I’ll start by saying that this is my first post here; I’ve been reading quite a bit and it seems like a great place to get some wonderful advice.
Where to start? I think I’ll start w/ 1991. Sorry if this turns out to be really long, I will try to keep it as simple as possible.
1991 - I was 24 and met a wonderful guy (I’ll call him S), very similar background, good catholic family, went to catholic schools, etc. We dated for a brief time, then our relationship just sort of evolved into a great friendship. I always wished it had been different, still feeling attracted to S even after a few years of being friends. At one point I even wrote him a lengthy letter telling him how I felt, that I wish things could be different and that he would see me as a potential girlfriend, that I loved him as more than a friend. He said no, he just didn’t feel that way about me. So we remained just friends, best friends.
1995 - I met my husband to be (I’ll call him J). We had a close connection fairly quickly and without realizing it, I became very immersed, losing contact with many friends because he didn’t like them, or didn’t want to do things with them. I started seeing less and less of S as well.
1996 - S decided to move across the country (from MO to CA). A week before he left, he gave me a letter telling me that he had always been in love with me. He’d had such a horrible track record with women - had really treated girls horribly in his past, that once he realized he was in love with me, which he’d never really felt before, he had set his mind to just be my friend because he was too afraid of his feelings and because he didn’t want to hurt me. I read the letter, tucked it away inside a book so that J wouldn’t see it, and as horrible as this sounds, I thought, "well, it serves him right for never acknowledging his feelings when I told him how I felt, now I’m unavailable and he’s leaving anyway…"
After he moved, S and I corresponded a bit, he came back and visited a few times. And I knew that I still felt that attraction to him, but I don’t know if I was just still upset with him, or because I was involved so deeply with J that I just didn’t pay any attention.
1999 - J and I got married (both catholic, in a catholic church). S didn’t come to the wedding, said he couldn’t afford the trip.
2002 - S moved back to MO, we stayed in touch by email and christmas card but never saw each other.
2006-2008 - J and I were having some difficulties, we’d had two children by now and finances were tight, our sex life was very one sided (in his favor) and I was starting to feel used and cheap. I felt more and more like J’s maid and caretaker. J lost his job and became very depressed and even more incapable of doing things for himself. J becomes negative, angry, emotionally abusive, cursing at me and the children, and he actually hit our daughter once. He also became very paranoid that people were listening to our conversations and that they had gotten him fired. He refuses to get professional help.
Dec. 2008-2009 - Out of the blue, S emails me and asks if I want to go to lunch with him. I say yes, that would be really nice. We met for lunch and he said that he knew there was something wrong in my life, something big, he had just had a feeling that I was in trouble. I immediately feel that old attraction to him. I start remembering bits and pieces of the times that S and I were best friends, but find that there is a pretty large black hole in my memory from that time period. I go looking for my old journals from that time and then realize that somewhere around 2000 I shredded every journal that had a mention of S in it.
Jan-March 2009 - J agrees to check himself into mental health facility and is diagnosed w/ bipolar. He stays at his parents house and attends outpatient therapy. J’s dad thinks the diagnosis might be wrong, he thinks borderline personality disorder w/ narcissim. I feel emotionally wounded and exhausted, hurt and very distant from J. S is there for me to talk to, we don’t see each other, just talk on the phone. J says he is glad S is helping me.
April-June 2009 - J moves back home. Things are improving with him, his meds have his temper under control and his moods are stabilizing. He still does lots of his controlling behaviors and is still much more concerned w/ his own needs than anyone else’s. S and I start doing things together once in a while, usually w/ at least one other person, but if not, we always meet in public. I know that I am still in love with S.
July 2009 - Things have really improved w/ J, except I feel more like his big sister who loves him, rather than a wife who loves him. He is really trying to make things work. I confess to J how I’ve felt and still feel about S. He takes it well and tells me that he wants our marriage to work more than anything. He doesn’t really think there are problems in our marriage.
Wow, this is really getting long…let me cut to the chase. I’m not feeling that I can leave J, especially now that he is really trying so hard to make things right. I do feel that I would probably leave him if he returns to the abusive behavior. I also know that if I left J it would have to be because I couldn’t be with him anymore, not because I wanted to be w/ S. But I don’t feel I have much respect for J left as a husband or man so I just keep praying for guidance and help with re-establishing our relationship. But what I really want to know, is, if I was in love w/ S all along, even though my feelings were repressed for much of the time, does that mean that I’ve been deceiving J all along? Does it even mean that our marriage is valid, considering I was actually in love w/ S when I married J?