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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

All affairs end. Most often badly.

December 21, 2019


I’m remembering my last time with Jeff. After, always during that brief period after, I was lying facing him, my arm over his chest. He had his hand near mine, and I touched his wedding ring. I moved it around on his finger. It seemed a bit big, I remember noticing.


In that moment, I felt a mix of confusion, anger, jealousy, and excitement. How did I get here? I wondered. Why does he belong to someone else? Why can’t I have this for my own? And then, the thrill of being with a married man, precisely because he belonged to someone else. Because of the clandestine nature of our relationship. Because I loved him but he didn’t love me, and that felt good and right. Because compromising, because gifting a man with all of me and expecting so little in return, because that’s a pattern for me. Lifelong.


It’s over now, of course. In February it will have been two years. Much longer than the period we knew one another, were communicating, and seeing each other. I hold it still, that time, close to my soul. I can’t say I hold it close to my heart, that’s too trite. It was bigger than that, different than that, and it changed me so profoundly, he touched and transformed the precise center of my person.


What did the affair mean to Jeff? Escape, respite, a brief time of sensual intoxication, sex. I wanted him, his body, his person. Desperately. That’s hard to turn away from. Impossible for me, and so I imagine impossible for him. Maybe impossible for anyone.


He didn’t love me, he cared about me. We were friends. His words lifted me up when I needed it. He was firm and direct when I needed it. He was my father, my champion, my supporter. He protected me, in some bizarre way, he protected me from dropping deeper into the dark. Still, I spent so much time in the dark. The deep dark. Sometimes precisely because of him. But he always came through. I might not hear from him for much too long, then he would acknowledge me, let me know he was still in the world, and that he still wanted me. As a friend and a lover.


Why Jeff? Why did I respond against all my better judgment? Knowing full well all affairs end, most often badly. But why Jeff? Why that particular personality? So closed, so protective of his family. Which, of course, made me love him more. The more he held me at a distance, the more I loved him. The more I wanted him. I saw him as honorable. He was a cad, he was a cheat, but he didn’t betray his family. He stayed. He never ever spoke ill of his wife. He was respectful, kind, and forgiving.


All these seeming contradictions I put to paper. How can a cheat be honorable? How can a cheat be considered faithful to his wife and family? I don’t know. I really don’t. But that’s how I see it in my mind’s eye. Am I blinded by love? I think not. Especially not now, after all this time I’ve had to ponder the affair, to write about it. I’ll never be able to communicate what happened, who I am now because of having had him in my life. I’m better. Without a doubt.


I’ll never be able to make you understand. I’ll never be able to justify it, even to myself. Neither of us deserves your understanding. Only your scorn. I know that full well. I only wish I were sorry. I’m only sorry it ended and that it ended badly.


All affairs end. Most often badly.

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