The shudder of sexual electricity can be celebrated without being consummated, says Mariella Frostrup
The dilemma I am 40, gay and happily married. I have great friends and a good job. A year ago I met someone through some friends. Nothing happened, we just went out for a few drinks and socialised a bit. But we really hit it off. We had a very similar sense of humour, as well as similar backgrounds. The guy was a bit younger than me, in his late twenties. I found him very attractive and I felt that he liked me too; he was very flirty a lot of the time. I think about him a lot. Way too much, probably. He moved away soon after (with his boyfriend) and although we have had a bit of contact (initiated by me) I haven’t heard from him for ages. I just want to know how to get him out of my head. I feel sad that I’ll probably never see him again, although I’m not so stupid as to have ever done anything to ruin my great relationship. But I miss him. We hit it off, had a laugh together, and I feel like there was a connection there. What do you think? How do I get him out of my head? How do I put it in perspective, see it for what it was and move on?
Mariella replies Lucky you. What does it feel like? There are plenty among us who would struggle to recall the deliciously unexpected and life-affirming thrill of pure, unadulterated chemistry. The queue of lifers out there (and the prison analogy is intentional) consumed with envy at your good fortune will be a long one. To have enjoyed that delicious frisson, however briefly, with nobody the wiser and without causing harm to those you love, is a blessing of sorts. To paraphrase the anthropologist Helen Fisher, whose Why We Love, Why We Cheat is a TED Talks hit, romantic love is not an emotion, it’s a drive that comes from the craving part of the mind and has a similar impact to cocaine. So struggling to shrug off your addiction is no mean feat.