"The affair helped me find myself and proved to me that I could live a life independent of my husband. Twenty-five years later, I'm married to a wonderful man.
We love making each other happy, and never try to change who the other person is," she says.
"Gary was totally consumed and exhausted by his work—there was nothing left for me," she says.
Regardless of the reason, there's one thing that's certain: infidelity is devastating. "In many cases, it forces issues to the surface of a relationship that would have never otherwise been dealt with," says Kevin Hansen, author of RELATED: 10 Surprising Traits Men Who Cheat Have in Common "From the day I married my husband, I knew it was a mistake," says 50-year-old Elizabeth Smith.* "He was abusive, controlling and expected me to quit my job to make a home for him." A little over a year into the marriage, she began having an affair with a man that she worked with.
"I had no illusions that I was in love, but it was eye-opening to be with someone that made me feel good about myself, made me laugh and respected me for who I was—not who he wanted me to be," she says.
"We started fighting a lot, and I resented him for resenting me and we were just constantly hurting each other," she says.
"One night I caught him trying to slip off the condom and that was pretty much the end of our sex life." Ultimately, the lack of intimacy caused Vanessa to cheat.
RELATED: 12 Shocking Facts About Cheaters At 35-years-old, Barbara Gisborne was living the American dream.
She lived in Madison, Wisconsin, with her loving husband and two children—but she was miserable."My husband was a good man, but I was bored inside and out," she says."In our community, I always felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole." That year, she was in Chicago on business and met Bob, an Australian man, on an elevator. We exchanged numbers, kept in touch, and I decided to fly out to Australia to see him and get him out of my system," she says."The biggest lesson I learned was that if I was unhappy in my marriage, my husband was only 50% to blame.[Having] an affair gave me the courage to ask for what I wanted in my marriage," she says.The first question that comes to mind when a spouse cheats is: Why?