I conducted that first affair, against the backdrop of an otherwise happy marriage with TL. It wasn’t perfectly happy. I still had my sick obsessions, jealousies, and insecurities. TL asked me to see a therapist. I tried it, a couple times. But, I gave up, not having spent enough time with the therapist to identify the sick obsessions as the root of my problems. I simply stopped talking to TL about my sick obsessions, hoping that they would subside if I ignored them.
This only hid my real vulnerabilities from TL and from me. Most of the time I went about thinking I was gradually becoming more content. But, when I was alone and unaccountable, I sought illicit means of self-medicating my feelings of inadequacy and self-pity. I remember beautiful weekends of long drives or walks with TL and quality time together. Then, at work, I turned around and undermined those positive memories by selfishly seeking an illicit sexual outlet.
And, yes, I was a hypocrite in other related ways. I was taking advantage of both worlds, illicit sex and holy matrimony, at the same time. But, I would be extremely jealous if I thought some other man was giving TL too much attention. There’s nothing defensible about that. It’s despicable and hypocritical. I think the cheating and possessiveness actually came from the same source. They were two sides of the same coin. The source was my insecurities, my low self-esteem. It made me over sensitive to competition. It also was the way I rationalized my cheating.
Then I did something that makes me want to hide every time I think of it. I called a guy friend and bragged to him about my affair. I called him and said I was torn between my life with TL and my affair. I said AP1 was attractive and gave me plenty of sex. I said TL was less interested in giving me sex. I left out the part about TL being discouraged regarding sex with me because of my insecurities, hounding her about the past, and unwillingness to be satisfied by anything she did. I did mention that I loved TL and was grateful for her care and friendship.
The friend may have thought I was trying to decide whether to leave my wife. TL interpreted this story that way too, when I told her. The more I remember it, the more I understand that I never wanted to leave TL. I never doubted I would continue with her and part ways with AP1 as soon as I moved to my new job. This conversation with my friend was boasting. Spurred by my sick insecurities, I wanted to hear myself tell someone else that I was getting sex from another woman. It wasn’t enough to put a notch in my belt. I had to show someone. Otherwise, it would be a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it.
The result of that conversation with my friend was a ruined circle of relationships. TL thinks I was actually trying to weigh her value to me versus that of the affair. She is humiliated that I shared my illicit back-stabbing with that friend. And, I am ashamed to ever see that friend again. His very existence is a reminder of the cruelty I inflicted on TL, the cruelty I wish I could erase. All this came from my sick desire to boost my ego by bragging about sex, like a teenager. I was twenty-eight when I behaved that way.