Many people believe that infidelity would totally destroy a relationship.
But according to hotel receptionist Michelle, cheating on her partner actually “saved (her) marriage”.
The 34-year-old, from Plymouth, Devon, connected with a “toy boy” after being “bored” by her husband Gary during a trip to Greece.
She explained: “We ended up like one of those sad couples you see in restaurants all the time – sitting opposite each other saying absolutely nothing.
“It was two weeks of torture and exposed all the weaknesses in our relationship.
“Normally we could paper over the cracks by having great sex but even that didn’t work this time because we had been so bored during the day.”
Michelle joined IllicitEncounters, the UK’s leading affairs site, a few weeks after returning home from the “disaster” holiday.
She met a hunky property developer on the website, who was three years younger than her and she had a lot of chemistry with.
The love-rat revealed: “I came back from Kavos and knew I wanted to make a change.
“I wasn’t ready to walk out on my marriage but I knew I had to do something drastic to kick start my life.
“Another married friend had been having a lot of fun on IllicitEncounters.com and suggested I give it a try.
“A lot of the men were rich and older but then I got messaged by Paul, who, like me, was stuck in a rut with his marriage but wasn’t yet ready to walk out.”
Sparks flew as soon as the pair met, which sent Michelle’s libido into overdrive.
She said: “We met up and it was like being a teenager again.
“We got drunk and then went back to a property Paul had just developed for sex. It was the first time I have made love in a ‘show home’ – one of the new properties they had furnished to make it attractive for new buyers.
“After that, I would see Paul every couple of weeks throughout the autumn.
“I work irregular hours at a hotel so it was easy to sneak off and see him without raising any suspicions.
“I was like a new woman and all my confidence returned. And that impacted positively in my marriage.
“We had always had a great sex life but things had got a bit stale in the run-up to the holiday in Kavos.
“But my sex drive went through the roof after I started seeing Paul.”
Michelle says this boost in confidence and sex drive helped with her marriage in turn.
She admitted: “So while I was having great sex with Paul, I was also reconnecting with Gary, too, who felt like he had got the old me back.”
And after months of cheating, the married couple were able to put their differences behind them.
The hotel worker added: “After six months of seeing Paul, the affair fizzled out but I had got things back on track with Gary.
“I told him about the affair and he said that he had also had a fling with a barmaid.
“We were equals as far as cheating and were able to get our marriage back on track.”
While Michelle’s situation may seem unusual, it’s more common than you think.
According to an IllicitEncounters survey of 2,000 people, a third of cheaters scout around for new partners when they’re on holiday with their partner.
As well as this, 37% of participants said prolonged exposure to the same person puts a strain on their relationship.
This autumn, affairs are set to sky-rocket too.
The return to the office makes it easier to hide affairs – with 78% of cheaters meeting up with a lover while pretending to work.
The autumn cheating surge is expected to be even more pronounced this year because of the Covid crisis.
Jessica Leoni, sex and relationship expert at IllicitEncounters.com, added: “Welcome to Sex-tember!
“There is always a huge surge in cheating right at the start of autumn as many of us return from our summer holidays and realise we want to turn over a new leaf.
“Two weeks sat at dinner with the same partner, having the same conversations exposes all the weaknesses in a failing relationship and makes people look elsewhere for fun and excitement.
“The autumn cheating boom is set to be even bigger this year because of the Covid crisis.
“Couples have been stuck at home together for the last six months and they are longing to meet someone new.”