Karen has been keeping a secret from her husband for 16 years now – something she fears that if he ever found out, it could end their relationship.
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Karen and her husband Mike have been married for 13 years and together for 18, but something happened 16 years ago that Karen has never told her husband. She hopes he never finds out.
The couple met when they were in their early 20s and they fell in love hard and fast. After two years of dating, Mike proposed and Karen immediately screamed ‘Yes’.
“We knew we were young, but we knew we wanted to be together forever,” says Karen. “But we took our time being engaged. We had lots of other financial goals, so it was a long engagement.”
It was a year into their engagement, that the incident happened that Karen says she is full of regret over.
“It happened 16 years ago, but I still think about it and feel so much shame,” says Karen.
On the day it happened, Karen was supposed to be working late, when there was a power cut and her boss sent everyone home. She sent a message to Mike to let him know, and if he was home for dinner. She didn’t hear anything back, but she headed home – she figured he’d be at home because he’d finished work a couple of hours before her.
When he wasn’t there, she didn’t think much of it. It was Friday night – maybe he’d had a beer with someone after he finished work. After rifling through the pantry, she realised that one of them would need to pick up some food for dinner. She called her fiancé – it went straight to voicemail. Still not too worried, she got back in the car to go to the supermarket. But, as she was stopped at the lights she recognized her husband’s car, in the lane next to her a little further up.
“He wasn’t alone,” she says. “There was a beautiful blonde woman in the car who I’d never seen before and they were laughing and, it looked like they were being sort of affectionate.”
Karen tried to follow them, but she quickly lost them when she got stuck at a red light behind traffic. She decided to head home immediately.
“I wanted to look for clues or something,” she says.
Which she found almost immediately.
“I opened his laptop and got into his emails and he had an email from a woman,” she says. “The subject line was ‘It’s been too long’ and the body of the text just said ‘can’t wait to see you tonight if you can still make it! x’”
“I saw red,” says Karen.
Still unable to reach her fiancé, she messaged a friend who was out in a bar – she suggested Karen come join her.
“That turned out to be a big mistake,” says Karen. “We drank way too much and I thought it would be a good idea to get some revenge on Mike who I was certain was cheating on me, by dancing with guys. But dancing led to kissing, which lead to going back to a guy’s house to have revenge sex. I figured our relationship was over, so I might as well get back at him by cheating on him too.”
A couple of hours later, Karen looked at her phone to find she had six missed calls from her fiancé.
“They said he was home after dropping Amber at her hotel and he’d had a fun time but had missed me. His phone had gone dead, but was I ok? He had a lot of missed calls from me. He thought I should have finished work by now.”
In a haze of panic, Karen searched back through her messages with her fiancé. She found a few that made her blood run cold once more – Mike wasn’t out cheating on her with some blonde. He was having dinner with his cousin Amber who lived overseas and was in town for a conference and had one night free. Mike had asked her to come with him to meet Amber, but she was scheduled to work late that night.
Karen decided to not come clean about what she had done that night.
She called her friend, got her to swear to secrecy, got a taxi home and told her fiancé about the power cut and that she’d gone to meet her friend when she couldn’t reach him.
“I thought the guilt was going to eat me up,” she says. “I felt so guilty I wanted to tell him, but I weighed it up and decided that telling him would only be to alleviate my own guilt.”
Karen says she felt certain they were meant to be together, so, she’s kept the whole thing a secret.
“I think about it every now and then though,” she says. “I used to think about it, maybe hourly, now, I think about it maybe once a week and still feel incredible guilt. I don’t know how Mike would feel about it now, but I could never tell him. I’m still so ashamed of what a stupid mistake I made.”
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