Michelle is a 27-year-old using Ashley Madison to have an affair.
She said stress around raising her daughter, plus her husband's low sex drive, led her to the site.
Michelle says her affair has made her more confident and in touch with her sexuality.
Michelle spends most of her days getting her toddler ready for daycare, cooking and cleaning for her child and husband, and working from home. On special days, she opens her front door to a man she met on Ashley Madison, and they have sex.
Michelle told Insider she joined Ashley Madison in July 2021 after her feelings of physical and emotional neglect, which had been mounting since the birth of her daughter, became too much to handle.
"We did cloth diapers, and I was holding the millionth load of diapers by myself, all alone. I just kind of broke because I felt so unsupported. I was like, 'I need to feel special. I need something more,'" Michelle, who asked to omit her last name for privacy, told Insider.
Though Michelle was overwhelmed with men reaching out to her when she first joined Ashley Madison, after meeting up with a few matches she made on the site, Michelle settled into a regular tryst. She says the experience has made her more in tune with her sexuality and a more present mother because she can compartmentalize those aspects of her life.
Michelle says she's having amazing sex, which she missed out on by getting married young
Now 27, Michelle said she met her husband when she was 17. They married six years ago, and now have a two-year-old together.
Looking back, she realizes she missed out on exploring her sexuality due to getting married young. She said her husband's sex drive is lower than hers, so she previously suggested opening their marriage, but he was uninterested.
After years of trying to make that sexual discrepancy work, it didn't feel worthwhile anymore.
"In some ways, I think I settled because I didn't really think there was a lot of options. Knowing that there are so many other people out there I can have these crazy world adventures with, it's kind of a nice feeling," Michelle said.
Now, she sets up weekly dates with her Ashley Madison match. He'll come over during her lunch break, said Michelle. Since her husband works across town and they share a car, and her daughter is in daycare, she doesn't fear getting caught.
Still, Michelle said she's kept the affair entirely to herself, since she's worried about judgment from her Christian community.
"The biggest thing I've learned is that I really like sex, good sex. I think I knew it was missing, but I didn't realize how much it was missing," said Michelle.
The affair has boosted her confidence and decreased feelings of irritation
Since Michelle doesn't leave home for work, the affair has given her something to look forward to, which has increased her confidence and overall mood, she said.
She used to become easily irritated while spending time with her family and caught herself daydreaming to escape, which is no longer the case.
"When my daughter's around, I'm more present with her, just because I'm a little happier. Those little self-care things, like I pride myself in doing my hair and makeup more, give a confidence boost," she said.
Michelle said the affair has made her rethink the long-term sustainability of her marriage, but she doesn't plan on leaving it anytime soon. She's open to working through things with her husband, but also feels intrigued by the world of online suitors she's recently discovered.
"In realizing I don't have to be stuck in an unhappy marriage, I've been thinking more lately about leaving and trying to just find something different," she said.
Read the original article on Insider