Welcome to our series, The Divorce Diaries: Today, we hear from a woman who found out her husband was cheating… while she was on the shower! Cheating is an all-too common reason for splits, so in this edition we also begin a series with Divorce Coach Bridgette Jackson delving into all facets of affairs – starting with what to do if it ever happens to you.
In our past instalments over the last year we’ve covered everything from when you’re most likely to divorce to whether they’re contagious to whether being on the contraceptive pill can effect your chances! and have now spoken to dozens of women – including one whose husband announced he was leaving her to have an open relationship with a 19-year-old, another who was quite literally ghosted by her own husband and one who discovered the real reason her husband divorced her was because he had a baby with her SISTER.
If you have a topic you’d like to discuss, share your thoughts, experience or advice about, drop a line to [email protected].
Kim was in the shower when she found out her husband was having an affair.
She wasn’t meant to be home.
She’d been at her desk at work, when she felt flu symptoms come on strongly and quickly, so she packed up her bag and headed home. Her temperature felt like it was rising by the second.
As she came to her home though, she saw there was a courier van in the driveway, so, not wanting to wait, she went past and parked on the side street next to the house, under the shade of an elm tree. She turned her key, opened the door and locked it behind her as she headed straight for the ensuite bathroom. Peeling off her clothes, she downed two paracetamol on her way to the bathroom, where she jumped in the shower to cool off.
She wasn’t quite sure how much time had passed – maybe 10 minutes? – when she thought she heard a sound. Terrified, she shut off the water.
“Then, I heard my husband’s voice, so the terror went away,” says Kim. Figuring he was just on the phone to someone – maybe he’d left something at home and had come back to get it? – she was about to turn the water back on, when she heard the voice of someone else.
“It was a woman’s voice,” says Kim. A woman’s voice she didn’t recognise.
“Suddenly I was terrified again, remembering that I was naked,” she tells. “My first thought was that maybe it was neighbour, or maybe even a real estate agent, because we had been toying with the idea of selling, but I thought we would have a chat first.”
Then, her stomach dropped, as she heard what sounded like “kissy noises”.
“It was a rollercoaster of emotions,” she tells. “First I was terrified that I was in the shower and a stranger was in the house who had broken in. Then the relief that it was just my husband. Then the horror that he wasn’t alone.”
She jumped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around her and opened the door to find her husband and a complete stranger entwined together on her marital bed.
“I screamed, he screamed, she screamed,” remembers Kim. “The cowardly b**h, ran out of the room, and my husband just kept saying, ‘I’m so sorry, god I don’t know what I’m thinking.’”
He must have thought I wouldn’t be home – and he wouldn’t have seen my car in the driveway.
Kim called her mother to come over and shut her husband out – before she managed to fall asleep (thanks to the doozy of a flu she had). When she woke up to her mother tapping on the door, she wondered if she’d had a fever dream.
Unfortunately, she hadn’t. But over the following year, she tried to forgive her husband and move on. However, a year later, she left him for good after she found it too hard to get through, even after exhaustive therapy.
“I think in the end, I just didn’t feel that he truly was sorry enough,” Kim says. “He thought that just by showing up at therapy once a week, that was doing the work. Just being there didn’t change a thing, he needed to really mean it and want to work hard.”
“He also said that it had happened just the one time. But. Who cheats for the first time at 10.30am on a Monday morning?”
Divorce coach Bridgette Jackson of Equal Exes is unfortunately not too surprised by this story – she sees women and men who have been cheated on come into her practice on a regular basis. “At least 50% of our clients who are separating have had affairs or are still having affairs,” she says. “It is one of the most common reasons to divorce.”
Cheating has also unfortunately become a common theme we see in many of our Divorce Diaries – we’ve heard so many stories, and hideous stories at that. There was a woman whose husband cheated on her with her sister (and had a baby with her), another who caught sight of her husband having an affair in the background of one of influencer Simone Anderson’s Instagram stories. One kiwi woman found out her husband was having an affair with a local celebrity, while another woman’s husband was having an affair with a 19-year-old, who he eventually left her for to start up an open relationship.
So, we had a chat to Bridgette about affairs – everything from why men and women cheat, to the warning signs to look for, to working out whether an affair means the end of a marriage, or if it can be repaired. We’ll get to all of that in the coming weeks, but today Bridgette shares her tips of what the heck do you do if you ever find yourself in Kim’s shoes.
Bridgette Jackson’s eight tips for what to do if you are ever cheated on:
- It’s hard to see through the haze of despair when you are told/find out but remember it does not categorically mean that your partnership is over – there needs to be an exploration process of what led up to this happening.
- During this time you must put your health and wellbeing as a priority – do what you need to do to get through this difficult period – spend time/surround yourself with people you love, do things that make you feel happy.
- Seek professional advice. You are in the middle of a crisis so making any major decisions right at this time is not recommended.
- Take every hour and every day as it comes. Managing your emotions through this period is going to be hard. You have to wait for you and your partner’s intense emotions to settle so you can get clarity on what has happened and what are the next steps for both of you.
- What will come next is the insight phase. The key for you both is to, now communicate with each other – openly and honestly. Be transparent with each other. The affair (and surrounding facts) is a by-product of what is actually happening between the two of you.
- The focus needs to be on “WHY has this happened to us as a couple?” There needs to be time for the cheatee to voice their anger and vent. They need to be heard and listened to and voice how they are feeling.
- Therapy plays a crucial part in getting a relationship back on track or at least exploring whether the relationship is actually salvageable. Discussing the ways to remedy the situation you find yourselves in, is important. Many people use their therapy sessions as a forum to do this – calm, quiet, safe place with a professional who can guide you through the process.
- Be patient with each other as it will take time to work through what has happened. Blaming and accusing each other needs to be set aside. The focus needs to be on checking in with each other on a regular basis, communicating effectively and being vulnerable are all building blocks for bringing back the trust that has gone “I’m not sure how to put this but I am feeling sad today about what happened”.