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This article appears in the book, "Confessions of Shameless Dating: Using The Power of Effective Self-Promotion To Attract The Right People" by Debbie Allen.

Now available! - To order, click here

Confessions of Shameless Dating

I Married My Best Friend's Wife. . .

A True Love Story of How Larry & Sandy Met

Sandy and Larry James Sandy & Larry's wedding day!
Finding your soul mate is like discovering the missing link to your heart. When that special someone enters your life, has similar values, ideals and beliefs and lives them as well, you discover that the two pieces of the relationship puzzle fit perfectly together. There are many souls you connect with in this life. With some you feel an immediate bond you know will always be there.

I first met my soul mate when we were very young. Ours is a story of four people who loved each other, had fun together then were separated by time and distance. Twenty-six years later, two of them were reunited under very unexpected circumstances.

My best friend Ted Charveze and I were both very active in the Topeka, Kansas, Jaycees. We spent a lot of time together. He was best man at my wedding. His wife Sandy, my wife and I were all close friends.

After six years of doing things together as couples and enjoying each other's company, my family moved to Tulsa so I could take a position of management with a major real estate firm. About two years later, Ted and Sandy moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, to be close to his mentor and to take advantage of a better opportunity to promote his work as a jewelry artisan. Even though we had all been close friends, we all moved about the same time and did not know where the other had gone. We lost contact.

Nineteen years passed. One day while cleaning out some drawers, my former mother-in-law found an obituary notice from a year earlier saying that Ted had died. In spite of a divorce several years earlier from her daughter, we had remained friends. She sent me the obituary notice along with a note to inform me of his passing. I had not known.

The notice revealed stated that Sandy was living in Scottsdale. I called to express my sympathy. She told me that not only was Ted gone but her twenty-five-year-old daughter had died suddenly less than a year and a half before. In addition, her mother-in-law, father and a sister had also died. She had been grieving for a long time. I never called again, although I did send her a copy of my Life Skills book. She wrote a brief thank you for the book and made it clear she was content to be alone.

Three years later, on her birthday, I received a message on my voice mail. It said, "Hi, Larry. I was just thinking about you. Thought you might like to talk sometime. Call me if you want to!" Click! There was no name, no number and a voice I had only heard once in more than twenty years. After listening to the message over and over, I decided that it might be Sandy so I called. It was.

Since the last time I had talked with her, I had been in a relationship that was suddenly over. A year had passed, since that relationship and I had spent most of my time focusing my energy on working on me. The first six months I saw a therapist, who helped me work through the pain of a changing relationship. In the first therapy session, I discovered I had no guidelines for one. a relationship. I had always done the best I could, but it never seemed good enough.

I became a full-time student of relationships. I read every book my therapist recommended. I began writing a daily journal. It was a painful process. As I started to feel better about myself, I began to wrote my own relationship guidelines. I gave them to my therapist for review, and he encouraged me to write more and publish them.

At the time Sandy called, my first relationship book, "How to Really Love the One You're With: Affirmative Guidance for a Healthy Love Relationship," was about to be released. We talked for about twenty minutes. She was beginning to dating again, and I told her I would send her a copy of my book when it was out.

On December 20th I sent the book. The day after Christmas I called her. We talked for about an hour about the book and relationships. Four days later, I accepted her invitation to go to Scottsdale for a brief holiday.

We were both very nervous about meeting after so many years. We talked about our fears, and the conversation defused our anxiety. When we met we spent a lot of time talking about the "good old days" when she and her husband and my wife and I had spent many happy times together. We acknowledged that even back then we'd had some kind of special attraction for each other, but neither chose to pursue it because we were both married to someone else. We visited some of her favorite places to eat and had a wonderful time just talking and getting to know each other again.

We discussed both talked about how we both enjoyed being alone. We were very clear that neither she nor I was interested in a relationship together or with anyone else at the time. We were learning to be ourselves, and could being alone without experiencing loneliness.

We both truly enjoyed each other's conversation; and as time passed, we got to know each other better on the phone. Several months later I presented a "Relationship Enrichment LoveShop" in the Phoenix area and took time to see her again.

Sandy's daughter lived in Topeka, which was a four and a half hour drive from Tulsa. Whenever she would visit her daughter, I would drive to Topeka to see her. She also made several trips to Tulsa.

The hours we talked on the phone, for months never suspecting we would ever be together, was a time of building the foundation of trust that healthy love relationships need to make them work. Finding the right person is more about being the right person. We were preparing for love. The walls of resistance were coming down.

We talked openly and honestly about our feelings about life, relationships and each other. We discovered that we could express our own individuality and still choose to be together. The fears of our wounded hearts somehow melted away. When two whole people come together, they enhance each other's lives more than one can alone. As time passed we both became aware we were growing in love and toward each other.

A soul mate is not someone you need to be happy. A soul mate is someone you share your happiness with.

After an eighteen-month long-distance relationship (and hundreds of dollars in phone bills) we began to talk about being together, not really sure we wanted to give up our independence. Several months later, I moved to Scottsdale to be with her. She admitted to me later that when she saw me pull the big U-Haul truck into her drive she said to herself, "Oh, my! What have I done?"

I married my best friend's wife on June 8, 1996. God smiled on both of us that day. We are both confident that Ted smiled, too, and that we have his blessing.

Sandy & Larry James
Sandy & Larry posing for one of the pictures in the book,
The 12 Gifts in Marriage.

Since then I have written two more books on relationships and for eight years I was on staff with Dr. John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Sandy made the connection to Dr. Gray by attending his seminar and giving him one of my books. Dr. Gray has endorsed all of my books.

Sandy and I are a team. Whenever she can, she travels with me to present my Relationship Enrichment LoveShops across the country. We are both committed to having our relationship be the kind of example we can both be proud to share with others. We continually search for new and creative ways to keep the romance, passion and the fire of love burning. We, like other couples, have our ups and downs; and we have learned relationships are something that must be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed.

Soul mates? You bet! A great relationship? Definitely! Trust is the foundation of a healthy love relationship. There can be no trust without conversation, no genuine intimacy without trust!

Sandy is my very best friend. She supports my dreams, accepts me for who I am and loves me unconditionally. We were truly meant to be together. With so much time passing, it is truly a miracle we were brought together at all. This soul mate journey took more than thirty years!

Copyright ę - Larry James.

NOTE: Sadly this relationship is complete. Sandy and Larry are no longer together, however they remain friends.

UpDate: Sandy Charveze died on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Romancing the Soul - Dorothy Thompson - Do soul mates exist? You can find the answer to this perplexing and old-age question in this anthology. Sixty authors with as many tales and verse prove that soul mates do exist by relating their true experiences in the hopes you will achieve a better understanding of what the soul mate experience is all about.

Larry's Review: This book will touch your heart, bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. Explore all the soulmate possibilities as you experience what others have when they discovered the spiritual connection that changed their life and their relationship. An excellent read! Read my soulmate story in this book.

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Relationship books by Larry James:

How to Really Love the One You're With:
Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship

LoveNotes for Lovers:
Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing

Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers (Career Assurance Press).

Author Larry James is a professional speaker. He presents "Relationship Enrichment LoveShops" nationally for singles and couples. More About Larry James

For a personally autographed copy of Larry's books, or for more information, please contact:

Larry James • • P.O. Box 12695 • Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695

• 480 205-3694 •

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