They say that the script goes like this.
Stage one, you get married.
Stage two, you are happy and even believe that marriage is the best thing you could ever have done with your life.
Stage three, you have babies. Those adorable cute angels.
Stage four, love fizzles out and your husband starts cheating on you. Or you start cheating on your husband, whichever comes first.
Stage five, after several affairs, you leave his cheating ass, or he yours.
Stage six, you get into another relationship and you’re up for a rinse and a repeat.
I’m at stage four.
Affair number three is ongoing. Affair number three on his part. Me, between my job, the babies, and being a wife, I barely have the energy to be in this marriage, let alone cheat on my husband.
So affair number three is ongoing. Or it just ended. I’m not sure anymore. We’re going through the motions of accusations from me, denial from him, text message proof from me, denial from him, phone calls from a Maria who clearly wants me to know of her existence, absolute flabergastment from him, a breakdown and a river of tears from me, anger from him at my audacity to accuse him of such. Why won’t I trust him? Why am I so insecure? How dare I accuse him of something so heinous. Granted, he’s cheated before. But he’s a reformed man now! A good man, damn it! A good father to our babies! A provider! A protector! How dare I? What the fuck do I want from him?
What the fuck do I want? Well, for our marriage not to progress to stage five is all I want really. That’s all I want at this point in time. I don’t want to have to leave his cheating ass. So I want him to apologize. I want him to beg for my forgiveness. Even if I know that he will cheat again, and again. And again. And again, just for shits and giggles. I want him to promise me that he will not cheat on me again. And then I want him to swear some more. On our babies’ lives, I want him to swear.
I want to forgive him. I will forgive him. Because that is the only way I will avoid stage number five. So when he is tearing up and kneeling in front of me, hugging my waist tightly and begging me to forgive him because he is weak and he is human and he is flawed and he is disappointed in himself; when he is busy reminding me that I am a good woman and good women like me are hard to come by so please don’t leave; when he is looking up to me with his ugly crying face swearing that he is nothing without me and that I am a good mother to his babies and the rock of the family and that my love will make him a better man; when he is playing music to my ears and saying how much he needs me, needs me so much, baby, I will be crying too because I know that even with the threats, I’m going nowhere, fam.
Me? Pack my bags and leave my husband? How do I even begin to do that? He’s a cheating son of a bitch who doesn’t deserve me, that’s clear as day. But is that reason enough to leave him?
I can’t walk out on him and raise children without him. In this economy? Where will I even begin? Then there’s the issue of becoming a single mother. Should we even go there, fam? I mean. Between you and me, who doesn’t know the struggles of single motherhood, right? No offense to anyone, but the single mother label is not for me.
How will I go out with my girlfriends without mentioning that my husband is coming to pick me up? How will I go to my children’s school and not be able to say that my husband couldn’t make it to the parent’s meeting because he had an even more important meeting? How will I go to church with that kitenge that matches my husband’s and not “praise God for the gift of our families and our loving husbands, the devil is a liar”? How will I take a photo with my children without the head of the family standing there at the center to tower over me and the babies?
And before you go on a rant, yes, I agree that there are single mothers out there who haven’t died for lack of a tower. More power to these women, the future is female, blah, blah, blah. All I’m saying is, I’m not that woman and that woman is not me.
Is it because I need a man to love me all the time, touch me, make me feel wanted?
Well, I love those things, but I”m not getting any of that in this marriage of mine. My husband is always loving touching and making some other woman feel wanted.
You could say that this marriage business sucks for me. My dear husband is like a guest who visits our home once in a while. The children rarely see him because even when he is home, he is sleeping off the exhaustion for all the work he has to put into his extramarital relationships
But marriage is a good thing. Because other women call me blessed. Because men address me with respect. I am never labeled bitter or a toxic feminist. I mean, I get angry at times, but marriage makes me glow and everybody can tell that it’s the nonexistent love from my husband that is making me glow. My children, they’re legit. I pushed them out just like the single mothers did, but don’t pretend not to know what I’m talking about here ladies. Someone came up with the term illegitimate children and that person was not me.
And I know that I said that these children barely know their father, but as long as they can hear him snoring in the next room, that’s enough to set them straight and motivate them to want to be better members of society.
So my husband finally admitted to his affair. That’s all I needed really. The idiot didn’t grovel or kneel and hug my waist like I hoped he would, but at least he admitted to knowing Maria. He didn’t really apologize, not in the way I expected. He in fact said, “If you want to leave, just leave and stop stressing me, woman.” But he pretends that he doesn’t know me this husband of mine. I am not going anywhere. And let another woman win? And let another woman come and live my life?
If you choose to focus on the minute detail that my life is not really the best right now, that is your problem, not mine. All I know is that I promised myself that we’re not going beyond stage four of this marriage of ours and I intend to keep that promise.
I’m no good single. If I’m honest enough, and I’m always honest with myself, I’m not strong enough to be a single mother. If I’m even more honest, my unhappiness when I’m single will outweigh my unhappiness when married to a cheating husband. It’s a balancing act here. So he won’t touch me? Big deal. I’ll touch myself. He won’t look at me? I’ll look at myself in the mirror and fall in love with the woman who looks back at me.
One day, maybe he’ll fall back in love with me. It happens sometimes, doesn’t it? Or not. And that’s fine too.
The rub is, I don’t know who I am without him.
So when I say I can’t leave my husband, I really can’t leave my husband.