By Bunmi Sofola
THE average-woman, desperate for a relationship by settling for a married man, soon finds out that such men often cling to their wives. The truth really is that men don’t change as far as their emotions go, and they seldom respect a woman who goes to bed with them when they have a wife. Let’s face it, all they want is a bit of mischief outside the matrimonial home.
As a result, no matter what kind of story they give, how the wife is, a wife in name only, or that they have separate bedrooms or an arrangement—you better believe that the night they don’t see you and have to go home, they’re still going to sleep with their wives, even if it’s love-making with concession.
And they still respect their wives because of their guilt and the children that bind them together. In fact, these wives almost get to be worshipped by such husbands. And the better and more emotionally satisfying their current affair, the more guilt they feel towards their wives. “Some 15 years ago,” said Felicia, whom I recently ran into at a friend’s flat, “I met a married man after my divorce. At the time, my only child was six years old and I didn’t want her to be an only child.
In time, I established a relationship with my lover and saw him as a quasi-husband. We met three times a week and phoned almost everyday. When I broached the subject of another child with him, he was all for it, and I later had a son. I was settled in the relationship in spite of his wife and other children.
“Then his mother was seriously ill and had to live with my man’s family. She was with him for almost five years, but he kept on assuring me that when she eventually died, we would have a traditional marriage. In the meantime, we carried on as we were to the extent that he made it a routine to sleep over twice a week at my place. He didn’t have that much money, but he was better than most philanderers of his age. He showed commitment and a semblance of responsibility.
“When his mother eventually passed on, he said he was too old and emotionally drained to go through the hassle of a second marriage. He is now 62 and I am 49. After giving him over 15 years of my life, marriage has never been mentioned again. In fact, when his mother died, it really tore his heart. Instead of turning to me for comfort, he turned to his wife whom he commended for nursing his mother through a difficult illness. I am heartbroken and feel shut out.
We were so close. Now it’s over between us though he’s taking full responsibility for our son. As things are now, I seldom eat well. When push came to shove, he showed that his emotional commitment was to his wife. I don’t sleep well and where I once felt love, I feel a lot of pain while he’s being pampered by his wife! It’s bad enough when split couples are unmarried, but when your long-term married lover splits with you, you believe everybody is laughing at your complacency in thinking such a relationship was made in heaven.
“The misery and self-doubt, the churning every time you catch sight of him or find yourself somewhere you used to go together, the shame and embarrassment as you glibly lied to your son about why ‘daddy’ doesn’t come around often any more…;are enough to make you contemplate suicide. Even celebrities, for all their money and fame, have found themselves caught in the married-men web only to be plunged into a painful end to such relationships. And the wives? For them, as things stand today, the rules have changed slightly.
In the past, lots of injured wives vent their hurt feelings in public with as much venom as possible. These days, it is pleasant to see most of them play the role of a patient dog—their behaviour, often a blue-print for how to take the average husband’s philandering gracefully on the chin until such husbands rush home tearfully after their burnt fingers. The long-suffering wives would have then forgiven every wrong provided prodigal husbands promise it would never happen again.
Only, whilst such wives wait patiently and play the role of the wronged wives, they’re not exactly weeping into their pillows.
A few years ago at one of these popular eateries that do local dishes, a fairly well-known lady walked in with a couple of friends. A hiss of derision greeted the arrival—it was from a bloke on my table. “Shameless woman,” he said, obviously referring to the woman. “She’s supposed to be married but her sexual appetite is insatiable! She’s gone round a few of my friends and I refused to have anything to do with her….” In spite of my kicking and nudging him, he went on with his tirade.
Unknown to him, this woman’s poor husband was sitting within hearing distance from us. He visibly went cold as his wife made her way to his table. “She’s obviously caught another moomoo,” hollard this thoughtless man. I had to whisper furiously into his ears that the “catch” was the woman’s husband! We would never know what hell the husband gave his wife when they got home or how she wriggled out of ‘our thoughtless friend’s commentary. The cheering news is that they’re still very much married! Which goes to show you can, forgive any wrong provided there’s still a bit of a spark left in the relationship!