In 1996, I fell in love with a man and married one year later. I knew with all my heart that this was the person for me. He had all the qualities that I was looking for and then some. I thought it was a dream but what the next 8 years brought me, was actually a nightmare.

In hindsight, ‘J’ was a con artist, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was a very dangerous person and had I listened to my gut and paid attention to all the red flags over the years, I could have saved myself a lot of pain.

One year into the marriage, I was in his office working on his computer. This is when instant messaging was brand new; few people were actually using it. Since I was the one that introduced the program to him, obviously, I knew what to look for. Then, there it was. You know that little flashing light at the bottom of the screen. The funny thing was I was terrified to click on it. I felt I was opening up a can of worms. Something told me to do it. I clicked on the message and the words ‘just thought I would tell you that I LOVE YOU’ glared across the screen.

I remember a sick, all encompassing body shock. I sat like a giant boulder looking at those words until he returned. He never even had a chance to say one word; I walked out, got into my car, went home and packed his things for him. There wasn’t anything he could say or do. The evidence was damning. Later, I found out she was a married woman with two kids in the neighbouring town.

He lived in a hotel for one week before I decided to let him back. However, the rule was that go into counselling. We saw a counsellor but we really didn’t like him. As time went on, I still felt uncomfortable but he managed to sweep the incident under the carpet. Somehow, he convinced me that she was some psycho woman that was crazy for him and the band (yes, he was in a band).

A couple of years later we moved across the country to start a new life. The drama had ended, or so I thought. He joined a local band that frequently travelled out of town on the weekends. I spent most weekends alone until his return late Sunday nights. I never questioned this lifestyle because he never wavered in his actions. He always called me when he said he would and he was always available when I called. There were no mystery ‘black out’ periods. He was good at what he did.

One Friday night, he had left to go on the road and accidentally forgot to log out of his email account. Once again, I clicked only to find several emails to the same woman. None of the emails were damning but of course, considering what we had gone through in the past, it was pretty bad. I confronted him when he returned. I told him that if I ever found anything more than this, I would divorce him in a New York second.

Little did I know, that it was the tip of the iceberg. Three years later, I found out about his double life. I took one look at the phone bill and it revealed a horrible story. Endless late night phone calls to several phone numbers as far back as I could see.

I was at work when I found out about his secret. I secured myself in a private room and started to dial the numbers. Some of the girls admitted to sleeping with him and others hung up on me. When all was said and done, my investigations revealed 8 affairs in 8 years of marriage. One of them was even nice enough to tell me that *he* told her, he never used a condom with any of his ‘girls’. Even she knew about his double life.

I kicked my husband out of the house, divorced him and never looked back. It was apparent he had a fundamental personality problem and I wanted no part of it or him. After 2 years of weekly therapy, a lot of wine and that good old thing we call time, I can honestly say, I have recovered and moved on to better things.

I have heard through the grapevine he brags about his new found honest life and has changed for the better. I have my doubts. My gut tells me he hasn’t changed a bit and this time, I am listening.

This post was contributed by Rose City Girl. She’s a fine food and wine loving mixed media artist that travels a lot and stays away from men that mistreat her!

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