The truth about midlife infidelity

Karin Jones in The Times:

It’s not possible to justify my liaisons with married men; I won’t even try. I’m not proud that, for a few years while living near London, I entered into casual relationships with married men. But I don’t regret it. What I learnt from these men warrants discussion, even though I’ve recently been publicly condemned for doing so in The New York Times.

I want to know the wife’s perspective. But what I have is the story told by their husbands. It’s an issue we might all want to talk about, say, annually, the way we get the yearly MOT to keep the family car from breaking down.

I was adrift when I separated from my husband of 23 years. We had only been living in the UK for just over a year, so I wasn’t close enough to the kind of people you commiserate with after you’ve torn down the walls that once sheltered you both physically and mentally. When I set up accounts on Tinder and OkCupid, I was too raw to want to date anyone looking for a relationship. Instead I looked for no-strings-attached company. A fair number of men who responded to my profile were married; sometimes headless or faceless or insouciantly grinning in their photos. But all of them came to me first. I simply responded. Sure, that makes me complicit, but I felt drawn to married men, perhaps because I instinctively needed what they were also seeking: affection and sex with someone uninterested in attachment. Just a few hours of levity.

I know this is dicey because you can’t always control your emotions when body chemicals mix, but I reasoned that because they had wives, children and mortgages, they wouldn’t go overboard with their affections. We were safe bets for each other.

More here.