*Names have been changed

I had an affair for seven years with a man I deeply loved and believed he loved me too. I met Dan (not his real name ) when I was 29 and had just come out of a five year relationship. He was almost twenty years older at 47, but we were definitely on the same page. We met through mutual work friends - he was in the same industry and right from the get-go he had me captivated, he was larger- than- life and very funny.

Life was never dull with Dan and that’s for sure. Initially I resisted his very obvious interest in getting me into bed, I knew he was married and I wasn’t ‘that type of woman.’ I suppose you could say we had a non sexual affair for about a year when we became best friends and were chatting and messaging each other a couple of times a day and meeting up for food or drinks a few times a week. I knew everything about him and him about me. All that was missing was the sex. That happened after my thirtieth birthday when he took me to a very fancy hotel and ordered champagne and expensive wine for luck “only the best for the best’ he said. After lunch he took a key from a bag he had with him and told me that he had booked a room for us in the hopes that we could bring our relationship to the next level.

I am not sure if it was hitting 30, or the champagne and wine but I agreed. We went to the hotel and had sex, the chemistry between us made it very special and there was also a deep connection. Afterwards I felt no guilt at all which kind of surprised me.

READ MORE: Cost of living: Irish workers could be claiming €1,000 with little known scheme

Dan was married and had children. He told me there was no sex in the marriage and he was with his wife for the sake of the children. He told me that she drank a lot and that he wasn’t keen to leave her until the youngest had done the leaving cert. Looking back I used to sympathize with him. Whenever he spoke about his wife it was to give out about her and to be fair that wasn’t very often, he did speak about the kids a lot though and loved to tell me if one of them had done really well in rugby, tennis or exams. He was a real proud dad.

Life went on like this for about four years with me living a secret life - nobody at all knew at first and after about twelve months I confided in two very close friends. One was all for it while the other was a bit more judgemental. Those four years were fun apart from Christmas when he would be with his family and head off skiing. They also went on holidays for easter breaks and summer holidays and those times were very tough for me and I imagined for him too. I really did think that he would have missed me terribly and would only gone with them because he had to. We used to meet up regularly and because of our jobs no one thought anything of it. We managed to get a night away two or three times a month, but never had more than one night at a time together.

I remember after my 34th birthday thinking I will be 35 next year and starting to think about my life. Dan had never bought me a present - not once. He paid for plenty of meals and took care of all of the hotel bills or maybe his company did, but apart from that he never bought me anything for birthdays or Christmas. As I approached 35 I started to ask him about our future - his youngest was doing the Leaving Cert at this stage so I thought we would have a future straight after that. The goal posts changed and he said as soon as the youngest finished college he would leave his wife and we would live together. He said he wanted to sell the family home, so that he and I could get a ‘love nest ‘ of our own. I started to get suspicious because it wasn’t the original plan, which was that he would leave when the youngest finished school. Finishing college could have added up to five years onto our setting up home together. At this stage he wanted sex a lot more than me, I think I was starting to realise he was never going to leave his wife and that I was never going to be anything more than his ‘bit on the side’. I went through the motions of sex but the spark had definitely died out, I started making excuses not to see him, I tried to force his hand, I even tried to get pregnant. Thank god that didn’t happen.

This was the time I started obsessing about his wife, I looked her up and found her to look nothing like a woman with a drink problem. She looked fabulous and her social media showed her to have a full and successful life of her own. Between her job, raising children and being involved in sport I don’t know where she got the time or energy to do all the drinking he spoke about.

Long story short it took me almost two years to break away from him, he was good at empty promises and I was good at going back to him. I am two years Dan free now and I try not to be bitter or angry at either him or at me. All of his kids are finished college now and he is still married while I am single and looking at 40. He still contacts me and my friend (the more judgemental one) cannot understand why I don’t block his number, neither can I. He gave me the best years of my life and the worst. I loved him and still do but I feel that I am worth more than Thursday afternoons in room 207 of the Radisson hotel. I have dated a few men, but the conversations, fun or sex doesn’t add up. If I had my time over again, I would never have become ‘the other woman’ because it has left a void in my life now that I feel will never be filled.

I know he lied to me, he may have even cheated with me with other women towards the end, but there is no doubt he was the love of my life - one that every other man I meet has to live up to and nobody has yet.

If you want to share your story with us, you can email us (anonymously) or otherwise on website@rsvpmagazine.ie

Get the latest RSVP headlines straight to your inbox for free by signing up to our newsletter

Read more: