Tag Archives: Cheating

My personal Adonis (a short story)

I shouldn’t be doing this. But here I am – rifling through his bathroom cabinet. They say you can tell a lot about a man from his choice of pharmaceuticals, but I’m not sure that’s really the scenario in my case. Besides hair gel, a toothbrush, toothpaste and two deodorant cans, I’ve actually learnt nothing new. That should teach me.

I place everything back as I found it and close the cabinet door. A quick peek out the bathroom door confirms that he is still sound asleep. The rumpled duvet covers lie half on the floor, half on the bed and my Adonis is lying on his back, spread-eagled. A sliver of the sheet covers his waist. It actually reminds me of the children’s bible story illustrations of Adam and Eve with a fig leaf over their private parts. That makes me smirk a little as I admire him from my bathroom door vantage point. He really is magnificent: sandy blonde tousled hair, tanned skin, a surfer’s physique.

The thing is, other than how he looks (and now the contents of his bathroom cabinet), I actually know nothing about him. What I do know is that a rowdy girls’ night out last night has, given my current precarious situation, not ended quite as planned.

It’s easier to blame someone other than yourself, so I blame Brendon, my long-time boyfriend of seven years. I conclude that his cheating shenanigans are directly responsible for where I am right now. We are – were – high-school sweethearts; the cliqued perfect couple. After being together for so long, I wanted a ring on my finger to seal the deal.  Yet Brendon was hesitant. Evasive even. I just didn’t understand why. We loved each other, had a stable relationship – so why then? I got the answer I didn’t want when Brendon’s recent activities were uncovered. He had met some girl at work and had been out with her several times. Apparently enough times to have moved the relationship to the bedroom! His explanation included a feeble excuse that because we had met so young, both of us had never really ‘experienced’ different relationships. He begged my forgiveness, but now it was my turn to be hesitant.

A night out on the town was determined by my girlfriends as the best therapy for a philandering boyfriend. Led by our one and only single friend, I allowed myself to be dragged out instead of comfort eating in my pyjamas in front of the TV. Not that I would’ve admitted it, but it was actually quite fun to dress up and act like a single, carefree woman again. My red party heels were pulled out from the back of my cupboard and my favourite fitted jeans donned. Topped with a splash of red colour on my lips and nails, I felt exciting and daring. Alas, the last thing I can confidently recall was swigging down the umpteenth shooter in some smoky club. Where I am right now, how I got here and with whom, I regrettably have no recollection of.

I decide to brazenly do the only thing a girl can do in this circumstance: I mentally channel the image of a stealthy ninja and make a grab for Adonis’ cell phone. Thankfully, no password and I’m in. A perusal of his text messages conclude that, while he is affectionately termed ‘Bud’ by his friends, I’m positive it’s not his name. Another bust it seems.

There’s something to be said of the cruel light of day, and now, as my bravado wanes and the Nancy Drew in me withers, I start to panic. Its morning. I want to go home. Now.

I scramble to gather my clothes, my cell phone and purse and head straight for the exit. I admit that I’m prone to acting first without thinking it through. True to form, only once I’m out the front door do I stop to contemplate my next move. I have one plausible option: phone my BFF Tina. Damn, my cell phone is turned off. Fumbling, I power it up again and, ignoring the flashing red light that signals my battery is about to die, I dial Tina’s number. She answers on the first ring. No pleasantries. Her first words are a half concerned, half irritated question: “Maddie, what the hell happened?”

I feel a big lump rising in my throat and the last of my composure crumbles. I manage to whimper, “Geez Tina, you tell me! I woke up in some strange guy’s bed. I feel …”. I let the words slide. Nothing can accurately describe how I feel right now. She mutters some profanity under her breath. “Ok, ok. Where are you? I’ll come pick you up”.

Another thing I don’t know it seems. I walk a bit further from the spot I’m standing in, turn the corner and see the main gate to the street. A car is driving out the complex and I make an ungainly dash for the gate. I silently thank the municipality for erecting a large street sign about 200 metres up the road. I tell Tina the street name. As the resourceful heroine she always is, she orders me to stay put and wait for her. “You can’t be far, I’ll plug the street name into my GPS. I’m on my way.”

Barefoot, holding my shoes in one hand, my hair dishevelled and my eye make-up smudged, I conclude that I must be a glorious sight to behold! I’m sure Tina thinks the same thing as I climb into her trusty Polo fifteen minutes later. During the animated ride home she manages to fill in a few of my self-inflicted memory gaps and tells me that she left before me last night as she had to get up early this morning. When she tried to phone me and her calls went straight to voicemail, Tina phoned one of our other friends to find out how things went. She found out that the girls had left me at the club with a friendly guy – hopefully the same one I woke up to this morning – when I insisted I didn’t want to go home and they should leave without me. It explains some of what has transpired, but not who my Adonis is and what happened after their departure. Perhaps this is one event I should really try to forget instead of trying to remember.

With much cursing and consoling, Tina finally drops me at home and leaves me alone on condition that I promise to phone her later on in the day. My first point of business is to make a cup of my favourite tea and take a hot shower.

I charge up my phone to check my text and voice messages. In addition to the harried messages from Tina, I have a long-winded message from Brendon. He says he loves me and asks if we can meet to talk things through. He also states emphatically that he believes it would be a huge mistake if I just end our relationship so easily after one foolish indiscretion. Characteristically Brendon – always trying to control the state of affairs and minimise the damage.

I’m contemplating whether I want to call Brendon back after so much has transpired, when my phone rings. I don’t recognise the number but I answer anyway.

“Maddie?” an unfamiliar voice asks.
“Yes.”
“Maddie, my name is Jeff.  We met at the club last night?”
I remain silent.
“You left your watch at my place.”
I balk. Oh boy, this must be my Adonis. Did I really give him my number?
He clears his throat, “You could’ve woken me up. I would’ve taken you home you know.” Now I hear a soft rumble as he tries to contain a chuckle. I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed or angry.
“Why don’t I take you out for lunch today? I like you and we seem to have tons of stuff in common. Based on your quick escape this morning though, I think I might’ve scared you off. How about we start over?”
I think about it and after a short pause, I hear myself say “Ok”. Surprisingly, I am ok with it.
“Oh, and by the way Maddie, we didn’t sleep together if that’s what you were wondering. You were a little wasted and I couldn’t get your address out of you. So I took you back to my place to sleep it off.”
“But you were naked!” I blurt out.
He laughs. “I sleep in the buff.  See you in an hour.”

I’m smiling now – a big goofy grin that crinkles the corners of my eyes. He sounds like a ‘nice guy’ and I sure could do with a ‘nice guy’ around about now. Maybe there is a life after Brendon?  I’m sure I’ll figure it out, but it’s one step at time. This is my first step – and it’s out the door to meet my personal Adonis. Adios Brendon.

~ A short story by Sherrie Dyer-Bracher

How to stop cheating – the second instalment

Cheaters are selfish, self-absorbed and self-indulgent. Do I have the right to say any of these things? Oh yes, I do. As a former cheater, I think I am fully equipped to talk first-hand on the topic.

People cheat for different reasons

“We don’t have sex anymore”, “I’m lonely”, “He doesn’t understand me”, “We are always fighting” and so on. 

In my case, my feelings of rejection at being denied a child was my justification for cheating. One thing remains true for all cheaters though; a cheater is always looking for validation. If a cheater looks hard enough for reasons to corroborate why he/she cheated, believe me, those excuses can be found.  Even friends who mean well can help the cheater justify an affair.

The greatest deception stems from the belief that the person with whom the cheater engaged in an affair with is his/her true love and a fulfilling relationship can bud from the affair. It’s just another way us cheaters find some kind of silver lining in the whole tainted matter.

Having an affair is an exit from the existing relationship, it is a way to escape the problems of the current relationship, it is focusing solely on how you feel and putting your wants and needs before that of anyone else.  It is, most importantly, not an apt solution to any problem experienced in a relationship.

Stopping the bus

If you find yourself cheating or contemplating a relationship with someone other than your partner, how do you stop? A moving bus with bad brakes is hard to stop. The best way of course is to recognise what is happening before you find yourself knee-deep in a scenario you can’t get out of.  Here’s my advice:

  1. Before you embark on a relationship with another person, save yourself the unneeded complication by choosing to handle one relationship at a time. You can’t give yourself fully to two people at the same time.  If you really care about this other person, and he/she about you, then a little space can do no harm.  Besides, if it’s true love, another few months apart won’t make much of a difference right?
  2. So take a time out – not a week or two either – to focus on what you want, and to figure out if the current relationship can be saved or fixed. Marriage counselling or individual sessions with a therapist can go a long way in helping you to clear your mind and see things with a little more perspective. Don’t elude yourself into thinking that the new relationship won’t come with its own set of complications – perhaps worse than the existing relationship. Then what will you do, have another affair?
  3. You’ll be surprised at how quickly things can settle when you have no extra pressure from a second relationship on the go. If you’ve made up your mind and feel 100% certain that the current relationship cannot be spared, then at least its closure. Make a clean break and end the relationship with your partner first (move out, start the divorce proceedings, get your life back on track).
  4. Don’t jump into a full-blown committed relationship with the other person before the ink has even dried on your divorce papers!  Ending one relationship is traumatic enough and fraught with its own myriad of emotions.  Enjoy being single for a bit – even if you find yourself lonely and miserable. It’s all part of the experience and will pass in time. If you can’t stand not talking to the other person during this time, that’s fine. Just don’t move in together and spend every waking hour together. You need time to heal, to feel and to re-discover YOU.
  5. Time has passed, and you should feel semi-human again. If the other person is still on the scene and you feel ready to indulge some form of commitment, start from scratch:  start dating and getting to know the person all over again. Now that the excitement of sneaking around and trying not to be caught is out of the way, the filters are off and you can actually get to know this person the right way.  Odds are that the relationship will feel different and you may not be so enamoured with the person as before. But that’s a risk you have to take …

A cheater’s guilt – the 1st instalment

It’s time.  Time to share a slice of the sordid Teatart pie – details pertaining to a part of my life that I try to keep hidden as best as possible.

In four words:  “I am a cheater“.  A mask of shame and disgrace I don every day of my life.  It’s the ugly twin that I try to disown, yet without it I would not be the person I am today.  For that I can be grateful.

Before I actually cheated, I looked down in abject disdain at other people who had seemingly tossed their marriage vows to the wolves and committed adultery.  I simply couldn’t understand what would cause a person to act so selfishly.  I even went so far as to question their value system and morals.

Marriage Day

Then I fell into the trap so many others have fallen into. A lethal combination of low self-esteem and lack of emotional fulfilment in my marriage rendered me weak to the flattery of a younger man. He had a crush on me, and I loved the attention.  While my husband of eight years kept putting off my requests to start a family, this young man told me exactly what I needed to hear.  He helped to quell the feelings of inadequacy and rejection that I had kept in check under a thin veil of nonchalance and sarcastic humour.  But it was a lie – a good one – but a lie non-the-less.  I sacrificed my reputation and my marriage; worse, I hurt a good man who had only ever tried to love me.

Hindsight is a wonderful luxury that few of us can afford. If only I had paid heed to the warning signs.  If only I had not met him.  If only I had been stronger.  If only … The crux is that I chose to put my own needs before that of my marriage vows. I broke my promise to be faithful.

cheating

cheating (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I know much has been said and written on the topic of infidelity. I subscribe to many blogs in which the core topic revolves around this very discussion point.   Over the years, I have read many a book and article on the topic.  Moreover, the point of infidelity has been key in several of my counselling sessions with two different therapists.

The marriage therapist my ex-husband and I sought out at the time described the situation to me in simple terms:  we all have a list of needs in a relationship and we attach different priorities to those needs.  My need for physical and emotional intimacy began to outweigh the other needs on my list, until finally it overpowered everything else.

Some people endeavour to alleviate their pain through drinking, gambling and pornography, amongst other distractions.  An affair was my exit.  Now I live with the regret of one really bad decision made in a moment of pure insecurity and weakness. 

Nothing can accurately describe the guilt of a cheater.  The partner we cheated on is not the only person who gets hurt.  We hurt ourselves too!  And sometimes that hurt can never truly be healed.

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