Sex & Relationships

The heartbreak and betrayal of an affair

"I know how Billy Brownless is feeling." Kathleen Green talks to The Weekly about the aftermath of the affair between her husband and her best friend.

An emotional Billy Brownless has opened up about his heartbreak over the affair between his former wife Nicky, and his best friend Gary Lyon.

The AFL star told The Footy Show that he was angry when he found out about the affair.

“I couldn’t believe it. I found out three or four months ago that something was going on. I had a hunch. I did some investigation myself, sat Nicky down and we had a chat and she told me,” said Brownless.

“My initial feelings were, like anyone – you get angry. You’re headless, you’re angry.”

Brownless also said that what hurt him the most was that the pair denied the affair when he first asked them if anything was going on.

“Morally it’s wrong. We all know our rights and wrong. You don’t touch a man’s wallet, you don’t touch his wife.” He said.

Imago couples therapist Annie Gurton, says that the biggest emotion that someone feels when their partner has an affair is betrayal.

“When we form a relationship, and especially a marriage, there is a contract of fidelity. When the other breaks that contract, we feel anger and hurt, but most of all we feel cheated.

“There may be a sense of panic because suddenly the relationship doesn’t feel safe, and you feel a sense of grief. The future that you thought was secure has been snatched away and now there is only uncertainty,” she explains.

Of course, when the affair is with one of your closest friends, the betrayal can feel like a double-whammy.

“Not only has your partner betrayed you, but your friend has too. On top of all the other feelings, there is humiliation, a sense that you have been made a fool of, and everyone else knew except you.

“In this case the anger, grief, loss and pain can be doubly piled on because there are two people who have made your world collapse,” Gurton explains.

The heartbreak of discovering that two people that you love have been having an affair behind your back is something that Kathleen Green* knows all too well.

When she discovered that her husband of 11 years had been having an affair with one of her best friends she was devastated.

“Still years on, the betrayal can be absolutely flooring. The magnitude of what has happened and how they lied to me at such a deep level. I loved and trusted them both deeply,” she says.

Like Brownless, Green says that the betrayal of her friend was shattering.

“Her betrayal was appalling,” she says.

“She looked at me and helped me in my most vulnerable state when I used to get abdominal migraines, when my ex-husband would say I was going crazy when I started to get suspicious. she saw me sick and in pain and she just pretended. What a ghastly horrible person!”

In the aftermath of the affair, Green was put through an emotional ringer. However, she has been able to put her life back together. In fact. she says that she now sees the entire experience as a “gift”.

“It raised my resilience and my strength, and empowered me to live a great and happy life,” she says.

Greens advice for Brownless and other people who are repairing their lives following this sort of betrayal is to remain authentic and “feel all of the feelings”

“Keep being real. The betrayal is horrible, some days utterly flooring. You feel like a real fool for not seeing it. But it does get better. One day you will look back and realise that you are better off without them,” she says.

“Be kind to yourself always.”

*Name has been changed.

WATCH: Billy Brownless speaks about his wife’s affair with Garry Lyon

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