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)

Fate

Tonight, I texted my husband, “Want anything else from Whole Foods?”  And he replied asking for a specific craft beer that I had never heard of before.  I finally found it on the shelf and as I placed it into my basket, two little girls came running past me.  I lost my breathe, not from their beauty, but because they are CEO’s kids.  And they look just like him (especially in the eyes).

Yep, I had another run-in friends.

I froze, then stealth glanced the perimeter and saw his wife, now standing in front of the seafood counter with two little girls tugging at her shirt.

Great.  Just great.

This has got to be the 10th time I have run into her.  It’s like fate keeps bringing us together.  I don’t even run into my own friends this much.  Statistically, what are the odds?  Like nil?

I quickly grabbed my phone and took a pic, because this has become a running joke between my best friend and I.  I sent her the photo (it was only the back of her body) and yet her reply was priceless, “OMG!  I know who that is!  Fuck how on earth do you keep running into her?  You don’t even live in that small of a town.”

Before I could reply, it suddenly dawned on me, “Niall could be behind them, perusing the produce section and shopping as a family.  Oh geez…please say he is not here.  I’m in my workout clothes and sweaty from a 6 mile run…then again, my ass has never looked better.”

I took a deep breathe, turned the corner and there was no Niall to be found.  Just all the friendly workers who know me by name, waving to me saying, “Heyyyyy Kate.  What’s up?”

I couldn’t help but think…she’s in my territory.  There is a huge Whole Foods less than 1 mile from her house and yet, she came to this little neighborhood location.

As I checked out, I half expected for her to end up in my lane.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  I pondered back to the time I ran into her over the holidays, both of our kids staring into the same decorated windows during the annual Christmas stroll.  And sadly, for the second year running- Niall is never by her side.  It’s always just her…and the girls…alone.

He’s a brilliant entrepreneur, but an absentee father and husband.  Had we left our spouses and ended up together, I would be just like her.

Alone.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Pondering

Something has been on my mind.  And I really can’t talk about this anywhere else but here.

I was thinking about this the other day.  The fact that, even though I had an anonymous blog, I never did write about my affair with Nial.  I never processed it- well at least on paper I never did.

I ran.  And that became my therapy, spending countless hours rehashing everything Niall ever said to me.  And going over everything a million times in my head.  To the point of exhaustion and finally letting him and the memories of him go.

For roughly two years, I was ok.  But then my health declined.  And I’ve wondered now…did the stress of everything cause my auto-immune disease?  Should I have blogged about it?  Would that have helped?

I’m such an independent person.  And although I love to write, back then, I just needed the solitude as the pain was too great to even articulate.

I loved Niall.  And despite knowing in my heart that we should both stay with our spouses, it didn’t change the fact that I loved him dearly.  And losing him from my life cut deeper than I said.  The pain of losing him was brutal…as well as the aftermath of our affair.

Because I am stubborn and independent, I’m not someone to raise my hand saying, “I need help.”  I handle everything on my own.   Always have, always will.  Is that detrimental to my health?

What if that mentality backfired and triggered an auto-immune disease to develop?

I have so many thoughts along these lines. I would love to purge myself of any memories of Niall.  But I can’t.  That’s not how affairs and memories work.  Niall is still there….

Sure you move on, but the memories are like a caboose that follows you around.  Depending on the curvature of the track, sometimes you see them clearly.  Other times they are hidden from view, stuck in a dark tunnel, as you chug along the track.

It doesn’t help that I ran into Niall’s wife last week at the annual Christmas Lighting ceremony.  Vivianne had run ahead to look at a store window display since it was decorated for the holidays.  As I stood on the north side windows, less than 8 feet away, there she stood staring at the very same display- but from another angle.

My heart dropped.  And I scanned the crowd like an FBI agent, while feverishly texting my best friend to, “Fuck!  Come to X,Y,Z store NOW!”  Bless her heart, she was there in minutes, as we had gone together to the event.

Niall wasn’t there but of course, it made me think of him.  How could I not?  One second I am enjoying the holidays, the next second, that Niall caboose was suddenly the first carriage of my memory train.  Front and center…and it all came flooding back.

So the memories have been triggered by another casual run in.  It’s bound to happen where we live.  So it’s kind of expected, but still a shocker every time.  It doesn’t get any easier.  The entire thing has made me wonder if I should finally write my affair story.  And get it all out on paper.

Do I need to process something?  Could it make my condition worse?  Is it somehow causing my current condition?

I don’t feel stressed, as of today.  But then again, if the doctors knew about what I have gone through these past few years,  I wonder if they would say, “Yeah, stress can cause all sorts of symptoms.  Even yours.”  Or, “Absolutely not.  Stress wouldn’t cause this.  And could not trigger an auto-immune disease.”

I would love to hear your honest thoughts…as this is a sincere question and point of discussion going around in my head.

Link

Empathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My good friend Madeline over at https://madelineharper09.com  blogged about the ending of her affair. For those of you who follow my blog, I haven’t even begun to write much about mine but suffice to say, our stories have overlapped since the beginning. She has since moved on but it was difficult for me to read along, as I’ve been there. I empathized with her pain, as well as knew first hand the pain of being a betrayed spouse. I also understood her affair partners reluctance to engage in the relationship any further. Juggling two relationships takes more work than anyone realizes (take my word). It taxes the mental file boxes so to speak.

Grief. Confusion. Pain. Sorrow. Love. Fear.

So many emotions pulse through your veins when facing the end of an affair. I haven’t divulged about my affair, but I wanted to share an actual email which I sent to CEO at the end. It mirrors so much of Madeline’s pain. Our lovers may be different, but I get where Madeline was at. I understand how it feels breathing through a vice-grip day in and day out, all while trying to function for your children. As humans we strive for knowledge, to make sense of our world and the relationships within and around it. At least we should.

Esther Perel once said, “Depending on the circumstances, anyone is capable of anything. This is a crucial piece of knowledge to hold, if there is true intention, to engage empathically with our fellow human beings. It is easy to cast off those that perpetrate or endure horrific things, as being unlike us or different in some way. And my worry is if we operate from that standpoint, we will always be operating from a place of disconnection and isolation. Empathy entails putting yourself in the shoes of another. It is important that we all challenge ourselves to cultivate this ability, because given the right circumstances or right conditions, we are all capable of anything.

The importance of struggle and pain is crucial to the development of character. The process of recovery is transformational. There is a great cost to the character of human beings if things are achieved too easily.”

As I followed Madeline’s journey, I couldn’t help but sincerely wish that her pain transformed her, just as the pain I caused transformed me. You should realize, I am in a different place than when I wrote this letter. But make no mistake, I sat in the crosshairs of gut-wrenching pain and my consequences for a long, long time. I struggled immensely, yet grew out of those ashes into a better person–a better wife–a better friend and better mother to those around me.

***

I came to the beach and ran all the way to the end. I wanted to feel close to you. To see your face amongst the crowds. Maybe even bump into you going for a run (we never did race!!)

My mind pondered so many things, thinking how just 1 week ago you said “I want you.” And how on a dime, that suddenly changed. I still don’t get it.

I ask myself constantly “Did he ever truly care for me?” You said you weren’t the man I thought you were. What does that mean???

I think you did care for me but I am so confused. I reached for my tablet this morning, wanting to turn it on to see if you had written. But I had to stop myself as this habit is so ingrained in me, to include you in my day to day life.

Last night, I took Vivianne to the outdoor concert. I left my phone at home by accident. Normally, I would have sent you a message talking about date night or our plans for the weekend. And in that moment, I realised just how much your presence truly was in my life.

We may have started off as adventure seeking lovers but you became one of my closest friends over the past six months. And I adored that CEO.  Simply put, losing you and your friendship hurts me the most. I have felt your support and laughter through so many months now, seeking advice, sharing my thoughts, concerns, fantasies and more.

I grew….as a person…..by knowing you CEO. That is one compliment which I’ve never said to anyone. Read that sentence again, slower now. Because very few people have ever come into my life and impacted me in so many ways. You are one of them–having made such an impression on my heart.

I look for the number 1 to appear in my inbox all the time. Seeing a message from “CEO” pop up gave me companionship during the chaos and monotony of my days. I noticed your name says ceo (lowercase) now in my inbox. And I wonder what you changed in your settings. I wonder if this is another step forward to disconnecting what had been our connected lives. It makes me well up in tears and I fan my face trying to breathe through the pain.

I hear footsteps behind me as I sit here watching the waves. And I wish they were yours so that I could tell you just how much I will miss you in my life. Waves of grief wash over me as if I have lost an arm or something. It hurts that much.

As I ran here today, I saw a vision of me working late at night putting together a business plan. The next picture was me at a table negotiating with a bunch of executives. Then finally another picture of me reading a news article talking about my company. I was giving an interview and they were asking “How did a mom get involved in the industry–how did you do it?” And I answered, “I met someone who inspired me to dream again. A CEO who showed me how to juggle a house of cards….I dedicate this to him.”

With that picture in my mind, I burst into tears thinking that in time, you and I will be referred to in the past tense. I never want to lose your friendship and tried to ask you how our interactions would be going forward. Likely this may happen over time. But right now, I can’t let go of someone whose friendship meant the most to me of all.

I care about you…always will. And CEO–you may not feel that you are a great person. But I felt it with you. And I know you are. I still believe in you. Everything with you was magical and that is how I will remember us.

***

I remember being in so much pain when I wrote those words. Thinking of not hearing from CEO every day ripped my heart out of my chest. Our lives had become so intertwined, both of us were a source of encouragement to the other. Whether he was having a bad day because an investor pulled out, or if I was struggling with the work I was handling–we always reached out. Losing his friendship was the death kneel, but I knew No Contact would be for life. It killed me to think I would never see his smile again. Never hear his laugh. Never share our fantasy world again.

But…over a year later, I can say that the pain diminished enough to function.  It waxed and waned over those first few months but the overall trajectory was there.  Two years after Dday, you are solidly looking forward and living your life, without the constant feeling of missing their presence.  It may not feel that way in the beginning (the first three months of No Contact are brutal) but you do get through it.   Make no mistakes, you carry the memories of them wherever you go, but they’ve been relegated to a filing cabinet that rarely gets unlocked.  The mental pictures you had swirling around in your head for so long, become fuzzy.  You don’t see their face with clarity and definition any longer.  It’s like they become a photo or snippet of a movie, when memories pop up.  And you are seeing it from afar.

I believe in order to move forward in your life, at some point you stop looking back so much.  You just do-instinctually.  You begin to live more in the present and little by little, you dust yourself off and rebuild your life.  One day at a time.

In the beginning, it’s an accomplishment to not burst into tears every time you drive or hear a song on the radio.  Or maybe just being present long enough to say, “I’m good, thanks” when a grocery clerk asks how you are.  A few moments suddenly becomes a few hours, and then it grows to a whole morning that you didn’t think about “them”.  As time moves forward, eventually days fly by.  And one day, maybe a whole year later, you get an entire week or two as a reprieve for your hard work.  That’s pretty much the first year after Dday in a nutshell, my friends.

Truthfully though, you won’t ever forget your affair partner. The good memories or bad ones–they are in that memory bank for life I’m afraid.  But you do heal.  You do.  In time.

I’m proof of it Madeline.

 

 

 

 

 

Paradise

image

 

Well we finally arrived after two flights and a long layover in between.  The kids took it in stride and even walked themselves through immigration.  I feared they would be asleep and we would be carrying them ourselves, since that is when they are normally sleeping.  But it worked out perfectly.

As we came out of the airport, someone was there to greet us with the car we had rented.  No waiting in lines- wow, I could get use to this.  As my husband placed our suitcases into the back of the car, he jammed his suitcase against him.  His right hand caught a piece of metal which was at one time, part of a side carry handle.  I looked at his face, then saw the blood, and he said, “I think I cut my finger down to the bone.”

The woman took him to a nurse who works in the airport.  We sat next to our rental car saying prayers for Daddy to be ok.  And for this to please, not inhibit the fun he has looked so forward to.  My heart sunk knowing all the water activities we had dreamed of doing while here.  Fifteen long minutes passed when Daddy suddenly appeared saying, “It’s not to the bone-just a deep cut.”  Phew…a huge sigh of relief came flooding out.

We drove about an hour through villages and such, till we finally reached a stone sign.  As we drove down a twisting road (think Lombard Street in San Francisco meets the jungle), we suddenly broke out in the giddiest of grins.

You park your vehicle and then the resort ferries you further down the ravine in little tuk-tuks reminiscent of the ones in Thailand, only much nicer.  As the driver turned the last corner, there stood our own private butler- local drinks in hand literally welcoming us to paradise.

He brought us into our room- and it was stunning.  Views of these majestic mountains coupled with white plantation shutters…four poster bed covered in a white mosquito net.

I’m a visual person so this place is a feast for your eyes and for anyone who loves architecture.  I still can’t believe we are here…in such paradise enjoying our marriage and family after so much destruction.  I feel grateful beyond words that my husband didn’t give up on us, that we have finally rebuilt a solid marriage where honesty reigns (despite how difficult that has been) and that we haven’t allowed our past to destroy our family.

I never thought being 2 years past Dday could feel so great…but it does.  We are making new memories and CEO feels so far behind us now.  This is proof that all those articles you read after Dday are true: some couples rebuild their marriages into stronger, more resilient ones.  I am very grateful to say, we are one of them ❤️🌴☀️