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'I was cheating on my husband when I fell pregnant. The decision I made was heartbreaking.'

As told to Ann DeGrey.

One of the worst things I’ve ever done was have an affair with a married man while I was married. I barely recognise the woman that I was at the time because I feel like a different person now. I’ve had to do a lot of healing. There have been many times I’d laid awake at night just hating myself for the things I have done. I tell myself that the situation was impossible, and I did what I had to do for my family. But the fact that I’ve had to keep this secret has lingered for years in the shadows of my mind, creating an invisible barrier between me and my current relationship.

It started in quite a sweet, innocent way, or that’s what I told myself. Tom* and I were colleagues, paired together on a long-term project. We spent our days working closely together, going to meetings and then working late at night to meet deadlines. Our casual lunches started to feel like the highlight of my day, and then our conversations stopped being professional and became very personal. We were both married to other people and neither of us was happy – my biggest mistake was opening up to Tom, telling him that my husband Stephen* only wanted sex with me once or twice a year. That confession opened the door because Tom knew that I was vulnerable.

Watch: People admit when they knew it was time for a divorce. Post continues after video.

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He was very attentive, attractive and also very funny. Tom seemed to understand the struggles I faced at work and at home – he told me his sex life with his wife was not good, so we had that in common. Over drinks one night, Tom said he really wanted to make love with me and I resisted at first.

At home, Stephen and I were literally like ships passing in the night. We were good friends but the romantic spark had died for both of us. And yet, I did love him and didn’t want to cheat on him. We were companions and parents of our two kids, but the deeper connection was gone. 

The first time Tom and I had sex was at his house when his wife and kids were overseas. It was fantastic, and I was alive with emotions and sensations I hadn't felt in many years. I felt guilty, but I also felt wonderful. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t want to stop. "I can’t believe your husband only has sex with you once a year, I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off you," Tom said. 

We continued our affair for nearly eight months. It was very stressful sneaking around and stealing moments together. For me, it felt like an escape from the monotony of my world. And I stupidly convinced myself that we weren’t hurting anyone because it was “our secret.”

One morning, Tom messaged me to say he wanted me to meet him at his house before work. We were only in bed for about fifteen minutes, but it was blissful. We showered together and went to work separately. I should also mention that I wasn’t using any contraception. I was 42 and didn’t think I’d be able to get pregnant because I thought I was too old and I’d had issues conceiving in the past.

That same day, when Stephen came home, we did a few things with the kids and then went to bed early. And, as fate would have it, that night was the night Stephen chose to have sex with me. He only touched me once a year, and he chose the night that I’d already had sex with my boyfriend. Well, I felt awful, that was one time I felt really like a piece of sh*t. I decided after having sex with my husband, that I’d end things with Tom.

And so I broke off the affair and Tom didn’t seem to mind. He could have been seeing other women too, for all I knew.

The following month my period didn’t arrive, and my first thought was "Oh no, what if I’m pregnant?" To ease my mind, I did a pregnancy test and there it was – I was pregnant. 

Clearly, I wasn’t too old – but my next thought was, "I wonder if this is Tom's baby, or whether the baby was conceived the night I had sex with Stephen?"

I confided in my closest friend, who was horrified but supportive. I realised then I had a terrible decision to make.

Obviously, I had no way of knowing who the father really was, until after the baby was born. Imagine if the baby looked like Tom and Stephen was suspicious? It was then that I knew I had no choice but to terminate this pregnancy. This absolutely broke my heart and while I told Tom, he didn’t really have much empathy for me. And I never told Stephen I was pregnant, I didn’t want to have another child with a man I wasn’t going to stay with.

I went through the termination, hating myself and about six months later I left my marriage, I just didn’t see the point of continuing to struggle in a relationship that was over a long time ago. Now I’m in a new relationship and I love my partner very much. But in the back of my mind, I still think of that lost baby and what an awful person I was. It’s very hard to forgive yourself but hopefully, I’ll get there one day.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

*Names have been changed due to privacy.

If you find yourself needing to talk to someone after reading this story, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

And if this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637.

Feature image: Canva.

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