I didn’t know then that he was confessing. His words were sincere but like so many other things he said, were incomplete statements. He stopped short of the whole truth: “You deserve better than what the world dealt you, but I choose not to give it because I don’t believe I deserve it also.”
We do not teach anyone that a ring is like having a baby. It does not save, enhance, or promote a relationship—it burdens one. If and only if the couple is prepared and equipped to share that burden will it succeed long-term.
Is it such an awful situation that we don’t even have a word for someone like me? Or are we so blind to the full scope of infidelity that we are not willing to consider that I, too, am a betrayed partner?
In the wake of what I experienced and as my perspective sharpened, I was left with questions I didn’t have before. They were painful to say out loud but I knew that acknowledging and accepting them was my way out. They were the sign I had at least located the home stretch even if I was not ready to traverse it.
I thought I was giving him the freedom to be himself, figure things out, and come to me when he felt ready. In reality, he was using me to plug the holes in the sinking ship of his marriage. And when she returned, there was no need for me. If one woman was defective and absent; the other would do just fine.
If either of us had boarded a plane, it would have been a much different outcome. A single kiss would have sealed a far worse fate. Something was going to give sooner or later. Much better that an algorithm tipped me off in the middle of the night rather than a condom breaking in the middle of a getaway.