Cheating. So good. So bad.

Maeve: You’ve been bored lately…same old thing. He doesn’t really notice you much and you don’t really care. Sure, things were hot and passionate 6 years ago, when you began The Affair. He said he hadn’t been having sex with his wife for so long, and you really turned him on. How could you resist those secret kisses and furtive caresses, as he passed by? Why should you? It wasn’t hurting anyone. His wife sure didn’t care by now, and besides, how would she ever find out?

You deserved that spark of intensity in your life. You were always such a hot sexual woman. Hey, but now, since you snagged him those 6 years ago, it’s back to dull again. You’re hungry for a change of pace. And, that other guy’s been eyeing you in all the right ways. So what if he’s married? You know what bar he goes to after work. She’ll never find out. What harm could a juicy one night stand do?

Have you ever cheated? I have. I had been in a dying relationship for about 12 years. Not having done much work on myself, I was still addicted to finding value in myself through sexual and romantic attention from any attractive and basically unavailable man. I was desperate for attention, and my partner was often out of town.

Well, my drug of choice worked. I had the affair, with the predictable highs and lows, combined with the thrill of secrecy. The affair ended as you would normally expect, with anger and betrayal from my partner. My relationship finally ended a year later, with an affair on his part. I felt justifiably betrayed, hurt and angry, which gave me the power to finally leave what had been a dead relationship for 13 years.

Calinda: Oh, Maeve! I’ve cheated too. I was married and felt my husband wasn’t serving my lusty needs. We tried to work on it but he put his foot down on change and I kept pushing. Finally, I pushed away into the arms of another….ouch!

My ex-husband and I grew extremely honest with one another, even trying “open relating,” but one day, he looked at me and said, “I can’t do this anymore. We’re through.” Like you, I was mad, heartbroken, bereft, determined and scared. I then went through the “payback years” with man after man betraying me. Talk about painful!

Maeve: What caused me to take this route? I now know it was fear! I was afraid to tell my partner what wasn’t working for me for 12 years. Can you imagine, 12 years?  I was afraid to admit it to myself, as well. And I was willing to numb myself to the pain of a dying relationship, as well keeping my partner powerless and unable to make any kind of informed, powerful decision for himself.

Calinda: I think for me it was impatience and ignorance. I just knew there was more to life than a dead, lifeless marriage but I was clueless how to build it. I sought the only thing I knew…find the juice somewhere!!

Maeve: What was I afraid of? Facing myself, looking inside and not liking what I saw. Looking inside to see that I wasn’t choosing at all, but being run by ancient history and old strategies. Looking outside at my partner and seeing that I was dishonoring him.

What was the gift I chose not to see? It is always the same. “Cheating” or the Secret Affair is a “cry for help”. It is your unconscious screaming that something within you needs attention and healing right now.

Calinda: That is too true. My ex-husband and I tried to patch things up with therapy. I recall our therapist saying, “The fastest way to shake up a dying marriage is to have an affair. You want change? Go get another lover.”

Maeve: I’ve heard it said that an addiction like alcoholism is easier to deal with than cheating. The alcoholic can put the bottle down. How do you put down your thoughts and unconscious behaviors? Boy, that takes courage and some really good help. Usually, the greatest motivator is enough pain.

The astounding thing to me is the huge proportion of people cheating on their spouses and beloveds in this country.  It almost seems the norm. It’s just “what you do.”

Calinda: Right again, Maeve. We’re just accustomed to either living with the misery, moving along in serial monogamy, or having secret affairs. And an affair doesn’t have to involve actual sex, either! An emotional affair is just as powerful!

Maeve: Country and Western songs, soap operas and the like depend on the juice of secrecy and cheating.

  • What if we had the courage to tell the truth and ask for what is missing in our relationships?
  • What if we were committed to the juice of true intimacy, deep sharing and the passion that comes with true connection over time?
  • What if we went searching for tools and secrets to overcoming bedroom boredom, and kept the doors of relationship open to the vulnerable and exciting re-discovery of who we and our partners are becoming now?

Cheating is a drug that masks the pain inside. I managed to put it down. I faced the issues I had been desperately afraid to look at. I had great help, and I couldn’t have done it alone.

Calinda: Same here, Maeve! And I’d have to add that the “secret thrill of a hidden affair” is a well-worn topic in all genres of music and media.

Thinking back, I still feel a twist of shame when I think about those horrid, rotten years of being both betrayed and the betrayer. I must have apologized one hundred times to my ex-husband. I am not proud of what I did, even though I understand the whys, wheres and whatevers of my psychology at play. And yet I grew enormously, such that today I have a wonderful, loving partnership with a man with whom I can be completely honest. We have a dynamic, passionate relationship that improves with age. In the past, the passion just petered out.

As an aside, I often explore secret affairs in my paranormal romance series, The Wicked Series. I like to muse upon and discover just what would make a paranormal couple betray one another…or an ordinary couple for that matter.

Maeve: Have you “cheated”? How did it feel? What led you to the secret affair? What emotions were you feeling? What was the outcome? Who did it affect? Tell us your stories. We’d love to know. We can all learn from each other.

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Maeve works with her husband Orv Fry in Grass Valley California, educating people on how to have better relationships. With over 15 years working together as a couple, they model what they teach! Believing that the most effective work is through experience, skill, compassion and transparency, they reveal their individual experiences and growth in a vulnerable, yet powerful manner. They do Individual and Couple Sessions, Individual and Couples Instructional Intensives, and Sex Education Sessions. These may be in person, on Skype or on the phone. To find out more visit www.ignitersoftheheart.com.

Calinda B is the author of the highly successful Wicked Series, an erotic paranormal romance series.  She weaves her own courage, learning and relational wisdom into her entertaining paranormal reads with skill and magic. To find out more or to buy the books, visit www.calindab.com.