If popular movies, books, and songs are any indication, beginning, consummating, and continuing an affair with someone is an exciting thing. You're thrilled by the idea of sneaking around, communicating through codes, and going through the steps to prevent capture. It's even possible that the thrill of the affair may even be more fulfilling than the affair itself.
This isn't something either of us experienced. From the first moment we realized we had feelings for each other—before anything romantic even happened—guilt entered the picture. There's nothing thrilling, sexy, or cool about going behind a person's back and potentially devastating an innocent person. Nothing at all. The mere thought of going there—of becoming that type of person—made our interactions heavier and heavier.
Also, as our relationship continued, I became less and less interested in sharing her. When real feelings are involved, there is no pleasure in sneaking around, in being part-time. Although she was still with him, whenever I knew they were together, I started to feel as if she was cheating on me.
Still, even with being fully aware of how it could impact our lives and our consciences, we continued down that path. Nothing romantic, but we began to talk to and see each other more frequently. Daily phone calls stretched from 30 to 90 minutes. Lunch dates went from once every other week or so to at least twice a week. Sure, we'd spend much of that time intentionally not discussing the elephant in the room. And, if we did bring up the elephant, we only brought it up to remind ourselves why it would be a bad idea to cross that line. But, just interacting with each other made us closer, more intimate.
We found that the compatibilities we shared were deeper than either of us thought. We also discovered we were both unhappy with our current predicaments. I'd grown bored with dating, sleeping around, etc—the things single men aren't supposed to grow bored with. And, for the first time, I genuinely worried about my future. I did not want to be one of those men who have passed their expiration dates—men who might look fine on paper but stay single because of a collection of flaws they waited too long to address. She also wasn't happy with her relationship. She wasn't exactly unhappy either, but she had been experiencing this melancholy for over a year, and feared the prospect of spending another year in the same state of unfulfillment.
For the record, I'm aware that none of this excuses our actions. A lack of personal happiness doesn't make a wrong any less wrong. Instead, I'm just trying to paint of picture of how easily this could happen…even with people fully aware of the possible reactions to their actions
Anyway, as silly as this will likely read, we began to fall in love. It was reckless, messy, silly, stupid, and selfish. But, it was also…real, and once we reached that point, sleeping together went from a possibility to an inevitability. Ironically, the "inevitability" happened a day after we convinced ourselves we needed to stop hanging out altogether. But, a simple morning text message turned into a phone conversation, the phone conversation to a "ride to work," and the ride to work to us laying together, wondering how we got there, scared to death, and not wanting it to stop.
Two months later, it still hasn't.