While my husband spent most evenings catching up on the horse racing he'd recorded over the weekend, I began perusing chatrooms – not in pursuit of cybersex necessarily, but initially more for harmless flirtation, a little virtual attention.
Soon, I was spending hours in the parallel universe of cyberspace, often through wonderfully wide-awake nights, uninhibited in a way I never could be in reality.
I am bound to say, though, that I wasn't solely culpable. I ended up marrying one of these complicated boyfriends.
I ignored it until I could do so no longer, until eventually, for what felt like the sake of my sanity, I resolved to do something about it.
A late arrival into the world of social media, I nevertheless embraced it as a kind of escape.
Luckily, after only a short time apart, my husband came back to me, willing to try to put us back together and realising, in all this, he had had a part to play too.
Some people can handle guilt well, and can happily juggle more than one life.
We would meet in hotels, have sex – mindblowing sex - and then the realisation that what I was doing was irrevocably wrong would set in.
Taking my online affair offline was my big mistake, a transgression too far.
I'm in my mid-40s now, and our relationship remains every bit as complicated today.
As I have come to learn, most of those who grow up in a dysfunctional relationship are condemned to seek them out forevermore. In adulthood, I had become a rather complicated girlfriend, each relationship beginning well, but then growing fractured and ending badly.
And for a while at least, it all felt harmless and innocent, and fun. My father leaving didn't help, and for the first six months of my life I was placed with a notional "auntie", a family friend who became my surrogate mother throughout my childhood.
I got to know – or as much as possible online – a couple of regular men, with whom I conducted tentative conversations that were thoughtful and sweet, and that only developed into something more suggestive after much respective vetting and, on my part, several glasses of red wine. That initial separation, I later learned, all but ensured I would never be able to successfully bond with her.
Fortunately, by taking steps to keep your personal information private, being cautious when it comes to interacting with people you meet online, and ending communication with people who threaten you, you’ll be better able to safeguard yourself from predators.