When I met my husband Harold, I was single and he was in a monogamous relationship. He was unhappy in his relationship, and he asked me to be the “other woman” until he could get out of his relationship and be with me. Against all my instincts, I said yes.
He introduced me to his friends, family, and girlfriend as his friend, while in private we were lovers. I fell in love while expecting that he would never leave his girlfriend. I expected to leave his life with my heart broken, with one more suitcase of damage to carry into my future.
Being the other woman is an inherently painful place. Unlike the other women in stories, I’m not evil, and I did feel guilty for hurting people… I hurt myself, Harold, and her. I had to suffer through seeing his love for her and her love for him. I had to tell everyone I was single when I was desperately in love. I had to pretend he was just a friend, and I’m not a very good actress. My acting single hurt Harold and me, and it also hurt the people who were interested in me. He was caught between two women, two loves, and that shredded him.
I’m an emotional masochist, so my pain was bearable. But I will never be pleased with the way I hurt a woman who had done nothing to deserve it. His girlfriend was a good woman who treated him well — she just wasn’t the right woman for him.
Once Harold broke up with her and started dating me, I thought the hard part was over. I thought we would be skipping-through-meadows happy. I didn’t realize that Harold still had to move on from his past relationship. All the things people do after a breakup are still necessary if you’re already in another relationship. So when she tried to get him back, I had to fight to keep him. When he cried over her, I had to comfort him. When he didn’t want to get rid of the mementos of their time together, I had to live with them. Eventually he got over their breakup and moved on, but those were horrible months to live through, and they hurt us both quite a bit.
Everyone has heard, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Even though Harold promised he would never cheat on me, I didn’t believe him. Every time another woman called him or talked to him on Facebook, I wondered if she was the woman he would cheat on me with. That uncertainty does not make for a very stable relationship or state of mind. Combine that with the months of him getting over his ex, and I was kind of a nervous wreck for most of the beginning of our relationship.
So if anyone were to hear my story and think, “Here’s proof that sometimes cheating works out well,” they’re sort of right. I wouldn’t recommend anyone follow in my footsteps, though.
Cheaters, cheat-ees, cheated? Keeping in mind our comment policy, let’s discuss the value of the lessons you’ve learned from those experiences.