I Was the Other Woman: A tale of adultery
I was the other woman.
When I was 21 years old, I found myself in a relationship with an older man. To make things, “worse”, not only was he about to be married, he was my boss. I helped him commit adultery. Now at this point I’m sure you’re judging me and wondering how, as a woman, I could do this to a sister or how I could be okay with knowing that the man I grew to love was going to marry someone else. So, I’m here to explain it to you–what it’s like to be the other woman. My point is not for you to side with me, or condone my relationship, but instead for you to see what I saw and how I could make the choices I did.
When I first met him he had returned from paternity leave after the birth of his first child. He told me about his wife and how when he first met her he knew he would marry her. For the rest of my life, those words stuck to me like glue. How could someone be so sure about marriage, so early on in a relationship?
After a few months, our work-related chit chat turned into flirtation. He was known for being good looking among the staff, but he also had a bit of an attitude. I too was sassy and I think that is one of the things that attracted him to me. I was always one to argue for the fun of it.
One night a staff member had a going away party and during the festivities he said to me, “If you didn’t have a boyfriend, you’d be my girlfriend.” I remember thinking how weird that was for someone who was married to be saying. And as I watched him dance with another female staff member, closely, in a way that if I was his wife, I would not be ok with… I felt myself become jealous. In fact, I became so jealous that I made a bit of scene when leaving and he chased after me, just like in the movies.
“You’re leaving? You didn’t say goodbye?” he asked.
“I don’t know why I’d have to,” I said as I stormed out of the establishment.
About a month later, after my boyfriend and I had broken up, he and I drove together to another staff function. At some point in the night he mentioned getting married, “I thought you were married?” I asked.
“No, I’m engaged,” he responded.
“What!? You’ve always called her your wife!” And for some reason, everything changed for me. I felt like I needed to make a move so I grabbed his hand and pulled him away from prying eyes and kissed him. It was the first of many that evening. It was the first time I had ever slept with someone I was not committed to and to my surprise, the relationship began to flourish from there. We made excuses to work together more closely, chatted privately in the back rooms, and scheduled our days off to be congruent with one-another’s. I was infatuated with him, but I also knew he’d never be mine and I never asked him to be. He told me about their relationship, and how he didn’t feel that he could open up to her, and I listened with bright eyes and an open heart.
Not blinded by love.
He was everything I wanted in a man I was going to marry, but I don’t think I ever believed he would be the one. I understood that he was not mine, and that he was someone else’s, but that didn’t stop me nor hinder my feelings for him. I cherished the time we had together, and felt a sense of loss every time he had to leave me to return home to his family, or when I had to leave him and his son behind. He shared things with me he said he could never share with his fiance, and when he told me he loved me, I believed him. I loved him back. For everything we were, and could never be, I loved him. He told me he had to follow through on the marriage because he made the commitment to do so, and if there was one thing I learned quickly, it was that this man often confused loyalty and commitment with authenticity.
Sometimes I would send him stories about what our life would be like if we were together. And although I never truly believed they could happen, I enjoyed the banter back and forth and the dream of eternal togetherness that my imagination could create. I almost stayed the night the evening of his fiance’s bachelorette party but knew I’d never truly be able to sleep in another woman’s bed, so I snuck out in the middle of the night. For the week of his bachelor party I spoke with him and his best man both on the phone and via text, secretly wondering how his bestie could support the nuptial knowing what he knew about our relationship.
Although I loved him, I never truly gave him my heart. When he returned from his honeymoon I was told by coworkers that he was to transfer to another store, in another town. I cried for what felt like days. And even though I always knew it would end, it still ripped me apart. I soon learned that he and his wife were expecting their second child, and I knew it had to end. I was frustrated that he would dare bring another child into his loveless relationship and so closure was the only way I knew how to deal with it.
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how it ended or at exactly what point I knew it was over. I drove three hours both way to visit him once after he moved away but that was the first and last time. To this day we still randomly connect and talk about what once was or what could have been. I do my best to support him as he does me. He still tells me that I am the one who got away, and that he’s only “in it for the children.” As someone who works with kids I know this is the worst thing you can possibly do for a child: teach them that marriage can be loveless and that it is a commitment you make no matter what. After I met him I stopped believing in marriage, but haven’t given up on love. If I ever do get married I will be in it for me, not for him, or for the promise I made, but for what I believe to be true: that my love for my partner is ever lasting.