By Bunmi Sofola
Ibi and Patrick had been married for over 12 years when the couple finally decided to split. “: For the first four years of our marriage,” Ibi said, “we were the perfect couple. We were totally besotted with each other and our sex life was out of this world. Patrick was the perfect partner. We made each other laugh all the time and he listened eagerly and always knew exactly what to say. I was lucky to have him. We were doing incredibly well in our chosen professions, money was no problem at all.
“But after we had our two children, we slowly began to drift apart. Real-life got in the way of our happiness and we seldom had time for each other. Soon, taking each other for granted became the norm. The bedroom was for sleeping only and we never laughed anymore. Life stopped being an adventure we were facing together and became a slow trudge towards death! We started to resent each other. The slightest thing would spark an argument.
“We weren’t doing each other any good, and more importantly, our house wasn’t a good place to bring up our two kids who were now eight and six, they were old enough to pick up on the rows. It was whilst we were having a really bad shouting match that I told Patrick I’d had it. That we should throw in the towel before we really tore each other apart. And he agreed. ‘This is like living in hell’, he said. `I do love you, but I’m so unhappy. Promise me we’ll do this the right way. We have to stay friends if only for the kids’.
“Days later, he’d settled into one of the flats in his parents home a few streets away. As soon as we agreed to end the marriage, I felt like a load had been lifted from me. Suddenly, I was my old self again. People would tell me how much happier I suddenly seemed. They would compliment me on my smile. I realised just how depressed my marriage had made me.
“Almost a year later, I met Taofik when he started work in my office. He was a senior manager and really good-looking. I was attracted to him from day one! And at that year’s end-of-year-party, we ended up smooching on the dance floor. And that was how our relationship started. It was like a breath of fresh air. All the dull, mundane boredom of life with Patrick had been replaced with excitement and pleasure. And as an added bonus, he was good with the kids. Things were going great for us and I felt so lucky to have been given a second chance of happiness.
“So it was a wild shock to find me in bed with Patrick. Technically it wasn’t cheating, I suppose. We hadn’t even started divorce proceedings yet. But technicalities don’t count when it comes to the heart. I knew full well I had betrayed Taofik.
“Patrick and I still saw each other occasionally – we had to because of the kids. But one night, I was at a friend’s house warming party when I bumped into him. I was a bit sloshed at the time and our talk soon got round to the good old days. It left us feeling nostalgic, and for some reason, we found ourselves kissing. It was like being with a really close friend, and before we knew it, we’d sneaked into his flat. His parents were fast asleep of course. After we’d had sex, I made him realise it was going to be a one-off. “We can’t do this again’, I told him. `It wouldn’t be fair on Taofik’. He snorted. `Not fair on Taofik? You’re still my wife you know and he’s sharing the bed I bought with you every night’.
“I didn’t find his reaction funny. I was emphatic it was a mistake. And he joked I shouldn’t worry, that it would be our secret. Mistake or not, we continued seeing each other. I was having an affair with my own husband! I found myself torn between two men. Clearly, I still had feelings for my husband, but I knew I loved Taofik too. In my head, I knew what I should do – I should stay with Taofik. He was good for me. He was handsome and funny and good company. And he was willing to take on my family.
“But Patrick had been my husband for over 12 years. We had been so happy at one point. Maybe all we’d needed was a break. Maybe we could get back to where we once had been. The Kid would love it if we got back together. I couldn’t choose between them. I wanted to have my cake and eat it. My affair with Patrick was so exciting. Keeping everything secret was a big turn-on, and the sex was mind-blowing. But it couldn’t last. One of Taofik’s friends saw us having a romantic dinner at a restaurant and told him.
“I thought he would go ballistic, but he was very measured about the whole thing. He made it clear I had to choose. `I love you, but I won’t share you’, he said. `I know you’re going through a difficult time and emotions can get out of control at the end of a marriage, but this can’t go on. I can forgive you – if you want me to – but I must know it’s over between you two’. I felt embarrassed by being caught and assured Taofik it was over between Patrick and I.
“My affair with Patrick was only good because it was an affair. It was like before we had a family and responsibilities. If we got back together, we’d soon slip back into our old ways. The burden of life would soon weigh us down for a second time and the amazing sex would be a thing of the past. It would never last. I will always love Patrick but I know that we can’t be together. My future is with Taofik. We’re happy and I love him …”