The story of my first affair is a reminder that no straight married person needs a straight friend of the opposite gender. Friendly acquaintances are normal. Friends that pre-dated the marriage and maintain occasional contact may be normal. But, during the marriage, developing a new friendship with someone of the opposite gender and devoting significant, consistent time and energy to that new relationship without your spouse’s involvement is a red flag. Even if it turns out to be just an emotional affair, it’s still giving something meant for your spouse to someone else. In my case, it wasn’t an emotional affair. I even tried to disguise it as an emotional affair, in last-ditch efforts to hide my cheating. But, all along, it was just an elaborate attempt to physically cheat, to get illicit sex.
How did it start? As I said, I began this so-called friendship with AP1, going to lunch with her and working out with her at the company provided gym, with the goal of turning it into a physical affair. One night during a work trip, I told AP1 I would be taking a new job elsewhere. She and I sat in silence a moment. She said something like, “Why do I feel so sad that you are leaving?” I saw my opportunity. I responded with, “I think it’s because in a different reality we could have been more than just friends.” We both went silent. I went to my hotel room. A few minutes later AP1 knocked on my door. I don’t remember what either of us said, but we hugged each other. I tried to convert the situation into sex right away, with kissing. She said, “No, I can’t do this.” We did not have sex that night.
The first time we actually had sex was a few days later. We skipped going to the gym and went to her apartment instead. I don’t recall what either of us said. But, we started our sexual affair. There was nothing remarkable about that sexual encounter or any of the small handful of other encounters with her that followed.
One day after a lunch date, for no apparent reason, AP1 asked me whether I still had sex with TL. I decided to make it sound like I regretted that I still had sex with TL. In fact, I was and always had been, a big fan of sex with TL. But, I thought if AP1 saw that part of me she might say to herself, “Hey, this guy is just using me.” I was just using AP1, for sex and for self-validation. So, I lied. I said sheepishly, “Well, sometimes I have command performances.” AP1 quietly took that thought onboard.
A short time later, AP1 confronted me with another question on that topic. It was a Monday. I had just come from a really nice weekend with TL. And, to my great pleasure, TL and I had sex that weekend. I know I seemed a bit quiet, distanced, and detached from AP1 that Monday. AP1 hesitatingly inquired, “Did you have one of your command performances this weekend?” Fearing that AP1 would see how I was using her, I continued my duplicitous act. “Yes,” I said, with a tone of regret and admission. “I thought so,” AP1 replied.
I’ll never be able to undo this shameful act. It makes me sick to think of it. Not only did I cheat on my wife, I also made the AP think she meant more to me than TL did. It wasn’t true. Even during such lowly lying and cheating, TL still meant far more to me than the AP did. But, I stabbed TL in the back with the most shameful lie, just to manipulate AP1 into continuing to give me sex.
Did I think about TL during this affair? Yes. My thoughts were self-centered and sick, full of stupid excuses for my hurtful behavior. But, I did think of TL. I practiced living a double-life. I went from full immersion in an illicit affair to playing like nothing was wrong while hanging out with my wife, all in the space of a few hours. I was being two different people. I was the very definition of lack of integrity.
Did I talk to AP1 about TL? Of course not. The last thing I wanted to do was remind AP1 that she was participating in a dead-end, false, temporary, and dishonest relationship. I went out of my way to make AP1 forget that TL even existed. I never spoke of TL to AP1, at all. It would have run counter to my strategy of manipulating AP1.