I thought the answer to an unhappy marriage was having an affair.

The illicit affair
In every disagreement with your spouse, remember there is no winner/loser. Be united in everything and work together to find a solution where you both win.

In every disagreement with your spouse, remember that there is not a winner and a loser. You must be united in everything, so you will either win or lose together. Work together to find a solution where you both win.

Dave Willis

I was in an unhappy marriage for years, I still am. 
It was on New Year’s Day when I decided I wanted to have an affair.  My husband had just announced he was leaving the country, yet again, on a business trip.  I was enraged.  For years we had serious problems and we had decided the new year would bring happiness and we were both going to put in the effort.  I thought I did my part, but as far as I was concerned, he was not doing his part.

My decision to have an affair was based on the rage I felt.  I was having a morning coffee when his phone rang.  He was in the bathroom.  I took it and was about to take it to him when the caller ID had alarm bells going on a frenzy in my mind.  The caller ID read, ‘the police’, so I swiped ‘slide to answer.  Before I could say a thing, the person on the other end spoke, “good morning honey!” I was perplexed but it didn’t take Einstein to figure out who that person was.  I pressed ‘end call’.  I put the phone back where he’d left it. 

That was the moment that solidified my decision. I also decided I wasn’t about to confront him about his police caller – I didn’t want yet another fight. I wanted to do whatever I wanted. I wanted to do something insane and have total control over.  In the years we’d been married, I surrendered myself to him, I let him control everything about us from finances to how I dressed.  I realised now, somewhere along my married life, I’d lost my identity

Later that day I joined a gym then went on a shopping spree.  I bought clothes one size smaller.  I decided if I was going to have this affair, I needed to look the part. 

At first, I was nervous: where do I begin?  Where do I find a man willing to have an affair with me?  I decided to join a dating site for married people.  I found one.  I liked the idea that you could choose an avatar for your profile picture – I chose an erotic looking strawberry that looked like it had been dipped in red syrup – “saucy!”, I thought.  I also chose a slutty username.  The site offered total discretion and amazing privacy.  Then I waited.  Three hours later I opened my inbox.  I imagined I’d get one message, instead, over 60 messages poured in.  My heart skipped a beat – a mixture of excitement and dread.  I imagined getting messages from men I knew, or worse my own husband. 

All the messages were explicit and to the point: no one was pulling any punches – we were here to have affairs, not relationships.  One ominous message read, ‘sex tonight?’ I was mortified – I had opened a pandora box.  The fact of the matter was, I wasn’t interested in just sex I wanted to have a meaningful affair.  Did such a thing exist?  I wanted to have a therapist with benefits.  I spent the next several hours sorting out the messages.  It was like a full-time job and because I was ‘online’, more messages kept flooding in.  The rational me kept asking me to stop, delete the account and find ways to work on my marriage: the enraged me told me to keep going. 

Eventually, I started chatting with the least creepy man.  Over the next several weeks we exchanged hundreds of emails.  He said he was in a sexless, loveless marriage but the children and properties kept him hitched to the woman.  I told him my husband was having an affair and I needed to punish him.  Some of his emails were entertaining and funny, I’d laugh out loud and my husband would ask me what was funny.  I’d just give him a look.  The mystery man and I clicked and decided to meet for the first time.  He wanted to buy me what he called ‘first date present’ and asked for my bra and panties size.  It kind of took my breath away in an eerie way.  I told him anyway.

On the day of the meet, I tried on several outfits.  I was so nervous I couldn’t eat. When my husband asked why I was trying on outfits, I told him that I had a life-changing meeting.  I didn’t want to lie.  He didn’t probe any further.  I guess he assumed it was a business meeting. 

We were meeting in a hotel outside London’s M25. I arrived earlier because I wanted to spend a considerable amount of time in the bathroom freshening up.  Then I went to the bar and when I saw him my loins fired up and my heartbeat violently inside my chest.  He was so attractive: hundreds of times better than my husband.  He was charming too and had a killer smile.  I had to remind myself constantly that he was married with kids and had no intention of breaking his marriage.  Ours was strictly an affair.  The conversation flowed so naturally, anyone looking in would assume we were a happily married couple.  About an hour later, he leaned over and kissed me.  I melted.  I wanted him there and then.  Parts of me I thought were dead were now alive and kicking.  We decided to do the rest in a room.

We had a great time in the three hours we holed up in the room.  But being married meant we couldn’t spend the entire night.  We made plans to meet again in a couple of weeks.  I could hardly wait.  At the car park, we kissed passionately as we said goodbye.  “I had a great time! I can’t wait to see you again!” he said as he kissed me again. “Me too!”  I was exhilarated all the way home.  For the next couple of weeks, I thought of nothing but him.  If my husband noticed any change in me, he said nothing.  I was past caring.

And then, on the day we were supposed to meet, he emailed to say he wasn’t going to make it.  It felt like someone I loved just died. I was devastated. I felt like a zombie all day long. I also felt humiliated – the reason he gave wasn’t good enough.  I stayed in bed for the rest of it.  Again, if my husband noticed anything, he kept it to himself.  I was depressed for days after.  I felt rejected.  I knew he wasn’t mine to claim but I still felt like a foolish teenager in love.  Then it hit me, I’d fallen in love with a man who only wanted sex from me.  The realisations and devastations kept coming in one after another.  I felt empty.  And then stupid – cheating on your husband and then failing at it must be the most stupid thing on earth.

I dove into work.  I couldn’t talk to anyone about any of this, not even my closest friend – she’d be mortified.  I tried the site again, but no one measured up to this man, they either wanted threesomes or some kinky things that just pissed me off.  I was back to square one.

I realised I probably let the problems in our marriage interfere with our life as a couple.  It occurred to me that I probably never valued myself, I just let men take control whether it was my husband or my one-time lover.  It occurred to me I let their needs, their wants, their desires, their priorities, their plans have priority over mine.  I gave the man the power to decide we’d have sex on our first day, while I was falling in love with him, he was just after a cheap lay that only cost him a dinner, a pair of undies (which I threw away by the way) and a drive.  I felt cheap and immature.

For now, I have decided to take some power back.  I will work on myself, then on my marriage before I throw in the towel.

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