I have been writing this post in my head for a long time, years in fact. And yet, when it comes to the point I still can’t quite put my finger on what it is I want to say. The urge to write it comes upon me when I receive a comment about my kindness, my niceness, my obvious goodness that makes me uncomfortable. “What if,” the voice in my head says, “what if they knew you were a cheat?” Another part of me will then step forward, protesting a little too loudly, too vociferously for my internal task master, but she says, “No it wasn’t like that, no that isn’t fair.” and I know both parts are right because it’s a black and white world in judgement land but the rest of me lives in the grey part of life.
I have written before about truth. How seeking to uncover a blow by blow account of what happened when can lead us further from the veracity of the situation and not closer. That the unpeeling of an onion leads to revelations of layers beneath that become bigger not smaller in a kind of internal Tardis. Knowing what happened can lead us further from what is true than focusing on our feelings about ourselves and others and asking questions about what we want.
This is not a digression, nor is it an apologia for a cheat but it is a plea for some kind of mental agility and good will on the part of the reader. I ask you to read this and not judge but to read this and empathise. That in itself is a difficult ask, I know, since it asks you to embrace the self-seeking survival instinct that lives in us all, at our core, beneath all the civilising influences of our upbringing and our view of our “best” selves that we are meant to bring to every party. But if you love me at all, please do that.
It started with a Kindle. I didn’t want one. I loved books. J (my husband) gave me one and so reluctant was I to use it I would only read books that were free. But somewhere my mind was working without my conscious awareness of it and I found myself reading Vampire Smut which had a sub theme of a D/s relationship between a pair of Vampire twins and their human love – yes I know, corny, but before that moment I was re-reading beloved books from my childhood as a kind of soothing technique. I could not read adult literature at all because I could not cope with the themes, I had to cushion myself from the world. I was faking maturity and that is where it showed..
In retrospect I know that I had high blood pressure and was very stressed but had no idea about either such was my focus on others. I was also in the midst of the menopause, regularly engulfed by menopausal rage and battling to retain any interest in sex at all which seemed to just be something J wanted to do to me. I mourned our casual and immediate desire for each other. I was convinced it had gone for ever. I was fat, unhappy and frigid. It seemed an early presage of death.
The stories in the book began to open me up again, I noticed I was responding physically to the descriptions of sex and I was so relieved to discover I was alive. So relieved that I will just write that again for emphasis. I thought I was dead from the waist down and discovered I wasn’t. It was that fucking huge.
J and I spent 22 hours out of 24 together. Working, living, loving, all together – ideal eh? I thought so. I really did, and so did he. So I brought this reinvention of my sexual self to him. I became a beta reader for the author of the Vampire smut books and discovered she was on Fetlife. That was when Pandora’s Box really opened.
We joined. It seemed natural, J was “obviously” a D, he loved to control everything, and that framework seemed to answer a number of difficulties inherent in our relationship and make everything slot into place. So did the fact that I was on the s side of the slash. I loved to please. I fretted if he wasn’t pleased with me or anything else in our world. His wishes were paramount in our everyday life and I did all I could to make sure that he was happy inspite of his fears, anxieties and constant criticism.
In order to find out more we became part of the Married and Long Term Newbies group. We started chatting to people there I started writing posts on Fetlife that garnered some interest. I had moved from frigid, menopausal woman to a submissive writer and bloody hell it felt good. Our sex life ramped up, we returned to the days of fucking wherever, whenever but with that came a strange kind of exclusion. Old friends and family were excluded, new friends were viewed with suspicion. J only had eyes for me and now he was my D he could enforce it because we took no account of the ideas of consent. I had given that when I married him, and since I had introduced the idea of D/s I now bore responsibility for my acceptance of his whims. Something felt wrong to me though. I couldn’t put my finger on it but as part of the Fetlife experience I was now talking to other people including other Doms who asked searching questions about my consent and my sense of autonomy within this relationship. I began to wonder if my sense of something being not right was justified. Until that moment I assumed responsibility for that too. My kindle had given me the privacy to read what I wanted, my Fetlife account gave me privacy to speak to who I wanted and the conversations there gave me the sense of autonomy to question the status quo. One of the connections I made there saved my life. That sounds hyperbolic but it’s true.
There isn’t a way to sugar coat this but as I read about D/s relationships and talked to others about it I realised that the back drop to the naturalness of the D/s relationship with J was actually abuse. That still seems so hard to say because I know he wouldn’t agree. I know it was learned on both sides and that is why it seemed natural, inevitable perhaps. But still the concept of ownership had no sense of my owning myself to start with on either side. A telling place was when we were given a questionnaire to answer regarding limits and I asked J to complete it. I completed mine first and sent it to him with a romantic note. I still have it, complete with hand drawn heart that pledged my love forever.
One of the questions was – from a D to an s – would you have sex with other people if I asked you to? Looking back this is the point it all began to unravel. My answer was yes, I thought it best to be honest and we had regularly had sex with him whispering about what the boys in the car park were waiting to do to me with great effect. I still don’t really believe my answer came as such a surprise but it set off a chain of events that led to me sitting here writing this, that included a domestic violence incident, stalking me and hacking into my emails and then blackmailing me into outing myself to my children so I took responsibility for his behaviour. His reaction to this question in particular was to shame and blame me. He erupted into rage about the fact that I could even consider it. I know it was fear of losing me that triggered this but actually I felt so unseen. I felt so betrayed. I felt I had been sold a lie about the truth of our relationship. I felt used. I felt cheated. I never really recovered that trust and as it became apparent that my role in the relationship was to be an emotional sponge and support to J and to swallow any of my own feelings that didn’t fit with his world view I retreated. But I continued to correspond with one man on Fetlife and I held onto this commonsense, funny and engaging connection with all the desperation of a drowning woman.
So dear reader, here is the crunch point, stop reading now if you want to retain any sense of me being a well-deserving badly treated woman, because this is where my survival instinct kicked in and I didn’t drown it at birth with tears of idiot compassion about how hard this was for J. This is the point at which I grabbed that lifebelt and fucked the life out of it before I died. This is the point I cheated.
After 6 months of messaging I met him, I had sex with him, I began a D/s relationship with him and he became my anchor as my marriage floundered.
I was married and I cheated and it saved my life.
I cannot be sorry for it, but I have paid a high price for it since we all love black and white and a long-lived monogamous happy ending but there it is. I am unrepentant. My marriage at the end of it was absolutely what it was at the beginning apart from the fact that my eyes were opened to the nature of relationship by the knowledge of what a good healthy one felt like. Even within the limited terms of our engagement I knew it felt good and different and I couldn’t let that go.
So here I am 4 years on. I will be divorced this year and I know J is still shell-shocked by my desertion and I still face the difficulties brought about by my outing as a fallen and shameful woman to my boys. The fact is though that my dad called me a hussy at 14 and I have lived with this so long it no longer rankles. Through my new sense of myself I see men afraid of the power of women’s sexuality, and I also see men out there who are not afraid and who love us in all our ferocious glory.
I have no idea if J has searched his soul as I have but that is his journey now. I know that the nature of the D/s relationship has surprised both myself and the man I began it with but that is the nature of life. You start something thinking it will be one thing and before you know it it has a beautiful life and soul of its own. It remains, inspite of challenges of time and distance and a past we both have to come to terms with, a shining light in my life.
As for me, I face the future with hope and anticipation. I know what a good relationship feels like now and that is what I want. With open eyes and heart, I bring all of me, every pore, just that.
And that’s now what I expect to receive in return. ?❤?