I will try and be as brief as possible: 3.5 yrs ago I fell deeply in love with a man who is 13 years my senior. I had never felt this way and neither had he. We were together full time for 1.5 yrs however it was a long distance relationship taking up to 10 hours each way to see each other. We adored each other and wanted to make it work so made an effort to meet up every 2 weeks. The distance took its toll and when I felt ready to move in with him, he suddenly became very scared (his mum committed suicide 3 yrs before I met him and was quite abusive to him when he was a child) and took a step back which caused no end of heart ache. I knew he still loved me however it was simply impossible to continue as we were. Eventually the frustration of being apart caused us to separate. We decided to take a break- not to break up. But he went into denial and although we were in touch most days during the break, he said that he wanted to stay single. I was dying of heartache and 6 months after our so called break met another man who for the first few months became just a lovely friend, consoling me about my break and helping me, eventually the new chap and I started having a relationship although I had mentioned nothing to the first man (love of my life) as in my head I thought he no longer wished to be together. After some time he found out and told me that he wanted to get back together by which time my trust had flown out the window. The new man was so lovely and kind and fun and all the rest of it but we lacked much sexual intimacy. Fast forward nearly 2 yrs and they are still both in my life, I am in love with both and both are in love with me. I live with the new one but I am dying inside being away from the first. I have seen him and we both don’t understand what’s going on. Its so painful and I feel so guilty. Sex is still an issue with new man- I love him dearly rather than passionately. Help me please if you can. (From the UK)
In Love with Two Men, Causing Me Depression. I Can’t Make the Right Choice.
I would like to offer a perspective that may be helpful in these types of situations. Of course, it is hard for me to know all the particulars, but there is something happening, which involves a lack of intimacy that seems important to highlight.
In different ways both men were available and unavailable simultaneously. Your first love was emotionally and physically intimate, but was distanced geographically. When it was possible for that to change — he changed. The second man is available geographically, but not sexually. The red thread is that neither is fully available and, by your descriptions, never have been.
This leaves you in the constant position of wanting and not having love. You are living with one and want the other, but you no longer trust the other enough to leave. The constant in all of this is you are drawn to each man’s potential, but not to their reality. By staying in love with both, you keep yourself from being fully intimate with either.
The situation is not meant to be resolved, which is what is most likely causing you depression. The illusion is that there is a right choice to be made, but the situation has evolved so that there is no right choice — only more of the same wanting and not having.
The way out of this is to understand more about your own process of being with unavailable men. For this I recommend individual therapy. A good relationship therapist will be able to help you sort through both the origin and ways to correct this process.