Although my relationship with my older man wasn’t classified as “cheating” or adulterous, since we were both technically single, there was still a tinge of illicitness to it. Patrick was still close to his ex-wife with whom he had had three children. In fact, they worked together at the company he founded. And she was not just some secretary or administrative assistant; she was the chief of operations, which means she was responsible for managing the staff and making day-to-day administrative and financial decisions. Two of his grown children also worked there, but the ex-wife seemed to be the first and biggest hurdle for me.
Patrick insisted that I meet her at the company headquarters. I resisted the location, pointing out that some place more neutral might be best, but he assured me it would be very friendly and it was important to him. After some convincing, I agreed to meet him there after work one day.
On a Thursday afternoon around 5:30 p.m., I hailed a cab in rush hour and took the 20-minute ride over to their corporate building. It was prime real estate in Chicago, close to the trendiest neighborhood just north of the Loop. I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I was greeted by a receptionist and after I told her I was there to see Patrick, she told me to take a seat. She offered me coffee, which I declined, thinking Patrick would be there in a minute or two. After 30 minutes, he finally came to get me. He was very apologetic and explained that he had been in a meeting he just couldn’t walk out of. I told him I understood and didn’t make a big deal out of it.
Patrick and I then proceeded into the main office, where he steered me—holding me affectionately by the elbow—into his ex-wife’s office. We were in her territory, which meant she had yet another leg up over me…