The Sex Edition: the Wife 

We had been married a year and a half when he met her at work. We were 30. She was 22.

There was a quick change in him. My friends who have gone through this say they experienced the same thing with their husbands. There's almost a textbook form to it. He got mean. This was in the summer. We started fighting about things we'd never argued about. All of a sudden, it was like he was picking fights with me, trying to make me angry. He was mopey and sullen, not engaged. He criticized what I wore: "Why don't you wear skirts to work?" I understood later that she was a short-skirt-and-heels-to-work kind of girl.

I can almost pinpoint the day they met. From then on, he was constantly checking his e-mail. He would leave the house to take calls, so I looked through his phone records. There was this number that — bang, bang, bang — was always on the list: 4 in the morning, you know, all times of the day, and then there'd be six calls when I knew he was out of town. I found the number in the fall, and they'd started seeing each other in March.

I called the number and got her voice mail, got her name, heard her voice. So I asked him, "Who is she?" And he said she was one of his clients, a friend of his. "She has feelings for me," he told me. I said, "Friends don't call each other at 4 in the morning." But he said they were really good friends, and she had feelings for him, and I bought that. It was what I wanted to hear.

We were at breakfast a few months after they started seeing each other, and on the drive home, he said to me, "My feelings for you have changed." What do you say to that? And how could it have happened after less than two years? I was devastated. I packed a duffel bag and went to my sister's for a few days. And that was OK with him. He wanted some space.

After that, things were better for a month. We went out with friends and had fun with them, and I felt more positive about things. He seemed better. I found out later that she'd called it off. She felt guilty. She went on dates to make him jealous.

Within that little span, I got pregnant.

The day I took the test and knew I was pregnant, I sat down at the computer and just happened to open an e-mail and see her name. All I saw was "I love you completely." That's it. That's what I saw. And that's all I needed to read. I just knew. I ran around the house like an idiot, screaming and crying. He came running into the house, and I said, "Why is she saying she loves you?"

He sat down at the kitchen table and said, "You're right. We had sex a couple of times."

I said, "Pick up your phone and call her. I want to talk to her." So he got his cell phone and he dialed her number, and he said, "I told my wife. She knows we had sex a couple of times," and she hung up on him. I told him to try again, but she wouldn't answer. I think she was embarrassed.

The rest of that weekend is a complete fog in my head. When I went back to work on Monday, I started hacking into his e-mail account from work. You want to know exactly what they did, physically, A to B. You want to know where they went, if they saw movies, where they had dinner, if they dated, if they held hands at the movies, if he opened doors for her. You go crazy with the minutiae. Has he said the same things to her that you've heard? Does he talk about me? Does she wonder about me? You become obsessed with finding those things out. I was constantly asking him questions.

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