When my intuitive voice told me to check his phone, I found a blocked number in his WhatsApp account. Somehow that felt weird. So I unblocked it. I saw the person had been online in the past couple of minutes, so I just typed "You're up late" to see what the response would be.
She responded immediately. I pretended to be John and pushed the conversation into sexual innuendo. She went there with me immediately. I asked her which were her favourite sexual moments with 'me' (John), and she described a few - a lot of them long ago. Some very recent. I knew I had him. My heart plummeted into the depths of despair. My mouth went dry. This thing that I had been too afraid to name - this suspicion that he was indeed cheating on me, suddenly a real and happening thing in the room. I felt like I was falling falling falling off the edge of the world. These are transcripts from his phone:
17 May 3:02 AM - Trudy: Hi. This is Trudy on John's phone. Just copying the conversation onto this chat so there is no wiggle room for John who is an excellent liar.
17 May 3:02 AM - John Smith:
John (me): You up late
Debbie: Yup, had to fetch kids from a school play......what's your excuse?
John (me): Entertaining myself online
Debbie: Sounds like fun, what r u looking at?
John (me): Pretty girls. Any recommendations?
Debbie: I think you can manage just fine
Debbie: I can't chat for long
John (me): Send me something to keep me warm at night
Debbie: Rather tell me what turned you on most in the online surfing. What pic made you most horny? What were they doing?
John (me):You know me...... wet stuff is just delicious. Spread glistening pussy
Debbie: I do know you
Debbie: I hope you remember what it felt like when my wetness sprayed over your cock. Send me yours. That would be super hot. Much better than online. It was awesome seeing you cum
John (me): When will you be in my bed again. I want you
John (me): Come to me baby.. My house is empty without you
Debbie:Where's your girlfriend? I thought you said she spends Fridays there?
John (me) Not tonight
Debbie:When do u head off tmrw?
John (me) What time can you come
Debbie: Not sure I can.....my car is damaged and my son has rugby that I want to watch
John (me) I can fetch you. You got hours for me?
I need that fuckoff sexy body of yours?
Debbie: When do u leave tomorrow?
John (me) Leave for where?
Debbie: I thought u had a weekend event with the school u spoke about, sorry, I must have had it wrong
John (me) Oh sorry. Got my weekends mixed up. Thats next weekend. Now. Back to us. When can we fuck?
I need you
Debbie: I'll have to see Baby
John (me) Are you alone? Can I call?
Debbie: The others are asleep........I can whisper
John (me) Ok better not. Dont want to mess things up for you. Talk to me beautiful
Debbie: Gee, I tried to call and it immediately cuts me off.......am I blocked for calls?
John (me) Don't know
John (me) Tell me about the sexiest thing we have ever done together
Debbie: Let's see.....
The first time we made love on your bonnet next to a field a lifetime ago
Recently in your car when I lost my inhibitions and was stark naked with you, some rope and your toy.
The last time we were together, making it happen.
The time before when I had the most mind blowing orgasm EVER!
The time you sucked my nipples really hard and then came on my thighs
Many years ago when I had to climb in a bath for you and then we made love
I could go on...........
And you? Sexiest time and what you remember?
John (me) Don't you love how my car and my toy match????
Debbie: Hadn't thought of that......cars and toys!
John (me)The car bonnet in the middle of the field is one of my sexiest. Fuck now I'm really horny
How long since our last sex together?
Feels like forever
Debbie: Two weeks. I like that you seem to like penetrative sex now, you always said it wasn't top of your priorities....... I enjoy it
John (me) Being inside you is so amazing
Debbie:.....and I loved giving you a blowjob while you were on the phone
John (me): Sexy girl.
Debbie: I'm going to go.... Sleep tight
I woke him. 2 Weeks ago I had taken my boys camping. John was alone. I can only think that the blowjob happened while he was on the phone to ME!!!!!
He aggressively denied everything. Everything he said I typed into the phone and she responded, verifying my truth.
I typed in (from John) that his girlfriend had discovered their affair and that she was to tell me the truth about everything because I deserved the truth. She responded that she would.
John (me): So I have just been found out by my girlfriend. She is broken.i feel like a complete asshole. Im sorry. Shes going to contact you and ask you questions. Just tell her the truth. I cant lie to her any more. Sorry sorry
So I started a 3-way WhatsApp group and began the conversation. Lets call her Debbie. This is the actual transcription of our bizarre and surreal conversation that night, and into the following days.
17 May 2:18 AM - Trudy: You changed the subject to “betrayal”
17 May 2:18 AM - Trudy: John Smith joined
17 May 2:18 AM - Trudy: Debbie joined
17 May 2:19 AM - Trudy: Not sure if either of you have actually felt what it feels like, betrayal.
17 May 2:21 AM - Trudy: That gut wrenching tearing breaking hot poker in the gut pain. My heart is breaking into a million pieces. It feels almost impossible for me to figure how to put it together again.
17 May 2:23 AM - Trudy: Loss. Grief. Betrayal. Bitterness. Confusion. Heart wrecking agony. Excruciating abandonment. deep and terrible pain coming back at me over and over again every time that picture of you and her keeps breaking into my consciousness. Unbidden. Unwanted. Heart searingly devastating.
17 May 2:27 AM - Trudy: I can hardly breathe it hurts so much
I kept John's phone away from him and began to record our conversation, Making sure that Debbie was in the loop, and that I would not forget how he treated me through this time.
17 May 3:03 AM - Trudy: So Debbie ( is that your name? )
17 May 3:05 AM - Trudy: I need to know at what point your and John's relationship became physical again? I need to know how long he has been cheating on me with you, not just telephone sex, real sex. He is lying his ass off to me and I believe I'm owed a straight answer.
17 May 6:23 AM - Debbie: I have felt that betrayal and it's everything you've described and more.
17 May 8:47 AM - Trudy: Hmmmmm. I just got called fucking naive. Shew.
17 May 8:56 AM -Trudy: With a sneering derogatory voice tone. Now at breakfast I'm going to watch the spin doctor spin and try talk his way out of it. And when that doesn't succeed he's going to throw tantrums and abuse me in every way he can think of. And try to get me to believe somehow I made this betrayal happen and I should feel guilty.
17 May 9:12 AM - Debbie: He is very good at spin!
17 May 9:16 AM - Trudy: He thinks now is the perfect time for us to break up because we're both as sick of each others bullshit at the same time. He must be referring to the 30 minutes he screamed at me in the car yesterday when I smelled smoke on his breath when he kissed me and accused him of lying about smoking
17 May 9:20 AM - Trudy: He says he wants to leave this place. I said he should go. I'll find my way home. He says yes because I'm perfectly fine and safe. I say I'm not. I'm devastated. He says I can't be both.
17 May 9:22 AM - Trudy: He says I can't go through life never being wrong and never being sorry. It's unnatural and it will kill me eventually. It's started already he says (I have autoimmune issues)
17 May 9:23 AM - Trudy: He's using his cold clinical 'I'm right' voice
17 May 9:23 AM - Trudy: Now walking back towards me for the next salvo
17 May 9:34 AM - Trudy: Another couple joins us so conversation suspended
17 May 9:38 AM - Trudy: Suddenly having a foursome breakfast. I'm a bit relieved. I need a reprieve. His callous and cold approach is quite devastating. No sorrow. No compassion. No regret. Just business as usual
17 May 9:43 AM - Trudy: I think his tactic is to discard me today as quickly as possible so I don't manage to delve deep enough into his cheating so as to hide the extent of it from me.
17 May 9:43 AM -Trudy: Like a turn the tables and run tactic.
17 May 9:44 AM - Trudy: He underestimates me. Funny that. He chooses good and clever women. Then assumes they're stupid. He tells me a lot that he has ' excellent taste in women'
17 May 10:38 AM - Trudy: Looking across the table at him while we have breakfast with these people. He's so beautiful. I have loved him so deeply. Having such a horribly deep sense of grief and loss.
Debbie and I then had a full on telephonic conversation. She told me so much about the length and depth of their sexual relationship, spanning 22 years - throughout his entire first marriage and throughout the whole of our relationship. Gave me the address of the house we bought together - told me about the last time they had sex, on my couch. In my home.
17 May 11:10 AM - Trudy: Thanks so much Debbie, for your courage in having that very hard conversation with me. I haven't told John yet what I know. He's busy setting up the couch on the balcony. To talk to me?
17 May 11:27 AM - Trudy: He's talking. Says you're lying. That you haven't had sex. That it's phone sex only. Says I need to sit here and listen to him and not interrupt until he's done.
17 May 11:27 AM - Trudy: It's so degrading to be lied to. Unashamedly in my face. Devastating.
17 May 11:34 AM - Debbie: Wasn't I told to tell you the truth? John, be kind, be honest, we both deserve it.
17 May 11:43 AM - Trudy: I am being taken through the wreckage of the past years by being told I make him so angry that he has needed to self soothe by taking to sexting and porn and other things. Sexting painter girl ( not you Debbie, but another young thing he was grooming when I caught him)
17 May 11:46 AM - Trudy: He experiences me as ruthless and relentless and hideously attacking. Which is why he needs other people to soothe him. He might be wrong. Maybe I'm a perfectly normal person and it's just him who feels me as such
17 May 11:48 AM - Trudy: Or maybe I'm an extreme Bitch. But his shrink had pointed out that it may just be John pathology that I'm such a Bitch.
17 May 11:48 AM -Trudy: Hard to listen and not defend myself. Feels unkind and hectic
17 May 11:53 AM - Trudy: He is incapable of surviving the tortuous stuff I do to him, whether it's in his head or real. So he seeks solace in alternatives
17 May 11:53 AM - Trudy: Any alternative kindness
17 May 11:56 AM -Trudy: Now using the word affairs. Plural. My world is crashing around me as he speaks. This is devastating to listen to. I have worked so hard to be everything for him. And endured the terrible pain of his abuse and abandonment through it all, without turning to someone else to soothe me. By standing in the fire alone. While he sneaks off and fucks other people.
17 May 12:04 PM - Trudy: He has learned from his shrink that he can only control himself. Not me. So he hopes I'm working on the pathology I have of devastating him with comments where I don't even know I've hurt him.
17 May 12:05 PM - Debbie: The Wordsmith at his best......epic!
17 May 12:05 PM - Trudy: So far not one word of compassion or remorse for the pain I'm going through. Just how he is my victim and had no choice but to self soothe through other women
17 May 12:10 PM - Trudy: "It's as simple as this: you hurt me, and I Soothed myself inappropriately. That's all there is to it."
17 May 12:15 PM -Trudy: "I go to some pretty depraved places when I'm hurt. "
17 May 12:21 PM - Trudy: Some of the things I (Trudy) say and do are completely devoid of feeling
17 May 12:24 PM - Trudy: I might say something small and my oblivious ness (?) To the effect of what I say has..... my lack of EQ..... He finds it so hurtful that I can so easily hurt him.
17 May 12:25 PM - Trudy: And I do it without caring. I am completely blind to the pain I'm causing. But I should have known
17 May 12:25 PM - Trudy: The level of pain that causes him is so deep that he had to go to the darkest places to find safety
17 May 12:27 PM - Trudy: He knows it's no excuse. He knows he's dangerous when he's wounded and alone. He does dangerous things to himself and other people
17 May 12:43 PM -Trudy: He is genuinely sorry for the pain he has caused me
17 May 12:43 PM - Trudy: I am the one person who had facilitated his transformation over the past 4 years.
17 May 12:44 PM - Trudy: But he cannot see how he may have created my distance from him. He can only see that I have done and said things that cause him to fall into his dark and depraved hole.
17 May 12:46 PM -Trudy: No acknowledgment of how he has emotionally savaged me almost to the point of suicide. Or of the trainwrecks he has created in me.
17 May 12:48 PM -Trudy: Says he can't see it. I am to blame for his falling into a dark hole because of my transnational unemotional callous easy in the world
17 May 12:49 PM - Trudy: Trying to hold my own truth through this of my compassionate generosity. Loving care. Unconditional forgiveness. My own need for care and holding and love and compassion
17 May 12:49 PM -Trudy: My willingness to use my body to soothe and care for him
17 May 12:50 PM - Trudy: How deeply I have been deceived by his lies and behaviour.
17 May 12:51 PM - Trudy: I'm trying to hold myself on this couch and love myself better. Hold that abused little girl with care. Be the generous carer of myself and not seek that from him.
17 May 12:53 PM - Trudy: How many times have I been at risk of stds? With my RA it could have permanent and devastating consequences for my health. How selfishly and willfully he played with that dire consequence for me. While telling me he would care for me when the disease gets debilitating
17 May 12:54 PM - Trudy: Who was he fucking when I caught chlamydia? I don't even want to ask.
17 May 1:46 PM - Trudy: He's gone into a more real and compassionate place. Hearing me too. Feeling heard. Struggling to hear that I am the victim here. But listening
17 May 1:47 PM - Trudy: I'm trying to help him understand that his approach to me, even today, is narcissistic
17 May 1:48 PM - Trudy: He is in a sore place now and feeling sad and vulnerable. We are both trying to speak and hear each other's truth
17 May 1:50 PM - Trudy: I'm realising as we go that I really really don't want to hear about all his affairs and stunts. I'm seeing that I can protect myself better by not asking. Not knowing. Not exposing myself to the trauma of all those pictures in my head that will steal sleep from me
17 May 1:51 PM - Trudy: Debbie your honesty to me has been enough. You were kind enough to tell me the truth in a gentle and compassionate way so I can hold the pain of that as my truth and not interrogate John about the rest of it all
17 May 1:52 PM - Trudy: Proof enough to decide to leave without more trauma than is absolutely necessary
17 May 1:53 PM - Trudy: John is now in a lot of pain. And I have compassion for that. His childhood trauma has been debilitating for him too and I get it.
17 May 1:53 PM - Trudy: I just suddenly feel released from having to solve it. Cure it. Soothe it.
17 May 1:54 PM - Trudy: And I guess that's a huge growing up moment for me
17 May 2:16 PM - Debbie: Well done Trudy
17 May 2:18 PM - Debbie: John, I'm sorry that you are in pain, this hasn't been easy for any of us, especially the two of you. Trudy deserved the truth and I'm glad we could connect for that.
17 May 4:50 PM - Trudy: John has begged my forgiveness and asked me to come back to him. My answer, with love, is no.
The next morning we went out together on a game drive in the bush. I continued capturing my thoughts as we drove.
18 May 5:22 AM - Trudy: Waking up this morning listening to the lions roar. A sick and sad feeling deep in my stomach. So many lies. So much betrayal. It's like it all came at me yesterday in a huge tsunami. And today I'm looking around me at the carnage which suddenly became my life and I don't know which piece of debris I should pick up first to begin creating some sense of order again.
18 May 5:28 AM -Trudy: Today I'm just going to try and hold myself safe and try and sit with the waves of pain that I know are going to wash over me relentlessly all day.
18 May 5:32 AM - Trudy: John I know this is devastating for you too. Even more so because you are the agent of destruction here. For us all. I can imagine that the pain of loss and abandonment that your pathology will automatically throw at you will be awful to bear. And knowing you created this by your terrible decisions even more so. I feel your pain also.
18 May 5:52 AM - Trudy: Debbie, I may continue to use this space to vent and wallow for a while. Please feel free to exit if it gets too OTT for you. Promise not to be offended. John, you will need to stay for a while. I think soon you will feel the need to abandon ship and move on to cultivate your new supply. But I don't think you will be able to progress in your own journey without looking at the consequences of your choices in the eyes every now and then.
18 May 6:00 AM - Trudy: Ugly start to the morning. I deleted my photos and messages off his phone. What I learned from yesterday is that he can't be trusted to keep my intimate secrets safe and so I need to do it myself. He thinks I have no right to do that.
18 May 6:01 AM - Trudy: He says it's good that I behave like this because that will make it easy to leave.
18 May 6:01 AM - Trudy: Trying to justify why telling a woman he's shagging my intimate secrets is no big deal.
18 May 7:12 AM - Trudy: Remembering coming home from camping trip 2 week ago. Desperate for connection and love after harrowing and stressful time. Being so glad to return to our sanctuary and be held for a bit. John was shampooing the couch frantically. Told me it was to get the smell of smoke out of it. Now I know why he really was doing it. Fucking fucking bastard thing to do. Fuck
18 May 8:10 AM -Trudy: My paintings on the wall. I felt like a beautiful sex goddess. Free. Uninhibited. Sexy sexy. Like every part of me was lovely. I revelled in it. My paintings tell that story for me. One day when I am past the bitter pain of this time I would like to have them please. Or copies of them. I want to be able to smile and remember that woman who was me. Tell people 'I once had a lover who was an amazing artist. He created the goddess in me and then painted it for me. I only want my paintings when I am able to smile with no bitterness. Please keep them safe for me until then John. I am afraid I may rip them to pieces in my current state which would be sad. Because they're lovely.
18 May 11:54 AM - Trudy: Brushed our teeth together for the last time. If I ever write my book about this journey I'll call it ' it began and ended with toothpaste'.
D-Day was devastating. I feel the loss and pain of it again now as I edit this for the blog. I'm so sad. I thought we had such a beautiful future together. A real and raw connection. Intimacy. Love. But it was a lie. So much of a lie that I can no longer remember the truth without wondering where it ended and the lies began.
Such a traumatic thing!