"I'm a Churchgoing Mom...But I Almost Cheated"
Jenny: 38, stay-at-home mom
Tom: 36, information technologist
Married: 10 years
Kids: Krissy, 10; Jon, 8
Dave Carder, Fullerton, California
The Background Jenny's high school boyfriend, Grant, messaged her on Facebook. Frustrated with her marriage, she was soon exchanging love notes and sexy photos with him. Then Jenny agreed to meet Grant at a motel for the night. The next morning, overcome with guilt, she drove home and confessed to her husband, Tom. Jenny claims that she and Grant only kissed. Tom finds that hard to believe.
"My behavior is inexcusable and goes against everything I have ever believed in. Before I met Tom I was married for three years to someone who cheated on me. I know how it feels when the person you love betrays you. What was I thinking? How could I have done the exact same thing?
"I always thought Tom and I had a good marriage -- we're devoted to our kids, active in church, and able to talk about anything and everything. But since the recession, Tom has done the work of three people. He installs computer systems for aerospace companies and sometimes he's gone four or five days a week. He tries to make time for the kids, but I can't remember the last time the two of us hung out alone.
"It seems like the only things we talk about now are Jon and Krissy and education. Three years ago we started homeschooling -- all our friends at church do it. We had agreed to do it together. But since Tom's away so much, I do most of the teaching, plus everything else around the house. Instead of working as a team, we've been arguing a lot. We approach things very differently. If the kids want to do their schoolwork lying on the floor, I'm fine with it as long as the work gets done. But Tom has always been pretty rigid. He wants them sitting at their desks. I try to talk about it, but he just tells me what he thinks we should do and walks out of the room. I guess that's better than the screaming fights my parents used to have, but I get so frustrated. I want him to hear me out.
"I started to feel trapped. Being home all day long with the kids -- with no time to take a Bible class, go to the gym, or even meet friends for coffee -- made me so depressed that I got into the habit of spending hours online. Checking in with friends on Facebook made me feel happy and involved. Then out of the blue I got a message from Grant, who was my boyfriend for three years back in high school.
"He told me his marriage was in trouble and that he needed someone to talk to. I wanted to help. After all, I'd been through a painful divorce myself. He sent me his cell phone number and we started calling and texting.
"Soon I found myself confiding in him, too, and he was as charming and funny as I remembered. I know this sounds corny, but Grant made me feel sexy and alive. I'd been a wife and mother for so long I'd forgotten what it felt like to be me. When I'd see a text from Grant my heart would start pounding and I couldn't open it fast enough.
"After six weeks of calling and texting all day, every day, Grant suggested we meet at the beach. I wouldn't even let myself think about what I was doing -- I just said yes. Then I made up a cover story, telling Tom that for Mother's Day all I wanted was a day by myself to read and write in my journal.
"Even as I drove to meet Grant, I knew it was crazy and terribly wrong, but I kept right on going. We had a dinner at a seafood place overlooking the water. We had such a strong connection that we picked up right where we left off when we were 18. After dinner we strolled back to the inn. Closing the door of our room, Grant pulled me toward him and we started to kiss -- then the reality of what I was doing sunk in and I abruptly pulled back. I realized I didn't love Grant, only the idea of him, and I told him to leave.
"The next morning I drove straight home and told Tom the whole story. I was crying so hard I could barely get the words out. Tom just sat there with his head in his hands.
"I feel sick every time I think about what I've done. Tom is so angry I don't know how to convince him that I love him and only want to be with him."