I Accidentally Fell In Love With Someone Else (And It's The Person It Should've Been All Along)

Photo: courtesy of the author
How A Failing Relationship Taught Me Self-Love
Love, Self

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I never saw it coming, even though I probably should have. Things have gotten so bad with us lately. I suppose it was only a matter of time before it would come to this. Even so, I still feel a mixture of awful and grateful for it.

I am not sure why I am allowing myself to feel so guilty. I have tried justifying it by reminding myself that at least we aren’t married. In fact, it was for fear that I would find myself in this position that I have been so insistent about not getting married again. After so many years together, I can’t say this feels any different, though.

We have changed so much — in some ways for the better, but largely not. At least not together, anyway. Each day, it feels as though the distance and tension between us grows and with the constant snapping at me, each biting comment has chewed away at my heart where my love for him once resided. I seemingly disappeared slowly as he scrolled endlessly through his phone seeking something to hold his attention — never me.

I found myself trying to fight for us, but it takes two and it felt as though each punch I threw was swung in an empty room, never connecting.


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I spoke up about it a few times. I realize now I could have said more, yet I resented that I even had to. Even when I did speak up, it seemed to me he chose to do very little about it. The resentment multiplied and, instead, I slipped deeper and deeper into silence and took up residence in merely existing. Not surprisingly, it became lonely there. I found myself trying to fight for us, but it takes two and it felt as though each punch I threw was swung in an empty room, never connecting.

I can’t say exactly where or when it happened. Only that it did and now I can’t undo it. I can’t even feel all that bad knowing that I have finally found what I have been searching for my entire adult life. I hate that it happened while I was still with him. Why couldn’t it have happened before? Or after?

They say we find love when we are least looking for it. I wasn’t looking, I swear. It hit me so unexpectedly, yet had been right in front of me all along. With him so absent in the physical and emotional sense, I began spending more time with someone else. It sounds like an excuse, I know. While I did not realize it at the time, I see now that I was suffering from the neglect of our relationship and it left me vulnerable.

It started with stolen moments alone whenever possible. When he would work late, there were quiet dinners. When he was away for weekends on business, there were nights curled up on the couch watching movies. It was comfortable, easy. I let my walls down.

Once I started getting the attention, it was like a drug of which I could not get enough. I began feeling loved in a way I had never been before. Not even at our best were we as good as this. I feel accepted, valued, supported. I feel beautiful and strong and like all of the pieces of me finally make sense.


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So now each morning as we go through the motions of our daily routine, reflected back in the mirror I avert my eyes with the shame of knowing my love no longer belongs to him and dreading the moment I have to tell him as much. The label of “The Other Woman” now scorched into my reflection. I know we can’t keep going on like this. I have to choose and, as hard as it is to accept, I know that I only truly love one.

Inevitably, he will ask the question. Is there someone else? Yes. I will have to admit to him that the answer is yes. When he presses to know who it is, I only hope that he won’t hate me because I never wanted that, regardless of whether we were going to work.

The painful truth is that there is someone else with whom I had been falling in love all along. It’s the person it always should have been. Will it make it any less hurtful knowing who it is that has won my heart? I hope so. Because it is me. I am the someone else I have fallen in love with and it is everything I have ever wanted in a relationship. The best part is that I know this is a love that will finally last.


Jennifer Sartore Hulst is the mother of a teen son with Autism and teen daughter, skincare consultant, paralegal, and aspiring author. Read more from her on Medium.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.