I met James* at a house party that I was unwillingly dragged to. I was accompanying a friend and didn't know anyone there, so tried to make the most of it by attempting to engage in small talk with strangers. This was when a guy suddenly materialised next to me.
He introduced himself and we got chatting; it was very easy to talk to him. We had a lot in common, such as a list of favourite music and movies. Safe in our cocoon of the couch, we sat there talking for what seemed like hours.
James made me laugh, but not in the 'funny guy' kind of way. He was not loud or overly chatty but had a quiet, understated confidence that I found utterly charming. He flirted a bit but didn't come on too strong, which I enjoyed. During this conversation, James mentioned that he had a girlfriend. I then jokingly asked why he was flirting with a woman he had just met when he was attached. His reply was, “she's not here.” I soon found out that his girlfriend Sheila* travelled often for work.
After a couple of hours – and a few more drinks – James kissed me, then asked if I wanted to leave the party and go back to his place. I made it clear that I wasn't going to sleep with him, if that's what he was hoping to happen. He said he just wanted to keep talking and, because I was really enjoying his company, I agreed.
We got to his apartment and chatted about anything and everything until the sun came up. It was as if I had known him all my life; it was just so comfortable and easy to talk to him. We did kiss a few more times, but nothing more. He asked me for my phone number when I left at 7am and said he would call me.
So Much In Common
I went home and caught up on sleep and, when I woke up a few hours later, I had a text message from James. He asked me to have dinner with him later that week and I asked about his girlfriend again; he gave me the same reply – “she's not here”.
I know I shouldn't have gone but he was so lovely to be with and I must admit that a part of me was intrigued, too. We met for dinner a few times, then he invited me to his place to watch a movie. We ordered a pizza, put on a DVD and, once the movie was over, ended up talking through the night again.
This time, James told me that he had never met a woman that he had so much in common with and could talk to so easily. I brought up his girlfriend once more and he said that she was a bit of a flake and didn't really know how to have fun.
We carried on spending time together and our relationship soon turned physical. The comfort level that we shared when it came to talking carried over into the bedroom, too. James was a joy to be with in every way and would've been my ideal boyfriend – had he been single, of course. He even introduced me to his friends, who told me that they hoped he would dump his snooty girlfriend and be with me instead as they really liked me. I wondered why he was with Sheila when nobody – not even him – seemed to like her!
I never told my own friends about James because I knew they would tell me to stop seeing him the minute I divulged that he had a girlfriend. They were right, of course, but I didn't want them to burst my bubble. Plus, I thought – rather innocently, of course – things would work out with him in the end so why tell anyone about the tricky situation I was in?
This thing with James went on for five months and we met every time his girlfriend was out of town. I should have felt bad but I had never met a man who made me feel so comfortable and I didn't want to lose him, even though he was never mine to lose. Also, he mentioned repeatedly that he wasn't happy with Sheila but because she was hardly around, it was difficult to even break up with her. For some reason, this excuse made total sense to me at that point (not in hindsight, of course).
One Simple Rule
Then, out of the blue, he sent me an email saying that we shouldn't meet anymore as he thought his girlfriend was getting suspicious. I didn't reply and told myself that I knew this would happen. However, two weeks later, he asked me to meet him for a drink and we were back to square one. We were watching TV on his couch one night when James whispered to me that he would split up with Sheila because he was falling in love with me. A part of me was pleased because I never once asked him to leave her so I felt this was a small victory for me.
But, of course, this never happened. For a few more months, things went on like this and I got increasingly tired of being the 'other woman' when all I wanted was to spend more time with him and show him off to my friends.
It all came tumbling down when I was out with my friends one night. We were celebrating a friend's birthday and some of them had their partners with them. I desperately wished James was there with me too so I sent him a message telling him so. He sent me a nasty reply, telling me never to message him again when I knew Sheila was in town, even adding that this was the one simple rule I had to follow.
That was it for me. I wasn't just angry, I was downright humiliated. But it was just the wake-up call I needed. I’ve never contacted him again and, a week later, he emailed me, asking to meet, as if nothing had happened. I didn’t respond when he rang and messaged me a few more times over the next few weeks. It took a lot of strength and willpower, but I never spoke to or met up with him again.
About a year later, I saw him at another house party. He was with Sheila (I knew it was her as I had seen photos of them together) and I was with a guy I had started seeing a few months before. He did a double take when he saw me and tried a couple of times to approach me but I managed to avoid him. Later that night, he sent me a message saying he still thinks about me. This time, I didn't get angry at all; instead, I laughed at how I ever thought he was my ideal man when he was, in fact, a manipulative and indecisive jerk.
*Names have been changed.