I remember the moment he walked into the office for the first time like it was yesterday.
My memory of that moment is frozen in my mind. His hair was immaculately styled, the dark stubble on his face brought out his eyes, and his suit clung seductively to every curve of his muscular frame. A subtle hint of Acqua Di Gio followed him as he made his introductions. Little did I know how this meeting would change my life forever.
We had received word the week prior that this man had been hired. As this was a few years before social media changed how we interact, we couldn’t cyber-stalk our new colleague. We were not expecting a younger man, no older than 45, who obviously enjoyed going to the gym, and who brought an infectious positive attitude with him.
I have to admit, I was hesitant about working with him. By the end of the first day, it was clear we were going to get on very well…I had no idea just how well yet.
Although he was almost 20 years older than me, we had a lot in common. And I wasn’t the only one who was charmed, he quickly became hugely popular. He had the type of personality that made everyone want to be around him.
During our first month of working together, we kept things professional. As often happens with new colleagues, you need time to discover if you can trust them with your “actual” opinions. With only the odd reference to his wife, we didn’t discuss our personal lives much early on. But his personality and good looks were quickly winning me over.
I had only just started coming out the year before, and while I’d had a brief relationship with another guy, my experience with men was mostly limited to “sex and run.” But I could tell I was developing more than just a crush. I started to think about him constantly. The beautiful dimples in his cheeks when he smiled melted my heart. I loved the way he could talk to anyone and make them feel like they were the most important person in the world at that moment.
In the office, nothing made my day more than when he would praise my good work or compliment me on my choice of shirt (of course, I started wearing clothes that I felt showed off my best attributes). Occasionally, he would give me a reassuring pat on the back which caused the most inconvenient stirring in my pants.
As I got to know him better, I found myself opening up to him in ways I hadn’t with another man before. Most of my conversations with the men I was attracted to were limited to phrases like, “you got a condom?” or “did you come yet?” With him, the conversations just flowed so easily. Maybe it was because he was older and he had been through a lot of stuff that I was still struggling with. He listened to me intently, and always sought to give me the best advice he could.
Though I had dodged discussing my sexuality at work, during a lunch conversation in his office I casually admitted to having an ex-boyfriend who had dumped me because he thought I was too immature. I remember so clearly that it took him a few seconds to process what I had said.
Immediately I was overcome with fear. What if he was a raging homophobe and I just kissed my job goodbye? It was the moment when the mask comes off and you realize the person you’re attracted to is a real human being. They aren’t some object of perfection, rather, they eat, sleep, fart, and poop like the rest of us. They may also hold opinions or views that you fundamentally disagree with, and your dream of a white picket fence with a dog and 2.5 children comes crashing down.
He smiled, that damn sexy smile of his, and said that my ex-boyfriend was clearly an idiot. From that moment on, something changed in our interaction. It was as if a wall had come crumbling down, and we had moved toward a full-fledged friendship.
Yet, there was something more. I had been around the block sexually with men more times than I care to admit, and I started to feel that was an unspoken dialogue between us. Glimpses that lasted just a hint longer than they should, touches that lingered, and there was tension in the air whenever his wife or a date of mine was mentioned. I could feel his eyes on me whenever I bent down to do filing. I remember his playful winks when he’d leave the office in his gym clothes, maybe feeling my eyes burrowing into the noticeable bulge in his loose workout shorts.
I’ve always prided myself on being able to read people easily. Not to sound egotistical, but I usually know when someone wants to get in my pants. But my certainty always gets riddled with doubt when the source of those lustful gazes are from someone I actually care about. You know, a person you want to have mind-blowing sex with, and then wake up beside them a few hours later, morning breath and all.
I knew that my relationship with him was teetering on the line between friendship and “slam-me-up-against-the-wall-and-rip-my-clothes-off” fun. I attempt to downplay this fact by reminding myself that he had a wife and clearly I was making myself see what I wanted to see. My attraction to him was interfering with my ability to see things rationally. I also tried to forget the fact that there are plenty of heterosexually married men who enjoy a bit of dick on the side…I know because I’ve slept with a good chunk of them.
And then the office holiday party happened. Every year, our company would rent a large banquet hall complete with a DJ, dance floor, and a free bar—my kind of party! I had fun that night, dancing with co-workers, exchanging numbers with one of the bartenders (I’m terrible, I know!), and just de-stressing from the pre-holidays burnout that affects so many of us.
The man I liked, not a drinker, offered me a ride home. Looking back at it now, nearly a decade later, it’s a bit of a blur. It’s a mix of a faded memory and drunken haziness.
We pulled up in front of my apartment building, and he reached over to hug me goodnight. I do remember the smell of his cologne, the feeling of his strong arms pulling me in, and the heat from our bodies.
I can’t remember if I made the first move or if he did, but the hug turned into a kiss…a long kiss. A passionate kiss! Our tongues slowly explored each other’s mouths. I remember the sound of my fly being unzipped and his hand fishing through my pants, tugging on what it found.
I have intermittent flashes of us stumbling through the empty lobby, fumbling into the elevator and being pinned to the wall as we moved it upward to my apartment on the 10th floor.
What feels like a whole night of kissing, licking, sucking, and stroking, was probably only about an hour. And then the worry took over. How the hell did I let this happen? Why did I allow myself to sleep with him? But for some reason, I didn’t feel guilty. Clearly, we both had wanted this. I hadn’t tricked or coerced him into anything. He wanted me, and I wanted him.
Truth be told, things were awkward when I returned to the office the following Monday. I believe we went a few days without saying a single word about what had happened. That didn’t last long! Soon afterward, it was on. We were together. I was dating a married man. I say dating rather than an affair because this was more than just sex. We enjoyed spending time together.
We began to find excuses to be alone together; fake off-site meetings, overtime, and random errands. We signed up to attend a conference out of town, not stepping outside of the hotel room for the three days we were there.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it felt amazing. Oddly, being a part of a secret, of his secret life, was a turn-on. While the relationship originally started as a mostly physical thing, it began to take romantic tones. There were flowers, boxes of chocolates, hand holding, love notes…each time he called me beautiful my heart melted.
I’d had many sexual relationships with men, and one failed attempt at a relationship, but this was different! I was learning that it was possible to both be in love and engage in a sexual relationship, something that had been mutually exclusive for the entirety of my adult life up until then.
We joked, what if we ran off together to Canada and got married. Changed our identities so no one would find us. There is a part of me that wished we could do this. I even believe if he hadn’t been married already, he may have become my husband eventually.
Then one day out of the blue everything changed. His wife had discovered she was pregnant. Married for over 10 years, neither had been overly keen about having children, but given this might be the last chance they would have, they grabbed the opportunity wholeheartedly. I understood and as much as it stung my heart, he had confessed to me a few times that fatherhood appealed to him. He would be a great father.
I knew that we had reached the end of the road. It hurt and I knew I couldn’t stay at the company as I’d be reminded of what I had lost. Even if we tried to be friends it wouldn’t have worked. How can you maintain a professional relationship with someone who knows every inch of your body? How could I be the picture of decorum while my mind strayed to memories of me whispering “daddy” in his ear to his orgasmic delight? I walked away hurt, but hopeful.
It’s funny that when I recount this story to my close friends, they dwell on his being straight. Maybe he was bi or pansexual, or he was just a closeted gay man. The odd thing is we never talked about it. I didn’t want to label him or our relationship. It was love. The fact that we both had the same business going on between our legs wasn’t relevant. I just know that it took dating a married man to realize that sex and love are not always separate things.