Posted by Anonymous.
I have to talk about this, but it's not something I can share with anyone I know. I realize I will be labeled by people and that's fine. There's probably nothing they can come up with I haven't already said to myself.
I'm having an affair. There, I said it. It's funny to think of all the things I thought, stereotypically of course, about those who would choose to engage in something like this. And yes, I admit fully that it's a choice. It didn't "just happen." There was no "accident." I made choices, he made choices and now we're having an affair. But why? Why do two normally rational, intelligent people choose this path? The questions are plenty. "How did you let this happen? Why are you doing this? Don't you realize people will be hurt?"
The other things I hear a lot are, "People who have affairs are just looking for a cheap thrill. They like the thought of doing something where they might get caught!" No one says this to me of course, because NO ONE would guess the situation I'm in. I'm a normal thirty-something woman, married with children in an upper-middle class neighborhood. I have an education and a great job. I attend school functions with people like you. My kids are friends with your kids. We might actually meet somewhere, strike up a conversation and you may find you actually like me. But if anyone knew what happened behind closed doors I would be labeled, branded and cast aside. So no one knows.
I'm not going to go into boring details about the state of my marriage. I will only say that it hasn't been good but it hasn't been horrible. My husband has emotional issues that I finally said he needed to fix. I didn't want to divorce again. That was why I stayed through all of these years. The problem is too much has happened and I can't see living the rest of my life with him. He knows this. I know this. We've discussed it. But such is the state of someone with emotional issues, it's very much a rollercoaster ride. And now I have guilt about the fact that my husband really IS trying to make himself better. I have just lost all desire to rebuild our relationship.
And so about eight months ago I struck up a conversation with a mutual friend. There hadn't been any real conversation between the two of us before and the connection during that chat was instant. Of course I ignored it because I'm a reasonable person, married with children and so is he. And then another conversation, and another...and soon you realize that you have a very deep and profound friendship and connection with this other man. Soon conversations turn private and you have to make a choice. You either stop talking to this person all together, because the intensity is too much to ignore, and casual friendship is no longer an option, or you make the choice to continue and see where it goes? Well, I know you can gather which choice we made.
What's funny is this isn't about a cheap thrill. The thought of getting caught is mortifying not exciting. The realities of an affair are nothing like the stereotypes portrayed in romance novels or Hollywood movies. The reality is my days are crushing, depressing, and aching as much as they are passionate, intense and intoxicating. I'm in purgatory. Stuck somewhere between where I am and where I want to be. Of course we would love to spend our days together. Of course I would love to share my life with him openly. Absolutely the most incredible, amazing man on the planet exists and I want to talk to people about him. But I can't. It's a shameful secret rather than a beautiful romance.
I see his wife only through photographs. I know as much about her as he has told me. When I see her, regardless of the state of their marriage I feel awful. I feel awful that I'm sleeping with her husband. I feel awful that I am hurting her. I feel awful that he might leave her to be with me. It's a lose-lose situation. I want to be with him, but the cost is HUGE! Their child, my children, my husband and she will absolutely suffer. When I see her picture I cry for these things. And also I cry because she gets to live the life I want so desperately to have.
So why don't you just leave? Well, to start the kids is a huge reason. I know the philosophy of not staying for the kids and I am caught between having a marginal life with my husband, sacrificing what I have with the other man for the sake of the kids, and having a phenomenal life with a man who knows me and connects with my soul. To be with him, two families will be broken. I fantasize about just saying, "Fuck it!" and leaving, him leaving her and just being selfish...let the chips fall where they may. But that is just that, a fantasy.
Another reason is financial. Where would I go? How would I support my children on my salary and keep them in a good school district? Leaving takes time and planning. Divorce is costly and things get heated even when you promise each other to be respectful for the sake of the children.
I feel like every day is a lie. I wake up and fake smile through my morning, getting the kids ready for the day, getting to work...and then a brief exchange online with the other man and I am smiling from inside. I light up. I laugh. And I smile, a real, sincere smile. Then reality strikes again. Things to do for work, readying for the evening at home with the kids and my husband. I imagine him there, because really it's all I have. What would be different about this moment if he were here with me and the kids? Too many things to list here. Then when things settle down for the evening and kids start heading to bed...I sometimes think, "man, I am just crazy. Maybe I'm just making too much out of this?" And then I see him online. And he says "Hello. I'm dying without you here." So often I have tried to convince myself that he really couldn't want a life with me. But every thing he has ever said or done has proven over and over...time and time again that he wants more. As much as I believe this isn't about sex, because believe me...that opportunity is rare, I know it is more emotional than anything. And then I feel guilty about that too. Because, really, isn't that the worst kind?
I have no idea what I thought I would get out of sharing this. I just had to get this off my chest. There really is nothing worse than living in limbo. Living every day wanting something you cannot have is not easy, fun, a cheap thrill or adventurous. No one tells you the harsh realities of an affair. But I guess now I have.