How do you start over, with a new love or without one? Heartfelt, soul-searching soap opera of my life and love inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You met them (to avoid silly pronoun problems) on the internet. They made you laugh. You thought it was harmless. Both of you had other commitments, other relationships in your lives.
Neither of you intended it to go anywhere. It was just supposed to be friendship. Somehow, you tumble head-over-heels anyway. They confess to feeling the same way.
You both overcome boundaries--complicated personal relationships, huge geographical distances--to meet "IRL". You figure it has all been too good to be true online. Surely this will only lead to disappointment IRL.
But you meet. You laugh often. You revel in the conversation and lively debate. Evntually, inevitably, you make love. The sex is incredible. You have never felt so free, so independent in your life. And you feel like...yourself. No pretenses, no subterfuge. Then the two of you separate as planned, go back to your "other lives".
Being pragmatic by nature, you tell yourself that you are just infatuated, that you are not thinking clearly. Happens all the time, you know. People do this. They meet online, get together, fool themselves that they have something when they don't. This will pass, you tell yourself. The infatuation will fade. It's wrong to feel this way. Let it go.
You make a dedicated effort to end it, going months without contacting them. You fall into a deep depression. You go to therapy, you take medication. Nothing helps. Conversely, even your real-life relationship, which you had sought to help by this separation, worsens because you feel so disconnected to everything and everyone emotionally.
Only when you are with them, even if it is only online, are you happy. It is not what they do--just knowing they are part of your life is enough. And when, finally, you accept this and get back in touch with them, it's as if no time at all has passed. The two of you come back together seamlessly, effortlessly. And, of course, you want more than just the online stuff. You continue to see them when you can.
This is not just a fling, like so many others. The feelings only grow stronger over time. Gradually, It becomes a relationship measured not in days, weeks or even months, but years. Their support has helped you do things in your real life you never had the courage to do before. They've helped you discover yourself. Along the way, you have come to terms with the problems in your real life relationship, and you know you have to do something about them. You know there is little communication, and that you have never had the emotional intimacy you need to thrive.
You feel you could be independent now, when before you felt trapped. At various times in your relationship with them, you have both considered changing your lives, despite the many hardships and the others involved, to be together. Now, you feel you are ready.
You understand that they may not be able to go through with it. It's a huge commitment. You know that in the end they may lack the conviction or the courage to leave the life they have now. Only they can decide what is right for them.
Regardless of what they do, you feel you must make the change in your own life. It is not about a promise of something that might be, but an end to something that no longer is.
And of course you're scared to death. This is a secret years in the making. You can handle being called selfish, a betrayer--you deserve all that. But you don't want to hurt anyone any more than you have to when you leave. You don't even know if you should tell them the whole truth, the why behind your decision.
So you go online, and ask nameless, faceless people you have never met, (but maybe people who will be objective simply because they don't know you) HOW do you do this?
How do you end one life and begin another without destroying the lives of those you leave behind? How do you move out on your own when you have always been sheltered and protected before?
Where do you START?