I was with the same guy for five years. We were high school sweethearts then live-in partners, and everyone was convinced we were going to get married. By the end, we were only together out of habit and we eventually broke up… and that’s when I became the other woman.
He was there for me even before the breakup. We were both managers at work. About a month before the big breakup, we decided to become friends. We started texting, but flirty texts that didn’t mean anything because I was with my then-boyfriend and he was living with his serious girlfriend. He was easy to talk to about anything. He was the first person I told when my boyfriend broke up with me. I was devastated, a total mess, and this guy was there for me.
When I was lonely, he called me beautiful. For the first time ever, I lived alone. I’d lived with my ex since I’d moved out of my mom’s house and it was scary to live alone. And lonely. The breakup had brought up some buried insecurities and the only way I knew how to deal with them was to call this guy. He would decline the call and send a text saying he couldn’t talk because he was with his girlfriend. Then he’d call me beautiful and I’d feel better.
We always had so much fun together. Even though we were both managers, he was technically my superior. If our boss found out that we were hooking up, we would both get reprimanded. The danger of it made us even more reckless. When we were scheduled on shifts together, we would find an excuse to run into each other in the back room. There weren’t any cameras in the back—nothing to stop us from ripping each other’s clothes off.
He was an older man, something I’d never experienced before. I was 22, a college student studying English literature, and he was 32, a graduate of culinary school and a manager at the local craft shop. My ex was younger than me and dating an older guy made me feel mature. We had sex in a grown-up way. He talked about porn in a grown-up way. He ignored my calls in a grown-up way. He had a serious girlfriend in a grown-up way. I was his mistress in a grown-up way.
His girlfriend was beyond beautiful, so the fact that he wanted me too made me feel pretty by association. When we first started hanging out, his girlfriend was like a mythological creature to me. I knew he had one but I had never seen her. One day, she stopped by the store to surprise him with an impromptu lunch. I hid in aisle six and peered through the baskets to watch them kiss. I knew that I was supposed to feel jealous so I told myself I was. In reality, I couldn’t stop thinking about how beautiful she was. I must have been pretty if he was into me too.
The fact that it was wrong made it feel even sexier. His girlfriend worked opposite hours than he did, so it was easy to come over to his apartment to hang out. We would do it on his bed and I’d look at the picture they took together at the zoo hung up above the headboard and think how this was just like how it is in the movies. The more I looked at the picture, the more I understood that I was the other woman. In the movies, the other woman was sexy. She was confident and provocative and desirable. I wanted to be all of those things.
I told myself I was in love with him so I didn’t have to feel guilty about what we were doing. I thought this guy was a dream. He was a macho hipster that was fashion conscious and wasn’t afraid to get in touch with his feminine side. He was creative like me, dramatic like me, and passionate like me. I thought the way that he curled the ends of his mustache like a Victorian-era douche was sexy and bold. I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter that he had a girlfriend because he said he was falling for me and I said it back.
We talked about running away together. It was like high school again. We stayed up late every night texting each other and would arrive to work the next day tired and horny. We would talk for hours every day. We had so much in common. I wish I didn’t have a girlfriend, he’d tell me. I wish we could just run away and be together. And I would tell him we could. We could just pack our bags and go. Even if it was just for a weekend, let’s just do it. I can’t though, he’d say. You know I can’t.
He didn’t want me to see other people. The buzz of a new relationship was over and his flirty texting started to feel empty. We had found a rhythm. I’d come over, we’d have sex (I would always do all the work), I’d leave (unfinished) before his girlfriend got home. Bored and lonely, I started seeing a guy from school. The new guy didn’t give me the same spark that I got with him, but he was there when he wasn’t. I was upfront with both of them. The new guy was cool with me seeing someone else. The guy with the girlfriend was not. He threw a tantrum like a 5-year-old child who was denied candy. I made him sad, he said. Was he not enough for me? I asked him the same thing.
He wanted his cake and to eat it too. He actually said that clichéd excuse to me. Since he was an aspiring chef, it was even more annoying. He’d spent months telling me he wished he could be with me and only me, but when it finally came down to it, I was just there for the sex. His girlfriend got to be everything I wanted to be.
After three months of sleeping together, I left him. I was so tired of the tango. I had spent months trying to convince him I was worthy to be with. I was constantly looking for validation in a relationship where he was the only one with the power. What had started off as an ego lift had become exhausting and degrading. After three months of constantly begging for affection from a hipster dirtbag with a girlfriend, I dumped his ass.
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