updated 6 Dec 2010, 07:13
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Sun, Jan 17, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Not worth it to have an extra-marital affair
by Ian Lee


The affair happened six years ago and lasted for six months. I met the other party, a hostess, in a pub which I frequented. She was 26.

I was facing marital problems and my wife and I were quarrelling constantly.

My wife, 44 at the time, was always repeating the same old issues.

We have been married for 25 years.

We would have liked to start a family but our inability to have children caused great strain in the marriage.

I was going bonkers and started pubbing more often.

I started to spend more time with the other woman.

We were like a couple much in love, meeting three or four times a week at her workplace.

We went out for meals and did that thing which happens between couples behind closed doors.

She knew I was married as I always wore my wedding ring. At the time, I was too blind to see it as a symbol of commitment to my spouse.

I thought I had found a thoughtful person who was easy to talk to.

It felt great and I didn’t even have time to think about what I was getting myself into.

There were tell-tale signs of cheating in my behaviour. I was always holding on to my mobile phone and answering calls in secret.

All hell broke loose when my wife came across text messages from the other party on my phone about our meetings.

I saw that my wife was overwhelmed with sadness. She moved out of our house and went to stay with her family.

During that period, she also lost her job.

Although she found another job later, we had a difficult time, both in our marriage and our finances.

I think my brother-in-law suspected I was cheating but he never caught me in action.

The rest of the family found out when my spouse told them.

Guilt-stricken and miserable after my wife found out, I broke up with the other party immediately.

After a few days, I finally gathered enough courage to apologise to my wife and her family.

I knelt down for forgiveness and, fortunately for me, they accepted my apology.

We went for Retrouvaille Singapore (an affiliate of the Family Life Society underthe Archdiocese of Singapore), a weekend programme for couples with marital problems and made the decision to stay in the marriage.

We still attend the programme’s professional counselling sessions, which take place once every three months.

We learn new methods at every session. For instance, I have learnt to paraphrase what my spouse says sometimes to understand what she means beyond a harsh tone or angry face.

This exercise involves repeating a message to my spouse to clarify what was said, such as: “It sounds to me like you are angry at me for forgetting to buy the groceries. Is that correct?”

We keep doing this until the person who said it confirms that we have understood the message.

These past six years, we have become good friends and pillars of support to one another.

I think straying is something that’s considered normal today. We hear of it almost every day.

Our lifestyle has changed from one centred on home to one that revolves around work.

Entertaining business clients has taken people away from their homes and gives them plenty of reasons to go out and meet people.

Luckily for me, my spouse is a very strong, forgiving person. Not many people in such situations manage to save their marriages.

I wish I had faced my marital problems head-on rather than running away from them.

People around me have forgiven but not forgotten. I am not proud of what I did.

I went through hell, living in guilt and shame with people around me knowing that I strayed.

It is a miracle that I am still with my wife.

My spouse and I no longer wallow in negative feelings and suspicions as these do not help our marriage.

We’ve made the decision to move on with life.

For those about to embark on an extra-marital affair, trust me: It’s not worth it.


This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

readers' comments
What is important is whether the man still cares for his wife and family. If he does and still takes care of his family, then we should look at things in perspective.
Posted by people on Tue, 19 Jan 2010 at 11:53 AM
A little fire at home that warms is better than a fire out there that burns.
Posted by Aiyayayayai on Tue, 19 Jan 2010 at 09:15 AM
This is a very dangerous and painful game!
One whose price could be higher than anything else!
So, think before you leap!
Posted by Superidiot on Mon, 18 Jan 2010 at 15:10 PM

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