Being a sex positive, sexually progressive woman does not mean I am void of morals.  I have had many relationships in my lifetime (some short and sweet, some much more meaningful).  None of them overlapped.  Cheating was just not something that appealed to me at all and If I found myself interested in someone outside of my primary relationship, I would just end it and move on.  When I talk about the affair, I always refer to it as a situation I found myself in.  i promise you, it was in no way planned.

I was about 4 years into a relationship with my son’s father when it began.  We had been struggling since the birth of our son, who was a very high needs newborn.  I think my ex struggled with becoming a father.  Our son was very high needs, and only ever wanted me for the first year and a half of his life.  He already had a temper and a drinking problem, so the stress of this new person shaking up his life was overwhelming and pushed him over the edge.  He tried really hard, I know he did, but he needed (and still needs) help for his mental health issues (I suspect he’s got depression, he fits the profile of someone with narcissistic personality disorder, and he battles with addictions – specifically alcohol, but also gambling).  Unfortunately, not having the tools to cope with life as a new parent meant he became a really hard person to live with.  He was emotionally abusive every day, calling me horrible names all the time, and being just harassing in general.  He was ruining my life.  I sought therapy, and naively thought I could fix things on my own.   Things progressively got worse, to where I would daydream about the day I would go back to work (I was on mat leave at the time), save up enough money for a car and leave him (I eventually did all of these things).  Still, when things weren’t so bad between us I would have hope for a future.  Despite all the bad, he was still my friend and still the father of my son.

I found a new job when my son was a year and a half old.  I was making the most money I had ever made, lost all my baby weight and felt great about myself.  I had hoped my newfound independence would alleviate some stress at home.  Unfortunately, my ex was still on a downward spiral, but now things were worse at home because I didn’t feel trapped anymore.  My tolerance for his bullshit attitude was at an all time low.

On the flip side, everything else in my life was going amazingly well.  I was really good at my job and was managing work/life balance quite well.  I had met a man at work and we became instant best friends (which was kind of funny, considering the 20 year age gap between us).  He was intelligent, successful, and hilarious. He became a mentor to me.

We shared a sexual humour, which turned into what (I told myself) was harmless flirting.  We found lots of ways to spend time together professionally (booking client meetings out of office together alot) to find any way to spend time together.  I found myself fantasizing about him.  He was married with a daughter exactly the same age as me, so I thought I was safe to have this little crush on him.  There was no way it could go anywhere.  He probably thought I was a silly young girl anyway.

Then things changed the day I cried in front of him.  One morning before work, my ex was changing our son and our son was giving him a hard time.  He got frustrated really quickly (typical for him) and somehow wound up throwing a dirty diaper wipe at our sons face.  I was devastated.  He didn’t physically hurt our son in any way, but the act was so degrading.  I felt sick to my stomach.  How did I not see this behaviour in him when I decided to have a child with him?  I hated him in that moment.  I went to work and couldn’t seem to get myself together.  I had been crying so hard all morning and it was still written all over my face when I got to the office.  My mentor saw me and immediately ushered me away to the nearest coffee shop so we could talk privately.  It was the first time I revealed anything about what had been happening with me at home.  I started talking about what had happened that morning, and ended up spilling about everything that had happened over the last few years.  I bawled and he listened.  His eyes were so kind and gentle.  He didn’t pity me or feel sorry for me.  He just hugged me and tried to tell me it would be ok.    We had definitely crossed over from a professional friendship to something more personal, but we hadn’t crossed “the line”.

My little fantasies about him began to become more elaborate.  He was on my mind 24 hours a day.  I remember looking forward to coming home so I could lie down with our son at 7:30 at night and just think about him.  He was so charming and as we got closer he became the most handsome man I knew.  I tried to hide how I felt about him, but it always spilled through.  I’d sit in his office and find myself flirting with him uncontrollably.  I started finding ways to prance around in front of him (like suggesting brainstorm sessions so I could write on his whiteboard, giving him the opportunity to stare at my ass in my tight pencil skirts – and he always obliged).  I couldn’t stop myself.  I was crazy and i was falling in love.

A few weeks later we had a meeting about 45 minutes from the office.  We were supposed to have lunch with a client, but when we arrive the client had to cut the meeting short leaving us to dine alone.  As we walked into the restaurant I remember him holding the door open for me, then resting his hand on the small of my back as we walked through the door.  His warm, gentle hand sent electricity up my spine.  I started to tremble with nerves.  We sat and ordered lunch, and there was a thick sexual tension between us.  As our food arrived he looked up at me and said “what would you do if I kissed you right now”.  I blushed.  I wanted him oh so bad.  I had been fantasizing about him for months, and in this very moment he was finally telling me that he wanted me too. My heart raced and I felt dizzy.  I couldn’t eat.  I could barely breathe.  Alas, I wasn’t ready to cross that line just yet.  Yes, my relationship at home was falling apart – but I was no cheater.  I needed to understand how serious he was and what he wanted from me.  Did he feel the same overall connection I did, or was it purely sexual?  As we drove back to the office, we passed the airport.  I looked out my window at a departing airplane and said “imagine we were on a plane out of here right now?”.  He said “want to?”.  In that moment, I thought he was just being romantic.  I later learn he actually would have flown away with me then, and many times after that.

We began finding reason to communicate outside of work.  Replying to emails with little codes, like “143” (code for “I Love You”) embedded in email signatures.  We found any excuse to contact one another.  We were falling madly in love.

I was struggling with my dual life.  I hated how guilty I felt for what I was doing to my son’s father, but I couldn’t get enough of this man.  I was totally addicted to him.  Still, I knew I had to try to work on my family, and I told him so.  I booked us a trip to Mexico to see if we could re-connect (which my ex and I fought about booking because he was just a difficult guy).  I would try not to text this man on the weekends and I would tell myself I needed to “detox” from him until Monday.  But by every Friday afternoon we were desperately wanting to be together. We didn’t need to say it – it was just such a strong connection I bet strangers could feel it.