- 7 years ago
Let me start off by saying that I… I’m sorry. I know this is a board full of married and engaged women. Or a board with single women full of good intentions. I used to fall into that category. I used to be a good person. I never, EVER thought I would find myself in this situation. So I’m sorry for how offensive this post will be. I’m so sorry. I’m already starting to cry. Please, forgive me. I know if I were married and reading this, I’d be livid.
I’ll also add that I am a single, twenty-something young woman who lives at home, has a history of emotional and physical abuse from her family, deals with eating disorders and anxiety, and has very little relationship experience. NONE OF THIS EXCUSES MY ACTIONS. None of it. I’m just trying to paint you all a picture of my mental state, especially when I began this relationship.
I met a man online last October. I will call him Ryan. Ryan and I met on an erotica website. I read some of his stories and his sexual interests, and was immediately turned on by his style and his kinks. I was going through a tough time. My parents were fighting constantly, the guy I was talking to was pressuring me to give him my virginity (we weren’t in a relationship by any means, he was just a sleaze), my bulimic tendencies were flaring up, and I was trying to graduate college. My self-esteem was low, my stress level was high, and I needed escapism. David IM’d me one night after I sent him my contact info.
Immediately, we flirted and had chemistry. A few minutes in, Ryan told me he was married. Every other man I’ve talked to online that admits to being married or engaged usually gets a few words of disgust from me and then I swiftly block him. This time… I told him I didn’t care.
Later that night Ryan and I had phone sex. It was, as pathetic as this will sound to some of you, incredibly hot. We were on the phone for hours, laughing and flirting and then turning one another on again and again. He told me about his background, his wife, and his health condition. His wife, who I’ll call Julia, is a hardcore, born-again Christian who rarely, if ever, will have sex with Ryan. Ryan has to beg and plead with her for sex. He also has a health condition where he’s in a lot of pain all the time, and sometimes he has insomnia from it. He told me how intimate touches, even just a massage, or someone stroking his skin – not even sex – can help, and how she has had severe issues with touching since they married. Ryan was, at the time, finishing school and depending on Julia for health insurance. In four years, their marriage had gone from bad to worse.
I have to stop and say that I too am a Christian. I know how hypocrticial and disgusting that is, being religious and engaging in this kind of behavior. I beat myself up for it CONSTANTLY. My self-esteem is so low, and I struggle with my weight and confidence. So Ryan’s instant sweetness, and his story about his wife (which I do believe) endeared me.
But after another phone conversation and two discussions online, I cut him off, for reasons that are too long here. Basically, I was influenced by the bad guy I mentioned earlier. I cut Ryan off in a way that is uncharacteristic for me. I just completely shut him out of my life, and ignored him when he tried to talk to me on the website. He never had my cell number (I always called him restricted) and I blocked him on IM. The guilt was what fueld me; what kind of person was I, doing this kind of a thing with a married man?
That fall, I had the worst insomnia. It was anxiety-induced. Things were bad. I finally shut out the other guy in my life at that point, after he took playing with my emotions too far. At this point, Ryan and I had talked once or twice via private message, but in the middle of December, I realized how BADLY I wanted to talk to him. I sent him my phone number, and that night, we talked again. It felt so amazing. And so emotional. We talked for hours. I cried, apologizing to him for how cruel I had been. He forgave me, and told me he missed me.
He grew very sick after Christmas. Ryan is on anti-depressants and for a few weeks, they couldn’t afford to buy anymore of his medication. He called me, sick and sounding weary. He told me he had had thoughts of suicide. It broke my heart. I swear to you all, he is a WONDERFUL, loving, funny, sweet man in a hellish situation. I feel badly for his wife too. I really do. They’re just two people who never should have married, and she in particular is a bit emotionally unstable. (I know, that sounds rich coming from me.)
One night in March, I told him I felt like he was someone I could fall in love with. And a few weeks later, we told one another we love each other.
And then guilt slapped me in the face.
I remember standing in my church hall, watching a married couple stand hand-in-hand, and feeling like the worst person on earth. Wondering how horrified the woman a few feet away from me would be if I hit on her husband, or if she found out her husband had a phone girlfriend on the side. My religious guilt, and just my conscience, kicked in full-force. I emailed Ryan that night, telling him I felt like a hypocrite and that we needed to just be friends. I told him I wanted to support him. He is a lonely man, who moved to a state of his wife’s choosing, and had no real friends or family around him, except Julia’s parents. He had told me before that I was his only real friend. So I thought, foolishly, that I could keep it platonic.
Within a half hour of our phone call, my will gave out. I wanted him. Fiercely.
A few weeks later, I called him crying, trying to end the sexual side of our relationship again. I cried myself to sleep that night, praying to God to heal the pain in my heart. The next morning I texted Ryan, telling him I felt terrible for hurting him, and I was so confused. Then he called me and, just as before, we gave into one another.
I was in a car accident on April Fools Day. A car slammed into me as I was making a left turn. As soon as I crawled out the passenger’s side door (my entire car frame tweaked and I couldn’t open the drivers side) I immediately thought it was punishment from God for my relationship with Ryan.
Two weeks later, my priest told a story of a saint who was a prostitute. The woman was beautiful and became very wealthy from selling her body to men. According to the story, she followed a group of men on a pilgrimage, thinking she would seduce them one by one. When the men entered a church, the prostitute was overwhelmed by the icon of the Virgin Mary, and physically could NOT enter the church. She prayed and repented, from the bottom of her heart, and was finally able to enter. She died in the desert, after giving her life to Christ and living a life of near-solitude.
The story struck a nerve with me. I quickly left the church, crying. I’ve never had sex in my life, but I felt like a prostitute, a complete whore. My feelings for Ryan don’t excuse the fact that he’s married. I wrote him an email on my phone, telling him everying I was feeling, and begging him to not speak to me on the phone for one week.
He wrote back, emotionally, telling me how tired he was of feeling sick, of how he wanted to believe in God, but how at the age of 29, he felt 80 years old. His condition, and his marriage, have left him feeling bitter, when he is generally laid-back and sweet. But he had a houseguest come for two weeks, and we didn’t talk at all.
The first week, I tried my best not to text Ryan. If I was tempted, I would distract myself. One day, he sent me some very suggestive texts, and I nearly gave in, but held back. I was proud of myself. I was winning.
And then… something changed. I realized I was miserable without him. I realized how badly I wanted to hear his voice, his laugh, the way he says my name. I was texting him frantically and he didn’t respond for a few days. When we finally, finally spoke, I was a mess. I had sent him a text telling him how I felt I was falling for him, and how I couldn’t handle anything, how I felt like a disaster inside.
He called me, telling me he had just come from a job interview. He’d landed the position. And by the end of that hour-long phone call, we’d agreed to go back to the way things were. I professed my guilt. I said, “If I really loved you and if I was a really good person, I’d encourage you to fix things with Julia and stop tempting you.” Ryan assured me that even before he met Julia, he was planning on leaving her ALL ALONG – he’d given her an ultimatum a year before. He told her she had to change, or he’d leave once he got a job. Julia hadn’t changed, and now Ryan was employed. I promised him that every time I felt doubt, I’d talk to him about it, instead of just cutting him off at random.
Ryan’s job started, and I was insecure. I felt desperate to have the closeness we shared back, the way he doted on me. But he was in training, tired, and his condition wasn’t doing well under the stress of a new job and a new schedule. His hours were always erratic, and now he had to be at work the same time every day, all day. He was getting exhausted, and I was getting paranoid.
We hit some speedbumps. When he’d take days to respond to a text, I’d feel rejected and I’d cry. I finally emailed him about it and we talked it out. Things would get better, then they’d regress again.
But finally, last month, things got bad on an entirely different plane.
Ryan and I didn’t communicate except for texts over the course of two weeks. He told me he was sick and tired. I was going through a HORRIFIC time at home. My house almost burned down, and my parents were (are) on the verge of a divorce. My depression was at an all-time high, and I myself was adjusting to some medication I’d been taking since my car accident. I grew desperate to talk to Ryan. I felt hurt and abandoned.
When we spoke a week and a half later, I found out he’d been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The entire time, we thought he had another neurological disorder entirely. The idea of Ryan having CP sent me into tears. It was awful.
Luckily, blessedly, Ryan had an MRI a few days ago, and found out his spine and brain are normal. He’s frustrated and distant. When he gets depressed, he’s told me he just shuts down completely. He’s mad because the doctors still don’t know what’s wrong with him, and he spends most of his time in bed, asleep, and can barely walk without a cane. His wife’s father accused him of being a hypochondriac. His wife expects him to cook and clean for her, and I can hear in his voice he’s MISERABLE.
A week and a half ago, Ryan called me, wanting me. It was the first time in a while. We talked for two hours after, and I hung up the phone feeling deeper in love with him. He had promised me to keep in touch with me more, and he told me again and again he loved me. And of course, we didn’t talk again until a few days ago.
I am so conflicted. A woman I met at random yesterday told me she was a Christian. For some reason, I opened up to her, and found myself crying in the middle of a Barnes and Noble. She is the only person I have ever told about Ryan – this perfect stranger who was just kind to me out of the blue. She said, “Promise me in thirty days, you’ll end this with him. You are a beautiful person with a big heart, and that is why people take advantage of your kindness. You’re co-dependent, and you need to be alone for a year. You’re in a toxic relationship, and you need to be in a GOOD, HEALTHY one with a man who uplifts you.” It was the strangest thing, but talking to this woman, who I’ll call Laura, gave me the most soothing, calm, peaceful feeling. She said it was the Holy Spirit. And maybe it was. I went to Barnes and Noble on a whim, and we just spoke to one another out of the blue. Maybe it was meant to happen. Because I’ve prayed about this so much, and yet I’ve felt so disconnected from God, and from my family.
I’ve been crying every. Single. DAY. For months. Every day. My mental state is in shambles, and Ryan is a big part of it, whether I feel guilt over the love he expresses for me, or whether I feel paranoid that he’s ignoring me when he’s just sick. I KNOW THIS NEEDS TO END.
I can’t bare the thought of hurting Ryan though, when I feel he needs me most. He tells me every time we talk he loves me. How can I leave him now? And yes, truthfully, I FEAR BEING ALONE.
What do I do? I’m begging you, please tell me what to do. Please. I know I sound crazy and hypocrticial and disgusting. I KNOW I’M A BAD PERSON.
But I swear, I’m trying to turn it around. I know I’m settling for less than I deserve, and I KNOW I’m hurting an innocent woman, no matter what kind of a partner she is to Ryan. And even though I feel like I’m helping Ryan with his depression by being in his life, I know spiritually I’m hurting him too.
I’m sorry this is so endlessly long. This has been pent up for months. I have a wonderful mother and amazing friends, and I cannot breathe a word of this to any of them.
I just hope God can forgive me.