Following are the first of Reader Responses to my August 2 outreach to share stories and concerns about cheating or being betrayed. These responses show that women and men are equally capable of falseness and disloyalty:
Reader #1 – “I’m a man who knows that it happens both ways, especially with some women con-artists who are gold-diggers.
“My personal experience: I married in 2013, she had four kids from two other men; I built a new five-bedroom home for them all to be settled.
“In 2015, I suddenly needed open-heart surgery, and my money dried up during the months I was off work. I’ve never seen anyone run so fast!
“Three years later, I’m still trying to get my divorce finalized. Turns out she’d had a 20-year-old secret relationship.
“I have to believe she was only with me for the money, while some of us are just looking for lasting love.
I wonder if your shout-out for stories is a sign as I just started a sexual affair with a married co-worker.
It was just an innocent flirt via a work email that I sent, but then it went "offline" to whatsapp messages, which he initiated.
It turned to sexting and now is sex at my place before work or during lunch, since I live close to our workplace.
I know it's wrong, but I’ve previously been cheated on and think it's time for me to be selfish, and have this fun and naughty adventure... the forbidden fruit.
We don't talk about his wife, he doesn’t have kids. Perhaps if kids were involved, I wouldn’t cross that line.
He admitted that he’s cheated before. We don't share things emotionally and only converse during the work week, never on weekends.
At work, we keep things professional while sending flirty and sometimes-sexy messages occasionally.
I know what I’m doing is wrong, and have been reading articles on this. I’m single, have been online dating, but this sexual tension between us is just so intense.
I know that one day we’ll walk away from it... with no hard feelings (although it's hard to put aside feelings the longer this continues). I struggle with it every day.
Perhaps I'm just needing the attention (although I can get sex from my ex). My feelings and thoughts are all over the place.
I know we have no future and for me it's just fun and sex.
I’ll have to stop it if I want something more substantial and true companionship but now, I feel selfish like the guys I’ve dated who cheated on me.
No one would even suspect I’d do this because I’d never cheat if I were in a relationship.
Am I a Bad Person?
It’s easy for most of us to think that the woman in the first question is “a bad person,” because she only married the letter-writer for his money, all the while carrying on a 20-year affair.
In your case, you already have stirrings of guilt while still maintaining your right to be selfish like the men who cheated on you.
But the recipient of your revenge-sex is this man’s wife, who’s an innocent stranger to you. She’s the one whose husband is rushing out the door in the morning to your place and never suggesting she meet him for lunch, because that’s another time when you two are cheating… on her.
You don’t love him (and would have trouble trusting him if you did).
Knowing this, end it.
FEEDBACK Regarding asking your readers to share their feelings about cheating and how it affects the partner who’s betrayed (August 3):
Reader – “I’m a woman who’s had two long, important relationships, one with my first husband whom I loved and with whom I had our children (we divorced only after many years, when we’d grown apart. It wasn’t what I wanted).
“And the next relationship which became a great partnership in marriage, was with a man I loved dearly who died accidentally.
“Now, on my own, I still have opportunities to meet men and to consider dating. But I’d never agree to go out with or become emotionally involved with someone who’s already in a relationship.
“My way to support spouses is to ask a man who’s reaching out to become friendly with me, about his spouse. This lets us both know what level the friendship is really on.
“I’ve never dated anyone who’s in a relationship. It’s wrong.”
Tip of the day:
Cheating while married or with a married person, always ends up hurting the betrayed spouse deeply.