I got to know – or as much as possible online – a couple of regular men, with whom I conducted tentative conversations that were thoughtful and sweet, and that only developed into something more suggestive after much respective vetting and, on my part, several glasses of red wine. That initial separation, I later learned, all but ensured I would never be able to successfully bond with her.I'm in my mid-40s now, and our relationship remains every bit as complicated today.When the time was right for both of us, we would work through our problems and come back to one another. I shed my regulars and concentrated on just one, a man younger than me by almost two decades.And it was harmless, until I fell in too deep and wanted more than his messages.I was convinced I wouldn't make a very good mother and didn't want my son or daughter, in 40 years time, to dread calling me, fearful I'd berate them for some emotional crime or other. I'm not sure I entirely agree with that, but it is true that when we bought our first house together, we somehow conspired to buy a wreck that required a lot of our attention and focus. I didn't want an affair, nothing grubby, nothing seedy.And for 12 long, frequently torturous months we painstakingly made it liveable and lovable. I had a husband, a home, yet I was missing something, intangible but palpable. I still loved my husband, but I wanted adventure, excitement, a reminder I was still alive. I began chatting to men online in private chat forums, concealing any obvious indentifiers of who I was but talking about my life, problems and thoughts.He was by far the best of the bunch, a kind and generous man, but someone who could also be selfish and unfeeling.We had agreed, early on in our relationship, that we wouldn't have children. Several friends, however, were convinced that our lack of children created a vacuum.
While my husband spent most evenings catching up on the horse racing he'd recorded over the weekend, I began perusing chatrooms – not in pursuit of cybersex necessarily, but initially more for harmless flirtation, a little virtual attention.
There were redundancy problems at work; my marriage was showing strains; and there was something large and unnameable missing from my life.
I ignored it until I could do so no longer, until eventually, for what felt like the sake of my sanity, I resolved to do something about it.
From the very first meeting, the guilt racked through me.
We would meet in hotels, have sex – mindblowing sex - and then the realisation that what I was doing was irrevocably wrong would set in.
Bringing it to life brought only complications, albeit occasionally exquisite ones.