I’ve always loved Saint Patrick’s Day! The atmosphere is electric and it’s quite possibly one of the best nights to go out with a group.
Our first public date was at a restaurant in the city. Up until this moment we had spent time at your apartment secluded from the rest of the world, primarily due to my request. I didn’t want to be the latest topic of the hospital grapevine and preferred to keep my private life just that, private. As I walked down the cobblestone path, I saw you sitting on the patio dressed in a kelly green button-down shirt, Eddie Bauer khaki pants, and your trademark Italian leather loafers. It was a beautiful, crisp spring day. The sunshine peaked through the clouds in an attempt to warm the air. It was there, surrounded by people celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day that you dropped a bomb on me.🚩
“I’m separated from my wife,” you calmly stated as if you were telling me the weather report for the following day. I couldn’t breathe. Separated? He told me he was divorced!! In fact, he repeatedly referred to himself as divorced.
“You are still married?!?!?!?” I shouted as if you couldn’t hear me.
My words hung in the air like dirty laundry waving in the wind for all to see.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, the most important question you need to ask is, why they filed for divorce. It’s possible the person may lie to you regarding those details, but ask the question anyway.
“Why did you get a divorce?” My inner self internally prayed you would say, you had grown apart or you were too young when you got married. “I had an affair the last year of our marriage.”🚩The scenario I feared the most. He was a cheater.
I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I felt trapped, but mostly I just felt foolish.
I had always been the “anti-cheating girl”. Conversations themed by tales of cheating often lead me to climb up onto my soapbox and rant. Cliche metaphors,(i.e. Once a cheater, always a cheater. A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots) designed to remind the brain that walking hand-in-hand with a cheater would likely end in utter destruction, were my go to phrases.
You had married your wife after getting her pregnant. A tumultuous marriage from the start, multiple years spent in counseling, was the picture you so easily painted. Your wife never wanted to work, she had slapped you, she didn’t contribute to the household, she didn’t support you with raising the children, she didn’t… she didn’t… she didn’t… I’m sure she never auditioned for the role of the “bad guy”, but you effortlessly placed her in that role. She was ultimately the reason you had cheated. You probably don’t remember what I told you in that moment, so I’ll say it again.
“I feel sorry for your wife. I have never wanted to be in a position where someone would hurt me like that. Cheating is the worst thing you could do to a woman- it implies that they aren’t good enough.”
The other woman was a nurse you met at the hospital where you were completing your residency. How original. A physician cheating on his wife with a nurse. Let’s all collectively roll our eyes now. 🙄 She was married, had five children, and apparently felt you provided her with some sort of emotional support. It was a year long affair, which you continued even after you confessed your infidelity to your wife. The other woman had uprooted her entire life, followed you to the scenic city, rented an apartment in your complex, and ultimately thought you would be with her. Apparently the affair was not one to remember, as you eventually broke up with her, in her office, while she was at work. 🚩It was then that I realized the rumor about the nurse manager you had been involved with was not a rumor.
Then came the second most important question, “Would you cheat again?” I’m not sure why I asked this question, because I doubt it would ever be answered sincerely. Nevertheless, there it was, the question of the moment.
“Are you kidding me?” you smirked as if the question being posed was ridiculous and inappropriate for the conversation being had.
“I think it’s a valid question!”
I had found my grit. I was the girl sitting on a patio, drinking a sangria, and unapologetically speaking up for myself. You reassured me you would never cheat again.
“This past year has been awful! I would never want to feel like this again.”🚩
You explained how terrible it was to hide this secret and how you wished you had stopped the affair as soon as you told your wife. Despite years of marriage counseling, the relationship was just too damaged to salvage. I was puzzled; I truly never thought you were capable of cheating.
If this scene were to be in a movie, this would be the part where the viewers would scream for the girl to get up and walk away. As my Dad would say, to take low and go– to consider herself fortunate enough to have dodged a bullet. Unfortunately, I stayed.
This suave guy sitting before me embodied everything I was afraid of, strongly opposed to, and there I sat.
🚩 Red Flags to watch out for:
- He breaks devastating news to you in public- manipulation/control tactic
- He has a past history of cheating- patterned behavior
- He has been deceptive multiple times- pathological liar
- He easily discards people (his wife, the other woman)- lack of empathy
- He plays the victim- emotional manipulation