M and I soon settled into a routine of spending the weekends together and an occasional weeknight.
With my children home much of the time and living an hours drive apart our time in each others company was somewhat limited. M had met the boys before, and they thought he was wonderful. On the weekends they were home he would come up on the saturday night and spend the sunday with us, the boys really enjoyed his company too and he was very fond of them and their characters. He didn’t have his own children, and he never tried to behave like a dad to them, but he was a positive male role model for them at a time when that was lacking from their dad, P. I also really appreciated his support when times were challenging with the boys. Someone who knew them but wasn’t directly involved, and wouldn’t tell me that I was doing it all wrong or laugh at me when I found it hard.
And things were very hard at times.
My eldest was waiting for an appointment with the autism diagnosis team. He has always been a wonderful little boy but I had known something was a little bit different from a very early age. Some of his behaviours were particularly difficult to manage, and without a diagnosis support is incredibly hard to come by. Add to that P had convinced my family that I was imagining things and there was no reason for anybody to pay attention to what I was saying. So having those strong arms to wrap me up when the job of being mum was almost overwhelming was just what I needed.
As lovers first, friends second and significant others third there was a strong bond in place already.
As two quiet souls we enjoyed companionable silence, we also enjoyed heated debate and decent conversations. Cooking meals for each other became almost a competition, we quickly discovered that our book shelves contained some of the same recipe books so would try to better the last offering. Aside form prawns and olives we had very similar taste so it was always going to be a treat whoever cooked. As a single mum with two fussy children I had rarely had the time or inclination to cook a decadent meal for myself, and as a bachelor M had little motivation either. How things changed, along with our waistlines… It was a comfortable situation to be in, but our trousers did not offer the same comfort.
Kink wise I stepped away from the community I had started to engage with.
Not because he asked me to, on the contrary he was very supportive of me getting to munches and events. The problem came with my mindset. I did not get a large amount of child-free time, and it was certainly never something I could plan aside from the occasional weekend. I was also not used to being in a close relationship where I had freedom, where it was taken as given that I had strength and confidence. Yes, I had been owned by sir for almost 2 years, but our dynamic was not one of comfortable silences and gentle walks in the countryside; he had trained me to please him, and empowered me to start becoming a Strong Confident Woman. My brain did not compute and everything was very intense. I can see now the difference between love and attachment but at that point M and I were drowning in each other.
When the opportunities arose to spend time with M, my safe space, I jumped at them.
I was coming to the end of my counselling when we got together, but I had no idea how fragile I still was, how little of my marriage I had worked through, and how angry I was with the world around me. How angry I was with myself… All of these feelings were too raw, too big and too scary to deal with, and my friend and lover M gave me hope that the world wasn’t totally dark. At this point I believed that sir had convinced myself that sir had just wanted to get rid of me because I was a rubbish sub, I knew (without a doubt) that the problems within my marriage were my fault, and that when my children acted up it was a direct reflection of my parenting.
What a weight to be placed on one man’s shoulders?!
Particularly when he had never asked for that responsibility. He had suggested we become monogamous, he loved me as fiercely as I loved him, but it must have been hard going for him. I struggled to believe that he meant what he said, that he was actually enjoying our time together. To the world I was doing well, embracing life and moving forward, but wrapped up in the deep dark embrace of depression my world began to shrink again.
M was my bright star of hope in an otherwise dark sky.