No one likes to admit it, but a lot of us do it. We’re the other woman, the mistress, the side chick. Most of the time we don’t know, but some of us do and continue to do it anyway. Why?
I met Greg* in October 2014 on a dating site (yep, I said dating site). He was honest from the start, saying that he was married and he planned on staying that way for the foreseeable future. That was fine by me. I’d not long finished law school and wanted someone to mentor me and help me find the right path to follow.
It was like being with an old friend and we got on really well. Fast forward about 5 months; he told me his wife was pregnant and we said we’d call it quits. One more for the road, he said, and he bought me a goodbye present – a gorgeous rose gold Kenneth Cole watch which I still wear to this day.
Several things happened over the next 2 years: I moved to London for a short while and we spoke almost every day; his wife had the baby; I moved back to Birmingham.
In February 2017, I moved to Sydney. It was the best decision I’d made in a long time. We said goodbye and I boarded a plane, hoping never to return. A couple of months later, I got a message on Snapchat: “hey you.” I knew instantly who it was and my heart simultaneously stopped beating and drummed at 100 beats per second. I told him to go. A few months after that, the same message, but this time on LinkedIn.
Every time I’ve asked him why he comes back to me, he says that we have a connection that he doesn’t have with anyone else.
We haven’t had sex for over a year so it’s not that. He doesn’t tell me his deepest darkest secrets, so it’s not that either. You’ll have to ask him.
This is where it gets tricky. Obviously, Greg doesn’t need me for anything physical, so what does he need me for?
Everyone has their own definition of cheating: for some it’s sex, for others it’s flirting, but what about when neither of those is present?
That’s the thing that people hate to think about when they hear of adultery. It’s too hard to think that their partner has gone to someone else for an emotional affair. Maybe that’s more heartbreaking: you being unable to fulfil your partner’s emotional and mental needs.
Perhaps that’s why I’m still seeing Greg: he’s choosing to bring another person into his personal life and I get the easy parts of a relationship. I give him attention whenever he needs it, and I can go back to living my life. It’s almost like we top each other up and can continue with our lives.
Monogamy vs Polygamy
Historically, men were biologically programmed to mate with as many females as possible, increasing the chance to father offspring.
Polygamy is now seen as exotic, something to be hidden from the neighbours. But You Me Her really opened the doors to the taboo. It features a husband who books an escort (Izzie) in an attempt to rekindle his marital sex life. His wife later starts to date Izzie and soon they create an arrangement where the three exclusively date each other.
They ‘came out’ to their neighbours as a ‘threple, a three-person relationship. At first it was shunned, as you’d expect, but it soon became accepted.
I think that I am Izzie in this situation. I’ve dabbled in arrangements and even thought about escorting, but I’ve never really believed in monogamy for myself. Maybe that’s why I tend to shove relationships as far away from me as possible.
I’ve been cheated on. When I was 15, my boyfriend slept with someone and kissed another girl while we were together, so I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of an affair. At the time, I was wondering why I was hurt. Probably because I’d told him that I wasn’t going to give up the goodies until I was ready, so he found someone who would.
Before I lost my virginity, I dabbled with a couple of guys at university, both of whom I regret because they were cringe-worthy. But I didn’t see anything wrong with having different bed buddies as long as I was safe (we never had sex!). When I was with my first real boyfriend aged 20, I didn’t find it hard to stay faithful, but I did find it boring and monotonous.
My romantic history has confirmed a few things for me.
Firstly, that I don’t want to get married or have children. If a man who seems so loving and devoted can have a “connection” with another woman for 3 years, then I don’t want to risk falling in love with one of those men.
Secondly, I can compartmentalise my emotions. My brother and his wife recently broke up because she cheated with several different men. I was so furious with her and still refuse to forgive her. But I don’t see myself in the same way. Greg comes back to me, it’s never the other way round.
Thirdly, it’s made me realise that every relationship I have, platonic or otherwise, I need to be able to depend on them. When my grandad passed away, Greg wasn’t there for me. We didn’t talk until a couple of days later and I had already mourned by myself. I need someone to provide the same support that I provide them.
So what now? I’ve shared something that I would never normally share, mainly because of how it would make me look, but I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.
I’m not condoning cheating and I think that you shouldn’t do that to someone who loves you wholeheartedly, and who you should love. If you don’t want to be with someone, don’t be with them. For the other person, you shouldn’t be part of an affair. He won’t leave his wife and if he does, then he will probably cheat on you too. It will never end well.
This isn’t me shaming you – no one has the right to do that – but take the lesson from me; make sure you have a way out.
When I originally posted this, I was still hoping that Greg would step forward and be a friend while I was going through my surgery, but he never did. I’ve made the decision to stop seeing him. Not because of his relationship with his wife, but because he is nothing but a shadow of the man I first met. He’s not even a friend to me, I can’t depend on him to help me in any way, shape or form, and I really hope that he’s a better husband than he is friend. I deleted his number, all the messages he sent me and I’ve put the earrings back in their box and put them under my bed (hey, they’re too beautiful to get rid of them!). The one thing I won’t let go of is the watch. I love it as a watch and there’s nothing attached to it now. It’s just a beautiful watch.