I'm referring to affairs here, not one night stands that are just about sex. I'm talking about real relationships in which you come to care about each other. Sometimes it's love; sometimes it's not, but it usually ends badly nonetheless.
I used to say it always ends badly, but there are a few very rare exceptions, so I can't be so absolute anymore. There's the rare case when the affair turns into a friendship and that friendship lasts for a long time.
But that's about it.
The usual scenario? Pick one:
- One or both spouses find out about the affair and there is a lot of pain and anguish. Sometimes divorce ensues. The best case scenario is that feelings are hurt. The worst is that someone kills someone else in a jealous rage. Both of these are extremes. Divorce and/or a long period of painful rebuilding are closer to the norm.
- Spouses don't find out, but one or both of the cheaters decides to stop cheating or moves on to another lover.
- One or both of you are filled with guilt, which is no fun at all and usually leads to scenario #2 (above).
- Fill in the blank with any one of many tragic endings - disease, death, etc.
As for heartache, I'm still heartbroken about Webcam Guy who cut off all communication with me months ago, even though the relationship had transitioned to a friendship level several months before. I didn't see it coming and I don't think I could have prepared myself for it if I had. I still miss him.
Now that I have thoroughly depressed you, you may be wondering, "Why is Kat telling us this?"
I want you to go into it with your eyes open, if you go into it at all. You read about the up-side of infidelity here a lot, but it's not all sunshine and roses. An affair is a relationship just like other relationships, except that it's much more complicated and the potential for hurting others is much higher.
That said, is it worth it?
That depends on what you're willing to risk.
My answer is - Absolutely! I wouldn't trade away a single moment with some of the extraordinary people I've met. I've built a life that reaches beyond the borders of the conventional. I've risked a lot, and I've gained a lot. I appreciate my husband in a way I never would have if I had made different choices. I'm not tortured with thoughts of "what if?" and "the road not taken."
I've shared before that one of the things I was looking for when I cheated the very first time was to feel something. Anything. My life had become black and white and I was dying for some color. I have always loved my husband, but the feeling of being penned in and isolated by my marriage was suffocating me. I needed to breathe.
I got exactly what I asked for. I got some room to breathe. I have become much less isolated. I've made some great friends. I've experienced some mind-blowing sex. I've fallen in love.
And I've had my heart broken.
Both the pain and the joy in my life are deeper and more textured. My life is no longer black and white.
I didn't know what I was getting into the first time, but since then I have known exactly what I was reaching for - and risking. I chose to live out loud, so to speak, to experience life along a different path than many other people, to be judged by others. I chose my marriage - and more.
In order to get the rich taste out of life, I also chose the heartache.
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Why Kat Prowls