Next memoir post is up.
After my ex told me of his affair, it was really easy to hate his mistress.
It still feels weird to call her that. When I hear “mistress,” I picture some young blonde thing waiting around in a slinky dress, not a single mom six years older than my ex and twelve years older than me.
Hating her was easier than hating my ex. I didn’t know her, and while my ex begged my forgiveness, I didn’t hear a peep from her, though there wasn’t any reason I should have. It was probably easier for her to keep me faceless, simply “the wife,” rather than a real suffering person.
One of the million times I asked, “Why?” he answered, “It was nice for a change to feel attractive.” He thought I wasn’t attracted to him anymore, and maybe it was partly true. Maybe the physical attraction had evolved over the years into a comfortable affection, but I didn’t see anything wrong with that. However, it was hard to be affectionate with someone who was always angry or withdrawn, who hardly responded when I reached out to him.
He always wanted what he couldn’t have. After the first time we broke up, when I was 25 and he 31, he was suddenly more attentive. Forbidden fruit and all that. But after we got back together and got married, things changed. We had sex less often, and stressed more about his parents, jobs, and money. Then Kimiko came along. She was forbidden fruit who had a crush on him.
I’m still not sure what her story is. By the time my ex met her, she already had a little girl. The girl was half-white, and I don’t know if Kimiko had been married before. After their affair and her subsequent pregnancy, I assumed she had done the same thing with some other married guy.
Even before their affair, she seemed needy and to attract the wrong kind of men. For a long time, her boss sexually harrassed her, and Joe tried to help her legally. Then she had trouble with her visa and had to leave the country. I couldn’t help but think the only reason she wasn’t out on the street was because her parents were rich.
I guess it’s easy for me to say that I would have never done such a thing. But I’ve had crushes on a couple of married guys (my Latin professor in college and a consultant at work). What would they have done if they had shown interest? Would I have convinced myself that their wives were shrews? That I could make them happy? Is that so different from thinking I could change any guy that I happened to be dating?
Through snooping on the internet, I suspect that Joe has married Kimiko. I found some listing with her first name and his last name, and I could see him convincing himself it was the right thing to do, marrying the mother of his child. Are they happy? I wonder, or are they having the same problems we did? Is he still angry and withdrawn? Does she hang out with his family on the weekends and holidays, or does he use their history as an excuse to keep her away, to keep her separate, which would probably be best for everyone?
Part of me hopes they’re unhappy. Who says either of them won’t cheat again? But part of me is thankful. If their affair never happened, I don’t know if I’d have been strong enough to just leave. Surely I’d have thought of that as weak.