by Lori Dwyer on May 25, 2011 · 47 comments

This is the only post from Before that I’ve been very tempted not to publish. But… if I’m going to be honest about life After, I may as well be honest about the Before as well.

I wrote this back in November. Tony read it, we discussed fidelity and love and unfinished business and all that stuff and blah blah blah I miss him. Whatever. He was OK with it. Judge me if you dare.


If this makes you uncomfortable, please know that it just may be fiction.
Or, maybe not.

Rejection is rejection, whether we call it divorce, puppy love, or adolescent turmoil.

 Have you thought about how this relationship will end?
Judy Blume, ‘Forever’.

I’ve never cheated on my husband.

But I have been sorely tempted.

There are people, sometimes, from our past, who feel like an experience we have not had.

Unfinished business.

Half a whisper of a sweet nothing, stilted by the dead of night.

And if these people, these karma cards in your deck of life, resurface at a moment, so perfectly inopportune, you could not have scripted it? Can you call it fate, when it so clearly wasn’t meant to be?


No one likes that word. It’s a word that conjures scarlet letters, flames and pitchforks, red robes in castle tunnels flickered with candlelight.


It sits, acidic, on my tongue.

There is so much distance between the comfortable, well worn love of a marriage, and the tingling, icy butterflies of a first kiss. Or a second.

In the end, is it worth it? To feel like this? To feel young and unencumbered and silly and dangerous and have the taste of wine on my lips?

What happens tomorrow? Whatever it is, it can’t be good.

An infatuation that rusts and rots against the trust I have with my husband, that sears and scalds the love between us.

A dissatisfaction, with life as it is. A feeling that this is not enough, this day to day-ness cannot compare to the exhilaration of something new, the intoxication of something I have not felt for so long.

Would I want to leave? Would I even entertain that thought, breaking my childrens hearts, tearing their stability away?

And if I did, would I remember just in time; that everything tarnishes, that you can only wear party shoes for so long before your slippers start to look very comfortable again?

A kaleidoscope of thoughts. Destiny trendling out in two different directions, then slipping and knotting back on itself.

The possibilities, that exist, in the space of time between him asking “Can I have your number?”, and my replying that if he needed me, he could contact my husband at work.

A loaded question. A loaded answer. A existential crisis of fidelity, loaded into that pause as he looks into my eyes and reminds me of all the things we did not do, all the things we could have had.

Unfinished business.

There was so much more to it than that. A whole other story. Isn’t there always more to it, than what we blog for the world to see?

I almost wish I could say my heart was broken, but that’s not true. My heart was never in it, so how could it be broken…?

I walked away.

That’s all any of us need to know.

And most of the time, I am sure I did the right thing.

It’s only late at night, when loneliness curls around me, my husband snoring beside me, that I wonder.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Toots May 27, 2011 at 10:47 pm

*sigh* I love you Lori. No one else in the world writes thus beautifully or this honestly. And somehow you manage to write honestly for other people, for the thoughts we all have. Awesome :)


happymumsathome May 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Wow…my first visit to your blog to see what the buzz was about and sure am glad!

I have never been "there" but Im sure that given enough years I will have temptation placed firmly in my path and at that moment I hope your shoe analogy springs to mind :)

A brave post and you now have another regular reader!


Megan May 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Thank you, Lori and all of the Commenters so far, for your candor and for once again reminding me that I'm not alone even these hard-to-accept moments and feelings. Thanks for helping me feel less *awful* for experiencing the same thing and feeling the same way. :) Much love.


lauren_hawke2090 May 27, 2011 at 12:28 am

Beautifully written – I love how your bring words and circumstance to life! To make us feel like we're there.

Lots of Love to you and the babes xx -random blog-stalker from the Before.


Melissa May 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I think it's very brave and honest for you to put this out there. It's the truth – and that's what I've come to expect when I come here. I think anyone who has been in a long term relationship can relate to this, we've all been there.


becca May 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm

heh. I know exactly how you feel here. you are not the only one! xxoo


Salamander May 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Lori, my head is woozy today from post-op pain killers. I am even too groggy to blog. But one thing is as clear as a bell to me. You were unhappy when you wrote this. But even still, you put the happiness of your children, and your marriage ahead of the most sparkly party shoes anyone could throw at you. Sending love, as always, with kudos this time! Xxx


A Dose of Dannie May 26, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yes been down that very road you walked I am so thankful i read this post and i am wearing these comfy slippers , yes i thought and everything but what does happen tomorrow? I just did not want to find out that .


Watershedd May 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

Anyone who judges has never been to that gaping pit of choice and I would venture to say, never truly had their love (or loves – the two lovers, the children, the families, the friends) tested. I don't believe in right and wrong choices, just those that are perhaps preferable or not. We learn (or should) from every choice.


Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures May 26, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I've never been there but I have no right, nor reason to judge.
I read every post, sometimes I feel compelled to comment,
Othertimes I'm blown away and left speechless.
I am glad you posted this one
You amaze me x


Crystal Cheverie May 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Wow – powerful truth right there. Honestly, if people take off their rose-coloured glasses and take a real look at what marriage really is – two imperfect human beings trying somehow to merge their lives together – I don't think there would be so much shock/surprise upon learning that even the most happily married people can feel sorely tempted. Good for you for not giving in, and to those who have, I honestly can't judge because I've made mistakes just like everyone on this planet and I'll probably make tons more before it's my turn to go.


Sakura Bloom May 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I think it is normal. what if I took that job, what if I didn't buy that car that has been nothing but trouble, what if I had just not had that last glass of wine before I was tipped over the toilet edge, what if that man with the hot eyes I saw at the post office was lying next to me instead of this sick, snoring oaf who forgot to put the bin out… no judgement from here :D


insertwittytitleheremomstired May 26, 2011 at 2:57 am

I really needed this post today. Thank you.


Steph(anie) May 26, 2011 at 1:18 am

"you can only wear party shoes for so long before your slippers start to look very comfortable again"

Excellent analogy. And I think many many people can relate to this. Including me.


Anita May 26, 2011 at 12:48 am

I heard a saying once "the grass may be greener on the other side but it still needs to be mowed." I like your "party shoes" analogy better. ;)


OurGangof7 May 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

Oh boy, yes, yes yes!! This post speaks volumes to me. I think all of us have unfinished business in our lives of some sort. It is the sort of thing that just sits there rising up occasionally to nibble at your brain, planting seeds of the "what ifs". I have one major question that goes along with my what ifs and its one that breaks my heart all the time, one that I can't share with anyone.
You are right though about all of us having things that don't reach our blog pages, things that may make us look like a totally different person if we were to put it out there for the world to see. Thank you for sharing this with us and making so many of us feel a bit better about ourselves, knowing we aren't the only ones!


e012cef2-4f97-11e0-9cf8-000bcdcb8a73 May 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Amazing post Lori! Been there didn't walk away, was awesome while it lasted & then? regrets, I've had a few but hey that's life! Like Karen said sometimes totally worth it!! Happy wives don't walk… But if there are cracks… Who's anyone to judge, you don't know till your living it! xx


Lina May 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm

No judgment on my part, Lori. Just a sincere thank you for sharing.


Glamourcide May 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Beautifully written as always. There are days when I wonder if I married the Boss to escape the unfinished business in my past. Fake it 'til you make it, and all that. Oh, have no doubt that I loved him then, I love him today… but I wonder, if my 'unfinished business' were to magically reappear in my life tomorrow… would I? Would I have the strength to walk away? Would the temptation be too much? Does that business ever become 'finished', or will I always be afraid of our paths crossing?
I want to say, to believe without any micron of doubt, that I would never dishonour my vows. But sometimes I dream about what might have been, what might become, if fate threw my past in my path…


Donna May 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Yet again I am left in awe of the way you weave your words together, bringing them to life.

And for the record, while sparkly party shoes are tempting, they never fail to hurt. Slippers win, everytime x


Amy xxoo May 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

That slippers analogy? Brilliant. Dr Phil-esque even.
And as a woman on the verge of getting married ( in 5 and a bit months… ) this is something i've pondered. You've put the whole conundrum in better words than i could have tho…


Being Me May 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Been there too. Walked away. I favour my slippers far too much xo


Glowless @ Where’s My Glow May 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm

"you can only wear party shoes for so long before your slippers start to look very comfortable again?" … and when they're sparkly and flashy shoes it's even harder to realize. Thankfully 'party feet' cushion soles were invented. Take from that analogy what you will.


Multibrand May 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Hi there,
That's an honest post.
I enjoyed reading it.


A Daft Scots Lass May 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

A truthful and candid post.


Janet NZ May 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Been there too, and walked away, and am VERY glad I did. Brooke is


River May 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I've never been tempted, simply because I married so young there just wasn't any "past" to be tempted by.
There was one man I'd met briefly before I met the man I eventually married, but he was just a friend of my stepbrother, gave him a lift home one night and stayed over. We were up half the night talking and I felt like I'd known him forever. After breakfast the next morning they were both gone and I never saw him again.


Karen May 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Been there, didn't walk away…I'd been shat on, abused in all its sordid forms, used and humiliated while he womanized.

Who could've walked away when what I "had" was putrid and vile, loveless and empty…?

The new man was serious about me; wanted me for life apparently…He treated me like a Queen, still does. We have a child together (my fifth) and we're married.

Sometimes it IS worth it. I am living proof.


Jess May 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Beautifully written and so honest. Yes, i have been there too – yes, i walked away – i am sure i will come across that crossroad again. Its scary but its all about the choice you make.


Leithal May 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Beautiful writing.


Thug in a Cocktail Dress May 26, 2011 at 12:35 am

I don't usually comment because there are so many already here, but this piece…it struck me in all the right places. This is a loaded piece of literature.
Statistically it looks as though the stats say most women walk away, but there are a few, here, that are honest and have been there and not walked away. I am part of the few who did not. It lasted nearly a year. We live in the same small town. I see him several times a year. It is bittersweet, but would have never worked out, because in the end, I realized my husband was who I wanted more. And I did realize the blessings of what I had at home.
There is another "before" of unfinished business as well. A love of 5 years previous my marriage, again, I see him often and think of what could be and what could have been. There is so much more to both of these stories than words in a blog could ever suffice, just as your story, while detailed, still left so much unsaid. Everything is complicated. You have written beautifully and wonderfully, once again.


Stinky May 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Me too, maybe could have got away with it. Realised I quite like Mr Stinky and what we have too much to fuck it up with something thats just a thrill of the moment thing.
Like someone said, its about what we don't have that makes it a potential, and sometimes it makes you realise what you do have


Alison Kathleen May 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

This is beautifully written and so honest – what no one else, including me, can seem to say.


Diminishing Lucy May 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I flew away. And flew back. I will not return.

"What happens tomorrow? Whatever it is, it can't be good."

That says it all.



coloursofsunset May 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

If that makes anyone feel uncomfortable then they're either lying to themselves, or they're guilty of NOT walking away. I don't know any wife/mother who hasn't felt like this at some point. I've been there, I'm sure others have too, whether or not they care to admit it is another story. I think it's ok to feel like this. It's when you don't walk away that the trouble starts.


Kel May 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

What Brooke said! The only difference is the choice we make at the time.


Squiggly Rainbow May 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Ditto to Brooke, happened just last night and then I had a dream. What if? I don't know, I wouldn't have my children. Walking away is integrous, the grass is never greener.
Rach xo


Brooke Farmer May 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Every married woman has at least one of these moments.

Married men too, I imagine.


cecampbell May 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Simply genius, darling. I mean-all your posts are amazing, but this was so honest, such a pink elephant that neeeded to be discussed. Thank you for setting our hearts and dreams free and allowing us to shed our guilt.

Brava, brava, brava!


Melissa May 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Been there. walked away. Am so glad I did.
I'm glad you posted this, Lori.


Sarah May 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Been there. And walked away as well. Just barely in the nick of time….


Mich May 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

well, we are only human.
and i dont think its just sex and infidelity that tempts us. its everything that we dont have, that we desire. it can be that last few sqaures of chocolate. it can be the pair of shoes that you've been eyeing off, waiting for the price to drop.
as they say, Temptaion is the root of all evil.


Hear Mum Roar May 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

Beautifully written, Lori. I don't know what to say today.


Good Golly Miss Holly! May 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I battle with this shit every day. Thank you Lori, it is somewhat comforting to know that I am not the only one x


Rebekah May 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Wow how perfectly written I loved that Lori.
I've been there and it is not a nice place to be in. I unfortunately did not walk away and my marriage is now over. Well we are having a 'break' too see what will be. For me the temptation of unfinished business was too strong but there were plenty of cracks already in my marriage, this just made those cracks wider.
It's a sad and lonely path to now walk….


Ames May 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

It's natural to be in these situations, it's natural to wonder 'what if' when you walk away and when you don't.

Beautifully written as usual. Thank you for sharing.


Carol May 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I am there. A friendship growing so slowly, painfully into… what? Nothing – walk away or rejection. My life is so full of rejection; if I hadn't had my three strikes, I could well be there again. No, this is not a cry for help!! (who am I kidding lol) I have shared too much as usual. DON'T!!!!!!


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