I’d never been more tempted to cheat than in this moment in time, but I didn’t. I stopped myself from cheating and so can you.
Nobody ever tells you how hard long-term relationships can be and in all fairness, even if and when they do warn you, you’d never believe them from your ‘love bubble’.
I’ve been with my partner for almost eighteen years. We love each other but what comes with a long-term relationship is simmering tensions, disagreements that can last for years, over-familiarity and a distinct lack of excitement.
It was from this unsettled place that I almost cheated on my partner.
An old flame came back into my life. We haven’t spoken in years and when I answered the phone and heard his voice I felt excited. Just hearing his voice brought back so many memories. Romantic nostalgia is dangerous in a long term relationship but I didn’t care. I allowed myself to sink into the feeling and we spoke on the phone for over an hour.
He’s unhappily married and broke the cardinal rule of married couples – he complained to me, his ex-girlfriend, about his wife. I didn’t return the favour. I knew how disloyal it was to complain about your current partner to an ex, but I did feel a small sense of satisfaction that he wasn’t happy. Then he said this.
“If we’d stayed together, I think I’d have been happier.”
“You don’t know that,” I said.
“But do you ever think about it,” he persisted. “Do you ever think about what it would be like if we were together?”
“Of course I do,” I answered. “But that’s normal. It’s normal to think about things like that.”
The intimacy of our conversation was thrilling and I never wanted it to end.
“We should have lunch,” he said.
I knew immediately that I was at a crossroads. I knew what lunch meant and so did he. It would start off with lunches, phone calls, emails, an emotional affair and soon enough it could easily move on to something else.
I had a decision to make.
“I can’t have lunch with you,” I said firmly.
“But we can be friends, can’t we?”
“No, it would never be just friendship.”
I told him that we were married with children. I explained that while it was great to talk to him and to sometimes imagine a life together that I was a realist and he should be too. If we’d stayed together we’d have ended up a little bitter and dissatisfied too, because that’s the nature of long-term relationships. The key is to persevere because the price of busting up our marriages and families was too high a price to pay. Besides, the grass isn’t always greener.