I can’t say it to anyone in my circle of friends but I can tell my secret to a stranger like you. Yes, for all you know, I could be your closest friend or a work colleague or neither of them — the name I’m using here could be totally different from the one I use in real life. In any case, my story will be left in plain sight for you to read but its author will remain anonymous. It’ll be here for all those who have also stepped over the line and accidentally found themselves in the arms of another.
I don’t expect everyone to side with me or understand what I’m about to say here but hear me out anyway. Not everyone who cheats on their spouse does it for sport or the thrill of it. Some of us do it simply for survival (if that’s a thing) because our spouses are not interested in us anymore. The intimacy has gone and nothing we try to do to fix it changes the situation. At some point, we stumbled into having an affair. It wasn’t planned or encouraged but it happened just the same.
“Stumbled”. What a comforting word. It’s supposed to soften the blow or excuse my behaviour. It admits that a mistake occurred but suggests it wasn’t done on purpose. It was an accident, a glitch, or if you want to push it further, an inconvenient happenstance. The error was indeed just that and easily rectifiable by not doing it a second time… until it becomes a third one, a fourth and many more after them.
Survival. Did I say that already?
Yes, I did something I said I’d never do. I broke a rule and slept with someone else. I’m married for God’s sakes — and supposed to be monogamous. I feel so much guilt and shame 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. I’m dreaming 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 crave 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 states something about a promise to have sex with the person you married. Well, if that’s true, it means we haven’t been monogamous for years. It’s my spouse who made our marriage non-monogamous. I’m just its victim!
Did you see what I just did there? I shifted the blame and turned my spouse into a good and proper villain.
I’m not an evil person either. I mean, it’s not like I wanted to slip into bed with someone other than my spouse. I wanted a married kind of love, not the love from a cheater. 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’m so confused!
Perhaps I needed this affair to make me realise what I’ve been missing all this time. Yes. That’s it. It started with an innocent kiss, one that I desperately needed. Oh, but no one’s innocent in this game anyway. I know I’m guilty of being in a sexless marriage. There it is again, a hint of blame inside the text. Sure, saying that frequently is supposed to help or justify my actions but it doesn’t really change anything. Yes, my spouse doesn’t do sex anymore but I still hate myself for what I’ve done. Yearning for that happy place inside my lover’s arms makes it worse. I know! I just won’t talk about it again! If I don’t speak about it, then it can be as if it doesn’t happen. I can get on with living my life, leaving the guilt behind and concentrating on not doing it ever again.
But I don’t want that.
The kisses! Those arms!
Secret affairs happen, and one of the steamiest ones you’ll ever read is found in my novel SEETHINGS.
The challenge in writing a novel about adults who have secret affairs is developing good, strong characters and providing quality backstories that support their actions. Internal conflict helps too, so we know how it feels for them to experience adultery. The other part is for them to enjoy some delicious steam when they finally make a naughty connection with a stranger.
There is one other 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 their rules. I don’t want promiscuous horn-bags who are well-skilled at bed-hopping. I want them to struggle with tumultuous emotions in my stories. I need them to feel real and be accessible to the everyday reader. I want you to believe that it could be you in their shoes.
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 they 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 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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