I found an old email from O recently. I couldn’t read it without weeping.
I am such a girl sometimes.
It made me wonder what he is up to nowadays; where he is at in his life. Whether he married the girlfriend he cheated on with me; if he finally has the kids that he so desired.
To this day I am still racked with guilt about our brief ‘affair’. It rests uneasily on my conscience – a reminder that someone will always be affected by the choices I make; that I am responsible for my actions.
I’ve never been unfaithful to a partner; I’m probably old-fashioned like that, seeing a solitary monogamous relationship as a sacred bond, rather than a bind. However, perhaps unlike some, I also feel comfortable with the thought of dabbling outside this dual-unit: alongside my partner, I would love to enjoy the excitement of having sex with another to add to the spice in our sex life.
But this wasn’t what O and his girlfriend had. Behind her back, we snuck around, had quiet calls and brief texts arranging where and how we would next meet. Our dalliance was secretive; our relationship duplicitous.
I always thought that affairs were these sordid things where you find yourself stealing brief moments to shag each others’ brains out. Not so, in this case. Perhaps the reason it messed both of us up so much, was that often we just met to talk; the physical contact limited to our eyes locking and our fingers touching. We had a connection – but it wasn’t purely sexual.
This was perhaps what was so difficult about the whole episode: the ‘me’ that O got to know was not the neurotic self-absorbed woman obsessed with sex, but the thoughtful idealist who wore her heart on her sleeve. He embraced that part – romanced it – and I felt completely at ease with him; I was able to just relax and be myself and he loved me all the more for it.
And, some months later, when we finally had sex, he discovered my inner sex fiend too and made me feel like I was normal, rather than just needy. We made love with a passion and I felt connected to him on every level.
But the guilt ate both of us up – and rightly so. Even though I regret doing something I see as morally wrong, I’m also glad I experienced being with him. O helped me be the woman I could be – one that is able to connect mentally and express my emotions. He showed me that there is a man out there who is so entranced by me that he would want to meet up with me just to talk, rather than fuck my brains out. O made me see that I didn’t have to battle between love and lust – that with the right person it and I will fall naturally into place.
So I look back on this situation with mixed emotions: feeling a longing for him and the closeness we had; feeling guilt about what we did; and feeling a pang in my heart because I miss having this connection with someone.
Overall though I feel optimistic: I know I am capable of love – and being in love. And I also know that somewhere out there is someone else who will think it cute that I am clumsy; who will be enchanted by my neurotic philosophising about life; and who will adore my ‘always on’ sex drive.
He may not be round the corner, but he is out there – I am sure of it.
And he'll be single too.