Not a member? Sign up now
"It would be a terrible idea …" he replied, and in that ellipsis was everything he hadn't said. We soon were instant messaging constantly, and when we weren't, we e-mailed back and forth, often fifty times a day. We sought reasons to bump into each other at the same events. We finally met for lunch. A week later, he came over to my house and kissed me. He came over to my house again. And again.
It was, in short, every single cliché you've ever read. That's how an affair starts — you don't walk away. You do stupid things because you are dizzy, smitten, head over heels. Maybe, I told him, "this is just a brief twitterpated spasm swept in on a spring wind."
"I fear it isn't," he wrote. It wasn't. I knew married men never leave their wives. I also knew I had never been this in love with anyone. How could it be wrong if we loved each other like we did? How could it be wrong if I wanted to marry him, to have the children we both wanted with each other? But I felt guilty. I unfollowed his wife and blocked her from following me. I still hadn't met her, but it seemed wrong to know anything about her life at all.
We tried to stay away from each other. We ended things again and again, only to fall back into each other's arms again and again. We fought. We made up. He said he might leave. He didn't. I unfollowed him. I refollowed him. I tweeted, "I'm done," more than once. I never was.
I tweet about everything — city-council meetings, what I had for dinner, football games. I tweet so much I have two accounts, and I manage a third for work. Yet I couldn't tweet about the one thing most important in my life: my love for him. We started sending each other e-mails with the subject line, "What I'm not posting on Twitter," followed by some gooey declaration of affection. We tried to share our affection on Twitter too — we had code words and phrases; "< >", for example, meant "I love you so much more than there are words for, so I'm not using any." Since we barely saw each other in person, Twitter was our way of knowing where the other might be, or how the other was feeling. It became the subtext of everything that happened.
As the months wore on, I grew increasingly isolated by my secret. It's not sexy being a mistress; it's awfully sad. Twitter and e-mail and instant messages weren't enough; in some ways, they just isolated me more. I started telling a few of my friends about him, one by one, hoping they wouldn't judge me too harshly for sleeping with a married man. When he asked his wife for a divorce, I told my sister, sure and joyous in my future. When he changed his mind about the divorce, I broke down and told my coworker — the same one who had unwittingly introduced us so many months ago.
One night I was drunk and blurted out that I was having an affair to a girl I barely knew, a new friend I was trying to make.
"Is it him?" she asked.
"How did you know?" I said.
"I follow you both on Twitter," she replied. "I could tell something was going on."
This was the beginning of the end. I told him and he flipped out — not just because I had told someone who knew him, but because someone had recognized our interactions online for what they were. Our fights grew more frequent and more intense.
His last @ reply to me on Twitter, jokingly, was #UNFOLLOW, in response to my claim that Taylor Swift was better live than the Pixies. When we ended things for good three days later, after two days of him not e-mailing and not responding to any of my replies on Twitter, after his new therapist told him to cut things off, after nine months of being in love with each other, I knew it was the best thing for both of us.
I couldn't stop crying, but finally, I knew what I had to do. I unfollowed him. He unfollowed me the next day. It was over. For once, I couldn't think of a damn thing to tweet.
Want to meet someone without that pesky "they're already married" problem? Check out Nerve Dating.