Published February 11, Updated May 16, We invited readers to anonymously share how they've been affected by infidelity. Hundreds replied, and some agreed to discuss their experiences, without revealing identifying details. I met my wife when I was in university. We lived across the hall from each other in residence. She's a pretty girl. One of the things that really made me attracted to her, aside from looks and that sort of thing, was that her family life was unbelievably stable.
Her parents were together and everything was nice and supportive. In contrast, my parents split up when I was 4. I'm an only child. I didn't have a good relationship with my dad. I lived with my mom and saw my dad a handful of times each year. Story continues below advertisement We got together before cellphones. We would phone each other on land lines every day.
I would send her love letters. But looking back on it, I was always more into sex than she was. I'd actually slept with one woman while we were dating and then two or three others when we were married. My wife and I were together for 14 straight years. She and I are really different people.
I think it's a product of our upbringing. She just wants to make the right decision, not make any waves, not put anything on the line. We have two kids. When my daughter was about two years old, she was a really difficult kid and I was super-frustrated.
My wife was super-frustrated. We went five months without any intimacy. We wouldn't even hug. It got to the point where we weren't even talking. I was really angry. I tried to talk to her about it. I said, "I'm really struggling. My daughter was screaming and crying and I couldn't help her because all she wanted was her mom. I yelled at my daughter and my wife freaked out. Everybody in the house was crying. I looked at my wife and said, "We need to be able to talk about this. After that I went onto Ashley Madison.
I basically did that out of pure anger. That was the only time I did it deliberately. Just to be hurtful. That lasted about two months. That was such a struggle. There was so much temptation. It was overwhelming for me. Story continues below advertisement Story continues below advertisement Late last year I was out at a pub with a few friends. One of my friends brought a couple of girlfriends along. Tori not her real name and I started talking and we hit it off.
That's where it started. She knew I was married. I was up front with that. I said, I'm married. If this is going to be a problem I understand. The first night together when we were at the bar she actually drove me home.
She said, "Here are the rules. You can't fall in love with me. I'd make a terrible wife. And you can't leave your wife.
We both had jobs where we could skip out in the middle of the day. We'd meet up at lunch or I'd go over to her house when her kids weren't home. We'd smoke weed once in a while, something that was definitely a no-no in my marriage. Tori and I saw each other at least weekly. I was really militant about keeping it a secret.
She was a fake name in my phone. I would only text her while I was at work and then delete the texts when I left. The rule was she would never text first. If I wanted to see her in the evening I would say I was going out to see a friend for two hours. I'd be out with him for an hour and then go to Tori's house for the other hour. Story continues below advertisement It did weigh on me. It affected all my relationships. I shut myself down professionally and with friends because I was covering up so many lies.
Definitely having kids and both of us being professionals put a strain on things. If my wife and I were going to have sex, it felt like a chore on a list. After the laundry's done, after the kids are in bed, now we've got time. Seven or eight months into my relationship with Tori I started to think about the life that I had built with my wife.
It wasn't anything I had ever wanted or envisioned for myself. I think I got wrapped up in the nice, easy aspect of it. I just said to myself, this isn't going to work. Eventually I'm either going to get caught or something else is going to happen. I told my wife: I don't think I want to be married any more.
We spent the next couple of months trying to put it back together but I think I was already out by that point. My wife and I are separated now. Now I don't have to lie about anything.
I don't have to remember anything any more, which is really nice. Tori and I are dating. My wife doesn't know about our affair. My wife and Tori aren't friends but they know each other, which made it harder. My wife definitely suspects. Her friends do, too, but they don't have any proof.
My wife and I are parenting together. We send texts back and forth. But everything is in the past, basically. I don't think I have a ton of resentment towards her.
I really do want to figure this all out. Is there something wrong with me, or something wrong with our relationship? Is marriage not for me, or is marriage not for anybody? That was an important phase of my life.
Had I not met her I wouldn't be the person that I am. She gave me all those years of stability when I needed it. I've spent a lot of time asking, how can I be happy with myself? That's my main focus now.