I met the last woman I was seriously involved with when I was at work. "Shitting in your own nest," they call that, because it makes an unholy mess in a place where you really need to have some kind of comfort and security. Though I would do it again, if the right woman came along (at the right price ha ha).
I was working for social services when I met her, in a residential home in Kettering that's since been closed, and they had a policy against relationships between colleagues. So when we got together my new partner said we ought to keep what was happening between us a secret. I suspected even then that the policy against relationships wasn't the only reason she wanted to pretend we were still just friends, but it was a great cover story, if nothing else. (She was married, for one, and didn't want to become the subject of a lot of workplace gossip, especially given the fact that her new partner was me--regarded with some accuracy as a bit of a weirdo by half of my colleagues.)
So we didn't tell anybody what we were doing. And then of course everybody figured it out because our behaviour had changed towards each other and we'd been seen out together; and our persistance in the lie made us look like snooty fools who had no respect for their colleagues. By the time I left the place, as I had to when the secret finally came out, even the few good relationships I had there had been ruined by the subterfuge; and now I don't know where any of my lost friends are. I think about them sometimes now and wish I could go back and put right the mistakes I made.Find those people and say sorry; pick up where we left off as friends. But you can't do that, of course, ninety nine per cent of the time. Things are lost and you have to chalk it up to experience, try not to make the same mistake next time.
What galls me a little is that I lost them and her eventually, and had to start my life all over again, with nothing except a roof over my head and a job to keep it there. (Which is more than some people have, I know, but it didn't feel like a lot at the time.) I don't blame my ex-partner for any of it: the friends, or the final demise of our relationship--it turned out the way it had to, given the way it started, and who I am, and who she is, and how incompatible we really were from the start. We were just two people who had reached a moment in our lives when we needed something to happen, and it did.
Sometimes when I survey the damage it caused us all, however, I do wonder if it wouldn't have been better to forego that last drink and not have the first amazing kiss that caused the Kettering scene to fall down around my ears.