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PART 5 of 7: Here is Vicky's story.

The waiter had just brought out our plate of lemon chicken when my phone beeped. "Not again," my lover Dennis sighed. "Sorry darl," I said, noticing that my hubby, Ed, had sent me yet another text wanting to know when I'd be home.

Dennis and I had been having an affair for a year now, but it wasn't what it seemed. My marriage to Ed was a complete disaster: he'd gone from being a hard-working, devoted father and husband to a complete slob who couldn't even change the channel on the TV without groaning with effort.

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Now our two kids had left home and I was the sole breadwinner, I was getting sick of it.

One night on a whim, I'd decided to go to the RSL club after work and play the pokies for a bit when, the next thing I knew, a handsome man made eyes at me and offered to buy me a drink.

Over a glass of Tia Maria, I felt myself feeling loved and special for the first time in donkey's years.

From then on, Dennis and I began seeing each other regularly. He was a plumber who'd gone through his own separation a year earlier.

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"I'm married," I told him, not wanting to lead the poor fella down the garden path, "but it's kind of... complicated. There's no love between me and my husband anymore."

Dennis listened patiently, encouraging me not to overthink things and just have fun. We'd meet every Wednesday night at the local Chinese restaurant. Some weeks, we'd even go back to his place for some fun afterwards. I'd told Ed that I had work meetings those nights, and he believed me.

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But that didn't stop him from calling and texting me whenever Dennis and I were together. He irritated me so much that I decided enough was enough.

I had no feelings for this man, who I'd come to resent to the point of being absolutely repulsed by him. After tossing and turning all night, I went to see a solicitor for advice on getting a divorce. He explained everything to me in such a way that it seemed like a simple process. Ed and I had paid off our house back when he was still working.

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Real estate was booming, so we'd both be left with enough to buy our own individual places.

Best of all, I could finally be with Dennis without feeling guilty.

The following Wednesday, I sat at the Chinese restaurant drooling at the thought of sinking my teeth into some sweet and sour pork when Dennis walked in hesitantly. He barely spoke the whole night, leaving me to eat most of his meal, which left me so bloated I couldn't even think of eating our usual fried ice-cream for dessert.

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"Vicky, this has to end," he stammered. "What?!" I cried, almost choking on my mouthful of fried rice. "My ex and I are getting back together," he explained, saying how much he'd missed her and how delighted his two daughters were that their parents had patched things up.

“It's been great between us, but I need to go home to my wife," Dennis continued. What a fool I'd been!

I rushed to the toilet and vomited violently. So much for my great escape.

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That night I stayed awake until the early hours while Ed snored beside me, completely oblivious.

Since then, things between us have improved slightly as he's recently pulled his finger out and got a part time job with the council. For both our sakes, I'm trying my best to give it another go - after all, we've been married 20 years. But Ed can never know how close I came to leaving him. That would destroy whatever chance we've got.

*Vicky is 43 years old and lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

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SOURCES: CEN/MAGAZINE FEATURES

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