Paul* had several wives in his life, almost as many children. All, or almost, have been unfaithful. Him ? Never. Let it be said: not all men are womanizers. Oh no.

“For me, a relationship is for life,” repeats our interlocutor, met one early morning in June, in the chic Cathcart of Place Ville Marie.

The man, late 50s, is not a La Presse reader. Instead, he heard the author of these lines talking about her job on the radio, and the topic of the section visibly challenged him. “I thought it was important to give my version,” he says, barely installed. His version? It’s that Paul, recently single, is constantly being asked the question, “Have you been unfaithful?” And he can’t stand the implication anymore: “It’s almost always the first question I get asked!” […] But why always this cursed question? I can no longer! For good reason: it was rather he who paid the price for the infidelities of his girlfriends. And he can no longer be taken for granted that he is “the beast” in the story.

It must be said that his story is surprising. Here: his eldest, he learned a few years ago, may not be his. And neither does his youngest, believe it or not. We will come to that.

It all started in his mid-twenties, when Paul arrived in Montreal with the aim of starting a family. “I wanted kids,” he explains quite naturally, “because that’s life. »

He meets his first wife at the factory. In bed ? “I thought I had no problem, but I was abused when I was younger, he slips here, so I had a hard time getting people to touch me. »

Abused? Paul wants to qualify here. He must have been 5 years old, “but it was never mean or threatening, he specifies, only touching on both sides”, and this, from a neighbor. Still: “It didn’t hurt me, but it affected me,” he concedes, without elaborating on the subject, since his subject is elsewhere and we know it.

With this first wife, therefore, the relationship lasts two years, after which, Madame, without warning, leaves “suddenly” with another, pregnant to boot. “I found out 25 years later that she had a boyfriend. Probably my eldest was his boyfriend, but a genetic test, I’m not interested…”

When Madame leaves (pregnant, so we said), Paul gets back together quickly, even if he finds the separation “difficult”. “Because for me it was for life. »

His second spouse in turn becomes pregnant, so that the two women give birth in the same year. Hence the family gossip, we understand. “Everyone says I cheated on her!” But I know the timeline, says Paul. People get ideas! »

That’s not all. Paul then has a second child with this second spouse, before she in turn leaves him. And then ? Shared custody requires, the first obviously remains in the background. What had to happen happens, and our Paul gives her a second child. You follow ? “And that accentuated this idea that I was a cheater of women. […] But I know that I have never attended both at the same time! »

He speaks with knowledge: At family dinners, Paul still hears “people” crunching numbers behind his back to pinpoint his secrets. Secrets that do not exist, insists our man. Moreover, after a year of separation with his second spouse (the mother of his two other children), the couple is also giving themselves a second chance. How ? “We had discussions,” he explains. And we worked on our relationship. For me, again, it was for life. »

Note that slowly, over time, Paul also began to overcome his demons from the past, and accepted to let himself be touched. “I had to work on it…” Except that to do this, there must still be “feelings”, he specifies. “I need to feel loved…”

Still, when he is back with this second spouse, Paul falls seriously ill. The treatments are so severe that he loses his fertility. But hold on tight, in the following year, his wife still gets pregnant, leaves him, and leaves with another. If she cheated on him? “I don’t know,” he shrugs, “but if you calculate the dates […], in principle I was sterile…” Anyway: “It was my worst separation,” Paul says. Not only can I no longer have children, but regardless of the problems, they have to be raised. »

Paul is 30 years old and he is not at the end of his troubles. He finds himself single, with a handful of children to manage every other weekend. It was then that he got into a relationship with a neighbor, a story that this time lasted a little over ten years. “I knew after that, when she met me, she already had a ‘friend’,” he slips here. That said, with her, there is no risk of being deceived: Madame is “cold”. Why does he stay so long, then? “Is it laziness? Why wouldn’t I stay? The reasons for leaving were not serious enough, even if, in the end, she had her room, I had mine. »

At the turn of the forties, they nevertheless end up leaving each other and Paul then gets into a relationship with a colleague (married, when they meet), a relationship that lasts another ten years. “But her, she was making love mechanically, I had no sentimental return,” laments Paul, who in turn needs to feel these “feelings”.

From ? Now single, every time he meets a woman, he is asked the same questions. “And I don’t want to repeat this story anymore, to defend myself, to justify myself, to have something to prove,” he said. It hurts me. So much so that Paul no longer wants to be in a relationship at all. Are the relationships over? “I don’t miss anything in my life,” he concludes. And I don’t really want a woman who’s going to be unfaithful to me…”