couples

'I've been with my boyfriend four years. I still think lovingly about my married ex.'

I feel a mix of guilt and remorse when I remember I was the other woman once upon a time. More than that, I feel wrong when the married man I once helped have an affair randomly pops up in my mind. I’m in a serious relationship with my boyfriend of four years, and he has no idea about my past.

After four years of dating my current boyfriend, we don’t really hold back on embarrassing stories about ourselves, or our romantic past. But the fact that I was once the other woman, while it is incredibly common, still makes me feel ashamed.

And I can’t bring myself to share that part of myself with my boyfriend, even if I share literally everything else with him.

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My boyfriend and I are happy, as happy as two people can be. We value each other in ways I never knew were possible.

He pushes me to be better; I motivate him in his work, and we really complement each other. It’s the healthiest relationship I have ever known, and I hope we are together forever.

Our open communication with each other is one of the most sacred things in our relationship — and we both talk about how rare it is that we can talk about anything in an open, loving, judgment-free zone.

I find it ironic that communication is everything to us, yet, there is something I can’t talk to him about. My phase as the mistress in a married man’s life is something I don’t want him to ever know about me.

I’m terrified it will ruin the way he sees me. I’m also terrified of bringing those years back into the world because I’ve worked so hard to bury them in the bottom of my heart.

Just the other day, I was home alone, and my ex-lover, we’ll call him Alex, popped into my head. And I didn’t immediately brush off the thought of his name, or his face.

Instead, I wondered how he was, how his family was, and how I hoped he had found happiness in his marriage and stopped messing around behind the back of his beautiful wife and daughters.

And for a second, even though he completely broke my heart and filled my head with false hope and alleged promises of leaving his wife for me, I wished him the absolute best.

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I realised, even though the entire situation was toxic, harmful, and detrimental to my self-development, he was still a big part of my life at one point.

He was the person I spoke to every single day, the person I vented to and held at night when we went away for trips. I loved him, as twisted as it is. And in a really messed up way, I know he loved me too.

But I’m so proud of myself for finally walking away from him and the lies and making room for myself to find a love that was real, love I was worthy to have.

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I don’t think I will ever tell my boyfriend about Alex. It’s too hard for me to swallow the truth — that I was once a 21-year-old girl who fell in love with a married man. Therefore, I can’t imagine how hard it would be for me to spit up the words I’d need to express my remorse for this stage of my life.

And actually, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to disclose this part of my life with him. I have no connection to Alex anymore; we haven’t spoken in five years. We are not connected on any social media, and if he were to find me, I would block him. We just aren’t in each other’s lives anymore.

I don’t think I’m being dishonest or unfaithful by keeping this part of my life to myself. It’s my dark past, and it’s irrelevant to my relationship, and my life now.

I’ve tried to turn the tables and think about how I’d feel if I found about my boyfriend’s past relationship with a married woman, after he tried to keep it hidden from me. I really wouldn’t see him as a different man, or a bad man. Because I know the man he is now.

I see the beautiful person he is, and I know that’s not who he is anymore. I wouldn’t be upset that he kept it a secret, because it was such a long time ago, and it has nothing to do with us now.

I’m happy with my boyfriend, happier than I’ve ever been with another man. And when the thoughts of Alex appeared the other day, I did feel guilt for thinking about him. But I realized, through my experience with Alex, I grew to be a stronger, more independent woman.

I learned to take care of myself and stop accepting bullshit from men who are unhappy with their lives, so they want to bring everyone else down with them.

And if he pops up in my head once in a blue moon, I can wish him the best and carry on with my day. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.

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