Charlie shares her heartbreak story of betrayal and humiliation: “Hi Rosie, I’m nervous about commenting publicly on a post as I’m going through a divorce and my ex is being very unreasonable. I just wanted to say I all of your 5 reasons my have applied in my ex’s case. When he told me all the reasons why he wanted to break up he hid the affair, but he talked a lot in terms of being bored and frustrated with life, ‘we’ve grown apart, we’re completely different, we have different interests’ etc. When I discovered the affair it was clear his criticisms of me all referenced an unfavourable comparison he was making of me to the affair partner. He just didn’t tell me that part. We split up as the UK emerged from the pandemic. I now realise he spent the entire pandemic and both lockdowns carrying on a relationship (mostly online but eventually physical) with this person and I think she represented to him all that was exciting and interesting in contrast to the malaise he was experiencing when we were stuck at home in really tough circumstances (job loss, child with disabilities, very urban location with no escape from noise and neighbours, in my case crazy crises at work which meant working long hours albeit remotely).
What’s quite hard is he’s now really jumped into the relationship with the affair partner and is now pushing the blending of families (our children are young and similar ages), organising holidays together etc.
I’m trying not to feel utterly broken. It’s hard because I’m left doing pretty much all the childcare and paying for everything and he won’t return the keys to the house as I haven’t yet/can’t buy him out so I feel very stuck and left behind.
But it’s helpful to think the reasons for the affair may have been as much his own insecurities and not just because he found her more lovable than he finds me.
This may sound a bit extreme but I think having an affair is a form of abuse. If I had known my husband was pursuing a relationship (initially emotional affair) I might have acted differently, taken steps to protect myself and accepted the marriage breakdown much sooner. I feel so angry and humiliated that I didn’t know and didn’t get any say in the matter. I wouldn’t have supported him financially for so long if I’d known he was being unfaithful to me. I might have accepted voluntary redundancy and gone back to uni rather than hanging on in a job because he was urging me to keep working whilst his work was impacted. I think he thinks I’m hung up on the fact he had sex with someone else whilst we were still living together but it’s so much more than that: it’s the lies, hundreds of lies, talking about our life and our relationship with someone I don’t know, making plans for the future secretly with someone I don’t know when I was still trying to make plans with him for our family. A year on he still refuses to acknowledge the betrayal but has made no steps to hide it either. I think he honestly believes he and his affair partner are just star-crossed lovers who were in unhappy marriages. He doesn’t want to think about how it’s impacted me.