When our lives became entangled, the last thing we expected was to fall in love by Anonymous 5 Getty Images It was exactly two years, five months and 16 days after I last had sex with my husband that I decided to have an affair. We both have young kids, nice homes, successful careers, packed social calendars. But beneath the shiny veneer, something had withered away over the years: We had come to feel like we were just sharing parenting duties and a home with someone who could best be described as an old, comfortable friend.
A recent investigation in the U. On this continent, one survey reports that 12 percent of people combing dating websites admit to being married, and social researchers peg the number of us who stray at between 10 and 25 percent.
That means many of you — or your husbands — will be unfaithful, likely out of frustration or boredom or both. For years I tried hard to fight the torpor from setting in. But conversations about it turned into finger-pointing fights, and couples therapy was futile.
Eventually I sank into a mournful acceptance: My husband was uninterested in me sexually. It was two summers ago that we both checked out a website that seemed custom-made for our situations, designed to connect people seeking partners in adultery — one of at least a dozen such sites out there today. We had the same unbreachable parameters: The fling would be on the side and there would be no question of it ever coming to the forefront of our lives.
The point was to discreetly vent some of the sexual pressure that was building up inside us and threatening to blow our families apart.
Yes, it was premeditated, first-degree adultery, but calculated to avoid hurting the innocent, as accidental, sloppy affairs often do. Adam and I connected online within days of creating our profiles. The dumb luck of finding each other still astounds us. He was one of the first men who contacted me and we were soon emailing daily, trying to suss out what the other was really after.
What if this guy was looking for a way out of his marriage? Was he even married? What if he was someone I knew? We set up a date at a busy bar away from our usual haunts, both of us looking forward to it intensely and fearing disappointment.
The spark was instant. We quickly got past the initial nerves, and over the course of four hours of dinner, drinks and non-stop talking, we revealed more and more to each other. He was funny, smart, self-deprecating. That felt both too close for comfort he could infiltrate my life! At that moment he took my hand and the sexual tension almost made me gasp. As we walked to my car, I turned and kissed him. We ended up making out wildly, passion interspersed with giggling at the absurdity of what we were doing.
We decided to go to a hotel the following week. Our emails were getting more suggestive and, after years of celibacy, it felt so indescribably good to be wanted. He checked in before me. I arrived with wine and food. I was so nervous I could barely look at him when he opened the door, I was so conscious of why I was there. I kissed him, hoping to break the ice.
I practically gulped down my first glass of wine, and as we talked, half sitting, half lying on the bed, I kept thinking, Will I actually go through with this?
Well after 1 a. We kissed for a while and said goodnight, and as I drove on, I felt tears streaming down my cheeks. We quickly figured out the logistics of adultery: Guilt is a complex emotion. Before this began, I had few scruples about the prospect of cheating on my husband. So I put every effort into being the best mom and wife, cavorting with the kids in the backyard until I was out of breath, trying to be more affectionate with my husband, biting back nagging comments.
To my amazement, it worked, yet somehow their very obliviousness felt like a rebuke. In mid-September, about six weeks after our affair began, I tried to break it off. In three subsequent email exchanges he talked me out of it, and we agreed to meet to clear the air. The restaurant was busy and when I arrived I found him sitting at the table, dressed in a suit, looking poised and almost painfully attractive.
I, on the other hand, was jittery, knocking cutlery and menus off the table. We stared at each other for a long time. As I drove him home afterwards, I stopped on a side street and we kissed in the car. And by the way he touched my face and hair and held me, I realized for the first time that he was falling for me. It was terrifying and wonderful. Mainly terrifying, because I realized I might be falling for him, too. As fall turned to winter, Adam grew increasingly distressed about his marriage.
Some of their issues had a bitter ring of familiarity, and I tried to be helpful, offering suggestions from my own experience. Though we talked mainly about his situation, I found myself thinking harder about mine.
Was I willing to settle for a sexless relationship? Was it really beyond repair? Adam encouraged me to not accept the status quo. The irony of what we were doing — illicit lovers engaging in mutual marriage counselling — was obvious to us both.
But one night I took his advice and confronted my husband about our problems. The emotions were raw on both sides and I was struck by how much he loved me.
Did I end it with Adam then? But as Adam struggled to keep his family together, our get-togethers grew more infrequent. Worse, he started cancelling. In early January, when Adam cancelled yet another date, I finally pulled the plug. There were many reasons behind my decision: But there was also one powerful incentive. We agreed to meet one more time in a hotel. It started just like any other evening together: I brought food and wine, he greeted me in the room, we had dinner together, then made love.
We spent six hours there, wanting to extend the evening as long as possible. It passed in a wink. We still hope we can turn this into a friendship; whatever else we are, we are certainly friends. A couple of weeks later, feeling forlorn and missing Adam, I logged into the website where we met, found his first email to me and forwarded it to him. What the heck did I see in that mild little introduction to make me respond to you? Our affair lasted six months. It was wonderful, and painful; it made me feel fully alive again.