I Left My Boyfriend Of 8 Years For A Woman And I Wish I’d Done It Sooner

I was 22 when I met my ex-boyfriend and we were inseparable pretty much immediately. Within three months of dating, we’d moved in together and were pretty much sure we’d spend the rest of our lives together. I loved so much about him — his amazing sense of humor, how ambitious he was, how much he loved his family, the way he always knew how to cheer me up when I was in a bad mood, the list goes on and on. While our honeymoon period lasted longer than most, we eventually settled down into a comfortable and content partnership that I never imagined leaving. Eight years down the line, however, that’s exactly what happened.

It started at spin class. I used to take a 7:30 a.m. spin class at the gym before heading to work three days a week, and there was another woman there who always ended up on the bike next to me. At first, we’d just give each other a cursory nod as we got our bikes set up before class started, but eventually we started chatting in the few minutes before the instructor started. I found out she was a year older than me, worked as a photographer, and absolutely hated getting up early but forced herself to come to spin because she knew she wouldn’t work out later in the afternoon. For a while, that’s all there was to it.

A few months later, we forged a real friendship. Chatting before spin turned into grabbing coffee in the gym’s cafe after class before rushing off to work. At one point, she asked if I wanted to go to a Florence and the Machine concert because she had a spare ticket and I said yes. I didn’t have many friends in the area and the ones I did have had kids, stressful jobs, or other responsibilities that kept them from hanging out all that much. I jumped at the opportunity to make more connections in my town, and not only was my new friend super easy to get along with, I found myself wanting to be around her whenever I could.

My boyfriend was excited that I’d found a new friend. We’d moved to our town about six months previously but since he’d gone to college there, he already had plenty of connections in the area. The fact that I was a bit more introverted and less familiar with the area meant that making a new friend for me was a big deal. He always encouraged me to see what my gym buddy was up to and to hang out with her.

The night of the concert changed everything. I met up with her at a bar around the corner from the concert venue and we had a few drinks. She looked amazing, I have to admit — her jeans fit perfectly, her hair fell around her shoulders as if she’d just come from the salon, and her eyes were bright and happy. We got a little tipsy before heading to the show and grabbed another drink when we got there. It was incredible — we sang and danced together, our bodies getting closer and closer, and at one point Florence Welch told the audience to kiss someone standing next to them and, well, we listened. My friend pulled me right up against her and stuck her tongue in my mouth and instead of hating it, I realized I’d been hoping that would happen all along.

Things got extremely confusing very quickly. While things weren’t necessarily awkward between me and my new friend, they were suddenly very complicated. I realized I could have brushed it off as a fun, drunk thing that had no meaning to it. She was always open about being gay but I also knew she wasn’t in a relationship and wasn’t in a hurry to be in one, so I certainly didn’t think it meant anything to her either. However, I just couldn’t cheapen what happened between us that way. I liked kissing her and I actually wanted to do it (and more) again.

I told her I needed time to think. I’ve always been pretty comfortable with my sexuality so I didn’t feel weird about the fact that I’d just kissed a girl (and liked it, heh), but I also always felt sure I was very straight. I was also in a relationship with a guy I really loved and cared about and I never wanted to do anything to hurt him. My head was absolutely screwed. She was really understanding when I said I needed to think things through, and to be honest, my boyfriend didn’t even notice I was being somewhat quiet over the next few weeks as I tried to wrap my head (and my heart) around my feelings.

I couldn’t get her off my mind. No matter how hard I tried, my mind just wouldn’t stop replaying our kiss over and over again. I would get so turned on just thinking about the way she looked at the concert and the way she grabbed me and pulled me toward her when she kissed me. I was desperate to be even closer to her, to find out what it would be like to really touch her… and that was a problem. I’m mature enough to know that it’s natural to find other people attractive when you’re in a relationship, but I also know that wanting to act on it the way I was didn’t bode well.

I came clean to my boyfriend. I told him about kissing my friend at the concert and how it made me feel. I expected him to be furious, to forbid me from ever seeing her again, but to be honest, he just seemed sad. I felt awful for kissing her, especially when part of me knew deep down that it was way more than a drunken meaningless kiss. I tried to keep the details as minimal as possible to avoid hurting him even more, but I also had to be honest about the fact that I had realized that I was hopelessly in love with this woman. It wasn’t just the kiss I was obsessing over anymore — it was her laugh, her quick brain, the way my whole body felt like it was on fire whenever she was around me. It was, to be honest, a heightened version of the way I felt when I first met my boyfriend.

I ended my relationship with my boyfriend. While I could have stayed with him and asked for more time, part of me knew how I really felt and what I needed to do. I broke up with my boyfriend and apologized profusely for how things had gone down. Obviously, I’d never planned on falling in love with a woman and I surely never wanted to hurt him. I would have to live with the fact that I had, but I also knew the opposite — pretending I was still happy with him when I was in love with someone else — wasn’t something I could handle. Even if my friend told me she didn’t want to be with me, a whole new part of me had opened up and I had to see it through.

I confessed my feelings to my friend. After texting and asking to meet up for a drink a few nights later, I met up with my “friend” and told her how I was feeling. I admitted that I couldn’t stop thinking about our kiss at the concert and how much I wanted to do it again… and more. I said I knew it might not have meant anything to her but that I was pretty sure I was in love with her. I expected her to reject me, to pat my head and send me on my way as some confused little bisexual, but she didn’t. She told me in so many words that she felt the same way but never would have wanted to come between me and my boyfriend so she never planned on mentioning it. That night, she kissed me again and again at the bar and then took me home with her.

We’ve been together now for three years. My “friend” is now my long-term girlfriend and I can’t express how happy I am. The feelings I have for her, even years later, are beyond anything I’ve ever experienced with anyone else in my life. Yes, the sex is mind-blowing, but so is the deep emotional connection we share. I can’t even put into words how she makes me feel. Waking up to her every morning in our bed is a gift I only wish I could have started to experience earlier. Everything happens for a reason, though, I guess. Oh, and my ex-boyfriend is now engaged to another woman, I saw on Facebook, so it seems like everything has worked out for him too.

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