<According to the National Police Agency, the number of cases of domestic violence has increased 2.4 times in a span of 10 years from 2011 to 2021. In conjunction with this increase, “DV divorces” are no longer uncommon. It is inevitable that new male-female relationships will emerge from this trend. But the 38-year-old “dispatched worker” was a glamorous woman with a good job. Then she discovers that she is a victim of domestic violence. A crush, sympathy, and then a romantic relationship. One day, he receives an unexpected revenge from his wife. A true-crime report by Sanae Kameyama, a writer who has been covering romantic affairs between men and women.>
It started out “light hearted”
It started out “light-hearted,” but as they got together, they became more and more serious. This may be a common occurrence in adulting.
“It has been 20 years since we got married, and my children are able to make their own way without me. My wife and I have a good and bad relationship. There is no place for me at home. I didn’t have a place at work either (laughs).”
Kenichi, 50, met Norika, 38, a temporary worker at his office a year and a half ago. She is divorced due to her husband’s domestic violence, but she is dedicated and excellent at her job. She has a good memory and is attentive, which made her an immediate asset.
“She is divorced, lives with her mother, and she has an 8-year-old child. When I invited her to dinner at a restaurant that was open even with the COVID-19 crisis, hoping to relieve her stress, she smiled as if a flower had bloomed. I had always only seen her serious face, so I was thrilled to see how gorgeous her smile was.”
He laughed, saying that it had been decades since he had experienced such an emotion as a “crush”. At the time, however, he did not recognize it as “love”. He just thought she was a nice, serious, hard-working woman.
In his daily life with his “reasonable” wife
“My wife was a junior in school, and we met again five years after graduation. We hit it off somehow, and after two years of dating, we got married. We were blessed with two children, and our home life was going reasonably well.”
“I guess when I was in my late 40s, I realized that I could no longer expect much advancement at work. My wife started working part time and started taking lessons for her hobbies. My daughter and son are at an age where friends are more important than parents. I must have been somewhat lonely.”
“About six months after Norika and I started going out to eat together, at a table near where we were eating, an argument broke out. When I looked at her, her face was very pale and her body was trembling.”
“She had flashbacks of her husband abusing her. She was frightened. At that time, she said, ‘Let’s just go somewhere quiet,’ so we rushed out of the restaurant and jumped into a nearby hotel.”
After a while, she finally calmed down and clung to Kenichi. He says he could not suppress his instincts as a man. He was attracted to her personality and behind the admiration was a love affair dangerously blooming .
After that, he said, “I began to love her every move. I tried not to let her know that I was in love with her at work, but when she was talking with other employees, I felt jealous. I thought it was too uncool for a 50-year-old man to be madly in love with someone who is about to turn 40.”
He gradually started coming home late.
Floored by love, he gradually came home late. “When her mother took our son on an overnight trip, Istayed at her house. I want to be with her. My feelings grew stronger.”
“She would admonish me, saying, ‘Don’t say anything unreasonable,’ but I felt as if it would be okay if she found out.”
It was about three months ago. When he returned home from a three-day business trip, the apartment door was unlocked. He tried to contact his wife via LINE, and she sent him a map of an apartment about a 10-minute walk from his house, saying, “Your home is here.” She said the key is in the mailbox by the front door.
“Anyway, I went there and found an old one-room apartment that looked like a student’s house. When I opened the door, I found a pile of cardboard boxes.”
“Inside the cardboard boxes were my clothes and daily necessities. There was a table on which was an envelope from a detective agency. Inside, photographs and other items were found. It meant the affair had been exposed.”
“It was shameful to think that this would be the end of my divorce. However, my wife still has not asked me for a divorce.” Since his wife managed his income, nothing should have changed in his wife’s and the children’s lives.
“I’m the only one who doesn’t get an allowance anymore,” he said.
Norica said she would step down after hearing his story. “If you destroy my family, you will regret it for the rest of your life,” she said. But he insisted on waiting a little longer. He could not imagine his life without Norika. However, he did not have the courage to go through with the divorce.
“I’m living off the savings I’ve been saving without telling my wife,” he said. “My daughter sometimes contacts me, and the other day she said, ‘I think you should apologize to mom as soon as possible. If you want to divorce her, you can do it.’ I was impatient, thinking that my daughter was about to give up on me, so I contacted my wife. But my wife said in a low voice, ‘Why don’t you do whatever you want? If you divorce me, I will take all your money.’ It seems she is ready to hire a lawyer.”
Kenichi sounded pitiful. In the end, he would have no choice but to return to the family. His own passion is dying out if he is to go through with this.
“At first I had a light heart, but before I knew it I was hooked. I don’t want to just leave Norika like this, but she won’t even answer my phone calls anymore. I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself from here on out.”
This is a critical moment, but Kenichi doesn’t seem to know where he stands. If he doesn’t want to be alone, the only way is to apologize to his wife.
Interview and text： Sanae Kameyama