I sat across the room from my therapist, tissue in hand. The guilt of my affair was chewing at my soul. I desperately needed to know if I should tell my husband about my affair with Derrick, or if I should keep it a secret. As usual, the therapist that she was, refused to give me answers. The only thing she could say was that I needed to make sure I had made the right choice and that either way, someone would be hurt. If I told my husband about the affair, I would hurt him deeply, and it was up to him whether to stay or leave, potentially hurting me in return. If I didn’t tell my husband about the affair, I would suffer with the guilt for the rest of my life, but potentially save my marriage. I ended up choosing the latter, sort of.
In my marital dilemma, I could not just ignore and forget about my sweet Derrick. For years, he had been a part of my life, whether it was as a boyfriend, fiancé, married lover, ex, or friend. He was a part of my life that I cherished and yearned for. My body craved his presence and it was difficult to imagine my life without him.
When I went home to my husband, I told him partial truths. I let him know that I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life and that I had lied to him about not having had contact with my ex, Derrick. I told Robert that if we were going to work on our marriage, he would have to accept that Derrick would always be my friend. I needed him in my life simply because he had been such a big part of it. It took a few hours for him to come to terms with it but he handled it well. In the three months that I had spent working on myself, Robert had started going to therapy as well. He was attending anger management classes and was doing some self-healing of his own. He was very disappointed to hear that I needed Derrick in my life, but he said he would accept it as long as I was always honest with him. Whether it was that I was texting him or going to dinner with him, Robert wanted to know. And sex, of course, was off limits. I agreed.
When I broke the news to Derrick that I was going back to my husband, he was crushed. In his heart, he had wished that I would pick him. For a while, I honestly thought I would. But there was something about my vow to my husband that would not allow me to pick anyone but him. I made my boundaries very clear: either we’re platonic friends or not friends at all. He chose to be friends without benefits.
At the start of our platonic friendship, Derrick would send me dirty pictures and would try to reminisce about our past sex adventures, but I always let him down easy. I was determined to have both men in my life, while always honoring my promise to my husband. And so it was. I was married to my husband and had a great friend on the side.
Every birthday, Derrick and I meet up for dinner and every year he buys me an expensive gift. My husband has gotten used to it, although he still does not approve. For the most part, I have been good since our arrangement was created. For the most part, I am honoring my vow to my husband. But like a moth that can’t stay away from the light, I can’t stay away from Derrick. I guess at the end of the day, I enjoying playing with fire.