Just when you think this article — which might be called the ultimate "crap justification from a dude" — can't get more jaw-dropping, it does. Oh, does it ever.
The first hint that our hero is, how shall I put it, less than sympathetic, comes early on, when he discusses his reasons for marrying his wife: "She was no better or worse than the scores of other girlfriends, whose names I have long forgotten and whose faces I cannot remember."
Their marriage, after 20 years, is cold and loveless; they're together only for the children and have "silently" agreed to part ways when they're all grown. Luckily! Our hero meets Lisa. And they appear to be a match made...well, somewhere.
I grew up in the U.K., and though I moved to the States, I never much cared for American women. I found them too materialistic and emotionally needy, spiritually warped by commercial television. But Lisa (not her real name) was not like any other American woman I had met. Lisa and I met while I was working on a project. She was in her mid-30s but looked not a day over 30. She was tall, intelligent, attractive, with a sense of mischief. We spent hours talking about anything and everything. I had never met a more sensual, intoxicating woman. To me, she was a goddess. Instead of being put off by an affair with a married man, Lisa considered the idea dangerous, risky fun. We lived more than 200 miles apart, but each rendezvous was an adventure. She was comfortable with her sexuality, a considerate lover, and I could tell, from watching her with her children, a caring mother.
They embark on a torrid affair, and eventually, they decide to have a kid. And, really, if only his wife wasn't such a selfish bitch, everything would be amazing.
The truly selfish act wasn't infidelity; it was putting your own hurt and sense of betrayal before the children's interests. Kids need the reassurance of stability. I'd seen statistics that children from broken homes show higher rates of drug use, psychological and other emotional issues. Wasn't I taking the ethical road — putting my desires and dreams second, even if others disapproved, even if it meant Lisa and I only got to see each other a few days during the month?
So he consults a priest — and again, the priest and he seem well-matched. "After he finished howling with laughter, he advised me not to tell my wife but find a time when the children were older to explain."
But then. Oh, but then, friends. The Recession hits, and he doesn't have the time or money for Lisa that he once did. And even more bitchy women intervene to spoil things for him with their bourgeois values and inability to see his true nobility.
Her friends, weaned on the cheap morality of tabloid TV and glossy magazines, believed there was no greater crime than a man cheating on his wife. If he loved you, they told her, he would leave his family and marry you. I was a cheat, I couldn't be trusted. The fact that the president of France, Prince Charles, countless rock stars and bankers, a host of society luminaries as well as former presidents of the United States maintain this kind of situation as their everyday reality — and it is understood by their partners, who are mostly doing the same — does not matter one jot.
Then Lisa, too, disappoints him. Far from seeing him as the god he is, she becomes a demanding, selfish woman. How does this keep happening to this prince?
The goddess had become all too human. In fact, she had morphed into the archetypal American female; her expectations and needs trumped all other concerns. These days, we have polite conversation. She has a new boyfriend, who never ceases to remind her what a fiend I am. I still see my son and support him. My eldest son from family one has even met his younger brother, and many of my friends and extended family know about him. I have two families, two partners and no emotional contact with either.
Bummer. I mean, if you with your impeccable conduct, self-awareness, and realistic expectations for others can't find happiness, what hope is there for the rest of us?
The Family I Hid From My Wife [Salon]