The Day I Discovered My Wife Was Cheating

Photo by christopher catbagan on Unsplash

How Good Friday Marked the Death of My Marriage

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I realized my wife and best friend was cheating on me, and my marriage might be doomed.

Now, I’m not religious, and I’m certainly not comparing myself to Jesus, but the irony of the day isn’t lost on me. The death of my marriage started on Good Friday, a day associated with mourning. The Bible says that Good Friday was the day Jesus was crucified and killed. My understanding is that his followers had lost hope and mourned the end of his life. Little did they know at the time that he would soon be resurrected, and a new, more joyful life lay ahead for them. Little did I know, on this day, that I was about to enter a very dark period and come out with a more joyful life than before.

“Happy” Birthday

It also happened to be the day before our youngest son’s first birthday party. A one-year celebration of the moment I sat in the hospital room with her through a delivery that was scary and forced us to make some quick decisions with the doctor. We held hands and told each other how much we loved each other through tears. I saw her consumed with a fearful look I’ve never seen before. She was sweaty, messy, unkempt, and in pain, but all I saw was the only person I wanted to be with. While I was scared, I was also excited for the next step we were taking on our beautifully un-perfect, perfect path as family.

Fast forward one year later. I had the day off of work. She had been struggling with stress and feeling like she lost a step after returning to a stressful job after nine months of maternity leave. I thought it would be a nice gesture to take the kids out of town to my parent’s house, where we were hosting the party. She could get a full night of sleep in our bed, without waking up for one of the kids for the first time in over two years (we also had a 20-month-old).

Our Opposing Days

On this day, she went out to lunch with co-workers, like she did every Friday. They took pictures that day and she sent some to me. I could tell she was having a great time. I, meanwhile, sent her a photo of my youngest son’s highchair, him, myself, and our floor covered in diarrhea. Now this is not something I would normally take a photo of, but I could not believe how messy things were. And always trying to find the humor in life, I thought the opposing days we were having was funny. Skip ahead if you don’t want details.

He got sick at breakfast and his diaper somehow got moved to the side. It all flowed like a waterfall down the nooks of the highchair, all over the dining room floor. I had to keep our very curious dog and our toddler away from what looked to them like the most interesting fingerpainting project ever. As I got out handfuls of garbage bags, old towels, and disinfectant, it felt like a scene in a mob movie where they have to clean up a messy murder. It was stressful, but I found the humor in it and sent my wife a photo to show her how bad things can get and, let’s be honest, earn some brownie points for taking one for the team that day.

The First Denial

Later that day, I went to Costco near my parent’s house to grab some food for dinner and items for the birthday party the next day. I called my wife to see if there was anything else she could think of that I should grab. She said she was on her way home from work and just stopped at Old Navy to return clothes.

I knew something was off. She had a tone to her voice that was familiar. One where she’s out with people. I’ve never been jealous. I was always confident in our commitment to each other, and the fact that we had our social circles. I never thought twice when she went to bars, Vegas, or lunch with male coworkers, so I asked her, “Who are you out with?”

When she said, “Nobody,” I knew she was lying. I didn’t feel a pit in my stomach yet, but I knew something was up. So, I looked up her location because we had a shared “Find my iPhone” account and saw that she was actually at a bar we’d been to many times. “Okay,” I thought. “Maybe she’s meeting up with somebody and planning some sort of surprise for me.”

I mean, technically, I wasn’t wrong.

Paranoia Starts to Creep In

I checked in periodically through the night to see where she was going, and she did go to Old Navy, eventually. I called her about an hour later when I was making some instant Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, because there was a weird texture in the bowl and, apparently, I forgot Google existed in that moment. And I probably wanted to check in for more clues.

She told me the texture was normal and it even says so on the container. She was right. She also sounded mildly annoyed.

I found out later, that he was in the car with her on speakerphone. For the sake of not identifying anyone, let’s call him Donald. Why? Because, unlike me, he’s very political and makes it a big part of his life. I’m pretty middle of the road. He can’t stand anyone conservative, but especially Donald Trump. So, while I’m not a Trump fan myself, it feels very fitting to call him Donald going forward. Let’s break down the similarities real quick, just to rub it in more:

  • They both feel like they are always in the right. Anyone else who is not in full agreement with them is an idiot
  • They both get envious of others’ success
  • They both have terrible hair
  • They both had affairs. Only the fake Donald had the hubris to call out the real Donald for doing this on his Twitter account after cheating on his wife, with my wife
  • I would question both of their morals and values, to say the least

Anyway, back to the Mac & Cheese

Like I said, she seemed annoyed. She later told me she was annoyed. Because, as she would later tell Donald (and me), she felt as if I was ruining her night off.

Let that sink in.

She was on a date with another man and was mad at me for calling her for the second time that evening.

She also told him she felt as if she had three children: our two kids and me. Now, from this point I’m going to write from my perspective on this night, not what really happened. In a future post, I’ll fill in the facts to make sense of it all.

Then It Hits Me

As I put the boys to bed, I could see that she was at the train station. Okay, her girlfriend she was probably meeting up with to plan my birthday surprise (um … 9 months early) must be riding the train back to somewhere. I knew that didn’t sound logical, but I couldn’t think of a reason why she would be there.

Then I remembered something and my heart sank.

A couple months before, she went on a work trip a couple hours out of town for the week and stayed at a hotel with her entire office. Before the trip, she was really mean and cold to me. She had returned to work at the beginning of January, and the return was really hard on her. She felt stressed. She felt like she had lost a step (she had a powerful, stressful job). She didn’t feel beautiful, and she told me she felt dumb, even though she used to be one of the smart people in the office.

She was already in pretty good shape, especially for having a baby, and I was just as attracted as ever to her, but she lost more weight and bought new clothes. I liked the old body, and I really liked the new body too. So did she. We still weren’t having much sex though. Not because I hadn’t tried. We had two kids under two years old and were both working full-time and taking care of the kids and house every day. We were both candles burning at both ends; I was just willing to still use my burnt end for pleasure at the end of the night.

Then a Week Away Happened

When she got back from her trip at the end of February, I saw a libido in her I hadn’t seen since she read through the Fifty Shades of Grey books and I told her at some point, “I love having sex, but I don’t know that my body can keep up this frequency this long.”

Now she wanted sex. And she wanted a lot of it. And it was great sex, as it had always been. I noticed the instant change and would joke around and ask, “What happened on your trip?” I always trusted her completely and would never have thought an affair was possible, because of our relationship, long history, and shared strong moral values. I figured the rest and time to herself rejuvenated her. It became a joke when she got ready for work in her new clothes, taking an extra glance in the mirror, and I’d tell her how good she looked and ask who the other guy was. But I was happy and secure. I had a beautiful, smart, successful wife.

But that night, on Good Friday, I felt my heart sink when I started to put the clues together. I thought that maybe she met somebody on her trip and finally had a night where he could take the train down and meet her while I took the kids away.

Paranoia Now Becomes My Roommate

Putting the kids to bed that night was one of the hardest nights of my life. Knowing, almost certainly, that my best friend and love of my life was out with somebody else, taking advantage of my goodwill to give her a night off, was like a perpetual kick in the nuts.

I kept trying to be optimistic, thinking, “Maybe she’s meeting with a friend,” but she always told me when she met with friends. I would try and force myself to believe that maybe she’s planning something for me. But I’d keep remembering that there wasn’t an occasion to plan for. And my actions of constantly checking her location didn’t match with the feelings of trust I was trying to force myself to have.

Another Phone Call

Later, she called me from “the mall,” and we talked, while I watched her phone move on the map from a different train station, which happened to be on the same block as her office … miles from the mall, inching up the freeway toward our neighborhood. Did she go back to her office and fulfill some fantasy? Was she at the other train station? Both?

We chatted for a few minutes, then hung up, and I tried to fall asleep while I desperately searched our banking app for a charge to Taco Bell, since that’s where she told me she stopped for dinner. I checked every social media app for photos others had taken and posted at the bar I saw on her phone’s location, and both train stations that night to see if she appeared in the background of any. Both searches turned up cold.

I went to bed trying to fall asleep, but wondering what was about to happen to my marriage, my wife, my kids, and my future. I couldn’t tell my parents yet. I didn’t know anything concrete, and I didn’t want them to give away clues to her the next day that I knew something.

I was married, but started feeling more alone than ever.

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Much Reassembly Required

I’m a divorced dad reassembling life after my marriage ended unexpectedly. It’s been a ride, but I’m happier now than I was before. Hoping to help others.