Sorry the Universal Bullshit Translator is getting to this late. A bunch of you sent me the HuffPo piece “How Having an Affair Saved my Life” by Melissa Clark, who has a “passion for helping women learn to live their most authentic life. [sic]” (Should be lives, but I suppose you’re authentically ungrammatical, Melissa.)
The UBT’s first thought is saved your life? Seriously? You were drowning and the only thing that could save you was fucking another man? Not “Taught Me Some Unpleasant Things About Myself That I Deeply Regret?” or “Introduced Me to Mortification and Divorce,” but saved your life?
What exactly did you save? The existence one of a vapid, self-involved twit?
Anyway… to the UBT.
From a very young age my goals in life were to marry my high school sweetheart, settle down, pop out babies and be a hot mom while living a peaceful middle-class life full of granite counter tops, shabby-chic décor, and trips to Target.
God forbid you should be ordinary, middle-class, and peaceful, Melissa. Surely you were destined for greater things.
Problem was, as it turns out, I’m not a shabby-chic-straight-and-narrow-path kind of girl.
I’m a wayward, cheap, particle-board, crappy-college-dorm-furniture kind of girl.
Another thing I don’t feel I am, in my heart of hearts, is a cheater.
Of course you don’t. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s how you feel about it.
But while I was well on my way to achieving these goals that weren’t really my goals, I had an affair.
And it saved me.
Hang on. In the FIRST paragraph you tell us “from a very young age my goals in life were…” Now those goals aren’t your goals?
Did someone force their goals on you, Melissa? And the only way you could “save” yourself was cheating? You poor sausage.
Marriage Wasn’t The Cure-All
I had just married my high school sweetheart, and the most amazing man any woman (any woman other than me, apparently) could ask for. All he wanted were all the things I’d thought my entire life I’d wanted too.
Oh, you did want those things. Let me guess — you wanted cake. And when your affair was discovered, you claimed you never wanted love and marriage anyway! Harrumph!
Translation: If I say my chump is the Most Amazing Man anyone could ever ask for, well, it just makes me That Much More Amazing for rejecting him. I’m THAT fabulous. Really. I deserve BETTER than the man you all wish you had.
I expected that this marriage would ease the depression and anxiety I had been suffering with for years.The world I had dreamed of for as long as I could remember was there in front of me, but it didn’t make me feel any better. In fact, it made things worse. I felt trapped.
In one paragraph we’ve summoned Esther Perel (Mating in Captivity) and Elizabeth Gilbert (nebulous woe compels woman to discard her marriage in Search of Greater Meaning).
After we had been married for all of four months I was presented with the opportunity to have an affair. I made the choice to take it with full knowledge of the possible consequences. I really weighed all of my options and thought way past the “expected” benefits an affair would have offered: affection, attention, and a few screaming orgasms. I knew I would gain so much more if I chose to move forward, and I did.
I know I look idiotic, but I thought this out! Really!
Not-so-subtle blameshift. You’re “gaining” affection, attention, and screaming orgasms, which apparently were missing in your four-month marriage? What, no sooner is the ink dry on the thank you cards than you’re screwing someone else? Did someone fail to purchase the gold-plated cocktail shaker off your Williams Sonoma registry? You were plunged into the depths of despair?
More kibbles… must have more kibbles…
Much To Learn
It was certainly an unconventional way to learn about myself.
I’m not a horrible person. I’m unconventional.
But I figured one of two things would happen. I would have this affair, learn what I needed, and use that knowledge to improve my life and my new marriage. Or I would have this affair, learn that I shouldn’t have gotten married at all, and get out.
I fucked someone else with the greatest of intention — to improve my marriage… Or divorce after four months. Anyway, whatever I did, it was Noble.
In the end I realized I needed to end my marriage instead of fight to make it work. I learned that I would probably never be fulfilled while in a relationship with this wonderful man, and it seemed best to get out (embarrassingly) early than wait for years until I couldn’t take it anymore and things were inevitably more complicated.
The “complications” are always inevitable.
Up until this point I had always been the pleaser. I had always judged my own worth by the way I was viewed by other people. Choosing to let someone down was an extremely painful step to take, even before I got caught. And of course when it all blew up in my face, as it was bound to, the pain was like nothing I’d ever felt before.
Yo! You didn’t CHOOSE to let your chump down — you got caught. You took exactly ZERO “painful steps.” You were busted.
Anyway, whatever I did, it was Noble.
A Forced Fresh Start
I got caught before I had the balls to break the news to my husband, and understandably, shit hit the fan. My bank accounts were closed, my credit cards were cancelled, and the locks to my front door were changed. I literally had to start over. I had no job at the time, and was given half of what was in our bank account, which was $200. I had never been so miserable.
Only $200? How will you ever shop at Target again?
I had also never been so relieved.
For the first time in my life I couldn’t care what everyone else thought. My bad behavior was already on display for all to judge, and it didn’t make me look good. I knew I couldn’t take it back, and honestly, I didn’t want to.
Judge me! For I Am Unconventional! You sad, provincial Shabby Chic plebeians fail to understand My Greatness and the Affair For Which There Was a Higher Purpose!
I just had to embrace my decisions and move forward. I knew I’d find my way, and as long as I wasn’t murdering kittens or robbing banks I couldn’t let anyone around me down any more than I already had. I felt petrified and liberated all at once.
No kittens were harmed in the fucking of another man.
From there I began to cultivate and live by my own standards. I challenged just about every rule I could think of, just to see if I wanted to break it. Some of them I did, and some I did not. In short, I began to learn who I was and live as Myself.
I challenged every rule Just Because. Anal sex, insider trading, and jaywalking? Yes. I went there. I also wore white after Labor Day.
Don’t judge me.
Living My Truth
It hurts like hell to hurt people you love, especially when you actively choose to hurt them. And yes that’s people, plural. When you hurt your spouse you also hurt the people who love him, and those who trusted you. But what would have hurt even more were the years upon years I would have spent living a life that was not for me, simply because I was trying to keep others from feeling any pain at all.
What matters here is ME. I had to hurt you to be ME and ME is years and years of plural people who care about ME. Did I mention ME? MememememeemememememeMEMEMEMEmemememME!
Many people have lectured me,
I’m like blah, blah, Charlie Brown adult voice, blah, whatever.
saying I could have achieved the same results without doing something so unforgivable. But they are wrong. I never would have led myself down a path less traveled.
I am Robert Fucking Frost.
I had to have someone else show me that it existed. After that I was able to find the route that worked for me.
Looking way back, I wish there had been a guide to show me who I really was
Hang on. I thought the problem was that you were a pleaser and people impose their goals on you. But what you really need is a GUIDE to show you who you ARE?
Oh! I know a guide! Her name is Melissa Clark and she teaches women to live their Most Authentic Lives! OMG, you shattered Mr. Amazing Chump’s world so you could be a life coach!
before I put myself and the people I loved in this situation. But there wasn’t. If this were the only way (and I’m telling you I truly believe it was) to learn how to live my truth, then the lesser of two evils, for both me and my ex-husband, is without a doubt the affair.
Cheating was the Lesser Evil to be not being my Authentic douchey self. Now I am free to be openly, unrepentantly horrid.
I am currently in a committed, loving, healthy, (yet slightly unconventional) relationship with a wonderful man and I am fulfilled in a way I never knew possible. This is not only a testament to him, but to me for learning what I need, giving it to myself and finding a partner who is able to fill in the gaps.
Are the orgasms screaming? I give it four months before another guy (cough) “fills your gaps.”
My affair didn’t just change my life. It taught me how to live my life. And in that way, it saved me.
(UBT sputters and dies.)