What do you do when you can't stand to be without someone? Do what I did: Go for it!
Wife #2: Most people think Patrick and I had a torrid affair for months. They assume that because we left our spouses for each other. It's a reasonable assumption, since that's probably what most often happens. But not in our case: ours was the affair that wasn't.
Here's how it went:
We fell in love. We were both married with kids.
Our first thought was, there's just no way -- too much hurt and disruption. We naively believed we could walk away.
Patrick came up with the idea that we would wait until we were 60 years old, get the kids raised, then finally be together.
"Absurd," I told him. But we laughed over it -- then sadly resigned ourselves to continuing on as JUST friends.
The truth was, we could barely stand to be apart for a few days, let alone another 25 years.
Patrick called me at work one winter afternoon and asked to meet for coffee, insisting he had something important to tell me.
I proposed a beer instead. Seemed to me anything he had to say would be better uttered over a cold draft than a hot latte.
When we sat down, he looked at me with those piercing green eyes and said, "I love you. I can't stand it. I've never done this before, but I think we should have an affair."
I promptly spilled my beer all over his lap. In eight years of marriage, I had never so much as held another man's hand.
Once I regained my composure and summoned my inner smart-ass, I asked, "What do I get in this affair? Do I get jewelry, lingerie, what?" I wasn't actually looking for answers to those questions, just trying to defuse the moment.
(Readers who may be contemplating this yourselves -- let me pause for a footnote and give you the answers: You will get lingerie. You will get jewelry. You must prepare to lose EVERYTHING ELSE!)
I didn't respond to Patrick that night. Instead, I left and did what most sensible wives desperately in love with another man would do: I went home and threw myself at my husband. I hoped sleeping with him would somehow erase or at least stall what was happening.
The affair started the very next day.
Patrick kept saying, "Five years. We'll do this for five years. Then we'll tell them."
Another week went by. "I will never make it five years. How about two years?" he said.
Week three amounted to, "How about now? Does now work for you?" Because in week three, Patrick told his wife. And I told my husband.
Most people who leave their spouses for each other probably have a plan. They probably drain checking accounts, move assets, create intricate webs of double lives.
We did none of that. There was no game plan. No contingency. We just loved each other, couldn't bear deceiving our spouses, and bumbled our way into blowing up our lives.
I remember one close girlfriend suggested we just have the affair and never say a word -- scratch the itch and be done with it. The problem was, there was no being done. No matter how short or long our time together, it was never enough.
I know this doesn't make what we did honorable. But I have to ask: Would it be more honorable to live a lie? Would it be more honorable to let your children grow up witnesses to a crumbling but intact marriage? I don't see anything honorable in that.
|Wife #2 is a writer, mom, and expert on what happens when you scorch the earth and leave your husband. She and the love of her life (the guy she left FOR) spend most of their time raising their blended family of five kids and trying to avoid grenades lobbed by their ex-spouses. Her hobbies include reading, working out, and occasionally blowing off steam with faithful girlfriends who understand life is too damn short to be miserable!|