An unfinished life

“It’s complicated” is how id begin telling the story to an aquaintance, but at the same time it really isn’t.

The love of my life is gone and the details are what makes it complicated.

I married at 19. A combination of low self esteem and bad relationship modeling, it was my first real boyfriend, i was pregnant and i didnt think anyone else so decent would actually want me so i went with it. I put my all in. Devoted, caring, following all the rules about being a good wife, but there were hiccups where other women “misunderstood” his friendliness, and eventually after 7 years and 2 little girls he had an affair, and left me blindsided and broken.
I got bad advice from a religious “friend” that underscored what i was already insecure about, that definitely no one of quality would want to give an overweight statistic of a young single mom a second look. I watched my mother’s trainwreck of a relationship history enough to know I would never put my kids through dodging creeps and users.
When my husband realized he made a big mistake, i told him id be open to counseling and dating again to try to rebuild trust, but he said he wouldnt leave unless he moved in immediately like nothing ever happened. It was a recession, i couldnt get a callback about a job and i didnt trust that the token child support would be consistent. So i compromised.

He continued to have 3 more emotional affairs over the years that i knew of.
I emotionally detached to save myself the continued hurt. I decided that love had to be a verb, and that nounish thing that made people in stories take risks or make unconscionable bargains was a thing in the movies.
Romantic love had to be a trick of brain chemistry that fades, always.

I put myself into the role of mother, and Godly wife. Surely if i followed all the rules, id find some joy. I put my romantic notions on the shelf. Like a childs toy or a security blanket, i accepted that “love of a lifetime” was a marketing tool and nothing more.

Since with small children i couldnt get out of the house much, my main social outlet was mmorpg games. They would become my social setting. Sometimes my job.

I played primarily with my husband, supporting his hobby with farming or managing our online “life” as an extension of our regular life.
After years of that, and a dozen different online worlds, i got into story based roleplay. I loved being a rough around the edges heroine that was brave, cunning, respected and not known as “mom” or “Mikes wife”.
“Romance rp” was common as a side flavor to personal storylines but remember, i didnt believe in love, and i already had a home and family so i didn’t care to participate in those scenarios.

Then Ald joined the guild.
He was very introverted, but his writing stood apart. It was deep, thoughtful and creative. He’d fallen into a connection with a girl i was familiar with for playing out an “epic romance” until she had a character pregnancy and got bored, then abandoned her partner and character for a new fantasy.

For some reason, i hated seeing that happen to Ald. He was different than her usual mark.

I started making an effort to include him in my adventures, engaging in out of character small talk, striking up a friendship.

He was born and lived across the ocean from me, and at 26 and finishing grad school and me 33, mother of 4 with a life lived (sort of) he seemed so young and i felt like he needed to be… sheltered?

I recognized in him, the same lack of self esteem, and i worried about what abuse he would suffer just to have a relationship. So, at first, i thought i was doing a good deed by being his friend, talking about life, and showing him that a woman should be kind and treat him with dignity.

Over more time, he became secure enough to be himself. He was just as smart as i thought, and also steadfast, patient, and caring. He surprised me with how dominant his personality was when he was comfortable enough to be himself, not at all the shy, cloying kid i thought he was at first.

Since we became such good friends, we were spending so much time together, the rumors about us were natural. We leaned into them and started allowing our characters “more”.

Months passed, and i respected and enjoyed my friend. I found myself thinking “if i was single, this is exactly what I’d want in a boyfriend”. I was catching myself thinking about him and the heat on my cheeks making me think i was coming down with a fever.

One day i noticed the excitement i felt when i saw him. Id had and seen crushes before but they always fizzle when you get used to someone, right? So I didn’t overthink it. I resolved to enjoy it until it went poof. It had only happened so rarely, and at my age probably never would again.

On christmas eve, he got into how he was lonely and would probably die alone and unloved and i couldnt help myself. I wrote him a list of 30 ways he was wonderful and told him even /I/ had a bit of a crush on him, so he had plenty to offer…

He didnt act on that. Not then. But once it was said, things changed. Before long, we were inseperable. Talking every day. We fell deeply and irrevocably in love. At last i understood all the campy relationship advice about fitting with someone, and not being constantly afraid theyll just decide not to care about you one day.

Ald loved me, fully. And chose me, daily and without doubts, from the first day he knew i was a choice, until his last day. June 3rd, 2024.

We played lots of games and had many adventures and our fantasy marriage of our main characters, for 7 years. I wrote him letters, sent cards and small gifts for birthday and christmas. He refused anything remotely extravagent or money. He was grossly adverse to how it would look if he accepted.
He wanted only my heart and company.

Our journey to be together was long. I had to create an entire career at 35 through a pandemic to eventually be together.

He respected my comittment to my children first, so we waited until we could do things “right”. I had to have a legal divorce that wouldnt screw over my kids, and i had to have an income enough to legally sponsor him (and support my kids), and all of that took time. Time we took for granted.

We had years of plans laid out. How my trip to europe to see him and meet his family would go down, what the child we hoped was possible to have would be like, our future home, adventures, our marriage, our sex life, the type of food i wanted to make for him…

On my 41st birthday, i was having a terrible day at work, where every small thing that could go wrong did. I was looking forward to my commute call, but he said he wasnt feeling well enough to talk. I was actually so annoyed about it, he made an effort to make it up to me over the next three days, despite chest pain and fatigue. I asked him to go to the hospital, but his family didnt think it was serious enough to take him, or call an ambulence. I told him he had to take care of himself for me, i needed him. “At least ill be at peace…”
I didnt like that.

He seemed to be feeling better over the weekend. We spent our usual ten hour calls of saying not much, just being together. Saying silly pet names to break up the silence like… “love of my life” “sweetheart? No, nothing. Just wanted to remind you that you were…”

Today, i would trade the world to go back to one of those days, and call the ambulance my damn self.
So now, i guess i understand love as a noun. That thing that makes people make compromises, to love someone so truly, madly, deeply, that nothing is so precious as they.

To quote one of his favorites: “When the sun sets, no candle can replace it.”

I feel like my future is stolen. Like the time i spent in school to get a solid job was wasted. Im adrift. And i don’t know where to go from here.

Please ask questions if you have them. Talking about him is the only thing that seems to help.

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Hi there, sadly welcome to here, the place none of us expected to be. It may feel complicated but the details aren’t really what matter, none of us has lived an uncomplicated life, love is where it is. You have lost your partner, your life, and that is always going to be the biggest shit show that anyone can ever be cast in.

You have everything outlined in the experience you lived together, you will always have that, your love for him shines through, he will have known that, how it is to be loved. Nothing was wasted and there really is nothing you could have done, it’s a commonality that we all share and in the end come to terms with. It takes time and effort, a willingness to accept not only loss but thanks, that to have been in love is never really lost.


Thank you. Besides the guilt, and the pain, my biggest worry is how i will manage to keep it together at work.

And on the back end, why do even care about my job when the reason i needed and wanted it was gone.

I don’t know your situation and being UK based have little in the way of understanding and so advice. But don’t be worried about keeping it together, let the grief take you away, there really is little to be done in that regard.

There’s no need to care about much other than yourself, remember that you are the reason that he felt loved, believe in that for the moment. As i said it takes time, be kind to yourself, give yourself the space that you need, be open and honest. Try ways to cope, if they don’t work, learn and try something else. There’s not much else you can do to move forward.

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Im in the us under an at will contract based employment that yall in the UK will find shameful.

Im paid 32$ an hour for hours worked. No benefits or health or leave at all. I went to night school to get this far and doubled my “with benefits” salary of 16$ an hour.
Suffice to say, ive worked very hard to better myself, because of him, because thats what i needed to do to get our happy ending.

To be honest, I only have a tenuous understanding of what that implies. But it sounds similar to my situation, I’m employed freelance and although I have access to healthcare and the welfare state and it’s vagaries have little else in the way of security. I’d imagine that it pales in comparison to the situation you inhabit, but I have to work to have a liveable income. It can be done, it distorts and deranges, but it can be done.

From what you relate, you have proved that you have it in you to overcome obstacles, keep hold of that as time spools out. The best advice I ever had from this forum was that the future will take care of itself. This is not the end, your love for each other will find a home within you and you will find a way to carry it with you.


Hope this doesn’t come across as glib, but you might find this book a good read, I did:

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Thanks, ill check it out.