Carol’s* 20-year marriage fell apart when she stumbled upon her husband’s sexy SMSes… to their children’s godfather.
“Nick* and I met in university, fell in love and tied the knot – our children are now young adults. I thought we had the perfect marriage, the perfect family and the perfect life – until two years ago, when I found out that Nick had been cheating on me… with another man.
A RUDE SHOCK
It was our 20th wedding anniversary and I’d planned to surprise Nick with a big celebration. I wanted to invite his close friends to the bash but I didn’t have their phone numbers, so I secretly accessed Nick’s handphone contact list while he was in the shower. We usually respect each other’s privacy but that night, I was unusually curious.
I flipped to his photo gallery and was taken aback to see many pictures of him and his business partner, Joe*. One showed my husband and Joe on the beach, posing topless with their arms wrapped around each other. They struck the same pose in the other picture, but this time, Joe – who is openly gay – was planting a kiss on Nick’s cheek.
My mind whirled. On one hand, the pictures could mean nothing. Nick and Joe were best friends and as close as brothers – they did almost everything together. Joe was even godfather to my children. On the other hand, no straight man would take such intimate shots.
I contemplated asking Nick about the pictures, but I didn’t want to start an argument. I put his phone back and got ready for bed. I decided not to overreact – I had an anniversary party to plan and nothing was going to ruin it, I told myself.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
The party was a huge success. Nick was pleasantly surprised and nearly teared up – he was touched that I had gone to all the trouble. Looking at him, I felt so loved. There’s no way this man would do anything to hurt me and our children, I thought.
But the niggling feeling I’d had all week just wouldn’t go away. I found myself watching Nick and Joe’s every move – were they sitting too closely together? Why did they constantly whisper to each other? That hug they’d just exchanged – was it a friendly one or something more intimate?
I suddenly wanted the party to end. I had developed a huge headache thinking of the what-ifs. When we finally got home, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t erase the image of Nick and Joe from my mind. I got out of bed, quietly took Nick’s phone out of the bedroom, and searched for text messages between Joe and him.
My heart sank at what I found: SMSes peppered with “I love yous”, “can’t wait to feel your body next to mine” and “you looked good last night, naked”. There was so much “dirty” talk, I was blushing.
I wept in silence – my femininity had taken a beating. Nick and I had been married for two decades and we’d never once exchanged sexy texts. We did exchange “I miss yous” and “I love yous”, but had never engaged in phone sex. Nick was also not into public displays of affection. He was a fiercely private man but here he was, snapping intimate shots with and sending messages of love and lust, to his best friend.
NOT GETTING MY SEXY BACK
I sat there in my living room mulling over what I’d just chanced upon. I pondered what I could have done wrong that made Nick switch camps. Was it the sex, which had been almost non-existent of late? Maybe Nick was bored with our unadventurous romps.
Come to think of it, our sex life was mostly functional – it was either to make babies or because I was craving it – although it made sense now why Nick had a fetish for certain sex positions, given his homosexual tendencies. Or maybe I’d grown unattractive to him – I’d put on weight, my tummy bore the scars of childbirth and my thighs were dimpled with cellulite.
Nick, on the other hand, had kept himself in shape. I thought that maybe I needed to hit the gym more often and go on a diet so Nick would be attracted to me once again. But he’d always told me that I was gorgeous in his eyes and that he didn’t want me to change a thing about myself. He couldn’t have strayed because of my deteriorating looks, right?
Maybe I needed to seduce my husband back into my arms. I went back to bed and tried to wake him up with my kisses and caresses. He smiled, hugged me tightly, murmured how tired he was and promptly went back to sleep. I tried to initiate sex over the next few days but when I finally succeeded, Nick seemed very far away – he was going through the motions but we weren’t connected emotionally at all. I decided then that it was time for us to have a serious chat.
My children were visiting their grandparents at the upcoming weekend, so I set up a “date night” with Nick. I cooked a nice dinner, and after dessert and some wine, asked him for the truth.
I confronted him about the photos, the sexting and our lacklustre sex life. He seemed stunned at first, then heaved a big sigh – not of anger, but relief. I’d expected him to deny everything. In fact, I was desperately praying that he would prove me wrong – but he didn’t.
Instead, he took my hand, stared deeply into my eyes and said: “I’m so, so sorry that you had to find out this way.” My heart fell and the tears I’d been holding back came gushing out. I just didn’t understand it – why had he married me if he was into men? How could he like men and yet sleep with me? Was I merely a decoy as he attempted to portray a normal life to his family and friends? Did he even love me or was that an act too?
I spat out these questions as I struggled to understand how my seemingly perfect life had just come undone. Nick explained that he’d only realised he was attracted to men when he was in his 30s. He found himself checking out good-looking guys, although he dismissed the confusing feelings at first and tried to fight his urges. But he lost the battle about six months later when he visited a gay bar during an overseas work trip and was strongly attracted to someone he met there.
They had a one-night stand and even continued a long-distance relationship. Nick had visited him several times after that, in the guise of going away for work. Although the affair fizzled out within three months, Nick had then realised that he was gay. We had been married for at least 10 years by that time.
The only person who knew of his turmoil was Joe, who gave him a shoulder to cry on. They grew even closer and fell in love. It seemed that Joe had always carried a torch for Nick. But he’d never thought Nick would reciprocate… until then.
They say hindsight is 20/20, and I realised that the signs were right under my nose all along: Nick and Joe’s regular sleepovers at each other’s homes, their constant getaways, their common love of buying each other expensive gifts, and how they liked to go off by themselves even when we were in a group.
I felt so betrayed. My husband had been carrying on with his lover behind my back for five years and I was the last to know. I didn’t know which was worse – that he’d cheated on me or that his dalliance was with another man.
I asked for a divorce. I told Nick that I couldn’t accept his philandering ways. My husband tried to change my mind, saying that he still loved me. He asked me to stay and let him take care of the family. Nick said if he wasn’t a responsible man, he would have abandoned us a long time ago. He begged me to think about our kids and how they would be affected by our break-up.
I almost caved in when he said that, but I just couldn’t accept being cheated on. So I asked Nick to choose – I’d try and save our marriage if he ended things with Joe. But all he said was: “Please don’t put me in that position.”
I knew then that I’d lost him, so I insisted that we file for a divorce. Nick grudgingly agreed. I also asked him to back me up when I broke the news to our kids – I told them that he and I weren’t getting along anymore due to a communication breakdown. I didn’t want my children to know the real truth as I wanted to protect whatever innocence they had left.
My children were devastated as they were very close to their father. But we reassured them that he would still spend as much time as he could with them. I haven’t forgiven him – I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace with what happened. I find it very hard to trust men now. Maybe one day, I will get over this… one step at a time.”
* Names have been changed.
This article first appeared in herworldPLUS
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