I can’t say it to anyone close to me but I can tell my secret to a stranger like you. Yes, for all you know, I could be a family member, a friend, or a work colleague — the name I’m using here could be a false one. In any case, my story will be left in plain sight for you to read.
Maybe you have also crossed this line and need assurance that you’re not alone or weird. Affairs happen and they happen for varying reasons.
I don’t expect everyone to side with me or understand what I’m about to say but hear me out. Not everyone who cheats does it for sport or the thrill of it. The term PLAYER doesn’t apply. Some of us do it simply for survival. Our spouses are not interested in us anymore. The intimacy has gone and nothing we do changes the situation. At some point, we stumbled and an affair was our landing point. It wasn’t planned or encouraged but it happened just the same.
Can I use the word “Stumbled”?
What a stupidly comforting word. It’s supposed to soften the blow or excuse the behaviour. It suggests the affair wasn’t done on purpose. It was an accident, a glitch, or if you want to push it further, a mistake. The error is easily rectifiable… until it becomes a second time, a fourth and then many more that follow.
Survival. Did I say that already?
Yes, I was going mad and did something I said I’d never do. I broke a rule. I’m married for God’s sake — and supposed to be monogamous. I feel so much guilt but I can’t stop going back for more. All I know is that I need and want to be touched again. The glances, those cheeky smiles, the tease and the skin-to-skin contact, count for everything. I feel again. People say I’m glowing. They tell me I have a bounce in my step. I’ve never bounced before!
Monogamy. What a laugh. How can my marriage be monogamous if I’m spending time with someone else? What a joke. What isn’t funny is the sex. It’s pure romance and passion. The taste of my lover stays on my tongue. The craving remains after it’s over. I can’t get it out of my mind.
If you ask me, my marriage wasn’t monogamous anyway. It was celibate. Monogamy assumes sex is in the mix. Well, it isn’t. Monogamy hasn’t existed for us for years. It’s my spouse who made the marriage non-monogamous. I’m only a victim!
Did you see what I just did there? I shifted the blame. I turned my spouse into a proper villain.
I’m not an evil person. I mean, it’s not like I wanted to do this. I’ve never done anything like that before! Until it happened, I’d never even thought about it. Believe me, I’m not a bad individual, just a weak one — and, so terribly lonely. I wanted a married kind of love that lasted a lifetime. That just didn’t happen.
I’m so confused!
Perhaps I needed this affair. I needed to realise how lonely I was. Yes. That’s it. It started with an innocent kiss, but one that I desperately needed. I needed that and everything that followed.
No one’s innocent in this game and that includes my spouse. There it is again, a hint of blame. But it’s true. My spouse doesn’t do sex anymore, and I have little to no control over that. My life would be destined to be without sex forever if it was left up to us to make it happen.
The challenge in writing a novel about adults who have secret affairs is developing good, strong characters. Some internal conflict helps, so we know how it feels for them to experience the life-lines that lead to adultery. The other part is for them to enjoy some delicious steam when they finally make their naughty connection.
There is one other important side I like to include.
Legitimate reasons for adults to engage in extramarital relationships. This matters. I need to feel for each character I write into a story to give readers an understanding of how difficult it can be for well-intended individuals to break important rules. I don’t want promiscuous horn-bags who are well-skilled at bed-hopping. I want them to struggle with tumultuous emotions. I need them to feel real and be accessible to the everyday reader. I want you to believe that it could be you facing those issues.
If what happens between the sheets is to be an accident, then every bit of emotional breakage that supports it must be justifiable. That doesn’t make what cheaters do right, just understandable. The higher their standards, the greater their fall.
Good people make mistakes — to cover what they really feel, and to get something of what they desperately need.
Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer specialising in taking lightning pictures may be the only witness.
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