MY STORY: “Having An Affair With A Woman Saved Me And My Husband From Divorce” – Married Mother Tells All

The minutes ticked by as I waited for my husband Erik to get home from work. He was late.

Panic began to set in. Where was he?

There was a good reason for my nerves. This, I had promised myself, was to be the day I told him everything.

I was going to confess about what I had been up to for the past three months; what had been behind my increasingly frequent absences from home.


I couldn’t bear the deceit any more, the guilt I felt as I spun another yarn about another girly weekend away or an afternoon spent ‘interviewing’ someone for my next book.

But if this sounds like a cliched tale of infidelity, it’s not. Yes, I had been cheating on my husband – but it wasn’t with another man, it was with a woman.

I knew a fling of any variety wasn’t something to be proud of.

My parents had brought me up in Copthorne, West Sussex, in the hope that I would emulate their own enduring marriage.

And as a 40-year-old mother-of-three, I had never so much as had a teenage crush on a female friend before, let alone a physical relationship.

I knew, as I nervously anticipated Erik’s return, that what I had to confess could ruin everything.

But what I could never have anticipated was that his reaction would transform our marriage – for the better. Erik and I had first met in 2001, when I had flown to Florida for a friend’s wedding.

Bruised by a recent acrimonious divorce – ironically, my first marriage had crumbled after eight years because of my husband’s adultery – romance was the last thing I was looking for.

But when I got talking to this tall, handsome American, with blond hair and blue eyes, I couldn’t deny the attraction. Erik was studying for a PhD in philosophy.

Thoughtful, intelligent, well-read and amusing, he, too, was recently divorced, and when he asked me out to dinner, I found myself saying yes.

I expected it to be no more than a holiday fling, but after I flew back to London we talked for hours every day on the phone and exchanged lengthy emails. It became apparent this was the beginning of something serious.

The next month, Erik came to visit me at my home in Chelsea, where my two sons from my first marriage, Henry and Matthew, then seven and four, took to him instantly.

After conducting a long-distance relationship, flying back and forth for nearly a year, in 2002 I took the drastic step of moving my family to Florida.

It wasn’t easy meshing our complicated lives. Erik was still finishing his PhD and working six nights a week in a bar. I had to combine my career as a novelist with teaching creative writing at a university. It was exhausting, and Erik and I hardly had any free time together.

The boys settled in well, though. They loved having a man about the house again.

When I found out I was pregnant just days after our arrival in the U.S., I was delighted that our new blended family was soon to become complete. Erik then raised the subject of marriage but I shied away – still stung by my divorce.

I gave birth to Lily in 2002, and two years later I finally agreed to make our union official.

Two days before Christmas, we promised to forsake all others in a small church ceremony in front of 50 of our closest friends.

I meant it: after being on the receiving end of an adulterous spouse myself, I passionately believed in fidelity.

In 2008, we moved to Vermont for Erik’s work, close to the Canadian border. I thought I would love our new home, but while the children settled into their schools, I had to find new friends.

As a writer, I worked from home, which made it hard to meet people.

All my own friends were back in England, as were my brother and sister. My beloved mother had died years earlier.

Much as I loved my husband, I craved the kind of feminine friendship most women take for granted.

Gradually, I grew more and more bored and depressed. Erik tried to be sympathetic, but, as I told him, a man could never understand how I felt. I lost interest in everything but my writing.

Erik was as loving in bed as ever, but our passion was missing.

Then, out of the blue, I got an email from an old colleague (we’d worked together in TV news) who’d moved to Montreal, less than two hours away.

I didn’t know Freya that well, but she was also British and far from home, so when she suggested we meet up, I jumped at the chance. We clicked straight away.

However, we had so much more in common than that.

Both entering our 40s and on our second marriages, with teenage children, we were also both trying to cope as freelance writers in a very downbeat economy.

With Freya, I didn’t have to spell out why I felt the way I did, as I had to with Erik. She simply understood.

Exhilarated to have finally made a friend, we began meeting up every few weeks for coffee or lunch.

Then Freya invited me to a party with some of her friends. We both drank far too much, and at some point in the evening I can only hazily remember, Freya kissed me, and, caught up in the moment, I kissed her back.

The next morning, we both laughed it off, blaming it on the alcohol. But in my quieter moments, my mind kept returning to that kiss.

Not long afterwards, we met up at the cinema to see a chick flick that Erik hadn’t been interested in.

In the darkness, I was startled when Freya leaned in and kissed me again – but I found myself responding. I was curious – I’d never done this sort of thing before – but it also felt surprisingly natural. I forgot I was kissing a woman.

Because it was a woman, not a man, it was easy to convince myself I wasn’t being unfaithful. I still loved Erik, but being with Freya made me feel like my old self again.

Over the next month, we grew even closer, talking almost every day on the phone, texting constantly and visiting each other’s homes.

Erik seemed delighted I’d found an ally at last, and my heart twinged with guilt when he told me how much he liked her.

Things came to a head when Freya and I went to New York together one weekend for her birthday.

We shared a twin room – ostensibly to save money, but I can’t deny the thought that something else might happen crossed my mind.

That evening she flirted outrageously with me over dinner. When we went back to the hotel, after nearly two bottles of wine, she started to kiss me.

I put all thoughts of Erik aside and fell into her bed.

At first, I was nervous. I’d had plenty of experience with men, but I was a novice with women. I can only compare it with trying snowboarding for the first time after years as an alpine skier.

The next morning, I felt embarrassed but exhilarated, as if I’d passed some kind of test.

Back home, when Erik asked me how the weekend had gone, I fibbed and told him we’d spent so much time shopping, we’d both fallen asleep early. Again, I told myself that it wasn’t infidelity.

In truth, it was as if the forbidden novelty of sex with a woman had flipped a switch inside me.

I felt sensuous and alive. Erik soon noticed the change in me, commenting how much more passionate I seemed.

Ironically, my guilty secret seemed to be bringing us closer – first in bed, and then, by turn, everywhere else. There was no denying that the desire it had reawoken in me was breathing new life into my marriage, and, despite everything, that it was my husband who I truly loved.

It seems this phenomenon is not unusual.

A recent study of women who had been unfaithful revealed that a third felt their transgression had improved their sexual relationship with their husband.

Although Freya and I carried on seeing each other, we only slept together twice more.

The lies began to weigh more heavily on my mind.

Slipping back into the house one evening, after another illicit phone call, I glimpsed Erik, framed by the living room door, between my two boys on the sofa. It was like seeing a snapshot of what I had to lose.

I might be able to convince myself a fling with a woman didn’t count, but I couldn’t deny I was betraying his trust.

So one evening, when Erik returned home from work, I was waiting for him.

‘I slept with Freya,’ I blurted out before he had even got through the door.

To my astonishment, he replied: ‘I know.’

He had guessed, he said, the moment he first saw the two of us together. Apparently, the chemistry between us was blindingly obvious.

Erik had also realised the change in me was down to her – that she was, in whatever way, exactly what I had needed.

‘I’m just glad you’ve told me,’ he said, ‘so I don’t have to pretend not to know any more.’

Would Erik have been angrier, felt threatened, got jealous, if my affair had been with a man?

He has conceded as much himself. In that moment I understood that it’s not the sexual element of an affair that destroys a marriage, but the lies and deception that go with it.

I had also been short-changing my husband. I had assumed Erik couldn’t understand how I felt, without ever giving him the chance to prove me wrong. Now here was the evidence that he knew me better than perhaps I even knew myself.

When Freya told her husband, unlike Erik he was livid. We agreed to stop seeing each other. Though I missed her, I knew we’d given each other what we needed.

I had regained the adventurous edge I’d had when Erik and I met, and with it my willingness to step outside my comfort zone, to make new friends, to take chances.

Ten years of marriage had made me lazy. Thanks to Freya, I realised the joy that comes in opening yourself up again to new experiences, however unexpected.

The past two years have been the most satisfying of our marriage. We have a new closeness, both in and out of bed, and communicate better than ever before.

My affair, however ill-judged, enriched our marriage, instead of ending it.

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Posted on September 23, 2013, in Articles. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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