Right after the revelation of my affair, my wife and I both started reading books about recovering from an affair. Every book, it seems, draws a line between the physical affair – that is, sex with someone other than your spouse – and the emotional affair – loving someone other than your spouse.
The thing I find odd is that these books, written by or about Christian men, were all about physical affairs where the cheating men didn’t love or even have strong feelings toward the women they were cheating with.
How is that even possible? One-night stands or sex with a prostitute I understand can be strictly physical. But how is it possible to have sex with a person for YEARS without forming an emotional attachment? I have to take it at others’ words that it is not only possible but apparently the norm.
For me, I was already close friends with Scarlet and well on my way to being in love with her before we even kissed. By the time we had sex, I was in love with her. Within 48 hours of that first time, I had told her I loved her and she said she loved me. That’s not to say that I didn’t find her very attractive physically, but I don’t think I would have strayed physically if my heart hadn’t already started to stray.
I wish I hadn’t loved her. For me, for my wife, and for Scarlet, it would have been easier if we hadn’t been in love. A simple sexual attraction that wasn’t resisted would have been easier for all of us to recover from. On the other hand, as strictly emotional affair would have been harder to get over than a strictly physical affair. But since I don’t do things by half-measures, I did both and now we have to get over not only the fact that I had sex repeatedly with another woman, but I also shared my heart with her. The memories of both are far worse than either alone.
Anyway, I don’t get it. I don’t think I could have done one without the other – the two are too closely linked. Which means if I’m to stay on the straight and narrow, I can’t let my eye or my heart wander. It’s not enough to keep from lusting after a woman with my eyes, I have to keep from letting myself care too much about them in my heart.