When I was 25 years old, I dated a guy twice my age. In addition to all the obvious issues that brought, there was the fact that his previous relationship had spanned a decade. He’d started dating her before I was old enough to have a driver’s permit. That was the extent of what I knew about her– he failed to mention she actually worked in the same building as both of us. Little did I know that every time I walked the halls there was a petite blonde woman with a daughter 6 years older than me who wanted to claw my eyes out.
Four months after I finally dumped him I met my friend L for coffee and told her all about the unbelievable mess of abuse and intimidation I’d lived over the last year. No sooner had I finished with a “whew, glad that’s all over” than a notification popped up on my phone.
“The Other Woman has added you as a friend on Facebook.”
She’d also sent me a message, pleading to meet me so she could “finally know the truth.”
If I were a mature, self-actualized woman I’d have known better than to respond. But I am definitely not that. Instead, I made plans to meet her at Starbucks. I arrived early so I could canvas the area and ensure she hadn’t booby trapped it or set up strategic barrels of flammable liquid.
I walked in, ordered coffee, and noted all available escape routes. She was already sitting in the corner and waved me over. She didn’t beat around the bush.
“I know he had an affair last Spring but he told me he doesn’t even know your last name. Was it you? I won’t be mad, I just need to know the truth.”
I stared at her in shock. My last name? He knows my shoe size and the birthplace of my middle brother. I’m pretty sure he has a satellite on us right now.
Before I could really answer she launched into a long explanation of how they’d had relationship troubles for about a year before he finally admitted to having an affair. She’d kicked him out, but they’d been going to couple’s therapy. It’d gone well until he started drinking again, which was a problem since he’s an alcoholic.
MY BRAIN EXPLODED.
My year long relationship with him was an affair?
They lived together?
I dumped him because he was bat shit crazy– I didn’t realize he was also a talented liar.
She immediately began to fill me in on the sordid details. While I thought he was at Crossfit, he’d been seeing a therapist with her and attending AA meetings– which weren’t going well, since she’d recently found a duffel bag full of empty bottles in the back of her closet. I couldn’t help it– I started laughing.
For four months he’d been stalking me at work, sending me threatening text messages, and begging to get back with me— all while asking her to let him move back in. The level of deception he’d managed to pull off was almost impressive.
When we parted ways, I begged her not to tell him we’d met. He’d already threatened to kill me, this would only make it worse. She promised she wouldn’t say a word, so I met L at a bar where we could process this over a dozen mimosas. But my phone started blowing up with text messages from him.
“How could you do this?”
“What were you thinking?”
“Just tell me why”
I ignored him. Even though I’d dumped him, the betrayal still stung. I felt so stupid. A few nights later, The Other Woman called. It was weirdly cathartic to go back and forth, bitching about him and detailing the numerous ways he’d hurt us. But then she called again. And again. And again.
Eventually I had to ask her not to call me anymore. She kept her word for 6 months until New Years Eve hit and she called me in tears, insisting “an anonymous number” had just texted her that I was moving in with my Ex. By this point, I had a restraining order against him. I reassured her that no– I’d rather swallow a pound of baby mice than have anything to do with him.
The next time I saw her was at a court hearing. My ex had been fired for sending my naked photos to our coworkers, and she was there to testify on his behalf– stating I was vindictive and had framed him for the entire thing.
She’d gone from telling me how much she appreciated me and how similar I was to her daughter to swearing under oath that I was a vengeful hooker. After he lost his court case, she dumped him again and called me to apologize, asking if we “could be friends again.”
While I’m obviously a huge fan of making terrible choices, I wouldn’t recommend this particular one. Even now, I hear from her on my birthday, New Years, and even got a Congratulations text when I got engaged. Then again, when his new girlfriend emailed me out of the blue, I still responded. Hey– I never said I’d learn from my mistakes.
Have you ever become friends with The Other Woman? What’s the worst lie you’ve ever fallen for? Do you have any equally toxic relationships?
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