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Should I stay or should I go?

Apologies: many men beg for forgiveness after they’re caught out cheating

HALLE BERRY, Alesha Dixon and Faith Evans are just three high profile artists who discovered that their one-time spouses – Eric Benet, MC Harvey and the late Notorious BIG, respectively – had been unfaithful to them.

More recently, R’n’B songstress Alicia Keys was embroiled in an infidelity scandal, after rumours emerged that her husband, producer Swizz Beatz had been cheating on her (an allegation that both denied). To many, this news was seen as karma for the Fallin’ hitmaker, who began her relationship with Swizz when he was still married to his former wife Mashonda.

Subsequently, Mashonda wrote an online open letter to Keys, expressing her hurt that the singer had, in her opinion, “contributed to the ending of my marriage.”

While Mashonda and the aforementioned Berry, Dixon and Evans experienced their pain with the added glare of the media and the wider public, countless women – and men – go through the same heartache outside of the public eye. And for famous and non-famous folks alike, the feelings of hurt, betrayal, and emotional turmoil over what to do next, are bound to be common experiences.

Here, two ladies recall their experiences of discovering their partner’s infidelity.

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LISA'S STORY

‘I thought I couldn’t do without him’

Lisa Marsh recalls trying to make her relationship work after discovering her partner was cheating on her


Doubts: some women give a cheating partner a second chance, but find it hard to truly trust them

I REMEMBER the day I found my ex in bed with another woman. It was about six in the morning and when I arrived outside his house, I knew there was something wrong.

His mum opened the door, I went into is bedroom and there he was, in bed with someone – and it wasn’t me.
I can honestly say I have never seen him more scared in the whole 10 years I have known him. He looked like I was about to pull out a gun and shoot him. Luckily enough, there wasn’t a gun around. And if there was, I wouldn’t have used it anyway. When I was younger, I always said “If a man ever cheats on me, I will kill him!” When it came down to it, my reaction was very different to what I’d imagined it would have been. Shock is the best way to describe it. ‘What is going on? Who is she? How could you do this to me? How could you allow yourself to be caught like this?’ I uttered all of those expected questions, but I don’t know why I asked because nothing he said registered.

Still, I was not the crazy manic I thought I would be, and I didn’t have the slightest desire to resort to violence or to kill him.

I remember my heart racing, and although it was plain to see what was going on – I even poked the girl lying in the bed – I was still trying to make sense of it. I only went to his house to get money for my passport.

He was trying to explain, but I couldn’t take it in. In the end I asked for the money I had come for and left. No fireworks or police. I just left and went to the passport office as planned.

I flew out to LA the next day and he continued to call me throughout the day. Whilst I was on holiday, I returned his call, I don’t know why. I think it was because he was my best friend. We spoke every day for seven years, we did everything together and I couldn’t see a future without him.

On the phone he apologised and begged forgiveness and really quickly, I forgave him. He continued to call and email, and even commented on how amazingly quickly I forgave him. Putting aside the hurt, I was very much in love with him after many years and even missed him when I was on holiday. So, I decided to try and give the relationship a second chance.

Back in London, he was very affectionate, continued apologising and kept saying he could not believe his luck that I was talking to him and that I’d decided to give it another go. We became close again, but I couldn’t help feeling that everyone knew. His mother, who opened the door for me that morning must have known, which meant his sisters knew and so did his friends. I became distrustful of everyone around him and most of all, I didn’t trust him.

At the time, I desperately wanted us to go back to normal; I couldn’t do without him, even though he’d cheated. No matter how hard I tried to stay away, I always went back, and this lasted on and off for about a year.

But every single time his phone rang, every time there was a text, and whenever he didn’t answer the phone, I imagined him in bed with the girl. I began to hate him; no matter what he said or did, I thought he was lying.
This hatred and distrust gave me headaches; I was going out of my mind obsessing about what he was doing when he wasn’t with me. When we were together it was almost like nothing had happened, but when we were apart I became slightly schizophrenic.

In the end I decided I loved my sanity more than him and had to cut him off for good. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do but I was worth it.

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LEAH'S STORY

‘Where did he find the time?’

Leah Richards says she was shocked and hurt that her ex-partner found the time to give another woman the same attention he was giving her


Devastating: the discovery of a partner’s infidelity is heart breaking

ALL THE signs were there. He’d lower his voice on selective calls; he had recently placed a security password on his mobile phone – a set of numbers I didn’t possess – and he had taken a sudden interest in his appearance, often dousing himself in after shave when going to visit his ‘mum’.

Although I’d like to think differently, I knew there was someone else – I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. So I’d overlook ‘business calls’ he received at midnight, and help him choose the best outfits to attend “family barbecues” – gatherings I was never invited to.

Call it stupid, but I called it love. And although his actions later proved otherwise, I thought he loved me too.

We practically lived together in his two-bedroom flat. I had my own set of drawers, half of his wardrobe space and was just weeks away from redirecting my post to his house. I cooked, cleaned and often helped him with work he brought home.

We sat and cried together when he revealed details of his troubled upbringing and promised that we’d never let our children (when we had them), be exposed to such horror.

Why would he cheat? How did he find the time to give someone else the attention and affection he gave me?

I remember the night the penny finally dropped. I was in bed at ‘our’ flat; I remember waking up, noticing he wasn’t there and glancing at the bedside clock. The bright red illuminated numbers read 3.45am. I sat up in bed and called out his name, thinking he must’ve come in from work (he worked nights) and fallen asleep watching television. There was no answer to my call.

First I panicked and thought the worst. He must have been involved in a car accident and be lying dead in a hospital somewhere. I laugh at the thought now and almost wish this had been the case.

I searched in the bed sheets for my mobile phone and once I found it, I frantically dialled his number. I didn’t expect an answer, but the phone clicked on the other end. I heard a girl laughing – a laugh that will haunt me for a long time – and then I heard him.

“Ssssssh,” he pleaded with the unidentified woman.

“Hello?” I almost shouted.

“Hey babe,” he replied. “What you doing up at this time?”

“The same thing you’re doing,” I quickly retorted.

Pause.

“I’m at my sister’s house, baby. She asked me to come round after work. I thought you’d be sleeping.”
“I bet you did,” was all I could manage before hanging up.

After turning off my phone, I calmly got out of the bed, gathered a few things and left the flat. I didn’t shed one tear. I guess it was the shock. By the time I got to my house, which was on the other side of London, the shock had worn off and I couldn’t turn the waterworks off. I was hurt, sad and angry, but strangely, felt relieved that I had finally mustered up the strength to leave, after seeing the signs for months.

About 20 minutes after arriving home, my doorbell rang. He too had tears streaming down his face. His dishevelled appearance confirmed everything.

I didn’t shout, slap him or draw for a knife – all the things I had considered doing en route home. Instead I cried with him.

He said he was sorry and that she meant nothing. He claimed he had gone to her house to “end it” and that he didn’t want to lose me and would do anything if I gave him one more chance.

Although there was a part of me that wanted to believe every word he was saying and jump into his passenger seat and drive back to ‘our’ flat,’ I just couldn’t do it to myself. Our relationship would never be the same.

Once trust is gone in a relationship, there’s not much left. I didn’t have the strength or desire to spend time building it again. I watched him get into his car, still pleading until he eventually shut the door and drove off.

He called every day for about two months. It’s since been two years and we haven’t spoken since that day.

I lost the guy I loved on that day, but I gained an inner strength I would never have discovered if I’d stayed. I deserved better and I was owed more.

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