I feel very fortunate that a reader sent me her story in response to Once Bitten to share on The BetsyG-Spot.
By Madame G
I wanted to share my story with you, because your story, Once Bitten, really struck a chord with me.
I was at a party in December 2004 in the center of Paris. I had recently split with my husband of 20 years and was incredibly happy—with my newfound freedom, with my life. Like you, it was as if I’d been living in a box for years. The party was great fun—champagne, oysters, foie gras. I just had a ball.
When I left at around 11:30 p.m., a man who I recognized as the party’s photographer was waiting for me outside.
“I’ve never done this before,” he said, “but I have been following you around all night. I couldn’t believe it when I saw you get up to get your coat alone, so I ran out here to wait for you. It was like a lightning bolt out of the blue.” But then he explained that he had been married for 10 years and had two children so he didn’t quite know what he was doing.
Though in my 20 years of marriage, I was completely faithful and never would have thought of cheating, his being married for some reason didn’t bother me. “You’re the one who’s married; that’s your problem, not mine.”
So we had a drink together, exchanged numbers, and I thought nothing more of it. But a couple of days later, he called me, and we decided to meet for lunch. (Of course he couldn’t meet at night.) After a great lunch, we ended up at my place.
That was the beginning of three years of a relationship of “lunches.” We would usually meet at my place and spend a couple of hours together, maybe go see an exhibition. We never got together on the weekend, rarely in the evening; over the three years we spent a total of two nights together. I was still dating other men and had a couple of steadies, but he was becoming more and more a part of my life.
He did not get along with his wife. They shared nothing but their children—no sexual life, either—and he and I were incredibly compatible. The sex was unbelievable, too. Here I was in my 40s, finally learning what sex could be! But also we shared the same interests, were never bored with each other, and always had something to talk about.
Over the three years, both of us had tried to end the relationship at various points, him because he felt guilty cheating on his wife, me because I was frustrated by his lack of availability. But I never asked him to leave his wife. I even suggested they do marriage counseling. He often talked about divorce, though, but couldn’t bring himself to do it because of his young children.
In November of last year, our relationship came to another crisis, so we had lunch and, over a very nice bottle of wine, came to the conclusion that we had both fallen in love. Love was always a taboo word between us, but here we actually said the words. Yet we’d both actually come to the lunch with the aim of ending the relationship.
Though he’d said that without me life had no color (how apt for a photographer!), three days after that lunch he changed his mind and said he had to stop. Our relationship had gotten to a point where it was me or his family, and he had to choose his family.
Even though it hurts like hell, I wanted the split too. I was tired of being the other woman. The fact that I know he is suffering just like me makes the split even harder. But it is definitely over.
Like you, I’ve fallen into a depression. I’m seeing a shrink, trying hard to get over this, functioning for the sake of my children and my career, but life has just gotten sort of blah. It’s as if he was my passion, and now my passion has disappeared. How ridiculous: here I am in Paris, the most beautiful city in the world, and I’m bored? Silly girl.
What struck me in your story is that it took you seven years to meet someone. I’m glad you’re in love again. It’s such a great feeling, and I know that if it happens to me again, even with the pain I am suffering, I’d probably jump in with both feet.
But never again with a married man.
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