"The second I unwrapped my Christmas gift I knew instantly - Cal was having an affair, and it was serious."
My husband Cal and I had been together since we were kids. We met during orientation week at university, and had been together for 12 years when I found out he’d been cheating.
Cal and I have three kids, all primary school age, and life has been busy. I guess we became ships in the night – always working, shuttling someone somewhere or organising the children’s social calendars.
We haven’t spent much time on us lately. Not that it’s any excuse for what he did, but I feel like I should have seen it coming.
It was Christmas day when I figured out Cal had been cheating
He gave me a book for a gift. It’s a great book too – a real page-turner – but it wasn’t the diamond necklace I found in his underwear drawer a couple of weeks earlier.
Cal and I haven’t bothered with extravagant gifts for years now, so I don’t know why it didn’t set off alarm bells when I first came across it.
Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.
I guess I was too busy being chuffed that he’d made such an effort. I even went out and bought him some concert tickets to go with the new shirts I’d bought him to try and even things up.
'I'd watched movies about this kind of thing, but never thought it would happen to me'. Image: Love Actually.
Then he gave me the book
It was hard to hide my feelings as I unwrapped the package. From the outside it didn’t look like a jewellery box but I figured he was being clever and wrapping it up in a bigger box to throw me off the scent.
Take This Bird and Stuff It
Then, when I realised it really was a book, everything came crashing down around me. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as I realised that diamond necklace wasn’t for me – it was for someone else.
I did my best to plaster a smile on my face and got through the rest of the day celebrating Christmas with our kids and families.
By the time everyone went to bed that night, exhausted and stuffed with food, I leapt on the chance to search through Cal’s phone.
I didn’t see her at first, because he’d used his cousin’s name to cover her up. So "Travis" had been sending him text messages as recently as yesterday – saying how much "he" loved the necklace, and that "he" couldn’t wait to start a fresh new year together.
Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.
Searching further back I found pictures of 'Travis'
I didn’t know her, but she definitely wasn’t his cousin, and I was pretty sure her name wasn’t Travis.
Even though I’d suspected it all day, having my fears confirmed was gutting.
Cal had told me he planned to watch the cricket with Travis on Boxing Day, so I put two and two together and realised he was planning on spending the day with her.
'I read all of his cheating texts.' Image: iStock.
I crept into the bedroom, grabbed some of my things and packed a bag. I needed time to think and I didn’t want to be left at home tomorrow while Cal went off who-knows-where with this woman.
I grabbed an Uber and checked into a five-star hotel in the city – paid for on our joint account – and spent the next three days ordering room service, watching movies and crying my eyes out.
Cal called dozens of times, saying he was worried sick. But he was probably just pissed off he had to stay home with the children instead of running off with his girlfriend.
When I had finished crying and was ready to face him, I went home and told Cal what I had worked out. I thought he’d be remorseful, and beg to work things out. But instead he was cold and clinical.
Turn the TV off when you can and turn the conversation on where possible. And remember; loving them is easy, it’s rearing them that’s hard but it does get easier with practise.
“Now that you know, I guess it’s a good time to start talking about separation, then,” he said.
He told me the woman’s name was Nicole and she worked in his office
He’d been trying to work out a way to tell me but he felt like I wasn’t strong enough to deal with it.
I was so furious he was somehow trying to turn this back on me, when he was the one that had been cheating. I told him to pack his bags and leave that day.
It’s been six months since Cal moved out – and straight into Nicole’s apartment. The children tell me they seem very much in love. Perhaps one day I’ll be happy for them, but for now, I’m just taking it one day at a time.
The psychology of cheating
The psychology of cheating