As the days since “the incident” turned into weeks, I grew more and more paranoid. I was scared to death that I would slip up somehow. What I had done was bad enough, but not telling him about it seemed like an even greater act of deception and betrayal. Ibrahim would occasionally catch me while I was deep in thought and ask me what was wrong. He could always tell when something was bothering me, and yet I couldn’t tell him this time. I had always been a terrible liar, so I would simply tell him it was nothing. I could tell, however, that he knew better.
There was another issue stoking my paranoia: Ray and I hadn’t used protection. I didn’t worry about pregnancy, since I had my tubes tied after Habiba was born. But what if Ray had given me a sexually-transmitted disease, and then I passed it onto Ibrahim? I began doing research about various STD’s, studying symptoms and incubation periods. I considered getting tested, but which tests would I take? And what if Ibrahim found out about it? Ray was an older man who was recently divorced after a long marriage. What were the odds that he was carrying an STD? After more than a month had passed, I came to the conclusion that I had avoided that potential issue as well. More so than ever, I began to feel that my infidelity would never be discovered.
Then I realized that all of my web searches into various STD’s were captured in my browser history on our shared laptop. In a panic, I frantically erased as much as I could from my search history. Not that Ibrahim would ever check, but I wanted to be absolutely certain that I had left behind zero evidence. My paranoia became my daily companion as I considered one scenario after another in which my misdeed might be discovered by my husband before I could have a chance to tell him the truth.
I couldn’t take the pressure of the constant stress on my emotions any longer. I had begun to lose weight, as I had trouble eating. I tossed and turned in bed each night. I had difficulty thinking straight, and began making costly mistakes at work. Although I was treating Ibrahim like a king in an effort to overcompensate for what I’d done, I still felt as though I were cheating on him with each passing day I didn’t confess. I reached a breaking point. Whatever the cost would be, I had to tell him. It was the right thing to do.
We sent Habiba away to a week-long summer camp. If ever there were a perfect opportunity to confess, that was it. I imagined that Ibrahim would be incredibly angry. He would likely shout and curse. Although I was sure he wouldn’t hit me or become ultra-violent, I imagined that he might throw something against a wall or break something. I didn’t want our daughter to be exposed to any of that.
Needless to say, I was as nervous as I have ever felt when the two of us sat at the kitchen table on that fateful afternoon. I had rehearsed what I would say to him in my head for so long, and yet when the time came to deliver this crushing news, my throat was so constricted, and my voice shook so violently, I’m surprised he was able to understand a word I said.
As expected, he shouted and called me every name imaginable. He slammed his fist on the table so hard I thought it would crack, and he paced across the kitchen floor like a caged animal. Before I could say another word, he stormed out of the house. I waited all night for him to return, and fell asleep on the couch. I tried calling and texting his cellphone, but he refused to respond. I don’t know where he stayed that night, but he didn’t return until the following afternoon.
When he stepped through the front door, I hardly recognized him. He looked as though he had slept in his clothes, and the expression on his face reminded me of a photo I once saw of soldiers returning from battle. That is the moment I began to question whether I had made the right decision by confessing my sin.
He didn’t say a word. He simply walked past me and sat at the kitchen table. With great hesitancy, I eventually joined him. He stared at me for quite a while. I had trouble looking him at him. The pain behind his eyes went straight to my heart. In that moment, I thought I had made the wrong decision by confessing. He would be so happy at that moment if I hadn’t told him what I had done. Perhaps it was selfish of me to relieve my guilt at his expense.
“Why?” he asked. His voice was unusually raspy.
I shook my head. Tears streaked down my cheeks. “I’m so sorry, Ibrahim.”
“Why?” he repeated.
“I…I don’t know,” I replied. My throat clenched, making it difficult to speak. “I wish I had a better answer. But I don’t know.”
“Are you unhappy about something?” he asked through gritted teeth. “Am I not good enough for you?”
“You’re the best—”
“Have I not given you enough? All those years you stayed home with Habiba while I busted my ass. The food on our table, the roof over our heads, the clothes on your back. What did I not provide you with?”
I wept uncontrollably. I tried to dry my tears with a tissue, but they just kept coming. I had no answers for him.
He continued with his interrogation. “Is he handsome? Good in bed? Big dick? Did he give it to you nice and hard?”
I shook my head. “Please, Ibrahim.”
“Please, what? How many times did you cum? Did you suck his dick? Tell me everything.”
“Please…stop,” I pleaded.
“No,” he said. “I want to know. Every fucking detail. I want to know what you two said to each other. I want to know exactly what you did to each other. You claim that you’ve always been honest with me? Prove it. Honestly tell me everything that happened.”
I couldn’t take any more of his interrogation. This time, it was I who ran for the door. I could barely see the road as I sped away from our house. I didn’t even have a destination in mind. I just knew I had to get away. I had expected the confrontation to be a horrendous experience, but I wasn’t prepared for how painful it actually was. Why did he need to know details about what happened? Wasn’t it bad enough to know that it happened? If the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t want to know anything about it!
I thought about driving to my sister’s house. We had always shared everything about our lives, and I really could have used her advice at that moment. I didn’t want to get her involved, though, until Ibrahim and I had a chance to fully hash it out. I eventually realized that running away was only delaying the inevitable. I would have to face him at some point. I pulled into an empty parking lot and simply sat there for a long time, collecting my thoughts. When I felt I had calmed myself enough to return, I made my way back home.
It looked as though Ibrahim hadn’t moved since I left, as he was still seated at the kitchen table. I approached him tentatively. I almost touched him on the shoulder, but thought better of it and sat down across the table from him.
“Did you enjoy it?” he asked.
I searched his expression, looking for some explanation as to why he needed to know these things. “It…that’s not important. I don’t want to answer that, Ibrahim.”
“Why do you need to know that?”
“Who have you told about this?” he asked, changing the subject.
“No one,” I responded.
“Not even your sister?” he asked.
I shook my head. “I haven’t told anyone.”
“Good,” he said. “Keep it that way. You’ve embarrassed me enough already.”
Embarrassed him? I should have been the one to be ashamed. “I’m sorry,” I said again. “I never meant to hurt you. It just…happened.”
“What, you were just so horny you couldn’t control yourself?” he sneered. “Since when do you get so horny? We have sex’ maybe once a week. You couldn’t go a week without sex’?”
“It…wasn’t like that. I…I don’t have any explanation that would satisfy you.”
“How about just telling me the truth, then?” he asked. “Was it good? Did he make you cum?”
“I don’t understand why you want to know that!” I shrieked. “What difference does it make?”
He had put me in an impossible position. Was the sex’ good? Hell, yeah, it was. Did I cum? Multiple times. Did he have a big dick? Big enough. Was I supposed to tell the truth? Or was I supposed to lie? If I lied, he would see straight through me, and my entire purpose for “coming clean” would be rendered irrelevant. If I told the truth, it would destroy him.
“Because if you enjoyed it, you’ll probably do it again and again,” he explained. “If you can get better sex:’ somewhere else, what would stop you?”
What he said made zero sense to me. So, if I didn’t enjoy myself, then I wouldn’t cheat on him again? My decision to sleep with Ray had nothing to do with the quality of the sex:’ I imagined we’d have. I couldn’t understand why Ibrahim was so adamant about comparing himself with Ray sex’ with Ray was neither “better” nor “worse” than sex’ with Ibrahim. It was completely different. There was no comparison to be made.
“Ibrahim,” I stated as calmly as possible, “I really think we should see a therapist together.”
“Ha!” he laughed. “No fucking way. I know I’ll end up taking the blame for this somehow. I’m not satisfying you in bed, so you had to find some strange dick to fuck, right?”
“It’s not like that at all!” I protested. “You know that I have always enjoyed making love with you!”
“Then why did you do it?” His eyes were glassy and bloodshot.
“I honestly don’t know. If I did, I would tell you, I swear. I was weak. I was intimidated by my new job, and unsure whether I was ready to go back to work. I was feeling very vulnerable and stressful.”
“And I suppose I’m to blame for that,” he said. “I don’t do enough around here to alleviate your stress. I don’t support you enough.”
I heaved a heavy sigh. “It’s not about you, Ibrahim. It’s—”
“Don’t say it,” he said, pointing at my face. “Don’t you fucking say ‘It’s not you; it’s me.’ If you won’t be truthful with me, then how can I ever trust you again? If you don’t know why you did it, what on earth would prevent you from doing it again?”
“Because I realize what I did was so wrong, and I see how much it has hurt you, and I never want to hurt you like this ever again!”
He shook his head and stared at a family photo hanging on the wall. He didn’t say a word for a long while, and neither did I. We simply sat in silence and contemplated what was to come.
That conversation in the kitchen repeated itself many times throughout the week, with only slight variations. He continued to press me for details about that night, and I continued to deny his demands. It seemed that we had reached an impasse. As the day approached when we would need to pick up Habiba from summer camp, it felt as though we were working under a deadline. I needed him to resolve this issue, either way, once and for all. He needed to either forgive me or leave me.
I grew frustrated with him. I knew I shouldn’t have had any right to be angry with him, given what I had done, and yet I was. I expected him to be angry at me, but instead he seemed to internalize that one-night-stand as a personal affront to his character instead of a weakness of mine. He said he had never felt more inadequate, which I found foolish. I had never known my husband to express such insecurity. He had always seemed so confident. It was a major part of what had attracted him to me in the first place.
This article was first published on MaDailyGist.com