I still remember the first time I saw Jamie*. He looked up as I entered the room and our eyes met, and in a split second I thought it’d be so easy to love him for the rest of my life.
I had a boyfriend at the time and I told myself he Jamie was probably married so I should just put him out of my head. But the connection was undeniable and we ended up seeing each other the next day.
As it turned out he wasn’t married and – fortunately for me – my boyfriend found a job in a different town and set me free to move on with my life. Soon Jamie and I got together.It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. I never felt completely at home with his family and mine wasn’t overly welcoming to him either.
Then I fell ill and was later diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. It limited my mobility and I was in a great deal of pain. I remember one evening asking Jamie to leave me – he deserved more.
During the course of our marriage there were times I was not happy with him and I am sure there were times he was frustrated with me but I always loved him.
I was a stay-at-home mom and financially things were difficult. I always joked that he couldn’t afford to cheat on me – but little did I realise he had a little help in this department.
Jamie spent a lot of time at work and when he got home he would tell me about his day and the things he and his colleagues had discussed.
Many of his work friends were single and they’d boast about their sex lives, which made me suspect Jamie may have been missing that carefree part of his life.
He also started making an effort to do more things to make him happy. Our children were young adults by now and it was our time to enjoy each other as man and wife again.
We went out on dates and weekend getaways. I really believed the spark in our marriage had been rekindled but when we got back from one holiday he started to spend more and more time with another woman.
Jamie first helped her to move to a flat in our neighbourhood and after that she invaded our lives one day at a time.
It took her four months to push me over the edge. First she would ask him over to fix little things for her then she invited him once a week for a squash game.
Red lights started flashing when I went to watch one of their games and she was very angry I’d pitched up.
Then I discovered he was texting her and other women late at night. I tried everything – even trying to befriend the squash-playing woman and asking her to back off a bit.
Nothing really helped though. One day I confronted him about everything and to my surprise he just said that he wanted out of our marriage.
Weirdly, nothing much changed after that. We still slept in the same bed and life kind of continued as usual. A year and a half later he finally moved out and forced a divorce on me.
At first, I felt totally worthless. I was in a deep black hole but I managed to get up, get dressed and smile even though I sometimes wished I could just stop breathing.
When my marriage first began crumbling I responded by tracking down all the girlfriends I knew about and telling them about the other women in his life.
It’s been four years since our divorce and he has detached himself from our children and me. My kids don’t even know where their father lives and he only comes over to see them on their birthdays.
The worst part off all this is although it’s extremely painful I still love him with all my heart, like I knew I would that very first moment I met him. I still have hope that he will come home to me and his children one day when he is done living his care-free life.
I still believe he loves me as much as he did in the beginning too. I think he got caught up in something exciting and ultimately disastrous and now he is struggling to understand he’s still worthy of my love.
I have to keep believing this – if I don’t the years I spent with him will all have been for nothing. And that is the thought that haunts me the most.
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