I am blessed with some of the greatest friends you can ask for. They are loyal, steadfast and kind. They are good people who are non-judgemental and if you need them they are there to help you. There is a group of us that met when we were young children, campers who hadn’t quite hit puberty.
We have been through junior high, high school, college, marriage, divorce, childbirth and death. We have traveled around the world and the US together. Some of us have dated each other and others have spent the odd night together doing what lonely people do.
One of my friends contacted me because she feels like she is about to explode. She is married and a mother. And she is a woman who recently relearned what it means to be madly in love. The problem is that the man she craves and dreams about is not her husband.
For a long time she was happy with her marriage, satisfied with a partner who she thought was meeting her needs. He was a good husband and he tried hard to make her happy and in many ways he was successful. But she found out that there was a difference between feeling satisfied and happy, a distinction that grew more concrete as she began to see the difference between her new found love and husband.
The new guy is someone that she has never met in person, but she has spent countless hours speaking to by telephone and email. She told me that because they have never met they have been forced to really get to know each other. They have managed to circumvent some of the pitfalls and challenges that are presented by the physical intimacy that sexual contact brings. And as she described it to me she feels like they have come to know each other as well as any two people could.
There is a stark honesty between them, brutal at times, but very clear. It is the kind of open communication that she thought that she had with her husband but came to realize that this was on a newer deeper level.
As she described him to me I could feel her smile, I could hear the smile in her voice and I remembered her in high school. She sounded like she did with her first love. I could hear the excitement in her voice and the desire. There is a longing there that touched me. Her interest in this man is palpable as is her fear of what could happen.
At times the conversation felt surreal to me as I realized how my thoughts about us had changed. I had come to think of her as being a mother and less as a woman. If you see her do me a favor and try to forget I said that, or at least don’t tell her that I said it. She would be upset to hear it, no woman or man for that matter wants to hear that, or so I would think. We may be parents, but there is an individual who lives inside us all that remembers who we were before our children came.
There were frequent pauses between us. I was taken aback and not really sure what to say. Am I supposed to offer advice, do I just listen or do I take some other course of action. My gut said to just let her speak, but I would be lying if I didn’t think about telling her to think hard about what she was considering.
That is assuming that I could have spoken because I suspect that my jaw was hanging open for extended periods of time, at least that would explain why my throat felt so dry.
For what it is worth I should add some comments about my friend. She has stood by me through all of my triumphs and my failures. She was there when my heart was broken and she was there when I was at my best. She was also the woman who clued me in to a few things about women. I can’t say that she taught me every secret about women, but she was the one who set me straight about women and their sexual desires. I think back to some of our conversations and wonder if she didn’t think that I was a complete idiot.
The obvious question that some of you are asking is if she and I are so close what is our story, is there any history between us. The answer is that there is, we have had a few moments here and there but for the most part we haven’t lived in the same city since around the early ’90s and it never made it beyond some very good memories. Don’t ask for details about what happened, just use your imagination. It is probably a better story.
So here I am, listening to my pal talk about making an incredible life change and wondering what my role is. What do I do, how do I respond. I can’t just listen to this and nod my head, especially since this is not a videophone and she might think that I had fallen asleep. She didn’t come out and ask for my advice, but I felt like I needed to say something.
I told her that I didn’t think that all marriages were meant to last forever and that I thought that there are at least 100 people on the planet that you could fall in love with, but that only a few would be the kind of love that takes your breath away. I told her that I can’t tell her what to do and that she needs to consider all aspects here.
I told her that I do believe that you can fall in love with a person without meeting them in person and that I did believe that she could pick up and make a life with him. But I reminded her that for better or for worse she has an existing commitment and a good life. It is not something to just throw away.
And I reminded her that if she did decide to make this change she needed to be prepared for some rough moments. Her current husband is going to be in her children’s lives forever and rightfully so. She is going to have to keep dealing with him so she needs to be careful. And I told her that since there are children she needs to put their concerns before hers.
All that being said I did what any good friend would do and told her that I would be there for her and that I really didn’t have a clue as to what she should do, good luck and G-d speed.
In the meantime I am entrusted with a secret that has to go to the grave with me. And it will, aside from the seven readers of this blog who do not know my real name, her name and whether it is really a he, or maybe this is just part of the book I have been writing for the last 12 years.
Look out Hollywood, I have an idea for a script.