I went on an extra marital affairs website – here’s what surprised me…

Closer’s Mel Fallowfield freely admits she was judgemental when she was asked to join a website solely for cheating spouses, but how did she feel after exploring one herself…

Extra marital affairs

by Mel Fallowfield |
Updated on

When my editor asked me to join an extra marital affairs website for an article I was astonished – I had no idea such websites existed, or how popular they are. I’m not completely naïve, I’d always known cheating happens in marriages – 20% of married people have affairs in the UK - but I always thought it was circumstantial. That you happened to meet someone through work or socially that turned your head. Or you got drunk and had a one-night stand. It seemed very heartless to set out to cheat.

At the time I’d been married for six years and though I freely admit to being exasperated by my husband – we had two young children and I was severely sleep deprived – it would never have occurred to me to actively seek excitement elsewhere.

The set up is much like any other dating website, you have a profile with pictures and must state what you’re looking for. I rattled off my profile, implying I was the most fun woman around – with a love for cocktails and sex. Within minutes my inbox was pinging with potential suitors. There were so many I probably only read a quarter of them before I got the gist – they were all absurdly flattering and desperate to meet immediately.

Extra marital affair

I decided to meet three men, to find out why they were so determined to get their kicks outside of the marital bed. I met them all in one day and tried to put my judgemental feelings to one side and go in with an open mind.

I thought there would be a ‘type’ of man who cheated, not quite an A for adulterer tattooed on their forehead, but they’d be an ageing lothario with an expression similar to the sly self- satisfaction of Bill Clinton. They’d have been married for years and grown bored of their life.

But the reality was different.

First up was a man in his 30s who I met in a pub in Soho. He was overwhelmingly ordinary – a seemingly good bloke, the kind that would still take his mum out for a regular Sunday lunch. He was incredibly polite, worked in sales and was relatively entertaining. He admitted that he had young children and he was bored with the lack of attention he got from his wife of three years. My sympathy for him was limited – perhaps it was too close to home, I suspected my husband had similar complaints, though I don’t for a moment think he’d have joined the website.

I felt sorry for his wife more than anything – surely he could make an effort to take on some of the mental load she was inevitably carrying, and make her feel more loved and cherished. He admitted to having two affairs before, both lasting for three months – which is advised by the website, as if you continue for any longer you risk emotions getting involved. He didn’t do much to change my mind that ultimately some men just want no-strings sex with someone new, rather than trying to sort out their marriages.

Extra marital affair

But my next meeting was a revelation – we had lunch together in a restaurant in the centre of London. He was a kind man, in his 60s, a successful lawyer and nearing retirement. He was panicking that life was passing him by without experiencing any affection or love from his wife for decades. He didn’t want to split up the family home, he had children at university and didn’t want to destroy their notion that their parents had a happy marriage. And he still loved his wife, he spoke about her with huge respect and fondness.

I told him early on that he wasn’t my type and I wasn’t interested in an affair with him, so he had no reason to spin me a yarn. He seemed sweetly grateful that I’d listen to his woes – he had no one he could confide in about the past 10 years being completely empty of any sort of intimacy. He felt that the only reason his wife wanted him was to sustain her lifestyle.

I don’t think I was naïve in believing him, it felt true. And I had a lot of sympathy for his plight – what was the answer?

I didn’t keep in touch but I suspect he might have broken the three month rule if he’d met someone, it struck me that he wanted a relationship and to feel a connection, not just sex in a hotel room. And if I’m honest I hope he got it.

Extra marital affair

The third man was closest to my initial imaginings. He was in his 50s, successful, worked in finance and have been married for 20 years. His wife lived in a house in the country, while he spent his weekdays in a London flat. He not only wanted to have his cake and eat it, but also admire the cherry on top.  He wasn’t particularly handsome but I could imagine that some women would be taken in by his charm and flattery.

He left me cold though, once again I told him he wasn’t for me and knowing there was no point in impressing me he came clean about his adventures. He boasted that he’d slept with more women since he’d got married than before, and met women via the website. He consistently said he adored his wife and they still had an active sex life – I’m not sure whether he was trying to convince me or himself. He admitted he’d never cheat with a single woman as he’d never leave his wife and that’s what single women would eventually demand. He boasted of sex in pub loos and nights in five-star hotels – despite having a London flat he didn’t want women to know where he lived. He kept saying it wouldn’t hurt his wife, she’d never know and he never got emotionally involved – it was just sex. His callousness was breathtaking.

Extra marital affair

Within hours of meeting all three men had messaged me asking to see me again – clearly hoping I’d changed my mind about them not being my type. Obviously, I hadn’t.

So what did I come away with? I was astonished how easy it would be to play around if you were that way inclined and how many people were out there determined to cheat. I could have met three men a day for weeks if I’d wanted to. And equally I was surprised by how ‘normal’ they were – they were all men I’d have come across in every-day life so it made me wonder how many of my friends cheat. I suspect I don’t want to know the answer. And of course it isn’t just men that we can label as lotharios, the people they are cheating with are married women.

But perhaps my biggest surprise was that though I judged dates one and three – I didn’t number two. I felt sorry for him and that he deserved some love and affection. I understood why he didn’t want to blow up his life – but felt the need for intimacy. Was his cheating worse than his wife’s refusal to go for counselling and try to revive their marriage? Is divorce always the only answer in those circumstances? The experience left me with more questions than answers.

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