#MyPartnerWillNeverKnow: His mother made me promise to keep her explosive family secret

Illustration. Photographer: Hoxton/Paul Bradbury
Illustration. Photographer: Hoxton/Paul Bradbury
Hoxton/Paul Bradbury

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PART 2 of 7: Here is Gemma's story.

I was down the pub with my workmates when I spotted a familiar face by the pokies. "What's she doing here?" I asked in shock. "Who?" my friend Robbie asked. “Kay." I explained, pointing to the brunette woman in question. "My mother-in-law."

READ MORE: #MyPartnerWillNeverKnow – The only reason I’m still with him is because my lover left me to reunite with his wife

She was chugging a Bundy and Coke and laughing joyously with another man seated beside her at the same machine. It was a Friday night and I knew her husband, Geoff, would be at his job as a train driver. The bloke with her now looked a bit younger and didn't have half of Geoff's paunch. I was intrigued. Kay and I had always got along, so I thought I'd pop over and say hi. But as I edged closer, she got up and darted out towards the beer garden before I could catch her.

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Making my way back to our table, I came face to face with the blond man, who looked a bit panic-stricken. "Scuse me," I began, "I think you were with my mother-in-law, Kay. Has she left?"

The man looked like he'd seen a ghost. "I don't know any Kay," he muttered before bolting through the crowd. When I explained the peculiar situation to my friends, they were so tipsy they found it hilarious.

READ MORE: #MyPartnerWillNeverKnow – The truth about my last pregnancy and our ‘premature’ daughter

"She's having a bit on the side!" Robbie screeched, He'd explaining how he'd gone outside to make a phone call and reckoned he'd seen Kay and the man kiss before she'd jumped into a cab and hightailed it out of there. I pushed the thought aside, reasoning Robbie was too drunk to know what he saw. When I got home, I explained the sighting to my husband, Dan - better known as Chops because he was a butcher.

READ MORE: #MyPartnerWillNeverKnow – I was with his sister before him

He simply shrugged his shoulders. "Couldn't have been Mum." he said. "She goes to gran's every Friday night for dinner." Likely story, I thought. His grandmother was so old she went to sleep at 5pm each day and was Kay flat-out eating a bowl of cereal, let alone a full dinner. I kept my disbelief private. I'd been married to Chops for three years and loved him to bits. Plus, if he knew this had come from Robbie, he'd be livid. The two of them had never clicked. Chops reckoned Robbie was a "big sheila" simply because he worked as a nurse.

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He might have been a typical guy, but my husband was also a mummy's boy. The last thing I wanted was to create a family feud. For the next week it was business as usual. Not even Robbie said anything when we bumped into each other at work. But when Chops went to the footy practice, there was a knock on the door. It was Kay.

"We need to talk," she said, walking straight in. I didn't have a chance to even offer her a cuppa before she spilled her guts. "I had no choice but to ignore you the other night," she said, explaining how she and the mystery man had been seeing each other for the past six months.

READ MORE: #MyPartnerWillNeverKnow – The secret between me and his estranged son

"Geoff's caught me out before and if he discovered my newest lover, he'd take off.” Kay made it clear that there was no love between her and Geoff, and their marriage had grown cold. “I'm only staying with him for the kids' sake," she said. We agreed Chops and his three siblings wouldn't cope if they knew the truth.

“I won't tell," I gulped. On one hand, I was repulsed by Kay's adulterous behaviour; but if I opened my mouth, the repercussions would be catastrophic. Instead, I've stayed silent and hope one day Kay comes to her senses before she gets caught by someone who isn't as forgiving as me and her poor husband.

*Gemma is 33 years old and lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Voting Booth
Would you leave your partner if they have a controlling, meddling parent?
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No, I would tolerate the in-law as much as possible even if my partner doesn't see their behaviour as a problem.
17% - 15 votes
No, but only if my partner supports me.
51% - 44 votes
Yes, my peace comes first and I know I'd be fighting a losing battle.
24% - 21 votes
Yes, even if my partner supports me, the stress is not worth it.
8% - 7 votes