I was at lunch with a few friends the other weekend and we started talking about a relationship one of the girls had a few years ago.
At 24 she met a guy who was 42. He worked a lot and travelled often for work but was always attentive and kept in constant contact when he was away.
He even went so far as to buy her a promise ring because they were going to design her engagement ring together. She thought she was destined to be with this guy forever.
Unfortunately she was wrong.
Turns out this guy had a secret life – he was in a relationship with another woman. My friend was obviously very hurt – by this stage she had given this guy 4 years of her life. They had talked marriage, babies, were saving to buy a house, the works.
What shocked her more was that she was the other woman – he had a wife in another state that he had been married to for 10 years. They had 2 kids together.
She found out when his wife called out of the blue. They had an awkward but honest conversation and it was clear to both parties involved that neither knew the other existed.
Both relationships ended. The wife tried to make a go of it but ultimately she was too hurt and betrayed by what he had done.
This is a story you hear a lot.
It’s easy to imagine that the wife was angry and she would turn on my friend and blame her for everything instead of directing that anger to her husband – its easier to blame an outsider rather than looking inward into your own relationship.
Whilst it’s an awful story to hear, what I really loved about it is that both women ended up being friends. Instead of turning on and blaming the other, they used their grief and anger for him and their situation to bond. I wish this sort of outcome happened more often. I hate hearing the alternative – the one where women revert to acting like a 15 year old girl whose boyfriend kissed another girl where the girl is forever labelled a slut and the boyfriend gets away unscathed.
Both of the women involved freely admit that it was so obvious to them now what he was up to but had no real idea at the time because he had always been the way he was. What made it more special was that they were able to talk in specifics, compare notes and ultimately gain closure without either one of them feeling they were at fault.