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'I've been married to my husband for 10 years. I've been in love with his brother for 9 of them.'

As told to Polly Taylor

I actually met my husband and his brother on the same day.

Michael*, who I later married, and his younger brother David* were drinking in my local pub and struck up a conversation at the bar.

It was Michael who I was instantly attracted to. He was warmer than his brother, his green eyes twinkling as he asked me about myself. David chimed in here and there but he was far quieter, distant almost.

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That night, Michael and I exchanged numbers and a week later we went on our first date.

Things moved quickly from there. Within six months we had moved in together, and by the end of the year, I was pregnant with our first child.

Michael gave me all the things I thought I wanted from a relationship. Comfort, security, familiarity.

Just over 10 months after our baby girl, Jessie, was born, we married. We had a small ceremony on our local beach, just friends and family. Jessie was our little flower girl.

David was there. By then I had discovered why he’d been so brooding that first night. His own marriage, to his high school sweetheart, Anna, had been in trouble for a while after she’d admitted to a brief fling with a guy from work.

And just days before Michael and I had exchanged our vows, David had ended things and moved out.

He was renting a cheap room while he started divorce proceedings. He was struggling financially so Michael suggested we offer him our spare room.

We were newlyweds with a young daughter. A house guest was the last thing I wanted – especially one who worked from home, as David did. But how could I say no?

So David moved in. He kept to himself at first but as he grew more comfortable, I started to see a glimpse of the man he really was.

Michael, a lawyer, worked long hours and I’d given up my job as a primary school teacher when I fell pregnant. So much of the time it was just me, David and Jessie.

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David doted on Jessie, playing games with her, taking her for walks in her pushchair and pushing her on the swings.

The idea was to give me a break. But after a while, I started forgoing the extra rest, joining them instead. David and I chatted easily and I realised just how much we had in common. We were both introverts who enjoyed reading the same sort of books. We started exchanging titles, talking about them on our walks, our own private book club.

I was thrilled by how well we got along; loved having him around.

I didn’t feel we were overstepping the mark in any way.

But then there was a very definite shift between me and Michael. He was working longer and longer hours. And when he was at home, all he wanted to do was lie on the couch or sleep. I felt like we had lost our connection in the bedroom, that his mind was always somewhere else.

And so my own mind started to drift. I realised my emotional connection with David was far stronger, that he was now my comfort, my security, my familiarity.

Of course, I didn’t act on it. But a year or so into my marriage, there was no question about it; I was deeply in love with my husband’s brother.

I had absolutely no idea if he shared my feelings. All I know is that he seemed to want to spend as much time with me as I did with him.

But then, few months on, David’s divorce was finalised. He started looking for his own place.

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“No need to rush into anything,” I said on one of our walks, panicked by the thought of losing him.

But of course, he had to move out.

And when he did, it almost broke me. I cried like a tormented and wounded animal.

I told Michael I was sick. My mum came to take care of Jessie and I stayed in bed.

I knew I had to get over it.

But nine years have passed, and I haven’t, not really. Things feel less intense now that we’re no longer living under the same roof, but whenever I do see David, I light up in a way I never have with my husband.

Despite this, I managed to get my marriage back on track. We had another baby – a son, Jake, who’s now six. Michael cut back his hours and I got myself a part-time job so I could feel more.. useful.

But the guilt and the pain I am living with is unimaginable.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. A stock image has been used. 

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