John was having an affair.
I knew it. That simple and that lowdown. I saw signs of it every minute he sat across from me at his desk; I imagined other, more vivid indicators when he was away from the office. There was a John Graves at work and at home, but it was not the John Graves I had married and would swear I knew better than any other man I’d ever known in my life.
He was the man I loved. The man I thought was in love with me. And now I was absolutely sure he was spending his time, his money, his energy on someone he found more deserving. It wasn’t exactly the idea of who I was consumed with (though I won’t lie: that was no small part of it) but why? Why put a cheap county-fair tattoo on the fine skin of a charmed life. Was there something I hadn’t been doing, something I didn’t know how to do, something I’d been missing? Was I too demanding? Not demanding enough? Was there some more potent, idealized form of love out there than I could provide for John? I would swear in any court—civil, Supreme, or Judge Freakin’ Judy’s—that our life together was beautiful. Not flawless. No true beauty ever is. But it was cool and fun and juicy. Now it seemed that for John it wasn’t enough.
So I hired a personal investigator. A private dick named Stephanie. (Oh, come on, let me have this little joke. This is not an easy story to tell.) I had someone on the case, someone on my side. I could try to salvage our lives, my life, our business, something, anything, without worrying about where John was and what he was doing. I had a professional watcher doing the watching. I’d do the worrying when I had the time. But I had a life to continue. I wanted my husband back, though I had no idea where he had gone. I wanted our business back under control. I wanted our home to be our refuge from the world, and not for the world to be a welcome escape from our home.
I don’t think anyone knows how they’d react if they suspected their spouse (or any other term you’d prefer for the person who shares your life) of being emotionally and/or sexually involved with another person. I know that the mere thought of it will simultaneously send your heart and head racing and deaden your soul.
But I think all people involved in serious committed relationships would do well to heed the lyrics of a classic Black Crowes song: “Don’t give me no lines and keep your hands to yourself.”
©2010 Catherine Graves