Being a Bystander to an Affair
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|Sun, 01-06-2013 - 1:04am|
Good evening everyone. It's Saturday night and I'm feeling a little lonely, but better since posting yesterday. Thought I'd share some thoughts I've been having about watching an A unravel under my nose at work.
At my new job (still feels "new" even though it's been over a year), there is a man with whom I work rather closely who is a known "dabbler," if you will. Married, handsome, charming, model-gorgeous wife, two kids, but can't keep his hands out of the cookie jar. Has a taste specifically for MUCH younger ladies. In the time I've worked here, he's managed to first proposition me (unsuccessfully, natch!) and then have a VERY public A with one of his direct reports. It lasted about four months and ended with him leaving his wife--only for him to be left by his AP! So now he is living in an apartment near his ex-wife & kids, and pursuing other young ladies at the office.
I have to say, it was really fascinating and enlightening to watch the whole thing go down, and of course it made me think about how I behaved when I was in my A, and how others saw me. I was in total denial that anyone could possibly have an inkling that we (my xAP was a coworker at a rather small company) were together. But walking by my current coworker's office and seeing his xAP in there so frequently—faces close, lights dim, voices hushed—just as I was ALWAYS in my xAP's office, I realized how blatant I was. I'm sure they could see it in my face and body language, the obvious change in my tone of voice. The way I looked at him and no one else. We went to lunch together regularly; when I would see my current affair-having coworkers at lunch together, I just saw the former "us," on display for the world, half-hoping everyone would catch on because we were something close to "proud" of being a clandestine couple; part of me wanted everyone to know I had him, I thought he was such hot stuff, and I'm sure he felt the same.
It also made me think about my xAP. Is he a "dabbler" too, and I've just fooled myself into thinking I was his once-in-a-lifetime? Did he start making himself comfortable in another woman's cubical a week after I left, or did he have the self-restraint to wait two?
The most interesting thing about this current workplace drama has been the gossip. It has been all ANYONE wants to talk about. The switchboard is lit up like Christmas, as it were. The disparaging comments about both parties--"what a little tramp, he's MARRIED!" "What a slimeball, how could he do that to his family?" "What idiots, do they think no one can tell?"...ouch. I felt a little shamefaced knowing I probably left a similar trail of gossip when I left the workplace of my wrongdoing. How embarrassing. To think that might be my legacy. You can work from here to sundown and do beautiful, stellar work, but have an A with someone in the office, and the work is the first thing people forget.
I'd be straight lying if I said I didn't feel a little prickle of jealousy about these two. Seeing their secret-keeping, the flush of pleasure, dug up those feelings I'd buried. And when I heard he'd left his wife and wanted a real-life relationship with this girl, jealousy punched me in the face. I compared myself to her. She's gorgeous, young; If I'd been more gorgeous, would my xAP have left his wife? I wondered how she "did it," and how I'd failed. These were all feelings I'd run far, far away from, but that were waiting for me a thousand miles away.
Has anyone else been witness to an A, as you're trying to exit your own? It can be disheartening and set you back a little by making you think thoughts you wouldn't have otherwise had, but it can serve as inspiration, too. I don't know what's going to happen for me, but I know I don't want to be "that girl" anymore.