apart in time, and the souring of attitudes between us as we now found ourselves forced to work with the person we least wanted to see became ever more obvious to those around us.
But through all this I never gave up hope that we may be able to patch things up and move forward somehow – naïve (and slightly pathetic) I know, but even as I wished myself dead I still loved her.
After she left there was a brief resurgence in our romance – with the pressure off dinner and the odd clandestine meeting lead to a series of passionate encounters that culminated in a (final?) drunken roll between the sheets. That night was one of the best I can remember, not because the sex was especially amazing, but because afterwards she laid her head on my chest and fell asleep. It was probably a combination of alcohol and exhaustion that did it, but in all the many times we’d slept together before this was the one time when I felt like we were almost a real couple.
Things didn’t pan out that way of course, and after another hard drinking night out on the town with friends in which we didn’t see eye to eye I was left feeling that something had changed, maybe not within her, but certainly within me.
It was then that I decided to try and go NC, and after a few false starts I think I’ve finally got there.

I haven’t told Inamorata yet of my desire to cease contact with her – the opportunity simply hasn’t arisen – but seeing as we share at least a portion of our social group, and both work for the same company, its unlikely that I’ll ever be able to break contact with her in the clean, permanent way so often recommended in situations such as this. Part of me desperately wants to sit her down and explain that I’m not angry with her, that I bare her no ill will, and that I just need a little time and space to recover, but part of me wonders if that’s just me making another excuise to see her again.
All I can do is wait and see if she does ever contact me again and then take it from there. Maybe enough time will have passed that my journey down recovery road will have put me in a position to allow us to make good on those impassioned promises of forever friends we made so long ago – who knows……

All I know is that this is the first step in a very long road, but I’ve taken it now

First steps on a long road

I made the mistake of digging around in my drawers at work and pulling out the little stash of mementos I have in there the other day. It’s not alot, a couple of pictures and a few post it notes that might have been left in my workspace back when work was fun and passions ran high, but they made me realise that even though the ‘real relationship’ part has been dead for a year or more I’m still having problems dealing with my feelings towards Inamorata.

Ours was a love born of lust, and whilst I like to believe our love will endure, I am slowly coming to accept that we’re very different people with very different views on a number of rather important topics (including, but not limited to; love, sex, mental health issues, workplace responsibilities and the best way to fold socks).
But with the lust reigned in and the passion now just a smolder that love is changing, and I need to change with it. To that end I started looking for information on how to cope with a break-up when your still in love with the other person and, surprisingly, I found some really useful stuff. Inadvertently I’d already started implementing a couple of the suggestions – my new routine of gym four nights a week and date nights with Kandi on two others leaves me less time (and energy) to think about her. I’m also attempting to drastically reduce the amount of contact we have – a task that may be easier said than done, but it will be interesting to see just how forward she is once I stop making the first move.

Overall I’m feeling alot more positive about alot of things (another tip gleaned from my research) – whilst I may never get what I want from the woman I want that shouldn’t stop me from making the most of the little I have gained.
Loving her, and being loved by her, were some of the best (and worst) days of my life, but those days are behind me.

I’ll always cherish the love we shared, but its time for me to love myself more than her