Transitioning From I Am The Other Woman To I Was The Other Woman

What a horribly difficult time I am experiencing right now.  I am so tormented that I feel I need to put down in words the feelings I'm going through, just to understand everything and gain some perspective on the reality of it all.  I am head over heels in love with a married man who is 22 years my senior.  We have been the best of friends for eight years; six of which we have been physically intimate.  Our time together has been the best time of my life and facing the future without him seems unbearable.  He's brought so much love, joy, happiness and hope into my life, I cannot express the severe grief and depression facing life without him brings me.  Let me tell you our story.  

It all started in 2002 when I was separated from my husband due to his erratically violent and abusive behavior.  My estranged husband was scheduled to graduate from college in the spring and had already secured a lucrative job out of state.  Although I had other options, I chose to relocate near him to keep the option of a reconciliation open.  After the relocation, I started a new job and my husband ended up moving back in with me after a few months.  Over the course of the next couple of years, we stayed together although my husband continued to become more and more abusive.  Our children became accustomed to dialing the police to stop his violent rages; as if it were a normal way of life.  Throughout this time, I too pretended as if we were a normal family.  We both had our careers and our children were enrolled in a much coveted private school.  Our circle of friends included many prominent people in the community and no one had any idea our family was plagued with such abuse and violence.  

It was during this time that I met the most wonderful man I have ever encountered. He was a real boyscout; old-fashioned, generous, helpful and kind.  He would stop whatever he was doing to help anyone in need.  He was so caring and thoughtful to all those around him that it was nearly impossible not to want to be a part of his life and all it encompassed. He quickly invited me into his circle and we became fast friends.  Over the course of the next few years, our families began to spend time together at community events, etc.  Our intentions were pure in the beginning; we all enjoyed each other's company.

However, as my husband grew more and more abusive, my friendship with the boyscout grew uncomfortably close.  I eventually divulged to my friend the difficult times my marriage was facing, and his protective nature sought to love and protect me and my children.  Being heavily involved with church and my community, I felt compelled to confront him with the inappropriate direction I felt our relationship was headed as we were both pledged to other people.  Much to my surprise, my confrontation was greeted with his confession that he had a strong desire to be with me.  This was the exact opposite of what I had anticipated and I was very dismayed to learn that he desired to be with me.  I toiled over the situation for quite some time and even dropped 30 pounds with the stress involved with it all.  

Although the fallacy of my marriage was excruciatingly difficult for me to face, I eventually told my husband that our marriage was over.  Shortly thereafter, an intimate love affair began between me and the boyscout.  I needed someone to distract me from the nightmare I had endured for the past 15 years.  Although I knew he couldn't offer me anything real, I was satisfied to soak up any emotional or physical comfort the boyscout was able to offer me.  He enjoyed feeling needed and I'm sure the riskiness of our relationship offered him the excitement he longed for in his own relationship.

We both went into the relationship with our eyes open.  We knew there would never be a forever.  We knew he was not my knight in shining armor.  We knew that it would eventually end.  I felt so much guilt and shame over our indiscretions that it was nearly unbearable for me.  Yet his endearing compassion and charm kept me coming back for more.  To try to put an end to the insanity,  I moved 200 miles away to further my career . Once again, I was shocked when the separation only drew us closer emotionally.  We began talking on the phone daily, for hours.  It was during the next few years, that I became so emotionally attached to him that now, I cannot imagine my life without him in it.

Fast forward to the events of the past couple of weeks.  My boyscout and I were returning home from a relaxing golfing weekend in AZ.  His best friend (who is completely privy to our relationship) dropped us off at the airport to fly home.  I stopped off at the airport gift shop to purchase a few souvenirs for my children.  While in the store, I recognized a woman who was a mutual acquaintance of ours from home who also happened to be a distant relative of his wife.  I knew that if she were to recognize that we were together, our world would crumble and everything would be over.  I was forced to keep my distance from him for the entire flight home, which included an EMT rescue of a heart attack victim on the plane, a fuel tank leak and repair, and very LONG flight home.  I felt like a second rate citizen; a two-bit *****.  

Needless to say, I had time to during this flight to contemplate where our relationship stood in the framework of his life.  It was at this point that I realized I am a fool for having given six years of my life only to be treated as a disposable embarrassment when the going got rough.  Even though it is the most difficult thing I've ever done, I told him I deserve better and that I need to get out of our relationship before I have completely destroyed by ability to love, be loved, and trust.  

At this point, we are both in a great deal of self-inflicted pain.  I really don't expect sympathy from anyone because I did this to myself.  I just miss him so badly I don't know how to cope with the pain.  I do love him....enough to have taken a back seat to his wife for six years.  But I don't love him enough to sneak around any more.  

I wrote him the following letter last week and I think the two of us probably had our last conversation last night.  I'm heartbroken an lost.    

 

My Dearest Phil,

I don’t even know how to begin a letter like this as I’ve never been faced with such a difficult turning point in my life.   However, I feel the need to put down in words the thoughts and feelings that have dominated me over the course of the past few days.  As I’m sure you are aware, there are so many other things I should be focusing on right now, but I cannot ignore the necessity of dealing with what’s going on between us.  There are a myriad of feelings rushing through me and it is impossible for me to express them all in a single thought…a phrase…an entire conversation, so I apologize if my thoughts are disconnected and hard to follow.  I will try to keep them organized as best I can. 

Over the course of the past few days, I’ve longed to hear your voice as I’ve grown accustomed to the comfort and warmth of our conversations.  Yet every time we talk, my tongue is twisted.  I feel our conversation leaning toward neutral themes to steer us away from the awkwardness of the inevitable pain surrounding the end of what was us.   I know in my heart that you feel the distance in our conversation and I believe one of us needs to state the obvious before we end up falling into the same old trap of deceit and betrayal all over again. 

It is really hard for me to not fall into that trap again because I allowed myself to love you.  There was an inexplicable attraction even the first time we met.  Maybe not a sexual attraction, but your genuineness and charm are what caused me to want to associate with you on a daily basis.  I wanted to be a part of what you had going on.  Over time, I grew to appreciate what a wonderful person you are.  I came to learn that you are generous, kind, thoughtful, funny, magnetic, caring, grounded and just plain fun person.  I’ve often referred to you as my favorite boy scout because it doesn’t matter who presents a need—you fill it.  You started out as my friend, but that didn’t last long.  Before long you established yourself as my best friend, my confidant, my mentor, and my lover.  I can trace nearly every good thing that has occurred in my life over the course of the past eight years to something you’ve played a role in.  You have shaped who I am today and I would not be what I am without you.  I guess that’s why it is so hard to contemplate life without you in it. 

I know we both long to maintain the intimate friendship we’ve nurtured over the course of the last eight years because it has been a very pleasurable thing.  We’re both hooked and it’s heart-wrenching to give it up.  That is very natural considering both the strong emotional and physical attachment we’ve established over the years.  I look forward with great anticipation to every time we talk….we kiss….we hold each other….we make love.  I know you understand what I’m talking about because you feel it too. It is amazing; as if our souls touch. I would love nothing more than to share that with you forever.  The problem lies in the fact that you can’t give your heart and soul to me.  They belong to someone else; not just your wife, but your shared families and the network of friends you’ve built together.  Your heart will never belong to me until you are willing to risk these relationships for the possibility of being with me.  I’m convinced our relationship does not have what it takes to make that happen.  I’ve based this opinion on what you’ve shared with me.  You don’t want to risk hurting your family and you don’t want me to be stuck with an “old guy”.    I understand and respect that, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing it weren’t’ true. 

It has been quite the ride ignoring these facts over the past few years, but when faced with the reality of who you are in public setting, I was brutally reminded where I stand in the framework of your life.  I am entertainment.  I am a distraction.  I am a fantasy. I am not real. I am a passing fancy.  As much as it hurts me to say it, I cannot allow myself to pursue our relationship further in that context because it is harmful to me and my perception of myself.  I need to get out of the situation before I permanently damage my ability to love, be loved, and trust unconditionally. 

Believe it or not, I’ve come to this conclusion with the help of my children.  I doubt it if it will make any difference to you, but I need to come clean with you regarding the challenges and obstacles I’ve overcome with my own family.  A few years ago, I got to the point where I could not stand the lying and deceit it took to sustain my relationship with you. Either I needed to tell the truth, or I needed to end our relationship.   After being confronted about our relationship, I ended up telling the kids about us sometime during the summer of 2007; shortly after I moved into my apartment.  I think this was about the time you and Brad were in Vegas on vacation.  Neither one of the kids was surprised to find out.  Frankly, it was a relief for all of us to be open about it.  Since that time, I have been very open with them and they have been apprised to the closeness of our relationship.  My son has been very supportive of our relationship all along; he loves and respects you.  My daughter also respects you; however she resents the fact that I have ignored my needs for the sanctity of your lifestyle.  Although I don’t believe our relationship was a direct factor in her deciding to live with her Dad, I think it plays a significant role in the level of respect she has for me.  Her recent sentiments have reflected that she believes you and I belong together; and if we aren’t together, I should move on.  She doesn’t like to see me pining over someone who doesn’t return the favor.   I guess she thinks I deserve better.  Although I’ve worried about having told them at times, I am freed by the fact that I don’t have to lie any more.   I’m dually impressed that regardless of the adversity the kids and I have faced, they have never used this information to their advantage.  I sincerely believe this is a testament to how much they love and respect both me and you and the feelings we share. 

Although it was one of the riskiest things I’ve ever done, I can’t explain how much of a burden was lifted from my back when I told them.  The past few days I’ve been looking for a solution to ease my pain.  This led to some research on how to get over an illicit love affair. Most of the literature out there is geared for married couples; not the other woman.  However, much of the advice is applicable to anyone seeking to get over an extramarital affair.  The first thing they all recommend in steering things in the right direction is to come clean….regardless of the consequences.  It is the best way to find out how invested your loved ones are in their relationship with you and to re-establish trust.  In my case, I found out my kids really do love me, regardless of who I’m involved with.  They just want me to be happy.  I guess that’s an added blessing I didn’t expect out of the deal.   I guess I’ve overcome the first obstacle. 

The second obstacle to overcome, and possibly the most difficult, is to cut off all contact with your lover. With much thought and contemplation, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible for us, specifically me, to move on with life if we maintain our friendship as it stands. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can just be friends.  I love you, and I know you share these overwhelming feelings with me.  That is what makes our situation so hard to walk away from.  Most breakups consist of one person feeling a strong desire to end the relationship based upon a foundation of negative experiences, feelings or emotions.  I don’t think that is the case for either of us so it is incredibly difficult to turn away from something that is extraordinarily pleasant.  I’d give anything to keep you forever, but reality has barred me from that option.  The fact remains that you’ve pledged your heart and life to a group of very lovely people; not me.  Until they have accepted me as a permanent part of your life, I cannot allow myself to be a part of a friendship that bonds my heart further with yours.  It just isn’t fair to anyone involved.    I hope you understand my need to distance myself.   I just can’t move on unless we severe our ties completely.  I’m too dependent upon you.  It breaks my heart to contemplate this…I love you so much. 

So, I wrote the majority of this letter over 24 hours ago.  After having the time to sit back and reflect on all of it, I believe it truly represents where I’m at.  The only things that have been left out are the gritty and unattractive thoughts that have plagued me all throughout our relationship.  I imagine you need to know them to fully understand my heart.

From the beginning, I’ve known that you and I will never be together.  It was a part of the game we’ve done a good job of disguising.  I was okay with that as long as the ugly side of our relationship did not show its nasty face.  I was very comfortable with having you on my own terms; knowing when you’d call, scheduling special times to enjoy each other’s company, not having to commit to anything permanent.  However, the ugliness of our relationship has presented itself to me and it has become very serious and life-changing.  I can’t ignore it and in accepting the ugliness, I must reveal my innermost thoughts to you.

I fantasize about what life would be like if it were just me and you; no kids, no spouses. I can’t imagine how we’d actually get there, but I can imagine being with you forever.  My heart deceives me into thinking that it would be like heaven on earth.  The rational side of my brain tells me these thoughts are foolish and that in time, we would fall prey to the same issues that have plagued our other relationships. Entertaining thoughts like this are so unrealistic that they only harm my ability to separate reality from fantasy and ultimately end up confusing me further.  The obstacles that we would have to overcome to make this a reality are too cumbersome to even consider.  Why do I waste my time thinking about it?  Yet I find myself there. 

Even if forever became a part of our relationship, I’m not sure that’s something I am capable of being a part of.  I’ve been burned badly in the past and that’s not a situation I want to repeat any time soon.  Not that our relationship even remotely resembles what I had with my ex, but I have overarching fears that do not allow me to feel free to commit to a relationship.  I don’t want to have to rely on another person…ever.  I don’t want to be hurt by another person….ever.  Yet, my mind fools me into thinking you and I could actually make it.  It isn’t rational. 

To top it off, I have to admit that I’m not sure I’m capable of trusting you.  The infidelity involved with our relationship has introduced a great deal of distrust into my life.  I used to trust unconditionally.  That is no longer the case.  Maybe that’s good; maybe it’s bad.  I don’t know.  All I know is that at times I am consumed with thoughts of jealousy when you mention other women in your life. I worry that I’ve been lied to, betrayed, and cheated on with others.  I have nothing to substantiate my fears….just my experiences with you.  

I feel like such a fool and terribly exposed having said all this, yet incredibly blessed all at the same time.  I guess that’s probably the definition of love; raw, imperfect and true.  What you choose to do with my revelations is up to you.  I’m not perfect.  Neither are you.  We both have obligations.  We both have relationships.  It all must be considered. 

I will love you always and forever.

-Julie

So...I never sent this letter to him.  However, over the course of a number of conversations with him, I've revealed all of its content to him and laid it all out on the table.  I believe our very last conversation took place last night, and I'm grieving with the loss of not only my lover, but my best friend.  I feel empty and alone.  My heart is broken and I don't know how to pick up the pieces.  I don't even feel worthy of anyone's sympathy because all this pain is totally self inflicted.  

God help me.  

 

 

 

 

bratcat bratcat
36-40, F
10 Responses Feb 11, 2010

Sorry, I misspelled bratcat.

Bobcat, how are you doing now? I'm now in exactly the same place you were when you wrote your letter, and I sentiment your letter word for word. <br />
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The only difference being we were together for 10 years, and 3 years ago we decided to be together, as soon as his youngest would turn 17. The time came,and he ouldn't do oit,because he found out his kids would hate him and disown him. We even called the therapist together,and he confirmed it. He didn't want to lose his kids, so we're now breaking up.. <br />
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We're still in love, just like you were, and are both hurting. How long does it take for the pain to subside to the point where you can function again?

Hi, Just checking in to see how you are doing now that another week has past.<br />
Dee

YorkieMomtoo: I just wanted to tell you how glad I am that your former MM resigned. What a relief!! And I had to laugh when I read that you and your pup are going on a trip. I was up a good portion of the night planning a vacation to Cancun with my Mom in March. :)<br />
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Better days are ahead, indeed!

I have an update....My MM called the other night and we were able to talk about how we each felt.His telling me that he has decided to reconnect with his wife made all the difference in the world. Like you had said.....a huge weight off my shoulders! Now I know that there is no turning back, there won't be any phone calls to quietly wait for, no reason to want to beg him back, that it is indeed done. I actually felt free for the first time in 3 years. Of course the grief is still there, good memories will sneak up and knock the wind out of me....but I know that it won't always feel this way. With time the grief will pass. I did hook up with a weekly woman's support group in my area. It starts up next tuesday. <br />
He mentioned about seeing me once in a while but I said no. It would be like continuing to pick a scab off a wound. It's better to have a clean break. Thank God I don't have to worry about running into him at work.......he resigned this week.<br />
Now, I look for inner peace and the ability to enjoy my time with myself. And I'm looking forward to the support group I joined....there's a lot to be gained from other women's experiences.<br />
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Well, I just got off the phone with a resort in Florida. My dog and I are taking a vacation by ourselves in a few months..........I can't wait!

YorkieMomtoo: I just want you to know that although it hurts like hell, he's doing you a favor by not looking back and contacting you. The continued connection will only bring with it more pain. The yo-yo/rollercoster thing makes the whole process worse. I think I got off the rollercoster a couple of days ago and once you get your landlegs back, it feels a lot better. <br />
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Eternal: Thanks for all the wellwishes! It helps to know that there are others out there who understand. <br />
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Update for me: I talked to Phil on Tuesday (two days ago) and we mutually agreed that there will be no formal goodbye; no weekend away. That way we don't have to face the pain of saying goodbye, just the pain of it being over. So when we hung up, somehow a peace came over me. Although I'm still unable to eat much and I'm only sleeping about 4-5 hours a night. I've decided to channel my energy into areas of my life I have control over; like work and family. <br />
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My doctor has also been really supportive and keeps checking up on me via email. It is nice to know that there are people helping me through this. He even gave me the go ahead to eat junk food for comfort...made me laugh!

Being T.O.W is painful.. Time does heal all wounds. Can't tell you how long it will take you to drag yourself out from his pain...but please don't stress yourself to the extend that you get unwell. It is a torture loving a man whom can't spend the rest of his life with just you...but you will get thru this pain....Somehow ..someday..some way. Hang in there.. cry if you must... Let the tears heal the pain. Hugs Hugs and lots of hugs from T.O.W too.

thank you for posting on my page!!! It helped me so much this morning. I woke up planning to call him or texting. I had it all laid out in my head. Then I turned on my computer and read the different posts. I checked out the website you recommended. I need to print that out and put up copies all over my house. I guess I'm in the bargining stage. Willing to stoop so low as to beg him back with promises and pleas. Of course I am smart enough to realize that if I succeed then I'd only be prolonging the situation......weeks or months from now I'd be right back where I am now. As for medication for the grief. I'll have to look into that. In the last 4 days I've lost over 5 pounds.....pounds which I can't afford to loose.....I only weigh 130 as it is. Sleeping is OK though but the dreams aren't. He's in them.<br />
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I can try to forget and for a while it works but then I drive past all the places we've eaten out. All the places we had fun at, and it all comes rushing back. The race track where we'd bet a few dollars on horses based on thier names or colors. The park where the mud sucked our shoes right off our feet.......Then there are the folders and folders of photos we've taken.....3 years of different places and a ton of memories. All of which I wished could just be erased.<br />
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What I really need to get past is his ability to just walk away, unwilling to admit that there was a problem, without a glance back, no call to see how I'm doing, nothing. OK, I can do this.....one step at a time. If I can get past today then I'll worry about tomorrow.<br />
It sure does help to know that we aren't alone in this. The stories can be different but the pain and heartache are all the same. getting through it is a second by second process.<br />
Stay in touch,<br />
Dee

I went to the doctor today. The sadness of this entire situation has overwhelmed me to the point that I have lost nearly 10 pounds from my inability to eat. I can't sleep. My emotions are taking over and I need to gain some semblance of control in my life. The doctor pointed out that I'm suffering from grief. Once he told me, it all made sense. I accepted a two-week supply of medication that is suppose to help numb the pain long enough that I will be able to sleep at night. I tried to eat tonight, but all it did was make me sick. When will I feel better? <br />
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I've been reading about grief and the stages involved with moving through it. I thought I'd share one blog I found that seems very close to what I've been going through. Maybe someone else can benefit from it as well. http://www.epinions.com/kifm-review-467B-48EFB610-3A54C51C-prod3<br />
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I talked to Phil today and he is feeling all this grief and sorrow right along with me. It pains us so to see one another in so much pain. We want so badly to comfort each other, but we can't. Neither of us wants to go through this because we love each other, but it is the right thing to do. We've been grappling with whether or not we can sustain a formal "goodbye". We have the opportunity to spend this weekend together--"one last time". However, after talking about it, we decided we cannot see each other. Because we've taken the pain this far, we cannot allow ourselves to slip back into our old routine because we're both addicted to each other. <br />
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I hate this!

I know how you are feeling! <br />
I told my MM that things weren't working out 3 days ago. And it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I love him very much and am so much in pain right now it hurts to breathe. Valentine's Day was the worst. The urge to call him and beg him back is always there. But I have held off yesterday and today....and I haven't cried the last 2 days either. So I'm moving forward.....an inch at a time. What makes it difficult too is that not many people know of his background so I can't get support from friends or family. The few who did know he was married disaproved from the start, I feel as if I'm suffering alone.<br />
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I had been with him 3 years. He was 63 and I, 48. Our situation was different from yours in the fact that he was controling. I always felt as if I was in a parent/child relationship. His wife found out last year and filed for divorce. But 8 months later they were still living in the same house. The only difference was that he could now come and go whenever he wanted.......For the most part she did nothing. For the first time I could be with him whenever I wanted. And that began to wear on me. The REAL person came out .....one who needed to be right all the time. So much so that in 3 years I only heard him say "I'm sorry" once, He was unbending and unwilling to meet me half way. Any complaints I voiced were taken as personal attacks against him. I got to the point where I dreading his multiday stays at my house and I'd duck some of his calls. He wanted my attention 24/7.....no distractions. That lack of attention is what did in his marriage or so he said. She hadn't slept with him in years, she put the kids and then the grandkids first. She never wanted to travel or have dinners alone, always needed other couples around too. Their relationship was like a brother and sister living together. <br />
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Yeah, yeah, yeah. From what I see now he was probably impossible to live with. She stuck it out because she liked what having his last name could provide. She had her own life and it all worked for her. Easier than divorcing at the age of 67. So she stuck it out. She filed because her friends all told her to but it just dragged along neither one in any hurry to finalize anything. A month ago she threw him out...again at the advice of her friends. <br />
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Things changed with my MM. Now he was being forced to change his life. Not once after he moved in with me (he was living here on days he had to work and at their shore house when he was off) did he ever say that he was looking forward to our future. He moped around my house and made no effort to move on with his life.....and he took his bad attitude out on me.<br />
But the flip side which made my decision to leave so difficult, was he did work around the house for me. He'd cook dinner and breakfast and he'd take me out often. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs and he did look out for me......he just took it a bit far sometimes. His suggestions came out as demands.<br />
That part is what rips me up right now......I can see the memories racing through my head. My logic has to fight with my heart and remind me of all the times he made me so unhappy.<br />
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I told him it wasn't working. He wanted no parts of working it out and in a flash he had all his stuff packed up. He said that I was right and out the door he went. And can you believe this? He went straight back to his wife. I think now that he was waiting for an "out" and I gave it to him. He never wanted a divorce....what he wanted was his old life and a piece of *** on the side. I haven't heard a word since.<br />
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I cleaned the house top to bottom gathering up all the gifts he had given me over the years.....including a Valentine card and the crablegs we were going to have dinner on the 14th. Two car trips it took for me to cart everything down to his shore house. I used the alarm code to the garage and dropped it all off. Food and all. His bike I locked to his porch rail with MY combonation lock....HA, let him figure out how to open it. A little childish I know....but it made me feel better.<br />
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I know I'll never hear from him again. He's not the kind that looks back. He has no emotional attachments to anyone or anything. Explains why he could come and go seeing me with his wife right there knowing. He didn't care enough about her feelings otherwise he would have moved out 9 months ago.<br />
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I was weak.....I guess I felt that having him around even though I was in pain a Lot of the time was better than being alone. I put all my heart into making it work abd now I feel as if I wasted 3 years of my life. I'm stuck with memories I no longer want and am kicking myself for not getting out years ago. If I hadn't said yes all those years ago none of this would have happened. <br />
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Do I have regrets? YES, HUGE regrets! And I have to stuggle not to over think this, part of me wants to say that if I had kept quiet he'd still be here......yeah, but then I'd be going through this sometime down the line........Reality is.....it never would have worked out.<br />
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HANG IN THERE!!!! Just know that you aren't alone with your pain.<br />
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DEE