This week, a mom on a work trip meets up with her ex and decides to leave her husband: 39, married, Los Angeles.
6 a.m. On a work trip to Los Angeles. My body is still on New York time, so I woke up way too early. One perk of this trip was supposed to be sleep; I left my 2-year-old at home, which I thought would mean some very restful nights after years of sleep deprivation. I’ve been here for three days and I’m more tired than ever.
7:30 a.m. The hotel’s coffee shop is finally open. Took them long enough. I’m in a shit mood.
8 a.m. Open my laptop to start working. I’m a literary agent and have pages and pages of manuscripts to read. There are hungover party girls next to me talking about throwing up last night; they are jokingly reenacting it for each other. It irritates me to no end. I wanna tell them to grow up.
Noon Go back to my room to shower and get dressed. I see my wedding ring on the bedside table, and my mood goes from irritated to sad. My husband and I had a huge fight before I came here and talked seriously about separating. There’s no big scandal, it’s just like our marriage can’t survive parenthood. We had two happy, fun years as a married couple, then had a baby, and it’s just been bad between us since. We fight all the time. He doesn’t help me in the ways I need from him. We never have sex anymore — I have zero interest in him physically. And he’s (in my opinion) drinking too much.
I’m wondering if we should push through for the sake of our kid, or separate while she’s young, before she remembers her parents together in the first place.
4 p.m. Wrapping up a bunch of Zooms. I love my writers. I’m in L.A. because one of them is about to get a big TV deal, so I wanted to meet with the other agents involved.
5 p.m. Go on a hike by myself to get my head together. I feel disoriented and sad. I haven’t heard from my husband. I think it can only get uglier if we force it. Maybe.
9 p.m. Crawl into bed and hope to get some decent sleep.
7 a.m. I slept like shit.
11 a.m. Determined to have a better day today. I went to college in L.A. and have friends here. I’m debating reaching out to my ex, George. He was the great love of my 20s and the last guy I dated before meeting my husband in my mid-30s. George and I were an amazing couple. We met at work, working for a big agency out here. He was also the best sex I’ve ever had. Overall, he’s a super-sweet, kindhearted guy; the issue was that he never wanted kids and I knew I did.
We parted amicably, and I’m curious about where he is in his life. I find him on Instagram and send him a DM.
4 p.m. George messages back. “Well, hello!! How are you? We need to catch up over a proper drink!”
I know he’s not married from his Instagram page, but I can’t figure out if he’s in a relationship. I hold off on responding.
5 p.m. Getting ready for dinner tonight with all the agents involved in this deal.
6 p.m. At the restaurant. I order a negroni. These always knock me off my feet. The night is off to a fun start. We end up ordering a ton of food and drinking way too much, but it’s a positive, celebratory night for my client. It makes the trip worth it.
9 p.m. Fully drunk, back at my hotel room. I text George that I have one night left. He says he’s all in.
9 a.m. Call from my husband. My daughter was sent home from day care because she has a fever. It breaks my heart. My husband is handling it, but I just feel terrible not being there with her.
11 a.m. Stay in bed reading more manuscripts and hydrating. I’ve been too concerned about my daughter to think much about meeting George tonight.
2 p.m. FaceTime with my daughter. Apparently, she’s fine and playing at the park … I feel reassured and start to concentrate on tonight a bit more now.
3 p.m. George suggests a restaurant for our meeting. When I Google pictures, it’s obvious that it’s a date spot. Am I doing this? I’ve never cheated on my husband. It’s not really in my DNA. Or is it?
6 p.m. George looks amazing. He’s hot and fit and has done really well for himself. I feel like it’s a bit odd that he’s still single (he’s also 39), but he says he’s married to work and I buy it.
We order a bottle of wine and George asks lots of questions about my marriage. He’s kind of a religious person and I think he needs to determine, morally, how much he can flirt with me. I tell him about my problems with my husband — that we’re talking about separating, and that I am positive I’m going to leave him in the next few weeks. We have financial things and our living situation to figure out, but as far as my emotions go … I want out.
8 p.m. Second bottle of red wine.
9 p.m. In a twisted way, I tell myself that having sex with George will help me clarify next steps with my husband. Also, I’m sex starved. It’s been so long since someone gave me an amazing orgasm.
10 p.m. Back at my hotel. We’re pretty much immediately naked. I’m extremely turned on by George and the danger of it all. The whole time we’re fucking, I think to myself, “I can’t believe I’m doing this … I can’t believe I’m doing this!”
11 p.m. George showers and we hug good-bye. I don’t feel guilty. I also feel kind of whatever about George. He’s not into kids — he barely asked about mine — so I’m glad we aren’t together, though I am grateful for the orgasm.
8 a.m. I wake up to a novel of a text from George about why he regrets fucking me last night; how it goes against his ethics and morals and religious beliefs. I’m just like, “Dude, it’s fine.” I can’t deal with this. I have to pack.
Noon Nice lunch with my client before I go. We’ve become girlfriends at this point, so I tell her what happened last night. She’s very supportive. I think everyone who knows me intimately knows my marriage is no good and that I deserve to start a new chapter.
3 p.m. On my way to LAX in an Uber, and George calls. He asks me if I’m going to tell my husband. I told him I don’t know, which is the truth. I tell him that’s up to me, not him, because I feel nervous by his tone of voice. Like, is he planning to tell my husband? That would be so fucked-up.
7 p.m. Of course, there’s an issue with my plane. Just sit here at the airport for a bunch of hours hating life.
7 a.m. Let myself into the apartment, totally wrecked from travel hell and sleeplessness. My daughter is waiting for me and it’s the cutest thing. I hold her tight and give her a million kisses.
8 a.m. My husband is expecting me to take her to day care even though I’m tired to the bone from taking a red-eye and not sleeping a wink. I ask him nicely if he can take her (it’s like a 20-minute walk and it’s raining), and he lashes out immediately. I hate when he uses this tone in front of her. In the end, he takes her and I go to bed in tears.
11 a.m. Out of bed to take some Zooms I can’t cancel. I pull myself together and sit at my desk. Drink a third cup of coffee so I can form complete sentences. My husband never came back from drop-off, so I assume he’s at the gym. He’s a music producer and can set his own hours.
4 p.m. Talk about some book-to-TV deals with a lawyer at my agency. I hear my husband come home and think briefly of George, but I don’t dwell on it. Between my child and my job and getting zero sleep, I haven’t even processed what happened.
5 p.m. Take another shower. I want to be refreshed and present for my daughter when she comes home from day care. I decide to cook dinner; I roast a chicken and some root vegetables.
6 p.m. We sit for a family dinner. My husband and I barely look at each other.
8 p.m. I get into bed and take a sleep gummy. Pray for some rest.
11 p.m. My husband comes into bed and I wake up, pissed off. I’m such a light sleeper and will never be able to sleep now.
8 a.m. It’s the weekend. Taking my daughter to ballet. On my way out the door, I ask my husband if we should get a babysitter tonight so we can go to dinner and talk. He says “sure” with zero enthusiasm.
9 a.m. I see some mom friends at ballet. I’m always kind of searching for a mom friend who also hates her husband on the level I do, but for the most part it seems like they’re all pretty happy in their marriages. The worst is the wife who’s like: “He goes down on me forever and I totally forgive him for being such an asshole.” Ugh. My husband sucks at going down on me. I took it off the table after our first six months together.
1 p.m. My daughter is napping, so I make a dinner reservation and try to get a babysitter. I find someone. She reminds me that she’s $25 an hour. Great.
6:30 p.m. We’re at dinner. We can barely look at each other. I remember George, and he just feels like the most insignificant part of the problem right now. I don’t even think my husband needs to know about it.
8 p.m. We’re talking. It feels productive. We decide that we do need to separate. We’re also going to start couples therapy. It feels like we are handling this like mature adults, but I also feel sort of numb about everything.
10 a.m. Weird morning. My husband and I are getting along really well. Our daughter is being cuter than ever. We get ready for one of her kid friend’s birthday parties and decide to go together. Normally, we take turns with this stuff. It feels like we want to treasure these last days of the three of us.
1 p.m. While my daughter naps in her stroller, we get lunch. We hold hands across the table, which hasn’t happened in years. Again, it’s like, we know these are our last days.
3 p.m. At the party. I see my husband texting from across the room. He’s kind of smiling as he texts. It occurs to me for the first time that he might have a George scenario too. I realize I’m not mad about it. Just resigned.
7 p.m. Put my daughter to bed. My husband is watching sports in the living room. I go to our room and numb out to reality TV. I feel anxious about everything. I tell myself again and again I’m doing the right thing. I really hope I am.
The Sex Diaries column, which began in 2007, is the basis of a new docuseries on HBO.