Your partner’s affair needs not endanger your marriage!

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By Bunmi Sofola

JUST at what stage do you start getting cynical about love? A few weeks ago, Jade, an old friend became irritated because her daughter’s boyfriend of 18 months didn’t want to face the reality of the death of the romance.

Love gone broken

“He keeps on hanging around the house like a love-sick puppy,” she complained. “I’ve asked my daughter how she feels about him and she assured me she was no longer interested in the relationship. As a matter of fact, she’d moved on to greener pasture. But would he listen? He said  he’s in love. In love my foot! He’s just miffed because he’s the one who was dumped!” A couple of our friends present were a bit irritated by her outburst.

I scolded her not to be that dismissive of relationships. We might be less starry  eyed about love, but we owed it to to younger ones to make  them realise love could conquer all in the end. Her eyes narrowed: “It hasn’t conquered much for you over the years, has it?” she asked nastily. Ouch! She then went off on one of her lecturing jag:

“Have you taken notice of how much sleeping around goes on these days?” she asked. “lt’s even more rampant amongst married couples—all pretending to be family friends! As a result, when your husband has an affair with someone close, you don’t even have to agonise over what the other woman looks like because you already know. The betrayal is a double bow—two of the people you are closest to going behind your back and shattering your life.” “Charlotte, who was really just an acquittance, hadn’t said much, but she was suddenly  interested in what Jade had to say.

“My husband’s mistress used to be a member of a close group we belonged to at our social club,”she said sadly. We promptly perked up our ears. “Greg, my husband, and Akin, the other woman’s husband, were teaching each other how to play golf when Ropo, Akin’s wife, said she too was interested. There were some second-hand golf clubs advertised for sale on the club’s notice board and she promptly bought a set. That was how the four of us often met at the club, becoming such good friends that we saw each other most weekends.

“Ropo was bubbly and flirtatious. She and Greg often exchanged banters with each other, but I didn’t think much of it. Early this year,Greg told me he’d bumped into Kopo at the club without her husband and I instantly had this gut feeling that something wasn’t right. So, I watched Greg’s mobile like a hawk and when he went to the bathroom, I accessed his messages.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read a couple of messages from Ropo with one ending with love you’, see you soon! When  I confronted Greg, he said what they had was platonic friendship, that he didn’t always tell me when they met in case I got the wrong idea. That all Ropo was interested in was perfecting her golf moves. He obviously thought I was an idiot with a child’s imagination. Months later, I sort of suspected Akin too guessed what was going on—he just chose to turn a blind eye, hoping it would blow over.

It’s amazing what some spineless men would condone in the name of peace. The final straw was when a female member of the club told me she knew where their love nest was. Apparently, Ropo is a sort of barracuda, who had snapped up a few gullible husbands and my informant’s husband was one of them. I staked out the place for days until I saw Greg’s car in the park. I stormed into the bungalow in spite of the night guard’s protest, knowing both of them would be there. I found her cowering in the toilet with Greg begging that we needed to talk. I simply walked out of their illicit nest.

“The saddest bit is that I don’t trust Greg anymore,” “He certainly hasn’t given you enough reason to trust him, has he?” I asked her. “And the affair has nothing to do with you but if your marriage is to survive, you both need to look at your role within the problems you now have.

“He has assumed full responsibility for the affair but you need to stop seeing yourself as the victim and move past the hurt. If a partner cheats, the woman’s instinct is to wonder what she did wrong—was she too fat, too thin, not smart enough? In some ways, what you’re mourning is the relationship you once had, and having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that it may never be the same again.”

“I can’t stop going to the club because of her,” fumed Charlotte, “in spite of the fact that Greg assured me it is all over, he can’t really stop talking to Akin and Ropo. You said a woman has to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity, But, what about Akin? He too is a victim and a lot of members laugh behind his back for getting stuck with a nympho. Why hasn’t he given her the heave-ho, after all these years of humiliation? The other day, the same female member who hinted us of the affair, pointed to Ropo’s last child and asked me to look closely at him, then look at the current chairman. The resemblance was startling. Yet, the Mugu of a husband still fetches and cares for her. Why? “Well never know,” I soothed.

“All you want to do now is start repairing your marriage. This might be learning new ways to relate to each other or putting intensity back into your love life. Learn to talk more rather than look for external solutions.” “And that would be it?” Charotte sneered. “Not really. Some couples find an affair turns out to be a sort of blessings—they come out of it with a closer, stronger marriage than they imagined. For them, the affair is a wake-up call and a chance to begin a new and better relationship. But, if your spouse is a philanderer, there’s not much you can do—even if you talk till kingdom come. There’ll always be that last fling he must have before he gives up!”

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