And for a while at least, it all felt harmless and innocent, and fun. My father leaving didn't help, and for the first six months of my life I was placed with a notional "auntie", a family friend who became my surrogate mother throughout my childhood.
I got to know – or as much as possible online – a couple of regular men, with whom I conducted tentative conversations that were thoughtful and sweet, and that only developed into something more suggestive after much respective vetting and, on my part, several glasses of red wine. That initial separation, I later learned, all but ensured I would never be able to successfully bond with her.
And I did, pretty much, and I was perfectly fine - until suddenly I wasn't.
There were redundancy problems at work; my marriage was showing strains; and there was something large and unnameable missing from my life.
I ignored it until I could do so no longer, until eventually, for what felt like the sake of my sanity, I resolved to do something about it.
A late arrival into the world of social media, I nevertheless embraced it as a kind of escape.
Soon, I was spending hours in the parallel universe of cyberspace, often through wonderfully wide-awake nights, uninhibited in a way I never could be in reality.I began writing everything down, to help make sense of it, first for myself, then for others.It's taken me a good while to fully come to terms with what I've done, to understand how easily I fell into the previously unknown world that I would regrettably come to prefer to the real one.I am bound to say, though, that I wasn't solely culpable. I ended up marrying one of these complicated boyfriends.He was by far the best of the bunch, a kind and generous man, but someone who could also be selfish and unfeeling.