The Other Woman

It’s been said that the truly good relationships are not difficult. And if a relationship is difficult, particularly early on, it’s not meant to be. My relationship with Mack has been fraught with complications since the first night I met him.

You see, when I met Mack he was living with another woman. I did not know this before we met. He came clean the night of our first date, when she called in the middle of one of our first kisses. Mack explained that they were living together, and not married, and that the relationship essentially had been over for years. They were like roommates. Albeit roommates who slept in the same bed but didn’t touch each other. There was only one bed in the house, so where else was he to sleep?

During the two months we communicated prior to meeting, Mack held himself out as available. Unencumbered. Free. So when he told me this on our first date, I was crushed. And pissed off. We left the bar shortly thereafter, and it was my intention to never see him again. That lasted less than twenty-four hours. As I mentioned earlier, he came to my place the next day, and thus began a torrid affair.

In the midst of the affair, Mack proposed with the stand-in ring. He then moved in with me, exactly two months after our first date. After he moved in, we went to the jeweler and got the official ring, which I’m still wearing on my left hand. When Mack and I had our meltdown, just over two weeks ago, he packed up and moved back in with his ex. She was not totally his ex, of course, since he had been going back to the house he lived in with her nearly every day to work in his studio, although he now slept in my bed. And he worked on her house and did other chores for her while he was there. You see, during the period they lived together, they incurred some debt, and Mack is in the process of paying off his portion of that debt. So he works in the studio and on her house, and whittles down the debt. It’s kind of like alimony. Only with alimony, the relationship actually is over and you pay the debt from a distance.

So here we are, with Mack living with his ex who agreed to take him back in a roommate capacity on a trial basis. With one caveat: There is to be no contact with me. That’s right: Mack’s roommate/ex-girlfriend has forbade him from seeing me. If he does see me, it seems the roommate arrangement will be terminated. Why doesn’t Mack just move out and get his own place? Money unfortunately is an issue. So Mack is in a pickle. In fact, if it weren’t for the money conundrum, I think the complications of our relationship would all but disappear. And Mack is not moving back in with me because he’s worried if it doesn’t work, the roommate/ex-girlfriend’s home no longer will be an option and he’ll be living in a basement in North Dakota.

I completely understand his reticence, therefore, regarding moving back in with me. I also understand why I now am on the down-low more than I was during the two months we actually were having an affair (if you call sleeping with an unmarried man who lives with a woman he doesn’t have sex with an affair). So here we are back to sneaking around, only we’re being even sneakier than before. I am the other woman. A role I do not play well. And yet I’m wearing an engagement ring. Yes, I do understand the irony.

Indeed, the gravity of the situation is bearing down mightily upon me today. And so I wonder if something this complicated is destined to end badly. Is it possible to slog through the issues and come out the other side, happily ever after?

I’ll tell you one thing I know: Those people who say that good relationships are easy and difficult relationships are bad, are idiots. Relationships are difficult. All relationships. They take patience and care and nurturing and commitment. They are never easy. If your partner matters to you, you put forth the effort to work it out. And if you think your relationship is easy, I’m guessing you’re not paying attention. In fact, you might just be living together as roommates.


  • Value comes from what is hard to obtain: loving relationships, secure home, steady job, solid education; like gold or jewels they are precious and rare, all are difficult to get, which is what gives them value.


  • In my experience, never trust a man who has cheated on another woman with you . . . it’s a bad gamble. Play with them if you like, just don’t marry them. Mack is keeping all his options open. Maybe you should do the same.


  • I am really grateful to the owner of this website who has shared this fantastic piece of
    writing at at this time.


  • Four and a half years after you wrote this really quite funny if also sad piece, may I ask how it all turned out? (I’m hoping for something not really in the nature of a monosyllable here. Perhaps a whole follow-up blog post if you’re ever not sure what to blog about next? Also, don’t forget to tell us what happened to the ring. 🙂


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