There is a moment during the affair where [Nathaniel Branden] considers the numerous layers of hypocrisy and lies that constitute his life, and is aghast. "Is this reality?" he asks. Good question. Branden and [Ayn Rand] began their affair by cowing their respective spouses into "consent" and an oath of secrecy. Rand's husband regularly got drunk while his wife and Branden met, and Branden's wife at one time suffered panic attacks. She once phoned them in a state of hysteria during a scheduled tryst, begging to see them; Rand berated her for interrupting their time together.
Eventually Branden, 25 years Rand's junior, fell in love with a younger woman (whom he later married), and began an affair with her as well. He informed his wife, who cooperated with him in keeping it from Rand. That stage of things went on for nearly five years. There's much, much more, including Mrs. Branden's own eventual affair (to which Branden at first refused consent), and the fact that at various times both Branden and Rand seemed to want to think of Rand herself as a man. In any event, Branden finally told Rand what was going on, and according to him, she became crazed, accused him of philosophical fraud, attempted to curse him with life-long impotence, and broke with him.
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