Cheating Can Lead to a Better Life

How an affair can save you from an unfulfilling life

Cheating Can Lead to a Better Life
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

For some women, cheating is a precursor to leaving their primary relationship. It’s not so much that they’re testing the waters of divorce, but it’s more a manifestation of their dissatisfaction at home. And not necessarily sexual dissatisfaction, although that almost always plays a part, it’s the weight of an oppressive marriage and the life that goes with it.


Do they begin cheating with the idea of leaving? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. I think it’s part of an evolution that leads to the exit, but in the beginning cheating gives her the diversion she thinks she needs. It gives her something she can call her own, and it brings the excitement back. Excitement that breaks up the rinse-and-repeat routine she’s fallen into.


In rekindling that spark, she realizes how dreary her life is. A life that at first appeared boring quickly becomes unbearable when alternatives are revealed. And that’s when she starts thinking about leaving.


When I was writing my book, I reached out to some r/adultery Redditors for help, and one of those was Jane. She is featured in the book through several quotes and I added more of my personal story because of her. Our few email exchanges left me appreciating her opinion, experience, and sense of humor, and all of those things helped shape different parts of my book.


We didn’t stay in touch, but I’ve wondered how she made out over the past couple of years. When I came across our emails the other day, I sent her a quick note to tell her I’d published the book and to thank her for her help.


Here’s what I wrote –

Hi Jane!

I’m just following up after two years to let you know I did finish the book and self-published it on 31 Dec 2019! I’ve also started writing on Medium for an adultery publication called — The Scarlett Letter, where we focus on all things adultery fiction and non-fiction!

Every time I see your name in the book, I think of our exchanges and the insights you provided, so wanted to reach out and say thank you!


I didn’t expect to hear back from her because throwaway emails are a dime a dozen like everything else in the cheating world. Ideally, everything in the cheater’s world is throwaway so they can walk away at a moment’s notice.

Cheating Can Lead to a Better Life!


Over here, I’ve left my husband. It’s been about a year. My AP and I became exclusive a few years ago, and he is in the process of divorce too. Our plan is to be together. I would have left my husband regardless of my AP. Leaving was really hard, and it’s still hard sometimes, but staying married was killing me.

I learned so much from cheating. I don’t regret it because I found my amazing AP and I know I couldn’t have learned these things any other way. I do wish I hadn’t needed to go through all that but that’s life! Pick your hard, I guess!

Overall, I am happier and much healthier divorced. Married I was in my early 40s and basically waiting to die, every day the same torture of pushing myself along with brief moments of joy with my kids and APs. No wonder I had to fuck so many men to feel anything! I was numb! I’m not numb anymore and cheating, ultimately, is what got me here.

After the stark contrast of my marriage, I think I’ll know and appreciate true love more deeply and be able to experience it more fully. After breaking through the numbness I’ll be able to feel it. Cheating was the vehicle that got me here and while it was a very difficult ride it was probably one I had to take!

I glad to hear of your success and wish you more and more of the best!


In her early 40s and waiting to die


When you realize that we only get one shot at this life, you start to think about things differently. So why stay on a track leading nowhere? Why live a joyless life? Jane talks about numbness in her marriage and life, punctuated with the brief moments of joy with her children and her lovers; her pain is palpable.


It was her lovers that helped wake her up and realize life was passing her by. She rediscovered the meaning of love through cheating. As she says, “pick your hard,” but what would have been harder? Living a life with no purpose or striking out to find a new one?


Cheating Can Lead to a Better Life.


For some, staying is harder, and that’s why they leave.


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© Teresa J. Conway, 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.

4 comments On Cheating Can Lead to a Better Life

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  • I never cheated, neither did he. But life since him has been hard, but worth it. He was a good man, but I was suffocating in the monotony of nothingness that had become my life. Dying in my 30’s – close to what she had said. Walking away was nearly impossible – I had not cheated, I had no hint that something better was out there, just knew I needed to be able to breathe. Now, I am thriving, and the story is similar. And I mess around with who I want, when I want, and it’s not cheating because I claim no one and no one claims me. We just agree to get along more or less consistently until we don’t wanna. So I get what she said, I get it on a visceral level. Sometimes I wish I cheated – I think it would have made the prospect less terrifying because I knew there would be some life after it was over. I didn’t have a clue – I just knew I couldn’t keep living to die; it was time to die to live.

    • Life looks a lot worse inside a marriage without intimacy. I understand why you wouldn’t cheat but I’m glad you got away.

      • I didn’t cheat mostly because I was too burned out to even think about it. Same for him, We’ve discussed it since then, and we both could have toward the end, just neither had the ability to, if that makes any sense.
        Thank you, me too!

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