No matter what your opinion is of me, I am not a home wrecker.
Some women start affairs for the thrill. Some women start affairs for the sex. Some women expect their affair partner to give them the world. If he's married, she will go to any length to break that union, no matter what the cost.
I am not that woman. No matter what your opinion is of me, I am not a home wrecker.
Twenty years ago, I met my husband. He is a wonderful man who loves our kids and me. We've been through a lot together.
Like most marriages, it hasn't always been perfect. Two people working though everyday life can have its ups and downs, but we have always dealt with them together. We have raised amazing children together and honestly enjoy each other's company.
So it may come as a surprise that I am also in a committed relationship with another wonderful man.
I never expected to meet someone who makes me a better person, but a few years ago, I did. He is also married with children. Our lives have changed dramatically since we met, but just as my husband and I have worked through the ups and downs, so have my friend and I. In a way, he has become the outside voice of reason when I need advice or just someone to make me smile and remember life isn't fair.
The biggest misconception about affairs is that both parties come from sexless marriages. That couldn't be further from the truth. I have an amazing sex life with my husband. So does my friend with his wife. Do we have sex? Yes, we do. Our sex life fulfills fantasies we can't get at home. And it is amazing.
But the truth is, the sex is only a minor part of our relationship. If something happened and we could never have sex again, I wouldn't leave him. I would still enjoy the same wonderful relationship we have now.
I have read all the articles about women who are convinced the woman who slept with their husband was a home wrecker. I am sure some women are. But that is not me.
I have never assumed I am anything more than a friend. I have never had any intention of wrecking his home, just as he has never intended to wreck mine.
The truth is, I love his wife. She has never not been a presence in our relationship. We openly talk about our spouses and marriages. She is a good woman. He knows and loves that my husband is a good man. Our spouses have never been hidden; they have always been there, just as our kids have never been hidden.
Our families come first, no questions asked. Many times kids have had issues or spouses have been sick, and our time is put on hold. Never has this been an issue. Being good spouses and parents has always been more important. Being those people is one of the reasons we have been together so long. We love those people too.
The other benefit to our relationship is that it has made me a better person. His advice helps me to be a better spouse.
In the times I am frustrated or irritated with my husband, sometimes it is nice to get a male perspective on the situation. As women we obviously don't know how the male mind works. He has helped me to understand men think differently and how to deal with that difference. When it comes to kids, sharing experiences has made me look at parenting differently and made me more relaxed when it comes to my kids. Our relationship is a stress reliever for me, and that alone has helped me time and again.
I never went into an affair to find a way out or to take over someone's marriage. Some women in affairs are good women, good wives, and good mothers. Don't assume we all want to be the bitch who steals your husband. Some of us have no intention of wrecking your home. We are perfectly happy with the relationships we have. We suggest you make sure you are too.
This article was originally published at xoJane. Reprinted with permission from the author.