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.

He was by far the best of the bunch, a kind and generous man, but someone who could also be selfish and unfeeling.

We had agreed, early on in our relationship, that we wouldn't have children. Several friends, however, were convinced that our lack of children created a vacuum.

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.

I'm in my mid-40s now, and our relationship remains every bit as complicated today.

And so our long-nurtured virtual affair became real.

He was young and beautiful and I couldn't believe that he wanted me.Some people can handle guilt well, and can happily juggle more than one life.I failed – the guilt was profound – and so began the painful but necessary process of erasing one and focusing solely on the other, the one that had come first.A late arrival into the world of social media, I nevertheless embraced it as a kind of escape.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.There were redundancy problems at work; my marriage was showing strains; and there was something large and unnameable missing from my life.