I Had Four Affairs - Elisabeth Klein

And I drew you in now, didn’t I?  Sorry to disappoint.  Because no, I did not sleep with four other men while I was married.  I didn’t even think about sleeping with four men while I was married. But I had emotional affairs with four men while I was married.

Okay, to clarify further: they weren’t reciprocal.  The guys didn’t even know.  I basically had crushes on four men while I was married.

And yet crush is such a small word.  A crush is what I had for three years in high school on one certain boy who left me breathless when he walked by me in the hall or speechless when I saw him in the library.  A crush is what I used to have on Jon Bon Jovi.  A crush is what I have now on Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds or Ben Affleck or…you get the picture.  A crush seems young and somewhat silly and meaningless and innocent in the scheme of life.

So, whatever the word is for when you’re an adult, and you’re married, and you’re thinking about what it would be like to be married to another man but he has no idea.  Whatever that word is (how about wrong?, envy?, sin?, coveting? {as in ‘do not covet your neighbor’s anything’, ergo breaking one of the ten commandments}, trouble with a capital T?)…yeah, I did that four times.

The first three times happened in the first few years of my marriage.  All guys at church.  (Now, if you’re a guy I knew from church fifteen years ago and you’re reading this and you’re wondering if it were you, it probably wasn’t.)

It felt both wrong and harmless all at the same time, as most burgeoning sin issues do.  I chalked it up to the precarious combination of still feeling like an adolescent, my already very-struggling marriage, and my lack of understanding that the grass ain’t always greener.  I kept it all to myself.  But I secretly pined. And compared.  All unfair of me.  All totally wrong.

And I confessed to my then-husband, sitting on our second-hand couch, with our baby and our toddler playing at our feet.  And I said I was sorry and that I knew it was wrong and that I would work on it.  He was gracious, if I recall, and we moved on.  I really was able to move on.

But then there was this other one.  This one spanned the entirety of my marriage, someone I used to know.  We kept in touch over the years – not a good idea on my part, and deep down I knew it.  He was my what if.  He was my path not taken.  He was the one I let get away, and how different would my life had been if I only I hadn’t…

Dangerous.  Flashing red lights kind of dangerous.  Dangerous no matter how you look at it.  We saw each other maybe two or three times briefly in those twenty years.  Talked on the phone a couple times, always about church and ministry.  And yet.  Dangerous.

Why am I telling you this?  Because men get the short end of the stick on this one, ladies.  If a man sleeps with another woman, he is hung out to dry.  (And don’t get me wrong, I get that.)  But if a woman secretly harbors a deep longing for another man – even if it’s unrequited, unacknowledged, un-everything – we get away with it.  We don’t get in trouble. We don’t reap any consequences.  We don’t confess. We don’t even think it’s wrong most of the time because we, for the most part, don’t act on it.

But if this is you…if you find yourself in this place of being married to someone and wishing you were married to someone else or being divorced or single and wishing you were married to another woman’s husband…girl, run for the hills.  Just run.  Not one good thing will come from this.  So, stop it. Now. And run.  This grass isn’t greener…it’s just a different shade.

 

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.