Updated: May 23, 2014 6:50PM
Jack was The Other Man. He was a widower and he found himself heavily involved with a very married woman.
“It’s one of those rarely acknowledged situations,” says the 49-year-old CPA. “You always hear about The Other Woman, but you don’t hear much about men in my circumstance. Maybe it’s because it’s not something many men want to brag about.”
Like many Other Women, Jack was ready to believe whatever Carol told him. He believed her when she said she loved him. He believed when she said she would leave her husband. Just give her time.
“When I would press her for a time frame, I heard all the excuses that women usually hear. Things like, ‘I can’t do this to my kids.’ Her children were a big, big factor throughout the whole affair. Or else it was her husband. ‘It would hurt him too much. He needs me too much.’ ”
Jack and Carol met at work several months after Jack’s wife of more than 20 years died. Business meetings soon turned personal, then romantic, then sexual. Working together made things easy for Carol. At the beginning they saw each other almost every night during the week and sometimes even on weekends. After several hours together, Jack would drop her off at home.
After only a few months into the relationship, Carol told Jack she loved him, not her husband. They spoke about getting a house together, where it would be and what interim steps she should take. Sometimes it seemed as though she would be moving away from home any day.
Jack told her he loved her, too. He loved her sense of humor. S he was smart and beautiful and shared his hobbies. They traveled together on business and Jack tried to pretend it was a normal life. But he hated dropping her at home knowing there was somebody waiting. He hated not knowing a thing about their future.
“You know, I never did think of myself as The Other Man. I know this is crazy, but I actually thought of Carol’s husband as the other man.”
After a while, Carol stopped saying that she loved only Jack and started saying that she loved Jack and her husband. It’s possible to love two people, she told him. It is, really.
“It finally ended in a strange, fading way,” says Jack. First Carol told him she could never marry him because of her children. They continued seeing each other for awhile because neither of them would end it, but the gaps between their dates grew longer. Then she stopped returning his phone calls. And that was it. Now, when they see each other at work, they pretend the other is invisible.
Carol was the only real relationship Jack has had since his wife died. He’s dated a few women since, but he hasn’t been able to get close to any of them. It’s going to take time, and Jack says he has to fight his way out of “the emotional mess” he’s in.
He recently got up the courage to attend a singles’ evening at a hotel near his home. He got there and the place was deserted, the event apparently canceled. He says he won’t give up. And he’ll always check for wedding rings.
What was your first relationship like after a divorce, a death or a break-up? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my ebook, “Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front.” CREATORS.COM