My Husband's Affair Didn't End Our Marriage, My Emotional Affair Did


My husband and I had been married for 10 years when he came to me and told me he'd had a month-long affair with a woman he'd met at work. She'd approached him one day, and he said he rebuffed her and told her he was married, but she persisted.

Before he knew it, he was screwing her in our family car when I was home with our three kids, wishing he was with us one Friday night. He told me he was out with friends and I believed him. He'd never given me any reason to doubt him. I trusted him. I loved him.

But I don't regret any of that. He should have resisted all advances because that's what you do when you are married and in love and really devoted to someone. You love them and stay true when they are at their best -- and at their worst.

We tried to wok it out. We tried damn hard for six years, but eventually we divorced. But, not because of the affair he had. Because of the affair I had.

I started talking with an old friend from work. I'd met him in my 20s, and while there was no romantic connection then, he alluded to the fact that he'd wished he'd told me how he felt about me before I got married. I felt he was flirting and brushed him off. I was a married woman and I'd never been unfaithful, not even in high school or college. I'm a monogamous person by nature.

But I didn't stop talking to him. I didn't want to.

He made something come alive inside me that had been missing for a very long time. I felt like he was seeing me, and it had been so long since I had been seen by another man, I'd forgotten what it felt like to be pursued and I liked it. A lot.

We'd talk for hours. We'd text and we'd chat on the phone. I started missing him and thinking of him while I was lying in my bed next to my husband.

After a few months, we started talking about what could have been in more detail. I thought of him constantly, had fantasies about him and I wanted more than what we had.

While things never got physical between us, not even after my divorce, I realized fantasizing about a life with another man while I was married was a sign of how unhappy I was -- how unhappy we were.

I kept telling myself I was validated to do what I was doing because my husband actually cheated. He had an affair for over a month. He'd had sex, he'd lied and he was worse than me.

I wanted to be doing this for revenge, but I knew I was doing it because I wanted to. I knew he'd had an affair because he'd felt the same way I did: unhappy and restless.

We'd created a beautiful life together, but in the process we fell out of love. His affair hurt me, my affair hurt him. After I confessed to him, he said, "The writing is on the wall," and in that moment, we both knew it was time to let each other go.

Every situation is different, but I knew I could handle my husband having an affair, as strange as that sounds. I felt we could work it out if we were both all in, but we weren't.

What I couldn't handle was knowing I wanted to be with another man -- not to get back at my husband but to reach for something else. Something he was no longer giving me that I was trying to get from someone else.

That's when I knew we were over. I wish we'd never fallen out of love, but we did. And I'm thankful we parted ways before we hurt each other more.

This essay originally appeared on our sister site and was republished with permission.

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