You entered my world at a very critical point in my life.
I'd just lost my mother to her three-year battle with cervical cancer and recently welcomed my son. It was a bittersweet time in my life. I was looking forward to brighter days because the worst was behind me or at least I thought it was. . .
Then you came along - the mistress - wreaking havoc on my marriage, adulterating my holy union with the man I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. But alas, it would not be so. Trifling home wrecker, you'll reap what you sow, some women just have no respect, are just some of the things my friends said when they found out about you. I'm sure they meant no harm. They were just trying to be supportive of me, because that's what friends are for (singing in my Dionne Warwick voice).
Honestly, they were more interested in you than I was. I breathe a sigh of relief at the opportunity to finally get on with my life. They felt I should have been upset with you, that I should have been angry, pissed, that I should have called you up and given you a piece of my mind. Yes. I had an opportunity that one time I received an email request from you to view photos of my children that you could have easily gotten from my ex-husband. I knew you just wanted me to know that you were there, but I had no quarrel with you. I did not marry you; I did not make any vows with you. In my mind, you were a non-factor. The way I saw it, I could waste my time being upset and laying blame where it did not belong, or I could be a big girl and admit this is exactly what I wanted, embrace it, and fully appreciate my second chance.
In truth, I could not even pretend to feel any feelings of resentment towards you even when I felt I should and that I had every reason to; those feelings just would not come. They were not my truth. Although I feared what awaited me on the other side, I secretly thanked you and would have enjoyed an opportunity to show my gratitude for having rescued me from a situation that I did not have the courage to leave on my own.
Shame on me for staying for the kids.
Shame on me for staying for “stability."
I have no regrets.
You, my mistress in shining armor, were on your way to save me.
Truth is, I knew I was settling for a life that was not the one I had imagined for myself. I had bought into the American standard of someone else's dream. I have no doubt that my stress and lack of happiness was taking a toll on both my marriage and my quality of life. That marriage was destined for an untimely demise. I'm really good at pretending, but how long can the show go on before everything around you starts to fall apart?
Something was eventually going to give but I felt it could not be me because I just thought I had way too much to lose. And maybe I really did have too much to lose, and maybe the Universe heard me screaming for my freedom behind the gates of the cage I had built for myself and sent the perfect somebody to save me from sacrificing myself for what I perceived to be the greater good. I cannot blame you for the destruction of my marriage. One cannot be held responsible for the corruption of something that was already a hot mess in the first place. That is my very own philosophy. The straw that broke the camel's back only denotes a camel that was already under extreme pressure and duress in the first place.
When the highs are so high and the lows equally as low, when the relationship is flat lined, where do you go? I had plenty of excuses to stay and none good enough to leave. They all just seemed so selfish. You gave me a really great excuse! You made this less about me and more about my children, because they deserved better and I could no longer cheat them out of better by pretending that that marriage was the best version of better that I could provide for them. Even I know better than that.
That was no one's fault. There is no one to blame. If ever I did not believe in fate, today was not that day. So with this opportunity, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you for saving my life, and for freeing my soul. My appreciation for the role you've played is truly immeasurable. I cannot think of all that I have accomplished and all that I have to accomplish and all that I look forward to accomplishing without thinking of you and the series of unfortunate events that have brought me to this most fortunate point in my life.
People are often so quick to pass judgement in these situations, and I am not exempt, but you never know what one woman's indiscretions could be saving another woman from. I know there are others who will still say that this does not absolve you of what was done and it is not meant to. All I have to say is God may not forgive you, but you can be certain that I do.
Victoria R. is a sex positive and body positive queer, black writer. Black lives matter; body counts don't. You can find her blogging regularly at prettypinklotusbud.org about feminine sexuality, relationships, and spirituality.
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org