Paul* came into my life about 14 months after I joined my company. I had just been transferred to a different department, and he was my supervisor at my new position. My first impression of Paul was that he was chatty and friendly, and always ready to help colleagues out for both work and personal matters. Once, he gave me a lift home after we worked late together. He was 12 years my senior, and I felt well taken care of whenever I was with him.

Our relationship advanced to a more personal one about six months after our first encounter… 

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Woman looking at mobile phone
It was a Friday evening, and just before I left the office, Paul sent me a text message asking if I wanted to have a drink with him. I remember the feeling I experienced while reading his message; my heart started to race and I felt my face blushing. It was a physical reaction I was completely not prepared for, and it was then I realised I had feelings for Paul.

How long had it been since I harboured feelings for him I could not trace, I wondered, as I seemed to have previously suppressed these emotions. Also, what kind of a woman would fall in love with a married man?

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Colleagues and office co-workers in a team
(Photo: Pixabay)

Paul had not told me of his marital status; rather, I had heard from my colleagues that he was happily married to someone named Natalie*, who worked in the company’s accounts department. It seemed like everyone in our department knew her, and they all spoke highly of her. I had met her once before, when she came to our office to look for Paul. She was petite and soft-spoken, and they had been married for six years without any children.

After meeting Natalie, I found myself avoiding any conversation that involved her; for instance, whenever my colleagues brought her up in a conversation, I would excuse myself and leave the room, or when anyone teased Paul about his relationship with his wife, I would give a fake laugh and turn away. I never knew during those instances why I reacted the way I did, but when I finally realised I had feelings for Paul, the entire puzzle came together perfectly.

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After that first drink with Paul, he started asking me out more frequently. We met up for lunch together, went out for dinner and post-dinner drinks, and even arranged to meet in the office pantry during working hours. It always seemed like we could chat about anything and everything; to me, Paul was the funniest and most interesting man I had ever known.

I found myself looking forward to every conversation with Paul, and to every text message from him. Up to that point, however, I did not regard the relationship we had as adultery; to me, it was a platonic relationship between two people who got along well together.

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All that changed one Wednesday night, right before Christmas.

Paul’s wife had gone on a trip with her girlfriends to Bangkok, and Paul invited me over to his place for dinner. He said he had been dying to cook his famous chilli crab for me to try, and that he had also prepared a good bottle of French wine for dinner. I showed up at his house for the meal, and we shared the bottle of wine.

Before I knew it, we were kissing on the couch like a pair of loved-up teenagers… and we wound up in his bedroom. We had sex for the first time that night, right in his marital bed.

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Paul never mentions his wife whenever we are together. While I am absolutely aware of her presence and see her occasionally around the office, I am very happy with our current arrangement and secret relationship. Of course, at the same time, I feel immensely guilty about seeing a married man. My family does not know about Paul, and I do not intend for them to find out about us.

I know it is unlikely we will have a future together, but all I think about now is enjoying the present. I do not expect Paul to divorce Natalie for me, and I am prepared to move on with someone else if the right person comes along someday.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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