What It Feels Like To Be Cheated On

When it became quite clear that my marriage was coming to an end, which I first wrote about on YourTango, I wasn’t just sad, but embarrassed. I had somehow thought us better than those who were unable to make it work, despite my initial reservations about marriage as a whole, and couldn’t fathom that I was about to become a statistic. But there I was in Paris in May, a little over a year since our wedding, looking at my husband napping on the couch yet again, and my stomach turned. We were not going to be able to make it.

As most couples do, we went into our marriage with expectations for each other that may not have not been totally realistic. For example, I wanted him to work more than a few hours a week at the cabaret where he was a musician (which, honestly, seemed very romantic when we first met), and he wanted me to be some award-winning stepmother, which also was going to be a stretch. From the beginning, we knew it wouldn’t be easy; coming from two different countries, two different cultures, and two different worlds, but we decided we’d make a go of it, because that’s what people in love do: Act like idiots.

It was at the end of August, after I had been back in the States for just over a month that he called to say that we should end it. I was relieved in some way, because I didn’t want to be the one to say it, but also angry, too. Before I had left Paris in July, I had given him one more ultimatum to turn his life around, so when he called to say we should end it, he wasn’t just declaring an end to us, but essentially saying that he was giving up on trying to get his life in order, too. He said he would call the following day to discuss things further, but never did. My attempts at reaching him went unanswered for almost two months

As the rage brewed inside me, I decided to do some snooping…which is always a bad idea. What I found on the very public page of a 20-year-old who was supposed to be helping him with his “career,” were photos of them away together in Avignon, a few hours from Paris, and my husband not wearing his wedding band. Had the photo been taken in September or October, I would have understood, granted begrudgingly, but the date was from mid-July or, more specifically two days after I had left Paris to come back to the States.

Further research (thanks, Facebook!), led me to other things between he and she that just seemed a little too friendly. This 20-year-old was tagging him in everything she posted, just as I imagine I would have done at 20 and was in love, and her cover photo was that of a street with the same name as my husband. If this wasn't evidence of cheating, I don't know what was.

I knew my husband’s pattern. His entire life, he had gone from one woman to the next and when he met me it was the first time in his life that he had met someone when he was single. With that information, and what I found on Facebook, there was no doubt in mind what had happened: He had cheated on me with a girl 28 years his junior, then ghosted me for almost two months after suggesting we end it. Was this real life?

The first emotion that hit me was rage. Total rage. I was shaking and pacing; crying and screaming. I could not get control. I got on both his and her Facebook pages, writing “home-wrecker” on hers and “cheater” on his, and repeated that behavior for a whole five minutes until they both blocked me.

Then, randomly, I Googled to see what I could send to him that would ruin his day. I came across a website called Shitexpress that delivers shit to someone you hate, and signed on up for it. I also took every piece of tangible evidence I had of him and threw it out; I probably would have lit a bonfire and danced around it wildly while laughing manically, but I didn’t have the space. 

I wanted to break things, kick walls, and toss things out the window, but with an ocean between us, all I could do was send sh*t.

I sat with that rage, intermittent with tears, for a week, and then I heard from him and he confirmed what I already knew: He had cheated, they were in love, they were soulmates, and he seemed to be hinting that she would be moving in soon. I wanted answers, as I screamed and cried. How were they soulmates? Well, they both have the same birthday and love The Beatles. When did they first fall in love? She had been in love with him since June when she first saw him sing and he had been in love with her since that weekend they were away in Avignon and she thought that the perfect time to tell him that she loved him…and of course he loved her back immediately.

My rage slipped away, and what came next were the tears and sickness. I got off the phone and just barely made it to the bathroom. Before that day would be over, his 20-year-old girlfriend would email me a poem she wrote about me, in which I was somehow destroying my husband’s soul while all she did was love him. And, if that weren’t enough, it was riddled with personal things about me that only he could have told her. 

Every day is a struggle to get of bed. I’m not sure if I dread the nights or the days more. All day long, as I write about blow jobs and hand jobs for work, all I do is picture them doing those things. All night long, if I am able to sleep, I only dream about them, nightmares really, and I wake in violent jolts throughout the night, shaking and being forced to realize that this is what happened, this is how it is, and this is how it’s going to be.

When I first realized I was falling out of love with my husband, I was heart broken, but I made peace with it. I knew that we rushed into our marriage, that we maybe had fallen too fast and too hard, but I didn’t regret it. If anything I was grateful for getting to love such an amazing man, despite his inability to deliver in the way a partner was supposed to deliver. But after the cheating, the ghosting, and letting his girlfriend send me an effing poem of all damn things, wipes away any peace I had or could ever have with this. Now, I have to move on and learn how to trust again, but after something like this, I’m just not sure how to do that.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article did not properly attribute YourTango.

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Images: Amanda Chatel; Giphy(3)


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