Last night, my husband and I attended a party for one of his work colleagues. It was held at a night club in the city. It was noisy, it was crowded, and I didn’t really know anyone in the room more than superficially.
I got talking to an older woman, an extrovert. She was maybe in her late 40s or early 50s with three teenage children, and was having a grand old time at the party.
I had met her once before at my husband’s 40th and instantly liked her. So, we chatted for a while at this latest celebration and we somehow got onto the topic of relationships.
“My husband and I separated a year ago,” she began, then shook her head sadly. “We were married 26 years. You think you’re going to be married forever, then life happens.”
And what she said next made me die a little inside. “You’re so lucky you got one of the good ones,” she said. “Your husband is such a good man. There are so many creeps out there.”
She then went on about dating and meeting men, and if it didn’t happen for her she was fine with it…
But all I could think about was her “you’re so lucky” comment. Once upon a time, I would have wholeheartedly agreed and elaborated on what an awesome man I nabbed.
Instead, I smiled weakly and nodded weakly, and turned the conversation back to her.
I thought about how no man walks down the aisle thinking “I love this woman, I can’t wait to marry her and cheat on her!”
We marry with honorable intentions, our hearts filled with so much joy. Our dreams for the following years begin to take shape. We plan our lives together.
Then life happens.
A friend’s marriage breaks down. Another friend’s husband leaves her. Your friends are getting divorced.
It seems relationships all around you are crumbling.
But YOU’RE going to be OK. See, you married one of the good ones. Probably the last good one, you say laughing with others. A real catch.
And then you find out he cheated on you with some fucking whore, and you realise the rosy picture you had of your stronger-than-oak married was a mirage. A hallucination. A sham.
The rug was pulled out from under your world and you’re falling down the longest rabbit hole ever.
At some point you hit the bottom, and the anger rises within as the full impact of what has occurred registers in your brain.
It’s a vicious blow. Even 17 months after D-Day, the sting is still there.
Back to the party. As the night went on, my husband found new people for me to meet. One was the managing director of the company.
“Your husband is a really good bloke,” he said to me. “Really good.”
If only you knew, I thought, if only you fucking knew.
But I just smiled sweetly. And controlled my impulse to scream.
In many ways, my husband IS a really good bloke.
Just not where it counted.