Many people sent me this article that appeared in last week’s Guardian, “My husband has stopped cheating on me after 35 years.”
“Kate Simpson’s husband was serially unfaithful all through their marriage but she chose to ignore it. At last she has an exclusive relationship with him – has it been worth the wait?”
At last! Cue Etta James! Swell the violins! He’s decided to keep it in his pants!
Yes, he’s been waving it around for the last 35 years, but now it’s all hers! Flaccid, pockmarked, riddled with STDs, it’s home to stay. Everyone can relax. The Marriage Has Been Preserved.
I don’t generally UBT chumps, just infidelity dreck in general. But this article irks me to no end. Decide for yourself if “Kate Simpson” is the queen of all chumps, suffering from Stockholm syndrome, or some vapid Stepford wife standing by her man for the lifestyle. This whole “the chump knew the whole time” narrative pisses me off.
Because that’s how many commentators (and especially affair partners) want to see it — chumps were in the know. There was An Arrangement. And aren’t you pathetic? Clinging to this prize of a man who doesn’t want you.
If we conclude that chumps Know At Some Level, or turn a blind eye because they want their matching silver napkin rings and country club memberships, then it’s okay to secretly loathe chumps. And deny them sympathy. And feel safe in the knowledge that infidelity could never happen to us.
I know many people — myself included! — stayed and tried to reconcile. But if we are going to believe in unicorns, they should at least LOOK like unicorns — remorseful and underground with their affairs. This guy was an overt horn toad and she took it. That’s not being a chump, that’s being a volunteer.
Now to the Universal Bullshit Translator…
We’re still together after 35 years because I refused to ever consider splitting up, although Matt’s been unfaithful to me for most of that time. We met at university and he’s all the classic things – tall, good looking, bright, funny.
… and sociopathic. But hey, he’s TALL.
Very few women can resist him. I’m not excusing him as the pain he’s caused me is immeasurable but he was sent to boarding school aged eight and from a very early age the only person he could depend on was himself.
I’m not excusing him, but he received an elite private school education. It’s tragic the way Etonians have to fend for themselves, what with the wait staff, char women, and Oxbridge tutors. If I blame anything, it’s the knee socks. Short pants and knee socks can scar a person.
I watched as Matt broke one heart after another, always warning them – “I’ll never settle down, I’m a really bad lot”
Because when a guy says, “I’m a really bad lot” — what he really means is “except for you.”
– but they were all willing to give it a try. He was from a very army family and I knew that I was the “right” sort of girl for him so I played it very cool, which he wasn’t used to.
It took all my willpower not to fall into his bed but I finally agreed to dinner and an old-fashioned courtship. We got engaged on my 22nd birthday. I managed to keep his hands off me until our wedding was booked and by the time I was pregnant with our elder son Tom three years later, I was sure Matt was tamed.
With a whip and a chair and my virginity, I tamed him.
He worked hard, earned a lot and we both loved socialising. I’m a teacher and when we had the big chat about child care I happily agreed to give up work. We didn’t plan on having Simon quite so quickly and having two children under two was as tiring as everyone says it is, but I was proud of myself – getting fit really quickly, looking good and always ready to jump into bed with Matt when the babies were sleeping.
Whatever Matt wants, Matt gets. I’m never too tired or too fat for Matt!
After Simon’s christening, I wanted to get him out of his slippery christening robes so I left everyone eating and headed upstairs. I opened Simon’s bedroom door and Matt and Chloe, my best friend from school, were having sex on the teddy rug on the floor, so engrossed that they didn’t hear me. I swiftly closed the door and tiptoed to our bedroom, shutting that door loudly.
I didn’t shriek, I didn’t thug kick their sorry cheater asses on that teddy rug — I shut the door. (How’s that for a metaphor?) That’ll show them!
Less than five minutes later, Matt appeared, totally hyper, which I ignored. He stripped Simon out of the christening gown before dancing him round the room and making him laugh. When we went back down to our guests, Chloe was sitting on her fiancé’s lap and barely glanced at us.
I ate shit sandwiches for God and Country. Stiff upper lip and all.
Simon was cranky and I sat up half the night with him, going over everything in my head. I felt sick and full of rage. I wanted to pull Matt out of our bed and scream at him but I knew that if I did, there was no going back. Even if we didn’t split up there would be terrible rows and our lovely, happy life would be disrupted. I had no idea how long they had been seeing each other but by morning I was sure of only two things – we were staying married and from now on I would know everything.
The Marriage Police are on the job.
I was pretty sure Chloe would be history soon, but I was always watching, wondering who was his latest conquest. I was convinced that if I said nothing, he would never leave me for anyone. He loved me and the boys, he loved our lifestyle and his good name was very important to him – no way he’d give all that up for a fleeting affair.
If I let him eat cake, he’ll stay. What matters here is Matt’s good name… not my soul.
It wasn’t easy and it was tiring being on full alert. I remember at a PTA wine tasting watching Matt talking to another mum, who was about seven months pregnant. I was actually relaxing and thinking that surely someone like that was safe but then Matt slipped his hand up the back of her maternity blouse and round to cup her breast for a second. She beamed at him, while I stood in horror wondering if it was his baby she was carrying.
Surely a hugely pregnant, hormonal woman is safe! Damn her pheromones, she seduced my husband with her swollen breasts.
When Laura was born I think Matt was faithful to me for months
because he was so besotted with her, but about a year later everyone started using mobile phones and that opened up lots more misery. I checked Matt’s phone constantly and although his texts were always brief, some of the stuff his women sent was practically pornographic.
Matt is brief, but those women are positively pornographic. They should all stop throwing themselves at my husband. I also blame mobile phones.
That alternated with long periods of peace where he didn’t appear to be seeing someone else and that was always enough to convince me I was doing the right thing. The children doted on their dad and I didn’t want them to have a broken home or lose out financially if Matt had to run two homes.
It’s the children that could lose financially. Exposing them to a serial cheater, who letches on anything, is doing The Right Thing. Modeling my pathological codependence? Improving! But divorce? Never.
I still loved him and refused to let any other woman win over me,
Pick Me Dance Gladiator. #winning
but more than anything I was convinced that if I just hung on that there would come a time when his libido would calm down and I’d be enough for him.
Surely erectile dysfunction will stop him? Then his limp dick and I can grow old together. It will be worth the wait!
I did get tired of dropping friends I knew Matt was seeing but that was my limit – I didn’t want to see them hanging round him. Some of my girlfriends tried to warn me but I cut them off as even acknowledging what they were saying meant I would have to do something about it. The thought of being pitied was the worst of all
Acting pathetic is okay. Anyone actually thinking I’m pathetic is not.
but I became an expert at smiling outwardly through it all, especially at social events where I knew I was talking to someone who was sleeping with my husband. There was no way I was going to be the pathetic frump, so I made sure I was as slim and elegant as ever and breezed through life.
Because slim and elegant is what matters. You may be sleeping with my husband, bitch, but my thighs are thinner than yours.
Our youngest child, Emma, was two when we hit a really dangerous point. Matt was seeing someone new and I was still reading his texts, though I’d also started on his email as he never used passwords. This woman was seriously pushy and for the first time it looked as if Matt might confess or even leave me so I simply stopped in my tracks.
I didn’t talk, eat, sleep, wash, look after the children. Within a week, he had me at the doctor, completely out of his depth as family life ground to a halt. I don’t know if I had a breakdown or if I engineered it, if I’m honest. All I knew was that all my hard work wasn’t going to waste now and it was even worth being away from the children as I was hospitalised and Matt was left to get on with it.
Have I engineered my insanity or am I truly insane? I don’t know. Mummy is in the madhouse. Who cares? I stopped the affair.
Six weeks of juggling everything without me worked. I was sure the other woman was out of the picture, though I could no longer access his phone or email as he was using passwords. He probably guessed I’d been prying but said nothing. Once, after too much wine, I asked him if he had ever thought about being unfaithful and he acted completely shocked and dismayed – if I’d pushed the conversation it would have ended, not mended, the marriage. My way was best.
Truthful conversations are what ends marriage, not fucking every single woman of my acquaintance. The shit sandwich way is best.
That was 20 years ago and I think he stopped seeing other women about five years ago, when we both reached 50 and our first grandchild was born.
Our second grandchild is on the way and Matt and I do almost everything together. He still works long hours but we cook, go to Italian classes, socialise, walk the dogs and spend a lot of time with our family, who are all very close.
Of course he’s working long hours. Those late nights? He’s practicing his Italian.
This is our time now and my prize for sticking it out is every anniversary celebrated, every quiet moment together relished. Very occasionally I look at him and feel so angry I could scream but I recognise that I made my own choice. I outlasted any woman foolish enough to think the affair would lead to something and, in the end, it was worth it.
I relish every quiet moment where I look at him and want to crush his head with a boulder. I outlasted any woman foolish enough to challenge me to the pick me dance. His aged, limp dick was worth it. I got an anniversary card.
Read it and weep, bitches.
As told to Joan McFadden. Kate Simpson is a pseudonym