As we prepare for our first Marriageshop of the year, Healing Infidelity, I think it important to share stories and insights about this cancer of marriages. In this post I want to increase transparency and discuss the time when I was the other man. The time when I was the man who violated someone else’s marriage.
A couple of disclaimers before I dig into the topic:
First, in both instances I was a single young man between the ages of 17 and 19 when these indiscretions occurred. While my age does not excuse my actions, because I knew right from wrong, it does add context even if I was mature for my age. Given my age someone could say I was manipulated into the acts by these older women, but that simply was not true. While I didn’t initiate, once the opportunities appeared to be possible I pressed to reach the mark. (No pun intended)
Second, I have been married 21 years and I have never cheated on my wife, so this is who I was before she ever met me or knew I existed. The one thing about me during my dating life is that when I dated someone I was faithful, even when it was a long distance relationship. Cheating was never a part of me when I was in a relationship. Something in me just never allowed me to be that dude. Not because I didn’t want to be, but I just wasn’t. I watched up close and personal the love wounds men inflicted on women. But as what I am about to share reveals I obviously was not squeaky clean.
Finally, nothing I am about to share is something I take pride in and I approach this with extreme caution, care and humility. I knew of the husbands, but did not have any personal or direct relationships with them other than seeing them in passing in the community.
It is true in many cases of infidelity, that the three things that probably help facilitate infidelity the most are time, opportunity and motive (motive being usually wrapped in some type of brokenness). There is also a possible companion to all of these, or at least in my case, immaturity. We can debate which came second opportunity or time, but motive wrapped in brokenness almost always comes first. Time and opportunity are more or less a cycle. You need an opportunity to create the time and then you need time to finalize the opportunity.
One last disclaimer: Names and Places have been changes to conceal everybody’s identity but mine.
The First Time
Here are at least 3 things I knew going into this encounter:
The husband was hard working (as best I knew of him)
He had habits (drinking) that created the time and opportunity
She had body image and attraction concerns…this was her brokenness, my point of entry
So one night I was hanging with some of my partners and one of them told me that this lady was looking for something or someone to do so to say. He had tried, but without success. Now I was like Andre 3000 in the song 13th Floor/Growing Old “I bet you never heard of a player with no game. Told the truth to get what I want, but shot it with no shame.” That was me. He invited me to go to a bonfire to shoot my shot and I went. Well the first hour or so didn’t really go anywhere until she showed her brokenness (my point of entry) by discussing how her husband seemed uninterested as of late and she thought he was unattracted to her.
At first, I played on his side and gave all the reasons why she was wrong because he would have to be crazy not to desire her each night. She smiled and from there one conversation led to another. Now truth be told she was not the most attractive woman, but she wasn’t ugly either. However, I had a need and she had a need, so let’s make it happen.
Here is a minor disclaimer that I should probably mention…I had extra motive because her husband and I had previously exchanged words and he called me a racial slur, so in my teenage mind, this was revenge.
We eventually ended up near the car she and her husband drove around town groping each other until finally I opened the car door and invited her to lay the seat back. From there you know what happened. It was a one-time instance and other than occasionally seeing her and her husband around town that was it.
For me I met a primal need to have sex and she met a primal need to feel wanted. To my knowledge the husband never found out about me although he might have found out about someone else.
The Second Time
Here are at least 3 things I knew going into this encounter:
The wife was hard working and so was the husband as best I knew
He had habits (women) that created time, opportunity and motive
She felt she wasn’t enough for him because of his aforementioned habit…this was her brokenness, my point of entry
We flirted at work from time to time. She started with me and over time I returned fire so to say. She was kind of cute and sometimes wore clothes that revealed her shape and other parts. We would talk trash but I didn’t think anything of it. Just like the other woman she was a few years older than me.
One day we were talking, she looked kind of down, and I asked what was wrong. She hinted around at a few things but never came out and said that she was dealing with yet another rumor of her husband cheating. I told her that she just needed to be held and she replied, “I wish you could.” Now this was the first time she had ever been this direct about what she was thinking. So I walked over to her and hugged her and she melted into me. I started to pull away and she told me to hold on a minute. So I did. When she finally let me go her eyes were wet. I told her, “To bad you can’t spend the weekend with me. I can hold you more.” From there she made a plan to come spend at least a night with me. I thought she was lying until she actually called to say she was on the way.
She spent the night with me and we did a few things and she really wished she didn’t have to leave, but cuddling after sex was what she wanted most. When we saw each other at work she would smile and ask me for an occasional hug, but we were never intimate again. I eventually left the job. When I saw her many years later and she and her husband were still married and still are the last I heard.
I do not know if I was her first and only or if he ever changed his ways. I was told that when he heard the rumor he was angry and wanted to know who. From then on he started to guard his home a little closer. For me it was a conquest with the bonus points of helping her exact some form of vengeance on a cheating husband.
The Point of It All
I am not sure my stories will impact anyone, but if you consider a few things and it changes your actions, then it was worth the time:
Are you creating time and opportunity for someone to access your marriage?
Are you entertaining time and opportunity intentionally or unintentionally and are you aware of what you are feeding when you do so?
Do you know the entry points (brokenness) to your spouse?
Do you know the entry points (brokenness) to yourself or are you in denial of those places?
Are you the immature person breaking your home and your spouse?
Are you aware that there is always someone equally immature ready and willing to break your home if given time and opportunity?
Each day when we leave our homes we have time to offer opportunity to someone other than our spouse. If I might remix the scripture from Christ about offense by replacing offense with the word opportunity let me say this, “It is impossible that opportunity does not come, but woe unto the one who gives opportunity time.”
I was the other man and even now, well over 20 plus years later, I am ashamed of my actions. I have watched men and women be the other man or woman and my heart goes out to them because they do not understand the pain they are causing themselves and others.
Or perhaps they do understand the pain and consequences, but through their immaturity they believe they are some how doing something helpful. At the time of pleasure, all things seem good, but eventually the fruit pleasure turns into the vinegar of shame and guilt.
I have watched the impact of discovering that there was another person in what was supposed to be a relationship between two people. We pray that through transparency and dialogue that we can help heal marriges before they are impacted by this distructive behavior.
To attend out our upcoming Marriageshop "Healing Infidelity" on January 11, 2020, purchase your tickets at www.marriagerefresh.net.
Let's work to heal marriages together!