It wouldn't surprise me one bit if that was one of the many thoughts going through your head as you clicked to read this article. First of all, I do not condone cheating and it is not something I am proud of. It is a terrible thing for everyone involved. But sadly yes, at one point in my life I was the other woman.
If you're like me, you picture the other woman a certain way: she's sexy, voluptuous, physically perfect in every aspect, and on the inside she is this destructive, deceitful, heartless, pre-meditating and calculating demonic bitch who is on the prowl to destroy families for her own selfish gain.
We mostly hear of the husband who is unfaithful. It was uncommon, at least for me, to hear of a woman who stepped outside of the marriage. And when I did hear of such a thing, I automatically became judgmental, turned up my nose and questioned how could a woman do such a thing? Well, let me tell you. I've been there.
Let me begin by saying I am far from sexy, and can attest that I am not physically perfect, not even close. After two kids, the stretch marks and cellulite are clearly visible. I'm just a mom, an average woman in middle-class suburbia looking to be the best version of myself and the best mother for my kids I can be.
Becoming the other woman was not something I strived to become, definitely not a title to put on the good ole resume. I was not calculating my every move and desperately looking to have an affair. I did not "pick" him or decide that I was going to maliciously destroy two families.
I am educated, have a stable career, and financially capable of making it on my own. So, I was not looking for any financial or social gains as a result of becoming involved with a married man.
If you read my last article, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That sounds so cliché, but it is the truth. My best friend of two years, the biggest dork I knew, I fell hard for him. So hard.
Infatuation has this crazy way of making us think we are in love. I remember as a pre-teen I was "in love" with Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy Taylor in Home Improvement, swoon!). My collection of Teen Beat pin-ups was proof of that. Of course, raging teenage hormones make us silly.
Fast forward 15 years, it all made sense to me that day when I looked at my best friend and he smiled back at me. It was not infatuation, not in the slightest.
He connected with me on so many levels, something no one had ever done before. The feeling of being loved the same way in return was exhilarating and to me, felt pure and true.
I won't go into details of the affair. At this point the details do not matter. What's done is done. What mattered to me at the time was I had truly thought I found someone who connected with me emotionally and wanted to build a life with me. That is what we all want in a partner, no?
I believed it because that is what I was told. I hung on to every kiss, every message and every word. I am a smart woman, but looking back I was stupid and so naïve. I'd even go as far as to say vulnerable and weak. I was thinking solely with my heart, and my brain followed suit.
I am not a liar. The affair did not last long before I spilled my guts to my now ex-husband. I crushed his heart. At the time, I resented him and how I felt so alone in our marriage. But even through all of that I still love him, the person he is, and the kind of father he is to our boys.
I regret hurting him every single day. I regret tearing our family apart. But I do not regret being open and honest with him. At the time, I thought the love that hit me like a ton of bricks was much stronger than the love that seemed to have diminished in my marriage over time.
If you read my last article, you know that the "love of my life" and I did not work out. The "love of my life" apparently could not sustain the hardships of real life in his eyes. It was all a fantasy to him. This crushed me in that I was willing to go through anything with this man. In my eyes, I had already given up so much and it became apparent I did not mean enough for him to do the same.
Looking back, it is a harsh truth and a hard pill to swallow. Loving someone so much and not getting that back in return is heartbreaking. And for the longest time I felt I deserved it for the pain I had caused others during the heart-wrenching process.
So, let me get to the point. In a 12 month period, I experienced a lot of shit; I had an affair, I divorced my husband, I got dumped, I moved, I started over. Alone.
Emotionally, I was a wreck and I still have days where I feel like I'm failing. But I have learned this: I AM human, I AM NOT perfect, and I DO make mistakes. I am more thankful for what I have and cherish the time I spend with my children. I AM a better person for the mistakes I made.
Being the Other Woman was immoral and so fucking stupid. Love does not conquer all. But I've grown to realize even average women like me can fall. We all want to feel loved, appreciated, wanted and needed. Not all women who get wrapped up in affairs are heartless, slutty bitches hunting for unavailable men. Sometimes, shit happens. It is up to us to decide where to go from there.
Also on HuffPost: