Polly answered that question beautifully. But if I may address this directly:
Even after all this time, not a single night has gone by that I don't cry myself to sleep wondering what happened in those hours between "I can't wait to see you" to "I don't want to see you ever again.
I can answer that question. A terrible, hurtful, selfish person continued to be a terrible, hurtful, selfish person. Nothing changed in those hours. Absolutely nothing at all.
Wow, I just want to add myself to the list of people who are reading this right now and sending you their love and support, whatever you might choose.
@Mignon Kitsune Barnett@facebook Well aren't you charming.
@blueblazes Seconding a bar! I feel like it's not exactly good advice, but there you go. What was different is that he wasn't hitting on me, and I wasn't hitting on him - we were in a group of people, and I looked over and there was just something about the animation of his face and brightness in his eyes that made me think: I want to talk to him. That was it - not, I want to jump his bones (although eventually, of course, I did) just - I think he'd be interesting to talk to. And he was.
This is really fucking great. My one complaint about it is that it ends too soon, by which I mean that if you wanted to write a book about this, I would read it.
Meh, I disagree. Bad on the two of them for behaving badly when they got together, and bad on Polly for dismissing it. "Being in love" isn't an excuse to act selfishly, it's just another thing (like money, like power, like the last great pair of shoes at a sale) that we trample over other people to get. Their lies weren't that terrible, but they were still lies told in the service of selfishness; when they chose each other over the hurt they were inflicting on the LW, they were still choosing their own pleasure over her pain.
Is that unforgivable? Not necessarily. Would most of us have done the same thing? Depressingly, probably yes. Still, it sucks to be brought face-to-face with the hard truth that at some point, two people she loved thought, "What I'm about to do will hurt my friend - should I do it anyway?" and decided her unhappiness was a reasonable trade for what they stood to get.
God I love this advice. I read the letter and I was sure there was going to be some squishy Sugar-style "wanting to leave is enough" empowerment and instead it was so serious and real and laid out the possibilities without either fearmongering or soft-pedaling about how hard it would be.
The only thing I would add is that I think it's important, with this much time invested and a child involved, that she not unilaterally decide to leave the relationship, at least not until she's tried to fix it _with_ her husband. Like, he has a right to know how she's feeling, and to make his best damned effort to make things right. Maybe he won't be able to, or maybe he'll want out as well eventually, but to me that's what defines acting honorably in a serious relationship - all the decisions, even the one to end it, should be made together.
Dear LW, regardless of how Angela-like and yelly you are, this sentence:
"WTF are you doing, Carl Sagan says we are all composed of stardust, you could be snorting cocaine and painting murals naked in the desert, and instead you're spending the twilight of your youth worried about manual revisions?"
makes me love you. I think that Polly's advice is perfect, but I also bet you aren't as bad as you think you are.
@melis I can see where that was confusing - I meant my SECRET THEORY, not that the sex is secret. And my theory is that while everyone is reading these as proto-BDSM submission fantasies (girls just wanna get beaten up and hurt and thrown around by their lovers, aka 50 shades) I think there's actually a lot of confused desire to dominate written between the lines. Like, all the girls want is to be capital-W worshipped and have the guys falling at their feet panting and begging for a single touch, and the girl is austere and powerful in the relationship because the guy is so overcome by desire. I think the book's young fans could work this out a lot more healthily by getting a working relationship with kink and consent, instead of learning the message that the only way to get that kind of satisfaction is to have a semi-stalker who can only think about you.
If this thread turns super-trashy, I will share my opinions about the secret sexual meanings behind the Twilight phenomenon, but I'm not doing that in the inaugural comment.
Instead, I will just say - Nicole, did you ever (or have you ever talked about) doing a Classic Trash on The Prince of Tides? I could have sworn that I learned about it from you but Google isn't being helpful. But it is both SO GREAT and SO TRASHY. I read it over break and it was the kind of glorious reading experience I haven't been able to recreate since I was in junior high.