The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair
Love, Heartbreak

Eight months I’ve been sleeping with H, during which time he has “broken up” with me, for lack of a better term, twice. (“I can’t break up with you,” he says. “We’re not together.”) The first time, last December, was awful. He was mean, it was painful, and I had no one to support me in its aftermath—Husband was deployed, and none of my girlfriends knew that our marriage is open—so I could only wallow in my misery and drink. After two weeks or so, H came over to my house to watch TV—our first time socializing after being wrecked—and it didn’t take long for the TV to be ignored and the clothes to come off.

After that encounter, things got much better. He was generally a good guy—responsive, respectful, generally agreeable—and we had a lot of fun together in January, February, March. Husband returned to the States before the holidays, and, despite wanting to break H’s nose for making me cry, things began to smooth over. In fact, we were all getting along so well that I started envisioning a certain permanence to the whole shebang. And  I was genuinely happy for the first time in weeks.

Then, at the end of March, H went out of town to a wedding and became interested in a bridesmaid he met there. Having known her only 48 hours, he returned home, fucked me, and, one week later, wrecked me all over again. “I told her I would be true to her,” he told me over lunch. “I told her I wouldn’t lie. This girl’s a real sweetheart. She loves me. I need to make an honest go of it.”

Of course, I was upset, but understood. After all, I was just the girl he was secretly banging; the Bridesmaid had become the Socially Acknowledged Relationship. And I respected his desire to try for a real connection with a girl, the first time since his messy divorce a year ago. I was concerned over the speed with which they were rushing headlong into monogamous commitment—she declared her love for him just three days after meeting—but told myself I was being jealous and that it was best to be happy for him.

But just one week later, we were having sex again. “What about Bridesmaid?” I asked, laying naked in his bed one night. And he actually said, “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

They live 20 hours apart and have conducted this three-week-old relationship through Facebook and nightly phone calls. He tells her he loves her. She says he’s the “best boyfriend ever” and is looking to move here (uprooting her 5-year-old son in the process). She’s naïve, he’s taking advantage of her trust, and it makes me bloody ill.

Last week, I told H that I have a problem with his duplicitous treatment of Bridesmaid, and he accused me of having “weird morals” because of my non-monogamous marriage. Not a chance, I said—I may have extramarital relationships, but Husband knows every last goddamn detail about them. I believe in complete honesty, not the moral void with which H seems to operate these days.

What I want is for him to tell Bridesmaid what he’s done, and there’s no way for me to achieve that. The best I can do is to cease sleeping with him—not because I think I can change him or save her, but because, finally, I no longer want to. I want nothing to do with this.