Nearly Perfect Husband
June 1, 2001
I cheated on my wife two-and-a-half years ago
by Stephen Nevedomsky
'll be married three years this June. I cheated on my wife two-and-a-half years ago. I was drunk and her best friend was just a little more than drunk. And although there was no sex involved (not even by the presidential definition), an intimate kiss with your wife's best friend clearly qualifies as cheating.
I've never forgiven myself for this. I also took the coward's way out and never told her. I had plenty of excuses for the incident. The finality of marriage was weighing on me. I think there comes a point with all men, early on in the marriage, when the realization hits that "oh shit, I'm married... forever." Forever being a really long time.
So I kissed her. It was a soft, tender kiss.
Actually, no. Why romanticize it? It was a roll-in-the-leaves, grind-your-bodies, no-holds-barred kind of kiss. Quickly, it got to the point where I had to make a decision. Take her right there in the back yard while my wife slept inside, or stop what I was doing and start picking leaves out of her hair.
There's something about sex outdoors that really excites me. I suppose the possibility of being caught heightens my senses. Add to that the possibility of getting caught by my wife, and I suddenly felt like a jackrabbit being chased by a pack of hound dogs.
I think my perversions scare me sometimes. I started picking leaves from her hair.
Later on I considered all my excuses for doing what I did: I was scared. I was drunk. She was there. I'm a pervert - in theory. Plenty of excuses but still not one good reason for doing what I did.
This left me with another decision to make. Should I stay or go? The honest thing to do would have been to go. How much could I have loved her when so early in the marriage I was already hitting on her best friend? The smart thing to do would have been to go. If she ever found out, it would surely be the end. And better to end it then, swiftly, than after years of building a life together.
I decided to stay. I decided to stay and vowed to become the perfect husband. I decided to stay and hoped I'd never have to pay the price for a short indiscretion made in a drunken stupor. In the end, it seems I'm paying the price several hundred times over.
My wife was always one of those girls who related to the opposite sex better than her own. From her youth she always had 'guy' friends, just as I have always had female friends. I met her male friends and she met my women friends, and we were both cool with them.
Unfortunately, growing up in this small town, our mutual tolerance of opposite-sex friends made us somewhat of an enigma. Guys here don't befriend women unless they're gay. And any woman that would hang with a bunch of men has to be a whore. Welcome to Croydon...
The problems began when she started making new guy friends and was reluctant to have me meet them. I learned to deal with that. Besides, I had cheated on her. The least I could do was let her have her space. I spent a lot of lonely nights home alone wondering what she was doing. Was I finally getting my payback for something she knew nothing about? For what seemed like endless nights, I waited for the day we could finally call it even. I waited for the day I would walk in to the sight of my wife in another man's arms. And when that day didn't come, I prayed for it. Not knowing is so much worse than knowing. The waiting. The wondering. You become unsure of yourself. Unsure of your wife. Unsure of everything you once took for granted.
Turns out, for nearly three years, my wife was totally faithful. Nearly.
She came home last week a total wreck. The month before she had been out drinking, dancing, and she started making out with her guy friend. She told me in tearful, painful detail how far it did and didn't go. She was scared and confused. And she felt we needed a trial separation. I was losing my wife.
She felt horrible for what she did and didn't understand how she could have done this to me. To a man who had been a nearly perfect husband for three years. Nearly.
I needed to console her. I needed to let her know it was alright. I needed to let her know we were both human and neither of us perfect.
I told her.
Two-and-a-half years. I think holding a secret that long only makes it worse when it finally does come out. She felt a fool, humiliated. A two-and-a-half-year secret kept from her by the two most trusted people in her life. Her husband and her best friend.
My wife left me two days ago. She's scared and confused and needs time to think. I'm cool with that.
I guess a good husband would beg forgiveness, cry even.
A good husband might even get angry. Rant and rave. Show how upset he was and, thereby, how much he cared.
But if my wife ever begged and cried for forgiveness, I'd lose respect for her - at least on some level. She's too strong and independent a woman, and I love her for that.
And I could never rant and rave. I've known too many psycho husbands who destroyed a woman's spirit, only to complain later that their wives weren't the same women they married.
I need to give her space. Let her work things out. And hope we can save a marriage that is so unique, especially for Croydon.
Besides, I didn't promise to be a good husband. I vowed to be the perfect husband.
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