Seven years ago, I began a 9-month long affair with my male best friend. I never thought I would ever be “The Other Woman.” I did not plan it. It just…happened.
I was going through a very hard time in my life. At the tender age of 24, I had been in a toxic relationship for close to seven years. The man I was with did not ever work. He took my money. He slept all day and was up all night playing video games. He used me. He belittled me. He never made me feel good. He was highly jealous, insecure, and any job I ever got for him, he would either get fired or quit within the same week. I was emotionally exhausted and completely lost my shit when my childhood cat died at the age of 17. This traumatic time in my life is where I needed the support of my then-boyfriend the most. But he still kept at his video games, even when I got home in tears and fled to my bedroom. Looking back now, he was simply not on my level.
A few months later, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. I had trouble sleeping. I constantly had a cloud over my head. Weeks spent at work were challenging. It took everything for me to get to work and stay at work — all day — feeling ill, stressed, like something bad was going to happen.
My ex-boyfriend never gave me a break. During this difficult time, I ended up being off work for one month to relax and take it easy. But during that time, he decided he wanted to go back to school. He didn’t have a car or a driver’s licence, so guess who had to drive him, pay for the course, and get all the paperwork done? And guess who quit school a week later because it was too hard to get there on time?
A new year came, and I went back to work. I worked in an office as a secretary, and my manager came to welcome me back at work. He was very thoughtful and understanding. Not much had changed since I had been off for a month — other than a new manager joining our team. He presented himself well and was professional. He was attractive and 11 years older than I was. He was friendly and introduced himself right away, with an odd connection that occured between the two of us, right away.
It wasn’t until a month after that he started visiting my office and saying good morning every morning. I appreciated those words so much. It lifted my spirits. Then the good mornings started turning into short conversations. We were starting to get to know each other. Wow, this man was interested in talking to me? He wanted to know how my day was going? Something I was not used to.
Within a couple of months, we were having lunch together and leaving the office to pick up food or hang around and have a lot of laughs. He’d point out guys that would check me out. I would say, “What?! Really? There’s no way.” I was so young and didn’t realize how much of a catch I was. I had been living in a dark relationship since the end of my teenage years and all of my 20s. This man made me feel good. This was a new friend. A good friend. He had been married for 5 years and had a 1-year-old child. He was proud of this and talked about it every day. But he never spoke of his wife in a nice light, ever. He always said she was a bad wife, someone who never appreciated him, someone who never did simple chores, someone who always put him down, someone who never satisfied him sexually.
Having sexual conversations with my male friend seemed innocent at first. Like having a conversation with any other friend. But the difference was, he was married and I had a boyfriend and we were crossing lines. I was in such awe and appreciation of my friend, I always felt like I would have been a better wife for him since I would do the things he mentioned for my ex-boyfriend, and he had no appreciation for it.
This is all a blur to me as it was seven years ago, but sometimes I try to think back to what the turning point was between being friendly friends and full-on cheaters. I remember the first time he texted me. I felt a rush of emotions as I saw his phone number pop up and his lovely message. “Hi, it’s me. I hope you are having a great weekend. I am now sitting in my basement enjoying my night, my wife and son are asleep. We went to McDonalds and I sweated like a pig, I am really getting old. I was thinking of you today and thought I’d say what’s up. I really enjoy our chats at work, keep it real, you’re amazing.”
I happened to be at a wedding when he texted me so I didn’t have much to respond. I felt like he was chasing me. Paying attention to me. It felt good. “Hey! At a wedding, nice to hear from you — talk to you later!”
It was about a whole year later when we began our affair. One thing led to another, and before long, his hand was down my pants at work, and we were kissing. The secrecy of it was a huge turn on. But the thought of doing that was much more exciting than the real thing. I never felt good after our hook-ups. I felt cheap, dirty, and like I didn’t matter. Our friendship was no longer the same. We stopped talking at work, everything was just code for meeting times on the phone, and the hook-ups were very quick. Nothing romantic, ever.
I often wondered why he felt that was worth it. After breaking up with my ex-boyfriend and finding the strength to move on, I ended things with the man I was having an affair with — 9 months later. He full-on stopped talking to me, and our friendship was never the same as it no longer existed.
It just goes to show, someone will always get hurt when they cross the lines — and that person was me.