“Larry and I were toasting our 10th anniversary when he blurted out that he’d fallen for someone else,” said Liz, 37, the mother of three sons, 8, 6, and 2. “I nearly choked on my champagne. I’d have run out of the restaurant but didn’t want to make a scene. So I just sat there, blinking back tears. How could he be so cruel?
“I should have seen it coming. Larry has been spending so much time at the office and the gym that I feel like a single parent. He gives me no help whatsoever with our three boys. Most nights he gets home after the kids are in bed, grabs a quick bite and crashes. And nothing is happening in the romance department! For that I have only myself to blame. I packed on the pounds with each pregnancy, and a couple weeks ago I got up the nerve to step on a scale. I’d hit 200 pounds — and I’m only 5-foot-2! No wonder Larry doesn’t want to have sex with me, especially since he’s gotten pretty buff.
“He has always struggled with his weight, too. The problem runs in both our families. Our parents and siblings are terrific people, but they’re couch potatoes. As young adults Larry and I vowed not to follow their example. In fact, we met at Weight Watchers. While we were dating we helped each other stick to our diets and even started jogging together. By our wedding I’d lost 30 pounds and he’d lost 50. My gown was a size 12 — the smallest ever for me. We had an amazing honeymoon at a resort with a heart-shaped bed. Talk about fireworks!
“I got pregnant around our first anniversary. After our son was born, I quit my job as a dental hygienist. Larry became a partner in his family’s contracting business. As we settled into married life, we both started to get heavy again. We talked about going back to Weight Watchers but never got around to it.
“So I should have suspected something when Larry hopped back on the fitness train. It turns out he did it for Carol, the receptionist at his office, who’s 28, athletic, and very attractive. He said they’d begun going to the gym together at lunchtime or after work, and their involvement grew from there.
“I sat there listening to all this as my dinner got cold. Then he dropped another bomb: They’d never had sex. Apparently, early on, he tried to kiss her and she turned away. She told him she’s been in a committed relationship with a woman for three years and had never thought of Larry as anything but a good friend and workout buddy.
“By now, of course, my head was spinning. Finally, Larry stopped blabbing and smiled at me. Smiled! Did he think everything was hunky-dory just because nothing physical had happened? Did he think I was fine with his behavior just because the other woman turned out to be a lesbian? Give me a break — he fell in love with her! That hurt more than if he’d confessed to a one-night stand. He cheated, plain and simple. I run myself ragged being a good mother and he’s been lusting after someone else — someone younger and in better shape than I am, with no children or responsibilities.
“I pulled myself together enough to whisper, ‘I’m out of here — not just the restaurant, but the marriage.’ And I meant it. I agreed to counseling only so we can have an amicable divorce for the kids’ sake.”