Two years ago, if you had asked me if I would ever cheat on my husband, I would have been very comfortable saying that I absolutely would not. I remember in the past, reading about married women cheating and feeling very self-righteous and looking down on these women. My thought was that unhappily married women should either try to fix their marriage or get out, but not cheat.
But, last year I did become one of those married women cheating on her husband. My husband and I had just had our fourteenth anniversary a few months earlier and although we had some problems, I was not one of those unhappily married women who consciously decided to sleep with another man because I was unhappy.
I noticed that we had been drifting apart for almost a year. We were spending less time together, especially alone, without the kids. We rarely laughed anymore or talked about anything important. Gradually, we were having sex less and less. Even so, I had no desire to be one of those married women cheating on her husband for excitement or attention or any of those reasons that married women have affairs.
However, while our kids were away for three weeks at summer camp, I went back to my hometown to spend some time with family. I had been home for a week when I ran into an old friend (not a boyfriend) from high school who invited me out for coffee. We got together three more times, all very innocent and public, before we found ourselves having sex at his home.
Because I had never dated this man and wasn’t particularly physically attracted to him at first, I thought nothing of spending time with him. But, like a lot of unhappily married women, I was so flattered by his compliments, his attention and his telling me that he had always had a thing for me and still carried a torch. I guess these were things I had wanted to hear.
I never saw the man again after we had sex, although he continued to call for a few days. I was absolutely devastated that I had become one of those married women cheating on her husband with someone she barely knew, simply because he gave her attention. So, I went home a few days early, telling my husband that I had gotten bored and homesick. I was actually disappointed that he couldn’t tell something was really wrong. A couple of weeks later, I decided to see a marriage counselor.
The first thing the counselor wanted to work on was my guilt. He wasn’t trying to get me to let go of it, because I had done something very wrong, but he wanted me to use it as motivation to fix the problems in my marriage.
We talked a lot about how I had helped contribute to my husband’s distance by being distracted with all of my duties and projects and by waiting for my husband to initiate romance when I could do the same. I started seeing how I had helped create the situation I was in and that made me a lot less resentful toward my husband and a lot more willing to fix my marriage. Surprisingly, my counselor didn’t insist that I needed to tell my husband that I cheated and so far, I haven’t.
I’ve heard statistics saying that married women are cheating more than ever before, partly because we are all so busy these days. I think that’s what started our issues. Since then, I’ve been very intentional about spending time alone with my husband, focusing on us as a couple and working on my own issues as well. I still go to counseling every other week and am probably going to ask my husband to go soon.
Please don’t think you would never become a married woman cheating with someone else. I never thought it would be me, but I should have taken steps to make sure.
I was very reluctant to do the program, but I told my wife Michelle I would do it, essentially as a last ditch effort. It turned out to be one of the major things that helped save our marriage.
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