Monday, November 8, 2010

Playing "The Other Woman". Or NOT.

I lost my virginity a few months shy of my 17th birthday.

It was a pretty good experience as far as first sexual experiences go. I was in love. I knew the guy loved me. We had already done pretty much everything else, so the actual act of intercourse was a simple progression.

I'm grateful for that.

Of course, once my parents found out that we were having sex (or rather, suspecting!), they put the fear of God (or rather, the fear of JAIL) into the poor guy. He had turned 18, and they threatened statutory rape charges.

The kid was so glad they did not make him stop dating me, but he was terrified of having sex with me again until I was 18.

So, there were other things. I was fine with it most of the time. But there were times when I wasn't fine with it. And times that he forced me.

I didn't even break up with him for that.

I remember the afternoon when we did break up. And I went to work that night. And after work, I went out with a guy I had become friends with through work.

And that young man kissed me that night.

And I remember going to school the next morning, anticipating seeing my friends. I was desperate to tell them that I had broken up with Alex, but that another boy had kissed me.

Of course, a girl at my school had committed suicide the night before, so my boy drama took a backseat to that.

Within a few weeks, however, I was messing around with the new boy fairly regularly. Not having sex, but pretty damn close. We did go out. He actually offered me a ring fairly early on. I refused.

It wasn't long before my friends found out I was dating the new boy. And a particular group of friends knew him. Because he was the long-time boyfriend of a girl in their youth group. The guy was practically engaged. But getting naked with me on a fairly regular basis.

Ew. I ended things pretty quickly at that. I had too much respect for myself to be the other woman.

Then I got involved with the next guy. He would end up being the fiancee. It was while I was dating him that I began to have flashbacks of what had occurred with the first boyfriend. It was the fiancee that used the word "rape" for the first time.

A year later, I would run into that first boyfriend. And I would use the word "rape" to his face. And he would look me in the eye and apologize for what he had done.

Of course, the fiancee felt pretty good about himself. He would never rape me. He would spend the rest of his life with a scar on his right hand when that fist connected with the first boyfriend's teeth.

Of course, that fist would end up connecting with my face a year later.

But I didn't even break up with him right away for that.

I had gone off to college during that time.

And once I broke off the "engagement", I went a little wild. I kissed a lot of boys. None of them respected me. None had a reason to.

Many of them had girlfriends. And I simply did not care. Because if they had a girlfriend, they would not get close enough to me to break my heart or my spirit.

Sex was my shield. Sex was my weapon.

I finally calmed down enough to date a boy who would never rape me. Or hit me. But he would let me know in other ways that I wasn't quite good enough. And I let him.

I went through a few more phases of being the other woman because it was safer.

And then I met the husband.

And he treated me like gold. For many years.

Until he didn't.

And when we were breaking up, I fell into that thing with the soulmate. Ah, the soulmate.
The man who turned me inside out, woke me up, and got me out of that marriage I needed to leave. That soulmate.

He was no longer living with his girlfriend, but they were still speaking. I guess, in a way, I was the other woman for him. And because I was still, technically, married, he kept me a secret. Nobody knew that he loved me.

And when we broke up, he waited about five minutes before inviting a new woman into his bed.

But a few weeks later, he saw me. And I knew that he had been seeing someone new. But when he invited me to stay, I was pretty powerless to resist. He still had that hold on me.

And he did not kick me out the next day, bless his heart.

But I never did see him again.

I did hear from him for awhile. Especially when things were not going well with the woman that he would end up marrying.

Yep. He married her. And she has no idea that I even existed.

And I let that happen.

Because he and I were done. I would never see him again. We would stay in touch periodically for awhile. But I have not contacted him in over a year. And I have not heard from him in about that long. As far as I know, they're happy. He was not committed to her at the time we last made love, but once he did, he did.

Did I feel a little used? Nah. I got what I wanted that night. Was I sad that he would not be in my world for a longer period of time? Sure.

But thanks to Richard from Texas, I let that go.

When I mentioned him to TF the other day, she reminded me, "But you never thought you had a future with him." And she was right. I always knew that the soulmate and I were finite.

But I did feel a little icky about being the other woman. Which is a major reason why I never saw him again.

And through a lot of therapy, I've come to realize that I have some pretty serious issues when it comes to men. I won't go into all of that here.

However, you probably need to know that RetroMama has not always had this self-esteem that she holds dear now. She really let men use her as she used men in turn. She chose men who were "committed" to other women because it kept them from getting close enough to break her heart. Because she was sick of being raped. She didn't want to be hit. She didn't want someone to tell her that she really wasn't pretty enough, or smart enough, or good enough.

So, she chose other women's men.

But those days have been over for a long time. She does not choose other women's men. She's not that fucked up little girl who had been used and abused. She would rather be alone that with someone who will never be hers. (Clarity? Yes. But we'll save THAT for another blog for another day.)

Eric was the man who really made me realize that I deserve to be treated well. Eric respected me. Eric loved me. Eric made me realize that it's okay not to settle. That I am pretty enough. And I am smart enough. And I am good enough.

But then...

That night... When LI came over here and took something from me. I told him to stop. I told him to slow down. I told him to leave.

And he did not.

He did not "rape" me in the technical sense. But as TF validated for me, he did rape me in an emotional sense. He did something after I told him to stop.

I took the same shower I would have taken if he had raped me. I washed and washed and I made the water hotter than I could stand. I washed my clothes twice and still ended up throwing out the tee-shirt I had worn that night.

And Eric came to me that night and made me feel safe. He touched me with love and affection and gentleness.

But he had a girlfriend. Oh, but that didn't really matter because he was going to break up with her anyway.

So, when Eric touched me that night, I did not feel guilty.

For days, I did not feel guilty.

But then he threw me under the bus. And he not only did not break up with his girlfriend, but he told her that I had told him I still loved him.

Um, I would never have said that to another woman's man if he had not told me that, repeatedly, in the previous days.

But then he did not break up with her.

And he did not tell her what he had done with me. And what he had said to me. He only told her what I said.

Great. Now, she hates me.

And I stuck up for her that night when he told me he had booked that trip. I told him that he was leading her on. And that he wasn't being fair to her if he only told her half the story.

But that day... When he told her what I had said, but not what he had said?

Something broke in me.

Because Eric... Darling, wonderful, loving, amazing Eric... Eric made me into the "other woman".

And I can't condone that and I can't respect that.

And I was fucking pissed off that he did that.

Because he was the last person on the planet that I believed would ever disrespect me that way.

So, I told him we couldn't be friends.

But he fought for me.

And I thought I could forgive him. As long as he did not make me a party to his dishonesty. If we were to be friends, I would have to be friends with Cara, too. And I could not be friends with Cara if he did not tell her the truth.

So, he asked for a "break". "Let's take November. You write your novel, let me get through my stuff. Then we'll be friends."

I assumed that he meant he would have told Cara the truth. Because that was my condition. Not an ultimatum. Just a condition.

And as the days passed and we weren't talking, I realized that there was no reason to wait and have a conversation in December if he had not told her the truth.

And, surely, he would know by now.

So, I emailed him and asked him. He'd said it was okay to email if we needed to. I needed to. So, I did.

And he ignored me.

Until today. Finally. After I actually had started worrying about whether or not something awful had befallen him or his family.

And after dragging it out all fucking day long, he finally answered me in a one-word email.


Well, there's my answer.

I'm done with Eric. And while I did call him, hoping for a decent good-bye this time, he chose not to answer my call except for when he had a kid with him. Knowing I would not pressure him to speak in front of his kid.

So, I may have left him a voicemail. One in which I told him I'm so damned disappointed. That I had expected so much more from him. That he had always treated me with respect. And that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around this. But that I hoped he would choose to be happy. That it would be worth it. I said that stuff at the end.

Huh. He must not have listened to that part. Because he described it as a "diatribe" in his last email. Which he sent about two hours after that voicemail.

Um, okay.

He opened with how furious he is with me.

Yeah. I think he's going to be even more furious with me by the time this night is over.

Because, you see, I realized something that I never realized before. Back when I was in college, I liked being the other woman. It made me feel powerful. Sexy.

But now? Now I feel dirty. (Which really sucks. Because last night when I was so upset, I found myself thinking about LI and what he did. And I can't focus on how Eric made me feel better. So, now I actually get to deal with that whole act.)

And I realized that I really feel a sense of solidarity with Cara.

And I said in one of those emails over the weekend, that this isn't about him telling her to hurt her. If he broke up with her with our secret intact, that would be okay. I'm just really not okay with allowing this woman to fall further in love with him when he has already betrayed her.

She's a single mom, for crying out loud.

And I would hope that if I'm ever in a relationship again (which is REEEEEEEEAAAAALY doubtful at this point!), that if that man made love to another, I would hope that someone would be brave enough to tell me.

Cara seems like a really nice lady.

She's a little pissed off, though, and confused. And says that Eric's got some 'splainin' to do.

But, yeah. I did tell her. And I apologized for my part in this, and I told her that she does not have to worry about me ever having sex with her boyfriend again. That I had told him two weeks ago to tell her what had happened, and that he had, apparently, decided against it.

So, yeah.

Eric's gonna hate me now.

But you know what?

I'm actually feeling totally okay with that.

Eric said in that email he sent me a couple of hours ago that I can think of him whatever I want. That he knows who he is.

Yeah, well. So do I.

And now, so does Cara. Just as she should.

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