Tales From the Front: Who’s sorry now? Part 1
We’ve heard from women who married much older men and were happy they did. Today we hear from Harlow. She’s not so happy about her decision.
Harlow said that she had doubts about Neal the minute she met him. She was 27, and he was 44, nearly a generation older. But he was financially established and energetic.
She wanted to “spice up” her life, and they began an affair. She got pregnant, and four months later they got married. It was the first marriage for both of them.
Harlow said: “I had a feeling I was making a huge mistake, but I ignored it. From the day we married I regretted not finding a partner closer to my age. Neal made me feel prematurely old every time I looked at him with his wrinkles and gray hair.”
And then there was the sex. Harlow says it was never good: “It was never about me. It was always about him.”
Neal had his friends; Harlow had hers. Harlow mentioned: “They were like oil and water. They never mixed. We both quit socializing. So then we had no friends together or apart.”
Time went by, and Harlow says that before she knew it she was 43, Neal was 60, and they had two children. She described: “Because I was inexperienced sexually when I married, I felt cheated. So I started having affairs.”
The first was when she was on a walking vacation in England. She said: “It was wonderful to be away from my life, and very flattering to receive attention from Brian, the walking leader. He was very masculine. He loved women and told me I was gorgeous. We walked through the English countryside together, dined together, drank wine together. It was like a romantic honeymoon, minus my old husband!”
For the next five years, Harlow traveled to Europe often to be with Brian. She walked with him through Italy and England. Neal turned a blind eye to her frequent vacations, which were costing him a fortune (Harlow didn’t work).
Harlow had fantasies of being with Brian forever, but it couldn’t work out. He lived too far away, and she had responsibilities at home. “My children needed me,” she said.
But Harlow was still sexually frustrated. She began going online to meet men. She noted: “That could have been very dangerous, but I found Dan, a man my age who was intelligent, affectionate and caring. My affair with him almost destroyed my marriage.”
Harlow asked Neal for a separation. He was thrilled to let her go. Harlow said: “It was painful, shameful and humiliating for a very successful businessman like Neal to have a wife who ran around. But he seemed to ultimately understand that I needed to experience these things because I didn’t have the opportunity before we married. I wasn’t a virgin, but I wasn’t experienced either.”
She moved out to be with Dan. As she describes it, her life changed: “I had a few years of fun. I met his friends. They became my friends. We were social together. He encouraged me to get back onstage, my first love. I was involved with community theater again and even ended up on a professional stage!
“We had very satisfying and intimate sex. It was gentle and passionate at the same time. Then he left me for a younger woman he worked with. Still, I don’t regret the experience, even though I was abandoned and alone after our breakup.”
To be continued...
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