How I Cheated On My Wife
I cheat on my wife. I can’t help it. The sensations, the anticipation are all too much for me. Hell, I have tried and tried to stop. But it’s a force so powerful as to almost defy description. It’s a mistress always there, always willing to meet my needs, never asking anything in return. Clearly, I need help.
I definitely don’t want to be one of those slimeballs that betray a partner’s trust. So, I have become an expert in rationalizations. My go-to is that I have a compulsion, maybe even a disorder that would explain my behavior. Or, what I’m doing makes me happier so it will make our marriage better. Or, what I do has nothing to do with how much I love my wife. Or, what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Or, life can be so dull and transactional, what’s wrong with a little fun now and then. Or, no one is really faithful so why make a big deal of it? Just writing these rationalizations seem lame and pathetic at best and narcissistic and sociopathic at worst.
I live in fear of getting caught. It pervades my existence. Every time my wife calls me at work I fear that the jig is up. I feel tortured in harboring this secret. I have put in place rigorous methods to make sure there is no incriminating evidence to expose my misbehavior; I have to be especially careful when doing it at home. I’m riddled with guilt and my work performance is becoming spotty. My friends see that I am “off,” but I can’t tell them anything lest they think less of me or share it with their partners who, in turn, could spill the beans to my wife. I fear being spotted with my paramour, so I scurry around corners, skulk in dark alleys, avoid people’s glances. I worry about what I might say in my sleep.
And, the thing of it is, I had never strayed lo these many years. Sure, there have been temptations but I managed to stay on the straight and narrow. But the pandemic, the sensory deprivation, the shrinkage of all that used to be normal “caused” me to stray. Okay, I know these sound like more rationalizations but my intention is just to explain, not excuse. It does happen to be true that during the pandemic alcohol and drug use has markedly increased as well as the divorce rate. So, it’s not just me, right? But enough with this!
Once, I caught my wife going through my backpack, looking for something to confirm her suspicions. She has begged me on numerous occasions to tell her the truth. I tell her: “Sweetie, it’s all your imagination…trust me.” And she does, or at least says she does. But gaslighting seems like such a horrible thing to do to someone you care so much about. I considered going to see a therapist but what is she going to tell that I don’t already know. At a certain point, I realize that I cannot go on living this way. There seems to be no rational choice but to confess my sins and beg for forgiveness. My puerile hope is that telling her, rather than getting caught, will count for something. It never ceases to amaze how I can bullshit myself.
The particular thing I feel so bad about is that she does so much for me, looks out for my wellbeing in every way, wants me to live as long as possible so we can be together for many years to come. Particularly relevant is the fact that my wife is a nut on the diabetes-inducing effects of consuming sugar and the overall negative health consequences of ingesting various crap chemicals in store-bought drinks, even so-called healthy ones. Back in the day, she helped wean me off my addiction to mini-Three Musketeer bars, Raisinets, and M&Ms. Every week, she trudges to the supermarket to buy 50 lemons and limes which she uses a fair amount of elbow grease to squeeze, seriously risking a repetitive stress injury. Every morning, she heats up a carefully calibrated amount of stevia, mixes it with filtered water to produce a gloriously delicious lemonade, two 16-ounce bottles of which I take to work and religiously consume every day at lunch.
So, coming home from work one day, I tell her that we need to talk. I confess that I have been cheating on her for a while now, supplying scant details, hoping that will suffice. She went batshit, crying, screaming at my betrayal, threatening all sorts of things. She said it was less the actual cheating than the lying (somehow, I felt grateful for that!), undermining the security she took for granted, demolishing the trust she always felt in our relationship. I listened, tried not to be defensive or excuse my behavior in any way. As long as she was still talking to me, I was ahead of the game. As her rage petered out, I saw an opening and swore on our adult children’s lives that I would never, ever do it again. If she wanted to go to couples counseling, I would be more than happy to do so. She said that I needed to go to therapy for myself plus some sort of 12-step program. I readily agreed. Now I know what it feels like for a drowning man to be thrown a life preserver.
But, the weaknesses of the flesh, you know. What can I say? So, now I make deals with myself: I’ll reduce the frequency of contact, going days without giving in to the temptation but, alas, no strategy has worked so far. I have stopped trying to excuse my behavior. I just have to accept myself for who I am. And who is that?
It’s someone who has to make a daily run to the nearest bodega to buy a drink called ICE. It has all sorts of junk in it: Malic Acid, Sucralose, Potassium Benzoate, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Ester Gum, etc. The flavors are sinfully tasty, the best one being coconut-pineapple, a taste explosion that rockets through my body. The carbonation feels like joy incarnate as the bubbles dance down my throat. It feels so good to clasp the chilled, slender bottle in my hand.
And, for all she does for me, for all the dedication she shows, this is how I repay her? So, now I have to live with my despicable behavior. Cheating with another beverage. And it’s killing me!
For a related story:
Breaking Up: Inside the Mind of a (Recovering) Male Narcissist
One man’s story of how he used women and his aspirations to become a decent human being.
For another take on our marital dynamics, see: https://aninjusticemag.com/how-i-dealt-with-my-white-husbands-racism-fatigue-ca8d4aa06c2f