It appears that I confused our timeline in my original post, so I'll correct that and elaborate.
My wife and I started as "high school sweethearts," although using that shorthand both romanticizes and trivializes what we were up to together at so young an age. Suffice it to say, throughout that earliest chapter, we were very sexually intimate - tender, patient and exploratory - but stopped short of having intercourse. The latter was not something I needed or pressured her for, and I think that only helped cement an uncommonly mature love between us (or as mature as teen love can be).
I'll let that sum up our freshman through junior years. I spent my senior year of high school as a foreign exchange student. I recall it was very difficult to be apart from her, but we wrote each other long, passionate letters via air mail (this was 1988-89, so well before the Internet). In my absence, she did not date classmates but had a socially and academically successful year regardless.
After graduation, we went to different colleges in our home state. I would drive for hours to see her most weekends. Our studies continued on independent trajectories, with her being pre-med and I looking to live abroad again.
Immediately after getting my undergraduate degree, I secured a three-month internship overseas, one that I knew I would extend for months if the opportunity presented itself. In retrospect, I may not have communicated this intent to her well, as confident as I was that our relationship would weather, as it had before, a physical separation of unspecified duration. I also consciously thought that I needed to take full advantage of this opportunity to prepare myself for our inevitable future together.
Fast forward to my return to the states 14 months later, after a much less prolific and more infrequent and strained amount of written communication between us (despite the availability of email at this point). I was immediately introduced to a medical school classmate of hers, a woman our age who had recently ended a long-term lesbian relationship. Within days I was made aware that she and my girlfriend had been sleeping together and they planned to become roommates.
Over the next few weeks, I tried to understand and accept her new relationship while trying to see myself included in it. That was a naive and misguided desire of mine, fraught with as much cliched fantasy as personal desperation. My girlfriend of 4-8 years (depending on how you count our time together vs. apart) soon informed me she had, in my absence, moved on and no longer loved me or wanted to be with me. Broken hearted, I capitulated and struck out on a life without her.
For three years, we had no contact with one another. And for much of that period, I pined for her while also hating her and myself for the investment we made in each other that, once gone, left me feeling socially and emotionally crippled. I especially hated her new girlfriend for stealing her from me; that was a target for blame I held onto longer than most.
At some point, however, I did manage to get over it all. I even dated other women, although unsuccessfully in every case. The young, accomplished lover I once was had become a terrible cad. The best of the bunch lasted six months, included an accepted marriage proposal followed by a panicky breakup. I don't regret that that relationship didn't continue; I wish only I hadn't proposed at all.
Many months after that I found myself writing a letter to my ex, my first and only true love. I believed I was doing so from a place of sincere detachment from my previous feelings for her. I wanted only to let her know I was open to reconnecting as people whose futures were no longer tethered together but still might want to know that the other was healthy and happy with new dreams.
The letter, which was nearly never sent, was answered. Unbeknowst to me, she and the woman she had left me for had broken up.
Again, in the interest of not drawing this out too long, we met and it was easier than either of us could have imagined. We made love that night. That occasion, like several more (that occurred only when I was able to make the hours-long drive to see her), were voracious, supercharged, out-of-body experiences. Unlike the teenager I remembered her as, she was much more sexually assertive and confident about what she wanted, yet somehow elusive.
Now it's some 15 years later - 10 of that married with two kids and she's pursuing a love affair with another woman, only this time with my advance knowledge and full throated consent. And we've been having that explosive, discovery sex again. Only it is infinitely better-informed intimacy on account of our ongoing conversational about a nonmonogamous future.
Our dialogue has had us revisiting our ancient past with concern for history repeating itself and what lessons we have learned. Am I afraid of losing her again? No, as she has repeatedly assured me I will not. We are in our early 40s now and thankfully not the 20-somethings we once were who took themselves so seriously that they thought they could neglect eachother and still remain together.
With that last paragraph I think I have synthesized for myself why the past is just that: the past. What's now before us is something wholly new. I love my wife more intensely than ever for bravely opening herself up to the love this other woman has introduced and awakened. To show respect for her, revel in her heart's capacity for so much love, and demonstrate my trust in her to keep me close and loved, I need to be brave, too.
I won't pretend I'm not scared. We don't and can't know what lies ahead for us. But honestly, we couldn't have predicted what's already happened to us. It's been a crazy, wonderful journey already. It can only continue with bravery, a quality I have but could always use more of.
So here's to the future, the search and the seeking.
Last edited by BraverySeeker; 09-24-2012 at 05:57 PM.