I have a friend, whose aunt had an affair with a married man, for thirty years. One day, he died, and she didn’t even know; he just stopped calling. She was devastated and knew that something had to be dreadfully wrong. She frantically checked hospitals and ultimately the obituaries. And there it was. Her lover had died and because their relationship had always been kept a secret from the world, no one had ever even thought to notify her.
It was almost a week before she had uncovered the news about this death, and the funeral had already taken place. She didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye or to get closure – a fitting ending to a relationship, which at its best was still painful, by the very nature, that it never belonged to her in the first place. She couldn’t even find solace by confiding in others, because any hope for compassion, would come back to her in the form of judgment – and that would only add to the pain. So, she suffered alone.
This woman was in a terrible emotional place and a relationship such as this one is a terrible place for anyone to be. Throughout the years, I have known several women who have somehow found themselves in a relationship with a married man. Women, with so much to offer would settle for part time love; scraps that are left over from the dinner table. But what has always surprised me the most is that I myself have been there as well.
I’m not exactly sure how I made my way into such a relationship, or how anyone does for that matter. I suspect it had something to do with my own emotional state at the time when the relationship began. An unhealthy emotional state, only attracts unhealthy relationships – is what I have come to learn. Perhaps self-esteem also added to it all, an undeserving feeling and a lack of self-worth could have been contributing factors. Or maybe it was just selfishness and ego, a complete and total disregard for the boundaries that warn us against taking what isn’t rightfully ours. Nevertheless, the pain which I endured was punishment enough, and the lesson that I learned, was one that would not be forgotten.
The story of my affair is old as the day is long and as cliché as that statement itself. A typical office romance, complete with all its bells and whistles, including hotel room lunches right down to the delusional thought that no one in the office was aware of what was going on. The affair carried on for years and the love was real as was optimism that the relationship will one day become legitimate. But true to the story of an affair itself, was the ending with all its banality – the very ending which left me crying on the kitchen floor.
(This post was originally shared on Painting the Canvas.)