real life

'I thought my new boyfriend was going to propose. Then a woman knocked on the door.'

As told to Ann DeGrey 

I'd been single for nearly five years, and I was pretty miserable about it. I'm the youngest of four girls and all my elder sisters partnered up in their early 20s are now in their 30s and married with kids. So that's all I really wished for, to have everything that my sisters had – a man who loves them and some gorgeous babies! It sounds simple, but it was a struggle for me.

Why is it that some of the so-called simple things in life are the hardest to achieve?

I had one semi-serious boyfriend, and he broke my heart when he told me he didn't want to get married and have kids… only to meet a new woman very quickly and become a new father very quickly. So my confidence was at an all-time low.

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

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I decided to focus on myself, and I took myself to the local gym and enrolled in a few classes and that's how I met Jack*. It sounds like such a cliché, going to the gym and hooking up with a fitness trainer but it was a lot more romantic than that. 

Jack was very sweet to me, telling me he was proud of the progress I'd made with my fitness and suggested taking me to his favourite café as a treat. He's vegan, and I thought, "He's probably trying to convert me." I didn't think for a moment that he was interested in me. When you have low self-esteem, as I did, you don't entertain the possibility that anyone will find you attractive.


In fact, the opposite happened – he thought I wasn't interested in him. So we had a little routine that every Wednesday after my one-on-one sessions with him, we'd go to that café. It kind of became "our place" and it wasn't long before he told me how he felt about me. He actually used the words "falling in love with you" and I nearly spat out my green smoothie! It really was music to my ears which is why what happened later, was just so painful.

Our first kiss came that night and of course, we spent the night together – it was blissful. He was great in bed and I have never felt so loved in my life and I doubt I ever will again. 

He always told me we needed to keep our relationship secret when we were at the gym so that was fine by me. I seriously didn't see any red flags – not even one. Originally from Ireland, it made sense that Jack didn't have any family in Sydney, so I made sure he came to my parents' house and meet my sisters and extended families. They all adored him, he was very outgoing with a great sense of humour but there was a sensitive side too. He was in tears telling my mother about the recent loss of his beloved Nan.

I had a bit of drama in my life, losing my job and then struggling to find a new position so I moved back in with my parents to save money. So that meant my family saw Jack more frequently, and they really welcomed him as one of us. Three months into our relationship, there still weren't any red flags. 

One of my sisters asked me, "Do you think Jack will pop the question?" and I just laughed, saying it's way too early. But I did see myself marrying him and felt sure he would propose at some point. 

Then, on a Sunday morning, my world changed. There was a knock at the door and my mother answered it – I heard a woman's voice asking if Caroline* was at home and mum called out my name. She must have known something was up because she remained standing at the door.


There was an attractive woman in her late 20s holding a baby. She said, "I'm Jack's girlfriend, and this is our baby."

I was too stunned to speak so my mum said, "What do you mean? Surely this is a joke?"

But the woman was deadly serious and said "Jack’s been lying to both of us and I wanted you to know."

All I managed was, "Oh my God, no."

I couldn't take my eyes off the baby. And the woman seemed sincere, she wasn't angry, just resigned to feeling broken. And I felt broken too. The funny thing is, I didn't think for a moment that she was lying.

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

I ran to my bedroom, sobbing, and left my mum talking to her. About 10 minutes later Mum came into my room and told me the woman had been suspicious that Jack was having "another affair" and had a friend follow him which led her to our house where all the pieces fell together. I called Jack, crying, telling him I had a visit from his partner and baby. He told me he was sorry, and he didn't mean to hurt me. I never heard from him again. This was two years ago, I don't think I'll ever get over it and I have zero interest in finding a new man. Being single is just fine by me.

*Names have been changed for privacy.

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

Feature image: Getty.

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