By Sarah Taylor
This week, Sarah offers a personal insight into the nature of triangular relationships in her own life, and how it is shaping her relationship life today. This article was originally published as part of Planet Waves’ 2012 Annual Edition.
From the get-go, I was part of a love triangle. Not in the conventional sense of an entanglement of lovers, but it was an entanglement nonetheless. And the love itself was entangled.
I was born into an aristocratic family in north-west England in the early seventies. My father had unexpectedly inherited a ‘title’ from his uncle when he was 18 and living in Africa. The accounts of his life of that time that I managed to draw out of him were sketchy – much like the accounts I received of most of his life, which he avoided relating as much as possible; many of his memories seemed to be imbued with an indescribable amount of pain.
What I do know is that, upon inheriting, the form and content of my father’s life changed markedly and permanently. He went from being a country mouse, to a cat with a rep to protect; he went from bare-back horse-rides to school from his uncle’s farm, to trust funds, fast cars and a fast life. He had been married four times by the time he met my mother, as a VIP passenger on an ocean liner where she worked in the purser’s office. The story goes that he was trying to extricate himself from a tricky situation, homed in on my mother and asked her to be his alibi. My mother has often said that she was swept up in the romance of who he seemed to be. She also said that she felt a deep need to protect him. I think in that moment the contract of my parents’ relationship was sealed.
And so, like all self-respecting aristocrats, after marrying my mother, the next thing on the agenda was to produce an heir. Specifically, a son – daughters did not, and continue not to, inherit titles in the UK. In my mother’s words, she chose to give up her independence as a professional woman – which defined much of who she said she felt herself to be – and become “a baby machine.” She was a mother, but she was not maternal. As much as she loved my father, she had been seduced by the trappings that came with my father’s title, and those trappings started to feel restrictive. There was another part of her dying to live another life. The more it called, the more she threw herself at the trappings, the more trapped she became, the more it died. My father wasn’t killing her: Her choices were doing that all by themselves.
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