Monday, August 20, 2007

Adultery & Regret & Stains That Won't Come Out

Less I come across as "preachy", allow me to say I am only writing from my own personal experience.

I never set out to commit adultery 8 years ago. That was never the plan in my mind. I did not wake up one morning and think, “Gee. I think I’ll begin a quest to ruin countless lives today”. Like so many people have said before me, it just happened.

When I had been in my first marriage for 24 years, somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind, I got to thinking that there was something I was missing out on. I began thinking things like; how I married so young I never had a chance to live, and how I never really dated and how I missed out on having a social life.

My children were well up in their teen years and in my mind no longer needed me. Matter of fact my oldest had already moved out. My baby was a senior. I felt used up…hollow. We had been foster-parents, I had done volunteer work, received awards for the volunteer work, PTA, taken up hobbies, etc. Nothing was filling the void I was finding inside me now though.

My marriage had not been the best of them. There had been physical abuse in the earlier years, but we had gotten past all that and were finally getting to the point where we could have time to ourselves. We had never had a time we were just a couple since our firstborn arrived 7 months after we married…I was 16…he was 20. We had all grown up together. As far as “real world” circumstances, we were about as content as a couple could hope to be I suppose. Maybe comfortable would be a better word.

I had been a housewife through most of my marriage. Actually all but about 3 years of it I had stayed home. I didn’t want to have to worry about my kids before and after school and my husband didn’t want me to work, so my being a housewife worked out well. In February of that last year though, I felt like I was either going to go to work, have another baby, or lose my mind.

The time alone every day was just destroying me. My oldest was gone. My baby came home after school just long enough to change clothes and would then leave for work. I didn’t seem to have a purpose any longer. Maybe my illness was digging in it’s heels about that time too. I honestly believe the bipolar played a part in all this. Regardless, that’s when I went back to work “outside the home” as they used to say.

Then I met “Joe” (not his real name of course). Joe was my supervisor. I worked the midnight till 8am shift. Joe, who managed several locations and didn’t have to even be out at night, began spending a lot of time with me, just hanging around and joking and talking. We had a lot in common as far as our backgrounds and he would talk about his wife and kids and I would talk about mine.

At this point it is important for you to know, that I never had much self-esteem. When I looked (look) in the mirror all I could (can) see was fat and frumpy. I had been fat since my first pregnancy. I have PCOS and one of the manifestations of that is hirsutism and I had that too. I had been a housewife for 20 of 24 years and had not been around people much other than at church for a few hours each week.

When “Joe” began showing even more interest in me, I was just amazed. He was handsome. I mean out of a magazine handsome. He was a former cop, like I was. He WANTED to hear my cop stories – my husband had NEVER wanted to hear them. Joe was your typical tall, dark and handsome. He was so tender, yet he was all man. Very masculine. He was also 4 years younger than me, yet he was interested in me. I was absolutely swept away.

I though for the longest I was imagining things. I just KNEW he couldn’t really be interested in me; it had to be my mind playing tricks on me. Then he began asking me to go places with him. He began spending more and more nights with me on my job. It was obvious things were not going well at home otherwise he wouldn’t have been free to be away so much. I guess that’s one of the things I held onto when trying to justify in my mind what I was about to be involved in…because I knew it was coming.

Just before things became more serious, we had a conversation. We both knew the other was married. We both knew that situation was not going to change. We both understood we were not looking to change our circumstances…that we would never leave our kids nor our spouses. Before we actually made love the first time, there were a couple of times that we actually began and stopped before…uh…completing the deed. Neither of us had ever been unfaithful before.

I won’t sit here and tell you it was all horrible and unpleasant and completely a negative experience. There were many pleasures. It was awesome experiencing that feeling of “newness” and freshness; of someone wanting me even though I was fat and didn’t feel very “wanted”, yearning for me, touching me. The long, long conversations. I believe we each told secrets we had not shared with others. Having married so young, this was my first time as an adult falling in love with someone.

That first kiss; the first time he told me he loved me; the first time we made love…all those were beautiful and even now, knowing how much pain was caused, those things still bring a flutter in my heart. The memory of his face, of his voice, the scent of his cologne, the way he held my hair to his face that first time we kissed.

Joe and I had breakfast together most weekdays. Lunch a lot of days. Not very many suppers. Married people cannot do supper very well. That would be too obvious.

I will never forget one day I had ridden with him on a short business trip and his wife called. Neither of us had ever experienced that before. Neither of us had ever talked to our spouse in front of each other. As soon as I realized it was her on the other side of the phone, I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was the most horrible feeling in the world, or so I thought….but when the words “I love you too” passed from his lips into the phone to her ears, I almost vomited in his car.

I guess until that point and time, I had pictured her as some unfeeling, cold frigid mean woman who had “changed” after marrying him. Hearing him say “I love you too” to her forced me to believe that what we had talked about was true.

Our “affair” went on for 6 months. It ended one morning when we went to breakfast, he kissed me good-bye and said, “I’ll talk to you in a little while”, as was our usual routine. I never heard from him again. My phone didn’t ring and I never called his.

We had discussed ending it because of the misery we were caught up in when we were apart. Neither of us wanted to hurt anyone else and with every passing day we were risking that happening. I didn’t expect it to end that day though. So suddenly. So abruptly. I did by chance talk to him one time since that day. He said he knew it was coming to an end and he didn’t do “good-byes” well.

In the aftermath, although we were never “caught” during our affair, it did become known after it was all over with. My marriage was already over when it came to light, his damaged after she found out.

Maybe it is different for men, but I could never look at my husband the same once I had been with another man. Finally, I left. The pain I caused, in my own heart as well in others’ unfortunately will never leave completely. My husband of 24 years, the man I grew up with, was very hurt by my carelessness. By the decision I made the night I decided to go through with this affair. My son has had nothing to do with me since I left his daddy 8 years ago. There is no telling what effect I will never know about on down the road with my children, or Joe’s children.

Affair seems like such an innocuous little word. It seems so small and happy. Almost like a little party or get-together. that words seems to say right out loud how horrible and awful and sinful it truly is. How hurtful and demeaning.

Some of you will be very offended by this post. I don't blame you at all. There has not a day passed in 8 years that the thoughts of what I caused not rifled through my mind. There are days, many of them, that I consider the only time I will ever truly forgive myself is when I am no longer on this earth breathing. I may have written this rather light heartedly, but please know it wasn't as light hearted as it sounded.

There was a time in my life, when I was younger, I would use the term "never". There was a time I thought I was incapable of inflicting the kind of pain this caused. I've learned not to use the word "never" again.

I guess what I am stumbling around here trying to say, is that no matter how much greener that grass seems…and it may be greener, but it can leave stains that will never go away.


Kim said...

That is an amazing post. People do not understand that good people can do things they regret.

Deedee said...

It is very courageous of you to share your story. Many times we forget that there are consequences for our actions. I want to give you some hope though. There is still hope for your marriage, even after an affair even after a divorce. Hundreds of thousands of marriages are restored. If you are interested check out the following websites and
If you have repented for what you have done which sounds like you have God has already forgiven you and he will not remind you again. Now it is time to forgive yourself. Through Jesus everything is possible

Nais said...

I cheated on my girlfriend with her sister because my girlfriend was a horrible person to me and was always angry. I then realised after cheating that I was the horrible one and revenge was not the answer, no matter how bad the other person seems to be. I eventually told everyone about it out of guilt and her entire family were dissapointed. They didin't want to have anything to do with me anymore because I broke their trust. Its true there are a lot of concequences and they are not worth it at all.

Just me said...

Nais...One day you will need to forgive yourself. I wrote that post two years ago and to this day I cannot. It eats me alive. Please work on forgiving yourself. Don't become me.

Nais said...

I try everyday to forgive myself its been months now since I told them I cheated but like you said, the pain eats you alive its so excruciating and its all I can think about. It's the biggest regret of my life and sometimes I get so tired and down I find it hard to function in keeping a daily life and I wanted to find someone who I can relate to. Thats how I came across your post. Thank you so much for giving me your input.