I hope to create a series of these — sort of an “In their own words” kind of blog entries– for former cheaters, current cheaters, the Other Woman/Other Man, maybe betrayed spouses (although they never seem to be without venues for their stories and opinions, so maybe not). this is the first one. Through it, I hope to put real faces, real emotions and thoughts to a complex issue. For my readers to gain insight into the minds of people involved in infidelity.
If any of you out there would like to be anonymously interviewed for this blog, please write me on the link on my front page (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, comments are allowed, but I will not allow judgmental criticism of Mike. He’s done this voluntarily to help others (and probably himself). He’s being honest, and really put himself out there, therefore, deserves courtesy and respect, no matter what you think of him and his actions.
With that, meet “Mike,” former cheater. PLEASE NOTE: His and all other names used in this story are fictional in order to protect the identities of those involved.
Basic info: Mike, 50, married 20 years, 4 kids, lives in North America.
Affair Info: Began August 2009, D-day/termination July 2013
1. Tell us a little bit about you.
Basically I have been blessed with everything you could possibly ask for in life. Four healthy children, a nice job, great house in a well standing community. I am very involved with my kids running them here and there as needed to sports and activities. I am very well-known figure in our town as I coach and I am in charge of several of the sporting programs in our town and very well respected.
2. Tell us about your marriage. At the time of the affair, how long had you been married? Did you feel happy, content, other, or something in the middle? Explain your honest feelings about your marriage before you embarked on your affair.
My wife and I met at College but were not close at that time. We actually got together about 6 years after graduation and were engaged in 6 months. After 2 years of marriage we bought a house and started a family. Our marriage was good very consuming with small children very rewarding and happy for both of us with the usual stress. We expanded the house with an addition as our family grew and were really settled in for long term of getting the kids through school in a stable environment. About year 14 of our marriage, I was beginning to feel that our sex life was becoming somewhat mundane and infrequent. I was willing to live with mundane but I needed the frequency. I enjoyed being intimate with my wife. I told my wife that it was important to me and for us for 2 years I expressed my desire. She seemed disinterested and tired and was busy with the kids she had stopped going to the gym (no time) and didn’t feel good about herself sexually I guess and although we had sex it was infrequent to the point I stopped asking and initiating.
3. Tell us the story of the affair. Had you ever cheated before at any level (including a drunken kiss, flirting, etc.)? How did the affair begin? How did it unfold? Was it both emotional and physical, or just one? How often did you meet? What did you normally do?
I had never cheated before and never made sexual comments to women either I was not a player by any means. I began to start noticing other women. As a head coach I was around maybe 80 -100 different mothers and had always resisted any temptation. One of the mothers that assisted me with the teams was named Jill and we started to be become very close. She was going through a divorce. She was exciting, fun and attractive and we became good friends. We trusted each other and began to text first it was all business but the texts became increasingly more daring. The whole texting thing is very seductive in its own right and if we didn’t have texts I am sure we would have less affairs today.
After about 4 months of being close friends and never speaking about crossing the line we were alone at the field and I reached out and kissed her and the kiss was mutual. We kissed for the next 10 minutes or so and my head was completely spinning. This was the first day of the “fog” that was to take over my life and not sure if it ever goes away completely. We left and texted and met up again that night. We parked our cars next to each other in a restaurant and she took me back to her house I can remember how nervous we were. She knew I was married she knew my wife she knew my kids I knew her soon to be ex and all her kids as well and the entire town knew us as well… Sounds exciting? It was. Back at her place we ripped each other’s clothes off and it was amazing and passionate but I refused to consummate although I wanted to.
The next day I felt awful and great at the same time. I texted Jill and said “can we go back to being just coach and mom” and she agreed and said Yes. I saw her about 2 days later at the field and as soon as I saw her I yelled over to her and said, “Hey, can I change my mind” and she yelled back “yes”. That was the start of a 4 year emotional and extremely physical affair. It started off very physical she was going through a divorce and had nobody so we would meet to satisfy each other. Anywhere we could a few times a week. I did however refuse to consummate the relationship for 3 months (although I wanted to) and I don’t know why. I guess it was guilt in some form and I remember saying to Jill and myself after we did it, “now I am like everyone else” . I guess I thought I could resist temptation and didn’t want to really start this whole thing form the start but once the “fog’ rolls in you have no control and nothing else matters.
4. How did you keep your affair a secret?
So for the next 4 years I lived a double life. Hiding, lying and cheating. Most of the sex took place in her house. I would leave for work early about 4:30am and go sleep and have sex with Jill, shower and then leave while Jill got her kids up for school. I would also leave work early pick up lunch and spend the afternoon at her house have sex 2-3 times before her kids got home from school. Drinking played a major role in everything we did and it didn’t matter the time of the day. Jill became “my drinking buddy” and ultimate friend. Trips, overnights in the city big shows, casinos, and dinners more drinking lots of it. We did it all. Oh yes I was on business out with clients etc. As a professional liar/cheater I would find the best and most fun out of the way places so we would not get caught or be seen as everybody knew us.
I shared stories and personal things with her that I would with no other and we shared our bodies in a way I was never able to before. It was amazing. Affair sex is like no other and we fell in love. At least I think it was love. I did and still do love Jill, but not like I love my wife. I was an addict. Like any other addict. Nothing mattered, not my job, not my kids, not my reputation nothing but my next fix of Jill.
5. How did you feel during the affair, both when you were with the OW and when you were at home? What were your thought processes?
Once the affair started it was a 4 year battle of trying to stop it and I failed every time that I tried. We would go 3 days a week maybe 10 days of trying to stop seeing each other then we would start all over again. I felt great when I was with Jill young alive, wanted and the sex was amazing. Life was fun but not real. It was like being in Disney World on a 4 year pass. I was connected to Jill in every way and she began to push me to leave my wife and family. We told each other we loved each other. I must admit there was a period when I thought this was possible to leave my family “the extreme fog” but I knew it was not really what I wanted. The circumstances of where we lived and our kids would just not permit. I wanted my family and my new sex. I was used to making bad decisions.
There was a reality back at home. My home time became neglectful. Neglectful of my house duties. I took less of an interest in the house and shrugged my duties. Missing kids games and away at nights and when I was at home my every waking thought was about Jill and how to concoct my next lie to be with her. How to steal any second, minute, hour day/night to be with her. It was all consuming. I was an addict. I knew there was only one way out and that day did come as they said it would the day the affair was discovered.
6. What was D-day like?
About 3 years in my wife discovered some texts between Jill and me, I told her it was just playful/kidding and it was nothing really and I was sorry and I would never do it again. This was my wife’s first thought of something was up. The professional liar had done his job and the affair continued ever stronger for another year. I think many in town may have suspected more than my wife did. Whenever I was with Jill we were both beaming and people took notice. I saw more of Jill than ever before and I became sloppy with my lies I think they became repetitive about work and just how much can you lie? I was looking more and more at my phone for texts from Jill and probably my demeanor as well gave me away as I left my house at 4am (to go to work early) and went to Jill’s slept had sex showered drank and walked outside to see my wife’s car parked behind mine down the road where I usually tucked it. Welcome to D-day. My wife said you better follow me home which I did. Alone in my car unknowing what my wife would say/do. Would I be out of the house in a few mins looking for a lawyer an apartment? Would I be back at Jill’s house and let the cards fall where they may with the people we knew in town. Worst of all would I lose my kids. Either way I knew there would be a conclusion but I was not in control any longer.
My wife cried. We both cried. She told me she didn’t deserve this and she was right so right. I had made so many bad decisions without thought to anyone but myself. There was and is no explanation. I said I was sorry over and over and I was. How could I do what I did? I never wanted to be like everyone else. I was different. I had morals I knew better. I was a good father/husband. This would never be me. She would never understand that I was an addict. I know I wouldn’t understand that if the circumstances were switched. It’s NO EXCUSE to be an addict by the way you just can’t understand unless you are one. After an hour of holding my wife she said she would try to forgive me and put this behind us as long as I went to a therapist to “fix” myself as she put it…and I took this bargain and I did. My wife had just given me a second chance on life. My life and my family. She is a forgiving person not like how I would have been for sure but she opened my eyes. I am told that one day I must forgive myself I don’t know if that is possible. It will be 7 months past D-day on Jan 1 2014.
7. Did you formally end the affair with the OW? If so, how? And how did she take it? Has she left you alone?
What to do with someone who I called my best friend? She was my lover /confidant from my other life. A person in another time and another place I could possibly have been with forever maybe I don’t know. The life that wasn’t real. My addiction, my fix, the love/lust of my life. My addiction. She was a person with feelings she loved me and now I had to hurt her as well. And I did. No contact. Total shut down. No replies from me. No answer to her texts. No answer to her email. No answer to her phone calls. She was devastated totally. I was totally devastated. She was an addict to the affair as well so I know how hard and what she was going through. I was like any other addict in total withdrawal. I missed her more than anything. I wanted her more than anything. I went no contact with no conclusion for her. I totally hurt her which I never wanted to do. But she knew I was married she took the chance…Still doesn’t make it right to hurt someone. Just totally sucks. I suck. Just trying to rebuild myself I guess so this never happens again.
8. What have the biggest challenges been — both in terms of fixing your marriage and inside yourself — now that it’s over?
Fixing my marriage was the biggest challenge and all about reconnecting with my wife and rebuilding myself along with our relationship. I wasn’t sure that I could do it. It is a slow process and she has been patient and she sees progress. My kids see the progress as well as they say “you’re going out again with mom?” You truly reap what you sow. You just have to sow the right things.
9. How do you feel about the OW now?
I miss Jill and still often think of her but less often. I know she is dating which is good. I want her to move on and be happy. I need her to move on so I can continue to recover.
10. How long since you’ve had any contact with the OW?
Jill is local ( something I will have to continue to deal with) I saw her at a local sports function just 2 weeks ago and I did not speak with her and she was shocked dashing any hopes she had left. My wife was also there and I made sure I was close to her which also killed Jill. Jill made a few attempts to enter my space and my wife started to get annoyed and I calmed my wife by saying we cannot make her relevant. She was seeking relevancy and walked away with none.
I saw several emails go into my “blocked” box which I know they were from her. I had to block Jill’s emails about 3 months into no contact as I couldn’t handle seeing them and it was hurting my recovery. She of course does not know that she is blocked. I have not blocked her phone # and she sent me a few texts which I did not read and deleted. I did not block the texts because she would know that I did and I thought she may do something rash if she knew I blocked her and she thought she wasn’t getting through to me. The texts and emails have all but gone away.
11. What have you done to either fix your marriage or yourself? Counseling (couples or solo)? Read books (if so, which and did they help)?
My marriage fix has been to reconnect with my wife. We go out more especially with couples and try to have fun. We are intimate more often than not something she has worked on to try to make me happy and it is working. I go to therapy as part of the deal once a week for the last 6 months and it has helped. I got rid of my first therapist after the first visit and sought out a woman therapist for her point of view and that was a great decision. I am not a therapist person but this has helped with my marriage and some of the other broken things she is trying to help with as well as it all ties in together anyway. My wife talks about couples counseling but I am in no way ready for that. I need to move ahead right now and not think of the past at least for now. I don’t need triggers right now remember I am an addict.
12. What have you learned about yourself, your marriage and life, because of the affair?
I have learned that I am human and vulnerable like everybody else. I make mistakes and I can be forgiven for even the worst of mistakes. I now try to be more forgiving of people as well, or at least try to look at things differently. I realized that I do love my wife and have a new appreciation for my life as my bad decisions could have ruined my life forever and those around me.
13. Do you feel vulnerable to another affair, with the same woman or someone else? Do you miss “it” even if you don’t miss “her”?
I am an addict and always vulnerable and need to stay away from my ex affair partner and any situation where I can make a bad decision. Without question I miss “it”. “It” is the ultimate rush.
14. Looking back, what was your reason/excuse/rationale for having the affair? What did you tell yourself in your head that allowed you to do something you knew was dangerous and wrong?
There was no rationale for me starting my affair it just happened. I thought it would be short lived and I would not be caught. I don’t think it was a mid life crisis either but rather the ultimate escape destination from reality. Once it starts and you share your mind body and soul with someone it is very hard to stop esp for me as I have said I became addicted to the “it”. Everything about “it”. I craved the excitement, the newness, the exploration, the hidden dimensions, the secrecy.
15. Do you feel remorse for the affair? Or just because you were caught?
I do feel remorse but I am spending most of my time trying to put this behind me. The breakup from my affair partner was harder than anything I have ever experienced. So I am fixing myself and reconnecting at home. I think I am learning how to live with myself that is where remorse has landed me. The future however is bright but for me day by day. ADVICE-Avoid temptation and NEVER start an affair. For those in an affair STOP at all cost you will be caught and the fog will lift. The fallout and people you will hurt will contain a lifetime of regret, shame and disappointment and too many other things to mention. For those in recovery,you are not alone there is hope it is all up to you.
A big thanks to “Mike” for agreeing to do this in order to help others. It takes great courage.
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