'The Christmas lunch that exposed my husband's filthy secret'

"I had been looking for Sean for 15 minutes when I finally found him - and saw something I will never, ever forget."

I’d been married to Sean for two years when I really started to notice something was a bit off about his friendship with Martine, who was a friend of his family.

We were still very much in that honeymoon period. People often said that we were like teenagers together because couldn’t keep our hands off each other. One of my friends said, “The way you look at each other is just couple goals, I love seeing you guys together.”

So that’s how good my marriage looked from the outside.

Of course, nothing is perfect and I always felt a bit funny about Martine. She’d been pretty cold with me ever since I married into Sean’s family.

They’d been best friends since childhood

I thought it was nice at first. But Sean’s brother once told me that I had "better look out for Martine" because she has been "secretly in love" with my husband for 25 years.

I took that warning with a grain of salt. I knew that Sean only had eyes for me. And yet whenever there was a large family function, Martine would be there, looking at me with daggers in her eyes.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad - early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

'That day has ruined Christmas for me forever.' Image: iStock.

'That day has ruined Christmas for me forever.' Image: iStock.

When I asked Sean about his relationship with Martine he’d say ‘she’s a mate’

But I wasn’t entirely stupid – I could see how possessive she was of Sean. Even little things, for example, if I spoke about plans to go to Fiji for a holiday, she said: "Why would you go there? Sean hates the beach, you should be taking him trekking or on a camping trip.”

She seemed very possessive of him and loved to tell me things about him that she knew from his childhood. One thing that really bugged me is that Sean and Martine would always kiss each other, hello and goodbye, on the lips. Nothing passionate, but it still really bugged me.

There was one party we were all at and she was quite drunk and told me that Sean only married me because she (Martine) was engaged at the time. I just laughed and she said: “I’m not joking.”

The day my worst nightmare came true

It was Christmas Day three years ago and we all went to Sean’s parents’ house. There were about 30 people there, and it was a great atmosphere with plenty of booze and a lot of fun.

Lunch was probably delicious but, to be honest, I can’t remember it thanks to what happened later. What happened? My worst nightmare.

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I hadn’t seen Sean for a while and asked someone if they’d seen him. Someone had seen him go to his car, but that was an hour ago. Someone else said he might be in the upstairs bathroom. Then somebody said, “Where’s Martine?” and there was silence.

It was like people knew, or at least suspected that something was going on.

'It was as if everyone else knew.' Image: iStock.

'It was as if everyone else knew.' Image: iStock.

Sean’s brother suddenly had a look of panic on his face

He went upstairs and my gut feeling was that I should follow him. That’s when I saw the worst thing. Sean came out of the bathroom, doing up his fly. Right behind him – there was Martine, adjusting her clothes.

I screamed my heart out. I wanted to run out of the house but I recall Sean’s brother had his arm on my shoulder, in a protective way. Or maybe he just didn’t want me to run from this horrific scene. Sean just stood there like the gutless wonder I realised that he is. You can guess the rest, our marriage was over.

He told me he was sorry but he loved Martine and wanted to be with her

I was devastated. I spent a long time in therapy after that. Sean and Martine were together for a while after that incident but I heard from others that they broke up about six months later.

Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information. A simple rule for younger children should be that the child should not give out their name, phone number or photo without your approval. Older children using social networking sites like Facebook should be encouraged to be selective about what personal information and photos they post to online spaces. Regardless of privacy settings, once material is online you can no longer control who sees it or how it is used.

I’ve since met someone else and I’m really happy with him, he’s a gorgeous man. So in retrospect, I’m glad this all happened or I wouldn’t have met my new boyfriend. But my ex-husband certainly ruined Christmas for me forever.

The psychology of cheating

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The psychology of cheating