Know this: I am addicted to you. I have tasted your mind, and I cannot forget its flavour.
What causes a man to cheat? What causes an otherwise devoted family man to seek out another woman rather than dealing with the issues in his own marriage? Regardless of causes I would say he is a man with no moral compass who doesn’t respect or love his family and doesn’t care about who is hurt in the process. A selfish man who only cares about his own needs. A man that does not and never cared about the institution of marriage.
At least that is what I thought until this year. I scorned men who would do such things. How could they? Now I find myself in their camp. Forever. I am the evil man who cheated. Who threw away his marriage. What caused me to do such a thing? It’s almost unfathomable to think that I am that man, but I cannot change what I did. It makes me sick to think that I now have kids involved too. Why could I not have resolved my issues before children?
Something many people don’t know is that a lot of people cheat – men and women – and the vast majority of us who do are as shocked as you are that we did it. We never saw ourselves this way, and we feel shame for it. We used to be those that scorned cheaters, and all of a sudden, through circumstances we would’ve never believed could happen to us, we are now cheaters as well. It’s a horrible feeling.
Do you think I don’t love my wife and children? You would be wrong to think that. I love them all very much. Do you think I’m unaware of the risks and the harm I would cause if discovered? Trust me, I’m fully aware. I would lose everything. My wife would be devastated, and I don’t want to hurt her. I really don’t.
Do you think I’m some kind of dirtbag stereotypical male that no one will be surprised to find out what I did? You would be wrong there as well. In fact I’ve been married 14 years and have what most (including myself) would describe as a model marriage. I’m not your stereotypical sleazy man, and I spend most of my time on intellectual pursuits. In general I’m very trustworthy, dependable and patient. I don’t fit the mold for what one would profile for a cheater. And I’m here to tell you that most people who cheat do not fit the mold.
Instead we find ourselves in situations that we could not have dreamed up. Situations we don’t realize we are in until too late, that are difficult to stop, and we are ill prepared for how to handle them. They are generally about much more than sex. They are about the connection; the intensity; the longing for what we can’t have.
You see the woman I refer to now as my girlfriend is much more then just a conquest. She is more than just a way for me to find passion outside my bedroom. She is my best friend. We worked together for three years and were very close coworkers. Then she stopped working for the same department and we became very close. The quickness with which we merged into best friends is hard to comprehend. Essentially we just took our proverbial work walls down and a beautiful friendship blossomed.
We would and could talk about anything, exploring our minds the way no one had ever done for either of us before. It’s something we both desperately needed. Soon we started spending lots of time together becoming closer and we were both very focused on building a strong friendship.
We are both from divorced parents and wanted desperately to end that cycle. We talked often about our marriages and ways to strengthen them. In fact, what those conversations were unintentionally doing was recognizing all the faults in our marriages. They were easy to see with someone to explore our minds with. Marriage is uncommonly important to both of us. We have both been big advocates to our friends in pushing for marriage and fidelity. That may seem out of character for two people who had an affair and it is. We both struggle with fitting our beliefs with who we have become.
Then something strange happened with our friendship. When you share everything with someone it becomes easy to talk about sex. Over the course of a few weeks we started to realize more and more that every fantasy and desire that we’ve never been able to achieve with anyone, including our spouses, was exactly the fantasy or desire of the other. We feel the same things. We desire the same things. We need and crave the same things, though they are not common. It was an innocent discovery, as we were only trying to help eachother.
Once known it is hard to unknow. That is where we faltered. Our yearning to know if those things we desire were achievable. Things that require a high level of trust and openness. Things we are very self conscious of even thinking about, could they be enacted and enjoyed with a real person? With our best friend whom we trust completely? The desire to know was too much for us. For once we could have the mental, physical and emotional connection we longed for.
We crossed the line. Neither of us could resist, and so we walked over our beliefs. We threw out our vows. We were anything but patient. We took on risks that could tear apart two families. We did it knowingly, but also experiencing something within ourselves that we had never known. We still feel horrible about it, and said many times how we wish things could be different. Because what we had was truly beautiful except for the pain it causes.
It was not all about sex. I know that. As much as I want to believe otherwise. Things have not been great for me for awhile, but I had trouble identifying what it was. My patience has been my downfall as I would wait years to see if things improved. Before we were intimate, I started to work with my new best friend on identifying the problems in my marriage. She opened my eyes to what I couldn’t see. The right answer is to deal with those problems first. I know this. I was not able to stop what happened, but now I can take control over what happens next.
I am working on doing the right thing. It will take time due to young children being involved, but I need to do some soul searching. Where do I want to be? If I am really this unhappy in my marriage I need to talk about it. I need to either end it peaceably or mend it. Either way I need to stop the affair and work on my marriage. I am pledging to do that now. It will not be easy.