Befriending "The Other Woman"

imageRemember how I dated a guy twice my age?  Well, his previous relationship spanned a decade.  To keep this saga as professionally incestuous as possible, it turned out this woman actually worked in my building.  I didn't realize when I frolicked about the halls or lurked in doorways while composing texts that a petite and embittered blonde with a daughter 6 years older than me had a bullseye in my back.

I eventually learned of her after she told someone I was a home-wrecking slut. My ex warned me she was just a crazy biatch on a rampage and totally delusional about their breakup.

Four months after I dumped him I met my friend L for coffee and spent the entire time detailing the unbelievable mess of abuse and intimidation I'd lived over the last year.  No sooner had I finished with a "whew, glad that's all over" than a Facebook notification popped up on my phone.

"Crazy Biatch has added you as a friend on Facebook."

With fingers of fear I unlocked my phone and saw a Facebook message pleading to meet up with me--  so she could "finally know the truth."

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This is one of those crossroads in life-- where a mature, self-actualized woman would detect the inevitable cluster of responding and put the phone away without replying. Instead, I sent her some sort of "Say whaaaaaat?"

She asked if we could meet.  I asked what kind of weapons she owned.  We settled on Starbucks.

Don't ask me why I did this-- I already told you I make stupid decisions.

The next morning I canvased the exterior of the local starbucks for any large white kidnapper vans or strategically placed barrels of flammable liquid.

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After noting my points of egress I entered the cafe and immediately recognized her from a brief and terrifying encounter a year before.

I ordered a coffee and sat down, watching for any sudden movements.  But she was do damn pleasant.  We chit chatted about coffee and pro Basketball and she told me how much she appreciated me.  Awkward.

Eventually she got around to the purpose of our meeting with a whammy of a question: "I know he had an affair last Spring but he says he doesn't even know your last name.  Was it you?  I'm not mad, I just need to know."

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I just stared at her in shocked silence.  Doesn't know my last name?  Lady, he knows my shoe size and the birthplace of my middle brother.  I'm pretty sure he has a satellite on us right now.

Before I could really answer she launched into a long explanation of all the difficulties they had had over the last year.  She'd seen a text he sent to another woman and he admitted to a brief affair but denied it was "that tall redheaded slut from the other side of the building."  He then moved out of the home they'd shared for a decade.  They began going to couple's therapy and things were improving until around Christmas when he began drinking again-- since he was a recovering alcoholic and all that.

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MY BRAIN EXPLODED.

A brief affair?

They lived together? 

Couples therapy? 

Alcoholic?

I'd dumped the guy because he was bat shit crazy-- I didn't realize he was such a talented liar.

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For the first month of dating I'd never gone to his place--I thought this was because we were taking it slow and had boundaries  Apparently a month just enough time for him to get kicked out and resettled elsewhere.  He must have been a fast decorater because I really thought he was just an old bachelor with a simple life.

When I showed up at that Starbucks I thought I was meeting my ex's ex-- I didn't realize I was having coffee with The Other Woman.  And now I just had to know more about this couple's therapy-- apparently they'd gone every Monday night when he was supposedly doing Crossfit.

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And this whole "alcoholic" thing was a new one.  I mean… towards the end he'd started getting blackout drunk on cheap whiskey all the time, but he'd never mentioned anything about  the 12 steps-- particularly in the early days when we were drinking wine and making cocktails.  Apparently he was one of those "duffel bag full of empty bottles in the back of the closet" kind of guys.  She said at one point he had started drinking mouthwash.

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