At times during that awful weekend, and perhaps some evenings leading up to it, the AP would hint at or daydream aloud about some future activity together. I took it as meaningless chatter and assumed she saw it the same way. At the same time, I did little or nothing to discourage it. I don’t know if her musings were fantasies, jokes, or sincere ideas. I couldn’t tell the difference. I strongly suspect they were in the gray zone between jokes and fantasies. She talked about meeting me a year later, at my next job site. I neither encouraged not discouraged such talk. She fantasized about somehow coming into power or money and having me stay in her life. I did not contribute to this discussion. But, I let it continue, perhaps mining it for any nugget of flattery or validation I could find or imagine.
The next day I went about my normal life, a bit relieved to be away from the AP. I don’t recall if it was that day or the next day, but gradually I began to wonder whether the AP would get over her irrational panic attack that was supposedly related to driving speed and again make herself available for sex. I don’t know why I cared. Not only was my behavior sick, self-defeating, and amoral, the sex was infrequent and lousy and it was overshadowed by that woman’s increasingly annoying behavior. But, I kept thinking about the affair. It was like I had cut my hand reaching into a broken candy jar, but I kept compulsively reaching in again, despite continuing to suffer more cuts and despite not even enjoying the candy.
This really was addictive or compulsive behavior. I don’t mean to excuse my behavior by calling it that. But, if you ask me to explain my behavior in that case, I can’t think of a better explanation than some sort of pathology. Another image that comes to mind is a robot in a cheesy 1950s sci-fi movie attempting the same futile thing, again and again, until its circuits overheat and it shuts down.
It must have been Tuesday or Wednesday when I decided to e-mail her and see if I could bring her back into the affair. I think I wrote some stupid thing about missing her. I did not miss her. I missed the artificial ego stroking I was getting just from being in an affair. Soon we were right back in the affair the way we had been the previous week.
I think it was sometime during that final week when she asked me, rather out-of-the-blue, if I had cheated on my wife before. I said I had. I think I recall saying that I had cheated before “numerous” times or something like that. Why would I tell her that? Well, it was true. But, why not lie about it, to make the AP feel special or something like that? I didn’t care about making her feel anything. I do wonder whether maybe some extremely sick part of me wanted to hear me say that out loud. Maybe some sick part of me felt more manly when acknowledging my sexual experiences, however illicit, desperate, and sleazy.
TL continues to ask me why I used the word “numerous.” Why did I not hide that fact? I really don’t know. I’m not even sure I totally understand the question or its significance. I’m trying to figure out why I told that AP that I had cheated numerous times before.
Was it to suggest that I did not value my marriage and that the AP should feel no guilt in committing adultery with me? Maybe. I do really think this was a big part of why I said that. So, did I not value my marriage and not respect my wife? Well, yes, I did not. I was really not treating anything as a thing of value — not my wife, marriage, or children. Please don’t think I’m proud of that. It’s one of the most shameful and regrettable things I’ve known, in my life or the lives of most people around me. I wish to God I could go back and change my thinking to something more healthy, less self-centered, more thankful to God, and less self-destructive.
Is there some additional reason I told the AP I had cheated numerous times before? I welcome opinions from readers. I’ve offered my two best theories. Maybe there are other reasons that I’m just missing.