Trapped and lonely after almost 20 years of marriage, Mary-Jane Clare faced temptation – and couldn’t resist. Here the 39-year-old mum-of-six from Oxford recalls the affair that tore her family apart.
‘Sitting side-by side on the couch his thigh brushed mine. I knew it was wrong but it was thrilling and dangerous and I couldn’t fight the passion.
I’d been married to Mark for 18 years and we had six children, but our relationship had turned stale. We hardly talked and rarely had sex.
Even when we did it was dull. I would just lie there, thinking about what I was going to give the kids for tea.
I was crying out for attention and when David noticed me, I couldn’t resist. There was only one problem – he was my 18-year-old daughter’s boyfriend. Vikki met David, 20, at school. He seemed nice and I was pleased she had found herself a decent boyfriend. The three of us would do puzzles or watch TV while Mark was at work in the evenings.
After a while we agreed that David could move in and they were old enough to share a room. Vikki was ecstatic, and it felt great to be able to make them both so happy.
David was unemployed and would spend the day at home with me as I looked after my four youngest children.
Then one day I was taking time away from the chores when I logged on to the internet and a message popped up on my screen from David, who must have been online in the other room.
“I hope you’re taking a well-earned break,” it said. “Just a little one, and then straight back to it,” I replied.
It seemed silly to be emailing each other from rooms in the same house, but I soon realised that David needed to tell me something he wasn’t able to say face-to-face.
“I can’t help thinking there might be something between us,” he said. “Do you like me?”
I thought back to all the times when I had caught his eye and he gave me a sneaky wink and the way he would lean in really close when we talked.
I’d wondered if there was anything in it, but dismissed it, telling myself I was just lonely.
And anyway, he was my daughter’s boyfriend…
But here he was, telling me he cared for me. I couldn’t remember the last time my husband had told me that.
I nervously typed “yes” and soon I found myself telling him how lonely and unhappy I was in my marriage.
David really seemed to care about me and as we talked my feelings grew. But we were still only able to express our secrets online.
Until, after two days of online talking, I decided to act. I knew I should feel guilty but all I could see was the chance for happiness so I walked into his and Vikki’s bedroom.
We still couldn’t say the words we wanted to out loud. Instead we slowly peeled off each other’s clothes and made love. It was fun and exciting, but mostly it felt good to be wanted by a man – a young one at that. I was almost 40 and David was 19 years younger than me.
I never stopped loving my husband, but I knew I was falling in love with David. “This is cosy,” he grinned afterwards, kissing me as we lay together in my daughter’s bed.
Only a few days after we had sex, we all went to a karaoke night at the local community club.
Seeing Vikki with David, I was suddenly overcome by guilt. Not only had I cheated on my husband, but I was in love with my daughter’s boyfriend.
Needing to get it off my chest, I confided in a friend. I told her I was thinking of leaving Mark, when a voice bellowed over my shoulder “You cheated on my dad!”
It was my oldest daughter, Kayley. “What?” I heard Vikki gasp as Kayley told her what she’d heard. “Mum and my David?”
Vikki marched towards me. I knew guilt was etched all over my face, there was no denying it now. Mark stood, stony-faced, even now he can’t tell me how he felt at that moment. I don’t know how, but I took David by the arm and announced that I was moving out with him and taking the kids with me.
I couldn’t look at Vikki, but David mouthed “I’m sorry,” as we walked by. We moved out straight away, and even when Vikki called my mobile the next day, I didn’t allow myself to think about how she might be feeling.
I had spent so many years thinking of my family. “Don’t worry,” David told me. “I’ll look after you now.”
Then, a couple of days later, Mark turned up at the door looking devastated.
But he didn’t have anything to say. I wanted him to beg me to go back, to show me he wanted me, but he didn’t, so I asked him to leave.
I missed him and Vikki but David seemed to offer so much more.
But David still didn’t have a job and money was tight. In the end I had no choice but to take my children back home.
Mark ignored me and Vikki seemed to hate me but I knew it was all my own fault.
But I missed David and I could barely believe it when Mark agreed to my suggestion that he move in. Soon David and I spent our time upstairs having sex in our room while Mark and Vikki sat downstairs watching TV.
I never stopped to think what I was doing to them until one day, Mark snapped and threw us out. This time I had to leave the children with Mark and it broke my heart. But me and David were happy and he promised to stand by me.
In the street people stared, but we ignored it. I was determined to prove everyone wrong. But David started spending too much of the little money we had on booze.
I’m not sure what made me come to my senses, but when David was out buying milk, I found myself calling home.
Mark answered, and I told him that David had changed and I was worried about his drinking. “Pack your bags, and come home before he tries to talk you out of it,” he said.
He was finally putting his foot down. I wasn’t sure if he could forgive me but he was showing some fight. Back home I kept saying: “I’m so sorry”. It wasn’t enough but I hoped that given time, I could make it up to them. It wasn’t that simple for me and Vikki. She moved out and refused to forgive me. I know how terrible my betrayal was and I’m not expecting anything soon.
Mark and I had a long talk and I told him how I’d felt before starting the affair with David. Finally, he showed me the love and affection I’d craved for so many years.
Now we make a big effort to talk and express our feelings. We go out for long walks and our sex life is better than ever.
I realise my affair was the biggest mistake of my life and I feel so lucky my husband was took me back. Not many men could find it in their hearts.’
David says: “I regret my relationship with Mary-Jane. We should have left it as a one-night stand, but we pursued a relationship that was never going to work.