Open marriages work when one partner, usually the wife, turns a blind eye to her husband’s shenanigans. In most cases, the husband is usually careful not to push his luck by always flaunting his trophies. In a few cases, however, wives have been known to forgive the humiliation of serial adulterer all in the name of love and a sad excuse of hanging on to the marriage. When Ope met Abdul a coupled of years back, it was at the insistence of Clara, her best friend.
“We both worked as nurses in the teaching hospital”, Ope said, and she was there for me after my marriage of six years crashed. For months, I was depressed and weepy. Clara was a lot of help but when she realised I wasn’t going to get over my heartbreak in a hurry she suggested I had a chat with her dad. “He is a good listener”, she said, “and had counselled a few people with reasonable success”. I was a bit wary. Clara’s dad was in his 60s and had a reputation of a ladies’ man. The rumour was that his wife of over 30 years didn’t mind his affairs and I found that a bit daunting. My ex was a dog and I was happy to pack up the marriage after humiliating affairs. I couldn’t begin to imagine any woman hanging on to a man like Clara’s dad, but who was I to judge?
“I’d seen him a couple of times when I went to their house. This time around, he knew why I came and he hugged me sympathetically whilst his wife looked on. For the next few hours, I spilt out my heart. He is a good listener and he hugged me whenever I got tearful. In spite of his generous beer-belly protruding under his shirt, his hug was comforting. He urged me to feel free to call any time I needed sympathy but I knew I wouldn’t take him up on his offer.
“A few months later, I ran into him at a supermarket. He paid for the few items I had in my basket, then drove me home. He invited himself into my flat but nothing happened. He visited a couple of times more and I found myself having feelings for him. I was appalled. He was my best friend’s dad and married. I knew how I’d be feeling if my husband kept disappearing – jealous, suspicious. “What does your wife think about you going out all of the time?” I asked him. He just shrugged. “She doesn’t really mind”, he said. “She wouldn’t mind if we were having sex either”.
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“I was flattered but confused. He volunteered to give me a massage and before I knew it, he started peeling off his clothes. His chest, crinkled and saggy had some white turf on it. I’d seen hundreds just like it – on the geriatric ward at my hospital job. But the lovemaking that followed was mind-blowing. Later, two words kept playing on my mind – open marriage. What kind of a relationship was that exactly? What did it really mean? How could his wife let him make love to other women? What exactly is in all this for me?
”From then on, we met twice a week and he was his old sexy self until the evening he started gasping for air as we made love. Was he having a heart attack? He said he suffered from angina but had effective drugs to control it.
“Still, that didn’t put me off. What he did was that every time he left my bed, he’d go back to his wife. I was very jealous and I told him so. I’d suffered the pain of losing a husband to another woman and I didn’t want that to happen to my friend’s mum. In the end, he offered to come clean to his family and make me a second wife.
“Telling his wife was a nightmare. He looked haggard and drained – and the fact that I was pregnant with my first child didn’t help. “How did your wife take our news?”, I asked him. “Badly”, he said. “She just cried and cried”, I felt a bit guilty but relieved. At last, I could have my child in peace. It wasn’t all as plain sailing as I’d thought. Our relationship seemed to offend everyone. Disgusted, Clara refused to talk to me for a long time. And my own family were appalled too. Even strangers seemed to judge us. He was labelled a “dirty old man”. While their silent stares seemed to scream `gold digger!’ at me. Yet, I didn’t love him for his money – we just clicked.
“So, now my new husband shares his time with me and his family. I know his wife will never kick him out, why should she? They’d been married for over 30 years and she allowed him to have an open marriage. Giving a passionate man like him permission to see other woman is crazy. I never set out to get him and it wasn’t a seedy affair. Life’s too short to worry about little things, especially the 30-plus age gap between us.
“His wife confessed she allowed him an open marriage to try and make him happy. That she didn’t mind us being together because he was too randy and she couldn’t cope. He knows that I won’t stand for that nonsense. If he cheats on me, I would send him packing – to his long-suffering wife!”