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I Had No Choice But to Have an Affair

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OK -- so I touched a nerve!

woman tearing wedding picture

Wife #2: It's hard to resist the urge to respond to the dozens of comments posted about my story "Don't Call Me a Husband Stealer." I can't possibly address all of the nasty things said (some of them were quite creative by the way) so I'm just going to talk about a common theme: selfishness.

A lot of you accused me of being horribly, disgustingly selfish. And I was selfish. But I had no choice.

Let's look at what would have happened had I stayed in my marriage:

I would have been miserable, dying a bit each day because I had walked away from the man I was meant to be with. My husband would have looked at me each day, knowing I was only there to preserve the illusion of stability for our children. And our children would have grown up with a loveless, angry marriage as a relationship role model.

If I told you what my marriage was like for the last several years before I left, you'd probably cut me some slack. I lived with a bully who made sport of disparaging me in front of others. But that's as much as I'll say because it's still not his fault. How good or bad my marriage was is almost irrelevant. I met my soulmate. Even if my marriage had been better, I would have left it for him.

As for the exes, who in their right mind would want to stay married to someone who no longer loved them? That's what both of our spouses would have lived with and that's no life.

Some of you think we should have stayed for the children, at all costs. What would we teach our kids by doing that? Living a lie is acceptable. Love is not paramount. Follow convention like sheep -- because guess what kids -- that's what you're supposed to do!

Life is not made up of black and white decisions. What you seem to be saying is staying in lousy marriages makes us perfect parents, leaving those marriages makes us ax murderers. Our children know we love them. And they'll learn that we did our best as parents, but we're flawed like the rest of the human race.

I'll tell you this: if my child came to me as an adult in a situation similar to ours, I wouldn't judge. I'd support her decision to be true to herself. I certainly wouldn't tell her to suck it up and be miserable. I wouldn't want her to be flip or frivolous. But I'd be sure she heard this loud and clear: Choose happiness.

To those of who you charged me with middle school behavior -- running off with the first boy who talked to me in the lunch line -- grow up. That may be your experience, but it's not mine. I've had more opportunities over the years than I can count -- with rich men, powerful men, beautiful men. None of it tempted me for a moment, even in a cratering marriage. This wasn't some cute guy in Bennigan's tapping me on the shoulder and sending me into orbit. This was the love of my life.

I don't expect forgiveness or even understanding. But what I'm stunned at in the community I live in and in this digital community is the intolerance. Divorce may never be a popular choice, but it's still my choice to make.

And here's the last thing I'll say. I think a lot of you are just scared. Scared it will happen to you and scared it won't. Scared that if once-in-a-lifetime knocks at the door, you won't be brave enough to answer.

next: Who's Your Birth Daddy? Charles Manson!
98 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous November 24, 2009, 6:04 AM

Everyone has a choice and you chose to have an affair with a married man. I dont think anyone is suggesting you stay in a loveless marriage but why didnt you end it first. If you plan on being with this new man for the rest of your life then what is the harm in both of you taking the time with ending your marriages first and then moving on with you lives together. You are teaching your children if your unhappy it gives you the right to cheat and lie and the fact is is that is never OK. In the end everyone would have had much more respect for you if you both ended your unhappy marriages first. The only people who you are going to find that will agree what you did was right are people that have done the same thing you have. So stop trying to convince people with morales that what you did was right becouse its not going to happen.

PlumbLucky November 24, 2009, 6:35 AM

Justify, rationalize, excuse.

Sorry, you did have a choice. You could have honored your marriage vows to your first husband. I know mine didn’t say “til I find someone better”.

You didn’t want to teach your children that living a lie was acceptable behavior? Okay, so you taught them it was okay to break vows, to cheat on your spouse, and to upend their lives for your “soulmate”.

If you didn’t want judgement for being the other woman and for being an adultress (hello, you cheated while you were married, that makes you an adultress), you should have just kept your trap shut instead of expecting support. Maybe if fewer like you bragged about it, there might be more sanctity of marriage.

I do wish you and your now-husband well, for the sake of your collective children. But man, if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night - if he cheated once, I doubt he’ll stop.

Chris November 24, 2009, 6:58 AM

“It’s hard to resist the urge…”, apparently so.

CrazyPolynesian November 24, 2009, 7:56 AM

No disrespect, but you didn’t “have” to have an affair. Nobody put a gun to your head and said “Have this affair, or else!” The issue that some of these readers are having is that they believe that you should have closed the door and wrapped up business before opening a new door.

But you’re right about not having to be miserable. You just sought your happiness in a manner that was hurtful and very damaging.

LikeUcare November 24, 2009, 7:59 AM

And if anybody is scared, it would appear to be YOU! Where’s your pic, Wife #2???

Jamie November 24, 2009, 8:29 AM

“But I had no choice” YOU 100% had a choice - you could have chose to leave this alleged “bully” and start your own life with your children. But no, you chose to stay in your marriage and have an affair someone else’s husband. You even state that it was him, not you, who chose to come clean with his wife about the affair.

“you’d probably cut me some slack. I lived with a bully who made sport of disparaging me in front of others” Once again, your choice. I find it hard to believe that a person suddenly becomes a bully out of nowhere. SO either your knew he was a jerk and chose to not only marry him, but also have children with him anyway or you just made this up to absolve yourself of all culpability.

“What would we teach our kids by doing that? You would teach your children that instead of choosing to have an affair and ruin their families you chose to get marriage counseling and work on the vow you took and the commitments you both made. Instead you chose to teach your kids that its okay to cheat once the butterflies wear off and marriage because day-to-day or difficult, that’s it’s okay to cheat if there is chemistry.

“I think a lot of you are just scared” Hmmm, you see from your tone of writing it is clearly you who are scared. Scared that as soon as your current guy finds that same special feeling with another woman he’ll leave you for her - which clearly he will since that’s apparently how the two of you operate.

And interestingly enough, still no real picture of yourself or name. If you truly believed in what you wrote you wouldn’t hide behind a cartoon.

Anonymous November 24, 2009, 8:36 AM

Your story is like mine except I happen to be male AND I had an affair for 18 months and then spent another 12 months separated from my wife trying to figure it all out. Then I got the divorce and moved on with the woman I had the (ongoing) affair with.
The other difference: I don’t try to rationalize it. I had a choice. I spent a long-time trying to figure it out (not 3 weeks). I still feel guilty. What I did was selfish, short sided, hurt my wife whom I loved when I married her 15 years earlier and it hurt my children.
I hope you can find a way to at least be honest with yourself.

kelly November 24, 2009, 8:37 AM

It may have been a little wiser to seperate from your husband first (no one should stay in a bad marriage, even for the kids, believe me they know). You could have then really figured out if you had truly found the love of your life or if he was just your perfect excuse, your golden ticket out of a bad marriage.

Anonymous November 24, 2009, 8:55 AM

it would have been different if you didn’t have an affair. if you left him and then started whatever. you shouldn’t have cheated.

TH November 24, 2009, 9:51 AM

I completely understanding you not wanting to stay in a loveless marriage and wanting to spend your life with your “soulmate”… BUUUT wht in the hell is wrong with you?!?! CHEATING is NEVER good even if your husband HATED you!! If you didnt love him and he didnt love u and treated you so badly the same courage you had to cheat on him you should have had to leave him BEFORE you cheated!

I too want the best for my son and I want him to be happy but teaching him that cheating to get what you want is not good parenting! what are u gonna tell your kids “yes mommy was so hot in her pants for her ‘soulmate’ that is whn she decided that she is going to leave daddy - but only because she found her ‘soulmate”

YOU ARE A COWARD. how dare you say the people commenting on your terrible behavior are scared! YOU TOO ARE SCARED! YOU ARE SCARED TO BE ALONE AND WIND UP WITH NOTHING!!! that is why you chose to wait til you found someone else have an affair with them BEFORE you could leave your husband. YOU ARE A WEAK WOMAN! SHAME - ON - YOU! for defending your despicable behavior and masking it as if you were strong to take a leap!

Holly November 24, 2009, 9:58 AM

I APPLAUD…APPLAUD…APPLAUD you for taking care of yourself! I am in a similar situation and being loved and finding my soulmate was a urban legend to me. I found 1 of my very best friends from high school online and we carried on an online conversation for over a year. I could tell him anything and he could tell me anything. He texts me several times a day just to tell me that he is thinking about me and how beautiful inside & out I am to him. My husband of 8 years barely says 2 words to me on given night except for “when are you going grocery shopping” or “do I have any clean shirts”. Sex is unheard of in my home and when we do have sex…it is unpleasurable to say the least. I love my husband…I am not in love with him. I went to see my friend a few months ago and we felt like teenagers all over again. I love him with all of heart and soul and cannot imagine my life without him. I am afraid to tell my husband because I do love him and I do not want to hurt him. We do not have children together. I have a teenager from a previous marriage. I’m sick of hearing people say let God lead the way…God does not live my life..I do. I will be with my soulmate soon and will spend the rest of my life being loved and appreciated and people will look at us together and be jealous for the love that we have and only wish that it was them. You are my inspiration.

Anonymous November 24, 2009, 10:22 AM

Amazing how you all live in such a “perfect” world! No wonder they call females B****’s!

Chrissy November 24, 2009, 10:42 AM

If your 1st husband was the “the one you were meant to be with”? Why did you get up in front of all your freidns, family, his freinds, family and God and vowed to death to us part” as if he was “the one”?
Did you marry him for his money?
And if it was for love, how do you know husband #2 will last when husband #1 didn’t?
I think YOU are the one who is scared becasue you caused all this damage for something that maybe be temporary.
No one should stay in a bad marriage, but you didn’t have a bad one. You just picked a guy who made your panties wet.

Chriissy November 24, 2009, 10:55 AM

Sorry I menat to type “if your 1st husband wasn’t the “the one you were meant to be with”.
I also omitted that why didn’t you mention the state in your first article?
Maybe because after all the negative comments that you didn’t think you would get you now try to portrait your marriage as a bad one. Hoping for more support?
All we have is your word that your husband was a bully.
And I think some would give a raised eyebrow your anything you say.

Shane November 24, 2009, 1:22 PM

The only problem I have is you saying, “I had no choice”

You DID indeed have many choices. Here’s one simple one. How about “GET A DIVORCE & THEN PERSUE OTHER MEN”

Also you most likely felt the EXACT same feelings for your first husband as you did with this new guy at some point in your relationship.

So you are still SELFISH, regardless of what you think. You are still more worried about your self than others. Which makes you selfish.

Jen November 24, 2009, 2:33 PM

Hey, you’re not Meryl Streep in Bridges of Madison County, but you are human. And you have struck a chord. It’s like everything in life; it changes once you experience it. A broken heart, love, grief, loss is all abstract until you are there. These holier than thou posts probably have happier marriages and have not met that person. Sounds like you were in the process of leaving or trying to decide to when this person approached you. Meeting someone else is the catalyst or people take the path of least resistance for as long as they can to protect the kids. I see some of both sides here and see why people react so strongly.

Laura November 24, 2009, 8:30 PM

Funny how all of the sudden, the ex-spouse is a bully and it was a miserable marriage. If you felt the need to justify yourself, why didn’t you explain about your marriage in the first blog? Wait, you were too busy telling us about the “electricity” and your new “soulmate”- words I think I have only ever seen in Harlequin romance novels, and over dramatic teen vampire stories. If you start in about heaving bosoms, and sparkling, I may just have to barf. Stop being so swoony and accept the fact that you can’t justify your selfish actions. Your husband may have been a jerk, but that does not justify an affair.

kendra November 25, 2009, 5:01 AM

your headline is i had no choice to have a affair, well uh yes you did, the way you should of went about it and the way you did go about it was totally wrong. 1st of all you should have gotten a divorce. 2.she was your friends husband your are a horrible horrible friend. 3.your spouses have every right to hate you.
4.sounds like you fell in lust not love.
5.most likely it started with someone cheating is going to end with someone cheating. if either of you can do it once, you can do it again.and it will happen. should have gotten your childred used to you and your husband being split instead of jumping right into another relationship. your kids are going to resnt you for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and it will probably cause problems in there future relationship. trust wise. there not going to trust any future love of there life because there loving mom did it to the father they loved!!!

Niesy November 25, 2009, 5:50 AM

No..YOU are scared!!!! Why bring more drama into a marriage by screwing someone else? You pointed out your ex’s faults and then you dropped off..what are YOUR faults? Only thing that I commend you for is not staying for the kids, which I think is wrong, but you sound as if what you did is “right” and saying to others that it’s o.k. to do what YOU did!! If that is what suits your lifestyle, fine, but when a woman come and snatch your man away, let’s see if you “blog” about it then. You reap what you sow..remember that!!

DD November 25, 2009, 5:53 AM

What do you mean “you had no choice?” Did someone have a gun to your skull or something?

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