You've pretty much made up your mind about me from the title and I'm not going to try to change it. I did a horrible thing and I'm not even sorry. It's very hard to be when you're happy, even if your happiness is at the expense of someone else's misery.
Tom and I had been friends for about a year before it happened. Before you jump to conclusions, it wasn't one of those slow-burning "emotional affairs" -- we didn't bitch about our respective partners (partly because I had one and he didn't), we didn't over-confide, share intimacies or flirt.
We were just friends. We made each other laugh with stupid jokes and silly puns and talked about our shared interests. It wasn't a big secret or a big deal.
About a year in, a group of us was visiting a pub near his work and I invited him along. At this point I was single and he was newly attached.
The night passed without event -– apart from a few times where we caught each other's eye and held it for a bit too long. Or when we laughed at a stupid joke and it felt a little bit like a date. He mentioned his girlfriend every third word, so I knew it didn't mean anything.
The next time we saw each other was at my birthday: I was holding court in a terrible pub, downing tequila shots and trying to lapdance a poor stranger to the tune of "Call Me Maybe."
All I remember about that night is a crowded table, his hand stroking my knee, the inevitable dregs going back to my house to carry on the party, then when I got out of the toilet (after a sneaky tequila vom), him waiting in the corridor and kissing me and us tumbling down the hall to my bedroom.
He left about 4 am and I cried. We hadn't had sex: We'd argued about how we couldn't do it, he offered to leave his girlfriend, and there was a lot of door slamming, storming off and dramatic shouting. We confessed that we both liked each other and said we'd talk about it when we were sober.
The next day and I told him he had three weeks to leave his girlfriend or we'd go back to being just friends. Looking back, I cringe at my arrogance. He texted back, “I'll try,” which was like a kick in the stomach and served me right. I spent that night at a house party, posing for photos to show what a great time I was having.
Is there anything I can say to justify this? Probably not. Earlier in the night, he'd told me he "hated" her, that he couldn't be himself around her and that he wanted to end it. They hadn't been together that long -– under six months, I think –- I never asked. But in my head that made it all right. It was quite simple to me –- she couldn't possibly like him more than I did, and so therefore didn't deserve him.
The next few months passed in a string of clandestine meetings, arguments and petty acts of passive aggression. We argued, I sulked. I told him to leave her. I sent him scantily clad photos of myself to remind him what he could have. I compliment-bombed him and then when that didn't work, told him he didn't deserve me and that I didn't want him. I began to think of it as a campaign and devised tactics to make him leave.