‘My hus­band thought we were hav­ing an af­fair’

Woman (UK) - - Talking About -

Lucy Cavendish, 50, is a writer. She's mar­ried to Ed, and she has four chil­dren.

It was March 2000 when I moved to New York. Yes, it sounds glam­orous, but with my hus­band work­ing long hours as a jour­nal­ist, I was left alone with just our two-yearold son for com­pany.

I was lonely and bored – that is un­til one af­ter­noon when I was at­tempt­ing to spend a pleas­ant af­ter­noon with my son in the park. Only, he was – quite lit­er­ally – throw­ing his toys out of the pram.

Like some sort of mi­rage, a man ap­peared. ‘Have you lost this?’ he said, hand­ing me a slightly soiled teddy. Hear­ing he had an English ac­cent, I felt an in­stant bond. And, as we got chat­ting, I learnt that we had friends in com­mon back home. I thought noth­ing of agree­ing to see him again.

We quickly be­came close. While my hus­band worked, we went to the fair­ground with my son, sang in a choir, and took a train to the coun­try­side to re­lax. When peo­ple mis­took us for hus­band and wife, we sim­ply laughed.

He was sin­gle, but there was noth­ing clan­des­tine about our friend­ship and, at first, my hus­band was re­lieved I had com­pany. Only, that re­lief quickly turned to ir­ri­ta­tion, then anger. We’d have blaz­ing rows. I’d scream that I was lonely, that my new re­la­tion­ship was like any I had with fe­male friends, while he was con­vinced we’d crossed a phys­i­cal bound­ary – which we never had.

Only, I can’t say that I never thought about it. I couldn’t help but won­der what life would be like with him, where we’d live…

And, as I con­tin­ued to spend more time with my friend, the ar­gu­ments with my hus­band es­ca­lated. It soon be­came clear the mar­riage was over. I knew I had to leave New York City – and my hus­band.

Oddly, once I was sin­gle, I saw my de­sire for my friend for what it was – some­thing born out of a deep un­hap­pi­ness. – and those feel­ings dis­ap­peared.

Two decades on, I still have a strong bond with my friend. He got mar­ried and had chil­dren, and my new hus­band has grown as close to him as I am.

I’ve learnt that if you’re in a happy mar­riage, a friend­ship with a man will never be threat­en­ing. But, if you do have is­sues, it will bring them to the sur­face.

‘We had blaz­ing rows’

lucy’s first hus­band felt be­trayed even though she was faith­ful to him

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