I’ve said before that one of the most frustrating things about what’s happened to me, has been the loss of my voice. In lying to me and about me, in creating a version of me to justify his actions, E robbed me of the ability to defend myself and to tell my truth.
I very much doubt she’ll ever read this, although who knows, the magic of social media might one day being this to her attention – share, share and share away, she probably needs to read this – but this is what I’d like to say to the woman who E has married.
Please don’t worry, this letter isn’t about berating or blaming you for what has happened. On the contrary, I don’t hold you responsible for anything, you are not, and never have been answerable to me for any of your actions. This letter is simply an attempt to correct some things you may have been told and to help you to understand your new husband’s past so that you can anticipate what he’s likely to be like in future.
I’m not sure how old you are, but you look much younger than E in the two photographs I’ve seen of you (most of the people who saw a picture of you together thought you were his daughter), and you’re clearly capably of attracting someone much younger and much more attractive than E. I can only assume that an overweight, balding, middle-aged man is some sort of sex symbol these days? I wish I’d known – I’d have been all over instagram with pictures of him and me together if I had. Do you think it works the other way round? If it does I’m hauling my middle-aged arse to the nearest bar in search of a toy-boy.
I don’t know what you’ve been told about E and my relationship, so, to clarify, I spent twenty-five years of my life loving him despite his faults, caring deeply about him and standing by him through thick and thin. I trusted him so much that I even gave up my career to bring up our four children and support him whilst he built up his. I can only assume that all that supporting and caring became rather boring and predictable which is why he sought “true* love with you (and a few others)? Anyway, don’t worry, you’ve actually done me a favour. Over the last year or so, I’ve realised that I definitely shouldn’t have been with him for so long. It’s over to you now (I assume your marriage means that you’re in it for the long-haul?).
I don’t blame you for the affair. The blame for that rests firmly on E’s shoulders. You were, and probably still are, being lied to every bit as much as I was. Having said that, I must admit, I do wonder what sort of person would deliberately get involved in a long-term affair with someone who they knew had a partner and four children? To believe that a he was ‘just with her for the sake of the kids’ (or whatever lie he told you) suggests at best an incredible naivety. Did it not occur to you that if he really loved you, he’d have left me soon after you’d met? Do you know that in the end he only left because I asked him to?
Perhaps, though, you truly believed that you were worth destroying a relationship for, that your personal charms were worth hurting five people for? If so, this suggests a monstrous kind of ego.
The other thing that concerns me regarding the kind of person you are (apart from the whole ‘totally happy to have an affair’ thing) is the ‘getting married without telling E’s kids or family’ thing. Whilst I’m sure you both thought it was desperately romantic, to me it just looks like a cynical and very unpleasant attempt to prove your relationship is as valid as the one he’d just been kicked out of. Sadly, getting married doesn’t change the fact that you are just one of several women with whom he was unfaithful and it certainly doesn’t prove how much you love each other. In fact, your joint decision to marry without even mentioning it to E’s kids or family, suggests a selfishness and cruelty in both of you of incomprehensible proportions.
Again, I guess the blame for the secret wedding lies firmly with E (I assume you’ve told your family?). I’m trying hard not to make any judgments about you, but I do wonder what sort of person would get married knowing that the person they love has deliberately excluded his closest family from the proceedings. Surely if you loved each other *that* much it would have been worth waiting so that you could share your wonderful day with the people who love you and E most?
In the interests of full disclosure (he really is yours now, I’m certainly not taking him back if you’re not happy with him), I’ve given a brief history of E’s last ten years below.
His first affair lasted from around about October 2007 – March 2008 (although, he did try desperately to keep it going beyond this, despite promising me it was over). Like you, she was a student of his. It was love at first sight apparently (until I found out and she ran a mile). At the same time as he was conducting this affair, he was also sending Facebook messages to another student. You kind of have to admire his chutzpah don’t you? Maybe he got lucky with her too? If he didn’t, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.
I found out about this in early 2008. I forgave him – after all, everyone deserves a second chance don’t they? Our children were so young at the time (Youngest Son was just one year old) and I thought that maybe it was my fault (I was so busy with looking after the kids, settling them into new schools, dealing with my own depression, moving house and supporting him whilst he set up a business, that I clearly didn’t have enough time for our relationship).
His next affair was on-and-off between Jan 2010 and Jan 2013. This lady (apparently this one was apparently a fellow TUTOR – he’d upped his game, P) got married in between their first liaison and their last. Like the star-crossed lovers they were, they were tragically separated by our family moving to Singapore for two years. After these two years, the kids and I moved back to England whilst E stayed in Singapore for a year. E had less than three weeks to visit the kids and I for Christmas and – ever the romantic – he took time out from us, twice, just to go and see her in London.
He was so taken with this one that he posted on a public forum about the relationship. Helpfully, he posted under the title “Affairs” – just in case people didn’t understand what he was getting at (bless). Anyway the gist was “love at first sight, trapped in a boring relationship, kids, my wife doesn’t understand me, blah…” It’s a good read. I can send you the link if you’d like?
I found out about this in the summer of 2013, not long after he’d come home from Singapore for good. I forgave him again, partly because I thought (hoped) it hadn’t been too serious and also because I hoped that, now he was home for good, we’d have a chance to rebuild things.
I didn’t know that at this time he was actually seeing someone in Singapore. This one was yet another student of his. She lasted until around August 2015 – by which time I believe he was seeing you?
He does like to overlap his affairs doesn’t he? Actually – top tip – he needs to watch that as he gets older, he might forget which lies he’s told to who, or just might not have the energy – age is a bugger.
Anyway, I’ve seen some lovely pictures of them together, including her in her underwear and a couple of pictures of his, um, well, as I said to my sons when they were little: “it’s lovely that you have one darling, but please don’t wave it around in front of everyone”. Why he’d want to take a picture of it I have no idea – we’ve both seen it P, and I think we’d probably agree that it really doesn’t really need a photo.
In August 2015 he sent an email re-declaring his love for her and trying to save their relationship (she was very upset that he’d gone silent on her). In this email he told several lies about my Mum’s cancer diagnosis just to try to keep her as his girlfriend – he claimed it was terminal and he couldn’t travel to see her because he had to go on a trip to give my Mum her ‘last ever chance’ to see her grand-children. He wrote this email, after sending you flowers that declared his love for you, and whilst he was on holiday with me and the kids.
Is it just me, or, at this point, was he being unfaithful to three people at the same time? I must admit, I’m a bit confused – does this mean he was being unfaithful to you or, was he was being unfaithful to the other woman and me, with you? Gosh this is complicated. Ah well – whatever – he’s all yours now.
I found out about her, and you, at the same time – on 22 November 2016 which just happened to be our 25th Anniversary. Not for me flowers and chocolates to celebrate, in fact E didn’t even bother with a card that year. I’m no romantic, I wasn’t expecting hearts and flowers, that day, but I certainly wasn’t expecting what I found on his laptop that night. Whilst I’m no quitter, I’m sure you’ll understand that this was the point where I realised that he probably wasn’t the man for me. After getting through Oldest Daughter’s 18th and Christmas (he was telling the truth for once – I was now with him for the sake of the kids), I finally asked him to leave in January last year.
I’m guessing that there were lots more flirtations, affairs and attempts at affairs over the years. Some of them would even become part of his conversations with me – for example; cocktails with one girlfriend became drinks with a male colleague. There were also always lots of anecdotes about ‘people from work’, which turned out to be about him and other women. Watch out for those ‘work stories’ P.
Oh, and, it’s not just his roving eye you need to watch out for, you need to watch him with money too. I spent 25 years worrying myself sick about the amount of debt he was running up. E works very much on the ‘jam tomorrow’ principle of financial management – if he can’t afford it, he’ll stick it on a credit card and hope he can pay it back one day. But, hey, you’re both fully qualified accountancy tutors – I’m sure you’ve got that covered.
So, P. There you have it. A little mini-tour of E’s romantic life and times to date.
I’m not sure I’d ever feel secure in a relationship that began with my husband cheating on someone (doesn’t exactly bode well), and with someone who I know from personal experience is quite happy to lie on a daily basis to their partner. But, hey, all I know about infidelity is what it’s like on the receiving end if it. I don’t know anything about actually being unfaithful to someone – that’s you and E’s area of expertise. I’m sure you know what you’re doing.
There’s not much more to say, apart from enjoy your life with him, do keep an eye on his internet history (seriously, keep an eye on it), check his bank statements, watch out for him hiding his phone (and adding passwords to everything), invest in some earplugs for the snoring, and enjoy hay-fever season (you may need the ear plugs for that too).
I think I’ll end with a quote from a wonderful poet, who has many truths to tell:
“Just because someone desires you, it does not mean that they value you.
Read it over.
Let those words resonate in your mind.”
― Nayyirah Waheed