“I’m So Furious I Can’t Even Think Straight”
“Can you imagine how I felt?” asked Cheryl, her voice shaking, her eyes narrow with rage. “I stopped by my husband’s cardiology office after meeting a friend for a matinee in town. Usually I call first, but I thought it would be nice to surprise him, and maybe go out to dinner. Our kids — Diana is 12, Peter is 10 — were staying at my brother’s house, so it was the perfect opportunity.
“When I got there about 5:00 p.m., I noticed that Shannon, his longtime nurse, wasn’t at her desk. The door to Gary’s office was locked, which I found odd, but I had a key from a weekend last winter when I had to pick up files while he was sick with the flu. I opened the door, and there he was on the couch with Shannon in the middle of a sex act. When Gary saw me, he turned white, jumped up and started babbling apologies. Shannon was silent. I felt sick to my stomach but, oddly, I also felt strong. I stood in shock for a moment, then turned and left without saying one word. Somehow, I managed to drive home. Gary arrived home soon after.
“He was crying, begging my forgiveness, calling himself an idiot and insisting that he loved me, not her. He said he already told her their relationship was over. Still numb, I calmly asked him when the affair had started — seven years ago, he said — and whether he loved her. ‘Absolutely not,’ he claimed.
“That was two weeks ago, and since I found out, I’ve been barely functioning. I want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Other times, I’m so furious I can’t even think straight.
“The truth is, I suspected Gary was cheating on me with Shannon for a long time. Often, he would call in the late afternoon to tell me he was running late and to have dinner without him. Now I know he was really checking to see if he could sneak away with Shannon. He took her out to lunch a lot and to conferences — Gary insisted to me that this was because it was important that she know everything about his practice. When I’d ask point-blank if they were having an affair, he’d act incredulous: ‘How could you think that?’ he’d say. Our fights always ended with, ‘Cheryl, you’re imagining this, cut it out already!’ Hoping to get to the bottom of my fears, I even dragged us to a therapist for a few weeks three years ago. But Gary insisted it was all in my head. And by the time I walked in on him and Shannon, I had already convinced myself that I was worrying for nothing. After all, that’s what I was always told as a kid.