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.A late arrival into the world of social media, I nevertheless embraced it as a kind of escape.

What drew me to the online world was the maintenance of fantasy.

Bringing it to life brought only complications, albeit occasionally exquisite ones.

After a couple of months I had to end it – and it was after I had made this decision that my husband found out.

He discovered messages on my phone and so I sat him down and poured the whole sorry tale out to him, feeling I was stamping on his heart with every word. I spent a lonely Christmas at my mother's house with nothing to do but wonder how I had got myself into this situation. I started therapy, and learned just how dysfunctional my life had been, and so little wonder I kept making new problems for myself.

I am bound to say, though, that I wasn't solely culpable. I ended up marrying one of these complicated boyfriends.

He was by far the best of the bunch, a kind and generous man, but someone who could also be selfish and unfeeling.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.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.And it was harmless, until I fell in too deep and wanted more than his messages.And so our long-nurtured virtual affair became real.Luckily, after only a short time apart, my husband came back to me, willing to try to put us back together and realising, in all this, he had had a part to play too.