This piece has been republished in light of Kate Langbroek’s comments on Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s affair with former staffer Vikki Campion. On Wednesday the radio host publicly condemned women that sleep with married men, saying, “It makes you a rotten person.” While many applauded, not everyone agreed. This is the other side of that conversation, from Jessica Michell…
I was the other woman.
This was despite everyone (society, media, professionals, acquaintances, family and friends) telling me not to. They commonly reference karma. They foresee how the story ends.
And still, I ignored them. I was hoping that we would be the exception to the rule. What I learned most of all, other than not to get involved with a taken man, was that society is still first to blame women. We are still quick to assume the woman was promiscuous or as the witch who enslaved our partners and led them astray.
I foolishly hoped that this would not happen to me. I mistakenly thought people who didn’t know me (or even people who did) would see that I wasn’t the monster.
Here is my story.
I was a colleague to his girlfriend. I knew they had problems because he confided in me. What he described to me was a dysfunctional, controlling and abusive relationship and what I saw was an insecure boy wanting a way out.
I'll admit I was attracted to him when I first met him. Did I pursue him? Absolutely not. I thought he just needed a friend as they only had each other in Australia. But I was the wrong type of friend, as I soon learned.
Feelings grew, and I remember thinking: I need to ask him how he feels and if he doesn't feel the same way then I need to stay away. Instead, he asked me. Then he gave me a long hug and sent me a message later saying "DON'T REPLY. I have never been this happy in such a long time. It's killing me not being with you."
But, as they all say, he couldn't leave. He made a decent list of excuses: he felt responsible for her, she had no family in Australia and owed more than she earned, she would hit him, she would report him to immigration.