As time went by, there were more of these shadowy figures, and they would come closer the longer we were living there.
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Tyler came around at a time when I was frustrated with so many aspects of my lonely life.
I had no close friends in our new town. My husband J and I were growing apart because of his demanding job and constant marathon training. I was left alone a lot in our brand new cookie-cutter house in the cul-de-sac where we envisioned settling down and having children.
We were also in a sexless marriage and had been since the very beginning. Although J was raised a strict Catholic, and me, not so much, we were both brought up with the belief that pre-marital sex was one of the most shameful acts a young person could do.
Because of this skewed thinking, getting married was a confusing transition for which we never really felt prepared. One day sex was wrong and the next day, it’s perfectly fine. The regular sex life I thought we would have never came, and I was discouraged.
I didn’t see any harm in contacting Tyler after meeting him at a weekend conference. The innocent flirting was a welcome distraction. We talked about everything we had in common: travel, photography, and dissatisfaction with our jobs.
But with the mutual attraction it quickly escalated into sexting and dirty phone calls either on my way home from work or when J was out for a run. While J left town for a friend’s wedding, Tyler flew in for a much-anticipated tryst. He couldn’t keep his hands off me as I drove from the airport to a downtown hotel.
After that weekend, our sexting relationship continued but Tyler started making requests that made me feel uncomfortable. Could I put an ad on Craigslist for sex and then tell him what happened in full detail? Can I call him if J and I got intimate so he could listen? Could I fuck a stranger while he sat in the room and maintained eye contact the entire time? And then take his turn immediately afterwards?
I said no. Constantly.
This virginal bride, who had only experienced vanilla sex, needed to take things slow before heading full force on the kinky train. It finally got through to my thick skull that he was just using me for one last hurrah before officially growing up and settling down.
It was as if poor Tyler wanted to get all his sexual shit out of his system before being forced into his own world of inevitable monogamy and infrequent boring sex.
I did what I could to help him, to an extent, all with the hope that he would rescue me and love me the way that I wanted. But it turned out I wasn’t someone he ever really wanted to get to know. Just the exotic minority girl he got to cross off on some fucked-up bucket list of women yet to be experienced. And when I no longer served a purpose, I got tossed aside. Kicked to the curb the worst way possible. Via a one-sentence text.
It was a no-brainer that I deserved the karmic shit storm headed my way after being dumped. The anxiety of keeping it all a secret from J finally surfaced. I did love my husband, but why did I take it this far? The guilt was being masked the whole time by those dopamine-filled butterflies I got from Tyler.
And that weekend of unadulterated, naughty sex? Completely unsatisfying when I really thought about it. He was a selfish lover who made me come 0 times. But I was still missing him because he was like crack. I craved the affection he never gave.
For months, I was a walking mess incapable of taking care of myself. Sometimes I blamed the Zoloft or Celexa or whatever antidepressant I was on at the time for my extreme laziness, but there was nothing I would rather do than lie in bed and stare at the ceiling fan. I was grieving for both the loss of a lover and the impending end of my marriage.
When you have no choice but to forget someone ever existed, Google is the biggest bitch to put up with. Tyler told me he was a musician, and while doing some insomnia-driven searching I discovered he did have multiple albums under his belt. They all just happened to be about his love for Jesus.
Committing adultery with someone with deep Christian roots still makes my stomach churn. Whatever number commandment it was that we broke and the fear for what would ensue -- wasn’t that hammered into his brain since infancy? No doubt he represents himself as Mr. Squeaky Clean Role Model when he plays piano for parishioners in his wholesome Midwest hometown. They just don’t know he’s really a kinky sex maniac who’s totally into coveting thy neighbor’s wife.
Sure, I understand he must be dealing with his own shitload of issues. If I were still a devout Christian myself, I would say I’d be praying for him.
I admit to missing this scandalous bad girl life with Tyler, but being left to pick up the pieces makes it all so not worth it. My healing process has been painfully slow. There’s plenty of support for victims of affairs but what about for those dealing with the aftermath of their bad decisions and want to change?
Psychotherapy is helping me realize that I relied on J for making me feel happy and valued. When I felt that J was not providing for me enough, I was hoping Tyler would take his place. I’m working hard on ridding myself of this screwed-up way of thinking.
Being attached to someone while so young, I didn’t get the chance to figure myself out, but I’m learning. It’s odd to think that the worst decision I’ve ever made is continuing to change me for the better.
I ended up telling J about this horrendous mess. He feels like he drove me to it because of his neglect and lack of sex drive. I know he didn’t make me do anything.
I feel our marriage is irreparable, but he wants to keep working on it. Secretly I know that one day we’ll be in a completely fulfilling relationship, just not with each other. Maybe it’s a mixture of guilt, codependence, and just plain fear that’s keeping us together right now.
I admit I’m not strong enough to stand on my own just yet, but I’ll get there. J’s forgiven me, forgiven Tyler, but I haven’t fully forgiven myself just yet. We don’t talk about it much, as if we’re slowly forgetting it ever happened. It still hurts.
“Why do you forgive me?” I asked him in tears one night when the memories of the other man were too painful.
All he said was, “Because I love you, and it’s the Christian thing to do.”