Being a Bystander to an Affair

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2010
Being a Bystander to an Affair
9
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.

Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sat, 02-08-2014 - 12:10am

Enough is enough!  I finally told my friend I am no longer willing to cover for her.  Being complicit was eating me up inside.  It's a huge weight that has been lifted from my shoulders!  And I didn't lose my friend. Laughing

Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Tue, 12-10-2013 - 8:53am
Well, the phone number is a non-issue. It is not in lover boy's contacts but in a buried email account. BS will not get my number from his phone. I don't know if that is a relief or not.
Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sun, 11-17-2013 - 6:36pm
Just had a thought. My phone # is in lover boy's phone, as the person to call if something happens to my friend. I have his # as well, in case I need to get in touch with her and she isn't answering her phone. I have also phoned him on her behalf, shortly after DD, when she was desperate to talk to him. If he is showing his wife his phone, what do I do if she calls me someday, wondering who I am. I am a terrible liar. I know I would answer her questions truthfully, even if it meant revealing that I know the affair is ongoing. For me, it would be a huge relief to tell her. I am sure it would cost my friendship, though. I almost hope it happens.
Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sun, 11-17-2013 - 10:41am

I really like what Clarity posted the other day (Tsk Tsk Stupid Girl).  So much of what is in that post applies to my friend.  I am strongly tempted to show it to her.  At this point, though, I know she would deny it all.  In her mind, her lover is the exception to it all.  Everything he tells her, she believes to be the absolute truth.  I am constantly hearing about what a psycho the BS is.  For example:  BS takes meds to help balance her hormones after a hysterectomy.  Apparently, according to lover boy, she suddenly decided to stop taking them, with the result that she is totally psycho and unpredictable.  Now since the BS is a VP at a large Canadian bank, she is an intelligent woman who would most likely realize the importance of taking the meds.  I think it is extremely unlikely that she would choose to stop taking them, knowing how she would feel if she went off them.  However, lover boy has told my friend  this so it must be true.  And we know a cheating spouse would never lie.  I am starting to ask questions when my friend relates info like this to me.  I can't stay quiet and accept everything she tells me.  If all I do is introduce a little doubt into my friend's mind, I will feel better.  

 Being able to post here is helping me.  I have no one to talk to about this situation.   Writing my thoughts and feelings and posting here is very good for me.  Once things are written down, it is so much easier to let them go and not carry it all around in my head.  

Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Fri, 11-15-2013 - 10:30pm
When is enough enough? I am so tired of being "the safe friend" who knows all the details of her affair. I don't approve. I have never approved. She chose me to share this part of her life because she thought I'd understand. Why she thought that I don't know. I've been happily married for 30 years, haven't cheated on my spouse nor been cheated on. It has become a friendship that is all about her. Our plans can be changed in an instant if "he" is suddenly available. I wouldn't do that to her. Two nights ago when we went out to dinner, she monopolized the conversation with an adventure she had last week, something that never would have happened if she was thinking clearly. I believe this secret is occupying so much of her brain that other thinking is clouded. How long do I stick around and be a friend? I am really starting to feel bad for BS and I don't even know her. I just know I don't want to hurt her, yet I am powerless. I don't know her name so telling her is out of the question. Plus, it would be obvious where it came from. How much longer is it going to take my friend to realize he isn't the man she thinks he is? I just want my friend back.
Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 8:51am
I know it would be wrong but I would so like to tell the BS that the affair is ongoing. My friend is not thinking clearly, and making poor decisions. Everything is clouded by her love for this man. She really believes that when his wife throws him out, he will be hers. I doubt that. I think he will get a taste of freedom and and start seeing all kinds of women. She is always telling me what a psycho this BS is, and that she is very suspicious of her husband (with good reason), and that BS is hurting her husband terribly by suspecting him. When I pointed out that perhaps he was hurting his wife by cheating, I got this blank look from my friend, like that had never occurred to her. My friend tells me they have been so good this past year since DD, that there really is no reason for the BS to be suspicious any more. She is telling me this from a hotel room on the other side of the country where she has flown to be with her lover for 4 days. And they've travelled 3 other times together this year, plus countless visits to her home for sex, and hours on the telephone when he is supposed to be out running errands, and visits to a friend's apartment for the sole purpose of sex. How can she possibly say he has been good this past year ? He does show his wife his phone, but only after making sure it is completely wiped. I want my smart, funny, clear headed friend back. This man isn't the only one who would want her.
Avatar for slah54
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sat, 10-05-2013 - 10:38am

I've watched my best friend participate in an affair for the past 3 1/2 years.  She left her husband of 17 years to be with AP, although he has absolutely no intention of leaving his wife.  I have been my friend's confidant, safe person who knows all the details.  I know the affair was discovered over a year ago and it nearly killed her.  She contemplated suicide.  I worry about her all the time.  While the affair has continued, pretty much non-stop since DDay, there will come a time when it will end.  I will be there to pick up the pieces.  I dread that time.

Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sun, 01-06-2013 - 6:28pm

I know!  More often than not, it's pretty obvious to the observer(s) (don't have to have had an affair yourself)...and if they are at work with you, and have a chance to observe a lot...well, people aren't stupid.

Making googoo eyes at each other, leaning in too close, spending obviously way too much time in the office together, coming out flushed...all disshoveled...whisker burned...lipstick smudged and up the cheek..."nope, no one suspects a thing."

And to believe that spouses don't pick up on shifts in our behavior...as subtle or not so subtle as they may be, most betrayed spouses I've had a chance to dialogue with on the Boards, knew something was off....couldn't put their finger on it, but there was something...

I think it's great you no longer want to be 'that girl' anymore.  We never want to give them something to talk about :)

Now, if you are old enough to remember the TV show "That Girl"...lol  She was a real model of the working girl and girl with a boyfriend back in the 60's I think.  That girl's alright :)

Clarity

Community Leader,

Ending an Affair Support Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 01-06-2013 - 6:27pm

That's a very interesting story.  I bet you're glad that 1) you don't work at the place where you were involved w/ your AP any more and 2) that you said no to this guy so you're not the current subject of office gossip.  I do think it's very hard to keep secrets of any kind in a small workplace especially because someone will always notice what you are doing unless you acted totally professional at work and arranged all your meetups after hours and never even went to lunch together alone.  I think it's really a dumb idea for people to have affairs at work, but that's probably where most affairs start since people are spending so much time together and getting to know each other anyway.  It's much better to maintain your professional reputation.