I moved from my hometown to a big city last July, and just like every other 20-something who finds herself in a new city, I had dreams of dinner parties, yoga classes, buying fancy cheese to eat in my great apartment and falling in love. I eventually found the perfect apartment for the perfect price, and it didn’t hurt that the manager of the building was an incredibly sexy Cuban man.
When I went in to sign the lease, Edgar* and I ended up chatting about art and literature, moving to a new city, and his life in Cuba. He was charming and sweet and at that moment I officially had a crush. I had one last tour of the apartment before signing my lease and we ended up hooking up right then and there, in my new empty apartment. A week later I found out he had a girlfriend and surprisingly, I didn’t care. We hooked up in my apartment constantly. We would also chat in his office about life, politics and religion, in my head we had a tragic love affair that would work out in the end.
After Edgar left for a two-week vacation without any notice, I got suspicious. I decided to take to Facebook, only to find out that he had gotten married a week prior and was now on his honeymoon. He had gotten married only hours after having sex with me in my bathroom. I felt sick to my stomach. I resolved to end our affair, and from now on only have a property manager-tenant relationship with him.
As soon as he got back from his honeymoon he came knocking at my door telling me about how much he missed me while he was away. I told him I knew he had gotten married and he told me that it didn’t matter, nothing had changed between us. Caught up in my feelings, I believed him. I don’t know why I went along with this. Realistically, was I expecting him to leave his brand new wife for me, a girl he barely knew?
I still don’t know exactly what I wanted when I decided that I would continue seeing him but I knew I had to leave any emotions of out of it. It would just be sex and occasional talks about Picasso. He would come knocking at my door during lunch breaks or when things were slow during the afternoons and we would have sex and chat and then he would be on his way. This was just friends-with-benefits, it was a game, no one in our building knew what was going on between us, it was our secret.
Occasionally, out of sheer curiosity (and maybe a hint of bitterness), I would check his wife’s Facebook. She loves 50 Shades of Grey, and posts a ridiculous amount of pictures of herself (seriously though, 50 pictures of just you in front of the Eiffel Tower is too much). I would look at these pictures and feel a disconnect. This wasn’t the same man who was having sex with me in my living room, was it?
Our relationship lasted for seven months. We hooked up in every room of my apartment, his office, even vacant apartments in the building. I enjoyed talking to him, he is an extremely smart guy and we have a wonderful mental connection, but at the end of the day I had to convince myself that that’s all I felt for him. No love.
He had a wife, they lived together, they had a dog. That was our reality. One morning while we chatted away in his office, I ended up getting angry at him because he told me I was bossy. I don’t know why I cared so much about what he thought but my eyes got watery and I left. I eventually came back, we fought and I told him that all he was to me was the property manager of my building, nothing else, therefore he was no one to tell me anything.
That afternoon he told me that seeing me upset really hurt him and that he had realized he loved me. In that moment, my bubble of ignorant bliss popped. I spent that weekend examining my feelings for him and I realized I loved him. As much as I tried to convince myself that being a FWB was OK with me, it wasn’t. After talking, fighting in his office, and then screaming at each other on the balcony of a vacant apartment, we ended things. Things had gotten too deep, there were too many emotions and we were both caught up in something that would never work out.
I spent the next week feeling like an empty shell of myself. I’m still not sure if I’ve fully put myself back together. Although we got along well, Edgar isn’t my type. He has weird interests, tends to be moody, and isn’t someone I would typically have dated, yet there I was feeling shattered that I couldn’t be with him.
In my head, this was a tragic love affair where if we were two different people, or had met at a different time, we would have had the most perfect, beautiful relationship. So many ideas ran through my head the week following our breakup. Maybe if I made some grand gesture he would leave his wife for me, was that even what I wanted? Did I want to hurt him by telling his wife all about our affair? I didn’t know what to do with myself. I would go down to the lobby to check the mail, see him in his office and end up sitting in the bathroom of the building gym sobbing.
It’s been a few weeks but I’m starting to feel OK again. In hindsight, I don’t think I actually loved him, but he filled a void that at the time I needed filled, and maybe I still do. We didn’t have a beautiful, tragic, love affair (thanks Taylor Swift), we just had sex and he was able to hook me up with one of the best parking spots in the garage. I swear I’m really not a bad person.
I give to charity, I do volunteer work, I genuinely care about people, but for some reason, I don’t feel any remorse about having an affair. Occasionally I still look at his wife’s Facebook. She was really excited about the release of 50 Shades of Grey and yesterday she posted a really cute red and white collage with pictures of the two of them. I don’t feel sorry for her though or bad for what I did. For some reason when I look at her, all I think is that she’s an idiot who was cheated on by her husband. In reality I know I’m actually the idiot but there’s a little part of me that feels some satisfaction in knowing that the man in the color-coordinated collages, loved me.
I still see him every day thanks to my online shopping habit and constantly having to go downstairs to pick up packages or go to the gym, but I don’t know what it is I feel when I look at him anymore. Pity, maybe. For myself and for him. Maybe we really are two people that should be together but we met at the wrong time. Maybe we are tragic. I don’t think that’s it though. I think the real answer is that we are two selfish people who were using each other to fill a void in ourselves, and now we have to figure out how to fill that void alone.