I had lunch with my husband… and his mistress (Part 1) - The Wife

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When Kate learnt her husband was having an affair she did the unthinkable: she invited her rival over for a family meal – and a sleepover. Clare Campbell explores bizarre love triangle…



The Wife

Kate: “Looking around the room where we are to have our family Christmas lunch, I stare at the place settings. Next to me will be my husband, Matt. On the opposite side of the table will be Amy, Matt’s 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, Jack. Then, next to Matt on the other side, there’s a place for Rebecca, his mistress for the past 3 years.

“It still seems unreal not only that I’d put up with my husbad sleeping with another woman, but that I could invite her into our home. But this Christmas, for the second time, this is exactly what I will be doing.

“I always knew what Matt was like, right from when we first met. Attractive, sexually confident and always able to make me laugh, Matt was just impossible to resist. And everywhere we went, women would notice him.

“Rebecca and Matt first met when she came to work in his office four years ago. She had been a dinner guest at our house before I began to suspect there was anything between them. She’s an attractive, green-eyed blond and so humorous and sharp, I liked her straightaway.

“So it was particularly painful last August to find an email she had sent him. I still remember how I felt when I first read, ‘You’ve got right under my skin.’

“Rebecca’s words were not those of a casual one-night stand, but of a woman emotionally and physically involved.

“When I confronted Matt about it, he admitted the affair. He told me he was scared of how he’d feel if he couldn’t see her. But I was the one who was really scared. I knew our relationship was suddenly on very fragile ground. If I pushed Matt now I could lose him forever.

“[Rebecca and I] never confronted each other. In a way, I preferred knowing whom he was with, rather than imagining a fantasy girlfriend I could never compete with” – Kate, the wife.

“It was at that point I decided not to engage in what was going on between my husband and his mistress. I reasoned that becoming an obstacle to their affair would only bind them closer. But If I left them alone, they might tire of each other. I still loved Matt, and I believed him when he said that he loved me. So from that moment on, and to Matt’s great relief, I didn’t refer to the affair again.

“It seemed to work. Even though I was sure they were still meeting, Matt showed no signs of wanting to leave. If he said he was going out, I didn’t ask where. By then, Rebecca knew I was aware of their relationship, but we never confronted each other. In a way, I preferred knowing whom he was with, rather than imagining a fantasy girlfriend I could never compete with.

"Then, two days before last Christmas, Matt came home from the office and told me Rebecca was unable to get home to her parents in the country. I wondered if he was planning to go and see her, and began to panic. Suddenly, I heard myself say, ‘Maybe she’d like to send Christmas with us?’ This was partly because I didn’t want him ducking out to see her, and partly because I felt less threatened by her now I knew Matt didn’t  want a divorce. And, at least this way I was fighting the battle on my own territory.

“Matt looked white shocked, but promised he would ask her. The following day Rebecca called me to accept my invitation. I was surprised by how friendly she sounded and immediately copied her tone. I even rushed round to my local chemist late on Christmas Eve to buy a bottle of designer perfume for her, knowing (from one of Matt’s credit card receipts) that it was her favourite fragrance. I felt that the way to deal with this crazy situation was to get Rebecca on my side as much as possible. I knew I was being devious, but I didn’t care.

“When Rebecca arrived the following morning, Matt seemed to be more embarrassed than I was. I introduced Rebecca to family and friends as his work colleague. In actual fact, it was only my stepdaughter, Amy, who suspected something. Although she didn’t say anything to her father, she told me she thought it was ‘disgusting’.

“By the time Rebecca left on Boxing Day morning, we were laughing at how long it took Matt to get out of the bathroom, and I felt we were almost allies. So, this year, when Matt mentioned that Rebecca was intending to stay in the city for Christmas again, I suggested she come to us. I don’t like the idea of her spending Christmas with us, but if Matt must have a mistress I’d rather accept her than drive him into the arms of someone else.”

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