Forum Replies Created
January 15, 2014 at 1:14 am #49133
David, Mark and Helen
Thank you for your opinions which I have thought about over the last few days and it has helped me immensely. Thank you, Mark for sharing your past. It seems clear to me from what you said and from my experiences that when we find any relationship which provides us with new levels of intimacy it becomes a new benchmark for our other relationships which we then judge against this new one. That makes sense as for nine and a half years I told nobody about my relationship with my friend because of the guilt and shame I felt, but I finally opened up to two girl friends six months ago, and was overwhelmed by their compassion, concern and love for me. This has brought these two relationships to a new level and they will now remain significantly important in my life whatever happens in the future. Obviously where relationships don’t have the potential to measure up to the new levels of intimacy it causes disappointment and disillusionment.
David, I have always been an idealist and a perfectionist (a pretty dangerous combination it seems!) and struggled continuously with feelings of guilt and shame without (most of the time) feeling remorse and this caused a lot of internal conflict. I can see truth in the fact that this can destroy our self esteem and I don’t think I realised how bad this had become. My friend was always incredibly good at encouraging me when I was feeling low or insecure which at the time was great, but I can see how this can then perpetuate a circle of low self esteem and reliance on someone else, and perhaps this happened to both of us.
Helen, I agree with you that I need time and space to work on myself before I make any decisions and thank you for reminding me that people come, go and change but the only thing that remains constant is our own company. I used to live by that rule but without noticing I had forgotten it!
I now know what I need to do, and feel I can look forward to the future with optimism again. Thank you! 🙂January 10, 2014 at 11:18 am #48887
What a lovely thread Manuel and some good ideas too.
I would like to add “The Way of the Warrior” by Dan Millman and I am sure there are lots of biographies out there which by their nature are uplifting, such as Beyond Ugly by Constance Briscoe and Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord which is apparently being turned into a film this year.January 8, 2014 at 9:53 am #48679
Thankyou Macintosh and Mark for your opinions which I value greatly. I think it would be very hard now to confess to my husband as to be honest I do not feel at the moment particularly remorseful because of the fact that I learnt so much about myself and got so much positivity from the affair – even though it is causing me such sadness now I cannot in all honesty say I regret it happening. My husband did have an idea that the relationship was possibly overstepping the mark but that’s just it. He is under the impression that I came to rely too greatly on my friend’s friendship but is unaware of the huge depth of my feelings or the duration of the relationship. Sad as it may seem the relationship obviously replaced what was missing at home even though at the start of it I can genuinely say I didn’t believe anything was missing!
Interestingly for the first time today I feel angry to my friend for taking his friendship away whereas before I felt overwhelming sadness and grief. I can only hope that this might be the very beginnings of some kind of healing process though I know the road ahead is incredibly long and bumpy.
Mark can you explain to me what you mean by “Eat, Pray, Love or a Vision Quest”? I suspect it might be useful for me in the future though perhaps too early now. I have started meditating to try and get a clearer picture of what direction I should be taking and all roads at the moment seem to lead to a future life with my friend. As I mentioned there has been talk of possibly getting together in the future when our family circumstances change but I suspect it would be unhealthy for me to try and hold on to this ideal as obviously there are no guarantees.January 7, 2014 at 4:14 am #48584
I can’t help you with all your questions but what I can tell you is that this year I am completing a four year degree and will finish two years after my 45th birthday.
For me it has been one of the hardest things I have done. It has been incredibly rewarding too and an amazing learning experience for many different reasons apart from the educational value. Most of my contemporaries are 20-25 and I am the oldest person on a course of about 80 students. Many people would look back at my career over the last 25 years and say my career path is “unconventional”. However, I can see a pattern as all of my previous work has involved advising or educating people on some level. I would not have taken the degree had I not been made redundant from my previous (unrelated) job because the skills I learnt in that job gave me the confidence to then apply for the degree. I am not even sure now whether I will use the degree directly in my next line of work but as a life experience the four years have been worthwhile and I still hope to earn enough to pay off the student fees.
Being a bit older and having a different educational background when you return to study will give you a completely different experience and different perspective than some of the other students. Sometimes this will help you and sometimes it might not but you have the maturity to be able to learn a lot about yourself from the experience. You will also find that you have obtained other skills and experiences in any previous jobs you have had and just through your life experiences which will help you in your studies in ways that you don’t expect. So just relax, enjoy the experience and rise to the challenge. Think of your studying as enhancing your life rather than just enhancing your employability. You are only behind because you think you should have followed a particular path and have deviated from that, but sometimes we learn more by going the long way round rather than the most direct route.
Good luck and I’m sure you will be fantasticJanuary 7, 2014 at 2:46 am #48582
Thankyou for your reply and your compassion. Yes, you are right that I need to allow myself time to heal in order to look at my marriage objectively and to be able to decide what to do, but your comment about whether my husband knows the true me resonates with me because obviously for years I have been aware that my friend is the only person who knows the true me – not just because of the affair but because I was able to express my feelings to him in a way that I was unable to do with my husband.
You asked if I ever wanted to reveal the friendship to my husband. The answer is I did at times but chose not to. Though I had my selfish reasons for doing this (I had the best of both worlds – security and a great person to confide in and who was understanding in a way that my husband wasn’t), I also was fearful of the shock waves and damage revealing it could cause as this friend is within my immediate community and at the time it would have been impossible to avoid him and his family. I misguidedly believed I could deal with my emotions and keep everything under control.
Yes my conscience nagged me continuously and both of us were continually fearful of being found out. So why would we continue? The answer is that we both felt inexplicably drawn to the the relationship. I have always been very idealistic about marriage for life and to experience such a strong attraction was almost shocking to me. I completely felt at ease with this man and at times felt my reactions to him were difficult to understand but also felt almost out of my control. I have supported him through his daughter’s serious illness, he has supported me through my husband’s life changing illness and many aspects of our lives. I am not a particularly spiritual person but I had an overwhelming feeling that we had met for a reason (I still feel this way) and I guess rightly or wrongly this justified my actions. I don’t know if some people might think of this as naive. He referred to me as the best friend he didn’t know he had never had and said that he didn’t feel the level of guilt I did because he felt we were meant to be together and he had just met me at the wrong time. We have brought emotions out in each other that we have never experienced before (some good and some bad).
My question now is this. Can you met someone at the age of 20 and that person be perfect for you at that time but not be the right person 25 years down the line? My husband was exactly the person I needed when I was young – he was calm, stable, confident and he has always been a good father to my children. By contrast my friend is passionate about life, has energy and enthusiasm and is not afraid to show emotion. I am a different person to the one I was at 20 and I want to get out and enjoy life with a confidence I didn’t have when I was younger. We talked about how we would share and enjoy life in a way that I cannot imagine doing with my husband. Sure, there is some common ground in interests that I have with my husband but over the years we have grown apart and enjoy doing different things. Though my relationship with my friend has finished it seems that we have both acknowledged that there may be an opportunity in the future to be together. I am finding myself holding on to this idea a little too tightly, and am concerned that it is going to prevent my healing process and therefore my ability to properly evaluate whether my husband and I still have enough to work on to be able to stay together.January 1, 2014 at 5:00 am #48102
So helpful to read both of your viewpoints Macintosh and Katrina. I am in a situation (which I have posted elsewhere today) where I am possibly at the end of a ten year relationship where we were basically the right people meeting at the wrong time. Slowly (in the last eighteen months) situations have occurred to force us either to create huge huge shockwaves (which neither of us can bear to do) or make a break. A break is being made on the basis that in the future the situation may change and we may still be able to be together. This has been the hardest experience of my life to deal with and each day is a challenge. I would never have expected to find myself here in this situation and I completely understand where you are coming from Katrina. Today (after some friendly and supportive emails last night wishing each other good luck for the year ahead etc) I feel reasonably positive but give it a couple of days and I know I will be on a downer again.
This site and you guys have been great in giving me the encouragement I need to keep going. But I know it isn’t going to be easy. Mac you sound like a great person, really warm and positive. You deserve to find someone who loves you unconditionally for who you are – and I am sure you will. Good luck to both of you xJanuary 1, 2014 at 4:44 am #48101
You sound like a positive, empathetic and dynamic person who has put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into your first semester of school and for that you should be very proud. Though it has been a positive experience so far don’t underestimate how much energy it must have taken for you to settle in and it may be that your body/mind is having trouble switching down a gear and going into the relaxation mode that you supposedly should be experiencing at the moment. I find the same problem and I think that when I don’t have to keep going at such a pace my mind has trouble slowly down and this is when the over analysing takes over. It’s almost as if my mind has to do something to keep busy so it starts creating it’s own “entertainment”.
If you are back at home after having been away for a while are there any old friends you can reach out to and catch up with? Also ,maybe you should think of this time as a chance to recharge your batteries so that you can go back to school with the energy and enthusiasm you started with at the beginning. Maybe going for a run, doing yoga or going for walk might help your mind start slowing down. Or having a bath, painting your nails, visiting a museum or gallery on your own or with a friend, or meditating might help.
The fact that your mom suffered from depression is not an indicator of how you feel. My mum had depression and other problems throughout my childhood and adult life. I think my ability to “over analysize” helped me understand why she reacts the way she does to different situations, and that empathy helped me understand that I am a very different person and would never react in the same way. By working this out it has made me stronger and more confident about myself as a positive person.January 1, 2014 at 4:28 am #48100
Your situation sounds so similar to mine. I met someone 10 years ago when my children were small and against my better judgement and despite fighting the emotion down I fell for him big time. He and I became best friends and have also shaped each others lives and supported each other through difficult times. Eighteen months ago something happened to force us apart but neither of us were prepared to accept giving up altogether even though we knew it was the right thing to do. Now this week, he has finally pushed to make a break and even though we have lines of communication still available I think for the first time we are both prepared separate. We were both in love with the idea of being in love but we also did (and still do) love each other. I still hold (a little too tightly maybe) onto the idea that we will be together at some point but realistically there is no guarantee that this will happen. At the moment if it doesn’t I feel I will always regret it.
I think you are going to find it hard to make the break in the way you say unless he is also prepared to follow it through. This is why ours has continued as long as it did. Having said that if we had tried to break early on maybe there would have been more resolve to stick with it. I don’t know. I should regret this relationship as it goes against all the ideals I believe in and yet I don’t and it has made me into the person I am today. At the moment I am trying to look back and be grateful for what it has given me rather than looking forward and wondering how I will manage without it. I know that people will judge this situation and many will be enraged (as I would have myself). Unfortunately I feel I fell in love with the right person at the wrong time. However I also know that for 10 years we have lived in the “passion” stage of our relationship without having to deal with the realities of paying bills and smelly socks. But there is also a part of me that will regret it if I do not get to experience this part of life with him too.
I sympathise with your dilemma. Mine has shaken me to the core and made me re-evaluate all the beliefs I held dear.