It is no big secret that my relationship with K started as an affair.
Cast stones if you must, but it is the truth.
I was married to someone else when I hired K to work for me.
I was K's married boss when we met.
My first husband and I were college sweethearts. We met when we were 19.
Our relationship was one of great sturm and drang. Always the great drama.
After college, he came south to attend medical school and I followed.
We married right after he finished medical school and divorced right after his residency.
Our relationship was a perfect statistic.
K came to work for me at a time when my first marriage was faltering.
Husband #1 and I weren't communicating except to degrade and humiliate one another.
We had a juvenile way of relating, probably because we never grew out of the teen age communication style that was all we had when we met.
We were complete failures at resolving conflict with each other.
When K came to my office to submit his resume, the staff person he gave it to tracked me down, handed it over and said, "Interview him! He's HOT!!"
I was impressed with K at his first interview. He was trained in conflict resolution and did intervention work with men who were batterers.
During the second round of interviews I knew he was the candidate I wanted to hire.
It wasn't until his first week on the job that I realized I was in way over my head.
I wouldn't describe our affair as torrid. In fact, our physical contact was limited and quite tame.
There was no denying my heart though.
I fell for K in a way that wordlessly communicated the finality of our marriage to my first husband.
He was furious, betrayed.
He moved out.
There was bitterness.
He left the south and ended up in the Pacific Northwest where he met his second wife.
About two years after we split up I got a phone call from him and he said he had news he wanted to share.
He told me that he had been seeing a therapist.
"I blamed you for the end of our relationship, but I realize I was equally to blame. I've never apologized to you for my part in it and I want to do that now," he said.
I almost fell over.
Then he told me he was getting remarried.
After he left, I often wondered what it would be like to hear that he found a new partner.
I was so relieved to realize that all I felt was glad.
Enough time had passed for me to understand that he was a good person, worthy of love, but that we were just not the right match.
I hoped he would be happy. I wished him well.
A few more years passed and we were invited to my friend Laura's wedding.
To this day, Laura is one of my few friends that remains close to both my first husband and me.
I knew K and I would see First Husband at the wedding and was a bit nervous.
We had never been in his presence as a couple before.
I was a bridesmaid and my maidly duties kept me away from him- though I spotted him in the crowd - until well into the reception.
Finally, K and I each took a deep breath and decided that we couldn't stall any longer. In the interest of politeness, of white-flag waving, of friendliness, we had to speak to my ex and his wife.
We walked over to them and got as far as "hello" when the wedding photographer snuck up behind us and said,
"Okay, you four -- SMILE!"
(See Julie, it was way, way too long for a comment!)