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i am sorry i have personally offended you to such a degree that you
feel it is necessary to continue to denigrate make me your public whipping boy....but maybe that is just your way, and so i forgive you.

i strive to do good...i care about other people and their feelings,
i care about the human condition, about being kind, about being
generous in thought and deed, but i am not a saint...

are you?

I didn't see where she denigrated you. I see her calling you on something that seems hypocritical. If you were truely concerned with other people's welfare, you would not have carried on a 20+ year affair with a married man.

I have mentioned that I have been on all three sides of the triangle, so I'll tell you my story. My only excuse is that I was young.

I was 20. He was 30. He was a married officer (Navy). We were stationed in Italy. He was funny, charming, dynamic and we just clicked. When I first met him, I didn't know he was married. I invited him to a house-warming for my first apartment.

He showed up, with his wife. My first thought was, "oh, darn, he's married" quickly followed by, "and he likes brunettes." And I wrote him off my 'potentials' list.

Over the next several months, we found ourselves at some of the same parties & get-togethers, since overseas military communities are usually pretty small. We always had a good time talking to each other about everything under the sun. At some point, he transferred to my department. One day he needed a ride home, and I was there with a working vehicle. He had been catching rides to and from work from several people in the dept, so that wasn't a huge deal.

It became a big deal when we were half-way there and he said he didn't want to go home. We stopped an picked up some wine and went to a near-by beach. In Italy. How freaking romantic could you get? he talked, I listened.

His wife didn't get him. She trapped him into getting married by getting pregnant (at this point they had a 4 year old and a 9 month old). They'd been together 10 years and he'd never really been with anyone else, because she followed him from their hometown to his first real duty station. He had twice recently moved into a hotel, but couldn't afford it, so kept moving back in with her but was sleeping on the couch. He knew how that sounded, but he assured me, they really were seperated emotionally.

Knowing me was giving him the courage to really seriously think about leaving her. (with 2 small children, don't forget.) He was helping her pay to finish grad school so she'd be able to get by without him, and that was IT, once she was finished with grad school, he'd be gone. Would I be even half-way interested in him?

Well, duh, we're sitting on a beach in Italy sharing a bottle of wine, and I was already half-drunk as it was. Sure I was interested. We did not have sex at that point, but we did kiss.

He moved out of her house and was staying with friends of his/mine that lived down the road from me. For a few weeks, he even stayed at my place. We did not have sex until he had moved out and was starting to take steps to get divorced. That was what I clung to, to ease my guilt. He was leaving her anyway, he was not leaving her for me.

It was exciting. Not only was he married, but by this point, he was an officer in my direct line of command, which is an extreme no-no. That simply added to the excitement. He'd sneak away from the friend's house and walk the two blocks to my place and then sneak back to the friend's. He borrowed the XO's car when she was out of town, and we drove up the coast to some small town where we could walk holding hands.

I was maintaining a public casual relationship with another guy as a blind, to make people think I wasn't seeing LTJG. I was out by myself at this one popular nightclub one night. Casual guy was there and so was LTJG's wife. He kept staring at her all night. He knew I wasn't serious about him, and I wasn't out with him that night.

She came up to me and talked to me for a bit, recognizing me from my housewarming party. OMG! This was embarrassing and tricky. She had NO IDEA I was seeing LTJG. She knew he was seeing someone, but not who it was. She thought we were friends.

Casual guy realized I knew her and asked for an intro. They danced a bit, I danced with other guys. By the end of the night, she had told me her side of the story, calling her husband all kinds of filthy names, and actually asking my advice about whether or not she should hook up with casual guy.

I'm ashamed to say that I pushed her to hook up with him, even letting casual guy know I'd be ok with him hooking up with her, without either of them knowing that what I was thinking was, "if she's busy with him, she won't be worried about what her husband is doing with me." And she took my advice.

We were together, on and off, for about a year. I finally broke it off because I couldn't stand people not knowing we were together, waiting for him to show up, but never knowing if he would or not. Can he get away today? Tomorrow? Afraid to leave my house because I'd miss him if he stopped by. I was going crazy. I should have waited 2-3 weeks longer to break up with him, though, because he tanked my evaluations that year, preventing me from being promoted, even though I had the highest test score in the dept.

By the time I left that command, I was an emotional wreck. And he was still legally married to her.

I've had opportunities since then to be the other woman. One time in particular, a guy had everything I was looking for and was so nice to me. He was having trouble with his wife. Before we were friends, I had heard about him being separated and getting back together with his wife several times. I was single with a 4 month old baby. He came over to "get away" from his wife. We were talking, just hanging out, totally innocent and then sparks started flying.

And I squashed it. I told him that if he ever did get divorced, look me up the day it gets finalized, because I couldn't take that chance of getting involved when he might work things out with his wife. Because it was the right thing to do.

Six months later, when he and the wife were getting along better, he thanked me.

No idea where he is right now, either, or if they stayed together. But if they broke up, it is not my fault.

Other times, other situations. . .

Having also had someone cheat on me, I know what the emotional betrayal feels like. I will never put another woman in the position I was in. Having cheated on someone in the past, I'll never do that again, either.

All three sides are just too painful for all involved. Sometimes, society's rules make sense and are there for a reason.

I learned all of this, the hard way, by the time I was 25. It seems amazing to me that you haven't learned it at your age.

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