Image: iStock. By Eden Strong for Your Tango.
I sat there with my mouth hanging open so wide that my internal organs could’ve fallen out onto the floor, which was ironic considering the fact that it felt like someone had literally ripped my heart right out of my chest.
Tears filled my eyes and my vision became blurry which, in a way, I was thankful for because it obscured everything on the screen in front of me.
What I had just found had not only rocked me to my core but on some level I felt relief — relief in the fact that I wasn’t crazy.
All those nights I had laid awake, wondering where my husband was, completely unable to trust the reasons that he was giving me for his absence, I had been right.
All the fights we had where he somehow managed to twist my suspicions into a curtain of guilt and left me apologising for ever doubting him, I had been right. (Is cheating physical or emotional? Post continues after video.)
He was cheating on me, in more ways than one, and the proof was a multitude of emails that splashed across the screen in front of me.
That night, my husband had gone out and accidentally left his email account open, which I innocently stumbled upon as I sat down at our shared computer with the intention of sending out a few emails of my own. At first, I was shocked when I saw that his account was not only up, but open.
He was the most private man I’d ever met, never letting me in on his thoughts and definitely not letting me in on the life I was sure he was leading behind my back — a life that, up until that moment, I had no proof of. (Post continues after gallery.)
I sat there for at least 30 minutes grappling with the choice of “should I look, or should I not?” and in the end, I looked.
The answers I got were so far from anything I had been expecting that I wasn’t even sure how to process what I had found.
He was sleeping with escorts off Craigslist.
His inbox was full of messages from interested women, and his outbox was even worse. There were hundreds of emails, all sent with a faceless d*ck pic attached, all asking women if they liked what they saw and if they wanted to take him for a ride.
I was reeling.
Until you’ve found yourself nose-to-screen inspecting a picture of a penis, hoping desperately to find something that would confirm that it was not actually your husband’s d*ck, you don’t know the meaning of the word “bizarre.”
I didn't want to believe it was him but in the end his tattoo gave him away and I had no choice but to face the truth that my husband was soliciting sex off Craigslist.
I was still not enough to satisfy him. Even the girlfriend I'd just found out about wasn't enough to satisfy him.
The next few weeks were hard and I soon found myself sitting at the gynecologist requesting a full STD panel. I couldn't even look at the nurse.
"Yes, please test me for everything. No, I haven't been having unprotected sex with anyone outside of my marriage, but my husband has. How many partners have I had? One directly, but indirectly, I think it must be in the hundreds."
It didn't feel like real life. In real life, stuff like this doesn't happen. But it did — it happened to me.
I confronted him but even with the proof right in front of his face, he denied everything, just as he had done so many times before. The collapse of my marriage sped up and my husband — chasing a life that no longer included a wife and kids — literally disappeared.
To this day I still don't know what to think. The only thing that I know as fact is that when he left, he took all of his filth with him, which I learned when my STD testing came back clean. Beyond that, though, I will never truly know the scope of a life lived behind my back.
I've long since made peace with the fact that this is my story and this is my life, but in many ways it's still hard to accept.
My husband — living under our shared roof, sleeping with me — was sleeping with hundreds of strangers.
I no longer have any contact with my now ex-husband but I often wonder, do my children have siblings? Two? Three? Five?
But as I've learned, stranger things have happened.
Have you ever been cheated on? How did you find out?
This post originally appeared on Your Tango. You can view the original post here.