They are also important to me in my nine-year affair with Michael. I want no drama disrupting my family. I want to stay happily married and carry on my affair and I never, ever want anyone else to know, so I have every detail planned and covered.
We also do a lot as a family, as well as socialising with friends and enjoying a variety of hobbies, so being organised is vital and, like many working mothers, I keep a meticulous diary to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. I started plotting how we could do it and never get found out I also have a diary in my head of my times with Michael, but I never put anything in writing.
No love missives — texts are about the families getting together — and any emails are work related because we work in the same field. Stephen was friends with Michael first, having met him at a school event when our youngest child was just starting.
I was quite shaken when I started to find Michael attractive. Stephen is quite a flirt himself and the odd little bit of jealousy never did me any harm, and tended to respark my interest in my husband.
For the first time since we got married, I could imagine myself having an affair and at first it made me uncomfortable. I started plotting how we could do it and never get found out, and almost convinced myself that I was just being academic about it.
Then we all got quite drunk at a party and Michael and I really started flirting. I thought life would go back to normal the next day and it did in front of Stephen and Jane, but we had a completely different relationship when we were alone. We started talking dirty. Ever thought of it? But I got a bad shock when he sent me a filthy text one night.
I was sure he was drunk as it was short but very graphic. Stephen says lucky her! It took another six months of discussion and planning before the affair started. We agreed that it was to be an added extra to an already strong friendship, but organised calmly and dispassionately, so no one would suspect. By the time we slept together, we were both in a total state and it was a complete disaster.
We had three hours in the late afternoon till his flight home and despite all our talk about being calm and dispassionate we were both unbelievably nervous. We were like two teenagers, and not in a good way.
The sex was clumsy and painful and a couple of times I wondered what the hell I was doing. He had his own worries — it was over far too soon and I felt dissatisfied as well as guilty — and he clearly felt the same. We had another go before he had to rush for his plane and it was just as bad.
He said he would text me and I snapped at him not to — had he forgotten all we agreed? Coming home the next night was hellish. It was another two days before I saw Michael again and I was desperate to phone him, despite my rules, though I managed not to. He looked so miserable I was instantly irritated, convinced Jane would have guessed something was up. Stephen took the kids to the cinema that weekend. I phoned their house, telling Jane I had mislaid papers from the conference and asking if Michael could bring me his so I could copy them.
That was the last risk I took. This care is also my safety net should Michael ever want more. I want everything to continue as it is, whereas many people having affairs want something to change, usually other relationships, so they can be together all the time.
As told to Joan McFadden Topics.