Geertje cheated on holiday with the free-spirited Juan

“Costa Rica. It’s been on my wish list for so long. Not that I thought there was a good chance I would ever get there: my husband Roman hates to travel.

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After seven summers in France with the kids, I was done. Our boys, aged eight and six, loved the five-star campsite with chalets, where they met the same holiday friends every year. Roman found him especially practical: not too far to drive, fully equipped and with Dutch-speaking tour guide.

It made me very unhappy. Not from the holiday with my family; I enjoyed seeing the children happy and it was nice to spend some stress-free time with Roman. But the type of vacation went against everything I dreamed of. I wanted to see the world, get to know, smell and taste other cultures. Not to pay for four people, but above all: Roman flatly refused to participate in such a thing. So I booked a long trip on my own.


Roman came up with it himself. ‘Go then, Geer’, he said during our last summer at the campsite. ‘I do fun things at home with the children, and you can take care of yourself.’ So sweet that he allowed me that, I thought. That December I flew to Costa Rica. On my own.

Juan joined the same rafting tour, from San Jose. He was also traveling alone, and we started talking on a riverbed. He traveled a lot, he said. Worked eight months a year, and spent four months wandering the world. I hung on his every word. The freedom he had in life, his open-mindednessā€¦ I thought it was a relief, after seven years in the rigid pattern of family life. We dined together that night, and after some alcohol I was suddenly kissing him.

Roman, the children; they felt so far away. For a moment, life seemed to revolve around me. About the here and now: my own temporary bubble. The kiss turned into lovemaking in his hotel room. Insane, I thought; I’ve never had one one night stand and never looked at another man in my entire marriage. It seemed like a dream, and I got carried away. But the next morning I saw the harsh reality, when I looked at Juan’s bare back.

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He asked if we would travel further together. It sounded attractive, but went way too far for me: I really couldn’t make that to my husband. Moreover: I had booked this trip to finally get some time for myself for the first time since my motherhood. That’s where I counted this slipper, but it was never allowed to go further than that.

Juan understood my situation ā€“ disappointed. We said goodbye and decided not to exchange numbers. With mixed feelings I got home after two weeks on the plane. I longed for my children, and for Roman. I decided to keep the night with Juan to myself. We would never see or speak to each other again; it would do more damage than help if I was honest.

I often think of him, that free-spirited bon vivant who briefly opened my eyes to what I miss so much in my life. But when I embraced my family at Schiphol, I mainly realized what I do have.ā€

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