I knew it would happen eventually, but I wasn't prepared for it. Hubby did all of his fooling around locally - with women I know. These are women I see around town regularly. One is the mother of a child at my son's school. Others attend my church.
There's really nothing to say or do when I have a "slut sighting," as I call it, except smile sweetly and get the hell out of there as soon as possible.
What I wasn't prepared for was an encounter with a husband or boyfriend of one of Hubby's playmates. I was innocently walking around the block at lunch time to shake off some work stress and Mr. M walked out of a business onto the sidewalk and right into my path. I stopped for a moment, startled. he said, "Oh! Excuse me!" and then he looked up and saw who I was and then he looked startled, too.
It was one of those slow motion moments - two people staring at each other for what seemed like forever but it probably was only a second. I turned away first, said, "Sorry" quickly, and started walking away.
What is the polite thing to say in such a situation? As some of you will remember from some earlier posts, I have been to charm school three times. I know the rules of etiquette. I've read all the famous books on the subject, but I don't remember a chapter on "What to say to the husband of the woman your husband was fucking for several years." The only thing I knew for sure was that when such a moment arrived, I was not going to let myself say "I'm sorry" as a reflex because I don't owe an apology for my husband's behavior. Ok, I might say "I'm sorry this happened to your family," but that's it.
I was two steps away, thinking I had made a clean getaway when I heard, "Excuse me, Kat...." Damn. I turned around and raised my eyebrows, giving the nonverbal "what can I do for you?" signal. All I knew for sure at that moment was that speaking as little as possible was probably my best bet.
"Mrs. M told me what happened," he said. "With your husband, I mean."
Gee, I'm glad you clarified that, I thought.
"Oh. Okay," I said. So far, the 'woman of few words' plan was working well.
"Are they still.....involved?" he asked.
"I don't think so," I answered,"but I really don't know." I tried to turn and walk again, but then he said, "I didn't know, you know. I had no clue. Did you know?"
That's when I saw the pain on his face, in his eyes. My heart broke for him. Damn, I thought. There's no clean getaway here.
"No, I didn't know. I didn't have a clue, either. In fact, a couple of friends of mine asked me if I thought he was fooling around and I swore that I was sure he wasn't, so that shows you what I know. It wasn't just you."
He asked me to sit with him on the nearby bus bench and talk, and I agreed. I'm not sure why I agreed. I felt badly for him. I felt like I owed him some time, although I don't know why. He told me what he knew about it and he asked questions. He was unaware that his wife wasn't the only one. He was unaware that to Hubby it was not an emotional affair at all, that it was only sex. He was unaware that they did their fucking in my bed. He was unaware that his wife had taken money for her "services." I was unaware that sometimes her child was with her, sitting on the couch in my living room while mommy and her friend played in the back room. I was unaware that to his wife it was most definitely an emotional affair and she thought she was in love with my Hubby. I was unaware that Mr. and Mrs. M were struggling to keep their marriage together and it didn't look like they were going to make it.
Thirty minutes later, I think we both felt like we'd been put through an emotional wringer. I couldn't believe that I had been afraid of an attack. This man wasn't on the offensive at all. He was simply trying to make sense of it all and keep his family together. He was broken.
He asked, "Have you ever thought of cheating, too?"
I hadn't lied yet. This was no time to start, but I kept my answer simple.
"Me, too," he said, "but then I'd be just like her."
I smiled and said, "Only if you did it for money in my bed." We both laughed. He cocked his head a little and looked at me. I think he was trying to figure out if I was just trying to lighten the mood or if I was flirting. It was a little of both, to be honest.
We chatted a little more and then I told him I had to get back to work. He asked if we could get together for lunch next week. I told him that I was busy at work and wasn't available, but then he asked about the following week. As I agreed, I already knew that I'd probably cancel. Unlike my Hubby, I don't play with folks from town (Okay, there was Young One, but he was an exception - in several ways). I don't think that's what Mr. M had in mind, but it was a chance I didn't want to take.
We said goodbye and I continued my walk. I wanted to slap Hubby at that moment and tell him, "Look what you did to that man?!" But that would have been a bit hypocritical, wouldn't it? I was going to go home later and tell him about the encounter and ask him if he ever thought about Mr.M, the other husband.