I follow some blogs written by “the other woman” or by people who are in affairs outside of their marriages and there is one common chord which almost always underlies the writing. Loneliness. It’s rarely the topic of discussion – unless it’s a holiday or other special event and the lovers aren’t together – but it is a constant feeling that something is missing from their world.
A quick history if you haven’t followed my blog – my husband started cheating on me about a year into our marriage, he is a sex addict. I reached out to an ex boyfriend who I had dated for over a decade for friendship and familiarity. My ex and I eventually became physical/romantic. My husband and I were concurrently cheating. We both came clean and our relationship is now filled with love, honesty, compassion and I am completely grateful and satisfied.
When I was in the midst of my affair I spent my days longing to be with my ex. I woke up thinking of him, went to bed missing him. We would text how much we missed one another – how we needed to be together – how ridiculous it was that we weren’t. We were constantly planning our next rendezvous (though in actuality they were very rare). But now that I have stepped away from the fire and look back on that time, I see that that the relationship was actually just a fantasy to distract myself from the incredible pain of being in a marriage which lacked honesty and passion. It wasn’t that I actually wanted to be with my ex – it was that I couldn’t bear to admit that there was nothing better in my future than a marriage to someone who could cheat and lie as my husband had. I imagined that the ex would give me something else, something better, something to look forward to. Of course he wouldn’t have. I know that now.
I read words from women who are married but keeping a boyfriend – or single women who have fallen for a married man – and I remember those feelings so clearly. The longing, the passion, the desire, missing him all day and all night, heart racing when you get a text or an email, relief when you are finally in his arms, tears when you say good bye. It’s like a hollywood movie with all of it’s emotion and drama. But for me, all of those feelings were simply a romanticized distraction to protect me from looking at my real life. If I did look at my life then I WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. The relationship was a fantasy which helped me get through the day and ignore my reality. The truest feelings during my affair were actually guilt, sadness, disappointment, fear, fear, more fear and loneliness. I wasn’t physically with my lover and I wasn’t emotionally with my husband. I was nowhere.
The remarkable thing about an affair is that both sides are so good at playing their roles in it…and when they do, love is actually never exchanged. I didn’t REALLY expect my ex to give into his feelings because I knew he felt it would always be better if he remained alone, a hope that justified his inability to actually take me away. And I could in return profess my love for him knowing he would never ask me to prove it.