I guess it’s as good a time as any to get this post up.
In 2005, I betrayed my husband…
This is the story… Along with 10 years of hindsight.
I met a guy… Ironically, neither my husband or I can remember his name. I h ope that attests to the insignificance of the relationship, but I doubt it minimizes the hurt My husband felt and perhaps still feels. And that isn’t my intent. We both think his name was “Mike” but are not completely convinced that is his name. We know a lot of Mikes and there are a lot of Mikes in the world.
But the story..
I don’t remember many of the details.. I know I was at a place, personally where things felt stagnant and boring. My husband works long hours, Monday thru Friday. He’s always had strong work ethics and loyalty to his employer.
I worked weekend nights so that he wouldn’t have to compromise his work week to manage or care for our young children. He rarely had to juggle a work schedule to meet the needs of s sick child or school vacation. Most of the time, this arrangement worked beautifully for us. I am so thankful that I have been mostly at home thru the years, raising our family. Even now.
There were many days in the early years of us that I was overwhelmed with the kids. I lost sight of myself. I put everything into my family and home. The kids were getting older, had friends, school, sports and social engagements. I wasn’t the center of their world anymore.
My husband was professionally driven. I took the role of homemaker and tried to manage everything. Home, kids, work, cleaning, cooking. You know.. All the things a mother does… When he got home at the end of a long day. He just wanted to chill, relax, hang with the kids, watch TV. I was lonely and bored.
I started playing an online game. I made some online friends and we’d get together at planned times to play. It was fun, filled the loneliness and I had friends that were totally not a part of my real world.
Then I met Red Dog.. His game name.. Thru these online friends.
Harmless it seemed. He started sharing about his life and wife and how unhappy he was. They were separated. He was easy to chat with.
I started confiding in him about my personal life. It became easy to commiserate with him. Our game chats eventually led to emails and phone calls (no texting then…)
I remember feeling excited and anxious to hear from him. It felt good to be noticed and have attention. I felt cared for. I’d anxiously check my email to see if he’d sent me anything, and was rarely disappointed.
His attention was filling the boredom and loneliness I was feeling at home. I don’t know if my husband noticed or not, but everything felt better. I felt attractive and desirable. I had more energy and enthusiasm about my daily grind.
I was able to justify the relationship because he lived 18 hours away. I was never going to see him. So really, it was all harmless in my mind… It wasn’t real. It wasn’t going to affect my marriage.
My husband was planning to take the kids away to our family cabin, to give me a few days break. I was so excited for the break!
I had a manicure and pedicure. Went shopping. Made plans with my online friends to play our game.
Of course Red dog knew I was going to be home for a weekend alone. We talked about it. Entertained meeting.. Even as unrealistic as it was. It felt safe to lead him on. Keep him interested and assure him that someday we’d meet. But in my mind.. It wasn’t going to happen. I just didn’t want him to know that because I loved his attention.
I don’t recall how it came about, but he plans to drive here when my husband was away. I didn’t encourage it, but probably entertained it. Really, I was content with the way things were. It was fun and fine (in my mind) to carry on the illicit virtual affair. Nobody was going to get hurt or even know.
I knew I was being deceptive. I made sure to delete emails and chats. But again was able to justify it. I was happier and he was no threat and lived 18 hours away. I don’t know what I “thought” I was doing, but I sure didn’t consider it cheating. It all felt so harmless
As I recall, he hinted a few times about coming here and I supported the idea in the beginning. When it got real and he was serious about driving here I got scared. Didn’t want him to, but sure the curiosity was there.
So off my family went. I didn’t hear from him the day they left. He had been hinting that he got me a gift. I probably encouraged him to deliver it but again, it was in fun. 18 hours away is a big buffer zone!
I spent a lovely day alone pampering myself… Something I hadn’t done in years. I got home in the mid afternoon and he called. He was in town and wanted me to join him at his hotel, minutes away.
This is where it gets messy for me.
I felt a bunch of crazy things. Mostly that I could get away with it and my husband would never find out. I also felt upset.. That he was invading my precious weekend alone. I didn’t want to share it with him.
Suddenly what felt so “harmless” left me unsettled and anxious.
And at the same time, what a testament to his interest in me.. Driving 18 hours.
So.. After a few calls and little persuasion I agreed to met him at a bookstore with a coffee shop.
I was curious about him.. Maybe I could get away with it… I got myself prettied up and with a sense of intrigue, guilt and obligation, I went to meet him.
Why guilt and obligation? I don’t know really.. But it’s where hindsight helps. I am one of those “guilty” old souls and apologize for everything. It’s an ongoing thing for me… I still struggle with it..
I know I felt “responsible” for him being here and that I should at least met him in person to tell him I had misled him. I felt guilty that I had led him to be serious about coming here. That I may have let him be live I was serious about meeting him someday.
I got out of my car at the bookstore and this guy came walking up to me.. I remember realizing just how tall he was. I knew he was over 6′ but seeing him was a reality check. He walked over to me and we hugged. He leaned in and I know we kissed, but awkwardly.
I don’t remember much about the conversation that followed, but it didn’t take me but a few minutes to feel uncomfortable and anxious for a way out. I quickly recognized that this was not so innocent anymore.
And it was my fault. I led this guy on. Let him believe that I was interested in him and wanted him to feel like he was special to me. And he was.. Until it was real. I didn’t want to cheat on my husband. I didn’t recognize that my actions were taking me directly down the slippery slop.
Suddenly the conversation turned tense. He was upset in my lack of interest in him. He was disappointed in me that he’d driven all this way and wouldn’t at least have sex with him, didn’t understand the big deal in me spending the night at his hotel. He reminded me that my husband would never find out.
He was persistent in expressing his dismay even after I made it clear what a mistake I’d made, apologized for misleading him, explained that I loved my husband and wouldn’t cheat on him.
I hugged him goodby to try to make peace as I got ready to leave. He followed me and being so tall was able to “corner” me at my car with his arms on the roof and around me. I’m only 5’1″.. I felt threatened and afraid. I told him he was frightening me. He tried to kiss a few times but I let it be known that I wanted to go. I wasn’t interested and I was scared.
He called me a prick tease.
I got home and he called a few times. I may have answered once. I know he tried to persuade me to come to his room a few times, but that all may have been at the bookstore and in the parking lot. Mostly I ignored his calls and deleted the messages from our answering machine.. Back in the day of landlines. I had no intent on telling my husband about it. Such a foolish mistake!
The evening was early, I got home and hung out with my online friends minus Red dog. I’m pretty sure I told my friends J & M about my visitor and the situation, leaving out that I’d intentionally led him on.
At some point my husband called to get the voice messages. I had missed one from Red Dog.
I don’t remember what the message said, but it was enough for my husband to know something inappropriate had happened.
He called me and asked questions.. I’m sure the same questions all betrayed ask, “who, why, what…” I tried to assure him that he had nothing to worry about. That I was home and nothing happened. He agreed to stay at the cabin as the kids were in bed.
“I love you” he said.
“I love you, too. See you tomorrow.”
I don’t recall any specific contact with Red dog after that evening. I stopped playing the game when he played and don’t remember an official “no contact” conversation or email.
I know my husband called him and was confident that nothing sexual had happened.
Red dog also told him that he was a “lucky” guy, because I wouldn’t cheat on him.
In the days and weeks that followed we had some serious conversation about cheating and fidelity commitment and monogamy.
I know I hurt my husband.
I never understood how much.