real life

'For 10 years my husband told me I had trust issues. Then I found a love letter in the back of the drawer.'

As told to Ann DeGrey 

My relationship with my partner Harry was the romance I'd been waiting for since I was a lovesick teenager — we had an undeniable chemistry, we were always laughing, always connected. I trusted him with all my heart. Yet, there was always something gnawing at the back of my mind. His work colleague, an attractive woman named Tia, seemed to be too close for comfort.

The first time I felt uneasy was when he started coming home about two hours later than he originally said he'd be home. And there was always an excuse — a project deadline, a late meeting, or a team dinner. But it was the subtle changes in his behaviour that concerned me the most. He was very secretive with his phone, always keeping it on silent and taking calls in another room, or turning the phone away from my view whenever he received a notification. At first, I brushed it off, chalking it up to work matters that didn't concern me. I figured he just didn't want to bother me with boring work matters, and that was fine for a while. 

Then there was the time I found a text message from Tia. It was nothing explicit, just a simple "Thank you for last night," with a devil emoji. When I asked him about it, he laughed it off and said it was referring to him helping her with a presentation. I asked him why she sent a devil emoji, and he said it was just an "inside joke." I wanted to believe him, but the seed of doubt had already been planted.

The next incident was the most blatant. I joined Harry at a work dinner; Tia was seated on his other side and I felt that the way they interacted was too familiar. There were way too many lingering glances and they seemed to be in their own world. It was as though Harry had forgotten I was sitting on the other side of him. He barely spoke to me and, when we got home I asked if he was having an affair with Tia. He became very angry, telling me I was paranoid and insecure. He swore that he loved me and that Tia was just a friend and colleague.


Watch: Mamamia Confessions: Relationship deal-breakers. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

He told me I needed to focus on my "trust issues," and I was made to feel like I was the problem. I didn't want to lose him so I worked hard to ignore my suspicions and even saw a therapist multiple times, which was very expensive. 

For years, I convinced myself that I was the one with the problem, that my jealousy was unfounded. Then we got married and things seemed to be okay and I'd forgotten about Tia — Harry had moved to a new company so I never heard her name mentioned again. 

Then, 10 years later, as we prepared to move house, I found the proof that shattered my world all over again.

I was packing up Harry’s office when I came across a drawer filled with old letters and documents. At the very back, hidden beneath a pile of papers, I found it — a love letter from Tia. In it, she was ending their affair, but she confessed that she would always love him. My hands trembled as I read her writing, the confirmation of what I had suspected all those years ago.


All the memories of our fights, the therapy sessions, and my constant self-doubt came flooding back. My emotions were a whirlwind. Anger, betrayal, sadness, and a strange sense of validation swirled inside me. I felt like a fool for believing him, for allowing him to convince me that I was the problem. I'd wasted 10 years of my life, 10 years of trust and love, on a man who’d betrayed me — and gaslit me into thinking I was the issue and not him.

Now, I'm trapped because I'm pregnant with our second child, and the thought of leaving him feels impossible. But I know I can't stay with a man who shattered my faith in love. I'm planning my exit carefully, waiting until after the baby is born.

I will not let him control my life any longer. I deserve better, and so do my kids. They deserve a mother who's strong and who values herself enough to walk away from a cheating partner. 

I may have felt like an idiot for believing him back then, but now I know the truth, and it is quite empowering. I haven't confronted him with Tia’s letter yet — I'll do that when the time is right, not out of a need for revenge, but for closure. And then, I will walk away, with my head held high, ready to start a new future, without him and the shadow of his betrayal over my life.

Image: Getty.

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