Real Life

“My husband was cheating on me on our honeymoon”

It was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime... but he was nowhere to be seen.

Morag Pettigrew, 51, shares her story:

Holding hands with my new boyfriend in the cinema, I felt like a teenager again.
I’d only been on a couple of dates with Dereck but just sitting beside him gave me butterflies. I had a really good feeling about him.
Luckily, it seemed he felt the same way about me.
Our romance was a whirlwind. Within a few weeks we’d moved in together.
Dereck was such a catch. He was into cycling and running so was in fantastic shape for his 51 years.
He was romantic, too, cooking dinner for me every night when I got in from work, and we never argued.
After two months, he asked me to marry him, and we quickly started planning our wedding.
We chose a hotel and told the planner the date we had in mind.
“You’re in luck,” she said, smiling. “That’s the only date I have free.”
“It’s fate,” Dereck said.
I reckoned he was right.
I went shopping for a dress and ended up settling on the first one I tried on! It was a beautiful ivory lace gown with a champagne coloured silk sash. Everything was falling into place and before we knew it, our big day had arrived.
“Wow, you look incredible,” Dereck gushed when he saw me in my dress.
We danced to Everything by Michael Bublé in front of our 80 guests and I couldn’t have been happier.
“I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you,” I whispered to him.
Morag and Dereck on their wedding day. Credit: Take 5 magazine.

Who else was on our honeymoon?

A few days after the wedding, we packed our bags and headed to the airport, ready for our honeymoon.
We’d planned the trip of a lifetime to Singapore.
Dereck was born there and his parents said they’d show us around, so we all flew out there together.
When we landed, we joined the queue for passport control.
Suddenly, I realised Dereck wasn’t with us.
“Where’s he gone?” I said to his mum.
I looked around and there he was, a few rows back, holding his phone up to the ceiling.
“What are you doing?” I called out to him.
“I’m just trying to get a signal,” he said. “I need to get on the internet.”
“What for?” I asked, frowning.
“To check my emails,” he replied.
Dereck was in the Army Reserves and desperate not to miss an email from them.
Surely his emails could wait until after our honeymoon, though?
But he wouldn’t leave it. While his parents and I went out sightseeing, he went to internet cafes to check his emails.
Some honeymoon, I thought.
When we flew home, I was almost relieved.
But then his mobile phone bill arrived.
“$2000!” I gasped.
“I had to keep in touch,” Dereck said, shrugging.
I still didn’t understand why, and now I was really worried. Ever since we’d returned home, he’d been like a different man. He barely spoke to me and spent all his time on his phone.
“Is something wrong?” I asked him.
He explained he was just worrying about his next trip with the army.
Morag was utterly crushed. Credit: Take 5 magazine.

Shady behavior

Then, one day he went out to lunch with his work friends and didn’t come home. I tried calling him several times but he didn’t pick up.
Finally, at 11pm that night, he sent a text.
Do you want me to bring any food home? it read.
Furious, I typed out a reply. You’re being stupid, Dereck, I wrote. Get home now.
When he walked through the door, I confronted him.
“What are you playing at?” I demanded.
“I just lost track of time,” he said.
But I had a feeling he wasn’t telling me the whole truth.
Later, when I went on the computer and saw he’d left his Facebook page open, I couldn’t resist a look.
In his inbox were thousands of messages between him and a woman named Paula. As I read them, I felt sick.
He’d written, I love you.
I love you, too, she’d replied.
Another one said: I want to make you my wife.
But he’d only made me his wife 10 weeks earlier!
My stomach churned as I read on. The messages dated back to our wedding day, and he’d contacted her hundreds of time on our honeymoon.
With shaking hands, I called Dereck at work.
“Who’s Paula?” I demanded.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. “Someone must’ve hacked me!”
I hung up and began to cry. Then my phone rang again.
“Do you know Dereck Pettigrew?” a man asked.
“Yes, he’s my husband,” I replied. “Why?”
“Because he’s having an affair with my wife,” the man said.
It was Paula’s husband. He told me he’d found a text on her phone and when he’d confronted her, she’d confessed.
I was utterly crushed.

Complete betrayal

That night, Dereck didn’t come home and I didn’t sleep a wink. Then at 6am, he called.
“There’s no point in me denying it anymore,” he said. “We’ll come over at 3.30pm.”
“We?” I cried. “You’d better not bring that woman to our house!”
In the end, he arrived alone, but there was nothing left to say.
The next day, I got a text from Dereck: I’m with Paula now.
I packed up his things and threw them on the front lawn.
I never saw him again after that, but I heard he’d contacted a solicitor, trying to make me sell my house so he could have half the money.
Luckily, this was rejected. But it did make me wonder if that was why he married me in the first place.
I see what happened as a lucky escape – it could have been years before I discovered what a rat he was. Thankfully, it was only 10 weeks.
Dereck declined to comment.
Paula said:
“Dereck couldn’t stand her from the day they got married. It was an actual joke.”
Paula’s ex said:
“I didn’t want to phone Morag but I thought it was only right that she know her husband was leading a double life.”

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