Another the series I’ve been writing lately – personal interviews (by email) of former or current Cheaters. Gary is the first one I’ve interviewed where his affair is still going on and his wife does not know. I think you will find his inner turmoil to be very typical of a lot of people like him. He’s not out there bragging, or thinking he’s getting away with something and smiling about how well he’s having his cake and eating it too. No, he’s in utter turmoil. His affair is giving him incredible highs, yet it’s also made him feel worse about himself. He doesn’t want his marriage over, but he’s firmly in love with the Other Woman and does not know what to do. Meet Gary. (AND AGAIN NOTE: ALL THE NAMES ARE FICTIONALIZED TO PROTECT THE ANONYMITY OF THOSE NAMED HERE)
1. Tell us about you.
I am a 53 year old man, a mechanic, I’ve been married for 31 years. My wife (Susan) and I have three healthy children. My wife is a teacher. After the kids were out of the house and going to elementary school she started taking university courses to re educate herself and re enter the job market.So for her it is a second career.
2. Tell us about your affair. How did it start? Who is she?
I met the OW (I’ll call her Barbara….I had a crush on a girl in high school with that name LOL) in the fall of 2011. Barbara is a year younger than I. She has been divorced for ten years. Her kids have within the last four or five years left home for university and are starting their lives on their own. I imagine yes another reason for her to get involved with me is the loneliness she must be feeling.I started being attracted to her for the friendship. To be connected and share with another human….. a special friendship…..there is nothing like it.
We met at the gym in a cardio class and conversed for a few seconds before class and during usually, all the while developing a relationship. It was her who started talking and I was receptive. I could in hindsight sense an energy coming from her that was not reserved like the other ladies. Even though I was a regular in the class for years it was tough to get into a conversation with other class members (they were all females) it seemed as though they were willing to exchange a hello but that was it. So I appreciated talking and actually having a conversation with Barbara. After a while she became flirtatious. I was informed that she was single and I informed her that I was married. I must say I so appreciated just connecting with another human being…..not just another male to chat about sports over beer and wings. All the while I am thinking its ok for a man to be friends with another woman….. we’re adults……I’m an old man who has never and I repeat never looked at another woman for anything sexual.
As the summer session with the gym classes concluded in 2012 we exchanged work emails to converse over the summer. We might of exchanged half a dozen emails…..she spoke of her up coming golfing holiday and I teased her that maybe if she was good enough I’d see her on TV. The emails died off and I finished the summer. I so missed conversing with her through those emails still thinking we were just friends. In my mind I just missed the friendship with her but I missed it like I lost my best friend of 20 years, and I didn’t see anything wrong with that. One of many mistakes.
We met up again in class at the beginning of the fall session in 2012 and continued our friendship. It continued at times to be a little flirtatious. We were just kidding with each other…..right? We always had the class on a Wednesday night and she wasn’t seeing anyone so she teased me that I was her Wednesday night date which turned into me being her Wednesday Nighter LOL.
2012 progressed and we came to the Christmas holidays and a break from the gym class schedule. All the women were hugging and wishing Merry Christmas and of course no hugs for the lone male. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel slighted. I was a regular in the class as well but I guess there were no hugs for the male in class LOL. It was plain to see between Barbara and I that something was different and we definitely wanted to hug each other. We came to the conclusion that it would be nice to meet at the gym and do our own class in the studio over the Christmas holidays so we exchanged our cell phone numbers and thus began the texting. I talked about it with my wife and assured her it was nothing just class friends meeting AT THE GYM…..what could be wrong? Barbara had become very important to me and I saw nothing wrong still. She was just a friend, we were becoming “good friends” right? Nothing wrong with that. I always wanted to have a special friend something that I have never had since high school. Can a male not have a good female friend? I must admit here I had been praying for a special female friend. Yes a female. I just wanted to connect with someone, not just chat and swap stories over beer and wings that is common with males but to talk like special friends talk, about personal things and things that matter. I guess now it should of been a therapist I don’t know. As soon as we were by ourselves in the gym studio we exchanged Christmas hugs with huge smiles on both our faces. Why the hell I still never saw anything wrong I have no idea. Regardless what my needs were there is no excuse. How can I say I didn’t know what I was doing….but that is exactly what I am saying.
She lived within walking distance from the gym. It wasn’t long before I met her at her place and we conversed at the kitchen table. Meetings like this began to take place a couple times a week. Hugs turned to cheek kisses turned to lip kisses. Then there was the tour of her house. Then the bedroom got involved. I always was so excited to share time and space with her in the kitchen but then we started to develop sexual chemistry. This is something I didn’t start but didn’t turn down either. At that time I would do anything to keep her friendship.
I am still involved with her. We have so much in common. Something that I don’t’ experience with my wife. Something I realize with an affair is the incompleteness of it. For the most part we just get to experience the joys of relationships. I do believe the love for her is something very real and powerful….but also incomplete. I am struggling to break off with Barbara and to begin at repairing my life with my wife.The way I see it is with Barbara I could experience a life doing things with her that we have in common rather than just take my wife Susan (not her real name…..another girl I had a crush on in elementary school haha) on these excursions. For me there is no joy in sharing an experience with Susan who is just going along for the ride even in the knowledge that she is doing it because she loves me. It is so different when you are actually mutually enjoying a shared experience. Also I have it in the back of my mind what I have done to Susan and our marriage. Do I go back to what got me here in the first place? In my mind I have always communicated my needs with Susan and when the discussion got heated I would always back off. I realize now all of my unmet needs has brought me to where I/we are now.
Susan knows my heart is somewhere else which has caused us to receive individual counselling and also marriage counselling. She is willing to work and I feel I must give it a try. Right now I have woken at least partially from my fog and found myself in love with Barbara and not my wife Susan. Susan is a kind and loyal wife even though maybe she hasn’t been the friend I have needed all these years. That is something we have talked about. In the past she has said that it’s a lot of pressure to put on one person. This has caused me to go and get a life without her doing my own thing. Now I don’t know after all these years how can I enjoy doing things with her. To me I have had training for plenty of years to the contrary. I now struggle for the strength to do what is right knowing I will need to recover as much as I can from Barbara after devastating her, myself and Susan.
We meet after the gym at her house roughly three or four times a week. Sometimes we talk, other times we make love.
I don’t plan to tell my wife about the affair if I can get away with it. She doesn’t deserve what I did. This affair is something that if you told me two or four or any amount of years ago that I would of been involved in never would I have agreed with you. I will never do this again……to much pain and deceit. Yes, it’s wrong.
3. Tell me 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.
My honest feelings about my marriage at the beginning of the affair? I thought everything was good. I just felt very very lonely. I had spoken with my wife about my feelings of loneliness in the past and how much I needed more of her company but it seemed to always come down to she said she needed to choose between her friends and me and how unfair that was. So I just got hobbies and struck out on my own feeling good initially with the hobbies but eventually the loneliness would return and I would talk to her again. It seemed like just a cycle with my wife and I and we made a life out of it.
Looking back at the beginning of the affair i believe what I felt was a loneliness that I have never experienced on that level ever. Early in 2011 I had lost my mother who was someone I had a troubled relationship with but was beginning to put things together best as we could with our differences. I also have been estranged from my sister (my only sibling) for 20 years. The will from my mother was divided up to go 99% to my sister’s family. Her and I were also the executors of the will. This was quite hurtful knowing my mother kept this secret from me. I have no other family to share with other than my kids and wife. The death of my mother I think left me feeling orphaned and betrayed by my family.
4. Is this your first affair of any kind?
This is my first affair. Five years ago if you told me I would be in an affair I would of thought you crazy. I have never entertained the thought of another women. To look at my wife and I you would never suspect our marriage would ever suffer.
5. Why did you have an affair? What was going on in your mind that made an affair seem like a viable option?
I now believe I cheated out of loneliness. I was so caught up in loneliness and pain it was like my rationale went to sleep and I woke up in love with another women. My affair is an emotional one for sure. In the beginning I wasn’t at The OW place for sex at all. In my mind I wasn’t anyway. The sexual chemistry just started to evolve with our deepening feelings for each other. Something that I can’t say I have with my wife is sexual chemistry or chemistry of any kind. I have never experienced that before. It’s quite emotionally binding. With the OW meeting my short term emotional needs and the sexual chemistry we have……… goodness the pull to her literally takes my breath away.
Why not get divorced? One thing I am deathly afraid of is being alone….that I know would kill me.
6. How have you managed to keep it a secret? How did you hide the affair?
Hiding the affair hasn’t been easy. As you know being in an affair also causes a chasm in your current marriage and that is quite noticeable by any wife I’m sure. Mine is no exception. Something must happen soon. Right now I am in the middle of being quite afraid and knowing the affair can’t go on for ever. Courage seems short.
7. 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?
In the beginning stages of the affair I felt like I was on cloud nine but as time went on it became clear to me that I had fallen in love with this lady. Every stage of the affair seems to play out in slow motion all the while I am slowly waking up. Sheez. I am trying to cover the affair up but hiding feelings is becoming impossible. Something must happen soon. It’s pretty hard to hide not wanting to be with my wife. I must choose and do the right thing. Try to repair my marriage. How do I after 20 years of getting a life of my own with my own hobbies…..how do I learn to enjoy doing something with my wife again? It’s like a prisoner getting out of prison and prison life is all he knows. Goodness then there is the emotional pull of the OW.
The love for my wife seems to be lost. Can I find it again? I sure hope so. Then I hope we can be stronger together. I would rather go through life generally unhappy than go through this again.
8. Have you considered ending the affair?
Yes i have thought about terminating the affair. With those thoughts comes a very profound sadness. These feelings for the OW right or wrong are so very overpowering.
9. Do you feel remorse for what you are doing?
Remorse? Oh yes for sure. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. My wife didn’t deserve this. My affair partner didn’t deserve this. Honestly it is like I woke up on drugs one day and didn’t snap out of it until I realized I was in love with another women. I imagine my affair partner could offer an explanation of the same nature.
10. What have you learned about yourself during the affair?
With this affair I have learned a lot about my needs and how important they are. Maybe their importance is carrying more weight in my life now for some reason. I have tried to get my wife to dress and behave a little more like the other woman but the other women my wife is not.
I’m trying to keep my marriage. Another thing I have learned about myself is I can’t be trusted…..it leaves me with a profound sadness.
I really hope my wife doesn’t find out about the affair she didn’t sign up for that. I don’t see her not finding out as my lack of respect for her. Our marriage is in trouble. That we both understand now. My actions before that revelation are moot if we can get our love back and begin to satisfy each other. She still loves me. I need to try to find love with her again.
Sometimes I feel so close to leaving my marriage and other times I believe I should be going the route of attempting to repair it. Courage is obviously short or I would of made a choice by now. I never want to feel this way again or inflict this pain on another person.