This myTake was more or less ready for the beginning of this week, but I've had some issues taking precedence so I had to postpone it.
This article starts from the long talk I had with an acquaintance - who'll be referred here as M - who helpfully shared her experience on being a married man's mistress, the ''other woman''. M is NOT the friend I referred to in my previous myTake - The Truths about cheating that nobody likes to hear - at the time of the affair, she was single and freshly divorced.
The interview wasn't put in Q&A, because I didn't think to make it one at the time, however she agreed to let me transcript some of her statements and translate them into English. Naturally, I let her check the translations and the draft of the article as a whole plus the version I'm publishing here and gave her the final say on it, since I don't want for her to feel that she or her experiences are getting exploited.
Since she gave me greenlight on it, I'm now proceeding to publish the article.
- She didn't know he was a married man
''He told me he was divorcing his wife and it was just a last formality because their marriage had been completely over for years.''
At first she didn't think she was getting tangled with a married man. M believed him when he said the divorce with this ex wife was just getting finalized. She didn't question him.
Needless to say, the truth was starkly different. There was no divorce to be finalized, because he wasn't getting divorced.
He spilled the beans fairly quickly to M, but in a particular subtle way.
''He told me his wife had threatened to take away all his possessions, to ruin him and never let him see his children ever again. He was desperate so I told him to try to work it out with her and stay in the marriage just as a formality. He was reluctant, but then he agreed''
Basically, the man put things in a way so it was M who would propose this course of action and so ''legitimize'' the state of things. In hindsight, it would also make it easier to place the whole blame on her in the eventuality of things going wrong.
- At first it was a thrill, then it got depressing
''It was exciting, so exciting... meeting clandestinely in the hotel of another city, playing it like we were perfect strangers, then getting to our room...''
The first times were a costant endorphine rush. Waiting for his calls - he specified her to never ever call him - meeting up in the appointed places, enjoying the taste of taboo. Checking in in the most notorious hotel for that kind of ''business'', but it also conveniently had a conference hall and auditoriums so the man, a high level executive, could claim to be staying there in view of future conferences; and luxurious and expensive dinners in private rooms. Coupled with gifts and surprises, for M it was like living in a dream.
''He treated me like a princess, it was simply so dreaming (sic) and so fantastic''
The feeling of excitement and wonder was intoxicating, and the rush seemed endless. But it wouldn't last. M started to come to terms with the fact that while dinners, gifts and sex were good, she didn't want him just for those things - she was really falling in love with him.
And with love, came the jealousy.
''I couldn't stand the idea he always went back to his wife. She didn't deserve him and I hated to be left alone''
Things started to unravel in M's world. She lost her appettite for the fancy dinners, the stays at the hotel started to feel like a prison and the sex, as good as it was, didn't feel ''complete'' and satisfying anymore.
- The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance
I felt so angry with everyone, to him because of his lying and excuses, to myself because I fell in it like an idiot, with his wife because she was such a b*tch and kept him with threats''
M started to spiral down and down. Contacts with him were getting rarer and rarer and encounters wouldn't be much more than a quick, two-hours long sex, and she started to feel isolated and lonely. She could talk with nobody about her situation, because very probably she would have been yelled at or met with disapproval.
So M started to close more and more into herself. She lost 7kg, and her smoking and drinking habits worsened. Mixing the liquor and prescription pills, she at one point considered downing the whole pill bottle watering it down with liquor.
She did it halfheartedly, enough to get quite sick but not enough to cause an overdose.
When we talked about it, I ''clinically'' highlighted how she has went throught the iconic five stages of grief:
- Denial - M thought that he really loved and would leave his wife for her, thing that was getting more and more unlikely as time passed.
- Anger - see quote. M was furious with everyone, herself included. She started to hate herself for wanting to take away a man from his wife and children - after all she too had children she had been separated from, so she felt she should have understood that kind of pain. She saw herself as horrible and selfish.
- Bargaining - M believed that with time, if she behaved ''well enough'', he would have eventually convinced himself to leave his wife for her.
- Depression - this kicked in hard as he started to give signals he wanted to end his affair with M. Aside from the mentioned suicide attempt, she started to feel trapped inside an abyss. Nobody to turn to, nobody to confide in. She ''broke'' the rules and tried to call him, only to get severely reprimanded by him.
- Acceptance - ironically, as he distanced himself, M started to feel way better. Tomorrow was another day and she could try to step into the world to find something - or someone - else, now that he had basically eclypsed himself from her life.
So M stepped up and went ahead with her life. Almost eleven years have passed, and now she feels that this experience, with it's ups and downs, helped shaping the woman she is today and what she really wants from her life, and from her man. Here we have saying ''Quel che non ti uccide, ti rende più forte'' - What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger - and I'd say that at least in her case, it's completely spot on.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave your opinion!
A special thanks goes to M, who shared her experience with me and allowed me to frame and share it with all of you.
A hug from me,