What It’s Like To Fall In Love As The Other Woman


I wish I could describe exactly what drew me to him in the first place. He had dark chestnut hair, brown eyes, a slow smile, but that wasn’t what was special. It was something else, something in the tone of his voice when I could hear him smile over the phone, something I’ve never been able to put my finger on no matter how many hours I’ve thought about him. I’m still not sure what to call whatever happened between us. A fling? A secret relationship? An affair? It was all of those, but at the same time it was never real.

I knew he had a girlfriend at the time. I knew it, but after a while it stopped mattering to me, even though it shouldn’t have. When we started talking, he told me about her, how unhappy she made him, how wrong she was for him. He’d talk to me on the phone for hours, hanging up only when she got there, and deleting the calls from his phone. That should’ve been a clue, in hindsight. The few times I saw his phone, all I could find on it were a few pictures and, more often than not, a completely blank message section. He deleted everything, every word I said to him. I have no idea how many other girls he toyed with, said the same exact lines to. Probably too many to count, and more than I’d ever want to know.

We started talking when I was close to the end of my sophomore year in college. I don’t even remember how it happened. One of us messaged the other on Facebook, something silly, and then we were texting 24/7, and I was spending hours on the phone with him at night. He told me that I fascinated him, that I was beautiful, that he’d always wanted to be with someone like me. But he still had a girlfriend. He promised me he’d break up with her, over and over again. I feel awful for her now, having been stuck with someone she thought loved her who actually said horrible things about her to someone else. I wanted to believe she was as bad as he said. I needed to believe it, because I fell in love with him.

He drove up to my college town with a few of his friends after we’d been talking for a few weeks, and we met up. I’ve never been so nervous to see someone in person. I’d spent hours choosing an outfit, doing my hair, trying to be what he wanted. He stayed at my place, undressed me with careful, slow hands. He made love to me with his eyes locked on mine, his hands framing my face. He told me it was over with her. He had to go home when the weekend was over, but it was all over with her. It was just going to be him and me now, the way he’d promised. I cried when he left, and he held me tight. He told me he loved me, and I said it back.

After he left my place, I didn’t hear from him for two days. I called him a few times, texted him, and then gave up, despite how desperate I felt. I knew he wouldn’t respond until he’d made the decision to, no matter how many times I reached out to him. I went to look at his social media and found he’d deleted me off of Facebook. His profile picture had changed back to a photo of him and his girlfriend. Everything I could see publicly was between them, sharing pictures and making jokes back and forth.

You swore, I wanted to say to him, reading through their posts as my heart cracked inside my chest. You swore there was only me, now. You said you loved me. I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time there was a part of me that wasn’t surprised. To this day, I don’t know what kind of person says they love someone to their face and then takes it back. Everything he said to me was calculated and carefully considered. He ended up calling me eventually, of course, and I got sucked back into his trap all over again. He would leave me alone for a few days and then, somehow, right when I was able to quit looking at my phone every two seconds, he’d text me you’re beautiful. It happened over and over again.

I know I sound moronic. How could I have fallen for someone so clearly manipulative? How was I stupid enough to put my heart into something like this? And you’re totally right. I laughed at girls that got into these situations, but there I was. I wish there was a better reason why. I just couldn’t stay away from him. He was the highest high I could find, the ultimate drug, but withdrawal was hell.

I went to see a friend in his city one weekend, and he called and wanted to meet up. We ended up in his car, having sex in the front seat in a deserted parking lot. I couldn’t help myself around him. Even after all he’d done to me, I found him irresistible. I told my mom about him, after that night, when I was temporarily seduced by his promises all over again. I told her he wanted to be with me, that I’d found someone who really cared about me. That was how much I believed his words when I was with him.

When I left to go back to school at the end of the weekend, he told me he loved me. He said he’d call. I desperately wanted to believe him. The cycle started all over again. When I finally cut him out of my life, a short while later, it was initially the most difficult thing in the world. I thought about him constantly, wished I could hear his voice, see him smile. But I knew it would be a huge mistake, and I got over him faster than I could have thought possible. He called me nonstop for three days, and I eventually blocked his number. I deleted him from any social media account he was still connected to me on. Every time I wavered, I remembered the feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when he said he was breaking up with her, and didn’t. I wasn’t anything to him. I was a plaything to him, a toy he picked up when he felt like it, and I was done.

I fell for someone who was never mine. It was stupid, and irrational, and completely wrong both for me and for the other girl involved. But I don’t regret it. Cliché as it sounds, he taught me everything a real relationship isn’t. It’s not a seesaw of someone’s attention, and it’s definitely not someone who leaves you hanging in desperation for no reason other than their own selfishness. I recovered. I got over him, and I never looked back. There’s no better feeling than that.

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