Wife's scathing letter to the woman her husband left her for
From the beginning of this saga, all the old ducks gathered around me clucking that he'd be sorry. He'd lose his children, he'd regret it, he'd cheat again. The one catchphrase they all repeated, fuelled by years of wisdom and experience was this: "EVERY NEW WIFE BECOMES AN OLD WIFE".
The shine wears off after a while, and as Alain De Botton argues in his 2016 book, The Course of Love, "Marriage (is) a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don't know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully omitted to investigate."
With this is mind, I sat down to write a letter that has been a long time coming.
Dear New Wife,
I'm sure you thought you'd never hear from me, and I'm positive you wouldn't want to. But here I am, a disturbing reality, a blight on your fantasy, the collateral damage of your desire.
Do you know that he described you as "not too bright" and postured that "she (you) would use her sex appeal to get where she wants to go". Yes, really.
Was he trying to put me off the scent when I smelt a rat, or did he mean it? That's the question for you.
I'm pretty sure I know the answer because, between you and me, I remember that he was so blasé that he didn't expect me to be suspicious. I wasn't. He was my best friend, father of my three children, my husband.
A poker face essential to his profession made it impossible for me to see that he had changed. Can you tell? Has his behaviour changed at all? No? Then how can you be completely sure of him?
Now that you have three children of your own do you ever have the decency to think about what it's been like for me to bring mine up alone while my husband started a whole new family with you? Do you ever have a bad day and then sigh with relief that your husband is home to help? Lucky you, if you do.
I never had that help. I carried the load, day after endless day, and into the night.
So, you know he is the kind of guy who would cheat on his wife, a woman who has sacrificed her career, her body, and her sanity, for her family. Do you ever wonder if he'd do it to you? You must realise by now what a terrible thing it was for him to do.
You have daughters now. Would you like them to marry men or women like their daddy? Like you? Men or women who don't value their spouses or their families?
It's not what I want for my kids.
Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you hadn't indulged in a thrilling love affair with your boss? If your ego hadn't been so big, if you hadn't had to win him? I bet you do. I bet every time you consider your own sacrificed career, your own stretched and transformed body, your own fleeting sanity, you wonder if it might have been more fun to be with someone else.
Did you ever think about what it would be like when we'd divorced and he got to keep our beach house? It's yours too now. Do you love sleeping in my bed? Does it make you feel happy to cook in my pots and eat off the plates that I bought from the $2 shop back when I was a uni student?
Do you drink from the special hand-crafted mugs that I bought one day when I was out shopping with my husband? Do you like the French replica dining table? The plush couch? The Persian rug? Or does it irk you that every single item in that house was purchased by me?
It would drive me to distraction.
Did the gamble pay off for you?
That's my real question for you. Did you get what you wanted?
It's been a long time now, the dust has settled and the sting of the slap of truth on my face has worn off but I'd still love to know, are you happy? Are you glad that this is your life? You'd better be, otherwise my kids have suffered for nothing.
And I suffered for nothing.
For the sake of a sexy tryst in the cupboard at work, you forgot to be compassionate. You forgot that children grow up, that they need their fathers, that they hate their fathers when they disappear. You didn't even realise what you were doing to us, thinking only of your passion as you were, but I'm sure you know now.
How would you cope in my shoes? What if he finds someone less mumsy and more exciting and leaves you to raise three kids on your own? Do you ever worry about that when he's late home from work? When he goes away to a 'conference'? When he's distracted by 'work'? I'd hazard a guess that you do.
If I'm wrong, then I guess he was being truthful when he said you weren't that bright.
This article appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.