This is Ira van den Heuvel’s response to the question, ‘Have you found your spouse with another man in bed and what was your reaction?’ on Quora.
I was working the overnight shift as a pressman for a small morning edition newspaper near home. My crew and I had just finished printing that day’s paper and had a gap in the production schedule at about 2:00am. We weren’t going to have anything to print till the morning shift came in, so our head pressman assigned maintenance tasks to a few guys and tasked me with driving a load of grocery store flyers to a Gannett newspaper distribution centre about 30 kilometres away. This facility happened to be within shouting distance of my house.
Well, shouting distance if one were to shout really, really loud. But you get the idea. After dropping off the flyers in the straight truck, I decided to stop by my house and kiss my wife and son while they were sleeping and tell them I love them.
I remember being concerned that the truck’s loud diesel engine might disturb my neighbours that early in the morning and that I would have to be careful navigating my house as I was still wearing my pressman’s blues that might be a bit dirty. Oh, well. It seemed worth any risk as I was smitten with my family and hated working at night. Especially the part about being away from them.
Listen: Why do happy people cheat? (Post continues…)
So, yeah. I pulled up in front of my house and immediately noticed that there was a big, black Dodge truck parked in my driveway. Always found it odd that you park on a driveway, but drive on a parkway! But, I digress. This truck was not recognisable as belonging to anyone I knew so I double-timed it to the front door out of concern for a possible intruder. Once at the front door, I could clearly hear sounds from the master bedroom window next to the door. Sounds I recognised as my wife whilst engaged in coitus. But with some other dude grunting and moaning along. Hmm. What to do, what to do?
Noticing that the front door was ajar, I sprang into action. Gently as was prudent, I kicked the door the rest of the way open and said loudly, “HONEY, I’M HOME!” In a really sarcastic tone. Think William H. Macy in the movie Pleasantville. If you have not seen it, it’s worth a look. The ensuing chaos was mildly hilarious… a blur of naked male ass cheeks streaked from my bedroom to the bathroom, then closed and locked the door.
I looked in the bedroom at my wife. She was sitting up in the bed covered neck down with a sheet, sobbing and saying she was sorry over and over. Like something out of a bad television show. I said as calmly as I could, “I’m going to see your guest out, then I have to get back to work. For now, be a mother to our son. We’ll talk in a few hours.” Then, I picked up a pair of pants from the floor that was obviously not mine and closed the door, my wife now becoming slightly hysterical.
Now, the part I regret to this day. I knocked on the bathroom door and said as gently as I could, “Say man, I have your pants out here. Open up a bit and I’ll pass them through. Then get the f*ck out of my house.” He opened up a wee bit and took his pants from me. Then, about a minute later, he opened the door.
POW! I sucker punched the fellow in the mouth the second his face came into view, drawing blood immediately. A look of shock appeared on the guys face as if to say, “What? I didn’t do nuthin’!” I retorted, “Leave. Now. Call the police if you must, but do it somewhere else.” He never did. Turns out, he was a co-worker at my wife’s place of employment and was also married so he didn’t want his wife to find out.
It is, and was, against my nature to use violence in an offensive manner. At the time, I rationalised it as being self defence, an intruder in my home. But that’s bullshit. He didn’t take anything my wife did not give up willingly; I was simply responding to the turmoil of emotions and that awful pain of heartbreak clawing my chest apart. Still not okay. I wish none of that evening had happened, but most of all wish I hadn’t hit the guy.
He left and so did I. Drove the company truck back to Green Bay, ears burning, bawling like a child the whole way. My first broken heart, but not the last. The woman I had pledged my love (and fidelity) to had hurt me in a way I had only heard about before that night. Heartbreak was not a real thing to me until I felt it for myself. Wow. It’s real after all! Pains in the chest and sick to the stomach, the total package.
It was customary when I worked nights that my wife and I would have sex in the morning when I returned home. Not that day or ever again, it turned out. We never really got into why she did what she did. Made no difference, really. It happened and it couldn’t be undone.
She didn’t ask for forgiveness and I wouldn’t have given any. I moved forward with my life and let things go. Forgiving my cheating wife was not a necessary step at that point to move onward and upward. I packed up all my clothes, my guitars and other instruments, some toiletries, and an air mattress. Told my wife that our marriage was over and left.
I spent the morning finding and renting an apartment from a very nice retired schoolteacher who was very sympathetic to my situation and let me move in immediately. How my son was involved and affected is not relevant here, but suffice to say, he got hurt the worst of anyone involved.
I regret that as well.
Since that time, I’ve married and divorced again and had numerous relationships that soured over time. But the pain I felt that night still lingers to some extent. They say time heals all. But ‘they’ say a lot of things. Meh. For the most part, my life is happy with no need to let bad experiences rob me of experiencing all the joy life has to offer.
I have a lovely ladyfriend with whom I am more than happy. A decent job, a home, a family. Not proud, not ashamed.
And that’s good enough for me.