I met W online, on IRC specifically, when I was 30. He was 46. We were both married. Neither of us had any intention of actually meeting, of course, when we first met online. Both of us had been playing online for a few years, frequenting "married but looking" and BDSM chat rooms, and participating in phone sex here and there with some of the more intriguing people we had met.
I lived in California and W lived in Seattle, so he was "safe," meaning there was little chance we would meet, so I felt very comfortable sharing intimate details of my life with him. Soon, we became good friends who relied on each other for moral support and even marital advice.
It took six months of chatting online and on the phone before either one of us even broached then subject of meeting in person. Why did we wait so long? Maybe we knew that the relationship would take on a new physical dimension and that scared us. Maybe I hadn't yet decided that I was willing to physically cheat on my husband (W had already had an affair ten years prior to our meeting). Maybe we just liked the way things were and we didn't want to change anything.
I was the one who brought it up during a private chat. I was going to have the opportunity to travel to Seattle so I asked if he wanted to meet. What followed was one of those long and uncomfortable chat silences. You know the kind I mean. You're staring at a blank window waiting for a response...and waiting....and waiting. You wish you could take back the last thing you typed, but you can't. It's just right out there in black and white and you're forced to look at it while you wait for a response.
Finally, after what seemed like 10 minutes, his reply came through. It was a very simple, "I'd love to meet." Wow. Talk about a heart stopper! Since I'm a "get things done" kind of gal, all the arrangements were made within 24 hours and 48 hours later I was on a plane to Seattle.
You have to understand that we had not seen each other yet. Photo sharing was not as common or easy as it is today, so the best we had were faxed photos of each other and the written personal descriptions we had provided. He said his hair was thinning, but what did that mean? I didn't know, and the faxed photo was certainly no help. Would we be as physically attracted to each other as we were emotionally attracted to each other?
So, who was this W and why was I attracted to him from a distance enough to get on a plane and go see him and, ultimately, and sex with him? He was a married father of three, married to the same woman for 25 years. It sounded like their relationship was friendly, stable, and reliable, which I liked a lot. I certainly didn't need some newly separated guy chasing me down or showing up at my house. He was well-educated, employed (an architect), articulate, and funny. He liked being married and had no intention of leaving his wife, and he understood that I loved my husband and that I did not want to leave my marriage, either. Even though he was married, he was emotionally available and open to me. He wasn't afraid of intimacy, and he was very supportive and encouraging. And he loved sex as much as I did. He enjoyed talking about it, online and on the phone (he had a very sexy voice), and we seemed to have the same tastes and interests.
We met that first time in Seattle (I'll provide the details of that first meeting in another post), and we continued to meet every 2-3 months at various places throughout the western United States for the next four years. We both traveled for work, so we would coordinate our travel calendars whenever we could so we could be together. It was one of the most wonderful and fulfilling relationships of my life up to that point (and the best sex I had ever had!).
So why did the relationship end after 4 years of it was so great? Tragedy struck. His wife died. He went through a terrible period of mourning and guilt. We didn't see each other at all after his wife died, but we continued our relationship online and on the phone. About nine months later, I knew it was over for us when he asked me to move to Seattle...and marry him. As I said, I had no intention of leaving my husband, and I lovingly reiterated that for him. We considered the possibility of him moving to California so we could be closer to each other. He could live in the same town I lived in and we could see each other weekly or even more often, but he still had a son living at home and he wouldn't disrupt his life (which was the right decision, of course).
Eventually, he began dating. Soon, he met someone and re-married. We have had no contact since the day of their wedding.
I still think of him fondly and often. I wonder if we would still be together if his wife had not died or if something else would have intervened to end the relationship. Four years is a very long time as affairs go. How much longer would we have had before the passion subsided on its own? Would it have ever died?
As incredible as my relationship was with W, it's also my greatest regret. taking the step to cheat on my husband the first time was very difficult. It wasn't an easy decision at all. The unforeseen effect of that decision, though, was that cheating would be easier the second time, and the third. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that my advice to anyone who has not yet physically cheated on their spouse is, "Don't do it." You can't turn back the clock. You can never look at your husband or wife again in the same way. You'll always have a secret that you can never tell. What may have been a temporary barrier between you becomes permanent. It doesn't have to ruin a marriage, but it definitely changes it - forever.