As many friends in a female group get married, the few left start fretting if they’re not going to be left permanently on the shelf. Years later, a couple of marriages in the group are likely to hit the skids and the rest of it starts getting jittery – “case of ten green bottle?” Beverly, a mother of three adorable kids has been married 11 years. A few weeks ago, a friend of hers dropped by with the news that another friend had just been separated from her husband – divorce was on the cards.
“The news was really depressing, I tell you,” said Bev. “The couple in question, Grace and Melvil, got married around the time we did. They were a sort of role model of the group,” the ones you invited to the house when you just felt like hanging out, the ones who gladly ran errands for you, the ones you called when you needed a leg-up. They had been together since their university days and had been married 12 years. Although their relationship had issues – Melvil is a football fanatic, she loves going to A – list parties – it seemed like a given that their till-death vows would stick. However, early last year, Grace had hit a rough, patch emotionally. She lost her parents in quick succession and had an uphill task hanging on to a job in the office where massive retrenchment was a threat.
“We knew Mel had lost a lot of patience over his wife’s malaise – but we didn’t suspect how bad it was until he confirmed his affair to his wife and the fact he’d found solace – and red-hot sex – in the arms of a hot dance teacher, whom he now referred to as his ‘soul mate’! It’s one thing to read about the cheating scandals of all these celebrities in various soft-sell magazines, but it’s easy to reassure yourself you won’t be part of that group – your partner is not a movie star or a socialite and, as a result, he does not have adoring women flashing their obscene boobs at him every time he steps outside the door. Yet, almost on a daily basis, you witness the devastation of what is now termed Hurricane Infidelity .
“After my friend left, I became a bit insecured about my marriage. One night, when Timi, my husband, was fast asleep, I pinched his mobile, crept to the kitchen and started scrolling through his recent text messages like some possessed psycho. I skipped through the usual notes from work contacts and friends until I saw one from Kate. Who the hell was she? ‘What happened to you yesterday,’ it read and my heart kicked into a gallop. ‘You were terribly missed. Same time today?’
I was livid. I charged up the stairs to confront my sleeping husband – the cheat!
Only, I made a complete fool of myself. The text was from an old female colleague whom we all know to be always lovey-dovey with everyone. She was merely raving about a restaurant they’d all discovered to be exceptionally good.
“But would that tiny episode assure me of my husband’s fidelity! No way! I mean, if a regular guy like Melvi1 – someone I thought I knew and understood, who seemed reasonably happy with Grace his wife – could go ga-ga over a dance teacher, what’s to stop my husband doing the same? Some few weeks after this incident, we were at a swanky party when 1 looked across the room and noticed that Timi was engaged in an animated conversation with a woman I’d never met.
“She was young, pretty and flirty, with dangerous curves and perfectly groomed hair extensions. Instead of walking up and saying hello, as I would have up to a few months before, I left the room. I thought I would give him a few minutes and he would come looking for me. Ten minutes passed. Fifteen. My withdrawal tactics clearly wasn’t-working, so I charged back to the room. Timi was still engrossed with Ms 38 D more-bouce-to-the-ounce. Could this be an old colleague too? Heck no! When I finally grabbed Timi’s hand and introduced myself to the woman, she looked embarrassed. In a huff, I dragged him off her, telling him I was ready to go.
“As soon as we were in the car, Timi claimed he was really grateful to me for dragging him away from the woman. ‘I don’t remember her name, but she wouldn’t leave me alone,” he said. I didn’t buy his story and I told him so-loudly, with accusations and profanity. We barely spoke for two days and when we did, we were polite, careful and detached. I knew I had really offended him. I knew I should be trying to mend things but the more I witnessed Bev’s agony and Mel’s ‘liberation’, the more freaked out I got.
“I read articles on how to tell if your man is cheating, then checked his behaviour for clues. Has he become more fastidious in his grooming? More protective of his phone? Changed his work hours? Become more solicitous. One night, he called he would be working late. Humph! My chance to catch the rat! He would be too tired for sex if he’d had one already. So, when I later pounced on him in the bedroom and he eagerly rose to the occasion, I felt really bad. Why did I doubt his love and dedication to this lovely family we’ve both worked hard for over the years? As my husband drifted off to sleep, I felt reassured that whatever happens in future longevity might not compete with excitement but new is the one thing Timi and 1 can never be to each other.”