real life

The moment Married At First Sight's Simone discovered her partner was cheating.

June, 2012.

A Wednesday morning, 2:30AM. I punched in the pin code and I was in. Complete access to texts, Facebook, emails. Scroll. Quick. Apps, what apps? Facebook. Facebook chat. Texts. Scroll.

Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Gemma. Sarah. Jessica. Alana. Emma. Lisa. Tegan. Monica.

‘Tell me what you’d do to me next?’

‘Send me some photos.’

‘I think we’d be good together.’

‘Where can I meet you?’

‘Thanks for coming last night.’

‘She’ll be at work so that should be fine.’

‘She’s so keen, but I’ll never marry her.’

I sat on the lounge room floor, in pitch black, hands trembling in fear he would wake and catch me in the act. I scrolled fast. I clicked so quick, I read quick.

I didn’t read everything. I felt I didn’t have time to read everything. But I read enough.

My Airforce partner, my other half, my best friend, my all and more, my first love was cheating on me. If you’d like to know him, I’ll let you get to know him, but let me start by telling you this: he is The One. He is The One who officially ruined relationships for me for a very long time. In all honesty, he also officially ruined me for a while there. Everyone, meet Kurt*.

I tiptoed back to the bedroom, around to his side of the bed, and quietly placed his phone back on the bedside table, breathing ever so slowly, not to wake him. I crept back into bed, and I just lay there, staring at the ceiling, both hands on my chest breathing ever so slowly, trying my best not to cry, not to wake him.

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I looked over at him, his face lit by the moonlight through our undrawn curtains, his arm now heavily weighing across my stomach. How could you do this?

Two days prior, we stood in the kitchen prepping dinner, and he spoke about a surprise he was planning for me — his words sealed with a kiss, his arms wrapped around my waist. We ate our dinner on the balcony, as usual, overlooking Newcastle Beach. By this point we’d known each other just shy of four years, officially dating for three years, nine months, and lived together for two years on and off.

We’d spoken about marriage and children and travel. We lived together in Darwin, Katherine, and at the very end, Newcastle. We did long distance: Melbourne/Sydney and Middle East/Sydney for months, on and off. But, it was never an issue. It was our norm. The life of a Defence partner.

Long distance was the norm. Interstate travel was the norm. Skype chats and weeks apart were the norm. And in our final year, we lived together for an entire year – June to June. I fondly remember walking hand in hand down Newcastle Beach one sunny Sunday afternoon and I said to him, “If this is what life is like for the rest of my life, I’m happy”, and he said, “Me too.”

Sim and Kurt. Kurt and Sim. We had agreed on the name of our son-to-be; let’s just say it was Jude. Well, we spoke of Jude often, even though he was far from actually existing. To be honest, I’m still convinced my son will be named Jude. When Kurt and I ended, I not only grieved for the love lost between Kurt and me, I grieved for Jude, because I felt like he was meant to be in this world and now he never would be.

After four years, with Kurt being my main focus, it was all I knew. He was all I knew. He was it. He was The One.

September 2008.

I had recently returned home to Sydney indefinitely following a European Summer. And then, one fateful night while “chaperoning” my little sister to the local, the dodgiest nightclub you ever did see, I met Kurt.

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One week later, we were on our first date. Three months later I’m having Christmas lunch with his family. Four months later, we’re doing long distance — Melbourne/Sydney. Two years later I’m living with him in the Northern Territory outback, working behind the bar. I was happy. Or so I thought I was.

And there I was, just staring at the ceiling, both hands on my chest breathing ever so slowly, trying so hard not to breakdown, not to wake him. Everything in the apartment was my own: the lounge, bed, cushions, coffee table, linen, dinnerware, coffee cups, spatula, salad spinner, every single item down to the very last fork belonged to me. But the lease was in his name, substituted through the Defence.

With a glimmer of sunrise, I left for work, much earlier than usual. I whispered goodbye and good day to Kurt, he hardly stirred. I took the lift down four flights, walked out through the foyer, out onto the street, welcomed by the sea breeze. I opened up my car and made it 100 metres up the road to a car park. I stared out to the ocean, took a deep breath, and then I cried. And I cried. And I cried. I couldn’t breathe any more.

Watch: Women share the moment they knew it was over with a partner. (Post continues after video.)

An hour or so later, I drove back home, put the key in my front door and walked down the hallway to the bedroom, where he lay awake, on his phone.

The first words that came out of my mouth? “Give me your phone.” His response? “No.”

What happened next? Well, he purposely locked his phone by punching in the incorrect pin five times too many. Then he turned it off. And put it back in his pocket. I did try to get it from him and he pushed me back. He had excuses for everything. He said I was overreacting. He said I misunderstood conversations I had read. He even said the whole situation was ‘kinda funny’ if I really thought about it. And then he said he had to go to work.

“Will you be home when I get back?” he asked. “Yes,” I said.

As soon as he shut the front door behind him, I grabbed the suitcase from the top shelf of our closet, and I packed as much as I could, as fast as I could, into this one bag. I threw my suitcase in the back of my car, and I drove away. I drove out of Newcastle, down the freeway, crying, almost unable to breathe, all the way home to Sydney.

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Six days later, I went back. I walked into the apartment, and he had dinner ready on the table. And it was then I knew: if this is what life was going to be like for the rest of my life, I was never going to be truly happy. And after four years, with him being my main focus, my other half, my all, my first love, he had officially ruined me. Simone as you knew her, was gone. The next day, I repacked my suitcase and I left, closing the door on Sim and Kurt. For good.

Hello, sunny weekend ????????????????✨ #seriouslyTGIF

A photo posted by SIMONE LEE BRENNAN (@simoneleebrennan) on Aug 11, 2016 at 2:30pm PDT

I arrived back ‘home’, in Sydney, and I was a completely and utterly broken.

One month later I scored a job as an Education Recruitment Consultant in Sydney’s CBD. I loved it. I had forgotten how big the world actually was for a minute there. Some days were tougher than others; I definitely had my moments of sadness, over the top breakdowns. I particularly remember this one day, I got off the bus at Wynyard Station, and I was walking down Hunter St to work and I just thought, I could just stop right now, and maybe I could just sit here, and cry, and I wonder, would anybody really notice, because I don’t think I can do this.

But, I didn’t. I kept walking, heels high, head high, into the office, smile on my dial. And I did that every day until it no longer felt like a chore. And once it was no longer felt like a chore, I quit city life and became a full-time Makeup Artist.

And so now, here I am- completely ruined yet completely repaired, better than new. And now, I’m just waiting, ever so patiently, for that day when I can say: Hey, Jude.

* Name has been changed.

Simone Lee Brennan is a 30-year-old Sydney make-up artist who appeared on the second season of Married At First Sight Australia. She writes about her experiences with dating, heartbreak and Tinder on her blog.

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