*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I met a man at work and developed a crush on him, but I didn't know he had a crush on me, too. Imagine my surprise when I learned the feeling was mutual.
The only problem was that we were both already involved in serious relationships. He had a girlfriend, and I had a boyfriend. He and his girlfriend lived together, but my boyfriend and I lived separately.
My crush and I quickly became friends, spending lunch break together every day. Our friendship was fodder for office gossip, and no one believed the rumors about us weren't true no matter how hard I protested.
Then one day he kissed me, and all the rumors came true. We barreled headlong into a relationship that was bound for failure, but it was fun while it lasted.
We began spending time together outside of work. Our friendship turned into romance, and we were still in relationships with other people. That was complicated. In retrospect, it was also unfair to all parties involved.
After a few weeks, we agreed to leave our respective partners for each other. For the next month, we took long walks through the local park and enjoyed booze-filled dinners at Italian restaurants. We went to the casino. We lost our weekly paychecks to the one-armed bandits, and we spent way too much time at the bar.
His ex-girlfriend and my ex-boyfriend were crushed. They did everything they could to win us back, and our new relationship was heavily tainted by guilt. Nonetheless, we got along great, and we were having fun. At the time, that was all that mattered.
Then one day, it stopped being fun.
It wasn't that anything had gone wrong between us. On the contrary, we were still getting along like a house on fire. However, our friends and families were pressuring us to go back to our exes, and we finally caved in.
It's funny that we both decided to return to our exes on the same night with no discussion. I visited him the following day at work. He was working, but I had the day off.
I knew I had to be an adult about the situation and tell him clearly that I was sorry but my boyfriend and I had reconciled. So I did. I told him swiftly and respectfully, and then I waited for his response.
"Me, too," he said simply.
"What?" I asked.
"I went back to my ex-girlfriend last night," he replied. "We're back together."
And that was that.
We remained coworkers for several months afterward until I found a new job. Leaving my job was unrelated to my situation with him. I just needed a career change.
During our remaining time together as coworkers, we still spent our lunch breaks together. We didn't care if our coworkers gossiped about us; we knew the truth. There was nothing going on between us.