Friday, January 29, 2016
I BEFRIENDED MY HUSBAND'S MISTRESS - ERIN SILVER
Icheoku says that was bold and courageous, but would you? Although many other women would have approached the issue differently, including an acid bath or a .45 caliber shot, but she chose to be modern and civilized about a matter which had since left her control. Anyway, to each his or her own of solving problems. Happy reading.
"My heart was galloping inside my chest. It made sense, considering what I was about to do. Any minute now, she would walk through the doors, and I would finally come face-to-face with the woman who had trotted off into the sunset with my husband, making me a single mother to my two little boys.
Two years earlier, I’d learned about her existence in a private investigator’s report. I remember staring at her black-and-white image, too shell-shocked to cry. She was photographed walking toward my husband’s hotel room door, overnight bag in hand, a pillow tucked under her arm.
“Don’t you know that hotels have pillows?” I’d wanted to shout, but it was pointless. I had to swallow my pride and move on.
My husband didn’t make it easy. A few days after I’d seen the report, he confessed to his year-long affair and asked me to give our marriage another try. “I made a mistake,” he said. “I’ll come home earlier from now on, we’ll have dinner together, we can be a family.”
My gut told me this was all wrong; that if he really loved me, he would never have had an affair in the first place. I felt beaten and betrayed, unloved and unloveable, but I knew I deserved better. Divorce was our only option.
After Everything Changed
I spent the next two years moving through a variety of stages — grief, despair, anger and sadness. But I was determined to get stronger, to turn my life around. My boys were only two and three at the time of my separation; if they were going to have a chance of being spared the ill-effects of divorce, they needed a happy mom. I began seeing a therapist, exercising, and wearing better clothes. I traveled with my boys, figured out my finances, found a lawyer, dated, and then I met someone whom I knew would never lie to me or treat me poorly.
By now, my ex and his mistress-turned-girlfriend were living together, and my kids were spending time with her. She bought them toys and clothes; she vacationed with them. They came home with stories of how she said “booger” with an “ooo” sound instead of the softer “uh.” I responded, “That’s so funny!”
But inside I hated her. I hated her for laying eyes on my husband in the first place; for not giving a shit if he was married with kids; for keeping him out until 6 a.m. while I was home, helpless and hysterical; for making me a single mother; for changing the course of my children’s lives and breaking our family unit.
I was left to wonder: Was she thinner than me? Prettier? What did she have or know or do that I didn’t? I’d avoided meeting her for a million reasons. How would it feel when I looked her in the eye? Was I strong enough to shake her hand? Would I scream at her? Slap her? Thank her for taking a cheating husband off my hands?
All I knew was that somehow I needed closure. Then one day, I was in a 40-day personal growth course at my yoga studio, which was like a big group therapy session. When everybody went around and state what we hoped to accomplish during the course (lose weight, accept themselves, be kinder to a spouse, etc.), I knew what I had to say. I’d put it off, but the time had come. To truly move forward in my life, to shake off my past like a dog shakes the rain, I needed to meet the woman at the center of it all.
Everyone clapped for me when I was done sharing and I felt like the biggest loser, but after that I had no choice. They were holding me accountable. I had to meet her, and it was truly the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life.
The Big Showdown
Yet now, as I waited for her at Starbucks, my heart hammering in my chest, I was scared. She was older than me, yes, but she didn’t have kids, which meant her boobs probably didn’t sag, even without a bra. Her stomach was probably flat and unscarred, unlike mine. After two C-sections, the jagged line from one hip bone to the other had faded, but not disappeared. I bet she liked to wear high heels even during the day. I looked down at my running shoes, and my thoughts swirled out of control. I was transported to the times my ex-husband disappeared on weeklong work trips or business dinners every other night of the week. The feelings I’d tried so hard to overcome surged back, feelings of being unwanted, unloved, and unloveable.
I wiped the palms of my hands along the sides of my workout pants. Up and down. Up and down. “Breathe, Erin. Breathe,” I coached myself. “In and out. In and out. It’s all you need to do.”