Surviving Suicide – Part 12
I thought long and hard about sharing the fact that I had an affair on this blog, at first was reluctant as I thought “what would people think?”, would they judge me? Then I just told myself to get over myself lol! I am sharing this story as openly and honestly as I can recall, there’s no shame or guilt, it’s just my story and I decided to just be up front and transparent as I pretty much always am. If I’ve offended anyone with anything that I’ve written, you’ll get over it too ;).
As I said in my last post, I felt that in order to move forward after hearing of Rob’s affair, that I just couldn’t possibly do that without coming clean with my own. This affair was one of my few regrets, but not in the way most would imagine. The reason I regret it is because the person I had my affair with was also involved with someone, not married or engaged, but involved. I’m a big believer in Karma, and the thought did strike me that Karma can be a real beotch, so maybe I was getting pay back tenfold, meaning I had 1 affair, Rob had 9 or so he said to my girlfriend later.
Rob and I had not been getting along for quiet some time, he was always super critical, never complimentary, always seemed to find fault with everything I was doing and as with many couples, this impacted us in the bedroom department too. I always told him that it was the times in between the sex that mattered most and I think many feel this way. Who wants to be intimate when you’ve been not getting along or arguing? I sure didn’t. He had a very high drive and was constantly telling me mine wasn’t high enough, used a few choice words like “frigid”, etc. that I certainly didn’t appreciate nor was it true. So … after being told I had no drive, or low drive, many times, the opportunity arose for me to have my own affair. It wasn’t an easy decision as I was very conflicted from an ethical/moral standpoint and was very opposed to infidelity. I always viewed my marriage as being forever and it just wasn’t right to be unfaithful and my prior Roman Catholic upbringing was ringing severely in my ears too I can tell you!
My entire reason for having my affair was entirely to find out whether what Rob accused me of was true, did I really just not have a sex drive? Turns out my drive was just fine, just not with Rob. Much of that had to do with his treatment of me in between intimate moments, and with the new man, that problem just wasn’t there. I had only had one sexual partner which was Rob, so the new man was only my second experience. It was very different and I amazed myself that here I was having a purely sexual relationship and nothing else! We never went out anywhere, socialized or anything else that you’d envision with a new partner, and that was exactly what I wanted. I had new experiences that I never would allow with Rob, just seemed like all my inhibitions were gone with the new man. I felt extremely guilty with what I was doing, but somehow couldn’t or didn’t want to stop myself. I think the entire affair lasted less than six months, but I learned so much from it. As time went on, I started to become attached and wanting more from the relationship than just something purely sexual, and when that happened, I called it quits. As this was going on, I really wasn’t getting along well with Rob even moreso and I feel this is why I continued for the length of time I did. It was something just for me, made me feel good, he was very complimentary and understanding, all things I didn’t have with Rob. I knew not to let my heart get fully engaged, but it was also my nature to want that and I thanked him so much for the time we shared together, but that it must stop completely. The man I was involved with knew right from the beginning that the relationship would never go anywhere, I’d been very clear about that, but as with many of us, I’m sure he was hoping that it would. We both wished each other well and never saw each other ever again.
When I told Rob about it all, he was very emotional still and crying, but to my surprise – kept telling me it didn’t matter, I hadn’t let my affair interfere with our marriage. I remember thinking holy cow! not in a million years would I have expected this type of response, or lack of, from Rob. I told Rob that I clearly did have a sex drive, just not with him and I know that hurt him to hear that, but it was the truth. I also qualified my comment to include the fact that I didn’t have a relationship aspect and so the day to day things that creep up really never entered the picture and we were both free to just enjoy each other without complication. I do recall unfortunately that about the only other question Rob asked me was whether the man I’d had my affair with was better endowed than him :(. I didn’t bother responding to that because truthfully, I was appalled that that was all Rob could come up with, that that was all that mattered. Yep! another big, waving, red flag I missed :(.
Anyhow, I definitely felt better coming clean and truly did believe that we would move forward, with a better understanding of each other, with a very clear commitment to each other to never stray again. We both agreed to never step outside of our marriage again, that if it wasn’t working, we would have the integrity to tell one another without involving an outsider. Rob was very emphatic about that, repeated himself over and over again how sorry he was, that this would never happen again, that he loved me and wanted to be with only me and that he wanted our marriage to flourish. I think, or maybe I just choose to believe, that he was sincere at that time and meant what he said. I also knew that I had to forgive and not be throwing it up to him every time we had a disagreement or argument, that if he was late I wouldn’t go to that crazy place and just “assume”, that I had to let it go and trust him or our marriage would never recover. I was able to do that because I truly did love him with all my heart and had made the decision now a second time to commit to him and no other.
I never did stray ever again, wasn’t even tempted. When I’m in love with someone, I don’t tend to notice anyone else in that way. It’s not that I’m blind or oblivious to another man I may be attracted to, it’s just that I am content with who I am with and respect my promise. I also learned much about myself during the affair, I learned that I didn’t like feeling out of integrity, that it was important for me to feel good about myself with the decisions and actions that I took, that I didn’t like hiding or lying about things with my partner. I believe when challenges arise, you can always learn from them – I took my lesson to heart and know with certainty that if I’m ever involved with someone again, and I truly hope that I do have that opportunity again, that I will never cheat again. Some things you just don’t have to repeat or learn twice.
I think I was in my very early 20’s when this transpired, so was quite young and most definitely inexperienced, but I’ve always been an old soul too. I can’t really describe the intensity I felt with that discussion with Rob, but it literally drained me and I was exhausted as was he. To both our credit, we never really spoke about those initial affairs again.
When the kiss happened between Brenda and Rob on the boat that I walked in on, they had become pretty good friends and I knew that Brenda’s husband Eric didn’t like it at all. I recall one day sitting in the cockpit of our sailboat talking to Eric, Rob nor Brenda were around. Eric asked me “what are we going to do about Rob and Brenda?”. I asked in all sincerity “what do you mean?”. Eric said “c’mon Barb, they’re having an affair!” I defended Rob and told Eric the story I just relayed to you about our initial affairs and the mutual promise we’d made each other to never again be unfaithful. I looked Eric right in the eye and told him that I knew for certain that Rob would never do that to me again and I felt positive that that was the case. Unfortunately … I was wrong … very wrong.
It was long after that that Brenda and Eric split up. She became a total alcoholic and never came around the yacht club anymore. I was glad to not see them anymore as both were very volatile and both had huge issues along with the drinking problem. I think Eric eventually took his boat up north and that’s when Rob felt sorry for Brenda one day and invited her to our Sailpast at the Yacht Club. I still did not know for certain, but had the uncomfortable suspicion that something had taken place between Rob and Brenda, but didn’t think it was an all out affair, more of an emotional one. I didn’t want her invited, Rob insisted saying how sorry he felt for her and so I allowed it. She showed up with a 90 year old man she was dating, he was quite well off financially but in terrible health. They were very late arriving and we had already untied and left the dock to go out on the lake to sail past the Commodore, which was the entire tradition for Sailpast and actually one of the biggest events of boating all season. I silently said a thank you prayer that she hadn’t showed up. As we pulled back into our slip, she was there and we had one heck of a time getting her boyfriend who was also named Eric up the steps to our boat. It was disasterous as she was already very drunk, made everyone on our boat very uncomfortable and thankfully they left early to go visit other friends down the dock. It was the last time I laid eyes on Brenda, but not the last time I heard from her. I also noted in my “Angry” letter that I was angry Rob had ruined my last Sailpast. The things we decide to get mad about!