Secret lover in the garden: Boyfriend lived in tent… just yards away from love rival

 

The secret boyfriend set up home in the woods next to the garden of the lost love he’d tracked down on Facebook

The lover: Alex lived in a small tent in the wood for three weeks

 

Most people who have an affair experience a thrilling whirlwind of fancy restaurants and naughty weekends away.

 

But for Sue MacLean it meant sneaking out to the lover who was living in a tiny tent in a wood by her back garden.

 

Sue was 19 in 1985 when she met Alex MacDonald, then 16, at a disco and they fell head over heels in love.

But after 12 happy months he decided he was too young to settle down and they went their separate ways.

 

They both married but after a quarter of a century apart Alex still couldn’t stop thinking about Sue so he tracked her down on Facebook.

 

And when Sue revealed that her marriage had failed and her new relationship was on the rocks Alex made a desperate pitch to win her back.

 

He confessed he had never stopped loving her and overjoyed Sue, now 47, realised she still had feelings for him but needed time to sort out her life.

 

Alex, 44, was determined not to let her slip away again.

So he walked out of the comfortable life he shared with his wife to set up home in the woods adjacent to Sue’s garden.

 

Her partner, Stan Bain, 50, was unaware that a love rival was camping a few hundred feet away or that Sue was sneaking out to meet him.

 

 

But three weeks later Stan found a note on the kitchen table revealing he was being dumped for an old flame.

Sue and Alex have now set up home in a rented house.

They have become engaged and plan to marry when his divorce is finalised.

 

Sue says: “I still can’t believe the lengths Alex went to.

“Living in a small tent – especially during the cold autumn nights – just to be near me was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done.

 

“It showed how deep his feelings were and proved to me that we couldn’t be apart again.

“I had never stopped loving him and he never stopped loving me.

 

“I’m sorry people got hurt but we had to be together.”

She adds: “When he was staying in the tent it was lovely knowing he was so close but it was awful not being able to be with him.

 

“I was also worried he would freeze to death.

“We snatched time together whenever we could. I would try to get to the tent two or three times a day.

“I started cooking larger meals for Stan so there would be some left for me to take to Alex.

 

“I would drop him a hot flask of tea on my way to work and do his washing while Stan was out.

“It was wonderful to be able to see him and talk to him and know he was there.

“We would sit in his car holding hands and talking about the future.”

 

Sue had been with Stan for three years when her life changed in the click of a computer mouse.

She explains: “Stan and I weren’t happy and I often got sad going on Facebook because it made me wish my life had turned out differently.

“Then out of the blue I got a friend request from an Alex MacDonald.

 

“My mind went straight back to 1985 and that disco in Inverness, but I couldn’t quite believe this was happening.

“I accepted him as a Facebook friend and started to scroll through his pictures.

“The thick mop of black hair had gone and his face was older but it was my Alex all right, and my heart started racing.

 

“I sent him a message asking how he was but he replied that he was recently married – and my heart sank a bit.

“So when he asked if I was happy I lied and said ‘yes’.”

Over the next few months they exchanged Facebook messages every day, eventually swapping numbers and speaking on the phone.

 

Sue says: “Alex’s first words to me were ‘I’ve missed you. I’ve been looking for you for 26 years’.

“He said he’d looked at my pictures and though I was smiling, my eyes weren’t.

“He asked me ‘Are you really happy?’ and I admitted I wasn’t.

 

“But I didn’t want to rock the boat for Alex or his wife.

“He simply answered ‘It’s you I love, I always have’.

“We both knew we had to be together again somehow.

“Finding each other again was better than winning the Lottery.”

 

With hearts jumping, they arranged to meet a week later and in August last year Alex drove the 160 miles to Banchory, Aberdeenshire, where Sue lived.

She told Stan that she was going for a long walk but went to meet her lost love who was parked in a lay-by just around the corner.

 

“I was shaking as I walked to the car,” she says. “I wasn’t a young girl any more but Alex made me feel like we’d never been apart.”

 

Sue told him she had been married for 18 years and had two daughters, now aged 24 and 21.

She explained how she had divorced when she was about to turn 40, before meeting Stan and moving in with him in March 2008.

 

Sue says: “I told Alex I had never stopped thinking about him.

“He had been my one and only true love but I’d had to keep telling myself he was in the past.

“Nobody else I met had ever lived up to him.”

But Sue had a bombshell for Alex.

 

She revealed that six weeks after he left her in 1986 she had discovered she was pregnant with his child – but could not cope alone and had a termination.

 

Alex says: “I was stunned. I had absolutely no idea. It could have changed everything.

“Maybe I would have stayed and we could have had a life and a child together.

 

“But we decided not to dwell on the past and instead try to build a new life together.”

 

While they sat in the car they planned to wait for shop manager Sue to work her month’s notice before running away together.

 

She says: “It was hard saying goodbye to Alex again but there was no way we could just up and leave.

“I was dreading spending the next few weeks waiting to see him again.

 

“But a few days later Alex turned up at the shop where I worked. I was shocked and asked what he was doing.

“He said he had waited a lifetime to find me and he couldn’t stand to be away from me any longer.”

 

Alex explained he had walked out of his marital home in Inverness and wanted to be near Sue until she could be with him properly.

 

So he had brought his tent and needed somewhere to pitch it.

Sue had been trying to lose weight by walking in the woods and it seemed the perfect spot.

 

After three weeks living in the tent – and just seven months after that first Facebook message – they ran away.

 

Sue says: “I sobbed with joy when Alex and I got in the car and drove off.

“It was the start of the life we should have had 26 years ago.”

 

Alex says: “Sue had never been far from my thoughts but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be lucky enough to find her again and have her back in my life.

 

“Those three weeks in the tent were the hardest, most uncomfortable of my life but she was worth every minute.”

 

For 10 days they stayed in a B&B before finding the house where they now live in Inverness-shire.

 

Alex, who did not have a job when he lived in the tent but now works on the tills at a supermarket, proposed at Christmas and they plan to wed in Gretna Green.

Endds

Sue’s forgiving ex, Stan, has wished them well.

He said: “There were no fights or arguments. Sue just left a note out of the blue.

“It would have been nicer to hear it in person but time has passed and I wish her nothing but the best.

“She was a lovely person and we had a nice time together.

“She hadn’t had an easy life and I’m pleased she is happy. I have no problem with it at all now, though it was upsetting at the time.”

But Alex’s spurned wife, Val, 50, from Inverness, has branded Sue a marriage wrecker.

Val said: “She stole my husband. They got in touch on Facebook and started seeing each other and then he left me.

“I came home from work two weeks before my 50th birthday to find a letter saying he was leaving for a better life.

“I can hold my head high. She may have known him when they were younger but I was his wife.”

 

Secret lover in the garden: Boyfriend lived in tent… just yards away from love rival

 

The secret boyfriend set up home in the woods next to the garden of the lost love he’d tracked down on Facebook

The lover: Alex lived in a small tent in the wood for three weeks

 

Most people who have an affair experience a thrilling whirlwind of fancy restaurants and naughty weekends away.

 

But for Sue MacLean it meant sneaking out to the lover who was living in a tiny tent in a wood by her back garden.

 

Sue was 19 in 1985 when she met Alex MacDonald, then 16, at a disco and they fell head over heels in love.

But after 12 happy months he decided he was too young to settle down and they went their separate ways.

 

They both married but after a quarter of a century apart Alex still couldn’t stop thinking about Sue so he tracked her down on Facebook.

 

And when Sue revealed that her marriage had failed and her new relationship was on the rocks Alex made a desperate pitch to win her back.

 

He confessed he had never stopped loving her and overjoyed Sue, now 47, realised she still had feelings for him but needed time to sort out her life.

 

Alex, 44, was determined not to let her slip away again.

So he walked out of the comfortable life he shared with his wife to set up home in the woods adjacent to Sue’s garden.

 

Her partner, Stan Bain, 50, was unaware that a love rival was camping a few hundred feet away or that Sue was sneaking out to meet him.

 

 

But three weeks later Stan found a note on the kitchen table revealing he was being dumped for an old flame.

Sue and Alex have now set up home in a rented house.

They have become engaged and plan to marry when his divorce is finalised.

 

Sue says: “I still can’t believe the lengths Alex went to.

“Living in a small tent – especially during the cold autumn nights – just to be near me was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done.

 

“It showed how deep his feelings were and proved to me that we couldn’t be apart again.

“I had never stopped loving him and he never stopped loving me.

 

“I’m sorry people got hurt but we had to be together.”

She adds: “When he was staying in the tent it was lovely knowing he was so close but it was awful not being able to be with him.

 

“I was also worried he would freeze to death.

“We snatched time together whenever we could. I would try to get to the tent two or three times a day.

“I started cooking larger meals for Stan so there would be some left for me to take to Alex.

 

“I would drop him a hot flask of tea on my way to work and do his washing while Stan was out.

“It was wonderful to be able to see him and talk to him and know he was there.

“We would sit in his car holding hands and talking about the future.”

 

Sue had been with Stan for three years when her life changed in the click of a computer mouse.

She explains: “Stan and I weren’t happy and I often got sad going on Facebook because it made me wish my life had turned out differently.

“Then out of the blue I got a friend request from an Alex MacDonald.

 

“My mind went straight back to 1985 and that disco in Inverness, but I couldn’t quite believe this was happening.

“I accepted him as a Facebook friend and started to scroll through his pictures.

“The thick mop of black hair had gone and his face was older but it was my Alex all right, and my heart started racing.

 

“I sent him a message asking how he was but he replied that he was recently married – and my heart sank a bit.

“So when he asked if I was happy I lied and said ‘yes’.”

Over the next few months they exchanged Facebook messages every day, eventually swapping numbers and speaking on the phone.

 

Sue says: “Alex’s first words to me were ‘I’ve missed you. I’ve been looking for you for 26 years’.

“He said he’d looked at my pictures and though I was smiling, my eyes weren’t.

“He asked me ‘Are you really happy?’ and I admitted I wasn’t.

 

“But I didn’t want to rock the boat for Alex or his wife.

“He simply answered ‘It’s you I love, I always have’.

“We both knew we had to be together again somehow.

“Finding each other again was better than winning the Lottery.”

 

With hearts jumping, they arranged to meet a week later and in August last year Alex drove the 160 miles to Banchory, Aberdeenshire, where Sue lived.

She told Stan that she was going for a long walk but went to meet her lost love who was parked in a lay-by just around the corner.

 

“I was shaking as I walked to the car,” she says. “I wasn’t a young girl any more but Alex made me feel like we’d never been apart.”

 

Sue told him she had been married for 18 years and had two daughters, now aged 24 and 21.

She explained how she had divorced when she was about to turn 40, before meeting Stan and moving in with him in March 2008.

 

Sue says: “I told Alex I had never stopped thinking about him.

“He had been my one and only true love but I’d had to keep telling myself he was in the past.

“Nobody else I met had ever lived up to him.”

But Sue had a bombshell for Alex.

 

She revealed that six weeks after he left her in 1986 she had discovered she was pregnant with his child – but could not cope alone and had a termination.

 

Alex says: “I was stunned. I had absolutely no idea. It could have changed everything.

“Maybe I would have stayed and we could have had a life and a child together.

 

“But we decided not to dwell on the past and instead try to build a new life together.”

 

While they sat in the car they planned to wait for shop manager Sue to work her month’s notice before running away together.

 

She says: “It was hard saying goodbye to Alex again but there was no way we could just up and leave.

“I was dreading spending the next few weeks waiting to see him again.

 

“But a few days later Alex turned up at the shop where I worked. I was shocked and asked what he was doing.

“He said he had waited a lifetime to find me and he couldn’t stand to be away from me any longer.”

 

Alex explained he had walked out of his marital home in Inverness and wanted to be near Sue until she could be with him properly.

 

So he had brought his tent and needed somewhere to pitch it.

Sue had been trying to lose weight by walking in the woods and it seemed the perfect spot.

 

After three weeks living in the tent – and just seven months after that first Facebook message – they ran away.

 

Sue says: “I sobbed with joy when Alex and I got in the car and drove off.

“It was the start of the life we should have had 26 years ago.”

 

Alex says: “Sue had never been far from my thoughts but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be lucky enough to find her again and have her back in my life.

 

“Those three weeks in the tent were the hardest, most uncomfortable of my life but she was worth every minute.”

 

For 10 days they stayed in a B&B before finding the house where they now live in Inverness-shire.

 

Alex, who did not have a job when he lived in the tent but now works on the tills at a supermarket, proposed at Christmas and they plan to wed in Gretna Green.

End