I was twenty years when I found out my mom was cheating on my dad. I was a first-year student at the university and had returned home for vacation.
I went to see my mom in her office one day and she left me for a meeting. Just some minutes after she left, I heard a beep sound, apparently coming from her phone. After a series of beeps, a call came through. I went to the phone and answered the call.
It was a gentleman seeking to have a word with her. I told him my mom wasn’t around so he hung up. It was then the messages on the phone caught my eyes. I didn’t intend to read but somehow I was drawn to it since it was already opened.
“Would you pass by after work tonight so we spend some time together?”
That was the message that caught my attention. I went back to previous messages to make sure I wasn’t making things up. Everything was out there! They’ve kissed, they’ve traveled on several occasions, they’ve had sex and they’ve been together for about three years. “How could that be?” I questioned myself. “Where has dad been all this while?”
Mom had been a great mom to me. I’m the only child and she never ceased to provide and be there for me but from that day going, I started looking back and assessing the relationship that existed between my mom and dad.
Dad is the reserved type. He rather acts than talk. My mom didn’t like talking a lot too but she was very outgoing and forthcoming. Between them, they didn’t talk a lot. My mom would usually spend the night watching TV and dad would be somewhere around the house minding his own business.
They had been able to live for twenty-two years being like that with each other so I guessed nothing was wrong. They never fought—I never saw them exchanging words so finding out my mom was cheating was a very big blow to me.
I needed someone to talk to.
Talking about it with my dad was out of the question. I feared he would be angry and trigger a divorce. I have a lot of wishes—having my parents divorced wasn’t one of those. Dad caught a hint of my mood and asked what the problem was. I couldn’t say the truth. He thought I was having boy issues and rather tried to convince me to share with him.
Yeah, I was having issues except that the person involved here was his own wife.
A week before school resumes, I gathered courage and had a discussion with mom…
“I know you are seeing someone else apart from dad,” I said. “And I know you’ve been seeing him for over three years. I know also that you’ve been traveling with him and spending time with him after work.”
Surprisingly she wasn’t stunned. She said, “You’ve been reading my text messages. I underestimated you. How long have you been doing that?” I kept repeating, “Mom why are you doing this to dad? You want to break up with him?”
She said nothing at first, she only kept staring at me. She answered, “You know only half of the story. Don’t judge me.” “I’m not judging you. I’m only asking you why.” She still looked calm. No sign of remorse or regrets.
“Are you planning on telling your dad?”
“If you don’t stop, I’ll have no option than to tell him.”
I thought that would put some fear in her but I was lying. She only said, “Let’s see what happens.”
I’ve been in school for about two months. I called my dad one night and asked him to give the phone to my mom to speak to her. He told me, “Your mom hasn’t returned from work and it’s already 10pm.” I got triggered. It was like I was possessed.
I called mom’s phone several times after speaking with dad but she didn’t pick. She called the next morning to tell me she was busy. “Busy with your boyfriend I guess?” I shouted on the phone. She responded, “I’m still your mom, give me some respect, ok?” She hung up.
I was so angry I couldn’t think straight. My dad was a good man and for the best of my knowledge, he was playing his role as a husband impeccably well.
I went home that evening to spill the beans. As usual, mom hadn’t returned from work. Dad was in the dining hall eating rice he himself had cooked. I sat next to him and told him everything; “Mom is cheating on you. I found out from her messages. She comes home late because she goes to see the other man after work.”
He was quiet. He didn’t say a word. “Did you hear what I just said? Mom is chea…”
“I know!” He interrupted. “I’ve always known her ways from day one.”
“You what! You know? And you haven’t done anything about it?”
He stopped eating and turned to me, “I haven’t done anything about it? I have. The first time I caught her cheating, I had to warn the other man to stay away from her. And he did. Not too long after, she dated a guy who was 15 years younger than her. I used her own phone to send a pleading text to the guy to stay away from my wife. The guy left.
She pleaded for forgiveness and promised not to do it again. But you see, I can’t keep chasing flies off your mom. She can stay away from the flies if she wants to.”
I’ve lived with these two all my life and didn’t realize they were going through such hard times? Where have I been? I was a girl and maybe didn’t think too much of them but since that day, I respected my dad more and resented my mom with all I have.
I stopped picking her calls and refused to see her when she came around looking for me in school. She kept telling me, “You know only half of the story. Don’t judge me.”
So what is the other half of the story?
Dad insisted there was no other half story and if there was any, he wasn’t aware of it. Mom wouldn’t tell me what the other side of the story was. She claimed, “You are a child. Our daughter. You can’t know all of our struggles, especially the intimate ones. Leave us to fight our own issues.”
They never divorced and no one ever heard them fighting about this issue.
I grew up and took less interest in the way they lived their lives. After all, they were both ok so who was I to get angry on their behalf?
Dad died recently. He still wore his wedding ring with pride regardless of all the struggles. In my mom’s tribute to him, she called my dad a warrior. I knew what that meant. It takes only a warrior to live with a woman like her until the end.
But I wasn’t done until I got the “other half” of the story.
“When you were about four years old, your dad became impotent as a result of a sickness he was battling with. You were four and I was hitting twenty-five. That was the reason we had only you. For the rest of my life, I had to endure a sexless life with your dad.
I tried. God knows I did my best. You father became impotent and also resigned from any affair with me. He didn’t even sleep next to me or even held me during the cold hours of the dawn.
A gentleman found me beautiful at a point I thought I was decaying. He was all over me so I gave up resistance and had an affair with him. Your dad got a hint and drove him away. Another came my way. He was a boy but had the mind of a man. I had him and when I thought everything was going on fine, your dad happened.
He drove that one too away. He drove them away and yet starved me of his presence and connection. Your dad was a good father and a friend but he wasn’t a good husband. I wasted my youth with him and that came at a price.”
That is the other half of the story. Dad is gone and can’t defend himself but mom had no reason to lie. I concluded that mom was a bad bitch but she too had her reason. Who am I to judge?
-Matilda Ewudze, Koforidua-Ghana.