I have always prized loyalty in all forms of relationships. This is because I was raised in a very strict Christian home. I lived my life by biblical principles. I criticized anyone who fell short of these principles. Yes, I used to be a self-righteous person. I got married when I was 28. My wife was 24 and we were both each other’s first. Our marriage was peaceful and almost perfect. Two years after my marriage things changed.
I was working as the administrator of a company that hires only tertiary students with working experience. One day I went to the staff room where my colleagues were having breakfast. My assistant handed me an A4-sized brown envelope. I asked him what it contained and he said it was an application letter. I took it and just when I turned to walk away another colleague brought a lady to introduce to me saying, “This is the lady who brought the application. Please I’m trusting you to help her.”
I looked at her briefly. Her innocent eyes stared back at me in a way that gave me goosebumps. She was very young. I opened the envelope to see if she met our qualifications. Her CV indicated that she was an SHS leaver. I told her there and then that she didn’t qualify to work with us. I ignored the disappointment on her face and headed to my office. There was something about her that made me desire her. A feeling as a married man shouldn’t have. I tried to shake it off and hoped I would not have to see her again.
Unfortunately for me, the guy who was recommending her for the job followed me to my office. He told me, “Please help her. I know she doesn’t qualify but the boss listens to you. This lady has a difficult home situation. She doesn’t have anyone to support her financially. She needs this job.” I was moved by what my colleague told me about her. I decided to give her a chance. In order to avoid temptation, I let him handle her first interview. As the guy pointed out, my boss trusts my judgment when it comes to hiring staff. I got him to hire her even though she hadn’t been to tertiary school. I worked closely with her to ensure that she did everything right. Her success reflected on me so I left her no room for mediocrity. As time went on our conversations shifted from work to personal life. The more I learned about her the more I admired her.
I helped her out with money whenever I could. I was so generous to her that one day she confessed “I think you are too good to me. Even my mother who hasn’t met you benefits from your kindness.” As she showered praises on me, I let my guard down. I stopped being conscious of my marital status. My suppressed desire for her bloomed. Lines started to get blurred. We didn’t know where our friendship ended and when my impending adultery began. I never hid from her that I was married. Talks of my wife dominated about fifty per cent of our conversations. However, that knowledge didn’t stop her from wanting me the same way I wanted her. I never set out to cheat on my wife but being with Delilah felt right. When I proposed to her she said yes immediately. Everyone at work knew that I was fond of her but they never thought it was in a romantic way. That’s how we hid our affair in plain sight.
We were together 24/7, either in person or on the phone. Whenever I was in her arms, reality faded. The only thing that mattered was the pounding of my heart against hers. I believed she was my soulmate. Our kisses were passionate. Every touch was laced with magic. With her, my heart was full. I never went all the way with her. She tried several times to get me to do it but I refused. I often told her, “I want to preserve the sacredness of sex for my marriage. It doesn’t mean I love you any less. I just don’t want to cross that line.” She understood me eventually and accepted things as they were. While all this was going on, my wife was unaware. If someone had tried to tell her, she would have defended me. That’s how much she trusted me.
My relationship with Delilah started in September and in December she travelled to see her mother. I didn’t hear from her the entire time she was gone. She just stopped answering my calls and replying to my texts. That was when I came to realize the intensity of my love for her. I couldn’t eat nor sleep. I withdrew into myself and spent my days in misery. I told myself then that I had to let her go. When she returned to town, she noticed that I had changed towards her. She started begging for my forgiveness. I didn’t want to welcome her back into my life but I was weak. I couldn’t resist the pull she had on me.
I fell back into her arms. Later she told me, “The reason I avoided you is that I ran into an ex. We ended up sleeping together and I felt guilty. I couldn’t face you.” After her confession, I was filled with rage. The thought of ending her life even popped into my head. I was angry and hurt that she cheated on me. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me. Here I was, a glorified cheat, getting angry that I had been cheated on. When I realized my hypocrisy, I let go of my anger and forgave her.
My wife is a health worker, so she worked extra hours during the Covid-19 pandemic. This afforded me a lot of time to spend with Delilah. We knew we couldn’t have a future together so we enjoyed every moment to the fullest. In 2021, I helped her buy forms for tertiary school. When she gained admission, I paid her school fees and bought everything she would need for school. Before she left for school, she went to visit her mum again. This time too she ghosted me the entire time she was gone. I only heard from her when she returned and settled into school. She apologized for the silence and did everything possible to get me to forgive her. I didn’t have it in me to stay mad at her. After some time, our relationship was back to normal despite the distance between us.
I helped her do her assignments and continued to provide for her needs. I thought we were doing well until she started ignoring me again. When I complained, she’d tell me she was busy with school. There were times we wouldn’t talk for days. While it tore me apart, Delilah was unfazed. I saw the end of our affair unravelling before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. I knew that eventually, we would have to end things, I just didn’t know it would hurt so bad. In a desperate attempt to hold on to her, I reminded her of the good I had done for her. She got angry and said, “You are too clingy and possessive, I need space.” All I could think was, “How did I get here? To a point where a twenty-one-year-old girl is telling me a thirty-year-old married man that I’m clingy. This has to stop.”
I tried to keep my distance from her and she didn’t even notice. This made me feel like I meant nothing to her. My mental health suffered. I couldn’t even hide it. Everyone who knew me became concerned, my wife especially. Her concern only fueled my guilt and made me feel worse. I felt like I was a worthless cheat who didn’t deserve any love. On two occasions I crashed my car. It was by accident but maybe a part of me was trying to die. After the end of her first year, Delilah broke up with me via WhatsApp text message. After reading the text I woke up in a hospital bed. I had fainted out of shock. Nobody knew what was going on with me except an elderly counsellor I had confided in. As soon as I was discharged from the hospital I went to beg her. I told her to forgive my shortcomings and take me back. She turned me away saying she was fed up with me.
The counsellor tried her best to help me. She did her best but it wasn’t easy for me to let her go. After everything Delilah did to me, she still asked me to help pay her school fees and I did. When she got to school, she asked me to send her money for food and handouts. I did that too. Whenever she was in need, she would text me relentlessly until I give her what she wants. The more she interacted with me, the more I felt hurt.
In March this year, I met a woman who took one look at me and asked, “Young man what’s wrong with you? Whatever you are dealing with is killing you.” In tears, I told her everything. Her advice was simple “Cut her off. Stop talking to her, stop helping her.” She gave me the courage to do what was necessary. I blocked and deleted Delilah’s number.
I got rid of everything that reminded me of her. I am not completely healed but my life is getting back to normal. My wife still loves and adores me. She doesn’t know that I betrayed her trust and dirtied our love with my adultery. The guilt of pretending that I am the perfect husband is killing me. But I have decided that I will not burden her with it. I will live with my conscience and suffer the consequences alone.
As I write this, Delilah has been sending me messages from another number. She is asking me to help her with money. I see the messages but I don’t reply to them. I have learned my lessons the hard way. Unlike the biblical Sampson, I will not allow this woman to be the end of me. Right now I am looking for ideas on how to repair the damage my actions have caused in my marriage. I want to touch my wife without feeling the sting of my own betrayal. I want to go back to where we were before I met Delilah. How do I do that? How do I move past everything I have done and enjoy my marriage.