I saw a few blog posts that got me writing some thoughts on cheating. The following began as a reply to another blog but grew too lengthy. Then I added to it bit by bit over the course of several days.
My wife had an affair and we separated. While we were separated, I had a (not quite) sexual encounter with another woman even though I had the idea of reconciliation in my mind and didn’t intend to do anything with another woman until we were divorced. That night, I simply thought, “Why on Earth am I putting these restrictions on me? She cheated! We’re separated!”
It still felt so wrong to be kissing and touching another woman. I was upset while it was happening. It felt good to be wanted. I felt like I was cheating. I felt so alone and I needed to get physical. I felt like I needed to take this big step forward, out of my marriage. I felt like it officially ended my marriage and I did not want that. All of these confused, conflicting feelings came over me, pulling me one way then the other then back again.
Since we have reconciled, I’ve wondered if I could engage in an affair. Could it happen if I was in just the right (wrong) circumstances?
I’ve always protected the marriage by refusing to spend time alone with or even form any kind of friendships with other women. While I believed I could trust myself to not get into trouble, I also knew that the world is full of people who thought it could never happen to them.
If you befriend and/or spend time with a member of the opposite sex, you’ve taken the first step toward an affair. You may not believe it, you may think that’s ridiculous, but it is possible. I think the less you believe it could possibly happen, the more at risk you are. I mean, how can you protect the marriage if you don’t even acknowledge the potential for danger?
Refusing to form friendships with other women was especially important to me as I was not getting my needs met in my marriage.
I used to go to a meditation group. One night, while I was once again upset at how Carol was treating me, I was at the meditation group, talking with a regular about my health issues. There was one woman in the group who was so damn gorgeous, it was painful to look at her, and while I was away from my miserable, distant wife that night, this woman looked particularly beautiful.
This woman was apparently listening in on the conversation I was having because she approached me and gave me some kind words while gently touching me on the arm. I became overwhelmed with desire for her. I wanted her badly.
After the group was done for the night, I sat in my car, wondering what happened to me. I thought about Carol. Maybe I had had enough. Maybe I didn’t love her anymore.
That feeling went away as things seemed to smooth over again. I went to the group a few more times where I wouldn’t look at or talk to the other woman. I stopped going to the meditation group soon after for a number of reasons, one being my fear of feeling that feeling toward this woman again.
I told Carol that story while we were separated. I was being treated poorly by her, I felt temptation, I stayed away from the temptation. I was showing her how I was human too but unlike her, I didn’t dive into dangerous waters head first in spite of the overwhelming amount of warning signs and alarms. I was aware of my human nature and the danger and behaved accordingly.
Though I still can’t imagine myself becoming a cheater, I know I’m more at risk than ever before. I’ve been betrayed and I’m very angry and hurt much of the time.
Hell, it could’ve even happened on my drunken night out. Angry, betrayed man goes out and has too much to drink with gay friend who is often surrounded by straight women. That’s a good recipe for cheating. That was the recipe that got me making out with another woman while separated.
Instead, hanging out with the same person, going to the same places, while drinking even more than the first time, nothing happened. I bitched about life, I spoke the philosophy of Joe, then after an unimaginable amount of alcohol, I said, “I want to go home.”
But what if it was during this second night out with Alex that I met someone like Tiffany? What if instead of getting attention from another woman while we were separated, I received it after Carol and I got back together. Would I be tempted?
These are things I can’t know the answer to, as it played out differently. In the future, things can come up and I have to be prepared to deal with them and make the right choices.
I trust myself, but I’m a man carrying a lot of hurt and anger so I have to be careful and recognize that I am not safe from making the wrong choices in a perfect storm of circumstances and a weak moment.
Protect the marriage by being aware.