Affairs in a nutshell: no happy end in sight and a whole lotta anxiety

I had a rough night, haunted by the thought this affair could get me killed.
This affair. If it was personal.
Or I could be at risk for my ideas about secret relationships.
I live in the Netherlands and fifteen years ago we had two political assassinations which struck me as a message that you must always be willing to die for your beliefs.
Because you might.
Like many times before I considered breaking it off so I could stop fearing the future. And it was this night and morning of feeling so scared that made me look back at the beginning of our affair.
Could I have prevented this?
When my affair with Mr.Big was still in the early stages, I had simply assumed it was temporary. And that he would choose for me.
What we had was messy and it wasn’t ideal, but things would sort itself out. Even if he wouldn’t choose for me, I considered it absolutely impossible that something as brittle as an affair could survive without evolving into something else.
Either he would choose for me, or it would die of natural causes.
I never believed I ran the risk of becoming a secret, long term – maybe even lifelong – mistress.
In retrospect I think I fell victim to a modern day myth that “relationships are a verb.” Ever heard that one, or something like it? It means that you can’t expect a relationship to last, unless you work for it. Ideally work means that both parties are communicative and emotionally mature.
But we all know of hostile or dull relationships that last as well. Without anyone making an effort to improve the quality of it. But in those cases the couple finds something  in the relationship they wouldn’t have if they were by themselves.
The relationship is to their benefit.
And even hostility is an expression of fear of losing something that is really valuable. This could be fear of loss of the perks associated with the relationship. But it could also be fear of losing the relationship itself, which they value.
So whether positive or negative it’s usually not that difficult to see which kind of “work” or interest is holding a couple together. And this can range from excellent communication or shared goals and dreams, to being at each others throats or feeling stuck.
Being stuck is extremely stable, by the way.
The habit of seeing a relationship as a verb, gave me the impression that in order for my affair to be something that would pass, all I had to do was nothing.
To not put in any work.
We had zero relationship glue in terms of perks, and there even was a severe price tag. We were both risking to be socially outlawed and he was also risking his marriage. There were no forces holding us together except that we liked each other, and we all know that is never enough! We all know relationships are work, right?
So I was convinced an unstable system like our affair would disintegrate and become a stable one. Of course I hoped and assumed he would choose for me, but never in my wildest dreams or my worse nightmares did I assume the affair could last on its own.
It was a scenario I had never held possible.
So that was the first reason I didn’t say “No” to my affair with Mr.Big, all those years ago: I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.
But there was a second reason, and I think this is what “people” mean when they get all accusatory and can’t believe the atrocity that I am in a relationship where someone is being lied to.
That I should have said “No”, I don’t want to kiss you, because you’re married.
No, I don’t want to have sex with you, because you’re married.
I understand that line of reasoning. I admit it: by everyday moral I ve been wrong. Although technically following the ten commandments I’m not the one committing adultery, nor can I be considered coveting “your neighbor’s wife”.
It never said anything about the neighbor’s husband. It was probably fully legit to have a mistress or a second wife at the time.
But still, I understand my position is not going to win anyone’s sympathy vote.
And yet, who hasn’t heard of all those people who once on their deathbeds, regret not going for the love of their lives?
I d much rather be morally questioned, like I am now, than to die with regret. Falling in love is rare. And what is even rarer is for it to be mutual. So every time I am about to condemn myself for getting involved in the first place, I let it follow by:
“And at what cost? What were you ready to sacrifice here?”
And this is his story too. But I think the world is even less ready for the version of the story where a man can love two women, and he does the best he can. He too, doesn’t want to end up being the man on his deathbed who regrets not going after someone he had deep feelings for and who could possibly have been one of the great loves of his life.
Maybe even THE.
And yet at the same time he didn’t want to discard what he had with his wife. This must be so difficult for people to understand, but the longer we’re together, the more I m convinced he deeply loves his wife. If they had one of those relationships tied together by things like perks, external benefits, and what would their parents say? He would have left her.
But he stayed.
Because he loves her and he loves me too. It’s that simple.
And if right at the beginning, I had done what eeeeverybody said I should have done: not get involved because he is married.
This also implies that I would be making a promise it would happen if he would divorce. Which comes down to giving a married man an incentive, a reward, for leaving his wife.
I find that a lot more questionable.
So when I look back at the early stages I say: No.
This was the only possible thing I could do, based on love. Not fear.
And even these nights, where I believe I could get killed over it, I think: Never decide based on fear, always choose love. No matter how difficult it is.
I still don’t know of a better choice to make.
But there is one thing that neither my lover nor me, will ever do. An unspoken agreement. The moment our affair becomes one of those things that won’t matter on your deathbed;
We end it.
There are no hidden perks, no reasons to keep this going, except that we are simply two people who like each other very much.
But who will never work, to make it work.

{ written in three hours and fifteen minutes, including editing and selecting a mistress Sex and the City video, see below }

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