On my 25th birthday, I went out for lunch with Derrick—my older, married boyfriend—and had dinner with Josh, the younger man I was cheating on Derrick with. In the middle of my dinner with Josh, he dropped a huge bomb on me: he asked me to marry him.
Josh poured his heart out to me and said I was the most perfect woman in the world, and that he didn’t want to go another day without having me as his wife. All I could do was cry. He assumed that they were tears of joy, and they partly were, but for the most part, it was just out of guilt. When I finally composed myself, I said yes. I then excused myself, telling Josh that I needed to clean myself up.
I rushed into the restroom and called Derrick. I explained what happened, and again, I started to cry on the phone. I desperately wanted to marry Josh, but I didn’t want to risk losing Derrick. My life felt perfect just the way it was.
I’m not sure why I thought calling Derrick would make me feel better—I couldn’t have been more wrong. It wasn’t exactly what he said, but how he said it that made me feel like my whole world was falling apart. “We’ll discuss how to get over this hump, Cassie. Don’t worry, just enjoy the moment. I love you doll,” said Derrick casually, adding, “Give my best regards to the fiancé, from your father of course.” Derrick laughed and hung up.
I continued to cry. Derrick’s comment made me feel like garbage. In my head, I ran through all of the reasons why I couldn’t marry Josh. Aside from the fact that I was still seeing Derrick, I hadn’t even introduced him to my parents. In fact, not very many people even knew of him. Almost everyone still thought that I was single—very few people knew the truth. On top of all that, Josh still thought Derrick was my father. How would I explain my real father walking me down the aisle? It’s not like I could have Derrick do the honors.
I cried sporadically for a week after the proposal. Every time Josh asked what was going on, I lied and said that I was emotional because I couldn’t believe I ended up with such a great guy. This was all true, but the real reason I cried was mostly because I felt torn inside.
Derrick’s divorce was finalized three months after my engagement. He had come up on top with the settlement, and although he was going to lose a huge amount of money, he was happy to get out of the marriage. After his divorce, Derrick confessed that he had started to see another woman. She was three years younger than I was, and much prettier, but I still came first for him. For months, Derrick and I had a four-way love affair that only the two of us knew about.
Eventually, Derrick became more occupied with his younger woman and he started spending less time and money on me. I suddenly felt like Mrs. Friedman, except that I had no rights. If and when he left me, I would have nothing to show for it—at least his wife had gotten part of his money. I would be left with nothing. It helped that I had Josh, but it still stung. I think a part of me always believed that I would end up with Derrick, and that I could keep enjoying the lavish life he had provided me with.
The guilt of my infidelity started to wear me down and eventually I had to break off my engagement with Josh. The day after I told him, I knocked on Derrick’s door and met his new girlfriend. He excused himself outside and I cried on his shoulder. I told him that I couldn’t continue hurting Josh, and that I wanted Derrick all to myself. Later that night, he broke up with his girlfriend and I moved out of my house and into his mansion. Everything I wanted was finally falling into place. Or so I thought…