*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Getting involved in a relationship with a married man can cause confusion when it comes to holidays, birthdays, homes to stay in, who sleeps where, and where the kids should be. But what happens when it's not just about the wife and another woman?
What if both of them get left to one side because a third woman shows up and is ready to end both relationships to have her own home and family?
My friend Nina has been dating her boyfriend Anthony for one year. They met at a charity event in Phoenix, Arizona, and they exchanged phone numbers. They kept in touch after that and texted each other daily. After one week, they also began talking on the phone at least two times every day.
"I really liked talking to him. It was so easy, and he was positive and so nice. I had been single for almost three years, and I wanted to be happy again. It felt like I might have found the right person for that," Nina said.
They decided to go out two weeks after getting to know each other. Anthony invited her to different restaurants, and they went dancing. They also planned a few day trips but no longer vacations.
"He told me he couldn't be away for long and that his parents needed his help. So, I agreed to see him a few times every week and thought he was checking in on his mom and dad," Nina said.
Things went on this way, and Nina felt confident Anthony cared about her until one day, when she wanted to pay him a visit.
"I knew where he lived; he just kept telling me he was never at home. I missed him, so I thought he wouldn't mind that much if I came unannounced. As soon as I arrived, I felt something was wrong. There were three cars parked in front of the house, and I heard a woman singing. Two kids came out the front door, and they kept calling for their dad. And there was Anthony hugging this woman and calling her baby. Right there on the porch. I came out of the car, and he saw me. He looked worried for a few seconds, then told everyone to get back inside," Nina said.
Anthony had noticed her before she came out of her car, and he rushed his wife and kids into the house. Then he texted her to go away and that he would come and talk to her in the evening.
"I left because I didn't want to cause an argument, but it was clear he was married, and his wife didn't know anything about us. And he was a dad too. That made everything worse. Those kids looked happy; I didn't want to take their family away from them," Nina said.
Anthony came to see her that evening, and he said he was sorry she had to see that. He explained he and Lilly, his wife, were just good parents and got along well. He pointed out they were not in love, but Nina reminded him he was calling her "baby."
"That doesn't mean anything. I'm just used to saying that instead of her name. I don't love her anymore, and she knows it," Anthony said.
Nina agreed to think about it, and the next day he showed up with breakfast and flowers at her door. He had also bought her a necklace and a bracelet and apologized again.
"I was in love, and he promised he would be with me. I decided to trust him when he said Lilly wouldn't be around much longer and that he only saw her as a mom to his kids," Nina said.
They kept dating for the next four months until something unusual happened. Anthony didn't come to meet her one evening and didn't come by for two days after that.
"I called him, and I sent him messages. He didn't reply. He showed up during the weekend to say he had an unexpected work project. I didn't believe him, but I decided to check what was going on for myself," Nina said.
The following evening she let him know she needed to rest and couldn't see him. She wasn't about to sleep early, though. This time, she had decided to find out for herself what kind of work projects Anthony was involved in.
"I borrowed my friend's car and drove slowly close to his office as his schedule was ending. He came out at 5 p.m. precisely, got in his car, stopped to get a flower bouquet, and drove on until he reached a home I hadn't seen before. It wasn't his wife's place; this one was a different house. And the woman who came out the front door was so happy to see him. He kept calling her baby and saying how much he'd missed her," Nina said.
She realized it was a third woman and that Anthony was no longer pleased with being with her and his wife. He was seeking someone else and had already begun dating again.
By that time, she'd had enough. And she didn't want to be the only one upset. She left after watching Anthony and the new woman have a good time at dinner and telling each other how very much in love they were.
Nina drove straight to Lilly's home, where Anthony's kids were living. Fortunately, they were doing a sleepover that evening, and Lilly was on her own.
"I rang the doorbell, and she came and opened the door. I was upset, but I managed to calm down and tell her every detail of my relationship with Anthony. In the beginning, she didn't want to believe me, but then I knew too many details about him and her, so she had to. And I added that I'd just seen him with this third woman. I described her, and it turns out it's one of her friends," Nina said.
She's still confused about the way Anthony treats her and can't understand how he wants to have three relationships at the same time.
"I'm seeing a married man; his wife and I found out he's dating another woman. Where does that leave us? Who does he care about, and is he interested in one home or several?" Nina said.
Nina is not answering his calls and is considering ending their relationship permanently. As for his wife, Lilly will give him the option to leave the woman, or she will ask for a divorce.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Anthony to keep trying to find happiness with different women without ending any relationship? Should they all leave so he learns that trust matters just as much as gifts and love?
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