For most couples, one party having an affair signals the death knell for the relationship, but Tess Stimson believes her extra-marital affair actually saved her marriage.
The twist is that Tess had a sexual relationship with another woman, a close friend who became much more during one period in her life.
And far from being upset about his wife playing away, Tess’s husband was totally understanding about the fling, with the couple now claiming to be happier than ever.
The relationship developed at a time in writer Tess’s life when she was feeling isolated, after moving away from Britain to Vermont, leaving her feeling cut off from her circle of friends.
“I don’t think I was looking for it at all, I loved my husband, was extremely happy, I’d never looked at another man then or since. There was no need for another man, he was the perfect man," Tess explained on This Morning.
“What he couldn’t do at the time, or what I felt he couldn’t do, was understand what it’s like to be a woman looking down the barrel of 40, getting used to all sorts of different changes in life, kids growing up, being a freelancer, all those sorts of things. And the girly chat.”
Explaining how things developed with this woman, Tess continued: “We’d been at a party one night we’d all had a lot to drink and ended up kissing. The next day we put it down to a few drinks and just a laugh. It’s almost on trend these days ever since Madonna and Britney [kissed at the MTV VMAs), everyone seems to be doing it.”
But things moved on from just a peck when the ladies went to New York for Tess’s birthday one weekend.
“We shared room to save money. She’s always been a bit flirty, and say, ‘That dress is knockout, you look fantastic, I’d give you one...
“It wasn’t about the fact she was a woman or having an affair. I never even thought was an affair, it was an extension of our female friendship that developed in a physical way.”
Explaining more about why Tess and other women sometimes develop a relationship with a friend, psychologist, Jo Hemmings said: "I think Tess explained it very well, it’s the emotional intimacy she lacked, that’s what she felt she was getting.
“She was in a different country working alone, she didn’t have her girlfriends, and wasn’t totally confident by the support of [husband] Eric.
“What this woman did was provide emotional intimacy...
“I think it’s a physical manifestation of emotional intimacy she needed.”
Watch the video above for much more from Tess, Jo and agony aunt Denise Robertson.
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