I hope that getting all this out might help me make some sense of it, but then again, it may not... ah well. I'm probably not alone in being in this situation.
First things first, my partner is incredible. We've been together for just over five years now, and since I've been with him I've grown in so many ways. I grew up in a very Christian household, and though I wouldn't say I'd have had it any other way (my childhood was wonderful) it left me with a very strongly inbuilt way of thinking about things. So much so that I didn't even consider that I might be attracted to girls until my partner (that's getting tiring already, I'll call him Bear
) and a mutual friend of ours decided that their respective girlfriends were missing out on this bi thing, and dared us to kiss. That sounds incredibly juvenile, but I get the feeling that Bear had noticed something that I wasn't admitting to myself, and engineered a situation where I could discover it. He's surprisingly perceptive on occasion.
Now, this girl and I hadn't known each other very long, but we'd discovered very quickly that we had a tremendous amount in common, and were well on the way to becoming very good friends at this point. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but looking back on it, I think we managed to slip into a relationship without noticing- not that either of us acknowledged it as such. She was the first girl I ever slept with, and it was amazing. I may be looking back on that period of my life with rose-tinted spectacles, but I honestly don't think anyone I've slept with since has measured up to her. Every time we went round their house, I used to sit on the arm of her chair to look at whatever she was showing me on her laptop screen, and it quite swiftly evolved into us sitting snuggled up in one armchair all evening. I'm a very tactile person, and it was lovely to have another person besides Bear to have that physical contact with.
Somewhere along the line, I realised I was falling for her, and out came the guilt. (I used to have a lot of barriers in my head, Bear's been systematically breaking them down for the last five years. Hasn't got all of them yet, but he's getting there... and when I say barriers, I mean ways of thinking that I'd been brought up with that made me unhappy) I'm only supposed to love one person, what is this, how can I be in love with someone else's girlfriend, oh my god, it's not doing anyone any harm but it's WRONG.
Note that I wasn't feeling guilty about the sex, because Bear had finally managed to persuade me that no, he wasn't jealous at all, yes he wanted me to enjoy myself and experience everything I could in life, and remember that he'd suggested this in the first place...
I was feeling guilty about letting myself fall in love with someone else's girlfriend.
Finally Bear got me to realise that I truly wasn't harming anyone, that this was making me stupendously happy, and that it really didn't mean I loved him any the less. My stupid brain had been trying to convince me that if I loved her, I couldn't possibly love him at the same time-and vice versa.
I honestly can't remember ever being that happy before, or since.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, her partner decided he wasn't comfortable with it any more. I say 'seemingly' because, now I look back on it, I should have realised I was throwing myself in too hard. We'd never set up any rules or boundaries, but it had been vaguely assumed that it was just a physical thing, and her partner felt uncomfortable with the way I was now acting around her, and the fact that I was no longer asking permission to sleep with her.
I get where he was coming from, I really do. And I'd been adamant from the start that it was his call, if ever he started feeling at all unhappy with the situation, it was his call to say 'no more'. I never wanted to do anything to jeapordise their relationship.
But it hurt. It hurt a ridiculous amount. And even now, despite the fact that it's been what, three years, maybe, since what would probably be termed as a six-month fling, it still hurts. For a long time I buried the pain, just blocked it out because I couldn't deal with it, but every so often I wouldn't be able to hold it in and EVERYTHING would come crashing out. Bear was, and is, still so supportive, and so patient with me. I honestly don't know what I'd do without him.
I'm dealing with it better now. I've accepted that these feelings aren't going to go away, and that, to be quite honest, I don't want them to. I love feeling this way about her- she's a beautiful, caring, intelligent, creative woman and my heart lights up when she smiles.
But I hate how desperately sad it makes me that I can't hold her close for any more than a brief hug hello or goodbye, that I can't wake up next to her, or that I can't comfort her when she's overwhelmed and upset.
I'm not overstepping my boundaries any more, I've made sure of that, and if the only way I can be in her life is as a friend, then I'll damn well be the best friend she's ever had...
I honestly didn't intend for that to get quite so emotional, but there... that's me
The reason I joined this forum is because I'd really like to know if there's anyone out there in a similar situation to mine, and if so, how they're dealing with it.