Being in a long-term relationship is a demanding, trying, frustrating endeavor. The first few years of the relationship is wrought with passion and turmoil; it is the stage in the relationship when you determine whether your partner is somebody you like enough to keep around for the next fifty or sixty years. The relationship clock starts ticking at about the end of year two or during year three. You figure that if you love him or her enough to have spent the last few years together, why not take it all the way.
Our story began when we met fourteen years ago. Our first two years together were I began questioning whether my husband was my soul mate; or if he just happened to show up at the right place and time in my life the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Years three through six were very comfortable; we got married and bought our first home together and life was blissful. And then slowly, it happened. I am convinced there really is a “seven-year itch”. When life becomes routine, even if the routine is good, complacency sets in. If you don’t focus on one another during these times and communicate; if you don’t remember why you fell in love, you can get lost and you can lose each other. We made it through our seventh and eighth years with a few scratches, bumps and bruises, but we did it and loved one another more for what we learned.
I thought we had made it through our tough times and it would be relatively smooth sailing and I was right, for a while. The next five years definitely had their ups and downs but they were generally very good. We focused on our careers and traveled and mostly just enjoyed each other’s company. We became buddies – buddies who slept together and then the routine and complacency began to set in once again.
The past six months of my fourteen-year relationship have been the most trying of my life. I turned thirty, made new friends, and I began re-evaluating my priorities. The terror of being a badasschick and turning thirty and the changes it can bring to your life is fodder for another article, but to sum it up, life and what you do with the rest of yours, suddenly becomes very important. I began questioning whether my husband was my soul mate; if he was my kindred spirit; or if he just happened to show up at the right place and time in my life, and we settled for one another because we were comfortable together.
I met somebody during this time of questioning and everything seemed so right between us. She was everything I thought I wanted in a person. She was funny, sweet, and her soul seemed enmeshed with mine. She was also in a relationship I have no regrets, because through her I found the answers to the questions to which I was searching that was tired and flat. We flirted for months and slowly fell deeply in love. During this time we never went beyond speaking our admiration for each other. Then suddenly our feelings were forced into the spotlight and I was given an ultimatum – to choose her or to choose him. Backed into a corner, fragile, scared, angry and torn between the two, I ran. I left town. I left my husband. I left my life. I left my relationship of fourteen years. I left her. I was alone for days, contemplating what I was doing to myself and to everyone in my life when she came to me. She left her lover at home to find me and to find out if I was the one for her. And we were together, completely, and it was beautiful and it was sad, and there was so much guilt between us. It wasn’t right. We weren’t right. Fortunately we both quickly realized the mistake we made. Our paths crossed at times in our lives when we were both vulnerable and in need of something new, fresh and intense. We mistook this and our mutual admiration and chemistry for something more than it actually was and we almost lost everything.
He let me come home a week after I left. I have begged his forgiveness and am relieved to be finally clear of the months of turmoil I endured. And I have no regrets, because through her I found the answers to the questions to which I was searching. Please do not think I am recommending my method of self-discovery to you. The pain I caused myself and those I love could have torn our lives apart. Fortunately, although this second go around of the infamous “seven-year itch” was traumatic, our love was deep enough to make it through.
I am lucky. I found my soul mate and my best friend for life fourteen years ago and now I know it — without a doubt.