I love my sister-in-law and she knows

I'm 46 and my SIL is ten years older. I began crushing on her not long after we met in 2005. Between 2010-12 I worked for her and her then-partner and often stayed over at their house. I spent a lot of time alone with SIL at this time, and my crush grew out of control when she and her partner broke up and I had to comfort her when she was upset. However, my passion for her was still secret at this point.

I'm not a good man or looking for sympathy, but one afternoon as I walked home from shopping during a day off, I stopped at a park bench that overlooks the town and broke down in tears. If I continued up the hill (as I knew I must), I'd reach my wife and our house. But really I wanted to head two miles west, to SIL's door, to tell her how I felt and to ask her to take me in, take me on.

I knew I was in love with SIL and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

In 2016, there was a terrible fight in my wife and SIL's family and they became estranged.

A couple of years later, SIL began asking me by text why her sister wouldn't speak to her any more. The problem had nothing to do with my feelings for her. I could understand my wife's point of view but I didn't want to explain it to SIL for fear of hurting her.

However, I did arrange to meet her one afternoon, in secret, to discuss the family problem. But I cancelled when I realised I would only use the occasion to tell SIL that I loved her, something I knew would shock her and really hurt my wife if she found out.

We lost contact for about a year after that. But then SIL began texting me to find out how her family were. This was at the start of the pandemic and she was worried about them, but I also felt she was fishing for info about their lives that it wasn't my place to give, given that they didn't want any contact with her. (I adore her, but she can be quite difficult and controlling, which was at the root of the family problem.)

One night she texted after I'd been drinking. I felt stressed (poor me!) at being caught in the middle of the argument yet again. I didn't want to hurt her by telling her that her sister still wanted no contact, but I didn't want my evasive answers to imply I disliked her or didn't sympathise with her. So instead I wrote and sent her a long email explaining how deeply I loved her and how utterly I missed and longed for her. I told her about crying for her on the park bench. I told her I wished we were married. I told her EVERYTHING!

I'd always thought that she secretly suspected I had a slight crush on her: not full-blown love, perhaps, but at least mild attraction. After all, she's a very beautiful and vivacious person and people are often attracted to her. But she had no clue whatsoever. She was expressed incredible surprised and shock. But she was also very kind - to me, but mostly to her sister, because never contacted my wife about the email.

We spoke daily by email for about a week, I think now so that could gently let me down. Maybe she thought I was having a breakdown. Maybe I was! Then the conversation slowed down. Every couple of months I'd email her on the pretext of asking how she was. For a while she answered happily, but eventually she said she felt uncomfortable with us continuing to chat without my wife's knowledge, and she asked me to stop emailing. I replied once to agree, and then stopped.

A few months later, in early 2021, I discovered by chance that she had married, but not told anyone in her family. I wrote once to congratulate her but (quite understandably) received no reply. I figured that she may have met her husband around the time she broke communications with me and that this was another reason for asking me to quit emailing. I knew this was as entirely just and sensible of her as it had remiss of me to attempt to keep the secret conversatiom going.

But even so long after I last heard from her, let alone saw her in person, I still feel as passionately about her as I ever did. This may be foolish of me, for she has moved on and I haven't. My love may be predicated on my memory of who she used to be, and what she used to be like.

But I do love her, and think about her too often for my own good. I miss her and long to see her again, even if only from across the street.

I'm still waiting for these feelings to fade, but they don't.

It was very wrong of me to admit my feelings to her, but selfishly I'm glad that I did. In the jewellery box of her mind there is a small, fairly nondescript locket with my name engraved on it. Maybe just once, in decades to come, she will come across it and remember how I entirely I love her.

Oct 21
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  • You need to forget this woman.

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