I cheated on my husband Nic, with a guy I shall call Paul.
Only twice have I had the “struck by lightning” feeling when I’ve met someone. The first time was 20 years ago with a man I stayed with for five years, and with whom I am still very close friends. Paul was the second.
We had been introduced by a friend, who noticed the connection and quite deliberately left us alone. We got chatting about sex and sexuality, he was in a poly situation at the time and I had recently realized I was naturally poly despite being in a mono relationship. It was nice to talk to someone about it. We both geeked out about the same nerdy things, we had the same attitudes to sex, we had similar fetishes, we worked in the same job, we had shared experiences and viewpoints about religion, politics, education, and life in general. But there were enough differences to be able to have a good row without it getting nasty. He was fun and relaxed and we enjoyed each other’s company.
I don’t do one night stands. I don’t have sex with someone without getting to know them very well first. My marriage was, and is, sacred to me. All of this led me into fooling myself I could be sensible.
Of course, we weren’t sensible; we were pushing the boundaries from the beginning. The night we were introduced had he kissed me, I would have kissed him back. Despite that we arranged to meet a couple of days later. I knew it was stupid, but I did it anyway. We went for dinner. I went back to his. We stayed up chatting until 4 in the morning. I slept on the sofa. I tried masturbating when he went to bed, but it didn’t work. At 7:30 his housemate was due to get up, so Paul and I had agreed to get up before him and make ourselves and the open plan living room/kitchen a bit decent. At 7 Paul did come in, but he had had as much luck at sleeping (and as it turns out, wanking) as I had. He suggested I join him in his bed. Just to sleep. He didn’t have any sheets on the bed so we had to make it together (it went seamlessly, without a hitch, without a word being said). I borrowed a pair of his boxers and put them over my knickers, I kept my tee-shirt on. I rolled over onto my side with my back facing him. He came up behind me and snuggled me. He had an erection. I came instantly. That’s a huge downside to being as orgasmic as I am – control is sometimes impossible. After that I didn’t stop to think about anything. I knew I shouldn’t be cheating and at various points I could have turned back but I didn’t. I hold full responsibility for my actions.
My brain did wake up eventually, when it came to penetration. That was my line. I don´t know why that was the line, I don´t know why it didn´t appear earlier, nor why it was so firm then, but it was.
After we had slept some, we had brunch together and chatted and made out a little more, but it wasn’t the same. We both felt disturbed by what had happened. We talked about wanting to get together again, but he had broken his “no mono attached people” rule and I had broken my marriage vows. I knew I would have to tell Nic. I knew it could be the end of my marriage.
Despite what happened, I never felt guilty, not at the time and not since. I don’t think caring about someone else is wrong, neither do I think enacting on that is wrong. The emotions and act itself were not immoral. BUT I am ashamed of the fact that I betrayed Nic’s trust in me. I am cross with myself for not having more control and stopping things before they got too far. I hurt Nic and that is something I do not like about myself. Nic deserves better.
One of the reasons I never felt guilty about Paul was because it gave me so much to think about, reasons to explore my own feelings, and a framework for doing that. Through Paul I came to realize that I could not be monogamous and still have human contact. I knew that I would have feelings for people again, and I needed to learn how to manage those feelings.
I also realized that I could no longer go on denying my sexual self and having what was (at the time) very little and very underwhelming sex. Something had to give.
As a result of my cheating, a few permanent changes happened within less than a month:
- I stopped shutting myself away and avoiding spending time with people I might find attractive.
- Nic realized that he had to look after himself a bit more and stop trying to focus all of his attention on me, he had to find ways to enjoy life, something he had forgotten how to do the longer we were married.
- Nic remembered that I was a sexual being. He looked at me the way others looked at me. I carried myself differently, I felt desired again. And that meant Nic desired me. We started having sex more regularly.
- Nic realized that he had certain barriers in his sexual make-up which stopped him enjoying sex.
- Nic and I started a path of exploration, including looking at ourselves as individuals and a couple in new, challenging, heartbreaking, fun, and entertaining ways. Our communication improved and we learnt to live with ourselves, in our own skins.
One thing is certain though, my cheating days are over. I have no doubt boundaries will get smudged as Nic and I open our marriage and work out exactly how to deal with different scenarios, but never again will I end up in bed with someone without Nic’s explicit permission. Both Nic and I deserve to be respected more than that. Nic deserves better and I deserve better.
Nic, if you read this post (sometimes you do, sometimes you don't), I love you and I am genuinely sorry I put you through so much shit the last 15 months. You are a remarkable human being.