He is, after four years of loss and grief, wandering the world unattached and empty, finding a way forward. A new love found, but not the complete heartlove of his wife of twenty-eight years. An 80% relationship, a functional relationship, an adult relationship. He feels sorry, but this is a fact as solid as a law of physics. With his wife a part of him died, never to be given to another woman.

She is loved as much as he is able, he has moved in, but it could end in another year, he does not know. If that happens, sadness, but not the devastation of losing his wife.

A very different relationship to the marriage he has known all his adult life. Married, they lived apart for the nine-to five of the week –  he in London, his wife in Trafford. Never a night passing without speaking. Rarely an argument, no more than two major ones he can recall in their life together.

His new love requires constant contact, texts, telephone calls. In the supermarket, on waking, whilst driving, mundane decisions, no more than a couple of hours separate between contact, often less. Not checking just a constant stream, as if sat next to each other. Female friends vetted, allowed, disallowed according to her threat barometer. The intensity and frequency of argument a new experience for him, long accustomed to English dispassion from his native Italian ferocity. Is it normal? How can this be?

Six months in… she is insisting on marriage. “Why?” he asks. We have to, else it is not love! In answer, well it was eight years before marrying my wife, we don’t have to wait that long, but slow it down.

She wants, at forty-nine, another baby. Her son now twelve, but with the age of a three year old, never to have the capacity to live independently. He believes are reasons for making the decision to have a baby with her. First, she will have experience of bringing up a normal child; second, there will be a sibling who can one day take care of the man-child’s affairs – a very necessary fact of life in Italian legal bureaucracy.  Two good reasons, but none a reason for himself.

Will it last? Is it enough?