I posted this more than two years ago, and someone made a random comment on Friday. I always wonder how something this obscure gets found after all that time. The facts remain the same. I was amazed at the responses to the original.
It's never easy, this other woman thing. I've been on both sides now. My marriage of twenty years ended because of the other woman. That was a blow to the solar plexus that took me years to get over. All those times I smugly said or thought, upon hearing of an infidelity, oh, my husband would never do that. Why I thought that I don't know. He was attractive and outgoing and women were drawn to him. For nineteen years, we balanced each other, shared everything, traveled and entertained, partied and played. But then, the silences, the absences, the excuses entered into the routine. He had a "friend", a woman who sat next to him in the church choir, younger of course. I would sit with the children during services and watch their interactions, the casual way they bandied with each other, the way she looked at him. I knew. My heart started to crumple. I knew him, knew that whatever he wanted, he got. I knew he wanted her.
I loved him enough to realize there was nothing more I could give, I had given my all to this marriage. I could not be her. I could only be me. And that me wasn't what he wanted. I let him go, let it happen, I loved him enough to want his happiness.
Then there were the dating years. My first lover showered me with attention, something I craved. I was blown away. Things seemed odd, though, he was different, someone I would have never met except for a chance encounter in a chat room. The odd thing kept clanging in my head until I told him I wanted to back off, there just seemed to be something wrong. He confessed that he was married. Ah, I had entered the world of the other woman.
Mr. Perfect, or, I should have known better by now. His was a history of multiple marriages, many ex-girlfriends. My lonely life was susceptible to the charms of his passive aggressive personality. Months after I called off that destructive coupling, I received a large envelope in the mail from his girlfriend, outlining in painful detail what they had been doing together while I was dating him. It was unnecessarily cruel, it cut like a knife. They deserved each other.
Then, the chance encounter. An old high school crush, I ran into him at the reunion. His wife wasn't there. We had a passionate weekend and exchanged fevered emails for several years. A few months ago, he took umbrage at my lack of enthusiasm for his first note in weeks. It's fine, the end was inevitable. Other men, other meetings, confessions of the women already in their lives. I will never be more than the other woman it seems.
My life has taken a me down a different path, somewhere I never thought I would travel. A world I never thought I'd live in. I'm trying to envision a future, as The woman.