I’m in love. I haven’t been in love for at least eleven or twelve years. After my second marriage ended, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to love someone again, or to be truly loved.
To understand this I am going to give a brief history of my two marriages and then I’ll get into the meat of what I want to talk about.
My first wife Holly and I were married for almost 18 years when we got divorced. When we met and fell in love it was the real thing. We were best friends, we had passion and romance coming out of our ears, we couldn’t get enough of each other. It was the most beautiful and perfect relationship I could ever have imagined.
As time went by, we grew apart. Eventually, she had an affair which I discovered. I also discovered that she had been lying to me for years about almost everything. It completely tore my world apart and shattered my heart into a million pieces.
I met my second wife only four months after the divorce. I was reeling from everything that had happened. I was a single dad trying to raise my kid while I commuted from Lincoln, NE to Omaha, NE every day, a drive of 65 minutes one way. When I met Cindy she was selling her house because she too worked in Omaha and was planning to move there. I knew I needed to move as well. She came on strong and did all sorts of things to win me over. It worked and we decided to move to Omaha together and live together. Two years later we married. That was almost three years ago.
I became cynical about love and marriage. I scoffed at the idea of ever being able to love again. I was so angry and hurt that I just couldn’t allow myself to believe that I could. I think this was a way of protecting myself from being hurt again.
Then I got to know Ellie.
Ellie has helped me learn that I can really love again and fall in love. Her laugh, her kindness and gentleness, and her obvious affection for me have made me experience feelings of love and romance that I haven’t felt in so, so long.
We met on the online art site, deviantart.com. She was very depressed and having a very hard time with life. We messaged back and forth for a while, but it was sporadic and I could tell that she was in crisis. I sent her my phone number and told her to call me anytime if she needed to talk. A few weeks later I received a call from her. It was an amazing conversation.
Ellie lives in Alberta, Canada, about five hours north of Edmonton. She is originally from Quebec and has only been speaking English daily for a few years, but you wouldn’t know it from her accent; she has the typical Canadian English accent. The reason I mention this is that during the first phone call, she asked if she could sing to me and she sang a song in French. It was beautiful! Here was this woman singing to me! It was sweet and immediately endeared her to me.
She couldn’t call me often because her cell phone plan didn’t have many minutes on it, but she called at least once a week even though the calls were costing her a lot of money. This was so amazing to me because here was a woman who was spending money that she really didn’t need to just to talk to me. After a month or so she told me that it would be a while before she could call again due to finances. She said that she had started a new job and would be saving money and hopefully would be able to afford a better plan and would be able to call me more often.
We still messaged each other on the art site, but a good month or so went by without us being able to talk. Finally she called and told me that she had a new plan with unlimited minutes. The calls started to come in two or three times a week. We talk about so many different things. Her problems, my problems, our likes and dislikes. We share a real love for music and art. We talked about everything that good friends talk about.
She offered unconditional love to me. She made the effort to call me (I couldn’t call her because her work schedule changed every week, sometimes she worked days, sometimes nights). This meant so much to me because the love my wives offered me always seemed to be conditional somehow. It was always me who was expected to make things happen in the relationship. Ellie made it clear though her actions and words that she liked me just as I am with no expectations and no conditions.
There is something else I should tell you about Ellie. She is almost 30 years younger than me.
So, I love Ellie. I’m in love with Ellie. The chances of us ever even meeting are pretty remote so my fantasies of being with her, being her cuddle buddy, as we have decided we would love to be, are likely never to be realized. I know this. I understand this. My experience and rationality tell me this is so. Then something wonderful happened.
About a week ago, we were talking about how my therapist thinks that I need to start dating and how I’m really scared about putting my heart out there again after all the pain and betrayal. Then she said the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me. She said, “If you do get together with someone and she breaks your heart I want you to remember that I will always love you and that I will always be here to fix your broken heart.” Wow!
The next night she called again. The conversation was unlike anything I would have ever expected.
She made it very clear that she didn’t just love me, she is in love with me. She said our age difference didn’t matter to her. It was completely and totally mind blowing.
We all have dreams and fantasies that we run through our heads like a soundtrack to a favorite movie over and over again. I’m talking about things that you don’t think or have any reason to believe will ever come true, but are secret desires that you dream about happening. Every detail is gone over in your mind in the minutest detail. Every word of every imagined conversation is as well known as if you were the world’s greatest actor learning a script. At least that is how my mind works. I am sure everyone has something like these dreams, but have you ever had one actually come true?
I have. True down the smallest detail. To have something that I never, ever thought could really happen actually happen as I imagined it totally and completely blew my mind. I’m still reeling, wondering if I just hallucinated the entire conversation, but I know it’s real because I have the records of the calls in my phone, and the texts we exchanged as well. Every word she said to me had been spoken by her in my dreams. I’m still trying to convince myself that it all really happened. It’s dizzying; it’s a little scary, but most of all it’s beautiful.
There are no expectations, no pressure. It is understood that we are not and cannot be exclusively bound to each other. The distance makes this almost impossible. To try to do otherwise would be a sure recipe for disaster. So it is what it is and we have decided to just accept it as it is and enjoy it.
Of course, my fantasies of us someday being together have only increased. Rationally I know the odds are very, very slim that we will ever get to do anything more that visit each other once or twice a year if we are lucky, but the irrational part of my brian is the part that is apparently driven by love and the idea of love. It is this that drives me crazy. Not in the sense of being annoyed, but in the sense of my wants and desires crashing full on into the real world we live in.
I tell myself that I never thought she could or would be in love with me, but she is, so why can’t the other dreams come true? Reality tells me that the chances of them coming true are millions to one against. In the real world, her being in love with me is a fluke of nature not to be repeated again in a lifetime and that the idea that anything else could also come to be is so remote as to be impossible. Still, my heart can’t help but hope for the wildest dreams to come true.
So there is this crazy dichotomy between reality and desires. One minute I’m living here in the real world and know that most likely within a year, she will have found a young guy her own age and will be off with him, and I am totally ok with that because I want more than anything for her to be happy. The next minute however I am living in a world where somehow she and I are together, happy and in love. It is like being asleep and dreaming, but then you wake up enough just to know that you were dreaming and then you are asleep and back to dreaming again. This keeps on going in a continuous cycle of dreaming; awake, dreaming; awake. It is beautiful and maddening all at the same time.
The problem is that love isn’t rational, it is emotional. It is one of the most powerful emotions any of us can ever know. Love is irrational by it’s very nature.
So, here I am, in love and going crazy. It’s beautiful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.