I don’t expect much, if any, sympathy from my story because I know I behaved horribly. I hope that my experience is a lesson for others who may be in a similar situation. I’m leaving out a lot of details in order to make my story short, but I think this audience will see a lot of similarities between my narc and the one you experienced.
Let me start by getting it all out in the open – I am a married woman who had an affair with a married narcissist. In addition, we had the affair while his wife (I’ll call her Sherry) was pregnant with their first child. I know what I did wasn’t right and I’m still dealing with the aftermath of my actions.
I met him, I’ll call him Dan, at work. We started off going to innocent lunches together, then he would join my friends and I for after-work beers. After about 6 weeks I realized I was attracted to him but considered it a “work crush” – an attractive guy who I admired. Beers with friends started to end with him and me alone. He’d talk about his unhappy marriage (he was married 5 years, me for 11) and I started to share too. The night of our first kiss he told me that he found out that day from his wife that she thought she was pregnant. I knew I’d made a terrible mistake and wanted to tell him that kiss was a one-time event that would never happen again. We went to lunch the next day and talked but ended up kissing again. This lead to a very intimate and intense affair that lasted through the fall of 2009 and into the winter of 2010.
He told me how horrible his wife was and how she would make irrational demands of him. How she screamed at him and at one point accused him of wanting to terminate the pregnancy. I was sympathetic and supportive. We spent hours talking about him and his feelings. We talked about what our relationship would be like if we weren’t already with other people. He was completely into me (or so I thought) and we spent a lot of time together. He told me things like he wished he had met me sooner in his life, etc.
I obviously knew the baby was coming and kept saying to him, “Once your son is born you won’t remember my name.” He assured me that wasn’t true but he was just so confused on what he wanted out of life. He told me I made him happy but his parents were divorced and he didn’t want that for his son. On the other hand, he promised me he would not stay in an unhappy marriage. Through all of this I set my own feelings aside and did everything I could to be supportive of him.
[I am still kicking myself for believing all his crap. I was such a fool.]
So, Dan’s son was born six weeks premature, in early March. Of course he and I split once that happened but we still worked together so we talked nearly every day. I was devastated last spring. I had completely fallen in love with him but still had to interact with him on a daily basis. It was impossible for me to hide the pain I was in. (At one point, I remember him saying to me, “It’s flattering to me that this has been so hard on you.” So yeah – he enjoyed my pain. From that day I strove to do a better job of hiding my feelings while at work.) I last 20 pounds (when I really didn’t have it to lose) and went through depression and even a few anxiety attacks.
For four months I tried to get Dan out of my head and refocus my energy on my marriage. Things were improving at home. Dan, of course, wanted us to be friends (which I’ve learned from this site is a way for him to keep his hooks in me – and it really was). In June, we started talking more – he would come into my office at the end of the day and after a while he started telling me again how things weren’t working out at home and that he and Sherry were fighting again. He said he missed me and that he was unhappy without me. We met for drinks after work and one of the first things he said to me was, “I think it’s just a matter of time before we’re together” and “when my son was being born I was thinking of you and wishing you were there to share the moment with me.” (When his son was born, he sent me a text from the hospital within an hour. He told me I was the first person he’d contacted after family.)
In July we started our affair again. We didn’t see each other as much because he wanted to be home in the evenings with his son (or so he said) and we didn’t resume sexual intercourse (but we did everything else). In early October, my husband found out about Dan and I. I told Dan he should tell his wife because I knew my husband was going to go to her with what he found.
I decided to be completely honest with my husband, to answer all his questions and to accept blame for my actions. Dan, in true fashion, continued to lie to his wife. He first denied there was ever a physical affair, then he told her there was. He left out information and then said I had pursued him and that he was appeasing me because he was worried I would go to HR if he didn’t continue to meet me for drinks or lunches. Of course, that never even entered my mind. He told his wife he thought I was an alcoholic (I admit I was drinking more last winter than I should have) while ignoring the fact that there were several times when my friends either had to drive him home or wait until he was sober enough to get home on his own. I remember getting text messages from him on Saturday morning, telling me that he was breaking into a bottle of vodka and planned to finish it while he did chores around the house.
Sherry and my husband spoke twice to check the stories they were told. She found out again and again that Dan still wasn’t being honest with her. (He lied to her face about me ever being to their house, for example.) It’s only been about two months since all of this came up, but my husband and I are working on our marriage to fix our problems. As far as I know, Dan and his wife are still together as well although I don’t know how she can trust him when she’s caught him in lie after lie, even when he said he was “coming clean” about the affair. From the discussions my husband had with Sherry, I found out that Dan asked her to terminate the pregnancy and when she didn’t he said he didn’t want the word “baby” used in their house. After the baby was born, Dan has never gotten up in the middle of the night or provided any help with their son.
Another thing I found out – over a year ago, Sherry’s mother sent her an email where she said she thought that Dan was a narcissist. Sherry shared this mail with my husband and he let me read it. What she said struck me, and that’s when I went online to learn more. Her mother was right – Dan is a textbook example of narcissism. Where I use to feel anger and jealousy for Sherry, I now feel sympathy. She is still in that relationship with him and I can see how he emotionally abuses her.
I got very lucky and found a new job in early November. I haven’t spoken with Dan since the first week of November. At first I was heartbroken that he could walk away from me so easily, but I consider myself lucky. There are times I miss him, but then I remember it was all built on lies and I think about how much better I feel about myself now that he's gone.
Like I said, I don’t expect sympathy because I knowingly had an affair with a married man whose wife was pregnant. I just hope my story serves to help others and that if you find yourself in the same situation you’ll realize that you need to get out. It will be hard, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself. More than anything – never, ever ignore your intuition, that feeling in your gut or the voice in your head that’s trying to warn you. Trust yourself.