The Husband

Description: I had lunch with my husband… and his mistress (Part 2)

Matt: ‘This Christmas I’ll be buying lingerie for my wife and a leather writing folder for my mistress – an indication of how well I know the women in my life. Even though I realise Kate is being very understanding, I’m not looking forward to the celebrations themselves. I hope it’ll be better than last Christmas. But even if it isn’t, I’m not really in a position to say ‘no’ to my wife about anything.

“Having Rebecca to stay over last Christmas was incredibly weird. We had only just started sleeping together then. Seeing a wife and his mistress being friendly should be every man’s dream, but oddly it was a real turn-off. Kate forbade me from sleeping with Rebecca that night, but she needn’t have bothered saying anything, as I felt far too humiliated to have sex.

“It took my relationship with Rebecca several weeks to recover after that, probably as a result of my guilt about Kate. I sensed my daughter’s disapproval, too, and can’t imagine that has changed. To be honest, my daughter’s contempt towards me was harder to deal with than Kate’s pain.

“I didn’t set out to have an affair with Rebecca. At first, I just wanted her to like me. By the time I realised that she did, I was already in too deep.

“I know it seems strange, but it didn’t feel like my relationship with Rebecca had anything to do with my marriage. I’ve never questioned my feelings for Kate and still love her as much as I ever did. But relationships don’t stay the same. That early intensity of wanting to be with someone all the time sadly passes. I guess that’s what attracted me to Rebecca.

“But once we’d slept together, I knew I couldn’t give her up. It’s hard for me to imagine my life without her now. But I’ve never promised I’ll leave my wife for her, and she’s never asked me to.


“That first Christmas together was torture. Every time Rebecca came near me I wanted to touch her. But then I’d catch Kate looking at us and feel as if my heart would break with guilt. I deliberately drank to avoid confronting the pain I was causing. I felt I was messing up not just my marriage, but also Rebecca’s life. There have been times when I can’t even bear to think about what I have done, especially after I saw Kate giving Rebecca a bottle of perfume.

“Worst of all was not knowing which woman to talk to over dinner. I couldn’t be myself and kept trying to remember whom I’d spoken to last so neither of them would feel neglected. Really, I would have preferred to have been alone.

“Of course I feel ashamed that my behaviour makes Kate unhappy. I completely accept that I am flattered by Rebecca’s feelings for me and that I’m being vain and selfish. But I’m lucky enough never to have been presented with an ultimatum by either woman. I sometimes wonder whether Kate is deliberately making friends with Rebecca to sabotage my affair. But if she chooses to sit there pulling Christmas crackers with my mistress, I can’t really argue.”

His Lover

Description: Having an affair?

Rebecca: “My biggest worry right now is what to buy Kate for Christmas. Matt says that she likes Chritian Dior cosmetics, but that might seem insulting coming from me. Last time I satyed with them over Christmas, Kate bought me perfume and that made me feel terribly guilty. All I had got for her was a bottle of champagne. I had never given Matt any presents, just in case Kate saw them, but now she knows about is I will probably get him a scarf that he said he like.

“Before I met Matt, when I was 25, I had never had any serious boyfriends. I was just too busy with my career. The longest relationship I’d had lasted around six months before he left to go overseas. I knew Matt was a womaniser from the moment I met him, so I thought I would be immune to his charm. But, to my surprise, I found that I was genuinely attracted to him. We first started the affair about six months later, meeting at a hotel near the office.

“I didn’t know what a good marriage Matt had until I met Kate during that first Christmas we spent together. I thought from the way he came on to me that he was unhappy or lonely in the relationship. I know that is no excuse, but by the time I had met Kate and realised what a great person she was, it was too late for me to change how I felt about Matt.

“I do feel guilty about Kate, of course, especially as she has always been so kind to me. I was dreading spending Christmas there at first. But when I saw them at home, with all their little domestic routines, like whose turn it was to load the dishwasher or Matt taking their dog for a walk each night, I suddenly felt I was smashing into someone else’s life. Strangely, it didn’t make me feel jealous, though. I saw it as the sort of relationship I would like to have with someone. I was relieved when he said we couldn’t sleep together as I don’t think I could ever have faced Kate again. It would have been like having sex in my mum and dad’s house.


“I’m not much looking forward to seeing Matt’s teenage daughter again. Last time, we played Scrabble and I could feel her willing me to lose. I don’t blame her for disliking me, but then I am not responsible for Matt leaving her mother, which happened long before Matt and Kate got together.

“Kate and I nevr refer directly to the affair, even though she does know it is continuing. My older sister, who has just got engaged, thinks I am crazy to be mixed up in someone else’s marriage. My parents just pretend that it isn’t happening. But it suits me to live the way I do, and I don’t intend ending our affair until Matt or I decided our relationship has come to its natural conclusion. Kate’s probably right to accept it for now, although I don’t think I could. Every day I wonder how long we can go on living like this. I know that Kate and I can’t continue to share Matt indefinitely. Next Christmas could be very different – for all of us.”

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