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married Swapping_teams
There are three main reasons that not dating married women has been a long standing principle of mine.

1. Having been through break ups and had the ‘seeing someone else’ bombshell dropped on me a few times, I know how it hurts for the offended party.
2. I am not a great liar or keeper of secrets. As a result I would get caught out or reveal it to someone for sure.
3. I am not great in a fight; one potential consequence of the revelation of a marital affair (I did knock out the only guy I ever went on the offensive with but I put this down to the surprise nature of the attack as much as the skilled pugilism involved).

It occurs to me that if people are unhappy with a relationship they should change that first before they start getting into another one. In other words have the courage to move on alone. Rather than pebble jump from one disaster to the next.
Clearly this is not a principle adopted in wider society and as with any of my principles, it was only through testing it that I could really discover if I believed it or not.

Her name was Lyndsey and her partner was Adam. We had met several times in my local pub in Hampshire. Mutual friends had brought us into proximity with each other. Facebook again played its part in developing our rapport and friendship beyond where it should have stayed. I liked her, a lot. She was gorgeous and her husband was a knob, spending a lot of his time deriding and ignoring her. He seemed nice enough to the people around him but everyone could sense or pick up on the tensions between the two of them. Or at least that is how it looked to me.

On Facebook she told me how unhappy she was and that she felt trapped in a loveless marriage. Now if you read “Shitting on your own doorstep” in ‘Tidy up on your way out’ you would be forgiven for experiencing déjà vu here.

It never fails to amaze me how, with only the most cursory scratches under the surface many marriages are not as happy as they look to, even the most well informed observer. Even my own marriage at face value looked perfect. It is only when we delve below the surface line that we see just how deep the iceberg goes I guess.

That said I chose once again to ignore the obvious warning signs and I kept on chatting to her. A few day later we both had a free lunchtime and she suggested we met for lunch. It seemed innocent enough to me.

Lunch however was anything but innocent. The air was thick with sexual tension between us. It turned into a veritable festival of flirting. She was so much happier and relaxed when on her own and I found myself being pulled in by the tractor beam of feelings I had for her. It was probably for the best that she had to leave at 2pm to get back home for the children.

Following lunch we started to regularly text each other but I worked hard to keep things at a distance. Like her though I did, it was not my place to go breaking up marriages. There were still occasions where I would see her and Adam in the pub or the High Street and we would just exchange pleasantries. She would be quite stand offish in fact, which I took to be a sign, incorrectly as it happens, that she had concluded going any further would be a bad idea.

Nearly a month passed before I next bumped into her when she was on her own. Well when I say bumped into her I mean engineered an opportunity to bump into her. I was travelling into London for a meeting and texted her the day before. She worked in London and I asked if she was free for a drink after work. We arranged to meet in Covent Garden.

London was at its romantic best. We sat and drank champagne in the courtyard of the ]Crusted Pipe, a bar in the covered area of the market. Whilst we drank, buskers from the local opera house serenaded us before we headed into the bar. We sat opposite each other on a small window table separated by a candle (husbands, if you are not taking the time out to do little things like this for your partner then rest assured, there are others out there willing to). Halfway through dinner she suddenly leaned forward and kissed me. It was unexpected but devastatingly effective. Once again I felt the now familiar sensation of my defences dropping to allow myself once again to fall for someone.

We travelled home and while on the train we planned how to meet up and spend the night together. She had a perfect excuse as it was not uncommon for her to have to work away from home. I was surprised by my own complete lack of guilt as we schemed how we would meet up in London and spend the night together.

A few weeks later we executed the plan and it was one of the nicest evenings I have ever had in London. We strolled through Soho, drank cocktails, ate in Chinatown, watched a comedy show and then retired to my favourite hotel where we spent the night, sleeping little. Even her regular checking of her phone did little to disturb the romance of the whole evening.

The next morning we ate breakfast and parted company, her to work, and for me a leisurely train journey home.

Over the coming weeks we texted and planned our next trip, largely a repeat of the first. After a week or so I walked into my local pub only to see Adam and Lyndsey standing at the bar. They turned to greet me. Adam shook my hand and Lyndsey feigned disinterest and kissed me gently on the cheek,. The full enormity of what I had done suddenly hit me like a steam train. I was engaged in an AFFAIR and one that was very close to home. I was suddenly aware of every word I uttered and the tone and body language of everyone in the conversation. I was scanning for subtle signs that anyone knew something was afoot. I was really uncomfortable and it must have showed. As the evening progressed and alcohol flowed, Lyndsey relaxed and was acting around me in a way I would suggest went beyond the definition of friendly.

At one point I was at the bar and she came to stand next to me, administering the gentlest of squeezes to my backside and delivering a slightly longer than ‘friendly peck’ kiss on the cheek. ‘”Lyndsey” I scowled at her, “people will see”. As I caught her eye I realised just how much I wanted to just kiss her there and then. This was a royal fucking mess. She looked upset with me and I wanted to hold her but knew I had to hold my ground.

I didn’t sleep that night. After a frantic exchange of texts with Lyndsey my mind was racing. She could tell the whole experience had upset me and was texting to assure me it would all be OK. But I knew otherwise. On the one hand she was beautiful and on the other she was married. We got on really well, enjoyed each others company and she was married. I wanted to be with her and she was married. The voice of my father and the various pastors I had listened to going on about god and the sanctity of marriage now weighed heavily on my mind.

The next day she phoned me as soon as she arrived at work and I delivered a hard hitting message that this was madness and was wrong. She pleaded with me to give it time but I could only think of the number of people that would be hurt by this going any further (of course I should have thought of them before jumping into bed with her but I figured better late than never). I amazed myself with my toughness (I normally yield to pleading, especially when it is someone as good looking as her).
Her tears quickly converted into anger and I calmly sat at the other end of the phone while she ranted about what a fucker I was and how I had only been interested in sex. In fact this was the furthest from my mind but I could tell there was no point getting into that argument. I had long since learned that whatever I said in my defence would sound like excuses and my actions to an outsider could easily be seen as sexually motivated.

SO what did I learn? Fuck all from the look of things. I struggled with the morality of dating married women and in this case the virtuous side one. On other occasions since it hasn’t and no doubt I will continue to be conflicted by such arrangements. In my defence I believe everyone deserves to be happy but I have also learned that some people are too afraid to jump in to the unknown and leave crap relationships. IN those instances who am I to deny someone a taste of freedom?