To say you were the woman who broke my marriage is probably a little unfair. I see now, that by the time you came along I was no longer in love with my now ex-husband. There had been too many before you and with each one I questioned love, commitment and marriage vows and what it all meant.
One thing that I never told anyone was that I had planned on leaving in December 2013, long before you were even on the radar. I had it all planned out months before hand. I was going to take some extended leave from work, this was going to give me time to recover and the finances to be able to afford to leave. But I was pregnant with our 3rd child at the time so decided to suggest a family holiday instead, hoping it would magically fix everything.
It didn’t. It was during that holiday that I realised I wasn’t even sure I liked him anymore, let alone loved him.
Your name first popped up when our 3rd baby was only a couple of weeks old, I felt threatened because I’d just had a baby so I wasn’t looking or feeling my best, I was tired, I was emotional and I was about 10kgs heavier than normal. I remember meeting you about a month later. Even though I don’t think anything was going on at that point when you said you were married with 2 kids of your own I somehow felt less threatened because you were a Mum, you get it, there’s no way you’d become involved with a father of 3 kids, especially one with such young children.
Then at Christmas time that same year we came across each other at a function. He was taking photos with my phone, when I looked through them I realised most of them were of you, there were none of me. Again I became worried. I was still tired, still emotional and still 10kgs overweight and because there were so many before you, I knew the warning signs.
The withdrawal from me and our children, the constant criticism, hiding his phone, doing anything to be away from me and the kids. It was all there. But again I thought – she’s a mother, why would she become involved with a married father.
At the beginning of 2015 I discovered some things about him, they were not connected to you at all, but to me it was the beginning of the end. I couldn’t even stand to look at him let alone have him touch me so I retreated further and further into the kids.
Our second son was turning 5, it was then that I discovered what was going on. On my son’s 5th birthday. We had just arrived home from his birthday party. Do you know how that felt and the effects it had on our family. It meant that 3 days later our son had his first day of school without his father there. It was the start of so many things we would do without his father. It meant that I was ironing school uniforms, covering school books, packing his school bag for the first time all while thinking my marriage was over.
The things he told you about me, they way he spoke about me, the way he spoke about one of our children was soul destroying for me and not something I could ever recover from. See the difference between you and the others were – the others were just physical which made it easier to deal with in my mind. With you he had an emotional connection which was far more devastating.
We tried to fix it but it was too late and about 9 months later he asked for a divorce and I left, pregnant with our 4th child.
Not long after I left, I saw you. But because my mind was such a mess I couldn’t place you. You know how you look at someone and think “oh, I know her, where do I know her from?”, it wasn’t until I was driving home that I placed you.
I spent so many months, after discovering you were involved with my then husband, wishing that someone was having an affair with your husband, wishing that he was saying the terrible things about you to another woman, wishing someone would tear your family apart so you knew what it would feel like. But, honestly, my anger towards you was misdirected, I was angry at him for so many things he said to you, things he did with you and things he did with the many before you.
Would I have confronted you on that day if I had placed you earlier? Probably not. You are not the reason why our marriage failed. You did not break up our family. But you are a mother, a married mother and you should’ve known better.