As told to Ann DeGrey
I was only 25 when I married Sam, and he was my first boyfriend. I trusted him with everything – finances, my safety and other women. He was the kind of guy that everyone thought was “amazing.” He was good looking, sporty, smart and a lot of fun. For 15 years we were very happy, or so I thought. Then my whole world came crashing down and even though five years has passed by, I often wake in the middle of the night and think to myself, “What the hell happened?”
We have two daughters and they are the loves of my life. I never thought Sam would ever do anything to destroy our family. But when the girls had started school, Sam took on a new job to help with school fees and that meant he had to do a bit of travelling. “It’ll just be the occasional trip interstate,” he said.
At first, he would travel just once a month and usually only be gone for two or three days. But, as time went on, he was spending more and more time away. When I asked him why he had to travel so often to Queensland, he said that was where the main office is and he was excited to get a promotion – but I never saw evidence of this in terms of more money coming into our account. That was my first red flag.
He was travelling every other week and the girls and I just got used to him being away. I tried to reassure myself that it was what he had to do to get ahead and I was grateful that I had the freedom to work part time because he was the main breadwinner.
But then he started travelling every week – he’d leave every Thursday and return on the Monday. This made me very upset, that he’d choose to spend so much time away from our girls, who adored him. That’s when the fights started, he’d accuse me of being selfish and calling me a “hand brake,” as though I wasn’t letting him progress his career. Looking back, I think he was deliberately starting fights with me to help end our marriage. That was my next red flag.
The worst day of my life was when Sam called our eldest daughter. He was Facetiming her; I was in the kitchen while my daughter was telling her dad about a birthday party she’d been to that day when I heard a baby crying. My daughter heard it too and said, “Is that a baby?”
I heard Sam say something about being in a restaurant but I knew that was a lie because when I peered over my daughter’s shoulder, I could see he was in a living room. Then he hung up on her.
He phoned back a couple of minutes later, saying his battery had died, but I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. Was Sam with another woman? If so, she must be a single mum because what else could explain a baby crying.
The truth was much worse than I imagined.
Two days later Sam was home and he looked very sheepish. He said, “My mum is coming to pick up the girls because we need to talk.” In my heart, I knew he was ending our marriage, but nothing prepared me for what he would tell me.
“I’ve been having an affair with a woman I met online. She lives on the Gold Coast and we have a five-month-old son,” he said.
I was completely in shock. I couldn’t speak, and I felt sick to my stomach. The way he told me was incredibly brutal – he might as well have told me that he’d just had a shower or eaten a burger or something trivial.
I started to cry and he put his arm around me and said, “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.”
He said he plans on moving his girlfriend and baby to Melbourne to be near him and so he can spend time with our daughters. I think I managed to say, “But what about me?” and that’s when he said he wanted a divorce so he’s free to marry his new partner.
What could I do, I had no choice but to move on. Sam let me keep the house and, true to his word, he moved his partner and baby to Melbourne. The only good thing I’ll say about him is that he took on a second job to support two families and he is a very present father in our girls’ lives.
The girls adore their little brother, but I refuse to meet him. Maybe I will someday but I will never meet his mother, that will be too painful for me. Life goes on, I guess and maybe this was all meant to be because now I have a loving partner in my life. But I will always have trust issues thanks to Sam – I still haven’t quite forgiven him. I’ve moved on but there will always be pain in my heart over what he did to me and our girls.
Feature Image: Canva.
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