I was lying in bed one evening, while my husband was in the lounge. I checked my emails on my phone and one came through titled with only my husband’s name.
It was an email from a girl I knew nothing of. She said “a friend of hers” and my husband had been conducting an affair for the past 12 months. She sent pictures of them together in our hometown. There were pictures of love letters, and intimate texts where my husband cruelly compared our styles of lovemaking.
My world shattered.
We had been together for eight and half years. We had a son together, barely more than a toddler. We never fought, he was my best friend, and in the blink of an eye all of the dreams that I had for our lives together were smashed to shards that were slicing my heart.
I confronted him immediately whilst he sat relaxed on the couch. I asked him who this girl was. He didn’t deny anything. He couldn’t. The evidence was there, however he said that he had just ended the relationship and that was why she had done this. It wasn’t “a friend”, it was his jilted lover who had contacted me.
I cowered in a ball in a corner of the kitchen like a small child. I felt sick. There was a lot of talk that night but I just couldn’t make sense of it all.
Sleep was scarce as I lay in bed on the very edge of my side, not wanting to be touched by the man whom I had once wanted to be so close to.
I told him he was in charge of our son for the day and I left the house before the sun rose as I couldn’t stay there a moment longer. I had already planned to meet a friend for brunch so I walked and walked until it was a respectable time to call.
I arrived at her house and we talked and cried, and we talked some more. He had been so sorry, he was so devastated at the pain he had caused. It was awful to watch, but I couldn’t deal with his pain and sorrow, he caused this.
I had had suspicions that something was awry. We’d been living overseas for his work for a few years. We had planned this before we married – a romantic adventure to begin our lives. We had our son in one country, then moved to another and then again and he gradually grew more and more distant.
We had always had mismatched libidos but I was content with our sex life. He wanted it more than it was occurring but never really initiated anything to show that was the case, so he spent a lot of time watching porn and masturbating and I was ok with that.
When we arrived back in Australia he became quite secretive. He spent hours texting on his phone. I would ask whom he was chatting to and he would say work or a friend but guys don’t text banter for hours. It seemed odd.
He became incredibly protective of his phone and one day he left it in the bathroom while I was in there. I heard it vibrate. I looked on the screen and it was just initials of someone I didn’t know. I left the bathroom and handed him his phone asking if there was anything he wanted to tell me.
“Nope,” he said. “Nothing.” And I let it slide.Although I was suspicious, I couldn’t put the link together. He was always either at home or at work. He travelled a lot with work so I couldn’t work out where he would have the time to carry on an affair.
The first time he did something to bend my trust was in the first year and half together. He left his Facebook account logged on and I had a snoop and I found some flirty and sexy private messages. I asked him about them and he said they were nothing; an old friend who was like a sister. It was “cheeky banter”.
The second and third time it happened I told him I didn’t want to live like this with him sending flirty messages as if he was a single guy. He always made it out to be nothing. Eventually, he made me think that I was the one with the problem for not being ok with it.
We had been having relationship issues for a little while when the hammer dropped. We were rarely intimate and I was trying to get us back on track after the birth of our child. I would put on sexy underwear and make a special evening but he suddenly wasn’t interested. He told me that he needed time and space in order to rekindle with me so he left for three weeks.
I later found out that he spent those three weeks with his lover, who had flown to Australia for the occasion. They had shacked up together in an expensive apartment downtown.
The email I was sent included photos of them sightseeing. Here I was thinking he was trying to sort his head out. It was devastating … and yet, I wanted to stay.
He convinced me the affair was over, and it was a terrible lapse of judgment that would never happen again. He stayed at a friend’s house for a week and a half because I needed space but he kept telling me we needed to be together to work it out. Could he please come home? He missed our son … what was I doing to our family?
We began counselling and I felt I was getting somewhere but he just wouldn’t open up. I was willing to try. I wanted my family to stay together if not for me, for our son. One day I thought we could make it, and the next I was so bereft I felt like I may drown in my tears. I felt like I was going crazy but I was grieving, and he was so manipulating.
Six weeks after the initial email I received a second email, this time without the façade of the “concerned friend”.
It was her.
“Please get your husband to stop messaging me and just leave me alone,” she said, with accompanying images of texts from him saying that they could still find a way to be together.
I was done. The tiny bridge of hope I had for our relationship had been burned and I needed to face reality. I took our son, and I left that day.
That was one year ago.
I recently received an email from myself from one year ago that I wrote with futureme.org. The woman writing that email was hopeful she could work things out as it was before the final email, and she was so scared about how her life would look if this marriage ended.
My life looks good. It looks different to how I planned but sometimes stuff just doesn’t work out, and the only way to survive is keep moving forward.
As told to Danielle Colley.