Today, I’m doing something I didn’t think I would ever do. I’m handing today’s blog over to E.
I thought long and hard before doing this. After all, this blog is all about me finding MY voice and trying to give a voice to other people who have had their lives blighted by infidelity. The last person who should really have any say here is E. But, spending the last few months writing the blog and looking at how utterly awful what’s happened has been (you literally couldn’t make up some of the stuff that’s happened) has made me look back and try to assess if things really were as bad as I’ve said and question if I was being unfair.
I thought that, after everything I’ve said about E, it was only fair to let the readers of this blog see for themselves the extent to which he was prepared to lie. I also thought it was important to show how even the most perceptive of people can be fooled and manipulated. If I believed him for years and I’m really no fool, I can’t blame O, P and the others for also believing him. He is very, very, convincing, and the sheer size and recklessness of his lies make them seem like truths; after all – why would someone lie about someone else’s cancer diagnosis?
E sent the email below in reply to an email from O. O was deeply hurt by the fact that E had ‘gone silent’ on her. He’d told her he would visit her in Singapore that June and had let her down without explanation. She mentions that he told her his family didn’t need him and could manage fine without him and, perceptively, asks if perhaps that wasn’t true and he also went silent on his family and forced us to manage without him. Re-reading her email 18 months on from E leaving, what also resonates with me is that O talks about E’s ‘silence’ – it’s the exact same silence he later imposed on me, it’s probably the same silence he’ll impose on P if (when?) he has another affair.
O wrote to him in June 2015 – two years after E had returned home from Singapore, and six months after he had begun his relationship with P. His reply was written in August 2015 whilst we were on a family holiday. The day he wrote it we’d watched and filmed Youngest Son riding a bike for the first time and at the exact time he sent it Oldest Daughter and I (having spent a lovely afternoon in a spa) were waiting for him and the other three to join us for a meal. I’d thought it was a lovely holiday. The children and I had enjoyed every minute of it. I thought E had too. I have endless family photographs from that week.
I’ve mentioned this email several times in the blog. This is the email that I still find almost impossible to understand or forgive. Reading this was my ‘eureka moment’ (although, you’ll be glad to hear, I was, mercifully, fully clothed at the time). This was what made me realise that I had to ask E to leave. I love my Mum so much I can’t even find words to describe it, and I cannot, and probably never will be, able to come to terms with the fact that he felt able to use her illness, and lie about it, to try and keep an affair going. This was the point at which I began to see E for what he really was.
Before you read it, please note that:
1. E never had a June trip to Singapore planned.
2. The family trip to Durham had been planned for over six months (long before Mum even felt ill let alone had a cancer diagnosis) and when she got the diagnosis, we actually considered cancelling the trip. There was certainly no ‘family gathering’ called.
3. Mum was not told of the diagnosis ’10 years to the day’ that she was given the all clear from cancer. In fact it was about 11 or 12 years since she’d been clear.
4. Mum was not told she had ‘terminal cancer’. Yes, the cancer she has is not curable, but they are treating it. She will be fighting it for the rest of her life, but almost three years on from E’s email she is still very much here (and I’ve even got her to swear, when sober, in emails as well as texts, without putting in asterisks, I’m very proud).
5. The kids did not ‘find out by accident’ – I sat them down, the day we got the news, and told them carefully and calmly about their Grandma (as usual E wasn’t there, and I never even consulted him about whether or not to tell the children). As a result, they were not ‘devastated’ – they were very concerned and upset, but they knew that Grandma wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, and that we had a long, if unsure, path in front of us.
6. E did not sleep in the car because of ‘limited hotel rooms’ (my amazing Dad had very carefully booked a room for everyone – all 17 of us – he paid a bloody fortune for that trip, in fact saying my Dad paid for the trip is about the only truth in the email). E actually stomped off without telling us where he was going a couple of times, after the boys and I, who were sharing a room with him, asked him to stop bloody snoring.
7. The train strike did not affect the dates of Youngest Son’s school play.
The email below is presented in its entirety and is exactly what he wrote, the only changes I have made are to names and regarding the legal action he was talking about. Of course, I could try to describe it – I have tried to describe it – but sometimes, nothing is clearer than the cold, hard reality of someone else’s words.
I’m not going to say anything after the email. I think it deserves to be greeted with silence. Anyway, over to E.
“Hello darling O
I don’t know if I have the right to start this message with such words but having put this email off for so long it is time to just speak. If the words aren’t perfect then so be it.
Firstly the apologies.
My trip got into various problems and I should have just said I couldn’t come. But I was holding on hoping I could fix it. The passport issue was not a problem. Problem 1 was an underground strike announced in London which meant cancelling 2 days of classes and rescheduling and despite a lot of trying I had to teach during the week I planned to visit. Problem 2 followed from problem 1 – my youngest’s final school performance was postponed by 1 week to stop parents caught in the train strike and getting home late missing the performance. That shifted it to the Wednesday of the week I was meant to be with you.
But then another problem. This did not affect the trip but has been a major reason for my silence in the past month. My mother in law has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was told on July 10 … the 10th anniversary of her being given the all clear from her first cancer treatment. My children dote on her and are devastated (was not sure whether to tell them but they found out by accident). My father in law called a family gathering and then announced he was paying for everyone to go to Durham, the place where he and his wife originate from, for a family “holiday”. So grandma could see all her grandchildren for a few days. Possibly the last opportunity.
I don’t know if it matters to you – I hope it does – but with limited hotel rooms available I spent each night sleeping in my car. I am trying to keep things calm for the kids but please don’t assume I am feeling pulled back away from you. Quite the opposite. I was tempted to walk out when it became clear the hotel car park was my bedroom but that is a point for me to save for a little while until things settle.
This is meant to be a catching up message not just a long apology (or list of excuses?) but there is another thing. Not sure if this is good news or bad but I now have a solicitor and am taking legal action *deleted*. The aim is to get out and with a sizeable payoff so I have the financial freedom to plan a new future. I hope that is us. Whether your patience has already run out or will do soon, all I can do is hope.
I love you O And I feel terrible for putting off this message for so long. Mostly cowardice. Pathetic I know.