Finding the ‘Other’ Woman – A Breakup Story

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There is something incredible about allowing yourself to fall in love again after being divorced. It requires courage, vulnerability, and willingness to have your heart shattered all over again because you know — especially after being divorced — that no relationship is guaranteed. But I was ready and open to being in love again because I so deeply missed companionship. 

I Didn’t Plan on Meeting Someone at My New Gym  — But I Did  

In my pursuit of healing and becoming more self-confident, I joined a gym that was conveniently located next to my toddler’s daycare. Several months into my new workout routine, an attractive man caught my eye. I watched him as he went from machine to machine, week after week, but never had the courage to go up to him. One day, after he finished his sets, he came up to me. For the first time in years, I felt butterflies in my stomach. 

Our Friendship Soon Turned Romantic 

Leo was sexy, smart, 10 years older than me, and had a daughter from an ex-girlfriend. Our friendship at the gym quickly became romantic. There was something special about being with a man who knew what it was like to have a child, who had his life together, who was up for new adventures, who made me laugh, and would make me the most incredible meals. These were all the things that had been missing in my marriage.

It Felt So Good, I Ignored the Red Flags 

The relationship felt so right that I chose to ignore that Leo refused to call me his girlfriend — he didn’t believe in labels. I chose to ignore the extra dishes and wine glasses in the dish rack at his house even though I hadn’t been there the night before. I also chose to believe him when he told me the lingerie in his drawer was an artifact from a past relationship he’d simply forgotten to throw away. 

But Then, One Phone Call Changed Everything 

One morning, I received a phone call from an unknown caller. I decided to answer it even though normally I would’ve just let it go to voicemail. The conversation went something like this:

“Hi, is this Syeda?”

“Yes, this is she, who’s this?

“This is Leo’s girlfriend. I’m Noor.”

 “I’m sorry, what?”

I felt the walls closing in on me and my heart started racing. My palms were sweating, I couldn’t breathe, and tears were falling down my face. I pulled myself together and continued the conversation. Noor told me that she and Leo were very much together, and had been for three years. Leo had lied to me. He had told me that he and Noor had broken up years ago and Noor simply had trouble letting go.  

“I have a son,” I told Noor, crying hysterically. “Leo knows what I’ve been through. Why would he do this to me?” 

“I’m sorry, Syeda,” she said. “I want you to know he’s done this before with another single mom. He preys on them because he knows you’re vulnerable.” 

Suddenly, Everything Made Sense  

I was the other woman, and everything started making sense. All the red flags I chose to ignore smacked me in my face. Every now and then, when I was with Leo, Noor would call him, and he would answer. Leo told me she was “emotionally unstable” and he was just there for her as a good friend. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with that. He understood and told me he would put an end to things shortly; I had believed him.

I composed myself and asked Noor if she’d be open to meeting me as we clearly had a lot in common. 

Meeting My ‘Boyfriend’s’ Girlfriend Was Cathartic 

Noor and I met up. We both agreed we deserved better and conjured up a plan to surprise him at his house and confront him. My goal was to grab my belongings, say a few choice words, and never see him again.

We Confronted Him Together 

I arrived at Leo’s house, and per the plan, I rang the doorbell and he let me in. A few seconds later, Noor rang the doorbell and I let her in. Noor and I exchanged glances, and Leo was clearly surprised. Things escalated quickly, and Noor decided to deviate from the plan and entered full-rage mode. While Leo was trying to calm Noor, I went upstairs to grab my things, and came downstairs while Leo was trying to console Noor. He said, “Why did you bring her here? What’s wrong with you?”

“A lot of things, but you’re no longer one of them,” I said. “ We are done. Don’t ever call or text me again.” I also said a few other choice words I had rehearsed in the car, and then I left.  

In the End, I Left With My Dignity 

This heartbreak hurt. In many ways it hurt more than my divorce because I thought Leo was different as I ignored every red flag. Instead of setting boundaries or standing up for my needs, I let my fears and insecurities get the best of me because I didn’t want to be alone. As I left Leo’s house that night, I left with a broken heart, but I made sure to leave with my dignity and self-respect. I knew I deserved better, and I promised myself to never forget it. 

Tags: Dating, Marriage, relationships

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Written By

Syeda Neary

Syeda is a human design life coach. She helps you build a life you love and enjoy with confidence in alignment with your Human Design. See Full Bio

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