I cheated with my childhood sweetheart – but he just used me for sex

DEAR DEIDRE: WHAT a fool I have been for cheating on my husband with a childhood sweetheart.

I feel so guilty and stupid — and don’t know how to get over it.

I’m 42 and for the past 13 years have been married to a man, now 61.

I fantasised about leaving my husband and being with my lover again for ever

I fantasised about leaving my husband and being with my lover again for ever

Although I love him and he’s kind, our age gap has become more of a problem in recent years.

We don’t really have a sex life and he has health problems. I often feel like I’m caring for a pensioner.

Six months ago, I was out with a friend in a pub when I bumped into my ex-boyfriend, who is 43, for the first time in 20 years.

We were together for four years until I was 21, and it was the most passionate relationship of my life. It’s one I never really got over.

I still found him attractive and we had so much to talk about.

We caught up on our lives and reminisced about old times. He told me he was newly divorced.

He took my number when I left and called the next day, asking if we could meet again.

What was meant to be friendly lunch turned into an afternoon of passion at his flat, and very quickly into a full-blown affair.

All my old feelings came back. It was like being with my soulmate.

I knew it was wrong, but it felt so right. I fantasised about leaving my husband and being with my lover again for ever.

But it turned out that he was just using me.

Two weeks ago, he ended the relationship, saying he had met someone else.

He said it was great to have hooked up again, but we didn’t have a future.

I can’t stop crying and have to hide it from my husband, who would be devastated if he ever found out.

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Even though he’s hurt me, I still feel like I would take my ex back if I could.

What’s wrong with me?

DEIDRE SAYS: Love, especially first love, can make fools of us all.

There’s something about the intensity and passion that can rarely be matched.

But, like most youthful excesses, it is usually best left in the past.

You were tempted by your ex because you were feeling frustrated and dissatisfied with your relationship.

This led you to read more into the affair than was there.

You can live without him, just as you have for two decades.

Don’t tell your husband. It will only hurt him and won’t make you feel any better.

But do talk to him about your relationship to improve things so you are not tempted to stray again.

Talking this through with someone impartial could help too. Call Supportline (supportline.org.uk, 01708 765 200).