I am the OW
First I want to say thank you to everyone who has shared their story on this site. Your words have helped me through some of the darkest days of my life. I've been filled with shame for months - I'm hoping this step will help me move on.
My story begins with a friendship. I met "Nick" at the large company where we both worked. He was smart, kind, cute, sociable and funny. There was a bit of chemistry between us (esp. our sense of humor) and we quickly became friends, but nothing more, as I was in a serious dating relationship, and he was in the midst of 'getting back together' with his girlfriend of about a year, who he wasn't 'all that into." Nick would ask me for advice about women and I felt important that he'd ask. He'd listen to what I would say and respond in kind. He would always say, "I never talk to anyone like this." I want to laugh at this line now, but back then, because of his immense group of friends, and the fact that he seemed so kind and generous to me, I believed him. And, I felt special that he opened up to me. Not to mention that when Nick and I talked, I would laugh so much. He would flirt with me, but it seemed harmless. He just seemed like a fun, passionate guy that was happy to call a 'friend."
Fast forward several years. We had never lost touch totally, but our contact was limited by the fact that Nick moved to another state and that we both had gone on to get married and have kids (ironically, he went on to marry that girlfriend "he wasn't that into"... red flag, anyone?). Then, the mother of all affairs came into my life: FACEBOOK. He 'friended' me and we had such easy access to each other, our friendship resumed. I'd hear from him more often (comments, emails, photos, etc.) Every time he was in town (3-4x/year) he'd text or email and ask me to lunch. My husband knew who Nick was (they never met) and that we were friends and occasionally had lunch.
Our conversations about his married life became more and more intimate. He'd tell me all these negative things about his wife. That she was a slob. That she had gained weight because she never got off the couch. That she wasn't any fun anymore. They never talked. That they barely had sex. He seemed so sad and depressed, I tried to give him advice on how he could make his marriage stronger. I thought, here is my good friend trusting me with this sad period in his life, I should try and help him, not realizing that these pity plays were his way to reel me in. One night over text he tells me how he has always had a crush on me. How he thinks I'm gorgeous and "why didn't we didn't kiss that one time we were on a business trip in New York?"
I should have stopped everything right there. But, I'm ashamed to admit how flattered I was... and it seemed harmless at the time. But soon, his texts were getting more and more graphic. I asked him to stop sending me this kind of thing as it made me feel uncomfortable. He'd stop for a bit, then when he'd had too much to drink, he'd start pushing the boundaries. Meanwhile, I was getting more wrapped up in his attention. So much so that I told him how I was feeling. I was afraid our friendship had turned into something that was cheating -- even just via text was not right. His response we'd never do anything because, 'your married and I'm married, so that's that." Then he went on to tell me how important our friendship was to him ... I believed him as every time we'd ever hung out in person, he never made a move or a pass at me. I was so blinded by my trust that he was my friend.
This push/pull via email/text went on for a few more months. Always playing a game with me of cat and mouse. Normal friendly emails/texts would lead into a night of more flirtations and admissions that would end up in me feeling terrible and asking him to stop. One night, he was drinking (another glorious red flag I ignored) and he made an off color joke to me, along with sending a link to misogynistic porn site. I knew he intended it as a joke, but I thought it was so mean-spirited that I ended up crying. So, the next day I told him that he always ends up being inappropriate and because of this, it was best not to communicate anymore. Text, FB or otherwise. His email back to me was "it was just a joke" and "best of luck in your new career" (as I had started a new business). I thought, that's it? No, sorry I offended you? No, I promise I won't do that again because you're a dear friend?... nope.
I was devastated. I cried half the night. I couldn't believe he had such an affect on me. I was so afraid of these feelings I had developed for him, and what that meant to my marriage. I wasn't attracted to my husband the way I was to him. I didn't know what was happening in my life anymore. I had to tell my husband what happened. Maybe in telling him, I'd find the answer to all the crappy feelings I had. It was a really difficult conversation. I admitted to my husband that I was having an emotional affair. My husband was hurt and angry. I told my husband I wouldn't be contacting Nick anymore. That I had unfriended him on FB, etc. And, to my surprise, we had that one talk, then he never brought it up again. Even when I tried to talk to him about my feelings again, he'd shut down. I asked him to go to therapy. He wasn't into it. So, I just stopped talking about it.
I couldn't stop thinking about Nick and how he treated me. I went to therapy by myself as I felt obsessed. My therapist said it was just a crush, and that I'd get over it. Nick didn't contact me for 5 months ... then he 'liked' my business page on FB (FB strikes again!) and ended up emailing me to ask if it was alright for him to give me information on where to hang out during an upcoming business trip of mine to his home town. I said, OK. His next FB message was so long, it took me 30 min to read. He was so sweet, considerate, so concerned for my well-being, and funny..telling me all the stuff I should take in when I was there. I smiled from ear to ear when I got that note.
I told my husband about the email. He was pissed that Nick was trying to get back in touch with me. I told him I would not see Nick in his hometown, but that I was thinking about writing to say thanks for the recommendations. My husband wasn't thrilled but he said OK. Once I wrote back to say thank you, I told Nick how much he hurt me with the email with the porn site. And he apologized. Somehow, I never thought I'd hear the words, "I'm sorry" from him. Once I did, I was hooked again. He told me how much he missed me. Missed our friendship. We were back to texting, emailing, FB friends. Nick found out I was traveling again. Told me (by coincidence... yeah right... ) that he'd be in that same town at the same time, and could he take me to dinner. I agreed. And I didn't tell my husband (who, mind you, had never asked me again about Nick). Huge mistake, but I had to see where this was heading.Thinking about Nick had become an obsession for me. I felt like if I saw him, I could talk to him and figure it all out. We were, after all, good friends for 10 years. We could have a friendly dinner and nothing bad would happen, right? (denial is a bitch).
That night at dinner, our easy way with each other had returned. We were laughing so much, that the wait staff kept looking over at us. The waiter came over and asked if it was our anniversary... Out of guilt, I said it was. They brought out a cake with a candle lit on it. Nick thought it was hilarious. He had me blow it out then asked me "Since it's our anniversary, can I have a kiss?" And, I when I leaned in to give him a peck, he pulled me in for a real kiss. I didn't pull away. Afterward we talked about how that didn't feel awkward at all... since it was the first time I've ever kissed someone other than my husband (and he said the same about his wife... ("except for this one time in Vegas" he told me - another red flag I chose to ignore)
The thing I know he's begging me to come up to his hotel room... just to "kiss" Yet, within seconds, his hands were under my skirt. I stopped him and sat up on the bed. I was so overwhelmed. Part of me knew in that moment, I was totally lost. I looked into his eyes and pleaded, "Please don't hurt me, Nick". His immediate response? "I love you." That surprised me. I said I had to go. After I left, he texted me all night, telling me how much he loved me. How beautiful I was. How he could still taste my kisses.
The next day, I was in a fog. He was sending me emails with love songs and movie clips.. He couldn't wait to see me again. "We can just cuddle. I just want to hold you." It was all so romantic. I felt so ALIVE! I thought - it has NEVER been this way with my husband, who I felt was such a good man but didn't understand me the way that Nick seemed to. I couldn't talk to my husband the way I could talk to Nick... I was so scared too. Scared of what I had done and how much I didn't want it to stop.
Nick started calling me on the phone during the day. We'd talk for hours. It seemed we had so much in common... We saw each other a few more times when he was in town. He was funny, kind, sexy, interesting, poetic. While I felt wonderful, I also felt SO AWFUL. What we were doing to our spouses, families; I was even lying to my friends. I had never cheated on even a shitty boyfriend, much less my kind, loyal husband. WHO AM I??? I would tell Nick how awful I was feeling. He'd say he felt the same. He'd say something funny or romantic or empathetic and I'd feel better.
And, now that we were 'together' it seemed to me that Nick had completely changed. That guy who would play cat and mouse was gone. Now, he showered me with attention. That guy who seemed sad and depressed in life? Now, he was singing in my ear as we danced together. That guy that had no energy to exercise? He was now jogging everyday. That guy that told me he didn't talk about his feelings? Told me he slept with a t shirt I left because it smelled like me. This transformation made me feel so important and needed. Something I wasn't getting at home. Nick had a way of expressing himself I've never experienced with another man.... he told me how I made him happier than any woman.. we had found true love! .. And, being his friend for so long, I heard all about his past relationships (his was friends with all of them (red flag), except the one "psycho-ex." RED FLAG!!)
Although, we had been physical a few times, we had never had sex, and after a few weeks, Nick asked me if I would. But it just felt so, I don't know, wrong. Even though I had done so much wrong already. So, I told Nick I wasn't ready. This was the first time I saw the mask crack. He completely pulled away from me. Wouldn't talk about why he was so pissed. I freaked out. I told him,"I can't believe I'm sitting here like a teenager thinking, this guy just wants to fuck me." He said no, he loved me, he just felt rejected. He apologized. Said he was "all in" with me. I meant everything to him. That "sex didn't matter because I'm in love with you. And that means more than just sex." He even told me he thought I was 'put on the earth' for him. (HA! Aren't we all??) I so wanted to believe this was the truth. That he wasn't the other guy who just shut me out. He was so kind to me, so lovely with his words, I started to cry. He cried too.
And so, that's how it happened. I slept with him because he made me feel bad. At the time, I thought the sex was amazing. That it was all worth it. But, looking back, I see that he wasn't as generous of a lover as he claimed to be. And how he pressured me for him not to wear a condom. including stopping mid-sex to tell me how wearing it "wasn't working" for him ... (Really? he came like 3 minutes later..) After this, he started saying how he wanted to leave his wife for me. At the same time, his mask cracked a bit more and more. He wasn't ever mean to me...but I heard him say degrading things about other women, I heard him say he didn't 'connect with his kids' (two girls) like he wanted. I heard him say he didn't have any close friends... which I thought he had many. And of course, I heard so many negative things about his wife. This is the stuff that haunts me -- how much I believed him about her. He seemed so checked out of his marriage. He had such little respect for his "lazy, selfish" wife who had "zero effort in life." One time, I suggested that she might be depressed, he replied, "She takes so many pills, she's like an old lady." I got mad at him when he said that, as I thought it was cruel. He brushed it off as a joke. And I let it be. I mean, people who want a divorce don't love their spouses anymore, right? So, they have complaints, right? I kick myself for believing this line of BS! That poor woman was being D&D'd right before my eyes and I was too stupid to see it.
Our affair was taking a toll on me. I lost weight. I couldn't sleep. I even started thinking about suicide... something that has never crossed my mind. I tried to talk to my husband a few times, telling him I was sad and depressed, but he never pushed me for more. I kept waiting for him to just ask me about Nick once. Just once... but he never did. It's like he could sense the doom that was behind my eyes and couldn't bare to go there -- which made me feel even worse.
Nick continued to want to see me as much as possible. He kept pressing for us to be together. I kept telling him that he had to sort it out with his wife and I had to sort it out with my husband before we could be together. Which meant coming clean. If we just jumped ship that would be a terrible way to start an "us" He agreed. Said not that he WAS going to tell his wife, but that he HAD to tell her b/c of how he felt about me. He said it was best to be honest about what happened between us with our spouses, and in fact, he almost told his wife that night before he left on a business trip. He even told me about a friend of his who went through a divorce and she told him (of course, another woman...) that we needed to handle this way as well -- to make the best decision and to make sure when we got together there would be no trust issues, we should tell our spouses and stay away from each other while we figured it out. So, it really felt like we were completely aligned.
That night, I told my husband about what had happened with Nick. That I fell in love with him and that we had been intimate. Needless to say, it was HORRIBLE to come clean about what had happened. He screamed at me and then sobbed at me. He was so upset and hurt. He told me he wanted a divorce. I asked him to go to therapy so that we could at least have a good co-parenting relationship if we divorced. He said he'd go to one session before we filed.
I left and went to a friend's house. Nick emailed me that he was very upset. So, I called him. He had been crying b/c he was afraid he lost me. No, I told him, it's all out. My husband wants a divorce. He told me he would tell his wife that Wednesday when he was back in town from his business trip. He, too, was going to tell her then try therapy and see if anything could be salvaged. I thought this was a good way to proceed. I really felt that we'd both regret just jumping and not thinking it through. Plus, I think part of me had a very dark feeling about his true nature. He told me he'd already started looking at real estate in my area so we could move in together. He asked me once if I would definitely leave my husband for him. I told Nick I didn't know b/c he hadn't told his wife yet, and it was unfair of him to ask me this when he hadn't.
Before we got off the phone for the last time, he said, "My thoughts are clear, you are my path to happiness. I know what I must do ... and seeing you go through this gives me the strength to do it. You are amazing." He really made me feel he was so trustworthy. I was so convinced he was going to tell her about us. And I told myself, if he tells her about you, then you know can trust him and you can be with him (as he seemed to so desperately want).
Well, you probably guessed this... He never told her.
I waited for weeks and weeks before I would let it sink in that he didn't. During that time, our marriage counselor got my husband and I to agree to a 90 waiting period to file for divorce, as we were in such "trauma" and she said it wasn't a good way to make that kind of decision. So we lived separated (by bedroom or I'd sleep at a friend's house). During those weeks, my husband wanted to call Nick's wife several times. He was so angry - he also had researched every family member on her side to call as well). But, I talked him out of it by saying confidently, "she already knows". How humiliating for me this never happened. But, my husband never made me feel bad about it. Through therapy every week, we'd discover something new about our relationship that we had never talked about before. Which included him working with his own issues with another counselor and me as well (working on managing my empath/co dependent personality). During this time, although Nick didn't call or write me directly, as we agreed, he did do hoovers like twitter posts, FB updates he made public, following me on twitter, looking at my linked in profile... including tweeting an inside joke from the hotel where we had sex. Clearly, he never gave a thought about how that stuff could/would affect me.
Then, on my birthday, Nick wrote me telling me how much he loved me, how he couldn't stop thinking of me. How I was the "great gift of his life". I wrote back asking him if he ever told his wife about us (as he was very elusive about this info). He wrote me another long note about why he DIDN'T, including how he was convinced by a friend he told about us to NOT tell her until after their first therapy session. And, after that one session, how he decided not to because he was "stunned to realize how close my marriage was to collapsing independent of anything to do with you and me. Tellin g her would be like dropping a nuclear bomb." (ahhh, No shit, m effer!) He wrote that he planned to tell her "when they were stronger." He didn't want to tell her now (it had been over 2 months) about me and turn the 'conversation to trust issues."
When I read this lame, excuse-filled note, my heart sank to depths I've never experienced. I was had. I was used. I broke my vows for this selfish prick of a man. I wrote back and asked him to never contact me again because I could no longer trust him. He wrote back, tried to tell me "I misread" his note and that I "misunderstood" his actions...and to please meet him in person so he could explain-- basically giving me the feeling the wanted to reel me back in... to remain his mistress or secure me before he would ever take action to do anything right or true. All I could think about was what a COWARD he was. How much he was manipulating us both. That he'd just lie to her and at the same time, continue to string me along. I think I could have understood if he had come and told me right away he couldn't tell her, but he didn't and then continued to hoover me... I mean, I was sleeping on a mattress in my friend's basement while he was tucked up in his bed, facing ZERO consequences. How could I ever trust a man who would be so duplicitous? He takes his wife to therapy and DOESN'T tell her it's because he fell in love with another woman? What does he say in there? You're lazy and overweight and don't want to have sex with me? And she just agrees? And that's how he goes about 'getting them stronger?" WTF?
I feel as if I've been raped by an emotional vampire. He sucked everything good out of me and when he was done, didn't have the decency to tell me to get up and move on. Because he wasn't honest about telling his wife as he promised, now I think he lied to me at every turn. That he had done this many times before (swore up and down he had never cheated before), that he probably lied about everything-- including that in the therapy session (if he actually went), his wife was probably going to leave him because he treated her like shit. Or because she found out about some other affair he had... who knows?
I desperately want to know exactly what happened and exactly who he is. The CD is so strong for me because all I remember are the good times and the bad ones are the stuff I can only piece together after the fact. I want to call him up and scream at him! But, because of this site, I know no matter what he says to me about it, I couldn't trust it to be the truth. I will never contact him in anyway ever again (I've blocked every venue possible for him to contact me and have stayed AWAY from all Internet checking). He will never know how much I suffered for him. How much pain he caused because of what he convinced me he felt for me. I keep saying to myself, if he could have just told me he didn't tell her that Wednesday... at least I could have maintained my belief in him as a human being. It's been months, and trying to figure out how much of a MONSTER this guy might have been is the nightmare I go to sleep and wake up to everyday. This is a curse that I brought on myself. I pray for the day the shame and pain will stop.
My husband and I continue to work on our marriage. But, we will never be the same because of him. Time will tell if this is a good or bad thing.