My husband's laptop is open on the sofa. I glance at it casually and my eye is drawn to an open email.
‘My darling girl,’ it begins, and the surge of shock I feel jolts me like an electric charge. My husband Will is an unemotional man, so I’m perplexed by this effusiveness. But I do not pry; I jump away as if stung.
When he rushes in, flustered and breathless, to turn off the laptop, I’m on the other side of the room, feigning indifference.
Who knew? 74 per cent of men admit they would have an affair if they knew they wouldn't get caught
But my stomach is clenched into a knot and I’m shaking with nerves and apprehension. Will is in a hurry to leave the house — he’s late for an evening ‘appointment’ — and I wait until his car has disappeared.
Then I turn on his laptop and, using the password he has not been circumspect enough to change, log on to his email account. A cold chill of fear runs through me. I don’t know what I am about to discover. And then it confronts me: the incontrovertible evidence he is having an affair.
The emails to his lover are florid and adoring, full of cloying romantic cliches. ‘I miss you terribly, you are my love,’ he tells her. She calls him her ‘dearest honeybee’ and ‘precious man’.
Shock and disbelief stun me, but as I scroll through reams of sugary exchanges, it is the prosaic detail that sickens me most. I read about my daughter - ‘I’ll drop Alice off at school then drive round to see you’ - and suddenly I am burning with rage that he has the temerity to drag my daughter’s name into his sordid correspondence.
Our anonymous writer was distraught when she discovered her husband had been corresponding with another woman via email
When I look back to that evening six weeks ago when I found out about Will’s infidelity, I am grateful he was rushing out to spend an evening with his mistress. It gave me time to pause, reflect and plan.
Had he been in the house, I might have confronted him and all our lives would have been thrown into turmoil.
When the first wave of shock had subsided, I knew what I intended to do: I would pretend I did not know he was betraying me.
I decided on this extraordinary course of action for our daughter’s sake. She was about to take the A-level exams that will determine whether she gets into her first choice of university.
I couldn’t bear to shake her world so irrevocably at such a vital time.
The strain of being burdened by such awful knowledge was almost insupportable. For a fortnight, I could not sleep.
Unbidden thoughts and images crowded into my mind. I was grey with fatigue. That first night, when Will crept into our marital bed at 2am, I lay awake, rigid and cold with anger, but silent.
The next day, I asked him casually where he’d been. He’s on the governing body of a local racquets club and he said he’d joined fellow committee members for a meal out to plan a forthcoming event.
The penny dropped. He’d used similar excuses so many times before — for a year or so, he’d been staying out late on the pretext of organising such events. I realised the affair was an established one.
I asked myself why I had not suspected before, but the truth is that I’d always thought Will, to whom I’ve been married for 28 years, was a stayer.
His parents, like mine, were married until they died and I’d taken his fidelity for granted. Indeed, he’d always been loyal and dependable; a solid husband and father who works as an accountant in the Midlands town where we live.
We’d met at university in London, when I was an undergraduate and he was a mature post-grad. He was charming, clever, witty and charismatic. At 61, he’s ten years older than me, and I thought our lives together were settled and content. Our son is at university, our daughter is poised to go and because we had passed through the potentially perilous mid-life years, I’d assumed we’d grow old together.
Will suffers from erectile dysfunction, and although we used to make love only every three months or so, I did not want to embarrass him by raising the delicate subject of his impotence, so I accepted the dwindling of passion and enjoyed our closeness and affection instead.
I asked myself why I had not suspected before, but the truth is that I’d always thought Will, to whom I’ve been married for 28 years, was a stayer
But now, when I try to kiss him, he turns his head and proffers a cheek instead. If I hold his hand, as we used to do, his falls limp in mine. We have not had sex for a year, so I know he is capable of fidelity — not to me, but to his mistress, Jackie. And I know his love-making with Jackie is passionate. I suspect he is taking Viagra. Certainly he told me he was going to the doctor about an unspecified ailment.
The signs of his infidelity seem so obvious now I know the truth. He has, for the first time, bought a mobile phone. One morning, long before he awoke, I scrolled through hundreds of his text messages.
‘You are my love and that is that,’ he texted her. ‘Don’t forget your watch next time, precious man. You left it in the bathroom when you got into bed,’ she reminded him. Then: ‘When you’ve dropped your daughter off, come and kiss me good night, you loveable bear.’
Oddly, while I could — just — endure their tenderness, I hated these frequent allusions to Alice. Jackie has no right to insinuate herself into our settled and happy lives. I regard her as a worm, burrowing into healthy flesh.
Despite myself, I felt compelled to discover everything I could about her. I found her Facebook profile. Her photo reveals a woman with a round face and long, straight, girlish hair. She is, of course, younger than me — by six years — but fatter. She is divorced with two children and I have discovered that her daughter not only goes to the same school as Alice, but is in the same form.
Mercifully, the two girls are not friends, but Alice has pointed out Jackie’s daughter to me and I know that she is a pretty party girl, while my daughter is shyer and more studious. Their paths rarely cross and for that I am hugely grateful. I know, too, that it would be catastrophic for them both to learn about their parents’ affair while they are still at school, and it has strengthened my resolve to keep quiet.
So I continue to be Will’s compliant and caring wife. To begin with, I hoped I would be able to forgive him. I desperately hoped the affair would fizzle and die.
So I dressed with more care; took pains with my cooking — even suggested romantic nights out. But Will was absent; disengaged. He always found excuses. I’d taunt him with ‘You’ll have to try harder if you want our relationship to work’, and he would just shrug.
'I notice, too, how meticulous his personal hygiene has become. He showers every time he goes out...'
And despite myself, I started to turn detective. I rifled through his jacket pockets and found receipts for dinners for two. I snooped in his diary and discovered her initial against each day when they met. I started to boil with corrosive rage. I dream now of revenge.
Sometimes I want to stab Will through the heart with a pair of rusty shears. I vent my rage by punching the sofa cushions and pretending they are Jackie’s face or his.
On more reasonable days I wonder whether my time with Will was coming to a natural end. I think: ‘I’ll have more space in the wardrobe when he goes, and I’ll be able to go away with my friends whenever I want.’
But because I am half-mad with the effort of sustaining normality, my emotions swing giddily. Sometimes I look at him, feel boiling anger and think: ‘How f***ing dare you?’ It is the betrayal that hurts most, and I know I’ll never trust him again.
Yet on a day-to-day basis our relationship continues. Sometimes we laugh together as we used to. I cook for him — although often, I confess, I’m tempted to infuse his food with garlic when he is due to see Jackie — and I dutifully wash the shirts and the underpants he discarded on her bedroom floor when they had sex.
I notice, too, how meticulous his personal hygiene has become. He showers every time he goes out and (secretly, he thinks) takes with him a toilet bag containing mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste and wet-wipes.
As he leaves the house, a gust of the expensive aftershave I bought him trails in his wake. Yet I am not benefiting from this fragrant new Will. She is.
Sometimes, perversely, I feel sorry for him when I think about the emotional and financial upheaval awaiting him. Yet I get a perverse pleasure from thinking I have my finger on a big red button, which I could press at any time and send his world into free-fall.
But most of the time I reserve my sympathies for myself and my children; particularly for my sensitive daughter, who will be distraught when she finds out how cruelly her father has betrayed me. Frankly, she will also be repulsed, too, that her old dad is copping off with the mum of a girl in her class, who is 16 years his junior.
I’m quite stoic and most days, although my eyes leak sudden tears of sadness and rage, I manage not to cry. But recently I watched, alone, a TV programme featuring an old couple — she was terminally ill — and the love and tenderness her husband showed her made me weep because I knew I would never experience that selfless love again.
I wonder, often, what Will is thinking as he organises his regular trysts with Jackie. Does he assume I am stupid, or wilfully blind? Or perhaps he knows I know and is playing a sophisticated game of double bluff. There is a chance, too, that he is simply so immersed in this consuming infatuation that he barely registers me at all.
I used to trust him implicitly and I never questioned his absences. Now I am full of suspicion. He spent a couple of nights at a B&B with Jackie — carelessly he left his diary, with the days marked J, for me to find — but he told me he was going alone on a ‘walking holiday’ and I pretended to believe him.
But it will be harder in the autumn when she spirits him away for a week. I know she will do this because I still trawl through his emails, and a recent one said: ‘I hope you don’t mind — I’ve booked for us to go to Cornwall in October.’ (Already the dates are in his diary.)
It will give me a horrible, clinical pleasure to question him about this break.
Perhaps I will try to spoil it by inviting myself to go with him. More likely, however, I will have confronted him by then, because I intend to do so before Alice goes to university at the end of September.
I am certain he will already be formulating his excuses for his appalling infidelity and his incessant lies. He will assuage his guilt by saying our marriage was over; that the love had gone long ago. But he’ll be wrong, because until he betrayed me I loved him dearly.
Once Alice has her exam results, some time before she goes to university, there will be a window of opportunity. I intend to confront her father then.
I will be cold, detached and unemotional. I will say simply: ‘I know you are having an affair.’ I am dreading the fall-out but longing for the day I cease to play-act.
I’ve changed just enough details in this story to hide who we are, but I hope when the dust has settled and my divorce is finalised, to identify myself and tell the rest of my story.
I, too, have been guilty of deceit and I’m looking forward to peace of mind.
That, and an end to this daily charade, is what I’m most impatient for.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2162259/My-husbands-having-affair--I-pretend-I-dont-know-She-spies-flirty-texts-knows-exactly-hes-late-meetings-.html#ixzz1yR5emogr