"He Started an Affair on Facebook"
"I didn't expect this to happen, didn't want it to happen, and don't know why it happened," said Carl, 40. "Late one night I went on Facebook and saw that Jill had commented on a post by an old high school buddy. I friended her on a whim, although Sue thinks it was the other way around. Jill confirmed right away and sent me a cheery message. Her tone was quite a switch from the last time I saw her, 20 years ago. Back then she wanted nothing to do with me.
"Jill was more than my girlfriend. She was my first great love. We started dating in ninth grade and she dumped me in her freshman year in college. I didn't go to college -- I was a poor student and my parents never encouraged me -- and Jill said we were moving in opposite directions. She broke my heart, but I got over it. In fact, Sue and I got together about six months later.
"My cousin, who was dating her roommate, fixed us up. I acted like a jerk on our first date, mainly because I was still bummed out about Jill. So I called to ask if we could try again. Then everything clicked. Sue was pretty, smart, and fun. Jill faded from my mind.
"Truthfully, I hadn't thought about her in years, but that tiny Facebook photo of her, smiling and looking great, piqued my curiosity. We began e-mailing and it turned out she was married and living in Sacramento but was coming here in a few weeks to visit her mother. She suggested we meet for coffee.
"I had no intention of sleeping with Jill, but the minute I saw her, 25 years simply evaporated. Old feelings rushed back and one thing led to another. It sounds corny, but being with her made me feel more alive than I have in years.
"That was nine months ago. We've seen each other maybe six times -- we meet halfway, in LA, where I go on business -- but we talk on the phone and e-mail and text constantly. Her marriage isn't happy, either. She has a son and her husband travels a lot for work. We both know what we're doing is wrong but we can't seem to stop it.
"Until Jill came back into my life I didn't realize how unhappy I was. I can't stand the way Sue talks down to me -- as if I'm a pet dog. She claims I don't listen, but the real problem is that she's anxious about everything. The kids, her job, our house. There's always a crisis. If I didn't leave the room she'd go on forever. And her timing couldn't be worse. She'll launch into some important issue when I'm watching a basketball game. She's a micromanager, as was my mom, who bossed my dad and me nonstop. Like her, Sue is a dictator. There's no affection between us, and we almost never have sex.
"We put on a good public face, but our marriage has been in trouble for a long time, and it has nothing to do with Jill. We've simply muddled along, and I don't want to do that anymore."