True Life :: I Miss Being in Love

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This post is part of a series called the True Life Series, where we share stories written by Milwaukee area moms, but posted anonymously. By and large, these stories are more sensitive in nature or cover topics that may be triggers for some readers. Publishing the piece does not suggest an endorsement by MKE Moms Blog.

However, we want to give these writers the chance to share their stories in a safe space, in the hopes that someone else might resonate and realize they are not alone. Topics in the True Life Series are likely to draw a lot of opinions, but we want to be clear that, out of respect for the writers of these pieces, we will be monitoring comments carefully and deleting anything that is shaming, hurtful, derogatory or otherwise abusive. 

I miss being in love

I’ve been married to my husband for over a decade, and I’ve never had an affair.

But I do have a crush.

My crush and I met randomly about a year ago. Every couple of months, when the stars align and I happen to run into him, we’ll stop briefly and have a friendly, casual conversation. This should be the end of the story—except that I often can’t stop thinking about him for days afterwards.

What attracted me to this man? Sure, he’s good-looking, but honestly, the first couple of times we talked, I didn’t feel anything special. It wasn’t until the third or fourth time I saw him and he smiled at me—in a way my husband hasn’t smiled at me in years—that I felt something in my chest go flutter flutter, felt the blood in my veins run a little faster as a dizzying sensation took hold. In that instant, I was hooked.

The feeling I got when I saw this man was something I hadn’t experienced in a long time, and it was intoxicating. It was as if he’d seen into my soul and breathed new life into a younger, more idealistic part of me that I’d long since forgotten. Before I knew what was happening, this feeling became an addiction that I began to crave. Soon I found myself lingering too long at our usual meeting place, hoping to see him and exchange a few words, get a glimpse of that smile. I’m embarrassed to admit I scoped him out on Facebook and even—once—drove past his workplace.

Yes, I know I’m ridiculous and pathetic. But I’m not a complete fool. I’m not clinging to any misguided notion that this man and I will ride off happily into the sunset, as romantic music swells in the background. I’m a grown woman, thank you very much, and I intend to fulfill my responsibilities. I will remain an upstanding, respectable member of my community and workplace. I will continue to be a mom who takes good care of her kids, and a wife who stays faithful to her husband. There will be no surprises here, no shocking incidents of infidelity that forever brand my family and me with a scarlet letter of shame and distrust.

I know all of this. And even if logic were to fail me, my body reminds me daily that I’m much closer to menopause than the confusing whirlwind of puberty. So why am I behaving like some impulsive, lovesick schoolgirl stuck in a Twilight movie?

Because, quite simply, I miss being in love.

I think I was in love with my husband, long ago. There are two times in particular that stand out: when we first started dating, and right after we got engaged. I recall the feeling that stirred within me: the heady, exhilarating thrill of being young and knowing I was so deeply cherished by another person.

But somewhere along the path from dating my husband to becoming the mother of his children, I fell out of love with him. I suspect it happened gradually, as those exciting feelings faded and got replaced by a steady, predictable routine that most days feels more like a business arrangement than a romance.

On the outside, I carried on normally, but deep down, I knew something was missing. In my dreams, I’d see other men—sometimes ex-boyfriends or the unrequited loves of high school, but most often the faces were those I’d never seen in real life. What stood out in these dreams was a sweetness so vivid that it brought tears to my eyes.

In these dreams, I was so passionately in love that a kiss felt like magic, igniting all of my senses.   

I would wake from these dreams heartbroken that my real-life relationship felt so different from those in my imagination. When I met my crush, I think my subconscious was desperately looking for something to focus on, a new way to channel my unfulfilled romantic notions.

Well-intentioned friends have advised, “Spice up your marriage!” I’ve tried, but coordinating a date night more than every month or so has been tricky. Even a rare weekend away doesn’t reignite the spark. Maybe other relationships have succeeded where I’ve failed, but for now, the cold, hard conclusion seems to be that once the thrill is gone, there’s no bringing it back. 

For the most part, I am content. I adore my children, and I am grateful for the life my husband and I have built together. I will always love him.

But I still miss being in love.

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