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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
b November 25, 2009, 6:59 AM

You have a seriously warped view of what it means to have no choice. Let me give you an example of what it means to have no choice: You have been paralyzed from the neck down. You have no choice but to live out the rest of your days in a wheel chair. Example of what it means to have a choice: You have been paralyzed and will spend the rest of your days in a wheel chair. You can either A: have a good attitude and choose to be happy in your life despite the setbacks or B: You can choose to be miserable and feel sorry for yourself, making yourself into a victim and hoping others feel sorry for you.

Before you go around spouting out phrases like “I had no choice” please make sure that you indeed had no choice.
If your’e so proud and comfortable with your decision, then own the decision. Say it! Go on, Say it! “I CHOSE to have an affair. I CHOSE to put my own happiness above my childrens’, husband’s, friends’, friends’ childrens’, and above my marriage vows. I CHOSE to do all of this of my own free will and don’t want anyone to justify my decision, or feel sorry for me.And I will take whatever consequences may come from it all.” When you ask us to understand that you have no choice, that tells me that you knew you had a choice, and you knew you chose wrong. I’m not convinced you’re happy if you can’t own your own choice to be happy.

km November 25, 2009, 1:46 PM

Actually I’m thinking your Ex is better off without such a self serving, self absorbed person like yourself. Love is a choice. You made a committment. Did you even try counseling to re-kindle that love? NO. It’s your selfish attitude that did your marriage in and now your kids will pay dearly!
Love IS a choice not just a warm feeling. You need to grow up!

anonymous November 25, 2009, 9:47 PM

Come on people, what is wrong with you all? I cannot believe how conservative poeple are nowadays. If this story had happened to a man I am sure that you all would have had different reactions— you would have felt sorry for the man. Why are you all so harsh on wife #2? It may not seem right to you, but it is the best situation for her and the best choice for her!!I myself do not believe in having just one partner in their lifetime—people change over time and what they used to love changes. It is like having new toys or the upgraded versions of computers and iphones, or even cars. If you want to practice sticking with one true love, try to stick it with a car for 20 years. Of course a car is not the same as a relationship, but I hope that you understand the concept of my comment—-at least the sane ones wil. A hostile, bad and loveless marriage is not worth having and is a bad environment for kids to grow up in—kids absorb the emotions from parents. Only happy paremts can raise their kids the right ways, so wife #2, do not be scared by people’s judgements because they do not have a right to do so, only you know what is right for yourself.



Anonymous November 28, 2009, 10:11 PM

Way to go wife number 2. Don’t let bitter negative people get you down. I also have 5 kids in a blended marriage and my story is similar to yours. I am three years down the road and I have been wife number two for two of those years.
the road is rocky with the exes…..but worth every second.

I do understand November 29, 2009, 12:45 PM

When I met my husband he was married with 2 children and I was engaged to be married. For months, we ignored the obvious attraction between us because we were committed to others. A chance meeting and one late night conversation changed everything and we realized we were simply meant to be together and this was something neither of us wanted to ignore any longer. I broke it off with my fiance, he began divorce proceedings, and I became the other woman. As soon as his divorce was final we married. I understand our ex’s pain and anger and they had every right to feel that way because I do recognize they were betrayed. I’m not making any excuses for that. However, now after almost 20 years of marriage, 4 children together plus raising the 2 from his previous marriage, we are still crazy in love with each other and feel we made the right decision. Sometimes you DO just have to leap to find your happiness.

stacey November 30, 2009, 12:19 AM

As the wife who has been lied to and cheated on, all I can say is shame on you. You are a terrible example to both your children and the other children whose home you helped ruin. Instant gratification is NOT a reason to injure this many lives. You have basically screamed to everyone involved “MY happiness is all that matters” - and let me tell you girl, the chances of this lasting are pretty slim. You showed your own children that it is okay to not only be an adulterer yourself but that you can even help someone ELSE be an adulterer too and that’s all just groovy ya know because he’s your *soulmate* - are you listening to yourself???

As for the poster above who said love is something you DO - you are correct. Love is not only an emotion but is also correctly used as a verb. The other commenters who discounted that apparently have no concept of grammar. I liked your sentiment.

RachaelC November 30, 2009, 12:38 AM

You should give EVERYTHING for your children. They are the meaning of our lives. You should know before you commit to children that you can and will stay in your marriage. I am the child of divorced parents - both of whom have now remarried - and I wish every day that my family had not split.

@MandieD79 November 30, 2009, 1:20 AM

I have been cheated on in marriage. I am divorced and I can tell you that my kids did suffer because of what their father did. Cheating is never okay and doing what’s right for your kids is always first. Never stay in a bad relationship but always make sure you personally have looked at yourseld to see what you have done to contribute to the problem. Did he always act like that? Did you try to find out why? Did you try and resolve the problem? I have so many faults and know that I contributed to the problem im my marriage and did everything but try to fix it. I also know that both of us should have done things differently and he should of never cheated. He still to this day almost 5 years later tells everyone that it was the biggest mistake he ever made and tells everyone who is thinking that they want to stray to work things out or walk away the right way. I had so much hate inside of me and am embarassed by many of my actions in the time after the affair. He knows that he could have bee a better man and done things differently. We both see what we did wrong and have apologized to each other. It’s too bad we didn’t see this all before the cheating, lying and divorce. My kids hated every second of it. To this day it still bothers them. Granted it isn’t as much but they changed back then and haven’t ever been the same. We both were bad role models and can never take it back. I still have anger at him, her and myself. It’s a shame that we are at a pint in time where cheating is acceptable by so many. Don’t get married if you think it is okay for any reason. Obviously if you do you aren’t marriage material.

Anonymous November 30, 2009, 6:53 AM

I know what you are talking about! The love that makes breathing easier, and not having it makes you feel like nothing else in the world would matter. I’m sorry you’ve had so many negative comments. I just thought you should know, that I would do the same. Well- maybe I would leave first - but for a love like that, it is worth it. Life is way to short to put on an act for everyone else! I also agree with your comments in regards to the kids - don’t teach them to settle for less than the best! I know I wouldn’t want my daughter in your previous relationship!

@MandieD79 November 30, 2009, 6:00 PM

Staying with someone when unhappy is the wrong choice, but find out why you are so unhappy and work on that before you move on to another relationship. True love will wait for the divorce and stabilization of your children. Affairs are never the right way to go. Being proud of having an affair with a married man while being married isn’t right and doing all of that in front of your kids isn’t either. Show them you are strong by leaving the unhappy relationship, show them you have the morals to wait for your “soulmate” and after everyone is single and calm then you move on to another relationship. That is what should happen.

Anonymous November 30, 2009, 6:35 PM

Just publishing a scammers email in public:

Mylissa December 9, 2009, 2:28 PM

LOL, you are so full of it. No matter what we control our selves. You say you had no choice. And that did, and you can run around pretending nothing ever happened. Or you can just face the fact you made a mistake. Repent to god and move on.

Steve December 11, 2009, 12:30 PM

Wonder how many guys tried to use that justification… :) Still sounds silly to me.

It's not WHAT you do-it's HOW you do it December 15, 2009, 6:12 AM

As the child of the mother who did this to me (leaving her marriage for her “true” love) I kind of want to slap you for the WAY you handled the situation.

My mom did nearly the EXACT same thing (she didn’t man steal but she DID cheat and my dad left her-eventually) and left us broken hearted for many, many years. And sadly when it came time for US to deal w/ those situations she DID in fact judge us. We were told to stay in our relationships for the sake of our kids despite the fact that the men WERE the “bad guys” and the cause of the problem and the source of our misery.

I can only hope that when you say if your kids come to you that you WON’T judge them that that is true and I sincerely wish that YOUR KIDS are ok with all of this. Life IS too short to be miserable-but dragging down innocent bystanders isn’t the way to go about it.

Yes, being party to a bad marriage CAN be miserable…but it’s just as bad to watch that bad marriage implode.

P.S. My mom counseled my sister to stay in a bad marriage. She counseled me the same. My sister listened. I didn’t. I’m much happier…for the record. =)

Good luck and I’m routing for you to NOT be a statistic.

marisa aguilar December 15, 2009, 2:19 PM

Wow..well i say if you havent been in the same situation then you really cannot judge. There was a time when I dispised people who cheated regrdless of why they did it. I judged and I critisized just like the rest of you. Then of course it happened to me. I cheated and I left my husband. Not for the man I cheated with but nonetheless, I left. I think it gave me the courage and the push to help me leave a abusive marriage. Everyone has their own reasons why they do the things they do. And even though I dont condone cheating..hey Im all for doing what you have to do. All the critics obviously have not been in a similar situation therefore it is hard for them to understand. So I thank you for sharing your story to try to help women understand why we do the things we do. And no not all women who cheat are man hungry women that are going to try and snatch your husband and break up your “perfect life” so calm down..sheesh its just an insight of someone who has been there done that. Dont be so quick to judge because you never know what the future holds. I dont care how ethical or moral you consider yourself to be. Stuff happens and when it does hopefully the majority of you will choose to be happy. Whatever it takes to get there.

Liz December 15, 2009, 6:26 PM

While reading this, it was almost as if I had written it. I lost “friends” because of my choices - women who judged me, tarred and feathered me, and walked away when I needed them most.

Two years into our relationship, my man and I are still happy. My daughter is well adjusted and happy as well, having parents who don’t argue and fight all the time.

I agree with your observation about being scared. I was scared, and finally decided a life worth living was worth living well.

Anonymous  December 18, 2009, 10:18 AM

Wow, just wow. You had no choice, really? You had a choice! You could have chosen to divorce before starting your new relationship, and you didn’t. You chose the selfish path. Did you even think how an affair will mess with your kids? My boyfriends mom cheated on his dad, same excuse I had no choice. My boyfriend is a wreak now, he’s literally broken, I’ve never seen him like this, he’s got trust issues and he has lost almost all respect for marriage. He said it would have been fine if his parent’s had gotton a divorce first, but the fact that she disregarded her vows and chose her own happiness, that breaks his heart. People like you make me sick. You had no right to do that to your kids. I accept that your marraige wasn’t a good one, but if you and your lover truly loved eachother, you should have been able to wait till you had a divorce. The fact that you didn’t wait shows your selfish nature. And you expect people to accept that you had no choice, that makes me laugh! Are you really that naive, to expect people to give you a free pass because you had a bad marriage? I’m so sorry for your poor kids, just think how this is gonna mess up their future relationships. I’m dealing with my future mother-in-laws actions first hand. She didn’t give any thought for her children just like you. Just wait, you’ll see how you screwed your kids over, all because you and your “soulmate” couldn’t wait.

becky December 18, 2009, 11:59 AM

well now i am soo glad to know that there are so many perfect people in this world! all i can say is that i am a human being and with that said i accept the fact that i am flawed. i have made mistakes in my life and i have cheated ( though never been married ) and ya know what… there are worse things that you could do! i too left my childrens father because he was a miserable and ugly man and to be honest… it was the best thing that i could have done. it does not matter how it happened or what the timing of it was, opportunity knocked and i would have done the same thing.

anon December 19, 2009, 11:11 AM

As a man who was a victim of cheating in his marriage, and had his self-esteem totally crushed as a result, and can now find no way to start over, I can only look with envy upon those who talk about looking for “that love that makes them feel alive”. So, YOUR desires are the only ones that matter? What about the crushed people and wreckage you leave behind you? What about the misery you create for them, and then you’re so soulless as to tell them, “life’s too short to be miserable! Tee-hee!” while you’re screwing someone else?

Seriously, what is WRONG with you?

Wish I believed in karma. I’d be laughing my @$$ off at you.

BTW, I agree with divorce sometimes being the best thing and setting an example for your children that you shouldn’t force yourself to stay in a miserable situation.

That doesn’t mean acting like dirtbag, however.

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