My college dating experience was very typical. While I didn’t sleep around, I dated my fair share of men. When I think back on all of these men, one sticks out in my mind the most: Leo. I only dated him very briefly while I was 18. It was a whirlwind romance, very intense and dramatic. It fizzled out just as quickly as it started. I pined over him for over a year before I met my future husband. Everything about Leo was perfect…he was from a foreign country and had a dreamy accent, he came from a wealthy family, was educated with an amazing career, drove a fast sports car. But more than that, there was a certain je nais se quoi about him. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on but nonetheless knew I was very attracted to. I went through stages of thinking I was in love with him, and then subsequently hating him for the way we broke up. (It wasn’t pretty and involved him having a fiancee of his own.)
Fast forward almost eight years, and I was engaged. While I thought of Leo from time to time, I truly was happy with my husband-to-be. Until it happened. Through a series of random events, I ran into Leo (who was then single). About two weeks later, I contacted him and had mentally made the decision that I wanted to have an affair with him. I pursued him. From there on, I would spend my days and weekends wedding planning, and my nights with Leo. My poor husband was none the wiser, and being with Leo made me happy again. My sex life with my husband seemed to stop the second we got engaged…and having someone express physical desire for me again was refreshing. Exhilarating, even. I knew what I was doing was wrong morally, but I didn’t feel bad. I knew if I got caught I wouldn’t be sorry that I did it—I would be sorry that I got caught. Nonetheless, the closer the wedding got, the riskier everything became. I ended it of my own accord and vowed to myself that I would never do this again. Not with anyone, and certainly not with Leo.
To make a very long story short, I’ve been married almost two years and started seeing Leo again about five months ago. I don’t know if what I feel for Leo is lust or love, but I know that I like it. Being with him is intoxicating. However, I feel like I’m constantly trapped in a false existence of my happy married life and my sordid affair with Leo. While my husband and I are not yet trying to conceive, I am not on the pill. We reliably use condoms. With Leo, we’ve never used condoms and he knows I’m not on the pill. More than once I’ve had scares where I thought I was pregnant with his baby. He’s made comments like “We would make attractive children”…which leave me feeling high for days (a reaction I don’t get when my husband says the same thing). I know this all sounds so typical of “daddy issues” and like I clearly must have something wrong with me. But I don’t. Other than this, I’m a very normal citizen. I have a great career and an advanced graduate degree from a respected Ivy League school, I go to church, etc., etc. I’m not sleeping with Leo for attention or validation. I’m not trying to fill some male-attention-deprived void, or repeat what my parents did (neither of them had affairs).
I’ve thought about leaving my husband for Leo, but Leo has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to be married for the next five to eight years. Sometimes I think I should leave them both and be by myself, find someone new. Sometimes I fantasize about getting pregnant by Leo and raising the baby with my husband (and not telling him he isn’t the father). According to a study at the University of Washington Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, 20% of men and 15% of women admitted to newlywed cheating. I clearly can’t be alone in this situation. Was I too young to get married? Did I marry the wrong person? Is Leo my “true” soul mate? These are questions that plague me on a daily basis.
What do you do when you’re in love with your husband, but also someone else? I know what the right thing to do is (get rid of Leo, and keep quiet about this to my husband, as the guilt is my cross to bear), but yet I can’t do it. I can’t seem to give up my secret.