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I CONFESS: I chose the wrong man


I CONFESS: I chose the wrong man

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THE CHOICES WE make in life can make us or ruin us. I say this based on my life experience over the last decade.

At some point each day I tell myself if only I had done things differently, maybe I would be happy now. But I cannot blame anybody but myself for how my life has turned out. I made my decisions hoping for the best outcome. That didn’t happen.

Today I have no children and I’m too old to safely consider getting one. I have no partner to share the rest of my life with. I have my own home and vehicle, but scared to let anyone get too close as I fear they may be after what I own rather than wanting me. Most of all, I have no one that I am sure loves me unconditionally apart from my ageing mum. At 40-plus years old, such a lonely life certainly says a lot about me and the choices I made.

The life-changing situation I went through revolved around choosing between the two men I was involved with at the time. One was married, the other was not. The married man was in his 50s and the father figure I never had growing up. He knew about the single guy, who was in his late-30s, a couple of years older than I then was.

The older man was my mentor but our professional relationship grew into intimacy because of his caring, loving attitude. I could talk to him about everything and he used to listen even when I was being silly. For that alone I adored him.

The younger guy was really good-looking and very charming, but liked partying and just hanging out a little too much for me. So though I enjoyed his company and we went out several times, I was never intimate with him. From what he later told me, that was what kept him so interested in me as I was the only woman who refused to be intimate with him. So for him I was special.

My dilemma came when my older man’s wife died. She had been ailing for some time, but when it happened he was devastated. Though he had two adult children older than me, he clung to me in a way that made me realise he loved me as much as I treasured him.

The funeral and the first few months afterwards were really difficult for him but I was there every step of the way. Being constantly with him caused some disquiet among his relatives, especially his daughter, but he set her straight, telling her that she and her brother lived overseas so he needed me to be there for him since he trusted me. Realising how much their father loved me and also depended on me in his business, they slowly accepted our closeness.

During those months I hardly saw my young man, but that didn’t bother me as we were not intimate. In any case I figured he would be making the rounds with the ladies. The funny thing was that he missed me so much that he consistently called my home and office. He even once broke my rule and turned up unannounced when I had not returned his call after three days. That day he told me he loved me and wanted us to go steady, and get married a few months later.

I was stunned, but he was serious. Flattered, I told him I would think about it and let him know.

I mentioned the proposal to my older man and he immediately told me to come and live with him. I thought with his wife dying less than four months earlier that was too soon, so I resisted. My mother agreed with me, while my best friend told me to ignore my mother’s advice and anyone else’s and go with the man I love. So I did.

For the next seven years and four months we had a great life together. Though people often referred to me as his daughter when we went out, we were never embarrassed. I enjoyed him and at the same time grew professionally as he taught me everything he knew, and even sent me on courses to improve my skills.

About a year after I made that move, my young man – who I dissed as I never got back to him about his proposal – got married. Of all the people in the world, he wed my best friend. I never even knew they were seeing each other. That hurt me somewhat as she knew he and I were dating at some point, but never told me she was interested in him; she never even hinted it. No wonder she pushed me to go and live with my old friend. He, too, knew the two of us were close and he never said in any conversation we had that he was seeing her. They clearly were doing something behind my back and were obviously too ashamed to let me know.

Despite that betrayal, I wished them well, attended the wedding, and even stood godmother for their first child.

My idyllic life crashed when my partner suffered a massive stroke and within five days died. His death put me in a spin on a personal level. It also catspraddled the business as we had extended ourselves on a project and were deep in debt. The demise of his company quickly followed him.

For months I struggled to cope. I was alone, the man I loved was dead, the company was gone, and the two other people I cared for most were together, happily married.

What a turn of fate. I went from enjoying everything to having nothing. I got caught up in the older man’s emotional needs for me and failed to dispassionately examine my young man’s proposal. Had I done so I would likely have less material wealth today, but emotionally be contented and happy.