My name is Amanda and last year my husband decided to have an affair and a few months later leave for his affair partner. Sadly, with the invention of online dating sites, this is becoming a common scenario - when you get bored, trade the old woman in for a shiny new one that you have found on the Internet! It's a bit like buying furniture from IKEA - when you want a change, out with the old, in with the new - there doesn't need to be any commitment, if it's boring get rid of it!
What made my situation so traumatic, however, was that he never once said that he was unhappy or that he planned to leave. Even after I discovered the affair, he told me that she meant nothing and that he was committed to our marriage. I know now that he needed me until he had conned enough money out of me to start again with her, but at the time I couldn't understand what was happening and why, because he kept telling me that he loved me and wanted our marriage to work - we were even planning a holiday to England that he was really excited about. When I discovered them together, he looked at me with a cold stare and said, "I haven't loved you for a long time," but the next day he rang me in tears begging me not to divorce him.
I have always been a confident person, not prone to drama but as a result of finding suddenly that everything I thought was real was actually fabricated, I collapsed in a heap. I had a breakdown, couldn't work, couldn't leave the house, was on medication for depression and to help me sleep, but I am slowly putting my life back together again and this Hub, 'Suddenly Single,' is my attempt to reach out and help others who have found themselves in the same situation. By documenting what happened to me and how I got back on track, I am hoping other people will find useful strategies and realise that they are not alone. I would love other abandonees to write their stories here and tell others how they climbed out of the dark hole that their spouses left them in. What follows is my account of the end of our marriage, My hope is somebody out there will read it and say, "OMG, that was me too!"
There was no warning, everything seemed normal - to our friends we were the perfect couple. Then I discovered the text messages from the other woman. I read every single one of them and there were a lot. I confronted him and he admitted the affair, I texted her and she said that she didn't know that he was married, and that she would have nothing more to do with him. He promised me that the affair was all over and that he was committed to our marriage. I sat up all night crying quietly, in shock, while he slept soundly next to me. I didn't know at the time, but he went out the next day and bought a second phone. He would leave his phone on the kitchen table as proof that he could be trusted, but of course the second secret phone, which was only used for contact with the other woman, was kept securely out of sight.
He works in a fly in, fly out job, so it was easy for him to pretend to be at work when he wasn't. Once all the sordid details came to light, I went back through his mobile phone bills, which record the date, time and place that calls and texts were made. I made the astonishing discovery, that he would get me to drop him at the airport, the day before he was due to fly to work, explaining that he had been asked to work an extra day, but in fact, he actually remained in Adelaide. It was obviously a convenient way for him to treat his affair partner to a night in a hotel. I also discovered that he had made phone calls to me from Adelaide Airport, pretending that he was still at work – “I’m sorry, darling, I’m stuck at work for the weekend”, when in reality she was probably picking up from the airport, for a weekend away.
A few months before I found out about his affair, my mother passed away. My mother was 82 and suffered from several chronic health conditions but she was still living independently. So while he was developing his relationship with the other woman, I was dealing not only with the grief of my mother’s death, but also my role as Executor of her estate which included preparing her house for sale. I was prone to bursting into tears and he always seemed unavailable, just when I needed him. When he wasn't at work, he was always ‘going out with the boys’ or on fishing trips or work dinners. I now know that he was with her on most, if not all, of these occasions.
Three months had passed since he had admitted to having an affair and I had no reason to believe that it was still continuing. He had said that he was committed to our marriage and I had no reason to doubt him. Looking back now, if I hadn't been preoccupied with my mother’s estate, I would have probably picked up the signs that something wasn't quite right. Out of the blue, he announced that he was moving in with his mate. His reasoning was that he had hurt me a lot and that he wanted us to start over. He wanted us to go to marriage counselling and we would date again. In his words, he wanted to woo me again. The first date was really nice, he even opened the car door for me and we held hands through dinner. But then the dates petered out – he would either turn up drunk and I would have to drive, or he wouldn't turn up at all.
He then rang me from work, one day, and asked me to go to an open inspection for a rental property that he was interested in. He told me that when he moved into it, he wanted me to sleep over and he would cook me dinner and spoil me. He couldn't do that while living with his mate. It was all part of his plan to put the spark back into our marriage, he said. Even though he earns a good wage, he never has any money, so I paid the bond and the first two weeks rent for him. I also gave him my mother’s furniture. I believed that it was a step toward making our marriage stronger, I still have the emails and text messages, from that period, telling me that I am his soul-mate and that we will grow old together.
I helped him carry his new bed into the house, before we went to our first marriage counselling session. He held my hand during the session and talked about how committed he was to making our marriage work. I now know that she slept with him, in that bed, that same night. Of course once he had used me to pay for and furnish his ‘love nest’, he no longer had any need for me. I caught them together when I turned up unexpectedly one morning.
Snap! My ex left with our son's music teacher a month before graduating after 23 years to make him an emergency room consultant, and him failing 6 times, only to use the new package he got to take her on 5 star holidays overseas, dinners out and weekends away while I didn't even have milk money. Five years later he has divorced me but not gone along with the mediation settlement. He says I can have the house if I take on the debt too, of course I did buy our first house outright and only owe on this one because it cost a lot to get him through. I had 2 special needs children so stopped my career to homeschool them, but after he left I went on to do my Master's degree in teaching, partly to spite the man who told me all I was good for anymore was flipping burgers. I had just nursed my mother with terminal cancer when he left too and was told on her death bed that I was illegitimate and that was the reason she had never loved me as she had my two half sibs, so like you I was rocked and not seeing clearly and needing help rather than giving it for a change. According to him this made me a "demanding tyrant". I hear you on the self esteem thing. Now I am over 50, battling health issues, alone, broke and pretty broken, trying to put a life back together. You are not alone, sweetheart. Seems to me that the kindest women end up with the meanest men. So I am your, "OMG that was me too". *virtual hugs*
Thank you so much for sharing your story babe. It is such a shitty thing for a man to do, I thank my lucky stars I was too old to have children with my ex, when I met him. So many women are left with a pile of debt when the husband leaves too, which you have to deal with while trying to process the fact that suddenly you aren't married anymore. We have to focus on the positives - there are a lot of us dumpees out there, so you are never alone. I have found Meetup.com to be a great way of meeting people. It is definitely not a dating site, in my experience it is mostly women our age, in our situation, who meet up for activities that don't tend to cost a lot.
Whatever else, we can hold our heads up high and look ourselves in the mirror and say, we have no use for a man who thinks like this. Your ex-husband sounds like the classic narcissist, like mine. I am resigned to the fact that I probably will never have another relationship again, but I can fill my life with other stuff. We are educated, strong women, its hard and its scary to start over at our age, but we have the power to be happy again. It takes a lot of effort to rebuild financially and emotionally, but it's better than being with a husband who treats you disrespectfully. I wish you all the best, and make sure you touch base with us and let us know how you are getting on. Take care xxxx
Hi Amanda, I feel your pain! Through your article and past similar experience. I knew my ex was unhappy but I didn't know he was at the point of wanting to leave, but I don't think he realised either...until he found someone else. I believe cheating was an easy out for him! Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and thank you for a well articulated and insightful article.
Thanks Beatrice, When this happened to me I felt so alone, but I'm starting to realise, this is a common experience for a lot of people. I am starting to wonder if the nature of marriage is changing from two people making a commitment to be together forever to a disposable, "Do you want fries with that?" type of thing. I hope I'm wrong.