This week, a woman who works in advertising wonders if every married person cheats: 26, straight, married, Murray Hill.
9:30 a.m. I’m walking into my office building and who walks into my elevator but J.D. He and I first met three years ago, my first day at work. HR was bringing me around, introducing me to everyone. I think a small part of me knew we’d have an affair, even back then. I had never cheated and was happily married, but a small part of me knew …
11:30 a.m. I have to present J.D. and a few others with my layout for an ad campaign. (I’m a graphic designer.) He’s one of the owners of the firm and technically my supervisor, but it doesn’t really work that way because I report to someone else before him. Still, I always get extra excited when I get to impress him at work. It used to make me nervous but now it’s like foreplay.
1:45 p.m. My husband texts to check in, and we have a sweet exchange. He and I met at college and are from the same state. He’s traveling for work. (He’s a producer on a news TV show.) When it comes to me and J.D., he has no idea, and it’s been going on a year. It started when we were both working late one night at the office, after he asked if I wanted to grab a drink around 9 P.M. At drinks we talked about our personal lives, our marriages, and I was pretty transparent about the fact that I felt a little young to be married and am still sowing my oats. That gave him the green light he was apparently looking for and before our third drink arrived we were kissing in line for the bathroom, and then I pulled him in with me. We’ve been seeing each other since.
It helps that my husband is always on the road. I’m more afraid of J.D.’s wife than anything. They have kids. And she seems to call and check in a lot, or randomly drop by the office.
6 p.m. I’m getting ready to leave when I see J.D. go into the coffee room. I follow him in there. We do this a lot. There’s not a door but it’s a little private nook. He asks what I’m doing later — he knows my husband is away. I tell him I’m craving guacamole and margaritas because it’s springtime and I want sit outside and have fun. He says to text him where and when. It really helps that J.D. lives in the suburbs … his wife isn’t in the city much.
8 p.m. J.D. and I have had some drinks and a lot of laughs. I picked a random place where no one we know would hang out, or hopefully not at least. Our nights out can’t always end in sex — it’s just logistically impossible. But we flirt and touch hands and, for me at least, just enjoy the secret romance.
10 p.m. I call my husband to say good night. He’s already in bed watching a TV show in his hotel room. I sound normal and it’s all good. I really do love him. If he found out about my affair, I think he would be devastated but I also think a small part of him might know that this is something I had to do … that even though I love him, I had to do this for me before I could be complete.
9:30 a.m. Work as usual. I’m drinking my favorite iced latte with my favorite blueberry muffin and trying to figure out the rest of my week. My husband is gone a few more days, so I text a few friends to hang out. I never, ever know if J.D. is going to be available so I have to keep my schedule loose. This isn’t because he calls the shots — it’s because he has more shit going on than me. He has a huge job. He has kids. He has a wife. I’m just me and my mid-level job and my sweet but busy hubby.
My husband and J.D. are very different men. My husband is nice and simple. He has nice, simple sex. He comes from nice, simple people. J.D. is a much better lover, hands down … and just a more interesting human being. I do feel like my husband is the man you marry and J.D. is the guy you fuck, so in some ways this is the perfect scenario, as awful as that might sound.
7 p.m. No sign from J.D. that he’s free so I wrangle some friends to get sushi with me. Most of my girlfriends are married or on the way. I’ve told one or two close friends about my affair, and the craziest thing is that the second I spilled the beans about my story, both of them had similar ones. Sometimes I wonder if everyone is cheating and marriage is just a stupid façade for everyone. The girls I go out with tonight are not married so I don’t get too personal with them because I don’t think they’d really get it.
9 p.m. I’m home in my pajamas. I FaceTime my husband and we talk about work and that’s about it. I never text or email J.D. about anything that’s not work-related. I feel that would be the slipperiest of slippery slopes. I’d be sexting him when he’s playing with his kids and that’s just stupid and gross. We coordinate our hangouts in person or I call him on his office line during the day.
10 a.m. In the coffee room J.D. says, “Bowery?” This is very exciting because its means drinks at the Bowery Hotel and then getting a room. We’ve done this about five times in the last year. It’s always mind-blowingly hot and dangerous. I don’t know this for sure but I assume J.D. arranges these nights when his wife and kids go upstate to see her parents — she does that quite often because she works part-time.
2 p.m. I sneak home during a lull at work to pack up a few things. A black lace bra and panties … a new set that I was saving for my husband but really whatever moment came up first. I shower at home, shave, put on a pretty lotion. I wear the same clothes as before to avoid suspicions at work but pack a better outfit in case we decide to take breaks between sex to grab some dinner. I’m so excited that I have a nervous stomach.
6 p.m. I call him on his work phone to say I’m heading there and will see him in the lobby. He says he’s leaving in 20 minutes or so.
6:45 p.m. I have the perfect corner spot for us and I’m drinking a vodka tonic, heavy on the tonic. I don’t want to get tipsy this early in the night. We have a long night ahead.
7 p.m. J.D. arrives and gets a glass of white wine. He seems a little tense but it always takes him a second to ease into things with me — on these more involved nights, anyway. He never talks about guilt or how he gets away with the affair but I know it’s not easy. I try to put all that out of my mind. We order one more round of drinks and then J.D. gets a room key. I assume he pays for the room on his corporate card or maybe with cash. I don’t know — I just like seeing him flash the key on his way back to our seats. We put the drinks on our room and head to the elevator.
7:05 p.m. J.D. puts his hands on my ass on the way up to our room and this is literally one of my favorite, most arousing things.
9 p.m. We had sex for two hours. All over the hotel room, in the shower, everywhere. He finally came from doing me up against the window. He pulled out. (I’m on the Pill but he always pulls out, which we both prefer.) I came twice and both were really big orgasms. Now I’m starving! We decide to order room service and put on the hotel bathrobes.
10:30 p.m. This is where things always get a little weird because I never want to sleep with J.D. or actually cuddle with him. I don’t feel intimate with him in that way. I love the sex and the build-up but I’m not in love with him, not at all. In fact, after sex, after dinner, I just want to go home. I’d rather cuddle up with my husband than any other man. So I tell J.D. I’m going to head home. He’d never ask me to go home, but I think he appreciates the gesture. We’re both on the same page here. I give him one very long, juicy kiss good night and get out.
8 a.m. I do laundry to hide the evidence since my husband is coming home today. I also feel kind of sad and bummed out. It’s like a post-J.D. crash. I can’t pinpoint why I feel bad. Is it because I’m cheating on my loving husband? Or am I just tired?
12:30 p.m. It’s a regular day at work. J.D. and I proceed like nothing has happened. He does overhear me telling work friends that my husband is coming home from a work trip so I want to make a good reservation somewhere tonight. I wonder what hearing that does to J.D. If I had to guess, it brings him comfort to know I still love my man and that in no way do I want J.D. to uproot his life for me.
6:30 p.m. I have my husband meet me straight from work at an Italian place in the West Village that a friend recommended. We both love nothing more than pasta and wine together. It is so good to see him. He’s really handsome and always so solid and stable. It might sound hard to believe, but I really don’t feel guilty when I’m with him. I think it’s because we got married in our early 20s and in doing so, I knew I still had some shit to figure out. So I kind of give myself permission to be messy and stupid as we grow into our marriage. Do I think my husband has cheated? No, I really do not. I don’t think he’d have the stomach for it.
9:30 p.m. I got my period, so instead of having sex with my husband, I give him a blow job. He does not complain.
8:30 a.m. We cuddle in bed a little extra this morning. We keep talking about getting a dog and my husband shows me some options he found online. It’s a good trial before kids, I think. I’d like kids, but only one, and not for another five years or so. (I’m 26.) He’s on board with that. The dogs are really cute and there’s one we can meet after work today.
9:30 a.m. Seeing J.D. at work is always such a treat. He’s so handsome, and I love that I can picture him naked. Still, I’m able to keep my head down and get a few projects done.
5:30 p.m. I leave work a little early to meet this dog in Brooklyn with my husband. It’s a really weird place, like someone’s apartment but with a ton of puppies in there. It smells like animals and I just get a really bad feeling. My husband is more patient with the situation but I’m borderline freaking out so he politely excuses us.
6 p.m. We get a drink and I’m still feeling weird. I can tell he’s disappointed and the night ends with us being cold and distant toward each other.
8 p.m. I get into bed with a book and end up falling asleep in a half hour.
9 a.m. I have a ton to do this morning because my parents are coming to town from Delaware today, and I want to clean up and get errands done.
3 p.m. I order some groceries to be delivered to my house so I can have some wine and cheese when my parents arrive.
4:15 p.m. They’re here! It’s great to see them. My parents have been married 27 years and they’re as happy together as honeymooners. It’s inspiring. We are very close but I’d never tell them about J.D. They’d be disgusted — they really love my husband.
8 p.m. We end up just ordering a pizza because everyone is too tired to go out. It’s a great, happy night and we make up the pullout couch for them to sleep. One big happy family.
9:30 a.m. I wake up excited to have a tourist day with my parents. We decide to take them to brunch at a cool spot in the West Village where, if you go early enough, you can actually get a table.
10:30 a.m. We got a table! It’s super yummy but very expensive. I come from working-class people so a $100 brunch is a little much for them, not that they’d say anything. My husband picks up the tab, which I think is very sexy and the right thing to do.
2:30 p.m. We did the High Line and then Hudson Yards. Our legs are tired and the crowds are a little much but it’s been a great day. As we walk back to our apartment, my mom and I veer off in front of the guys. She asks about work and I’m so tempted to tell her the truth. I feel like I have such a good grasp on things that I’m almost proud of how I’m handling such a weird, fucked-up situation. But luckily, I keep my story to myself. I think things would get too real too fast if I opened up to my mom about J.D.
7 p.m. We decide to cook dinner as a family and everyone has a job. The wine is flowing. The music is on. I look around and feel so lucky to have the life I have. I never want to fuck it up and I know in my hearts that the J.D. thing will run its course soon. It’s something I had to do for myself, to grow, or evolve, or just learn about my body and sex, or something. But I do think there’s a reason for it, and I really do hope my husband and I last forever.
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