I had an affair with my older, married, female boss
- 4 months ago
- 5 min read
- 2,500 views
The first thing I noticed about her was her skin. It was alabaster, smooth like butter and translucent. Her hair, a lustrous brown, sat full-bodied above her collar bone, flirting with her shoulders every time she’d throw her hair back and laugh, which was often.
Sitting in meetings with her at the literary agency where we both worked left me feeling weak. Usually never short of things to say, in her presence, I’d marvel at her ability to drain all quips from my mind, leaving my mouth bone-dry. But I knew the cliché and I refused to succumb to the stereotype of being the young, ambitious 25-year-old who screws the boss.
I’d come out when I was 17 and been disowned by my parents. I’d moved to London and been in and out relationships and casual flings. She was in her 40s and had been married for over a decade, with three young children. The agency we worked for also represented her writer husband, so I knew I absolutely couldn’t go there.
Except one night, I did. I’d been at the company for around two years, working hard to secure advancements for myself all the while struggling to relax around her. But she gave nothing away. No odd winks or lingering favouritism, just an aloof air of power.
Our team were out celebrating a victory signing, when I first felt her eyes on me from across the table. I instantly assumed I must be getting the wrong end of the stick. But several glasses of wine later, my mouth was on hers and she was pushing me against the bathroom wall, as we clumsily tumbled in a stall, fumbling with our belt buckles. How could she go from practically never acknowledging my existence to pouncing on me? I felt vindicated in my feelings for her; there must have been something there all along, she had just been very good at suppressing it. After several swift orgasms in the cubicle, we returned to the table and our unsuspecting colleagues.
Our relationship gained a momentum of its own and before either of us realised, we were sleeping together every day. Sometimes first thing in the morning before anybody else arrived at the office, sometimes during a quick trip to the loo before nipping to Pret, sometimes once the last person had left for the day and it was just the two of us.
When we were together it felt electric, my heartbeat thumping furiously. But because of our work, everything had to be secret. Six months after our toilet cubicle frisson, we were post-coital and slumped on the office floor after having sex on her desk. While I tucked into slices of Franco Manca pizza she’d ordered on the company account, she held back, glancing at the floor, before blurting out that she loved me. She’d never felt this way before and had finally realised she was gay.
In the office, nothing changed. Both of us swore not to tell anyone else. I dodged questions from friends about my relationship status like bullets - the lies were worth it for the delirium I felt when I was with her.
My boss confided in me the ennui she felt in her marriage. The sexuality she’d neatly packed into a box. She’d been with a woman before; when she masturbated, it was to lesbian porn, and when her husband performed acts on her, she told me the only way she could get aroused was to imagine it was a woman doing those things to her.
When she suggested, out of the blue and six months into our affair, that she was ready to tell our company directors about our relationship, I was secretly thrilled. This meant it was real! She had an inkling our directors already knew and had been mulling it over for a few weeks, she told me. She wanted to be honest with our directors so they could help us to map out how to tell her husband without severing his ties to the business. They took it well, even admitting that we’d had chemistry from the offset. We were finally free to love each other.
Her husband reacted surprisingly well too, suggesting that they enrol in therapy to help both of them exit their long-standing relationship. I took this as my cue to make a commitment and said I would move to the suburbs to be with her and her three children, once her husband had moved out.
To know that I could finally come clean to my worrisome friends felt liberating beyond belief. I didn’t care about sacrificing my youth to move to outer London with a swarm of forty-somethings. All I wanted was to be with her full-time, and for it to be out in the open that we were together.
Except, two weeks after she’d told her husband, I learned that that he hadn’t moved out and neither had she. She texted me to say that she could no longer carry on seeing me. She told me over WhatsApp that it was too overwhelming for her to tell people, to be honest about who she was, and ultimately who I still am. She felt too bludgeoned by people’s expectations of her, too stifled by her shame, and told me that I should live out my youth while it’s still mine. Before I could reply, she’d blocked me.
The next day, she also blocked me on iMessage, Instagram and Twitter, claiming it was best for both of us. Work was strange for a while, as we shuffled past each other, barely acknowledging the other’s existence, let alone what we’d shared. Our company directors feigned ignorance and, obviously, none of our fellow colleagues had known anything at all, meaning I felt increasingly isolated.
On my first day back to the office, I hardly looked up from my desk, intentionally turning my back on the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that surrounded her office and slipped out of the door as soon as the clock struck 6pm. In an attempt to distract myself from work, I began sleeping with an army of women, feeling numbed by a dizzying level of promiscuity in the wake of our split.
This was six months ago. I heard recently that she and her husband were in therapy, working to reconcile and renew their vows and, surprisingly, felt nothing. Then I met somebody new and, as though she had a censor attached to me, my boss unblocked me and texted to ask how I am. I didn’t reply, I don’t need to go back to the secrets and lies, however thrilling they were.