Dear Alma, I’ve got the hots for my new ensemble partner…Daily Comfort Zone
From our agony aunt’s bag:
I have been fortunate to have an excellent career as a member of a small touring ensemble for many years. It’s financially stable, has a university position attached, is based in a good location, my colleagues are tolerable, and I have a good family with two teenage children.
Last year, a member retired and a younger, idealistic and energetic person joined our group. It has ignited a new energy, and old, stale repertoire now has a fresh take. This new colleague and I have been experiencing some sort of escalation of romantic interest, and on the last tour, we were dangerously close to acting on our mutual desires. She has no family or obligations beyond our ensemble.
What should I do? I feel happy and excited to be at “work”, more than I have in years, and I dream of a new chapter. My home life is fine. Nothing wrong there. But I can’t stop thinking about a new leaf.
can’t stop thinking
Dear Can’t Stop Thinking,
The situation you find yourself in is as old as time itself. We have it, but see the other thing, and want that instead. No one has been in a relationship and not fantasized about someone else, something else. It’s an obsessive, cyclic thought process, and about as opposite as you can get from logic.
You are standing at a crossroads, and no matter what decision you make, your life will never be the same. If you don’t act on your impulses, you will forever wonder “what if?” And if you do act on them, you will also wonder what life could have been if you had just kept your cool.
Firstly, there is no rush on this decision. There is no life-threatening illness, no injury which needs to be tended. I know that love or infatuation feels like a time bomb, but if time indeed feels like it is pressing in on you, you need to step off and regain your senses. My advice – make a note in your calendar for two months from now. Force yourself to not think about it, and when that day comes around, see if you feel the same as you do today. If it is worth examining this affair for validity, two months will not matter. You may need to speak to the object of your desires to let them know about your plan, if things have progressed far enough for the two of you to be able to speak about this.
I’m not here to tell you “no”. We all know enough situations with people who have left their first families and have found a new, wonderful life. Babies at age 70. A new lease on life. Happier than they have ever been in their lives. But let’s see what’s at stake. If you take this step, every single thing that you have in your life will change. You have to believe in this enough (even if you have just a casual fling with this person) to be able to give everything up. Your partner, your kids, your future grandkids, your ensemble, your colleagues, your friends, your university position. She will face ostracism, and if there is a standoff in the ensemble, she will be the first to loose her job. It’s possible you may retain some of the things listed above, but certainly nothing will be the same, ever. This will be a pivot point in your life, and something your kids will never forgive you for.
You may step through a porthole with true paradise on the other side, but there is no re-entry to your life as you know it. Take your time. Still the drumbeat of your heart long enough to be logical about this. And good luck to you!