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My friend Lola left me a tearful voicemail message last night informing me that she had told her husband of almost 15 years that she was having an affair.

Holy shit.

Even worse, she told him that I knew about it as well as a few others. She told me to expect a call from him. What?! Why?? What would I say to him?

I tried calling her back but she didn’t answer so I texted. Fortunately, she texted back… but she wasn’t providing many details. She said she’d call me this weekend.

I am not sure what I am going to say, or if I should say anything, if and when he calls.

Lola told me about the affair about 3 years ago when I was newly separated from Mars. At the time, she was already over one year into it. I was shocked. Lola and her husband had a seemingly ideal marriage. They were a power couple. They doted on each other. They dated for about 15 years before they married in their early 40s, decided not to have children, and traveled the world often.

Coming from a place of recently escaping an unhappy marriage and the freedom associated with it, however, I can’t say I didn’t understand it. She admitted that she was in a sexless marriage, as I was. I understood her need for spice, passion, and great sex, but I didn’t understand why she had to hide it from her husband. I don’t believe in lying and cheating.

If you’re unhappy in your marriage, improve your marriage or leave. Don’t betray your spouse.

Still, we had a 17 year friendship and working relationship at that point. Of course I was going to support her even though I didn’t agree with her choices.

I told Mars the news when I found out. He was shocked, too, but, like me, he understood why it could and would happen. Funny how a dissolved marriage changes your view of the world. When Lola told me she was having an affair, I said, “If you’d told me this news when I was still married, I would have been pissed. I wouldn’t have understood. Now? I get it.”

I was in a relationship with Tex at the time. When I told him, he was very judgmental and lectured me about what kind of morals I must have if I’m friends with someone with such loose morals. Oh, fuck off. I found it utterly ludicrous coming from someone who cheated on his first wife. He actually argued with me about why his situation was okay and hers was not. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

I gave Lola legal advice. I told her that she and her husband would have the easiest divorce in the world if she chose that path. They both own their own homes, they don’t have any children, they have their own nearly equal pensions, and they never comingled money.

The affair with her lover started accidentally. Lola was content in her marriage at the time. Things began friendly but then boundaries were pushed ever-so-slowly. They eventually found themselves in a relationship. Making dinner together. Going to movies. Shopping for Christmas trees. Exchanging “I love you.”

Lola loves him, yes, but she knows a real relationship with him would ultimately not work for various reasons. I don’t need to mention the reasons here.

Lola and her husband didn’t live together until her husband took an early retirement last year. He rented out his house and moved in with her. She knew she’d have to hide her whereabouts when she was with her boyfriend, and she began lying to her husband about where she was and what she was doing.

I used to see Lola daily but, since she retired in December, I’ve only seen her 3 or 4 times. We still keep in touch through text. Last time I saw her was about a month ago and she told me that she was thinking of telling her sister about the affair. She said the pressure was getting to be too much, and she knew her sister would give good advice. I told her it sounded like her sister would be a good confidant.

On Wednesday, Lola texted to say that she told her sister. Her sister was understanding, but told her she needed to make a decision because it was obviously taking a toll on her. She also said she was considering telling her husband about the affair. She said that she was feeling so much anxiety and thinks she needs to be by herself for a while to figure things out. I asked her all sorts of questions – was she going to tell him about the affair or that she was unhappy and needed a break? – but she didn’t respond… until yesterday. She’d already told him.

I don’t know exactly what she told him. I know she told him about the affair, but I don’t know if she told him how long it had been going on. He was calm when she broke the news. He didn’t ask for details, just wanted to know if she wanted to make their marriage work. She said she didn’t know what she wanted except time alone. He left.

Lola is supposed to call me this weekend. I’m interested in hearing further details, including why she felt it was important to include me in the conversation with her husband.

The moral of this story: Cheating never ends well. Don’t do it.

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