I woke up very early. Day two of my new life – married to a liar.
I felt more awake than I have ever been in my life, even though I only slept about four hours. I couldn’t sleep with thinking about my husband and the girl that I was feeling increasing bitterness towards, our former au pair, Caterina. Was she the cause of this? Or was Tom?
My brain was very busy, worrying about what relationship my husband was having with this girl. But I was absolutely 100% convinced my husband was not having an affair. I really thought there was no way that Tom would do that. We have worked hard for all we have – a young family that we both wanted so dearly, our home, good careers and a comfortable lifestyle. We have great friends in a great community. Surely Tom would not risk losing so much?
We had discussed affairs before we were married, although only mildly in the context of what had happened to him. I think I said if someone had an affair it would be a deal breaker for me. I couldn’t stay with that person. Did I say that? I’m sure I had indicated it and I was a strong person, quite independent, my husband knows me well enough to know that. Doesn’t he?
Tom had been married before and divorced. He would not risk losing a marriage, this one with kids, for an affair. My husband talked a lot about the awfulness of getting divorced. He talked about the pain but mostly he talked about how much it cost and he got angry when the words ‘divorce settlement’ were mentioned. He had a lot of resentment towards his first wife. I couldn’t imagine he would ever want to go through that again.
My busy head also kept coming back to our marriage and analysing it and then over-analysing it. Our courtship and marriage was happy. And we had lots of sex. It was a great part of our marriage and we had produced three kids quite quickly. Yes, kids will interrupt being a couple, but we had plenty of time together. I’d never been concerned or thought about anything other than how lucky we were. And I completely fancy my husband and he fancies me, so we ARE lucky.
Some of my friends who got married young and are now on 15-20 years of marriage, they complain about no sex life, or how it’s not working. That was not us and we have only been married four years – it is still a young marriage. People don’t have affairs unless they have no sex life, right? Or have been married a long time, the seven year itch and all that?
The only time Tom and I had a problem with our relationship was two years ago, that summer, when Caterina came into our lives and caused a lot of chaos. I brought my mind back to that, even though I really couldn’t face thinking about it. It was a dreadful time.
Watching our au pair as she smiled shyly at Tom while he would be bragging about something he had done. Making out he was just brilliant at everything. He would offer her an Italian coffee and make a fuss preparing it for her, she’d say in broken English how delicious and the ‘best coffee I has so far in England’… with him talking about the coffee beans he used and where he bought them. And all the coffee he had drunk in Italy or Columbia, boasting how well travelled he was.
I kept saying to him ‘stop flirting with her; you really are leading her to think you are Mr Perfecto, dream-dude. And you aren’t. So stop it.’ He would look at me with anger in his eyes, bringing him back down to earth and yes, he has annoying habits like everyone, but this young girl didn’t know that. So he could pretend he didn’t, while puffing up his ego like a peacock.
During that dreadful time, I remember getting annoyed about one thing in particular. My husband has a passion for sailing and would talk about it to Caterina all the time, and because she had never stepped foot on a boat, he had decided he would teach her to sail. Tom couldn’t wait to show off his skills and as soon as he got her on that boat he started with the compliments ‘such a natural, oh Caterina, you are such a natural, you are wonderful.’ It was all very cringing. She would bat her eyes, wearing his sailing cap, looking at him for approval.
My husband’s attention towards our au pair didn’t really concern me at first and I actually used to laugh about it. A lot. I’m sure that bothered my husband looking back on it but he was ridiculous and I found it funny. To me it was classic mid-life crisis at its most obvious. I used to say to girlfriends quite in jest ‘oh there goes Tom, sniffing after the au pair’ and I’d laugh. So would they.
Sometimes they’d ask ‘does that bother you?’ and I’d say ‘yep.’ But for a long time I thought, well what can I do? And ultimately, he’s a big boy, and married, he has to behave.
Thinking about that time and our bickering and the tension in the house, eventually leading to arguments on the day and for a few days after I fired her, made me feel so sad. Re-living the only time I was unhappy with Tom. I just couldn’t think about it anymore, but I also could NOT think of anything else.
It was early in the morning but the phone went and I looked and it was Tom’s Mum. I didn’t answer. She left a message, could she come over and bring me some vegetables from their garden they couldn’t eat.
Tom’s parents lived not far away and it was a regular thing for his Mum to come over, but she always called first, thankfully. I phoned her back, otherwise she might pop in and I didn’t want that today. ‘Sorry Sheila, not today please, I think we are all coming down with colds and I wouldn’t want to give it to you and David.’
I couldn’t see my mother-in-law. Since the moment Tom’s Mum met me, she has done nothing but tell me how lucky I am, to be married to her son. Really Sheila? You mean the big fat liar you raised? Yes, I am lucky indeed.
‘Yes Sheila, Tom has gone to Amsterdam. No Sheila we don’t need anything. He’ll be back on Thursday. Yes Sheila, I know I’m very lucky to have someone helping me while he is away.’ Sigh.
I put the phone down and not long after my mobile beeped, Tom text message ‘booked on late afternoon flight into Heathrow, should be home about 7pm. See you tonight xxx.’
I felt the most powerful butterflies in my stomach. I was separated from my husband. I’d asked him for a separation. And he was coming home early from business abroad to discuss it.
I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t be with anyone or do anything. All I could do was wait. Wait until my husband arrived to talk to me about what was really going on in the part of his life I didn’t know anything about.
It was a very long 11 hours.