For years, I’d go and have lunch at this cafe. The guy who ran it would know me by name, and we’d often chat about life. He was married with four children.
One day we were talking about my dating experiences, and out of the blue he tells me his dark secret. He’s Muslim and he got married very young (both husband & wife were chaste). About ten years ago, he started to have affairs. “Abi, the other women I chose were desperate for a man. The type who weren’t particularly pretty, single mums, you know the ones, definitely the opposite of you. The other women (more than one) would know the rules. Don’t call me during family time, no weekends and no texting.” The only problem was a few of the women fell in love with him. One proceeded to find out where he lived, and posted a letter addressed to his wife describing in detail what they’d been up to. “Abi, I didn’t love any of these women, they just served a purpose, I would never leave my wife, I love her. At first she showed me her hurt and tears, then over time she learnt to turn a blind eye.”
I felt sick to my stomach. That just blew my perception of him as a family man into smitherenes. Never in a million years would I have deemed him capable of this. Does he think his wife’s heart is made of stone? I knew when I found out someone was cheating on me instantaneously it was over, it would have drove me to the depths of insanity if I’d have turned a blind eye. It’s hard to show compassion to the other women, were they devoid of any self-respect, willing to let him degrade them as nothing more than a piece of flesh. How did those women justify the hurt they’d caused his wife and children? The sheer spitefulness of one woman writing his wife a letter detailing his betrayal. I have to remind myself that these women have emotions and that in the end they suffered too.
It went beyond the realms of comprehension. My heart went to his wife, I imagine it’s culture, and love of her family that keeps her from leaving him. There are times in life you appreciate not being married, I couldn’t ever imagine for one second stepping into her shoes. As for him loving his wife, I’m afraid we must have a different understanding of the word. Love to me is putting the other person before us, protecting them from pain. I think he’s cruel beyond words, mentally torturing the woman that bore him four beautiful children. Sad to think this is the only love from him she’ll know. Oh what a brave, strong woman she must be…