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I was fortunate enough to get another chance to do so, and I'm working at it now. Turned On By Lucy Dent (Doubleday, rrp £14.99) is available to order from Telegraph Books at £12.99 £1.35 p&p.Call 08 or visit Telegraph Books The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.There were redundancy problems at work; my marriage was showing strains; and there was something large and unnameable missing from my life.I ignored it until I could do so no longer, until eventually, for what felt like the sake of my sanity, I resolved to do something about it.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.
What drew me to the online world was the maintenance of fantasy.
I was convinced I wouldn't make a very good mother and didn't want my son or daughter, in 40 years time, to dread calling me, fearful I'd berate them for some emotional crime or other. I'm not sure I entirely agree with that, but it is true that when we bought our first house together, we somehow conspired to buy a wreck that required a lot of our attention and focus. I didn't want an affair, nothing grubby, nothing seedy.
And for 12 long, frequently torturous months we painstakingly made it liveable and lovable. I had a husband, a home, yet I was missing something, intangible but palpable. I still loved my husband, but I wanted adventure, excitement, a reminder I was still alive. I began chatting to men online in private chat forums, concealing any obvious indentifiers of who I was but talking about my life, problems and thoughts.
Soon, I was spending hours in the parallel universe of cyberspace, often through wonderfully wide-awake nights, uninhibited in a way I never could be in reality.
I told no one, immersed and isolated in my secret life. In moments of fleeting clarity, I wanted to understand what was happening to me. Was it just my marriage problems, or was there something deeper causing me to behave that way?