This is a continuation of the abridged version of my pertinent relationship history.
My second, and most recent real relationship started on shaky ground; it began about 2 years (give or take) after my first relationship ended (about 2008, or so). We met in a very innocent and endearing way. As things progressed fairly quickly, he revealed that he was married. He and his wife were separated, which is how I think I was able to justify doing exactly what was done to me in my last relationship (ironic, right?)
I was smitten. Admittedly, I was so infatuated with this man, that I cornered him into an impossible situation. Though he wasn’t really in a position to commit to me in the right way, I forced it. I knew he was falling in love with me, and didn’t want to lose me — I certainly didn’t want to lose him. In hindsight, I realize that I took advantage of his feelings and vulnerability. But, as Nina Simone lamented, “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”
A bit of time passed, and I got my way (so to speak). We ended up making things as official as an unofficial union could get. We made things work for about 5 years (living in different apartments together, traveling, creating art, experiencing lots of firsts, and having lots of fun). We certainly had rough patches, but all in all, things were great. I adored him, and I truly believe he adored me. He was supportive, attentive, selfless, romantic, caring, protective, loving — all of the things I was missing in my previous relationship. He was my biggest fan.
One of my most cherished moments was his father giving me a hug and telling me (I can hear it now, it’s kind of haunting, actually): “You’ll always be my daughter-in-law.” We weren’t married, but he knew I loved his son. That really meant a lot to me.
All of that said, there were some major issues that I was never able to reconcile. He never divorced, he had children with his wife that I was never privy to meet — in other words, he didn’t seem to take me serious enough to “put a ring on it”. I looked past that, though — I really loved him.
Over the years, I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know his friends, members of his family (including his sister and nephews). I supported him through the death of his grandmother. I helped support him through the death of his father. Our connection was deep.
Fast forward a few months after his father passed away (about 4 years, now).
Short story. After several seemingly innocent extended trips out of state for work (he is a performing artist) and to visit his children, I found out that he knocked up another woman in said state (because of my amazing intuition, or maybe because for various reasons, I grew suspicious and logged into his e-mail to find messages from an unknown woman about lactation and all kinds of other baby stuff). It turns out he had sex with her, and ended up getting her pregnant while out of town “working” (so cliché). Oh, and through my social media investigation, all in the same sitting, I found out and named his son (who was 8 or so months at the time) what we had discussed naming our hypothetical future child. Damn.
Utter devastation. A punch in the gut that I can still feel to this day.
Needless to say, it was over as soon as I found out. I resisted the urge to bleach his clothes and break his valuables (he was out of town when I found out), and within three weeks, moved out of our apartment (leaving his possessions, save a few items for him to have someone pick up and store).
I can’t front, though, I’ve done some immature things to try and make his life (and the life of his “baby mama” who I later found out knew he was in a relationship, yet seemed to flaunt her newfound situation to the world) miserable since. Did it make me feel better in the moment? Yes. Now? Not so much.
It is very difficult to encapsulate the magnitude of this situation (even though I found out a little over three years ago), so I will have to return when my head is a bit clearer. It still stings.
That said, I was facing my karma. It’s interesting how that works.
Someone sent me the aforementioned article to help me get through the pain of this situation (and put it in a bit of perspective). It’s still relevant. And it still stings. A lot. In fact, I still can’t read it without tearing up. Three years later.
And folks wonder why I am over falling in love. Never again.