Life begins at forty? In my case it has begun again at 58. In the last twelve months I have lived in a fool's paradise, cut off from reality, oblivious of my life up to then, as though I was in a dream from which I couldn't manage to wake up, despite reality's call to bring me back to my senses. The harder it tried, the faster I clung to my delusion.
I had caught the love bug for an internet Casanova. The initial symptoms were rapid heartbeat, excitement, intoxication, light-headedness. The outward symptoms were rapid weight loss, insomnia, extreme mood swings. It soon developed into an obsessive addiction. Hours upon hours of online chatting, text-messaging, phone calls. I saw nothing else. Everyday life was going to the dogs. A rock-solid relationship that had lasted over a quarter of a century was neglected, barely tolerated, even resented by the new person I had become. My marriage was tethering on the verge of disaster.
I was behaving like an irresponsible, uncontrollable teen-ager. My husband had become, in my eyes, my jailer, my stern-faced judge, my enemy. He couldn't understand what was going on, he only saw our relationship was quickly eroding and was trying to reach out and save me from myself. He has been there throughout my period of irrationality, gone through pangs of all kinds but has staunchily refused to let go of me. My hero. My knight in shining armour. A beacon in my darkness.
When the truth emerged - I have never been a skilful liar - he didn't spurn me, nor did he insult or threaten me. He was even prepared to step aside and let me start a new life with this person, had he been convinced it would be the right thing for me. Instead he quickly realised the awful danger I was heading for. He saw no prospect, no positive future for me. He needed to protect me, his sense of responsibility overcame humiliation and frustration. He didn't want to lose all that we shared, love as well as material wealth.
Luckily for me, the love bug suddenly stopped being virulent. I'd still be hooked, hadn't the internet Casanova quickly decided to dump me - for this I am thankful. I slowly came out of my comatose state to the painful realisation that nothing I had believed was true: I had fallen for a complete scam. I felt hurt and disappointed like a child who discovers Santa Claus doesn't exist.
Now I can build back on what is left of my relationship. Although I'm still hurting, I know my feelings for my husband have been strengthened and I am so grateful he hasn't given up on me, despite the ordeal. We are planning to spend a lot of time together, find our intimacy again, never hide anything from each other, no matter how painful. He is my universe, my lover, my eternal hero.
I love you, darling.