The Misery of Adulterous Love

The love that dare not speak its name

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My affair partner’s mother contracted Covid in April. In her 70s, she lives in the UK and got it at the pandemic’s height in England. They were worrying times for my lover, and still are, as fevers return intermittently.

My, he was distraught, living so far away. Yet his wife was both unable and unwilling to do anything to ease his pain. This left my lover alone, during his darkest moments. When he thought she was near her end, he told her about us. She knew he was unhappy, and he wanted her to know before she died that he’d found someone.

And for all that unhappiness, there was nothing I could do for him.

I was useless to him as I stood by, knowing what he needed. It was painful to watch him suffer knowing nothing had changed for him at home. He carried his burden alone and my heart broke for him.

Instead of helping, consoling, and comforting him, the best I could do was text. There was no quiet time to listen — no time to help him with his fear.

Instead, fleeting emoji packed sentiments sailed back and forth in the air as zeros and ones; our love reduced to short exchanges on a tiny screen.

Living ten minutes apart didn’t help either. It was hard being so close and having to stay out of it. I couldn’t go to him. Our love had grown so much, but that was a line we could not cross. A line we will never cross.

And because of that, we will never truly be there for each other. In our lives, the job of “being there” is filled by someone else.

Affair partners always take second place.

When their daughter married last summer, it was a happy time for them. I was excited and begged him for pictures of the dresses, the hair, the flowers, and the venue. I prayed for a great day, and they got it! It was perfect.

I watched the speeches and saw their first dance while laying in bed with my lover, as he gushed over his eldest daughter. It sad to have wanted to be there with him, but I did.


I did have breakfast with his mother, who was over for the wedding, but not in the way you might imagine.

We arranged breakfast at the same restaurant one Sunday morning and asked for the same section. I wanted to see her, and them together. And of course, we were seated right beside them. His mother was diagonal to me, my lover to my right, and my husband across our table.

By all appearances, she’s a lovely lady, even if she had quietly condemned my excessive use of toe-matt-oh sauce (ketchup). I would have forgiven her. I’m also sure we would have gotten along famously, unlike the relationship she has with his wife.


And that’s the closest I’ve ever came to anything in his life — just a little taste of what more there could have been.

I would have given anything to be at their wedding. To partake in their joy, and to dance the night away with the young couple. And of course we’d have fun afterwards too. I love weddings.

But I wasn’t there, so that night I sat at home watching TV, and my lover sat watching the dance from his table. Both of us went to bed lonely and alone.

We would have completed each other that night. I was as incomplete in my affair that night as I’d been in my marriage for the previous decade, and boy did I feel it.

Hints at what could have been provide no comfort when you remember what’s at home and why you went looking. Life’s highs and lows only serve to remind me that my lover and I can’t be together in the way I want us to be.

And that makes the loneliness hurt more.

“Tough luck,” many would say.

“You deserve it,” others would chime in.

I’ve read it all on social media. And no, getting a divorce really isn’t that simple. But in many ways they’re right. It is tough luck, and I deserve it for falling in love. But what I missed in my life wasn’t sex so much as love. It’s what keeps me going when I have nothing else.

And in life’s highs and lows I’m painfully reminded of how truly alone I am.

To borrow from Oscar Wilde, adulterous love is a love that dare not speak its name. You can’t tell anyone about it without destroying your life, and the only one who knows can’t help you when you need it most.


If you are thinking about dipping your toe into murky adulterous waters, save yourself some trouble and start with these two explainers:How to Cheat — 25 Ground Rules to Think About Before Jumping into Bed with an Affair Partner
Only 25 you say? The less sexy side of your affair is the ground rules discusion that will help you both work out how…medium.com
How to Cheat: 54 Acronyms and Jargon Every Cheater Should Know
“Hotwife looking for a dom Bull, BBC preferred, for ONS/FWB NSA fun times. Can host. No MM, please, not looking for…medium.com

Teresa J Conway © 2020

By Teresa J Conway on .

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Exported from Medium on March 4, 2021.

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts, and I'm a fair-weather tweeter @tjconway69.

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