I travel a lot with work and my life often consists of hotel rooms, airplanes and meetings. Recently, I have found myself away from home around 25% of the time. This by no means condones what happened, but allows me to have a teeny tiny stitch of empathy as to why my boyfriend did what he did. You see, I have been betrayed in the worst way and I have been forced to make a life changing decision. My boyfriend has been cheating on me.
I was coming back from one of my many work trips and walked into a house full of empty cans, unwashed dishes and a very drunk boyfriend. Something in my guts flipped and started to ache and pound and I felt an overwhelming urge to take a look at his phone. So I did…
“You owe me one” lady A said
“I gave you one this morning, haha” my boyfriend replied
At that moment, the world started spinning. My heart was beating so hard and loud I could hear it beating out of my mouth. I continued to look.
“Come round to mine, I broke up with her over a month ago” says boyfriend (lies)
“Haha all this time being your account manager I had no idea you liked me” says lady B
There were similar messages to other girls but I stopped myself there. That was all I needed to know.
In a complete daze, I started to pour myself a hot bath and lay there trying to calm my heartbeat down, I thought it was going to beat out of my chest. The boyfriend passed out asleep in bed. I couldn’t bear to look at his face. It was late, I text a friend, briefly explaining what happened and she immediately drove round and scooped me up, at 1am in the morning, sat me on her couch with a bottle of wine whilst I drank it and sat in disbelief.
When the boyfriend and I met, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We were the only two people in our bubble, I breathed in, he breathed out. We would gaze into each other’s eyes for hours. He was 23 and I was 30. It was exciting to go out with someone younger and he loved that I was older. We were one, hopelessly and deliriously in love. We had found our soul mates, we were done. We spent hour fantasising about our futures together, our crazy plans and ideas were almost always in tune and we had a connection like we had never felt before. It was incredible.
During our relationship, my sideline of make-up artistry started to become more and more successful and I was being booked for photoshoots, short films, advertising campaigns and various other jobs. My free time decreasing, I would always make time for my boyfriend and any free moment was spent with him, which ultimately meant missing events, special moments and jeopardising many friendships. I would find myself declining make-up bookings and time with my friends to be with him, to keep him happy. His happiness was of the utmost importance to me. There was a tiny voice in my mind telling me things shouldn’t be this way but I would stifle those thoughts.
My boyfriend, struggling with his own demons, was beginning to resent my busy lifestyle. He was drinking heavily and our time together was becoming strained. We decided it was how we were living so started to look for somewhere to share, somewhere to call our own and start our next chapter. He asked me to marry him all the time and the day was getting closer to me saying yes – I had never before even considered getting married. It had never interested me.
Throughout our relationship I have only ever had eyes for him. I was loyal and dedicated, everything I did was for him. With that, I was becoming unrecognisable, losing my own self worth and personality as my life was devoted to him, his needs, his issues, just him. I loved him and looked at him, and us, through rose tinted glasses. Every mistake he made I justified in my own head and I expected the same back but it didn’t happen.
It has now ended with an almighty crash and the pain has been unbearable. He is flying off the rails with grief for our relationship and the strength of emotions we felt when we got together are just as strong with the pain of the break up for both of us. He pleaded he only text them when he was drunk and lonely, craving attention. That he never actually touched another girl, it was all bravado and the sober version of him wouldn’t dream of doing that to me, his soul mate. But it was still him, it is inside him to betray me in this way.
During one of our many heart wrenching ‘break up’ conversations, he said to me “I’m glad I’m only 25”. What did that mean? Was he implying I am old…hang on…am I old!?
There is now so much self doubt and confusion. Who is this person I thought I knew inside out. Was it me? Did I cause this? Why wasn’t I enough?
Now I am 32, single and worried that this will scar me in some way. Will I carry the cross of this on my back, will it char my chance at true love? Will I ever trust again? I have always trusted everyone I meet, rather naively, seeing the best and looking for the best in people. I hope I get to keep that.
Something I didn’t expect, however, is the tingly feeling of excitement I have bubbling up inside me. It’s slightly suppressed by the grief, but I know it’s there. The free spirited and spontaneous me can be released again. Me who travels the world, bonds with strangers and paints pictures from her heart. I can go back to being me and following my own dreams. My friends have welcomed me back with open arms and I realise how lucky I am to have my job, my make-up, my friends and most importantly, my family.
I’m so lucky to have experienced love like I did and I will always look back and smile. I hope he does too. Now I am slowly getting ready for my own next chapter in my very own story and that life changing decision might just be the making of me.
Single at 32? How very exciting!