Relationships 103: The Misdirected E-mail


Tags: Ma/Fa, True Story, .

Desc: True Story: It's the classic mistake of the Internet age. Perhaps it's classic because sooner or later it will happen to you as either sender or recipient. I was that recipient. It might as well have been a bullet.

Copyright© 2007 by DB.

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Author's Note: A special thanks to VW and Ian for their excellent and much appreciated proofreading. All remaining mistakes are mine.

It's the classic mistake of the Internet age. Perhaps it's classic because sooner or later it will happen to you, either as sender, or recipient. I was that recipient. Minor details are disguised to protect the privacy of those involved.

Hi D... thought you'd find this interesting... this is from a man I knew in the -- club. I met him the same night I met J-- so he never had a chance. I have never been attracted to him in any way but he has always be ga ga about me. He has been married now probably for about -- years... I also know his wife well... they have been living in the -- area for all their married life... don't know why I've kept up correspondence with him cause he use to irritate the hell out me... he use to advise me when I never asked for it and other times I would tell him something and he would go off about himself... similar to R--'s writings... I didn't write to him for at least 6-8 months after I came here... his writing to me totally changed... I have let him know this many times and he agrees... his marriage is strong and even though he compliments me with every email he writes, there is nothing and never will be anything between us and that has never been my intent but it's emails like this one that keep me coming back for more... let me know what you think


Yeah, that was it. Setting the record straight, I met her years before I got married, and had been definitely smitten on first sight. And then there was something else completely unexpected.

I didn't discover this that first night, nor did she recall it then. It just came out somewhere along the way. Turns out that, twenty years or so earlier, we'd attended the same high school one year apart, and at least somewhere along the way had worked on at least one extracurricular activity together. Can't say there's not some sort of a connection there.

Was I trying to end my marriage? Of course not! And I would've never asked her out once I was committed otherwise. Yet was she someone I would want to date if I were ever single again? Of course, yes! Date, and more. At least at that time.

And had she ever told me any of this stuff in the e-mail to my face before? Never!

It's hard for anyone to understand what "S" was talking about without seeing the e-mail correspondence she was referring to, so I'll include that here next, in a moment. It was all part of a running discussion where I'd been telling her what I was feeling in feedback to her description of what was going on in her life these days. To me, it was nothing more than what I've done with selected other people throughout my life.

Am I psychic? I don't claim to be, and would like to be able to make that claim if I could substantiate it. Anyway, this is what I said to her that generated this response. It was still attached to the e-mail message above:


And you don't consider this scary? I'd expect that my doing this -- and from thousands of miles away no less -- should have sent you running, screaming away. I should stop, because I never want you to leave, but I'm just being me -- and that's kind of hard to stop doing.

If I was describing to someone what you are telling me here, I'd say that Sue has allowed me to touch the innermost part of her being, where she has felt very lonely for a very long time. While it is hard to believe that such a tall, beautiful, attractive, desirable, and sexy woman would ever feel like that, it's true. And this part of her that she has allowed me to touch has to be handled with the most extreme amount of gentleness possible, because even the very lightest touch you can ever manage -- something that makes a feather, or a light breath of spring breeze, seem like a sledgehammer in comparison -- is already almost more than she can bear in this most intimate place inside her. But if you do it exactly just right, her smile will light up the world.

Would you say it is something like that?


And going backwards in time one step further, this is what I'd been responding to with my e-mail above:

-- Original Message --

From: s

To: D

Sent: Saturday, December 20 7:47 AM

Subject: Re: true confessions

Yes, you're right D--. I should know you well enough by now but I guess you seem surreal to me... I've never had a man listen, grasp, and/or care what I was saying (or not saying) before and that's not an exaggeration... I like the way it feels... validated :)

Okay, you can draw your conclusions about the relationship we had. We never dated because we never were both available for dating at the same time. On the night I first met her, she'd also met someone else who she'd started seeing at that time. And, of course, we never slept together.

What I felt I did have was a close and special friendship here. One with a very sexy lady. One that had lasted years now. One that might — even most likely — would never progress beyond that. In fact, we might never even see each other again, given that we now live on opposite sides of the country and had no reason to be getting together for any reason.

And she's also right that I'm ga-ga about her. At least there was no misunderstanding on her part about that. I'm fortunate to know, and have known, several exceptional women in my life. You could describe me that way about any of them at the time.

Anyway, back to the present. I was more confused than anything else by her response (first e-mail above). Obviously addressed to me (the "D" salutation), and regarding our ongoing discussion (clearly a reply to the last one I'd sent, complete with attached previous messages), yet it didn't compute. And while some parts of it were complimentary, others were clearly harsh — not pleasant to read.

So I was very confused at this point. I couldn't explain what this message meant because, while it was clearly directed to me, it was as though it was written to a third person.

After thinking about it for several days, more confused than hurt yet, I finally devised the only explanation that seemed to fit the circumstances. That S wanted to say some things to me, but couldn't say them directly, so she wrote it as if saying them obliquely to a third person instead. I'd once had another female friend who used that approach on occasion, so this hypothesis isn't that unreasonable.

I finally did respond after those several days with a carefully thought out, equally detached, reply. I wanted to get across that this really wasn't a nice thing that she'd written me, and hope that I'd tease out a better explanation of why she'd told this to me in the first place. I believe I was hoping at the time that she'd mitigate what she'd previously said, given that she had now had several days to think over what seemed to me to be rather intemperate words.

What I wrote back was rather an essay at the time:

Hi S,

Well it's always dangerous to ask me what I think, since I'll often tell you. <G>

As I recall that night at -- restaurant those surprising number of years ago, I felt I didn't have a chance because you'd actually met J-- the night before at a -- Club beach party around a fire where he played his tuba. I was one day too late. I love J-- dearly too, and wonder why he has let you get away when he had such a great opportunity to have you. That strikes me as stupid beyond understanding. I have never felt you pushed him away. I also wish I'd had the imagination to cast a second vote for J-- in the Mr. -- contest that came soon after both you joined. I wouldn't have cared either that he wasn't eligible. He was the very best candidate that night.

Never tell a man you're not attracted to him in any way -- even when it's true. If he finds you fascinating, it really hurts in return. Also those words can come back to haunt you because feelings do change. We wouldn't be holding this conversation if yours hadn't.

Being ga-ga about you grossly understates how truly attractive, appealing, and desirable I have found you since that night at -- restaurant where we have come together, at least in time and geography, for the second time in my life. And why shouldn't I find you this beautiful? You are.

This is a good thing. Everybody, whether they know it or not, need at least two people to wildly feel they are the most desirable person on the planet. One is your spouse, and this is expected. It goes with the job description. The second person is out there to confirm that your spouse is completely correct about this. You can have many more, but everyone needs two.


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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / True Story /