- 08 May 19
You’re a married man or woman. Out of the blue, someone you know from work starts to get, shall we say, rather playful. It escalates quickly and soon you’re getting nude pictures. That you like. Very much. Do you have it in you to resist the attractions of your new-found very best friend? Or might you be best to indulge in a fling, to get the feelings out of your system? Now read on...
Cheating is as old as the institution of marriage itself. And it is not going away any time soon. So when the opportunity arises, is the best thing to go with the flow and deal with the complications later? Or should we put up a running battle against what they used to call temptation? It’s is an issue with which Liam, a successful man in his 40s, is intimately familiar. So how, I ask him, did his special ‘adventure’ start?
“It was an unexpected moment,” he recalls. “I remember looking up from what I was doing, and I saw Leilana staring at me. We were working on a project together. Once she’d caught my eye, she began pulling her top off slowly. I was mesmerised! I was married and not used to someone attractive coming on to me like this, I suppose because of my ‘taken’ status.
“I remember my gaze wandering over her exposed breasts. Jesus! I was also struck by how slim her waist was. Mama mia! To be honest, I felt completely powerless in that moment of seduction. She oozed sex and her interest in me was in itself an aphrodisiac. We’d been acquaintances for a while, but I swear: hadn’t seen her with lustful eyes before that day. But now, all bets were off.”
What happened after she’d taken her top off?
“I stumbled mid-step, lowered my gaze. I was thinking only of my wife and the crime I’d already committed in my head. I remember muttering ‘I’m sorry’. I was apologising to Leilana for looking, but I was really trying to hide the guilt I felt for feeling how I did – which was horny as hell.
“She was effervescent. ‘No, it’s okay,’ she said. I was overwhelmed. In a way, I’d reacted as she’d wanted. My heart was pounding. But nothing physical happened. Afterwards, I was racked by confusion. I remember trying to convince myself it was all harmless. It was just a stunning woman expressing her naked beauty. And maybe that was fair enough. The project we were working on ended, and we had no contact for some time. I was grateful I didn’t need to deal with what had been awakened in me.”
What was your marriage like at the time?
“Oh God! At home, a lot of the time, the constant grind of a struggling homelife seemed hopeless. We were committed to one another, but this was my first honest matrimonial attempt and I wasn’t ready for the work that was required. When I couldn’t resolve issues with my wife, I longed for freedom. This is what Leilana arrived into. I knew it was just an ‘escape’ – but the temptation lingered.
“The thing is that I’d had a bit of a reputation as a womaniser which I’d had to shed for my marriage. On occasion, I’d actually prayed for a romantic partner who could provide both love and loyalty, when I was done with cavorting around. It might have been misplaced, but I took pride in my romantic integrity. I had assumed that cheating was out of the question – for me. But, of course, it wasn’t.”
So was the flirtation with Leilana ever consummated?
“Another work opportunity arose involving her. Her professional name, and cache, held immense appeal from that point of view, so I thought we could keep the relationship going for artistic purposes only. I was wrong. The intrigue started exactly where it had left off. I remember getting her text, ‘Come over’. The pretense was that we’d be selecting wardrobe options. It would mean watching her change, but this time in the privacy of her own bedroom. I remember thinking: ‘How will I have the willpower to refuse if I’m in her bedroom?’ This was trouble with a capital ’T’. It felt like another person’s hand texting back, ‘Sure, I’ll be over in a couple of hours. What’s your address?’
“This is how people cheat,” he adds. “This is what goes on inside their heads and crotches. All my years of judging cheaters melted away, because I suddenly realised that I was no better than those so called ‘scumbags’ I’d prided myself on being above. Mired in anxiety and guilt, I fought a war within myself, as I waited for those two hours to pass. It started raining and, however superstitious this might sound, I took it as a sign that I should decline. I texted, ‘Sorry, can’t make tonight’. The relief was immediate. I was saved and so was my marriage – if just for that day.”
Was that the end of it?
“I wish! As the project continued, the opportunities to meet under the guise of ‘work’ effectively turned into concealed dates. Hours reviewing photos at a coffee shop turned into an evening in a French cafe discussing the next job. I was hooked, and I had no way to extricate myself. Or that’s what I felt.
“When there is a pause in sex at home, the danger of finding a way to meet that need elsewhere amplifies. Leilana knew what my kryptonite was, and used every chance to promote herself as the image of erotic bliss. ‘I just need to be fucked’, she exclaimed, jumping into a taxi that was taking her to an illicit affair with another married man.
“She told me all about this secret arrangement. She was laying the groundwork for me, helping me to understand that she had no problem being the ‘other woman’. Let’s be honest: she had me by the loins. I was unable to concentrate at home, or on the job. And the threat of sex with Leilana became synonymous with what it must feel like for drug addicts needing their fix.”
Did you hide what you were feeling from your wife?
“I guess I gradually learned a raft of cheating tricks from Leilana. It’s not really fair to blame her, but she was very good at it! I hid a night out clubbing with her from my wife, changing her name in my phone to a guy pal’s, and locking my cell with a different passcode for the first time ever.
“I’ve always been a bad liar,” he reflects ruefully, “and it emerged later that the moment the intrigue started, my wife knew. She told me to move out for 30 days and think about what I wanted. She wouldn’t have any contact with me during those days, treating me as an addict that she was refusing to enable.
How did things finally come to an end?
“I was in hell and hated Leilana when I was lucid enough to remember the loyalty, shared life, and loving commitment I had with my wife. Then, those feelings would swing into an uncontrollable sexual urge when I thought about consummating the affair. Leilana tempted me with naked photos. I begged her to stop. I’m married! But really, I was probably being self-indulgent. I liked it.
“There was no denying the chemistry between us, but morally it would’ve ruined me. I felt that I had to do something, so I started to attend Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous – and it was that 12-Step program which saved my marriage. Eventually, I blocked all contact from Leilana, declining her Facetime calls, canceling any ‘date’ plans with her, as the looming thought of bringing pain unto my wife destroyed me.
“It felt worse than death in many ways, when I knew that it was over. But I didn’t have it in me to betray the trust of my wife. It’s a temptation I hope I never have to experience again, and it’s humbled me towards cheaters who couldn’t resist or escape their infidelities – because I now understand how hard it is to turn away from.”
Never has a truer word been spoken.