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“I found dating apps on my cheating husband’s phone.”

By on July 14, 2022 0

I persevered. I got pregnant. My make-up baby made me want to forgive him and move on — a mulligan, my golf buddy told me, a second chance.

Ten years have passed. Over the years, I saw the strange message, the inappropriate exchange with colleagues or clients. The first names of the girls: Sandy, Claudia, Kim, Penny, appear on her phone or on her email. I could have gone for it, but I had two toddlers and a world of self-loathing for doing the one thing I swore to myself never to do. I had stayed. So I kept trying. And my head tried. My heart has tried. But my body knew better.

A decade of unexplained illnesses took me in and out of the hospital. A series of marriage counseling, always ending with me alone on the couch – solving my problems. My lack of intimacy, my inability to show affection, my coldness, my constant sickness. The gaslight lies that my husband made me believe. The case. The one case and my inability to get past it was my fault – it was all in my head. There was something wrong with me. He loved me and why couldn’t I see him? Why couldn’t I trust him?

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Ten years later, he finally gave up. He wanted to leave me, he said. I was no longer enough for him and he was not happy. But of course, that wasn’t the whole story. Detective mode activated I went back down the rabbit hole.

This time, I discovered a lot more. His hunting ground was online. I checked app downloads – 14 dating apps. Mind blowing when I can barely keep up with Instagram and Facebook. He had met a woman online in every state he had traveled to for work on every separate work trip for years. Old school Skype calls and nude photos, messages to hook up, to watch girls with other men, with other women. Imploring women to join Chatterbate. Hours of porn. And I had no idea. Or maybe I did and just chose not to face it, ignore my inner voice, not go after it because I didn’t want to face the ugly truth anymore.

Because the last time I was hospitalized was the day before I discovered Tammy. The one he had been looking for for 20 years of marriage, the one he was leaving me for. I blamed myself, I still do in many ways. And I wasted 10 years of my own life trying to make him happy. Not knowing that I was competing with so many people and would never make him happy. I’m not sure anyone will.

Tammy is no more, and he’s with someone new, someone he met online while living with Tammy. And I’m alone. No more wondering if he’s happy, no more hoping that I’m enough, no more frantically trying to be everything.

When I see him now as we swap our kids for visits and he checks his phone, my gut drops again – a little reminder of the post-traumatic stress I had ignored for so long. Things are quiet inside me now. This is perhaps the scariest part of facing life alone now. When you feel safe. When the other shoe finally fell.

How can I be comfortable in the silence of peace?

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Feature image: Getty.

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