couples

'A letter to my boyfriend's wife: He has betrayed us both.'

Dear Hayley,

I never expected to be writing this letter. My current circumstances, a heavy conscience and not knowing whether these words will help or hurt you have led me to put great thought into them. I feel that if you ever read it you will immediately know it is meant for you, and that deep down you always knew one day you would receive a letter from someone like me.

I’m listening to ‘I’m Not The Only One’ by Sam Smith, thinking how many times I’ve felt this sentiment, and how many times you must have sensed and probably tried to ignore that you are not the only one in your husband’s life. If I was in your position, I honestly don’t know if I would want to know the truth: that Hugh has betrayed us both, though his betrayal of you far outweighs his of me.

'A relationship can survive an affair.' Image: Sam Smith, I Know I'm Not The Only One, YouTube

I first met Hugh five years ago through a mutual friend in the entertainment industry. I was young, naive and eager to find my place in the world. I found myself in awe of Hugh professionally, but repulsed by him personally. The blonde who arrived late at night, halfway through a business dinner, should have been a warning sign that he was a womaniser who enjoyed the thrill of the chase. Never would I have expected that one day I would be in her shoes.

A man in his position had opportunities coming at him from every direction, so I didn’t understand why he chose to chase me when I made it clear I didn’t intend to be one. After countless attempts to shake him off I caved in and we started to get to know each other. I was excited at the prospect of building a strong working relationship and friendship . . . well, that was the intention.

I found out you existed during a meeting over drinks. I noticed Hugh didn’t wear a wedding ring but I knew he had children, so I asked about his relationship status out of curiosity. Discovering that he was still married hit me unexpectedly hard, and although he said you were separated, I felt a knot in my stomach. At home I did a web search to see if it was true and didn’t find a single mention of you, which eased my concerns.

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LISTEN: Mia Freednan discusses how she'd react if she caught her husband cheating. (Post continues...)

I had built up strong emotional barriers after suffering multiple sexual abuses, and letting my guard down to Hugh was one of the best and worst decisions I have ever made. A year after we met, I allowed him to take my virginity: a fact that he still doesn’t know. By this stage I had fallen so hard for the man who had not only stolen my heart but had restored my faith in men that even if I’d known the true status of your marriage, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done what I did. That brings me great shame.

I asked Hugh about you so many times and he always insisted that you were separated, and like a fool I believed him. Even photographic proof of your ongoing marriage couldn’t shatter my belief. Despite irrefutable evidence, I couldn’t bring myself to accept that I was the other woman. I wasn’t strong enough to handle the truth; I knew it would destroy me. I plummeted into denial and somehow turned my hatred for the situation into thinking you were the cause of my pain, rather than the other way around. For a long time I thought I despised you, when in fact I despised myself.

It shatters me to think of the number of people in Hugh’s circle who must know you but has never told you about me. There is so much I want to say to you, not least of which is an apology. I cannot accept responsibility for the time that I didn’t know the truth about your relationship, but I take full responsibility for everything after that, and I know the heartbreak I have experienced is my karma.

I have written my story for every woman, on either side of the fence. I do hope that one day I will have the courage to come face to face with you and accept the consequences of my actions, answer any questions you may have, and give you closure if you need it. As for me, I guess the feeling of guilt and shame will stay with me forever. I may have been naive but I wasn’t stupid; deep down I knew, and I ignored every warning sign.

I hope that you are able to be blissfully happy in every aspect of your life and that, no matter what, you don’t think any of this is your fault . . . as far as I know, you have kept up your end of your vows, though his have been broken for more than a decade.

Sincerely,

Ava Reilly

Ava Reilly is the author of Confessions of a Millionaires Mistress, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, available now

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