Last year I fell in love again. It was with a man who wasn’t my husband. Let me be really clear here. I love my husband. We are happy. We have sex. We go on dates. We had no indication of being dissatisfied with our relationship.
Given all this love, the last thing I ever expected was to fall in love with someone who wasn’t my husband.
The first time I met the man who I would later fall in love with, I knew that there was something…some kind of weird unexplainable connection. I didn’t love him when I hired him as my personal trainer. Actually in the earliest days, I didn’t even like him. I wanted to fire him, but was scared of hurting his feelings. So I didn’t. Everything works out for our good.
My husband first picked up on my feelings. I didn’t even know something was happening until dinner at a little Italian restaurant. It was a date where we may have spent the entire dinner discussing my personal trainer. Knowing me, as he does, my husband asked: “Do you have feelings for your personal trainer.”
Initially we called this an emotional affair. I was much more invested in the feelings of this human than I had ever been in any other person. It was unknown territory. I had never looked at real life humans as potential partners since the day I met my husband. We had an agreement about Bret Michaels, but other than that, other men were simply passersby in my life.
So we talked, Ryan and I. I continued to meet with this other man a couple times a week to work out. Ryan and I made an agreement. I would be open about my feelings (to Ryan) and we would see what happened. In this agreement, I had full freedom to explore dating, sex and emotional attachment to someone else.
Friends, I want to pause the story here to tell you, that I am unbelievably lucky. My husband did not flip out. He did not stomp around, threaten divorce or even (as I think would be customary) demand that I get a new personal trainer. He simply allowed it to progress.
The relationship with the other guy never progressed. We remained friends for a while after the end of our personal training relationship. I never told him how I felt. And I never acted. It just never felt like the right time. Part of that was fear of ruining both relationships. Part of that was fear of getting my heart broken.
It was an uncommon path that Ryan and I took. I’m so glad we did. I confided in a couple of people about my feelings and the general consensus was that I should run far far away from this other man. That I should protect my marriage at all costs.
I didn’t. I’m defiant like that. I am writing this story because not only did falling in love with someone else not destroy my marriage, it deepened our connection. It deepened my connection to my sexuality and sensuality. I brought all of this home to my husband.
The cultural dialogue around marriage is that we should shut down any feelings and desires that are not socially normal. Often desires that are not for our partners are viewed as sinful or wrong…even by people who are not religious.
So many partners shut down emotionally when their partner has desires that feel threatening to them. And I want to share a story of trust, love and openness. I share these lessons in the hope that people will stop shutting down their desires and those of their partners and embrace what is truly human…to feel, to connect and to explore.
So what happened?