I never really understood why people cheat. It always seemed pretty simple — if you find yourself wanting to have sex with someone other than your partner, BREAK UP! I never wanted to be the side chick, the mistress or the other woman, but then somehow I ended up doing just that. I became an accidental homewrecker who fell in love with a married man and it took me forever to get out. Boy, was that a lesson. Here are a few things I realized:
- Marriage isn’t for everyone, but nearly everyone still does it. Marriage is the biggest decision two people can enter into, but most people don’t think of it that way. The see the big party and all the gifts they’ll get or feel pressured by family so they just go for it. Before they know it, they’re knee deep in diapers from kids they didn’t plan with a spouse they can’t really stand, all because they didn’t have enough courage to say marriage wasn’t for them or to get out of it.
- My ideal of marriage is still true. My parents have been married for over 40 years. I know that marriage can work when both people want to make it work. Because of that, I’m not going to walk into a marriage and think, “Hey, if this doesn’t work out, I’ll just get a divorce.” Marriage doesn’t work that way.
- There’s no shame in going through his phone. I will never understand how men can be so careless with their phones when they have something to hide. When he finally told me he was married, he explained he was trying to leave and I believed him. He wasn’t even trying to hide our so-called relationship. No codes names, no passwords, no hidden texts. If you think your boyfriend is cheating, always look through his phone because there’s always something hiding beneath the surface.
- Guys will use their marriage to play the sympathy card. After he told me he was married, I wanted to leave, but I listened to what he had to say — how he felt pressured to marry her after she got pregnant, how things haven’t been the same, etc. I felt horrible for him. I think marriage is hard, but I think you should also feel like you have a person/best friend to go through it with. That’s what marriage should be. I felt so terrible for him being in the loveless marriage that I fell even harder for him. I wanted to give him the marriage he wasn’t getting from her.
- There’s such a thing as emotional cheating. For awhile, I actively tried to stop seeing him. I knew it was wrong, but I loved him. I couldn’t stop talking to him altogether, so I made a compromise and we still kept in contact. Even though we didn’t see each other, the connection was still there. We would text for hours on end and have these in-depth phone conversations, and it was like he never left. It was like he never told me he was married. I continued to live in a fantasy land until I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to see him again.
- Even though you don’t want to admit it, it is all about sex. I like to call it star-crossed-lovers syndrome. When the universe tells says you can’t be with someone (and it’s out of your control), you tend to want them even more — even when you know they’re bad for you. I couldn’t help it — us not being able to be together made me want him more, which made the sex amazing! I am talking out-of-body, spiritually-awakening-kind-of-sex. But after it was over, I was slapped back to reality when he couldn’t stay and left me naked in a bed all alone. The sex started to become the only thing that bonded us together.
- I started to have more sympathy for her and not him. I still vividly remember it. He had been talking all day about how much he wanted me and missed me. A couple hours later, out of curiosity, I decide to look on his wife’s Facebook page. Her page was filled with pictures of the two of them and their kids and how much she loved her family, and I just remember thinking, “WTF am I doing?” I really love this guy, but can I take away another woman’s happiness? I was put in a position where I could no longer live in the mistress bubble. It was no longer an accident.
- You can’t always blame the “other woman.” I’m still a firm believer that there are two sides to every story. I always considered myself the lucky one because I knew both sides of the story. She doesn’t. She has no idea I exist and probably will never know, but I chose not to be the accidental homewrecker anymore and to walk away for her sake. Though I hope I’m never in her shoes, I hope that “the other woman” would do the same thing for me — to give me the opportunity to fix my marriage without someone else distracting my husband from the real question: can we make this work?