I do not have the best record in the world with men; I’ll be the first to admit it.
Apparently, that wasn’t the case with infidelity.
Nobody likes to be deceived, I guess. Unless you’re in a cuckold relationship, you’re unlikely to wake up in the morning thinking, “I hope my partner will surprise me today with someone else.”
By the same standard, I don’t believe most people actively desire to be the person who sneaks around with married or engaged people. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, given how many people actively engage in infidelity. But for me, it was never my thing.
I have been deceived in the past; I never wanted to be the other woman.
When W and I first met, I had been separated from my husband for six months. I was looking for a long term relationship, but not in a hurry for that to happen. W responded to an ad I placed on Craigslist, checking all the boxes.
It took us a little while to meet in person, and I was okay with that. We spent that time getting to know each other better, rather than jumping straight into bed. Conversations continued into the night and early morning, talking about everything and nothing.
Everything seemed so perfect.
Our first weekend together was simply magical. And it wasn’t just because the sex was fantastic.
I was concerned that once we met in person the conversations wouldn’t go as well, that we would somehow run out of things to discuss or be uncomfortable with each other with the others. But that didn’t happen.
I don’t think we got much sleep during those glorious two days. We were both sad when he had to leave on Sunday because he was working out of town.
Things went well for four or five months before the first red flag came into play.
We were hanging out a weekend as usual when a text message fell on his phone. He had handed it to me to watch a YouTube video, and the notification was floating at the top of the screen as I held it.
He said: I love you.
It was from a woman named K.
My heart sank.
I had never heard K’s name before, and I had absolutely no idea why she was texting her affection to my boyfriend. There was only a minute left on the Youtube video, so I let it continue playing, while my mind raced.
When the song was over, I handed him the phone and told him he had a message.
Then I waited.
I have to hand it to him, he did pretty well. The look on his face was calm and practiced. He never wavered or looked shocked or scared. As I stared at him like I wanted to eat him, he replied to the text and hung up the phone.
“Who is K? And why does she love you?
“She’s a friend I’ve known forever. Her boyfriend’s name is W too. She just texted the wrong W. That’s okay.
I am not stupid. I didn’t believe a word of that explanation. But without further proof, there was really not much I could do other than accuse him of something I wasn’t sure about or just walk away. I didn’t want to leave, so I waited.
A few months passed and no more red flags appeared. I hadn’t forgotten Mrs. K or her professions of love, but I wasn’t actively trying to think about it either. Things were going well for us, and I didn’t want to rock the boat.
Until I do.
It was the third weekend in November and on the surface things were going well, but something was still nagging at my mind.
W was home for the weekend, but I just needed to know if the horrible feeling I had in my gut was right.
So I started looking – and what I found couldn’t have surprised me more.
I knew K’s first name and had a good idea of where she lived. When I put two and two together in a Facebook search, I found wedding photos from the previous weekend: my boyfriend and K getting married.
My boyfriend of almost 7 months had gotten married — and not to me.
I was sitting on the toilet when the photos appeared on my phone. He was lying in our bed in the next room. I shouted from the bathroom.
“Hey, did you get married last weekend?”
“Interesting. This is information that I probably should have received in advance.
“I can explain.”
I don’t think I cried then. I know I did it later.
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Part of me just wanted him to get the hell out of my house and out of my life.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had felt so betrayedwhich is saying a lot considering the level of shit I’ve tolerated in my life.
But the other part of me wanted him to stay. Stay, and explain what he was thinking. And where, if anywhere, we went from here.
Because of everything I’ve been, I’ve never been the other woman — and I didn’t know if I wanted to be one now.
There’s a lot I could tell you about the reasons, the logistics of the whole ordeal, but it’s not relevant to the story.
I stayed. He filed for divorce 366 days after marrying K. They weren’t a couple in the traditional sense, to begin with; it’s one of the strangest situations I’ve ever encountered, but it’s not my story to tell.
But still: I was the other woman for a year and a half, part of which I had no idea. And I remained the other woman, even after I found out. If you had asked me before all this happened if I would have stayed, I would have told you absolutely not.
But we never really know what we’ll do until we’re in a situation.
W and I have had our ups and downs since then. Trust has been a huge issue for us, but it’s better. It’s been almost six years since we met. We have been married for almost four years. I can’t say I wouldn’t change anything because, deep down in it all, I’ll always know that our relationship started with a lie and I was a dirty little secret.
But I know that if I had the chance, I wouldn’t come back and choose not to meet W. I wouldn’t. No matter how our relationship started, we slowly but surely worked our way up to a life that I’m proud to be a part of.
Demeter Delune is an educator who writes about sexuality, relationships and love.
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