I have been reminded about my ex-husband today, and about how I felt when he did the dirty deed. The fact that he went off with my secretary was very hurtful, particularly because I had assumed (quite wrongly of course) that she would be loyal to me! Ho, ho, ho. What had apparently appealed to her, and what she wanted for herself, was our "lifestyle" - God help us. We both worked in Advertising and were pretty successful and happy, so, yes, we did have a nice life. But we did work pretty hard for it. Anyway, when I became pregnant and later left the Agency, she went to work for my (then) husband. I didn't think anything of this at the time, but was made aware later that she was quite definitely angling to get him. After Son was born, and he was a non-sleeper for the first year, life was very stressful and difficult. We were first-time parents without a clue (I guess most people are) and after six months we were like zombies - so tired that we just staggered from day to day and night to night. This was not good for the relationship, and if I'm honest, I knew that Husband wasn't coping at all. I just got on with it, thinking that things would eventually get better, but not him. He wanted to get away, and would leave for work earlier and earlier, and come home later and later. I later learned that she would be waiting in the office for him in the mornings, with a cup of coffee, a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on and presumably all her other body parts at his disposal. The wife is always the last to know, but I knew that he had absented himself in any essential sense long before he actually left.
Actually, he left when Daughter was 2 weeks old, and Son was two years old. He left on New Year's Eve. And all I felt was stupid that I hadn't realized before what a shit he was! After all, anyone who can behave like that and desert a wife and two small children doesn't deserve much in the way of consideration. So, Lulu, that's how I felt about my (now) ex having an 'affair'. It wasn't so much an affair, as an avalanche: a disaster which swept away all our previous hopes and the future lives we had imagined and believed in. Bloody awful - but we all survived and I wouldn't swap my life for his - not for a million pounds. He never really knew his children. He's now on wife number 4 and his "lifestyle" is still intact. I'm living on my own, perfectly happily, and with two wonderful grown-up children whom I'm proud to call my friends.
Oh, and there's a PS, which still makes me laugh. One glorious sunny Saturday morning in May, about 12 years later, I was sitting on my balcony in Cambridge (overlooking the Botanical Gardens) with a cup of coffee, reading the paper and feeling decidedly at peace with the world, when my phone rang. It was my ex-secretary, and she was in a state. "Oh, Margot, 'e 'as dumped me!" This was said in her heavily-french-accented voice. I sat, smiled, and said nothing. She asked if I had heard her."Yes", I said "But surely you didn't expect anything very different from the man who dumped his family for you?" There was a shocked silence at the end of the phone. Perhaps it had never occurred to her before that a leopard doesn't change his spots. Revenge, as they say, is a dish best eaten cold..