I’ve been wanting to write about a certain subject for awhile but I was unwilling to do so until enough time had passed.
Several years ago, I met someone in AA during a very sick period of my life. On an early morning 7am meeting, I saw a man who I guessed was in his late 40’s walk into the meeting I was at. I could tell he was troubled and withdrawn and I also could tell I was attracted to him. At that time in my life, I wasn’t self aware enough to have known about any of my other addiction issues outside of alcohol and drugs. During the time of open discussion in that AA meeting, this man raised his hand and shared about his constant relapse issues. When the meeting ended, normally, back then, I would have just left. Rarely, if ever, did I go up and introduce myself to a newcomer because of how self-centered I was. On that day I did, and for one reason only. Because of my attraction. Unfortunately, my others addictions had me in their grip then and it was as if I was on auto-pilot.
I said hello to this man, who I’ll call Richard for anonymity purposes, and gave him my card. Much to my addiction’s eager surprise, I received a phone call the next day from him and was told he wanted to sit down with me and share his story. We set up a time and when that arrived, I remember clear as I ever will, him looking at me and saying that he had struggled with his sexuality since he was a young boy. He went further and said that he was married and has had “experiences” on the side. I told him I could help him with AA and I started working with him. I realized that after a week or two, I wasn’t going to be able to continue doing that because of my attraction, and so I told him about it. He thanked me for being honest and said that he’d still like me to help him with some of the AA work anyway. I should have run fast, far away right then, but I didn’t. I told him I would do what I could and the next day he had off from work he came over to my house. Richard sat down next to me on my couch and started to read with me AA literature. As I was reading, I noticed he placed his now bare foot on top of mine and before I knew it, he began to make sexual advances on me of which I didn’t refuse. I’m not sure if I ever intended to refuse them.
Our “relationship” went on for two years. To everyone else, we were the best of friends. We did sports together, took trips together, had many meals together, spent holidays together, and even had “sleepovers”. I became a regular at his house and even got a key to let myself come and go as I pleased. Hidden from everyone else was the sexual relationship that existed, the adultery, and the lies. To make matters worse, he had relapsed again and again during our time together and I got to watch what it felt like to be on the receiving end once again in my life of the emotional abuse of an active alcoholic. But there was some part of me, I say today a sick part of me, that liked the toxic relationship. I liked the major highs of getting away with what we were doing. And I continued to believe that he was going to leave his wife as time passed. Why? Because he told me. Again and again.
Looking back at the relationship, I realize today just how mentally unstable we both were and how sick our connection was. He and his wife had been married for a very long time and she was completely oblivious to his “extra curricular” activities as we often referred to our intimacy. I noticed that when he had more to drink alcoholically, he made more false promises. Most alcoholics do, for that matter. But when the heart is involved, even if it’s a toxic love, people do things they probably would never do otherwise. Unfortunately, with the major highs I experienced in that relationship, so came with it the awful lows. I remember all the times where I was told I wasn’t welcomed and days went by where he avoided all contact with me to “punish me” for things I had no idea what they were really about. I remember where I was blamed for his sexual advances and told I had some power over him. I remember where I was called homophobic slurs just after being sexually intimate. And I remember the long hours of listening to him talk about how his marriage was awful and how he really just wanted to be with me and that he didn’t know how to do that.
Why I am writing this is because it’s something that I want to have as a visual reminder in my life of how far I’ve come from those dark times and how much I never want to go back to that way of living. Through my AA work and fully having God now at the center of my life, I’ve examined where all that craziness began. It started with me. It started with my lust and my giving him my number. There were so many times along the way that I wanted to stop what I was doing because I knew what I was doing was wrong on so many levels. But I couldn’t and I didn’t.
I’ve met a lot of people in my life who have lived in these kind of relationships themselves. Each of them including myself lie to ourselves and say it’s ok because the other person’s not happy and they are making the advances too. In other words, it’s ok because it’s two consenting adults. But I have taken my life to a higher power today and want to live at a higher spiritual plane where God calls the shots in my life. There’s no way to put it other than I was as guilty of adultery as much as he was even though I wasn’t married or with anyone else.
Richard never had any intention of leaving his wife. He had the best of both worlds as he used to tell me. He had his “boy toy” on the side to get his “fix” and he had the comfort of his loving wife who would have done anything for him and had been there for him since high school. The biggest illusion that I faced and that anyone in one of these situations faces is that just because two people are engaging in sexual activity and feeling something in their heart, doesn’t mean that it’s going to equate to “happily ever after.” And in most cases, the outsider is generally the one who is heartbroken time and time again. When push came to shove, Richard would always choose his wife.
I’m not sure why anyone ever falls into a relationship like this. Maybe it really is an addiction that brings out incredible highs especially when it surrounds an adulterous connection. Thankfully, Richard is no longer a part of my life and hasn’t been for several years. Our relationship began to come to a close when I had stopped the sexual contact between us and said we should just be friends. I had already started living with so much guilt it was making me sick on every level. The friendship didn’t last long because of the constant temptations he kept placing out there for me, taunting me to come back to that behavior and when I didn’t, he eventually moved onto another willing guy participant and I said goodbye. It was then that I realized I never was anything more to him than just satisfying an urge or a demon he had inside.
It took another two years after that for me to find freedom from that addiction or those type of relationships. The biggest lesson I learned in all of this is very simple. If you meet someone who is still married and shows any romantic or sexual interest in you…
RUN. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN. RUN AWAY AND DON’T LOOK BACK. If they are going to cheat on their partner, then they’ll cheat on you. If they are still married, then a part of them is still with their spouse. It sounds pretty simple, but when caught up in a big adulterous mess like I was, it’s hard to see anything. Thankfully, I’m no longer blind.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson