Things We Know We Shouldn’t Do: How I Was (Almost) The Other Woman

It took Alex three days to tell me he had a girlfriend. He said it so nonchalantly that I had to read and reread the text to make sure I had processed it correctly. “Do you live by yourself?” “No it’s me and my girlfriend.” As if it should have been expected, as if he was saying his favorite color was blue or that he was watching the Rangers game on TV. I felt like a bus had hit me.

Alex and I had met at work, casual acquaintances in different departments who barely knew anything about one another. Casual emails signed with smiley faces ensued, and when I gave him my phone number we texted around the clock for three whole days. And then it happened. I didn’t know how to proceed. I pulled back but he didn’t, and when I worked up the courage to ask what the fuck he was doing (in a much more casual, cool girl way) he told me not to worry. If he didn’t care, why should I? Why should I give a shit about this girl who I didn’t know and didn’t care about, and who he clearly didn’t pay attention to because he was texting me non-stop.

She wasn’t real to me, and I didn’t think twice about carrying on with him for months. Months of texts and phone calls at work that made my heart flutter when I saw him extension pop up on my phone. We would stay up until 3am texting and learning everything about each other, and I would do everything in my power not to think about the girl who was probably asleep in their joint bedroom while he asked me about my family and my weekend plans. I didn’t want to know anything about her; if she had a name, she was a real person and I was an asshole and I wasn’t ready to deal with that.

Alex and I only hung out once. He asked me for a ride home from work, and I spent the entire day in a complete knot, thinking about what would happen and if “a ride home” meant more than that. When he got into my car, the smell of his cologne intoxicated me, and his beautiful blue eyes were too strong for me to look into. I don’t think I looked at him for more than a few seconds at a time, and when he got out of my car I wanted to chase after him. I wanted to feel him touch me, to solidify that he liked me too, to pick me over that girl in his apartment that couldn’t want him as bad as I did.

After a few months, Alex and I fizzled out. I don’t know if he felt guilty or just lost interest, but our marathon texting waned and I stopped feeling like we had this intense connection that would justify cheating on his girlfriend. Thinking about it now, I’m so happy we didn’t go farther than flirty texts and semi-inappropriate pictures (nothing showing my face a la sexting 101) because that isn’t me. I want to believe that he really is a good guy who realized that his girlfriend didn’t deserve to be disrespected the way that he was behind her back, but even if he wasn’t, was this really someone I wanted to fall for?

Someone who could only talk to me on the phone while he pretended to take the garbage out or at 2am in a nervous whisper? I want to be with someone who can give me every single part of them, and someone who I can trust to never do to me what I was almost a part of with Alex. And when it happens, I’d like to believe that Snapchat sexting will only be a novelty for us… TC mark

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