real life lock Subscriber Exclusive

'I forgave my husband for his affair. 2 years later, he was at it again.'

As told to Ann DeGrey

It was seven years ago when I found myself unexpectedly falling for Alex*, my colleague. At the time, he was leading our team, and he had such a magnetic kind of personality. He had a certain charm that captivated everyone, especially the women in the office, and I was no exception. It helps that he’s also good-looking. Picture a Jake Gyllenhaal type and you’ll understand why I fell for him. 

Despite the warnings from my coworkers about his reputation for being a ladies' man, I was drawn to him and, when he began showing an interest in me, I was both surprised and thrilled. I was caught up in the excitement of the moment, naively hoping for a fun adventure without considering the potential for heartache.

Our relationship quickly evolved from colleagues to something more intimate, leading to a surprise pregnancy and then marriage—a concept that had seemed far-fetched when we first met. The early days were filled with love and joy, particularly when we welcomed our daughter into the world. However, the bliss was short-lived. 

When our baby was only six months old, I discovered flirtatious messages on Alex’s phone to another woman from our office.

“What are you wearing today? Is it another one of your short skirts? Photo please.” 

“I couldn’t even look at you today. You make me feel too hot!” 

This discovery absolutely shattered my world. What kind of idiot was I to ignore the warnings of the women at work? I felt like an idiot. 

Watch: Is there a difference between emotional and physical affair? Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

I realised that by choosing to ignore the warnings, I’d played a role in my own heartbreak. I confronted him and Alex was absolutely devastated that he’d been caught.

He admitted to having a brief fling with Chloe*, who was also my colleague, which just made things even more dreadful. Alex said being a new dad was “very challenging” and Chloe made him feel good. But he knew he’d made a big mistake. He seemed genuinely upset to have hurt me and begged for another chance. But I was adamant that he had to leave the house. I didn’t know if I had it in me to ever take him back.

But, eventually, the challenges of adjusting to life as a single mother, coupled with the strong feelings I had for him, led me to forgive him. We attended several marriage counselling sessions, trying to navigate through the issues of trust and commitment. Alex seemed sincere and promised to change his ways. 

For a time, things were good again, and it seemed as though we might overcome the past. I just needed to get over my trust issues, although every time he went out socialising, I fell into a panic about whether he’d be flirting with other women. 

Our sex life was great, I certainly had no complaints and Alex seemed satisfied with me in the bedroom. However, the shadow of doubt lingered, and it wasn't long before I began to notice familiar patterns of behaviour.

Alex’s secretive actions with his phone, the laughter that didn't seem quite right, the vague explanations about who he was texting. All of this just reignited my suspicions. My intuition – sharpened by past experiences – told me something was up.

“I’m just messaging with Josh*,” he’d say. But, when I asked his brother about their constant texting at night when we were relaxing on the couch once our daughter was sleeping, he looked at me blankly. One of the conditions of me giving Alex another chance was that he told me his phone’s passcode. When he was in the shower, I couldn’t help myself. I unlocked his phone and checked his messages – he was clearly having another affair! This time he was fooling around with a woman called Maddie*. The messages were clear and damning, leaving no room for doubt about his infidelity.

Listen to Sealed Section where Chantelle answers three anonymous questions from listeners, who are cheating, or being cheated on. Post continues after podcast.

He even told her she had a 'banging hot body' which is something he always said to me. I barged into the bathroom, where he was drying himself, held up his phone with the incriminating texts and screamed every expletive you can imagine. He had a look on his face of absolute horror that he’d been busted once again. 

His response was one of resignation as if he knew there was no excuse for his actions. And apparently, he’d met Maddie four weeks earlier at the local dog park – it’s no wonder he always volunteered to walk our dog.

The decision to end our marriage was heart-wrenching but necessary for my own well-being. The divorce was very difficult as he wasn’t happy with my idea of shared custody. But we eventually came to an agreement, marking the end of a chapter that had started with so much love.

In the aftermath of our divorce, I’ve started to explore new relationships, finding joy in the company of a new man. While the pain of betrayal still lingers, I've realised I still have a lot of love to give. And I do still have feelings for Alex; love is complex, filled with both beauty and pain. 

But I have no regrets about kicking him out for a second time. I was foolish back then, but I’d never make the mistake again.

*Names have been changed due to privacy.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Feature image: Getty.

Do you have kids aged 1-4 years? We want to hear from you - take our short survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!
Unlock unlimited access to the best content for women