Music

It’s summertime.  And in my house, that means adventure.  I’m a big travel junkie and I like to travel to off the beaten path.  It’s one of the things I let go of, when I first had my kids.  And it’s one of the things I purposely restored in my life, after I examined my overall happiness post dday.

Last week, I went off the grid with my kids.  Packed the car up and hit the road.  Just the three of us.  We weren’t even out of LA when my daughter fished out a CD, which I didn’t even know was in this car (I rarely drive it anymore).  Traffic was thick, so I wasn’t really paying attention to what she was doing but the next thing I know, the lyrics started up and it took me back four years.  Memories of immense pain and longing bubbled to the surface as I kept my eyes fixated on the road.  I must have listened to this CD a thousand times, I thought.  Music put into words what my heart and mind couldn’t say back then.  I couldn’t believe she was actually playing this.

I think of you
I haven’t slept
I think I do
But I don’t forget
My body moves
Goes where I will
But though I try my heart stays still
It never moves
Just won’t be led
And so my mouth waters to be fed
And you’re always in my head

My mind instantly went back to CEO and how these words would echo through the chambers of my heart.  Every word from each successive song matched the emotions back then.  How apropos that I was on a journey, looking back at the most painful journey of all.

“Did you remember to pack my bathing suit mom?”

And just like that, I’m snapped back to reality. “Yes honey.  It’s in your bag.”

”Can we eat the chips now?” my son chimes in.  “Ummmm, no buddy.  We’re not even 20 miles from our house and you are already asking for food?!?”

The music fades as the kids chat about Pokémon, why I took their iPads away for summer and if we will see a bear (like last time we went off the grid).  I let their conversations drift into the back of my mind as the lyrics took center stage.  The next song begins and my mind suddenly travels back in time.

Call it magic, call it true
I call it magic when I’m with you
And I just got broken, broken into two
Still I call it magic, when I’m next to you

I remember being split between my husband and CEO back then.  Neither getting all of me.  It broke me into two- literally.  And definitely wrecked my spirit juggling these two relationships…and yet, there was magic between CEO and I.  Undeniable magic.

Dating an entrepreneur is fraught with difficulties.  First, they are married to their start-ups.  And their time isn’t linear.  This posed problems in our relationship.  I learned through knowing CEO that my love language is time- and there never seemed to be enough of it.  I need that face to face connection in all of my relationships.  Daily contact was there via technology, but nothing replaces looking into each others eyes.  Seeing the way his eyes danced as he recounted a story.  Or hearing his laugh.

As I drove along the highway, I reflected back upon the negative undercurrents of our relationship.  The lack of real, valuable time together.  Did I think we could improve the amount of time we spent together back then?  Most definitely.  I truly believed we could find a middle ground there.  I believed we could find our way.

And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
Still believe in magic?
Well yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Of course I do

My wanderlust was dimming and so had my conversation with the kids.  Vivienne looked over at me and asked, “Are you okay mom?  You seem distant.  Like you are thinking deeply about something.”

“Yes sweetie.  I’m fine.  Just going over in my head everything I’ve packed.”

”Did you remember the bacon for Zane?”

”Oh crap.  I didn’t pull it out of the fridge.  Can you google for the nearest Whole Foods on mommie’s phone?”

Needless to say, we had a little detour before we got out of proper LA.  It was a nice break from what had been going through my mind.  But the second we got back in the car, my daughter continued to play the album with the significance lost on her.  Each song was like a journey into my past.

Got a tattoo that said “together through life”
Carved in your name with my poker knife
And you wonder when you wake up, will it be alright oh oh
Feels like there’s something broken inside
All I know
All I know
Is that I’m lost whenever you go
All I know is that I love you so
So much that it hurts

Urgh- the pain started brewing in my chest.  The hurt was unreal back then.  In an instant, I was brought back to the turmoil of loving two men.  One I had built a life with.  And one, I had fell in love with.   My broken heart realized I needed to box up that love and ignore it for life.  I loved Nial so much and this song tore at my heart, every time I heard it.  Memories came flooding back.  Me- leaving my house for the first time, after I had confessed.  Driving away from my neighborhood.  Then once I was at a safe distance, just screaming at the top of my lungs.  Trying to get everything out, so my kids wouldn’t see my pain.  I was conflicted.  Truly.  Knowing I had purposely dropped an atomic bomb on my relationship with CEO so I would be forced to do the “right thing”, even if my heart was utterly in love with him, was gut wrenching…

“How much longer till we transfer freeways mom?  Do you think we will be able to find a swimming hole or waterfall once we get there?”

“Don’t you fret my pet.  Mom’s got it covered.”

The melodies faded into oblivion, while giving birth to the next song.  Miles tick over on the odometer as the road opened up.  As I juggle the past and present, memories of Niall continue to flood to the surface.

For a second, I was in control
I had it once, I lost it though
And all along the fire below would rise
And I wish you could have let me know
What’s really going on below
I’ve lost you now, you let met go but one last time
Tell me you love me, if you don’t then lie, oh lie to me

“Are we going to stop for lunch on the way?”  Zane asked softly.  “Yes darling.  We will get lunch soon.’

And then the keys on the piano begin.  Notes take shape.  Softly, yet full of every conceivable emotion.  It rhythmically tells the story of my heartbreak, note by note.

A flock of birds
Hovering above
Just a flock of birds
That’s how you think of love

And I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
‘Cause they fly always
Sometimes they arrive
Sometimes they are gone
They fly on

A flock of birds
Hovering above
Into smoke I’m turned
And rise following them up

Still I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
‘Cause they fly away
One minute they arrive,
Next you know they’re gone
They fly on
Fly on

So fly on
Ride through
Maybe one day I’ll fly next to you

They fly on
Ride through
Maybe one day I come fly with you
Fly on
Fly on
Fly on

I’m stronger now.  I’ve forged a new path.  But it’s in moments like these, I realize just how far I’ve come.  And how I can listen to Coldplays entire Ghost Stories without bursting into tears.

And yet…I still miss him.

Thats what 4 years post Dday gets you.

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Wonder

Since Dday, I have always wondered if  CEO still thinks of me.  As childlike as this may sound, I couldn’t fathom that men in general, simply shut out memories forever.  That they are THAT capable of compartmentalizing an entire relationship in milliseconds.  Logically, there are many male bloggers that wax and wane about their AP’s, so I know some men do.  But they tend to come across as somewhat Emo, which CEO definitely was not.

There were times that I justified him as being some pathological liar or sociopath- just to rationalize things he said to me, or specific conversations we had throughout our relationship together.  But deep down, I knew he wasn’t.  I was kidding myself (although all the data says, sociopaths comprise more CEO’s than any other profession- just sayin).

This question has lingered throughout the years and I’ve wondered on and off, “Does he still think of me? Like I still think of him?”

After my last post, I decided that I should start writing again after a commenter mentioned they were happy to see I was still writing.  For me, the only way I can tell my story is to go back.  Go back in time and log in to things I haven’t read in a long, long time.

And there it was.  The answer that I’ve always wondered about…

 

……

 

………

 

Last active 1 week ago

 

My heart stopped and I could barely breathe as I saw his name, with the log-in details showing.   I never thought in a million years I would ever see that.  I haven’t logged in for years and the one time I do- it shows he was just there?  It hit me like a ton of bricks.

And then the realization set in: his timing was not lost on me…it was within a day or two of my birthday.

He’s thinking of me.  I know it.  There’s absolutely no reason for him to be logged into there.

And no- this doesn’t change anything.  We are both where we should be: with our spouses.  And no- I won’t reach out to him.  If he wanted to talk to me, he knows how to find me.  For the record,  I would absolutely speak with him.  Too much damage and hurt has occurred to not seek true closure.  To wish my friend well.

But friends- my head is spinning…with CEO most certainly on my mind.

And me- on his.

 

 

Fade

I wrote this on May 26, 2014 but never sent it to CEO for some reason.  We wrote to each other every single day back then. Not sure why I didn’t sent this, but I stumbled upon it today.  Moments like these still happen- Reminders!  They are always popping up- even still.  Reading this over again, it’s almost like it never really happened.  It feels so far away and yet not, if that makes sense.   

This use to happen quite a lot after we first met. I would be busy with something. And out of the blue, a memory of you would flash into my mind almost like a photo being taken. It just happened right now, as I was getting ready to go to sleep and turn off my iPad.

It went off like a flash in my mind and made my heart skip several beats. And I found myself half-smiling and half-gasping for air at the same time. I was suddenly back in SF, in our hotel room. It was early morning. White crisp sheets surrounded us. And you turned over to face my back, placing your fore fingers around my panties and pulling them off with such desire. No words were said, other than hearing the vibrations of your breathe against the back of my neck. I remember it now, only I am watching it unfold from above…like a movie. It’s always like a movie for me….

I remember how great it was to wake up like that. To let you take me over and over during our time there. It was raw. It was passionate. Exciting and memorable. It took my breathe away like it did just now, remembering you…your touch…your hands…all over my body as I moaned and panted through every single passionate thrust inside of me.

Every inch of you…every inch of me…together again in our own little world. Holding me down…then kissing me…my neck…then grabbing my ass so tight as you fucked me till every every last drop of cum came out. Turning me over, now face to face, you said, “Kate….you captivate me.”  You didn’t need to say those words, although it made my heart smile. I felt it too.

You took my breathe away that morning. And gave me such butterflies that it felt like I had a lump stuck at the top of my throat. Just seeing the picture again in my head…..white sheets, black silk thong being pulled off….me and you. A rush of excitement pulses through my chest similar to the feelings you get when your dropping from a roller coaster.

And just like that, it stops. The picture fades. And I am back in my bedroom getting ready to turn off the light. I don’t want to say goodbye to that memory so I try to fall asleep as fast as I can, so I can see you again in my dreams. And keep reliving the sweet memories over and over again.

Yesterday

CEO took me to a beautiful hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean during the early lust-filled days of our affair. I remember pulling up to the resort feeling so special as he held my hand in the car. As he drove through the windy roads, traversing through the canyons, the peek-a-boo views of the Pacific ocean glistened in my eyes. As his sportscar purred along the asphalt, I stared at the eroding sandstone cliffs daydreaming.

“Here, this is for you” he said, as he pulled a card out of the middle compartment.

I smiled.

Couldn’t help it.

This millennial was blowing me away. That…was unexpected. Looking back, I can honestly say these little gestures were reminiscent of any early courtship – the kind you see in a normal dating situation.

In that moment, I felt special. Cherished. Appreciated. And damn right sexy as my ecru silk blouse billowed in the salty breeze.

It was a Valentine’s Day card.

His words were those of a smitten man. I blushed. Hard. Then paused for an extremely long time, trying to figure out how I should respond. And honestly, it left me speechless (something that’s a rarity for me). I didn’t know where this relationship was going but I certainly set the expectation in my head that this was sex only.

But CEO kept progressing our pace and moved things forward, like a normal dating relationship where two people are falling for one another. It confused me…but deep down, I loved it. He was so different to my husband, calm with an assertive alpha male way of handling life. It was refreshing. Very, very refreshing.

The valet took his BMW and we walked into the resort looking like a married couple. He went to check in before telling me to head down below. I found us the most perfect table, perched above the cliffs. The glass French doors were open to the Pacific Ocean and it was a stunning view, for a Tuesday morning. Golden sand. Shades of teal and blue. The sound of pounding surf below. He arrived moments later, smiling. Relaxed.

We ordered Mimosa’s and a fruit platter, then talked about his start-up. I remember him making a point of saying, “In my everyday life, I am a man of integrity.  I want you to know that.” I think he was trying to convey that he really was a good guy. My gut sussed that out long ago. But obviously, we were two cheating hearts in that moment, so you can debate the merits of that yourself.

The conversation flowed as always. He would occasionally reach over and hold my hand. It was really sweet. These little gestures had long left my marriage. I had forgotten how lovely it felt to be pursued. And he did so in spades. Had it been anyone else, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. But it was him…CEO. And I had a huge soft spot for him that was growing exponentially every week. His sheepish grin melted my heart. Those big brown eyes stared straight into my soul and we had a magnetic connection from day one.

That was three years ago. Seems like yesterday sometimes. Especially when I sit down to write and reminisce.

I have only been back to this city twice now. Each time, barely within the town border. I’ve avoided this city for a long,  long time because the memories shared with CEO were perfect here. I’ve been reluctant to ever return, and especially to drive past the resort. Not sure why, other than its quite the distance for me to travel to.

But today, that all changed. I drove past the resort while I took my kids on an outing further afield. It was strange driving past the sign. Almost surreal. My heart didn’t race or anything. Had I visited years ago, that would have been the case. The adrenaline would have been pumping as I relived the memories of what occurred there. The photos flashed throughout my mind like a moving picture book.

Sex on the balcony ✔️

“That was a fantasy of mine.”

Was it? We didn’t talk about this up front. But it felt organic and natural, which is why I went along with it.

The desk ✔️

“Not quite the right height. But A for effort.”

The sofa ✔️

“Kate, that was amazing. Don’t stop grinding my cock like that.”

The corner ocean view suite- king size bed- with seagulls squawking in the distance. While I repeatedly orgasmed as he pounded my g-spot with the Njoy his wife refused to take out of the box ✔️✔️✔️

This time it was like looking through a keyhole to a past time in my life.

Like Alice in Wonderland.

Me…Wondering.

(*CEO would kill me if he knew I took a photo of this card)

Butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I looked down at Niall’s message, I felt a twinge of curiosity.  Who was this guy?  His message seemed so harmless.  So simple.  So innocent.  What could possibly happen by replying?  I didn’t get the feeling that this conversation would go anywhere, which I can say in hindsight, provided a false sense of security.  Or maybe I was already compartmentalizing or justifying my behavior.   But I definitely didn’t think at the time that this would end up in an actual, long-term affair.  I really didn’t.

Feeling confident, I hit the reply button and responded to the faceless profile photo and generic name: beachCEO

For some reason, I thought about Billy in that moment.  And how we had locked eyes across the bar and had mad chemistry at that first glance.  That was what I was chasing…not an affair.  I was chasing butterflies.

Well this would be interesting seeing as I am older than you! Hahahaha, but in all seriousness, after reading your profile, you seem to be seeking most of what I am too.  And logistically, you’re my neighbor so this could work out perfectly. But I am really picky. And what I crave is that instant attraction, the one that makes your heart flutter and you can’t wait to see them again. And I am patient, so although AM markets itself as “the place” to have an affair, so far, I haven’t found anyone “affair worthy” or worth my time.

I have only given my photo out once. I don’t keep any photos on AM. So if we chat long enough and I feel a connection, perhaps we can meet for a drink. I would send you my photo long before that of course. But the one guy who met me said I was beautiful, girl next door, refreshing, couldn’t believe I was on AM, a busy-mom-on-the-go, down to earth, and very easy going.

So tell me about yourself. What is your ideal situation? Are you married or just in a relationship? Depending on your answers, I will give you my personal email and then we can chat from there…

Hi there.  Yes, I am married.  Two kids.  I am very new to this site.  Not looking to change my situation (nor anyone else’s).  But looking to find someone I connect with mentally as well as physically.   Most importantly, I am looking for absolute discretion.   I take care of myself and hope to find someone who does as well.  Love to cook (can make a mean lamb roast) and love to travel when I’m not working.  You could say I am a bit of a foodie.  I’m an executive working in start-ups, looking to find someone special who will literally take my breathe away.

What about you?  Have you traveled much?

I hope you have a nice day 😉

Me too.  Married, not looking to change my situation whatsoever.  But I miss that spark that comes with someone new.  I am very new to this site as well.  Like I said before, I’ve only shared my photo once (the guy I met for a drink).

I’m 5’6, 135 lbs, brownish blonde hair, green eyes, tan, fit.  I am not going to say I have the body of an 18 year old.  Heck, I have had two kids!  But yes, I take care of myself as well.  I run 4-5 times a week.  Love to be outdoors etc.

I use to live in Europe, have traveled all over the world…EU, Africa, south east Asia, Oz/NZ, Fiji etc.

Discretion, of course, is part of this.  It’s imperative 🙂

Hope you have a good day as well.

 

Did you really travel to all of those places?  I’m officially jealous.  I’ve always wanted to do a safari in Africa.  You’ll have to tell me all about it when we get a drink.  My favorite country in Europe is Italy.  The food and the wine are phenomenal.  And the architecture!  You must go, if you haven’t been yet.

And I want to assure you now, that I am not interested in the body of an eighteen year old.  Chemistry matters most to me…and finding a sexy, classy woman is what I seek- which by the sound of it,  you are 😉

You must get inundated with messages all day.   I’m flattered that you responded to mine.  Tell me more about yourself.  I want to discern your tastes and know more about you.  Do you have any plans for NY’s?

Your friend,

Niall

 

Wow…he gave me his name. That’s brave.  It must be fake.  Or he is really stupid to be putting his real name out there like that.  I couldn’t help but think, “Keep your guard up, Kate.  You don’t know who this guy is.  He could be some axe murderer for all you know.”  But there is a certain level of faith one needs to have when dipping your toes into these cheating waters.  But I…wasn’t quite there yet.

Cautious.  That was me.  Niall would have to gain my trust before I would ever reveal who I was…or agree to meet in person.   I took a deep breathe, twirled a lock of hair between my fingers, then abruptly formulated my response.  Our messages, were like a tennis match, volleying back and forth in real time.

I too want that chemistry, which can be so elusive.  If I am going to cheat, it’s going to be with someone who rocks my world for lack of a better phrase.   So far most of the guys on AM are Neanderthals!

I have lived an interesting life. I am sure you have too. I moved abroad in my twenties, first Paris then London where I finally lived for about 6 years. I worked for various fashion companies. Then relocated back to the states where I continued to work.

As for NY’s, 1 party…not sure if we will go. Our sitter is sick so it will be a game day decision. What about you?  Fascinate me with your life story in a paragraph or two 😉

It was at this point, that I took a breather from our conversation.  Time was flying by and I was getting sucked into this non-stop conversation.  Which if you knew me, wasn’t really my thing.  I had things to do…miles I wanted to run.  And kids that needed tending to.  Talking to Niall was bleeding into “my time” throughout the day.  And I noticed that immediately (this is a huge warning sign of affairs).

I grabbed my running shoes and started lacing them up.  But not before refreshing my inbox one last time.  There, on the page, was a shiny golden key which Niall had sent me.  For those of you unfamiliar with how AM works, that means you’ve been sent private photos.  I immediately clicked on the message and staring back at me was a baby faced, slightly rounded face, 34 year old.  One photo was a close up in business attire while the other was a full length, in more casual clothing.  He had dark brown hair and chestnut eyes.  Was definitely taller than me but looked very, VERY young.  That wasn’t really the look I was aiming for (I wanted someone older, slightly greying- like Billy, to be honest).

I only had an instant to stare at his photos.  Because at that very moment, my husband came home and flung open our bedroom door.

I quickly turned off my computer, laced up my running shoes and headed out the door….chasing butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember two years ago living and breathing through every single painful moment and wondering when the pain of not seeing Niall ever again would diminish.  I read plenty of stories of others before me and I remember commenting on someone’s blog, “When does it get better?”  A fellow blogger, Anonyman, gave me some sage advice which I’ve reflected upon, many times, over these years.  It’s never quite left me.  He said, “How I felt after D-Day is vastly different to how I felt one year later.  Now two years later, I still think of Scarlett but not in the same way that I did back then.”  That was the gist of his advice.

I remember thinking at the time, “Can I please fast forward to where you are at?  Is there a magic pill I can take to erase all of the memories of him?”

So how does this relate to me now?  Well, I have a few clues in my data which makes me think CEO may have found my blog.  I really don’t care, if he has.  I’m surprised it took him this long, although I know he is a busy man.  Or rather, he always liked to portray himself as such.  Maybe he wants to read my thoughts.  Maybe he still thinks of me.  I’ll never truly know.  And really, it doesn’t really matter.  Nor bother me.

For those of you wondering how to get through the devastation- for those of you googling, “How to get over an affair?” – I can tell you this: Anonyman was right.  I’m approaching two years from our Dday yet it feels vastly unimportant to my current life.  Yes, it stands out as a day that once signified so much pain, for a lot of people.  But I have reclaimed my marriage, as best I could, after so much time has passed.  I never thought I would see the day when this month would feel so ordinary.  But it does.  I am cognizant on a low level that this day is approaching, but also-  it’s not holding me captive like it once was.

My life is very full.  Very exciting.  Very adventurous.  Very free.  I have an amazing bucket list kind of trip coming up and the irony is that, I will be landing in paradise on what was our Dday.  I had no idea when I found these flights that this date synced up, to what was once, such a pivotal date.  It took a few weeks before I even realized it.  That’s how different things are two years past the pain.  I call that progress, my friends.  Progress that you don’t necessarily feel or see, when you are within the first year of Dday.  Something to look forward to eh?

I can’t tell you how rewarding it felt to realize that.  CEO feels so far back, that he isn’t there in the forefront of my thoughts anymore.  But…and there is always a but, right?  I do think of him, which I believe is normal.  I only ever fell in love twice in my life: to my husband and to him.  So despite where I am at with my husband, I acknowledge that I will likely always have a fondness for CEO when I look back upon our time.  We had what I felt was a magical affair–gorgeous suites overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Amazing sex listening to the sound of waves crashing on the sand.  Sex on the balcony–yes–bucket list. Check

But he doesn’t belong to me.  He belongs to his wife.  He belongs to his family.  He is right where he needs to be.  I always wanted the best for him-and the best is his wife, not me.  And honestly, I am right where I need to be: with my husband.

Speaking of my husband, I would like to share that he has transformed into a super husband.  Cape and all.  He has achieved a huge recognition at work.  They flew him to New York as he was nominated for an award by his Fortune 100 company.  I can’t tell you how proud I was of him.  Just being nominated was an honor.  But the best part is- he won.  And I couldn’t be happier for his success, which really transcends into our home as well.  He really is living up to his potential  and I think the therapy has been a huge blessing in this regard.

I will add, this is the first time he has traveled since confessing of his affairs.  Previously, he was supposed to go away but then meetings took precedence and the trips were canceled.  Or he found ways to mitigate him flying out, by suggesting more conference calls etc.  Pretty much, we’ve skirted around this issue for a long time.  He made a promise to me that we would travel along with him, if he had to do do any business trips.  And that worked for a while (plus we got to enjoy the hotels while he worked!).  But it’s been a long time since his confession and this time, I simply couldn’t go.  The kids were getting out of school that week and it just wouldn’t work.

It was a bit nerve wracking thinking, “What if?  What if he cheats on me at the event?”  But I dismissed those thoughts.  And honestly, we kept in constant contact.  He missed all the important end of school activities, which of course brought a few tears to my eyes.  All the fathers were there-except him.  But thank God for FaceTime.  The technology of today brought our family together, despite the miles.

So where are we at today?  Well school is out.  Summer is here.  And I am five hours away from boarding a flight to an amazing destination with the people who love me the most.  I can’t wait to land in paradise.  I have spent countless hours planning this trip and I can honestly say, it’s going to be an amazing adventure.  Not only will I be drooling over the resorts architecture, but I will be lounging on one of the most stunning beaches in the world.  Taking in the beauty, soaking in gratitude and love and reflecting upon our progress thus far.

Two years post Dday…and life is pretty epic my friends!

But it took a helluva lot of work to get here.

Boy, was it worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing CEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people know him as an Angel, Founder or simply “One to watch”. Advisor, Mentor or CEO. It’s an impressive list of monikers for a not so average millenial. But I just knew him as Niall, an incredibly intelligent, alpha male who would eventually capture my heart.

Behind his baby-faced good looks was a sexually confident man who had just enough kink and mischievousness to keep me wanting more. We met in the most inauspicious way: two little innocent words brought us together and the chain reaction was volatile, with pheromones and instant chemistry. It was in one word- electric.

Ashley Madison

But that’s getting ahead of things.

***

After a few more unsuccessful date nights with my husband (spent solemnly talking about our dismal marital satisfaction), I sat alone one morning to gather my thoughts and assess my life.

To a fine point.

Truth be told, I wasn’t entirely fulfilled. Yet I felt stuck. Missing the old Kate that I knew lurked inside me, but too burdened with responsibilities to shine any longer, I let out a guttural sigh full of longing for the woman I use to be.

I missed her. Relentlessly.

Kate, the adventurous person my husband fell in love with. The one who begged a British Airlines reservationist for a flight to Berlin, so I could spend one more weekend with the man I thought could be “the one”. Lucky for me, the supervisor was a hardcore romantic and I scored the very last seat into that country. It was a feat considering a million revelers would besiege Berlin that weekend but somehow I managed to get there. Incredulously, I negotiated my fare down to 80 quid. Did you know airline tickets could be negotiated?!? Yeah me neither, but in that moment I did everything I could to make that weekend happen, despite being broke at the time. Looking back, I shake my head in disbelief at my fearlessness. I went after everything. I never saw obstacles, only roadblocks that needed my adventurous gumption to navigate around them. And boy, did I.

I lived by the seat of my pants, fueled by adrenaline which I hadn’t felt in my veins since giving birth to my children. So as I solemnly looked around my bedroom, contemplating my life so far, I realized that something had to change. The trappings of everything we worked so hard for owned me. Adventure was replaced with monotony, which eventually became my daily existence. Coupled with my husbands infidelity, his ever growing Beta attributes and our current state of marriage, it was the perfect storm for discontentment.

No more, I thought. No more of “this”. No more “status quo”. If he won’t change and this is now my day-to-day existence, I will seek laughter and love in the arms of another. I’m done.

And that was that.

For anyone who argues that cheating begins when actual physical boundaries are crossed, I would caution against that belief. Having lived through both sides of infidelity, I know it starts in the mind where it multiples until acted upon. So I acknowledge, in hindsight, that this was the moment I turned my back on my vows.

***

I’ll never forget the day when Niall reached out to me. It was totally unexpected. And so unbelievably PC that I distinctly remember saying to myself, “Oh my gosh, he is so…normal.” I guess that was my first foray into compartmentalization, something that I wouldn’t say I am great at, even to this day. I wear my heart on my sleeve, love deep–love hard–and love passionately. If I’m having a bad day, you’ll know. If I’m sad, you’ll feel it. If I’m conquering the world, you’ll see me busier than ever. I simply don’t hide anything, nor have I ever.

Until now.

“Hey there. I noticed you lived nearby. Just wanted to reach out and say hello. I hope you had a nice Christmas.”

My heart did this funny flip-flop when I saw Niall’s message. That part was totally unexpected. It had been so long since my heart felt anything that my logic spent more time assessing just what that sensation was. “What was that? That sensation? It seems strange, yet familiar.” It took quite some time for my long-term memory to kick in but once I took a sip of coffee, it hit me while exhaling, “Ahhhhh I remember that now. Wow, I haven’t felt that since Billy locked eyes with me from across that bar.”

As I sat there staring at Niall’s words, I couldn’t help but think he was too safe. Too boring. Too average. This isn’t exactly someone who would ignite my fire, not by a long shot. And Christ-the kid was younger than me! That alone completely crossed him off my mental list of things I am attracted to.

But…he was taller than I.  Dark haired.  Lived in the general vicinity.  Successful.  Maybe I should at least reply in kind?

Get it together Kate! This–this email was nothing more than a hello, by a very average looking guy who apparently has no game. Two tin cans and a piece of string–simply neighbors swapping notes and chit-chatting about life. That’s all this is…

Oh how wrong my assumptions would be.

Placing a lock of hair through my fore finger and thumb, I twisted it gently and brushed it along my chapped lips. I needed to hop in the shower but I stared at Niall’s words, as a tiny hum reverberated throughout my heart while I wrestled with my reply. My thoughts raced with questions and statements such as, “This guy could be a complete freak, you know” and “How could you even trust that he is, who he says he is?” But I pushed aside those pessimistic thoughts and allowed CEO into my world.

There was really only one way to find out who Niall really was.

And that was to dive in…

Deep.