It was 6 am. I baked raspberry chocolate muffins for my husband, and sent him on his way.
My hubby and his highly accomplished female colleague were driving to a small city several hours away to conduct a murder trial that was scheduled to last several months. Given the anticipated length of the trial, they thought it would be better and cheaper to rent a condo together rather than live separately in cramped hotel rooms. A condo would be more like a temporary home, with the option to cook real meals and have more space to work at night.
Did I mention she was beautiful? And, that she had just broken up with her boyfriend? A friend thought I must have suffered a concussion to ever agree to my husband’s domestic arrangement. If she were in my shoes (which she made perfectly clear that she would never be stupid enough to be in), a nanny-cam would be installed without delay, and she would pay many surprise visits.
True, the situation did have inherent risks that are known to lead to infidelity. There was ample opportunity of course, and the stress of work (especially a complex criminal trial) can lead people to act in impulsive ways. It is a known fact that younger women are drawn to older, successful men like my husband—and of course older men are attracted to younger attractive women whether they are successful or not.
Yes, many spouses would see this scenario as inviting trouble. Most rational people would forgive me if I kiboshed my husband’s living plans. But I didn’t feel insecure. I didn’t lose a minute’s sleep. I didn’t barge in unannounced to survey how many beds had been slept in. My husband has lots of opportunities to be unfaithful, without having to go out of town. His profession is filled with intelligent, attractive women.
I didn’t micro-manage him from afar, and he also trusted that I would be a good girl in his absence (don’t forget, he wasn’t the only one with ample opportunity). Although, he did once ask me, “How come there is so much sand in our bed when I return home?” “I am having an affair with a lifeguard”, I retorted. Actually I am too lazy to wipe our dog’s paws before she snuggles in beside me on his side of the bed. The strategic use of jealousy is not lost on me.
I trust my husband. We are both committed to being faithful, not out of any religious or moral convictions, but because we value exclusivity, because sex is much more than a physical desire, and because faithfulness demonstrates a commitment to our family. We are both accountable to maintain the conditions in our marriage that make us want to be faithful, not have to be faithful. As Ari (the slick agent in Entourage) said to his long-suffering wife, to whom he is madly devoted: Baby, we agreed to suffer through monogamy together.
The next batch of muffins I baked were oatmeal chocolate chip. Doesn’t a painful separation from home require some comfort food?
Next: Thinking outside the dating box