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When it was over

October 13, 2013

There’s a scene in Oz the Great and Powerful in which Glenda comes to the traveling circus to tell Oz she has been proposed to. You can tell she wants him to say no, and for a brief moment, he is saddened by the news. In the end though, he tells her she should accept and be happy. Her heart is broken.

When Steve and I ended, I was hurt. His love for me meant to let me go to be with an available man. I recognize what a wonderful gift he was giving me, but all I wanted was for him to tell me to stay.

Hope had asked me to write about the end of my affair. I was going to do an Anatomy of an Affair piece, but realized that every break up is different and I didn’t think it would fit the format. The end of any relationship is different for every person no matter what type of relationship ends. I talk with other divorced women and their path is so different from mine, yet still some similarities. While I share my ending, I hope that it doesn’t make anyone feel this is typical. Feel free to share your journeys as well.

I began to blog as a cautionary tale to women who might get involved with married men and to wives who might be unaware of what was happening with their husbands. That was quite awhile ago. Steve had just told me he couldn’t keep up the affair and I needed a place to get out the demons. It was nice to have a community of people who listened (read) and gave me encouragement and feedback. Shortly after I began, I sent a stray email to Steve thinking it was going to someone else. That started us seeing each other again.

We stayed together for a long while. Stars aligned and we were able to vacation together for a quick overnight trip. Two nights and two wonderful days together exploring each others interests. Laying with him the entire night. Waking up with him. It was a perfect time. A magical moment which I treasure. We weren’t back more than a week when Steve told me he had to end the affair. I threw a temper tantrum. I cried. Angry. Angry that I allowed myself to get carried away. I felt foolish because I fell into the classic trap of a mistress to believe she had more in his life than she did. Sad that his companionship was gone.

Time went by and he reached out to me. One thing lead to another and we were once again in each other’s arms. We took it slow. Respectful of our limitations. We held back the flowery emtoions and didn’t whisper the three words we both held in our heart as if that would somehow protect us from the ultimate pain we knew was patiently waiting for us. Our affair became a stronger friendship. He stood by me through so much heartache and uncertainty in my life. He was my cheerleader and my champion. He was generous and kind; loving and passionate. Before we knew it, we were back in the thick of an affair.

The last time he told me he couldn’t carry on the affair, I told him I wouldn’t chase after him this time. If he needed to be done, I’d respect him. I left the door open, letting him know that if he wanted to be in my life I wouldn’t say no. I was once again angry, embarassed by my foolishness, sad for the loss of a great friendship. It hurt me that I couldn’t be the one who gave him the love he deserved. It hurt to know that I wasn’t enough for him. Before you say anything, yes, I do know that it isn’t about me being enough but what Steve needs to find in his life for himself. I don’t regret having the time with him. My life is richer and a bit wiser. I have never been angry with Steve. He was always very honest with me about his limitations and the reasons he wouldn’t leave his marriage. The stress of lying and creating time to be with me was just too much. I hate that I couldn’t be a priority to him, but never faulted him for having his priorities right.

It’s  hard for me to mourn his loss because I cannot be honest with anyone around. I share my thoughts here because I have no where else to get it all out. I knew what I was getting myself into and I tried not to believe I’d end up with him. But, we all know that I did believe it. Somehow that wish I carried helped me feel less guilty about the immoral behavior. Still today I think we could have had a really amazing future together – even if it wouldn’t have been an easy future.

If I’m not careful I allow my mind to wander. What is he doing now, do I cross his mind, has he found love within his marriage, has he found love elsewhere? It’s so important that I stay on his mind because then it makes everything more legitimate. Why? I don’t know. I guess because if he feels me in his soul, then it wasn’t some dirty little secret.

As far as my even-handed approach to writing about affair, I must say it’s mostly because I have no idea what sacrifices or pain Steve endured to be with me for as long as he did. We both entered the affair as an erotic escape with no intentions of anything more. We were accidently in love. And so I look at his part with compassion. He tried what he could to balance the two worlds. I know I wouldn’t have experienced all I did if he wasn’t willing to bend as far as he could. He had a breaking point. He had so many other things to juggle than I did. What a toll it took on him. While I thrived in his love, he withered in mine. And that’s the hardest thing for me to accept.


32 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 13, 2013 11:53 pm

    I love this post in a very sad way. I am a mistress and my affair it is not over, but when it eventually does end, this post described exactly how I expect it will go down. I already feel so many of these exact things. Being in love with a married man is nothing I ever planned, accidental like you, and it is beautiful and horrible at the same time. I found your blog about a month ago and find comfort in your words. It is just nice knowing that someone else can relate to my world. Thank you.

    • October 14, 2013 2:11 am

      I’m glad you’re able to find help in what I write.
      As hard as it might be, try to enjoy the time you have together and hold off thoughts of how it ends. I think both Steve and I – probably mostly me – kept trying to figure out the end.
      Don’t live in denial, but live in the moment.

      • njuri permalink
        October 14, 2013 3:52 am

        I like that, “don’t live in denial, but live in the moment…” Well said!

  2. secretlove2010 permalink
    October 14, 2013 6:38 am

    I’ve often thought we were leading parallel lives — or at least parallel affairs. Even the ending were very similar. You make a very good point about not being able to mourn because no one knew. A few of my close friends know and they have been very supportive. They have had a couple of interventions — although it didn’t keep me from starting back up with him briefly.

    I have to remember that while it’s hard for me, it’s even harder for him. Not only does no one know, he’s living with his wife and has to act normal. It’s very hard to be heartbroken in secret. I know that he’s hurting, too. Perhaps even more than me, because he feels trapped in his marriage. I, on the other hand, am now single and able to scream and cry in the solitude of my own home. No spouse to pretent to be happy with.

    In the end, we are better off than they are.

  3. damagedbytheageof3 permalink
    October 14, 2013 11:47 am

    This is a superb post and echo’s exactly what I’m going through right now. My married man couldn’t live with the guilt, so I offered him ‘the end’.

    He too made it clear from the start that he would never leave his wife. Well, he would gladly leave her, but he wouldn’t ever leave his two children.

    I’ve found letting go very hard, despite it being my suggestion to finally end it. (We ended it earlier this year, but like you, drifted back into the affair.)

    It’s only over the weekend that he’s fully explained to me how hard it is for him too. As someone else has said, having to pretend to be happy at home whilst feeling a pain he cannot share is horrible for him.

    • October 16, 2013 12:29 am

      As a mistress, we don’t know all the reasons a MM feels the need to stay. More often than not, it’s for the kids. How can you argue with that?

      • ShaDav permalink
        October 16, 2013 1:45 pm

        You hit the nail on te head here: how could we argue with that?
        it makes sense; the father should put the kids first, and he wants tem to have a whole family, and the wife would take the kids if they tried to leave.
        But I think if they really didn’t want to lose their kids they would not be doing such high risk things; a lot of times when a woman threatens to take away the kids it’s always after she finds out what he’s done. Additionally, Kids are very intuitive; they can tell when things aren’t right at home. staying in a marriage he says he doesn’t want is really hurting them.
        Heres where i had to do some research for the wife taking the kids away… in most states you can have a court order keeping her from taking the children even out of state. If she does, The Parent Kinapping Prevention Act dictates that wherever she took the kids, the district attorney there must bring them back, and she can be charged with a crime for disobeying a court order.
        it is criminal in most states to take the kids away completely.
        Imagine my cynicism when i found all this out AFTER the affair…I was bitter for the longest time…:(

      • October 17, 2013 2:18 am

        Of course there are legal ways for a man to still have his kids and divorce, but there’s so much to think about beyond just legal. The emotions an finances have to be considered.
        There’s too much for me to try factor and weigh. So instead if me trying to make reasons why he should have left, I try to focus on why we couldn’t be.

  4. ShaDav permalink
    October 14, 2013 1:57 pm

    I ve watched this blog for a while in silence. I have appreciate your honesty, while I respectfully see things in a different light than you do.
    I was once an OW. To a man who wasnt rich or powerful, but did well for himself, his wife and his kids. I was single and looking for physical gratification only, like you. He provided me with that and showered affection, as if I were a “lover.” the things he told me about his marriage and kids, I believed. I felt bad for him. Suddenly I wanted to show him he could have “something better.” I started trying to make more time for him, I tried to be the girl to give him the “love he deserved”–that phrase hit home. I never thought about his wife or kids, even though I knew he would never leave them. That physical relationship became romantic, and real, and what I beloved could flourish whether he left the marriage or not.
    One day, his wife caught us. She had found emails and phone records. She called me. I was prepared to lie and play dumb until I heard her voice. She was warm and kind, asking me what he said about her, asking me what we had done. And then she hit me with,”I know how you feel. I was once in your shoes.”
    Yeah. She was His mistress turned wife.
    And in that moment, it didn’t matter what love he and I had. It mattered that we were selfish and thought only of ourselves in a time where he couldn’t afford to. His kids could see his behavior and either hate him or follow him. And what if I had a husband and daughter? What if some woman was waiting for my husband in a hotel, believing they were sharing something real?
    I once read an article from a male perspective. It said, to paraphrase, “the affair gives the husband the comfort of an alternate possibility, an open door, in his closed family life. He will never walk through it; it is enough that it’s there.”
    My former MM, like yours, didn’t have to juggle two worlds. If he was afraid of divorce he should not have cheated and made the risk of losing his kids even more prominent. Whatever is lacking in his marriage is the responsibility of the two people in that marriage. Bringing me in to help him cope was selfish, and to this day I refuse to look back on what I did as a beautiful experience, when it was at someone else’s expense. When I think of us holding hands, or splitting the last slice of cake in a romantic dinner, I see the wife’s face. Her at home with the kids, looking in the mirror and wishing she could attract him to her the way she used to.
    I never want to be that woman. Nor do I want to hurt any woman in that way.
    You and I deserve better than being a mistress. And the wives deserve better than being made a fool out of in such a way. All marriages have problems, some beyond repair. But what these husbands or wives do with other people makes it worse, because they’re “fixing ther problems” without the Betrayed Spouse. We, the mistresses, are only a bandaid on reality. When we’re caught, it’s ripped off, and the reality of what’s been done….it’s just not worth it.
    I commend you for your honesty and leaning from your experiences, and I wish you luck with everything.:)

  5. The lonely one permalink
    October 14, 2013 4:42 pm

    Thanks for yet another great post. So much truth, pain and love in it. My MM made it clear to me that he’ll never leave his wife and family too. I do not dare to (and can’t) expect much as I have been forewarned by him. I am just relishing every moment I get to spend with him and try not to think of the ending. Self-deceiving, I know….
    Reading the comments on the splits, I actually wonder if the MMs are really hurt and heart broken as much as we believe them to be? Or being men, they are able to heal much faster? I also wonder if it is possible for an MM to break up with the mistress to go back to the wife, but eventually get into another affair with another woman…

    • October 16, 2013 12:33 am

      I’m sure it’s possible for the MM to seek out another affair especially if their home situation doesn’t change.
      I try not to think about what motivates Steve or what it could have been. I can only control how I react to everything and don’t fully know his side. It’s hard to do, but I try.

  6. Hope permalink
    October 14, 2013 7:44 pm

    I’m sure I’ll have more than one response to your beautiful and articulate post, but to begin, during and now after my affair, I trolled numerous articles, websites, and blog posts in effort to try to understand my experience. I wanted to read all sides–from mistresses still in their affairs, to those dealing with the aftermath, and from wives and husbands whose lives had been touched by an affair one way or the other. I appreciated everything I read. Every once and awhile a post resonated so deeply and profoundly that I would label it a classic. This is one such post. Confessions, thank you for writing it.

    @the lonely one: This is a good question and one I’ve asked myself. On my more cynical days I come to the conclusion that my former lover misses hot, exciting sex with a woman nearly 20 years younger. In some ways I think it is easier for involved men because they go back to their families (or in my case, significant others) and reengage at full capacity. They have their day to day lives to recommit to. I’m guessing that a man or woman who has a job and needs to handle duties like getting children to/from school, PTA, soccer games, and other responsibilities may not have the time to devote to memories of their affair. I realize I’m painting with a broad brush, but I think women in general are more prone to lament, over analyze, and let their minds wander regardless of how busy their lives are. I write from experience here 🙂 On my better days, I conclude that I’ve probably crossed his mind and that he has mostly good memories of me. What those thoughts are/were I’ll never know and I’m resigned to be okay with that. Does he hurt? I don’t know.

    To your second question, as Confessions remarked in a previous post, any relationship or marriage that was going to end would have ended prior to affair if that’s what the person really wanted. Make no mistake, just because one returns to their marriage or relationship is no indicator or it’s health or fulfilling qualities. Men and women end affairs and return to relationships every day. However, if upon returning there isn’t some positive action taken to make the marriage or relationship thrive and fulfilling it is very likely that whomever had the affair will stray again.

  7. October 15, 2013 1:28 am

    It says a lot about us, doesn’t it? That we will run back into their arms once they’re opened again…

    • October 16, 2013 12:34 am

      That’s a complicated question. I don’t want to think of the implications because that would make me feel too horrible. I’m staying in the land of make believe a little longer.

      • ShaDav permalink
        October 16, 2013 1:51 pm

        If it helps, I don’t think you will. I think you give yourself less credit than you should. You’ve been working your way through a lot dice the complete end, and you got to End it on pretty decent terms. That always helps the healing faster, knowing there is no ill will. I know were all strangers but I truly think the chances of you going back to him are slim.

      • October 17, 2013 2:19 am

        Thank you for your encouragement 🙂

      • Hope permalink
        October 16, 2013 3:26 pm

        I agree with ShaDav, I don’t think you will. One of the major reasons I’ve enjoyed and appreciated your posts is because they are written with a sense of sobering clarity and realism. Like most of us, you have the occasional dream, flashback, and by your own admission a subconscious that is imprinted with Steve, but I sense you are grounded in reality. I know I could never go back or have another affair. Knowing what I sacrificed and where I cut corners in my own life to continues to floor me. I think I had convinced myself that I was receiving far more than I was or that I required far less. I look back and I know this wasn’t true. How could I receive anywhere near what I wanted or gave from a man who had only sporadic moments to give me? Admittedly, there are times that I want to make contact with him, but I always rethink that. Why do I want to that? What do I expect if I do? Has or will anything change? While it’s been difficult I have had a certain kind of peace that comes from not having anything to hide so I always end up coming to the conclusion to “live and let live.” I hope he’s living the life he wants and needs. That’s certainly the goal I have for my life.

      • October 17, 2013 2:20 am

        If Steve came back to me and he was available, I would jump at the chance to be with him.

  8. The lonely one permalink
    October 16, 2013 2:08 am

    How do we balance our expectations and handle the pain when they are not fulfilled?

    • October 16, 2013 2:16 am

      That’s the million dollar question. Remember even in a normal relationship there are unfulfilled expectations.
      My best advice is to change your expectations. Remember your limitations so that you’re not left hoping for more than can realistically be done.
      Believe me, I spent a lot of time aching because I wanting more and hurting by the loneliness. It’s incredibly difficult.

  9. Hope permalink
    October 17, 2013 3:54 pm

    If Steve came back to me and he was available, I would jump at the chance to be with him.

    Exactly! As would I. The key word is available. And for me this means emotionally, physically, and no unfinished business.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    October 23, 2013 4:27 pm

    I just ended my relationship with a MM. He warned me not to fall In love with him and that he was poison! I did fall in love but how could I not when he held me so close many many times and I could feel the love he had for me! I couldn’t take it any longer and broke after a year! I told him I could no longer go through being second best and I wanted to see him happy and that’s what loving someone really is about! He was apparently unhappy in his marriage so he says and seemed so happy with me! It was sad!! I wanted to make him happy and I know I could! His wife is aware now and I talked with him and he admitted he wanted to work it out with her! I am finding myself wondering if he will ever call or come back! He even put down the down payment to my house! I don’t know anyone who would care so much to do that! I told him he needs to love himself before he can fully love another! I’m finding myself happy some days that I decided to stay true to my morals and then other days I feel as if I’m grieving tremendously wondering if he’s thinking of me! Sometimes I can feel it it’s so strong! This love is different than any other and remembering the love in his eyes is the most painful! It’s been four days since I’ve seen him! His wife is angry and said she doesn’t want him back but human nature that just means he will probably try harder to get her back! I’m trying to stay strong and know that someone is out there for me and take something positive out of this and know I will ways love him! My dreams are so real at night! I love him with all my heart and just wish I knew if I was on his mind at all:(

    • October 24, 2013 12:35 am

      I’m sorry for your pain. I understand how deeply one can love and how hard it is when it ends. Give yourself time to grieve and heal.
      If you can, think about his motivations less. You’ll never completely understand, so try not to analyze them. Think about what brought you joy and work on finding it again!

  11. December 19, 2013 8:28 pm

    This hit a nerve witiin me. I been wantng to end it, however, I dont have the strength and wish he would do it for me but he hasnt. I wonder sometimes if i will ever get the courage. I just know that his reasons for staying is not because of his kids, they are grown. However, he feel obligated in taking care of his wife and I do admire him for that but than I wonder if there is more to it than he says.

    • December 20, 2013 7:39 pm

      My simple advise is not to over think why he’s staying married, but think about how you’ll feel if he never leaves. Do you want more? If so, you may want to practice breaking things off – write letters that you don’t send. Craft emails that don’t get delivered. Writing out your feelings may help you understand what you’re getting from the relationship and what you’re not. Then maybe you can start putting a plan together of what you want.

  12. Anonymous permalink
    June 2, 2014 12:57 am

    I have been involved with a MM for five years. We did fall in love, even though we did not intend to. He always told me he would not leave his wife, and he hasn’t. I believe there are many reasons for this that I will not get into for the sake of time.

    For those of you that say you would marry him if you had the chance, the chances of you staying married and being happy are against you. I believe there is a 75% divorce rate among marriages that are born from an affair. A big reason is trust. I would not marry my MM. I am not sure we could endure the everyday trials of a committed relationship. There have been times that I have seen a “less than pleasant” side of him and think to myself how glad I am that his wife has to put up with that 24/7 and not me.

    Our time is coming to an end. I feel there is a distance between us that was not there before. I feel he has “taken a step back” several times, and when I do the same, he is suddenly right there acting sweet and kind. I think he does not really know what he wants, so he is hesitant to let go for good.

    Within the last week, I have finally realized how low my self esteem is to have not only entered into this relationship, but to have stayed in it so long. I have decided to end this relationship and work on me. I already feel better emotionally since I have made this decision. I want a man who will love me fully. I want a relationship that makes me happy as close to “all the time” as I can get 😊.

    In the future when I look back on this relationship, I will not beat myself up for it. I am not a bad person and neither is he. He was very good to me, which is the reason this has lasted as long as it has. But it is time to move on.

    I thank you all for your posts. Being able to see what others have gone through gives us clarity, support, and hope for our own future happiness.

  13. theintricatemelody permalink
    October 27, 2014 1:39 pm

    This post introduces an interesting point of view for me. His.
    I’m reblogging it so that I can have it near.

  14. theintricatemelody permalink
    October 27, 2014 1:40 pm

    Reblogged this on The Intricate Melody and commented:
    I’ve been peeved at RK for going silent on me but…maybe he is struggling/ was struggling too…

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