All the gory details

My story starts a couple of years ago, in January 2012. OW and I were really good friends for years before something happened — one night, at an overseas conference (we work for the same company), we got stupidly drunk. Like, two bottles of champagne, shots, cocktails... I don't know how we were still walking. Around 4 in the morning we're staggering back to our hotel and we kissed. Hungry, hot, (drunk), what a kiss!
We did nothing else for months. I was of course married, though not happily (OW knew things weren't great between me and my wife). Actually, things hadn't been great for about a year before the kiss that started it all off. People since have said that my wife was abusive to me; I still can't quite believe it, even though I'd call what she did if it were someone else telling me about it, you know?
Anyway, OW and I saw each other a few times after that (we live hundreds of miles apart, but I have to travel to her city for work quite often). Sometimes we'd make out — always in some dark corner where we couldn't be seen — most of the time we wouldn't. We connected so well, talked so well, knew each other inside and out.
There was another company conference that spring, again overseas. The whole week we were out there were making out every night and almost — almost — it went further. We stopped just before it did though.
The weekend after the conference we took a road trip — we had a couple of days before our flight home and we wanted to see the country we were in, so we rented a car and drove. We shared a motel room with separate bedrooms, and made out on her bed for hours. How we didn't come to sleep together, I don't know.
That finally happened in the summer. We went to a festival together — us and a bunch of friends were supposed to go, but they didn't make it. We got there late, put our tents up in the pouring rain, and again started making out. Only this time we didn't stop, and we made love.
I've told my therapist since then that it was the single most beautiful, most romantic experience in my life. And I don't regret it for a second.
We didn't really know what to do about it — the next week I was on vacation with my wife, and OW and I exchanged SMSes and emails the whole time. My wife knew something was up, but couldn't figure out what. I kept just telling her I was tired, but inside I was depressed, angry at myself for being a cheat, hating myself for loving what had happened and, of course, missing OW like crazy and just wanting to be with her again.
My wife found out when my OW sent a letter to my home address (I was away again at the time) and the envelope was unsealed. My wife read it, called me, and I flew back home that day to try and fix things. We did therapy together, I found my therapist, and I told OW that I had to go NC.
For a while it worked. OW and I saw each other again at the end of the summer when I visited the office, but we just talked, and nothing happened.
At home though, things were getting worse. My wife was hurt and angry, and I was full of guilt at what I'd done, and every time she yelled at me or threw things around or said things deliberately to hurt me I just sat there and took it. I fell into a real depression, started having thoughts about suicide. It was only my therapist and OW, who I had started emailing again, that got me through.
By the time winter came around, things were so bad that I decided to leave my marriage. The final straw was my wife assaulting me in the street — not hitting me, but grabbing my arm and dragging me through a crowd, squeezing my wrist hard enough to leave bruises. I packed up my stuff the next day and fled to my mom's, whilst my wife was at work. She was devastated when she came home and I was waiting to tell her that I'd left.
I went down to visit OW almost immediately after this, and that few days was exactly what I needed: full of love and happiness and understanding. When I headed home, I found myself an apartment, and moved in there. OW came to visit, and she helped me decorate and find a Christmas tree for the place. It was truly wonderful to feel that free.
At the same time, without telling OW, I was still in touch with my wife. I couldn't bear the thought of what I'd done to her and I kept thinking about how I owed her as many conversations as she needed. I agreed to go to marriage counselling again, though at the time I thought it would be to discuss details of our separation and divorce.
I spent Christmas with OW. We went on a short vacation to a beautiful romantic place, and she nursed me through a week-long bout of flu that I can only think came on because of all the stress I'd been under.
In January, I started going to marriage counselling with my wife. Didn't tell OW I was doing it. I was living in my own place, but seeing my wife once or twice a week. Somehow, I let myself believe that I was doing the right thing, even though it was tearing me apart inside: why couldn't I be honest with everyone, why couldn't I make a choice?
I continued to see OW regularly: every couple of weeks at least. I'd visit her or she'd visit me. I always found an excuse to tell my wife so that she didn't suspect anything. Throughout all this time, I was only telling my therapist the story that I was telling my wife. OW was no longer in the picture, and my therapist had no idea that I was seeing her. And I wanted to share it so badly, because I was in love, but I couldn't because... I don't know why.
By April, our marriage counselling was wrapping up. We'd talked loads of stuff and it had all gone pretty well... I couldn't find any reason not to go back, though I wanted to have one (I couldn't consider the fact that I wanted to have a reason to not go back as a reason to not go back; I don't know why). So I went back. Moveed my stuff out of my apartment, back into the marital home. I knew it was a stupid thing to do but it was like I was on autopilot; I didn't know how not to do it.
So I started lying to OW about why I couldn't come down, or why I had to go back up suddenly. Staying away over weekends was no longer an option unless it was very carefully planned, because i had to lie to both of them about it. Overseas trips were easier, because there was no need to worry about when I'd have to go back; OW just accepted that I'd want to go home when the trip was done.
I'd started living two independent lives; taking my wedding ring off or putting it on according to which version of me I was being. I hated doing it, I hated myself, but I couldn't stop. The comfort of a stable married home, and the financial security, and the love and trust of a wonderful woman who wanted nothing more than to be with me! What a monster I'd become... and I hated every inch of myself for it.
Come winter, I couldn't stand it anymore. I broke things off with OW. She was devastated — so was I — but she respected my decision... Of course, it was based partly on a lie; I told her it was only about the depression and anxiety with which I'd been diagnosed. It was about those things, it's true, but it was also about the fact that I wanted my marriage to work. True, it wasn't exciting, it was just "comfortable". The sex wasn't great, the connection between us wasn't always there and my wife can still be very hurtful at times — because she knows exactly which buttons to push – but by and large we do okay.
And yet I couldn't quite keep NC with OW. We exchanged emails and SMSes over Christmas. Finally, we saw each other again a few weeks back. Made out, made love in my hotel room. The monster in full swing again. And she still doesn't know I'm back home. We were planning a valentine's vacation... Unfortunatley I was doing the same with my wife. I've come up with an excuse not to see OW... Maybe this time I'll be able to actually break it off completely.
I know that I can't expect much sympathy. Unlike so many others here I'm on a whole other level of horrible. I hate what I've become, and I deserve to be hated. So if you want to tell me what scum I am, go ahead. But I needed to write this out because it's been driving me crazy, and I've never told anyone.
I know I'm just one step up from a bigamist. I know I don't deserve love or sympathy. I'm very, very scared. But there it is.



Hey Allunder - I can relate very well to what you\'re saying. I too have lived 2 different lives, lied to myself about it, etc. When I have shared it with a therapist or with a friend, I get no sympathy, which really is not what I need. What I need is a swift kick in the butt! It\'s really important to come clean to yourself first. Making a decision for either woman is probably not what you need, but rather, making a decision \"for you\". Maybe tell each one of them that you need some time alone because you feel so messed up inside. The main things all of us need in our selves is 1)intelligence 2)human compassion and 3)openness. I got that from a book called \"Taking the Leap\" by Pema Chodron. You can find it on It\'s about breaking the bad habits and ruts we find ourselves in. It\'s really important that you take a deep breath and stop telling yourself \"I can\'t do this!\" You can do it because you need to. What you (and I) are doing is comparable to starving ourselves. The most important decisions are not always going to be based on our emotions. Rather, you need to look at your situation and do, as someone else said, the wise thing. Use your intellect. Make a wise decision, and then no matter how you feel about it, follow through. I think being alone would be an advantageous situation for you for awhile. I wouldn\'t say you have to completely tell both women everything. However, you do need to let them know that you need some time and space. I would use the time to read a lot, spend some quiet time thinking and praying. Learn to forgive yourself. Give each woman the space she needs too, and perhaps one of them will decide to move on. I don\'t know - I\'ve done this, and it has helped. However, right now I\'m in a divorce process with my H but we continue to have meals together and have slept together because it\'s so comfortable to do so. He is completely ready to be back together, but I miss my OM so much! I did tell OM to stop calling me \"while I work out the details of my divorce\" which is only a half-truth. I really want him to stop calling me because it\'s too awkward to try to handle his attentions while I am trying to make this life-changing decision whether or not to go through with the divorce or not. OM doesn\'t know how much time I\'m spending with my H. In my own defense, however, it\'s not any of his business to know this. It is in each of our best interests to work out what is best for us, and we need to own that and take it seriously. It is up to the others in our lives to give us the space we need, and their response to your request for that is totally up to them; you don\'t need to bear that. You only need to bear what your own responsibility is. That\'s it, that is all I\'ve got right now. Plus, here are some links to some really good articles about divorce and love:

Also: an article about when love isn\'t enough

And one more: about loving someone enough to divorce her/him:

Hope these help. If the links don\'t work, you can just copy and paste them onto the address bar. SEnding up prayers for you!