In a split second, my world was turned upside down. My husband, Robert, who had worked for the past lover who I was now contemplating an affair with, had just asked me if I was this man’s mistress. I was unsure of what I should say. When Robert and I were dating, I had told him that I had never cheated on anyone whom I was in a relationship with, that I had never been unfaithful. If I told him the truth now, he would surely know that, while technically I was not the one cheating, I was the other woman, which was just as bad, if not worse. But if I lied to him, he might find out the truth and it would only make matters worse. I sat in silence staring at him, unsure of what to say. He asked me again, and finally, I had to speak.
“What do you want me to say?” I asked—it was the only safe thing I could answer with.
“The truth for once,” he replied. I could sense in his tone that he was getting angry. I was worried that somehow he had already found out the truth. I could not lie anymore. I was terrified to think that he might already know.
“Yes,” I said—one word, one truth. That is all that he needed to know.
He stood up quickly and slammed his hand on the table next to him. He accused me of being a liar and cheater. He said that he could never trust me again and asked if I was with him because of his money. Apparently, my relationship with Derrick had made him reconsider our relationship. At one point, he grabbed me by the neck and asked me, “How could you participate in breaking someone’s marriage vows? What kind of whore are you?” When he saw the tears fall down my face he let go of my neck. He stood in front of me, angry, staring me down. I was speechless. I could say nothing. “Speak for God’s sake,” he yelled. “What type of woman screws a man who is married? You said you were a faithful person, that you had morals! Who are you? How could you f*ck him? Don’t you know who he is?”
“I didn’t know,” I said, with tears in my eyes. “I didn’t know he was married.”
“Bullsh*t! Every single one of those home wreckers knew! Do you know how many of you there were? You were one in a million!” His words stung like a bee. I knew that he was right, but it did not change how I felt about Derrick. “What kind of woman are you?” He stared me down and made me feel smaller than crumbs.
“I am a woman who made a mistake. I am a woman who was lied to and fell in love with a married man. I am—”
He laughed as if I had told him the greatest joke of all time. “Loved him? Do you even know what you are saying? He was probably with 10 other woman while you were together. How stupid are you?” His words got meaner and meaner as he spoke. I could no longer take the abuse and started to tune him out. I shut down and stopped replying to his questions. I wasn’t listening anymore and I didn’t care.
When he finally stopped yelling, he grabbed my suitcase out from the closet and hurled it toward me. “Start packing. I can’t be married to a whore.”