For almost two years, I was "The Other Woman." The man was divine in my eyes. The wife was a crazy person, and theirs was a loveless marriage. He stayed married to her because, where he came from, divorced fathers weren't fathers, and come hell or high water, he was going to be a good father. Even if that meant staying in a marriage where neither person had a single word to say to one another outside of "Excuse me" or "Did you pay the electricity bill?"
We began as friends, and I didn't even know he was married until after I was hooked -- He didn't wear a ring, and spoke only of his children (i.e. not his wife, ever), so I assumed that there simply wasn't a wife. It wasn't until a third party told me that he was married that the concept crossed my mind. I didn't believe it, but I asked him anyway.
The look of surprise on his face told me in that instant that he assumed I knew. By that time it was too late . . . Even after the hours of talking that followed, in which he told me the details of his loveless marriage, I couldn't walk away knowing that he wanted me to stay.
In hindsight, I don't think he'd ever fallen in love before he fell in love with me. A confident and self-sufficient person, he didn't understand what loneliness was until he was separated from me while on a trip. Our affair was inflammatory, and our conviction epic.
Eventually I convinced him to consider divorcing her, that in our state the one with the money gets the children. Period. That raising two children in a home of silent marriage was no way to father his children, that happy divorced parents were healthier for them than miserable married ones. That divorcing her and taking custody of them was the way to be a good father.
I poked at him about it until he obtained legal advice and was told that I was correct, that he could take custody if he had enough money. His father bankrolled the lawyer, and he received custody. I now had a single father of two on my hands, but I was okay with that. The children were lovely, and I was devoted to him.
Fast forward through cohabitation, splitting up homes and the relationship, getting back together, his moving a thousand miles away because of work, the resulting break-up, the resulting reconciliation, and five years of a cross-country relationship . . . To an exhausted Riot.Jane. At the nine-year mark, with no marriage proposal in sight, I left him. This time for good.
That was ~3.5 years ago. We e-mail, IM, and telephone chat occasionally. We still like and care about each other.
What did I learn? Ahhhhhhh, but that will be the topic of another post.