Thursday, July 14, 2005

Has my relationship with boyfriend number 1 broken down?

I’m now in Bangkok international airport, waiting for my connecting flight back to London. I made a decision on the flight between Phnom Penh and Bangkok – to try and get a bit of emotional support and advice from someone I trust. But who? In the end I turn to an old university friend who’s had his share of (heterosexual) relationship turmoil, so I phone him from Bangkok.

He’s slightly surprised to hear my voice.

“Are you busy”, I ask.

“No not really. Where are you?”

“Bangkok! I’ve just been on a three and a half week holiday in Indochina.”

“Wow”. Silence. “It’s always nice to hear from you”, he continues, “but are you calling for any particular reason?”

“Errr, yes actually. I think you know I’ve been with boyfriend number 1 since 1989, but I’ve just been away on this holiday without him. The truth is that I’ve been on this holiday with another guy and boyfriend number 1 doesn’t know. Do you think I should tell him when I get back to London?”

Stunned slience. But I know this friend really enjoys these kind of situations. He always has.

A couple of years ago this friend told me about his brother’s divorce. His brother had been going through a rocky period with his wife, and as a side effect of the difficult domestic situation the guy ended up having just one shag with another woman. He found shagging this other woman after many years of monogamy a liberating experience and he needed to discuss with someone. Naturally enough he choses his brother (my friend). The only problem was that when he eventually got round to discussing it with his brother they were both slightly drunk, and also slightly too loud. The wife ended up hearing everything and she demanded a divorce the next day.

Complete turmoil from a single shag. So what on earth do I deserve? The first advice my friend gives me is very practical.

“Well will you get found out? If you are going to get found out, it’s better that he hears it from your lips. It can be very easy for the genie to escape from the bottle, an e-mail sent to a wrong address which gets seen by him, a txt msg he picks up on your mobile phone when you’re at the gym ....”

“I haven’t told you this before”, I say, “but I haven’t been very faithful to him for ages. I’m used to keeping my activities from him, but a three and a half week holiday with another man is probably past the point of no return isn’t it? Perhaps all this is just symptomatic of relationship breakdown?”

I don’t tell my friend about this blog. Looking at it in the cold light of day, I can’t help thinking that this blog is perhaps another symptom of relationship breakdown.

“I never thought the two of you had much in common”, he says. I can see the gloves are off now! But perhaps he’s right?

Talking to my friend is quite theraputic. My tentative decision to discuss things more truthfully with boyfriend number 1 does seem correct. I’ve also had a few e-mails from readers of this blog who reckon I’m not being fair to boyfriend number 1.

I don’t know what’ll happen next, but it’s definitely time to try and sort things out, for better or worse.

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