A Shameful Affair

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    I never imagined I would be the kind of person who would have an affair.  I would probably be one of the last people anyone who knows me would suspect.  But I did, and it’s a secret I’ve been keeping for the past 10 months.  I’m not proud of it.  We started as friends at work.  Then once we exchanged cell numbers, we started texting everyday, and the texts quickly became sexual when he admitted that he was attracted to me.  I should have stopped it then and told him that we had to be friends since I was and am married.  But as crazy as it sounds, I was afraid to lose him because I thought he was the “one.”  He broke it off last week, and though I was expecting it for a while and it was the right thing, I am completely heartbroken.  Part of the problem is that I did things that sabotaged that relationship because deep down I felt guilty for cheating and that I didn’t deserve love.  I never knew if he really cared about me or if he was just having fun.  It was always so hard to make plans with him.  He would never commit to an actual day.  Whenever I asked about setting a time to get together, he would say, “How about now?”, even though I kept telling him I needed some advance notice.  Part of me wonders, “Did I ruin my only chance at real love?”  Or was I completely wrong about him?  I wish I had handled things so very differently.  The regrets only make the pain worse.  I know this doesn’t excuse what I did, but I never would have had an affair if I didn’t believe that there was something worth risking my marriage.

    Yes, I am married, but we haven’t been intimate in about 5 years.  Truthfully, we really are more like roommates.  My husband is basically a good person, but we can never have any discussions in which we disagree or any real discussions for that matter. The last time we started to have a disagreement he covered his ears and started making noises in order not to listen to me.  Another time I said something that disagreed with him, he sneered at me secretly or so he thought.  On a day to day basis, our relationship is fine, but it’s clear that our marriage is lacking.  Our relationship has always been difficult.  We should be divorced, but I’m scared about what it will do to us financially and how it will affect our kids.  I know that I need to do something, but as the same time, I don’t want hurt my husband.  I don’t want him to have be alone, especially since he is in his 60’s.

    I know we shouldn’t be married, but I don’t know how we can afford not to be married.  Before I met R, I’d pretty much given up on finding love.  Honestly, I didn’t think I’d have to deal with a broken heart ever again at my age until I met him.  I turned 50 this year.  He is in his 40’s.   I’ve never been lucky in love.  I should never have gotten married.  I don’t regret having my kids, but I do regret that I didn’t provide them with a better family situation.  I seem to have a problem giving up on relationships, even when they aren’t right.  Had I been able to, I never would have gotten married.

    This whole experience has left me wondering why I seem to be so bad at life.  Why can’t I seem to make the right decisions?


    Hi Sadiya,

    Im sorry you are having these challenges. I know it seems tough now, but eventually it’ll come to some resolve. Tough times don’t last forever.

    I hear you saying that you should have divorced a while ago but there are some financial things preventing that. Have you fully come to a decision about wanting to leave your marriage? And if so, have you set some plan to start saving money so you can move out etc? Maybe that would be a good idea. Take it day by day. But develop a plan.

    Also with the person you has an affair with. I hear you took a risk because you felt this was a person worth taking it for. What are some of the reasons you took this risk? Why did he break it off? When it became sexual did it make you uncomfortable, and if so how comfortable are you with communicating your boundaries & needs? You said you felt like you contributed to it ending, how ?


    Also have you tried marriage counseling ?

    how old are your kids?



    Dear Sadiya:

    “This whole experience has left me wondering why I seem to be so bad at life. Why can’t I seem to make the right decisions?”

    Let’s look at making the right decisions for yourself (and for your kids and husband) at this time-

    You (50), your husband (60s) are roommates for years at this point. Two roommates who live peacefully but with no emotional  or physical intimacy. You have children together. The reason you live together is because neither one of you can financially afford to live  apart and because you are worried that a separation will hurt your children.

    And so, you are choosing to live together with your roommate and pretend to your children and to yourself that he is a husband (beyond his legal position: a husband).

    If you want to look into your current decision and examine possibilities with me,  you can answer my following questions:

    1. How old (approximately, if you don’t want to be exact) are your children and do they live with you in the home or are they living independently?

    2. Are you worried about you and your husband separately not being able to  survive financially if separated, or are you worried about either one of you living with less money, not as comfortably- in other words, is it possible for the two of you financially,  to live separately?

    3. How is the health of your husband and yourself,  does he require care taking of any kind? Does he have siblings/ family, other than his children, that he can live with?




    Dear Sadyia,

    I am sorry to hear your difficulties and thank you for sharing your story. I understanding your feelings as I have been in those hardship for a while now. It was very  shameful and heart broken for me too for not being strong enough to stop the heart falling in love with someone else while being married, even though the intention were not to break the family but to  love and experience the love and intimacy passionately. I know the affair will be never acceptable under any circumstance, but sometime it happened beyond our control and sometimes we thought we could manage to work it out for every one.

    I am sorry I don’t have any better advises to give you, but please don’t be too hard on yourself (which I have been very hard on myself but I managed to make it lessen each day). I still try to find the best solution that works for everyone. I hope you will find support and insights from this forum.

    I hope you will find strength and peace  to deal with this difficult time

    Take care



    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Thank you so much for the replies. It’s really nice to be able to talk about it, and it means a lot to me.</p>
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I have mixed feelings about getting a divorce. On the one hand, the fact that I had an affair is a clear sign that something isn’t right. I do want more from my relationship. On the other hand, if I get divorced, will I really be any better off?  Will I just end up alone and financially stressed?  My kids are both in college. The younger one is starting her first year next week, so we also have college payments to think about.  She has had a tough year emotionally, and I worry what a divorce would do to her. Perhaps after she has finished college would be a better time to separate, but then we also lose another 4 years.  Financially, we don’t have any savings. Several years ago, my husband was not working for about a year and half, which drained whatever savings we did have and put us into debt. He does not have a stable income. My husband is in decent health for someone of his age.  He does have a number of siblings, but none live nearby.</p>
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I had never felt the way I had until I met R. He was someone who I was both intellectually stimulated and sexually attracted. He made feel desirable and made me want to be better. But because of my low self-esteem and because I was cheating, I would always say self deprecating comments when he paid me compliments. Because he always wanted to meet at hotels, which we never actually did, I felt like a slut and told him so. The week that let to the break up, I had seen a picture of him online with a wedding ring, and I asked him if there was something he was hiding. The thing is I know he wasn’t married, but I became paranoid. Then a couple days later when we weren’t able to meet up, I tried to call him to figure out when we could meet. He didn’t answer, so I tried again to leave a voicemail. But it went straight to voicemail, and I became paranoid that he had blocked me. I called multiple times and with different numbers. I basically went crazy. Don’t think going on the pill helped.  I just handled everything wrong. Had we been in a normal situation, I don’t think I would have behaved that way. Now he just thinks I’m nuts, which really saddens me, because his opinion mattered to me.</p>


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Maya, thank you for your support and kind words. I hope that things work out better for you, and that you are able to find a solution that will work for you and your family.  I feel for you, and I hope that you will find the strength to make the changes that are necessary for you to be happy. I have to believe that things will get better if we want them to. And I’m sorry that I don’t have much advice to give either, but I hope that you will learn something from my situation that will help.</p>


    Dear Sadiya:

    You and your husband have no  savings and he doesn’t have a stable income. Not having a stable income means that he is not a great financial resource,  correct?

    And the financial advantage of staying married to him is that the two of you have one home and if separated the two of you  will need two homes, an extra set of expenses. Did I understand correctly so far?

    Also, the two of you live as roommates, not having a sexual relationship, staying in separate bedrooms perhaps?

    I am asking these questions because I want to understand better and maybe, just maybe help you somewhat,  somehow, with some clarity, bringing to the surface the full picture of the reality of your situation.

    You wrote about your husband: “The last time we started to have a disagreement he covered his ears and started making noises in order not to listen to me”- unless you nag him a lot, argue with him repeatedly, and he is therefore understandably frustrated, him covering his ears and making noises is so very rude. Which one is it- you nagging or him being incredibly rude to you?

    You wrote about the man you had an affair with: “I never knew if he really cared about me of if he was  just having fun. It was always so hard to make plans  with him. He would never commit to an actual day. Whenever I asked about setting a time  to get together, he would say, ‘How about now?’, even though I kept telling him I  needed some advance notice”- reads like he was disrespectful to you and  inconsiderate of you. It also reads like he was either married or in a relationship with another woman, maybe having children and therefore unable to make plans with you in advance. Also  he wanted to take you to hotels, not to his own place- maybe because he had a partner or wife and children in… his own place.

    If you didn’t meet in hotels, I wonder where it is that you got together.





    Hi Sadiya,

    I get that you are unhappy in your marriage & are over it and considering divorce at this point. Marriages are really difficult contracts because of the legal things that go into it and also the emotional & belief systems people have about it. I’ve come across a number of post where people were in a very similar situation to you, these women shamed themselves really harshly for falling in love with someone else after being in a relationship with someone they were unhappy with, and a few of them stayed not because they wanted to but because of fears about what society would think of what others would want.

    At the end of the day, yes every decision has some consequence. And in these cases , neither will make anyone super happy .. It brings me back to the fairness vs Justice Question. Do we choose fairness or justice? Fairness may make everyone happy but it is not always just for the person. While justice may not make everyone happy but atleast its just. Two moms cry because they want a baby, the biblical figure on the deciding end isn’t sure who the real mom is… he can go with fairness & split the baby in half or Justice . One mom says “give me the baby!” The other mom says “split it in half!” Of course he finds the real mom is the one who wants the full baby- Justice. Even though it lead to the other one being unhappy.

    This is to say, no one really knows what they want but you. No one has the answer but you. We can give you opinions all day. But I’d hope you’d choose the answer that makes you feel the most at peace outside of others opinion of you.

    On the other end. I’m glad you are considering the well being of others. I had assumed you already did. It seems your husband may be okay other than a broken heart (though he has seemed to stop trying to resolve the issues Years ago..) , but your worry about how it will impact your children is valid. Yet in my opinion and it’s just my opinion – divorce is always hard on children but they are at the age where they can handle it way better compared to Let’s say young children under the age of 10 where psychologically their world are there parents and so they blame everything on themselves and internalize as such and it affects their cognitive development. The only one who I could really see it do damage on the most is the one in college. College is really hard and I’m glad you’re considering this.

    Do your children know y’all are having issues? How has it already affected them? Do you think they already know?

    If you did decide to leave I’d recommend making sure the one in college enrolls in therapy & getting some family counseling as well to help them process. If divorce is healthier for you, then trying to get them to understand it’s more of a mental health decision than anything else etc. because I get the sense that either something is happening between you and your husband  that is unbearably toxic for you – maybe like his unwillingness to listen after breaking boundaries  or doing harmful things or, maybe you’re just quick to get one now because of the emotions you have and built up irritation from your recent break up?

    Do you really need to get a divorce? Can you just leave it separation and still live there and date happily and do you? Or what’s the marriage stopping you from doing that you would do otherwise?

    Either way finances is an issue whether you stay together or not, and this is a basic need that people need to have in place before they make any decision . And it will probably help you breathe better and clear your judgment once you secure a savings. So I’d say start practically. Create a plan & a savings. End your relationship, go into separation if you really want to see others. But you don’t have to move out just yet. You can just be actual roommates until you save. All my opinion. All your choice.

    With the person you has an affair with. I noticed some red flags then again I’m only hearing your side of the story. For him wanting to hang but it being last minute I could understand how that would be difficult for both of you. As adults scheduling is hard. In my opinion I think he should have been more patient With you and tried to schedule things ahead of time. That is a reasonable boundary and adult thing to do. On the other side in his defense, if it were a situation where there wasn’t clear communication, any cat and mouse stuff going on, he felt frustrated about you still being with your partner- maybe he was stand offish because of that. Sometimes people don’t always communicate their frustrations but I like to ask myself “what are there unmet needs?”

    When it comes to him constantly wanting to meet at hotels. I can see why that registered as a flag to you. You said you risked it because you thought he was long term material. So Id imagine you wanted to do things that would build to a long term relationship. Meeting at a hotel , I mean, did he just want sex? Did you ask him? I wouldn’t get too caught up in norms or old beliefs that sleeping with someone makes you a “slut” as you said or bad person. If that’s what you wanted to do then okay . If you wanted to do something else like go to dinner then suggest and communicate that.

    But if he blocked you. Then the communication can’t happen and you can’t work it out. He may just be hurt about some things and will unblock you later. If he does come back and you still want it to work, ask him about why he did it. Tell him your true intentions. And see if your intentions match . Be clear about your boundaries what you’re willing to do, and why they matter to you. And then, if it’s a match it’s a match , but if not that’s okay. What did it all teach you?



    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for the feedback.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>In response to your questions, when my husband is working, he makes good money. The problem is that the work is never steady. So we have always had to save for those slow periods, and there is no guarantee the slow periods will end. We do share a bed, but other than a goodnight kiss, there isn’t any affectionate touching.  On a daily basis, we’re fine, but it’s when we have to discuss anything that we disagree on that is the problem. My husband isn’t a bad man, but he’s not the most patient or tactful person and can be rather selfish.  A number of months ago, we got into a fight, and he said that I don’t respect him. At this point, there are times when that is true. However, I pointed out to him that he doesn’t show me any respect. For my 50th birthday, he did nothing for it while for his 60th birthday, I arranged a dinner at a very restaurant with tour kids and bought him a 60″ tv.  Unfortunately, this is typical of our relationship.</p>
    In regards to the man I had the affair with, I’m certain he wasn’t married or had kids, and. I very much doubt he had a girlfriend, though I admit it sounds suspicious. He said he didn’t want his cousin to find out, or she would ask questions he didn’t want to answer. I maybe naive, but I do think that is plausible.

    When he was at work, we would sometimes go another office he had access to during break or lunch or go for a drive. Things were not bad when he was at work. It was when he stopped going to work around May that problems began. Other than meeting briefly at a mall back in June, we haven’t seen each other since and only texted. About 6 weeks before he ended it, I picked a fight with him. Things were ok for a while until the last week before the break up. Only texting was difficult for me.

    Thanks again for the feedback. I’m very grateful.



    Hi Grenada,

    Thanks for your advice.

    There’s so much to think about I  regards to a divorce. My kids wouldn’t necessarily be surprised, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be difficult for them, especially my younger one who already major friendship problems this past year. Ideally, it would be better for us to just live together, but not be married or least separated. But I don’t think my husband would agree to that, and we would have to have separate residences, which we can’t afford.

    In regards to R, his reactions.made me insecure, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Whenever we talked about getting together, I would ask when he was free, but he would never tell me. Instead, he would say he was always free and to tell him a time, but when I did, that never worked. When he talked about the hotel, it was supposedly so we could have time to hang out, in addition b having sex. We did talk about getting together for dinner and a movie, too, we could never make it happen. He said he tried, but I never made it work. I don’t know if it my fault. Maybe it was. I just don’t know…

    Before he ended it, he didn’t block. I just paranoid that he had. Don’t know if he has now.

    Thanks again for the advice. I really appreciate it.



    And there no chance of reconciliation with R. I think he’s had enough of me, and he’s not the type to change his mind.




    dont beat yourself up about R.


    Thanks Grenada.  I’m trying not to, but it’s hard when you feel like it’s your fault things didn’t work out.  Even though there were some things that made me question whether he was sincere or just playing with me, I was never really sure if it was him or if it was me that was really the issue.

    I just don’t seem to know how to pick the right men.


    Dear Sadiya:

    You are welcome.

    “I just don’t seem to know how to pick the right men”- I hear/ read women say this sentence a lot, problem with this sentence is: there aren’t a whole lot of right (honest, trustworthy, empathetic, kind) men at any one time, so statistically it is more likely that a women ends up with the wrong man.

    What I understand from the information you provided is the following:

    1. You and your husband cannot afford separate residences.

    2. Both your children are young adults, your youngest will be starting her first year in college this month, a four year program which you and your husband are financing.

    3. You and your husband do not have any savings.

    4. Your husband does not have a stable income. When he works, he makes good money, but his work is never steady. “we have always had to save for those slow periods, and there is no guarantee the slow periods will end”. Several years ago, he was unemployed for about a year and a half, your savings were drained at the time and you incurred debt.

    5. Your husband “isn’t a bad man” and “On a daily basis, we’re fine”, but he is often impatient, insensitive, selfish and rude, and the communication as well as emotional and physical intimacy is severely lacking.

    For his 60 birthday you arranged a dinner at a very nice restaurant for him, with your kids, and you bought him a 60″ TV. For your recent 50 birthday he… did nothing at all to celebrate it.

    The above example is “typical of our relationship”, you wrote.

    My thoughts this morning: regarding the man you refer to as R- doesn’t read to me that the initial R stands for Right, as in the Right Man, not at all. When you met him you were like a woman living in a desert (your relationship with your husband is that desert). You were very thirsty for intellectual stimulation and for feeling like an attractive, desired woman. You experienced those two things with R.

    Back to my comment that a woman is statistically unlikely to find the right man at any one time- it is even more statistically unlikely for a man in his 40s (married or not) to meet a married woman at work, a woman close to 50, knowing she is married, and to think something like: I want a lifetime relationship with this woman. He is more likely to think something like: this is fun! What an exciting distraction from the boredom of work!

    I understand that you didn’t behave perfectly with him, having made self deprecating comments to him- but the affair with him didn’t last not because you made self deprecating comments- it was very unlikely to last. In 100 affairs between two people, one or two of them married, how many of those affairs last and become lifetime, the two making a life together?

    Maybe one, or two. The chances are very small.

    Question now: is it time for you to give up on love and resign to the desert kind of relationship you have with this man, your husband or is it time to look for the love you longed for, for so long?

    There are places in the world, big cities, let’s say, that a single woman in her 50s can find love, enroll in a respectable dating site with thousands of men, many fitting the age requirement, and after several months of a thoughtful and strategic online activity, setting a date to get to know a candidate better in a coffee shop, let’s say, then setting a second and third date.. finally making it work. The chances are lesser if online dating is not available or the pool of men in geographical proximity is very limited.

    There are married women (who have physical intimacy with their husbands) who settle into a lifestyle of having affairs, chasing that good feeling, holding on to it as long as possible, doing so for years. Some of these women will tell you that they feel guilty but they are invested in this lifestyle, basically supplementing their lacking marriages with affair-excitement.

    Reads to me that you are a good woman, concerned for your children, especially your younger daughter who is currently experiencing some emotional/ social trouble. You are even concerned for your selfish husband. And reads to me that you are not  okay with the affair-excitement lifestyle- you are simply not that kind of selfish, self centered, dishonest woman, are you?

    You believe that your husband will not agree that the two of you stay in separate bedrooms, officially roommates, so to make it possible for you to date a man openly (a man who will be okay with dating a married woman who shares a residence with her roommate-husband).

    In summary: if you are or would be able to financially support your own residence, however humble, (and if you live in a place where online dating is promising), then it would  be a good idea to legally separate from your husband as soon as possible.

    It has to be very frustrating to live with a selfish man who did not do a thing to celebrate his wife 50 birthday- I can hardly digest this sad fact!) and I wish you didn’t live with him, even if you didn’t meet the right man). To live with a selfish man because one cannot afford living separately is … an undesirable situation.

    I don’t know where to go from here. I would like to read more of your thoughts…?


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