I’m 33, working full-time, mother of two children, married for ten years to a man who earns a lot but works very long hours and is often too busy or too tired for sex.
I rarely travel alone but got invited to a work-related conference, held in another city. I decided to go since the children would still be at school then, and my Mom could babysit till their father came home.
My seat on the plane was next to a man who gave me a friendly hello. When he ordered a glass of wine he asked if I’d join him. I accepted, and he paid for mine, too.
The rest of the flight was full of easy conversation, flattery from him, and a feeling I’d almost forgotten about feeling attractive and admired.
He offered to share his taxi with me when we landed.
He was married, too, yet I seemed to lose all caution about what was happening. Since I was too early for the conference, I said nothing when the taxi stopped at his hotel and he invited me to join him.
Two hours later, I took a cab to my own hotel. I later sat through the dinner and welcoming speeches asking myself how what I’d done would affect my life back home.
Three months later, I’m still not sure.
I never heard from that man again though he knows how to reach me. I haven’t allowed myself to contact him.
But I’m at a loss about what those stolen hours say about my future.
Am I, contrary to my upbringing and values, now susceptible to repeated cheating? Am I just lonely because my husband’s always working or tired?
Or am I with the wrong man and need to break up my family in order to find a happier life?
Cheating is an action you willingly took, but it doesn’t have to become your self-definition.
The slam-bang sex was a poor substitute for what you were really seeking: attention and admiration from a man with whom you’re in an intimate, ongoing relationship.
It doesn’t happen in two hours.
But a ten-year marriage with two children deserves taking the steps to try to make your relationship more connected.
If ever there was a need for marriage counselling, it’s NOW for both of you. Tell your husband this. (No, I don’t advise confessing to the cheating, but have yourself checked to be sure your last sex partner didn’t pass on any sexually transmitted infections.)
You both need to raise the problem issues and feelings about them: Does he work unusual hours because he’s driven in his career, or to make more money than is really needed, or to avoid home life with the kids and talking/intimacy with you?
Would you two be closer if you showed more interest in talking to him about his work? Are your lifestyle tastes and wants part of the reason he’s so intent on earning a lot?
The main purpose of this discussion – whether between yourselves or with a professional counsellor – is to discover if there’s still an element of caring between you.
If Yes, work on it. Your kids deserve that effort.
If No, then say so when you’re sure, and do the work of re-framing your life as a separated/divorced mother with shared child custody.
Cheating is only an escape from reality. And this past episode doesn’t even qualify as more than a blip.
My husband’s brother-in-law smokes constantly even though he’s aware that it makes me cough.
My husband’s close to his sister and regularly invites her and her husband to our place. Even though I start coughing from the smell of his clothes, her husband lights up and mine ignores it.
He won’t get involved because he believes his controlling brother-in-law will prevent these visits (we’re rarely invited to their place).
How can I protect my health and handle this situation?
Tell your husband that you encourage his closeness to his sister, but not at your health’s expense.
Explore some solutions together: e.g. in good weather, sit outside and serve a barbecue meal, or organize a family picnic in a park, always staying at a distance from him. Occasionally invite them as your guests to a smoke-free restaurant
Also, encourage your husband to visit his sister without you, but he must launder his clothes to clear the smoke smell.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let a rare, bad choice of cheating define you. Focus on the reasons, and change what you can.