After the Affair

After the Affair

An anonymous account of one Dubai-based woman’s shocking discovery of her husband’s infidelity — and how they still pulled out all the stops to make the marriage work

It has been nearly four years since I found out. I will never forget that Skype conversation. Ever. What had started as our playful, daily catch-up chat, ended in my laptop being slammed shut, my cell phone being turned off, and me sobbing into my pillow for the majority of the night on my own.

My husband had just told me he had had an affair for around 4-6 weeks when he had newly moved to Dubai (while I was living in London), which is also where I was when I heard the news.

We had left our home country and were supposed to move together to London for my career, but my husband received a job offer in Dubai just before we left, so we decided that he would go to Dubai, and I would join him after completing a contract in the UK.

We had been distant for a while before the move overseas from our home country. I was extremely career-oriented… time together was limited — and it was beginning to show in our relationship as I was questioning whether we should be together at all. However, 
after a few short months of living apart, I was missing him terribly and knew he was the only man I wanted to spend my life with.

While I had come to this natural conclusion myself, my husband had taken another path which would ultimately throw our relationship into utter turmoil. Where I had both friends and family in London, my husband had no one in Dubai, so he fell in with a younger ‘partying’ crowd from work who went out regularly.

One night, while out, he was approached by the ‘other’ woman who paid him a lot of attention — obviously very flattering. He rebuked her advances that night, but passed on his contact details. She contacted him the next day, made herself readily available and it went from there.

They spent the next few weeks meeting late at night at “our” new apartment, surrounded by all “our” personal belongings from our home country that had already been shipped over.

I came over once and knew something was going on — but of course he denied it. I suspected because his phone was often switched off when I tried to call, he had been hard to contact, and he had been very short with me on the occasions we did speak. He was a different person.

Guilt ultimately got the better of him, and he ended it, thinking I would never find out. But I did. He finally admitted it on that fateful night during one of our regular Skype conversations when I decided to give him the chance to be honest about what I already knew. I told him I knew something had gone on those few months before, and I wanted to know what the details were, and said to him that we were rock solid, and that we would deal with whatever it was.

My husband always had a strong sense of morality — he didn’t even like watching movies where adulterous affairs featured. I genuinely thought I was going to hear that he had had a one-night stand, not a full-on, month-long ‘booty call’ affair. I was shocked, sickened, angry and ultimately devastated that our relationship had changed forever and that it would never be the same again. An affair of any kind is simply one of those things you just can’t take back or change.

My husband immediately booked a flight to London (he was there within 48 hours). My confident and strong personality had evaporated, and he was greeted by a depressed, self-loathing wife who was full of questions. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew this was the man that I wanted to spend my life with, but was this really the case if he could do this to me?

We had been married for a few years, but had no children. I had always been the main breadwinner in our household so, financially, I was independent. To some, it would have been a no-brainer, it would seem like an easy decision — leave him.

I had already booked my flights to move to Dubai, but those plans would have easily been changed. I had an offer for a permanent employment in London. However, I had already done so much soul-searching in my first months in London around our relationship, I knew I couldn’t walk away that easily — even though prior to going through this myself, that is categorically the advice I would have given anyone else in my situation.

I was bitter, consumed with anger towards my husband and ‘her’. When I made the move to Dubai (about six months after finding out), I told no one, and had no interest in meeting anyone here or committing to a life in Dubai. I was in hibernation for months, petrified I was going to see her when I went out, or someone else that knew about what had happened. I didn’t tell any friend or family member because I still wasn’t 100 per cent sure what I was going to do. My family and friends would have been mortified if they had found out: we were that couple, where everyone says (when they meet you) “Wow, your husband is absolutely besotted with you, you are so lucky...” If only they knew.

I can tell you one thing: everyone is different in how they deal with it, and process the information. Some want to know nothing, and would probably prefer to have not known in the first place. Others (like me) want details — all of them. I needed to know who she was, what she looked like, what car she drove, where she lived, what they had (or hadn’t) done, where they had gone…

I also wanted to confront her; I was livid that this woman had pursued my husband and continued, knowing fully well that he was married, with my personal possessions around her. What kind of a person would do this? Don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t exonerating him of his actions — but I had a separate pool of anger and emotions for this person I had never met. I considered contacting her, naming and shaming her on public forums, contacting her workplace and reporting her. But I soon decided against this.

I constantly thought about them and what they did together, I couldn’t go anywhere that I knew they had been together. She was constantly brought up in our conversations: me checking if he had been there with ‘her’, done things with ‘her’, and if it was confirmed he had, we never did them, or went to those places again.

While I held a huge amount of disgust and anger for her, my husband was bearing the brunt of my anger. I would be fine, then, all of a sudden, something would trigger me off — and I would have a panic attack, start throwing up and wonder why I was still with him… Why was I putting myself through this?

He never got angry… He told he would support me whatever decision I made, and that it was his fault I was in this situation. He hated himself for what he had done, he said repeatedly.

I decided I had ‘control’ over one thing —and that was protecting myself the best I could moving forward; not from the emotional side, but from the practical side. I asked my husband to make some undertakings that would give me comfort and reassurance that he was committed to us, that he truly wanted to be with me, and that he had no intention of repeating this action again. He had to willingly do everything I asked of him. He was also desperate to make this right, so to do this, he had to do whatever I needed, to try and deal with it.

We moved out of the apartment he had secured for us to live in, got rid of all of our old furniture that we had shipped over, got rid of all of his clothing from that period, and cut off all contact with ‘friends’ who had been witness to what had happened. He signed a watertight contract handing over every single asset we own together, along with the custody of our (future) children, to me, should this ever happen again.

What he needed to do to make me feel better about taking such a huge leap of faith for him may sound harsh, but I believe that if your partner is truly remorseful, they will do whatever it takes to make you cope with the situation. Some may say I am silly for staying, some may say I am nasty for everything he has had to do, but it was all I could think of to make myself feel comfortable about staying with him, and moving forward with our relationship.

Today, I can only say that time and a considerable amount of effort — from both of us — have made a huge difference to how I feel now compared with then. Now, I can go days without thinking about it and I don’t get angry with him about it anymore. What is done 
is done.

I learnt that I couldn’t continue to live in the past. We moved forward, knowing that it would never be forgotten, and possibly never truly forgiven, but we created a new life, a new ‘us’ and, in all honesty, a better us.

You may ask why I stayed (I know I would!). I stayed because I love him intensely. He is the only man I have ever met that I was instantly attracted to just by looking at him, the “eyes met across a room” scenario. He challenges me intellectually, he makes me laugh, he is the most caring, thoughtful and giving person I know. I truly couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine being with anyone else.

It might sound a little odd, but I do sometimes think it is because of his affair that I know how much I want to be with him — given what I was prepared to put myself through to ensure we were still together.

We now have two beautiful children, and while life still throws challenges and obstacles our way for us to deal with, we are a team — and we face them together. We cherish the time we get to spend together, and while we are very busy, we make time for each other every day and never take each other for granted.

We have a wonderful life that we both appreciate, and are thankful for. I genuinely could not be happier and, while I can’t speak for my husband and what he is feeling and thinking, he frequently tells me and shows me how much he does love me.

I hope infidelity is a chapter of our life that is now closed.

Will he do it again? I certainly hope not — but, of course, there are no guarantees. If I had left him and found another partner, there would be no guarantee they wouldn’t have chosen to be unfaithful either. I have to believe that we have both learnt a huge amount from this experience.

I know that there are many people out there who have been through similar situations. I know that even though everyone’s experience is different, during my darkest hours, hearing the stories of others made me feel not quite so alone. I hope that by sharing what happened to us, someone else gets some type of comfort to know that, while it is difficult to comprehend ever moving on from something like this, with a lot of work, determination and commitment from both parties, you can make it work.

We learnt that, ultimately, love truly does conquer all.

  • As told to Karen Ann Monsy

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