I cheated on my wife, but she won’t let me divorce her
While you may find many sympathisers for women, who everyone thinks are the only silent prisoners in the Alcatraz of a nuptial knot, there is hardly anyone who ever wants to understand a man’s perspective in a failing relationship.
I fail to understand why women are often portrayed as ‘the victim’ in a failing relationship and the men as ‘unjust’. Why are women projected as the weaker link when there is much ado about women’s rights and freedom?
Don’t get me wrong here; I am an avid supporter of feminism and women’s empowerment, which I truly believe are two different things. I have always supported good education for women and encouraged career development. But where is that self-confidence, empowerment and the ‘can do’ attitude when you need it for your personal matters?
I got married as early as 25 to a woman I thought I loved at the time. I gave her my best for a few years and we have three beautiful daughters together. My job’s lucrative demands required extensive travelling.
What could possibly go wrong one must be thinking?
Here is where the plot gets a twist.
Love is not self-invigorating and this had already become clear in our case. After being in an honest relationship with my wife, I realised I was not getting the attention that was due. I felt my wife was closer to her family – who always lent her a helping hand with our children – than to me.
However, I have decided not to take that as an excuse for me to justify my actions. The simple matter of fact is, I fooled around and fell in love.
I met a woman online and what initially started out as foolish flirtation, turned into very intellectual conversations on different topics. We exchanged views on languages, culture, and faith. She gave me the much needed attention and love that I had been longing for. We came together like the opposite poles of a magnet. We would take holidays abroad every few months to be together. These moments with her turned out to be the happiest moments of my life and a bouquet of memories that I will cherish for long.
To say my wife had no idea on what I had been up to could be equated to me living in a fool’s paradise. Women can sniff these things out even before they happen. There is no shame and excuse required for choosing to love a woman you know you are compatible with.
All hell broke loose when I finally decided to tell my wife that I had decided to call it quits with her. The scene that unearthed following my confession could have been aired for a Pakistani drama and the dialogues could have been used for a Bollywood movie.
My wife used every trick she could pull from the hat. And in the end, she overwhelmed me with her outburst to the point that I gave up.
Just like you cannot sail two boats at one time, you can only ever make one woman happy at one time. My children proved to be the Achilles heels in our case. I unhappily ended my extra-marital affair and sunk rock-bottom into a well of sadness.
While ‘cheating’ is a social taboo, getting a ‘divorce’ is a bigger one. What can be a simple separation with shared responsibility of the kids becomes animosity between two parties.
Families are brought in, threats are exchanged, pep-talks are given.
All the guilt rests on the man’s shoulders and the woman plays the victim in the act. A woman’s fate is thought to be sealed for life if she gains the title of a divorcée. What could very well turn out to be an easy corridor to a happier future relationship for both man and woman, freezes the relationship in its most unstable state.
Marriage is not an obligation you must fulfil at the cost of being unhappy. Yes, marriage is sacred, but only when the foundations are strengthened with the pillars of love and affection. It is like a house of cards that can collapse with the whiff of air, and when it does, there is no resurrecting it.
One can file for separation and start living the life they want to and hopefully find eternal bliss one day. Or you can stay together with clouds of uncertainty looming above your heads and hoping it rains and clears out one day.
For me, I choose to live a pointless life faking a happily ever after.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.