It all started with this puzzling text exchange with a secret admirer (SA):
SA: Hey, gorgeous. How are you today?
Me: Who is this? Sorry, I didn’t save your name.
SA: We did exchange numbers a long time ago. If you didn’t save, I understand. We can leave it as a secret admirer.
Me: When did we go out and where?
SA: I’m so nervous. My leg is shaking right now. You knew I was married, but I still think of you. Sorry.
I had no clue who this could be. After prying, he explained that we met a party with a mutual friend, but he wouldn’t reveal who the friend was. Even though he was married, my curiosity couldn’t be contained. I would never become involved with a married man, but I needed to know who was pursuing me. I decided to set up a coffee date. I asked my girlfriend, Gigi, to go with me for safety purposes.
Gigi and I arrived at Starbucks at the planned meeting time. We sat at adjacent tables so he wouldn’t run if he saw me with someone else. I was nervous. Who was this mystery man? He said I would recognize him, but I didn’t recognize any of the men walking through the entrance. Eventually, a man approached me. He knew who I was, but I was still clueless about his identity.
He told me we met at a party with my students. That triggered the memory of whom he was. I hadn’t recognized him at first because he was clean shaven. At the party, he had been sporting a beard. I was shocked that this man was chasing me. His wife had been in my night school class a few years ago, and he had attended our end of the year party. He said he thought I was a fascinating woman, and he couldn’t stop thinking about me. I had never given him my number, so he apparently had gone into her phone at some point and retrieved my digits.
I knew I would never allow anything to happen with this man. I know infidelity is common in our society, but I never want to be the other woman. I could have walked out at that moment, but I wanted to hear his story.
SA: Your face looks mad.
Me: I’m not mad, just shocked. Your wife is a wonderful woman, and I don’t know what would cause you to stray like this.
He explained that his marriage was in trouble. He and his wife had had a couple of children and the strain of children had drained the excitement out of their marriage.
I gave him a little insight from my own failed marriage. I remember after having my daughter, I was so focused on being a good mom that I put less energy on maintaining a healthy marriage. And, childbirth had changed my self-image. Postpartum, I didn’t see myself as a vivacious, sexy woman anymore. Most days, I was too exhausted from work and mothering to even consider having sex. There were deeper issues in my marriage, but I felt I could offer a bit of wisdom to this young, lost man. Here’s what I suggested:
- Seek couple’s counseling. A professional can help you work through your issues and see if you really are meant to stay together.
- Take your wife on dates at least twice a month. Court her again. Make her feel appreciated. Buy her a nice dinner, bring her flowers, give her a sensual massage.
- Have sex, but focus on pleasing her. Make her feel sexy and adored, the only goddess in your life.
Marriage is constant work. Both sides have to make efforts to keep it going. Infidelity is a common response to an unhappy relationship. Humans naturally seek affection and attention, and when those needs aren’t met in our marriages, we wander, looking for some kind of connection. A few of my friends were flabbergasted when they found out that I took the time to give this young man marriage advice. They said he didn’t deserve it. However, I disagree. Humans are filled will imperfections; it’s what makes us human. And, relationships are difficult. Biologically, we aren’t cut out for monogamy, so adhering to societal norms can be challenging. I’m not angry at this man. Instead, I empathize with him. I’ve been in his shoes. I don’t know what happened with his situation, but I hope that he and his wife can find a solution, some kind of peace, whether together or separate.