This is my 'hot take' after studying him for ten years, but I don't think Coleridge was in love with Sara Hutchinson any more than he was in love with opium.

This is a thread
Coleridge's "love" for Sara Hutchinson was something that he wrote about later, from a distance. Just as, with the Dejection ode, his wishes for her were coming from the other side of a writing desk, from a distance. Coleridge probably "fell in love" with SH while he was
in Malta, thousands of miles away. I'm not saying people can't have long-distance relationships, but I think she took on an ideal life in his mind as something far more, and far other, than the real Sara Hutchinson ever could have been. I think Coleridge realized this in later
life, after he got over the feeling that she had "betrayed" him by liking Wordsworth more (and possibly sleeping with him). Coleridge was severely traumatized in late 1806 by walking into what he thought was Sara Hutchinson and William Wordsworth in bed together at Coleorton,
and he spent years after writing about it in his notebooks, questioning his friends, the idea of love, the idea of God, and even his own sexuality and his gender identity. He eventually wrote that he didn't even want to be seen as an intellectual, but that he "had" to act it out.
I think the narrative that Coleridge "loved" Sara Hutchinson is reductive and is glommed onto by biographers who want to see him as a kind of man's man, hiking up mountains, drinking, smoking, and chasing various women. But Coleridge didn't consummate with any of the women
he seemed to fancy, and he loved them all from a distance as iterations of the same idealized woman. I think Coleridge was actually asexual, which in part led to his 'cool' relations with his wife. I think WW reveals this when he writes that C is "so afraid of domesticating
with his wife" to paraphrase. "Domesticating" has a sexual connotation. But Coleridge doesn't want to have sex with any of these women, and he is not so interested in a real, loving relationship with any of them, including SH. I know this is going against what a lot of scholars
have said and written about, which is why I'm just making a Twitter hotpost rather than writing a book about it (for now). Coleridge's 'love' for 'Asra' was idealized and was a direct result of his narcissism. He needed people to love and admire him, and he wanted to monopolize
Asra's time and energy. He wanted to be in love, but there is no evidence to suggest that Coleridge was in any way capable of normal love for other people. I don't see this as throwing him under the bus ... it's just who he was. But if you study his life, the usual narrative
about Sara Hutchinson just starts to look more and more suspicious. I especially point at Holmes, whom John Worthen has already taken to task in his biography The Gang. Check out The Gang by John Worthen. It contains a pretty accurate depiction of the relationship (or lack therof
between STC and Asra. I love Holmes! His bios are great. But he perpetuates a falsehood that clings to Coleridge scholarship in many places, in order to make Coleridge more palettable to the modern (British white male) reader. Coleridge was WEIRD. He was probably not NT; he
definitely spent a lot of time on drugs, imagining things about Sara Hutchinson that could never possibly be real. He's a hero for those of us who have ever been fooled by our own minds (that's probably all of us). He just wasn't... this loverman poet.

The end
PS: Apologies to @Wordsworthians - I'm not trying to blatantly contradict your contribution here. This is just my take! Nice conversation starter!

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