Adulterer’s Guilt

It’s not always fairy dust and sweat.

Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash

The guilt only comes when he does something nice or pats my bum. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it reminds me of what we once had. Most of the time I don’t think about it, though.

I don’t think about it because the affair is part of me now. It’s who I’ve become and how I see myself. I’ve been having an affair for two years, and it’s changed my life. Not in any dramatic way, but it’s made me happier and more patient, fulfilled. I even wrote and published my first book. Although I can’t tell anyone about it, I’m immensely proud of my achievement.

Waves of guilt pass over me, but there’s no pain that accompanies it. Sadness, or remorse perhaps, but no pain. Not the pain I’d imagined I might have. The pain that would make me confess my sins and throw myself at his feet, but it’s there sometimes. Never enough pain to ask a Priest for forgiveness.

God knows I’m cheating; his shepherds can’t help me. What would they do anyway? Tell me to stop? Would I really need to put $10 in the collection plate for that wisdom? I’m sure there’s a set number of Our Father’s cheaters get, although I’m sure Mary would have understood. Begging for forgiveness is not my thing anymore, if it ever was. I was always suspicious of the divine even as they choked me with it.

I’m not the cool cheater either. I’m more sassy in writing than in life, but that’s just for money. I don’t get off on getting away with it. I love my affair partner the way I used to be loved at home. The sex is wonderful, but I don’t get off on sex with my wedding rings on like some do. I don’t take them off either. Why would I? I’m married.

When you go without sex for a decade, it changes you. How you feel about yourself and your self-worth. I used porn a lot, but after so many years, it left me empty and feeling worthless. I was a shell of myself most days, just going through the motions to orgasm and then move on to the next thing. It was lonely. Don’t get me wrong. I love masturbating, but it’s more side salad than the main course.

I needed to eat again. But even now, after sex, it seems like such a small thing to be missed. Insignificant even. I wonder why I couldn’t live without it? Why couldn’t I go without? I’ve done it before, but then I remind myself that’s how I got where I am.

When I have regular sex, I won’t touch myself for two weeks unless I’m horny thinking about my lover. When I wasn’t having sex, I would masturbate every day and it wasn’t enough.

Before I cheated, I tried writing smut for money and getting rid of some energy. The stories came fast and I still had energy to burn. Sex was the only thing I thought about. But once I’d been getting laid, the stories dried up. I’d lost the fire I’d had for them like it was knocked out of me. In fact, I’m sure it was.

I’m not a slut, don’t have a high sex drive, and I never needed much sex to be happy. So when I got to back to an equilibrium of getting the sex I needed, I wondered what it was about sex I was getting from it. That’s when I realized it wasn’t the sex, but the affection that comes with it — the snuggling, hugging and kissing.

I missed those the most. Being held and touched in the night, reassured when upset and comforted when tired. When sex disappeared, so did everything else. What I never realized was sex and affection are two branches of the same tree. After all those years of getting both I took them for granted and they’d blurred together. It never occurred to me when I lost sex, that it was the intimacy I’d miss the most. Don’t get me wrong, I need a thorough fucking every now and again, but I need loving more.

So when I do get touched at home, I’m reminded of the affection and love we once had, and what I do now to get it. And it’s then guilt comes knocking at my door.

By Teresa J Conway on .

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Exported from Medium on March 4, 2021.

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts.

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