‘I borrowed my friend’s car. When I opened the glove box to get some change, a book fell onto the floor. It read, ‘This one goes out to the one I love!’ I was dumbfounded.’

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“The first time we met, sparks did not fly. It took about a month of hounding by him to get me to say yes to go out with him, and admittedly, I did it just to get him to leave me alone. Horrible, I know. He was nice enough. He really was, but he just wasn’t my type. He was in the military and although I found that brave, I had seen too many others go through relationships with military men that were deployed elsewhere, and they ended up sad and depressed over it. I just didn’t want that sort of thing in my 21-year-old life. I should have listened to my gut.

I must admit our date was awesome. Very romantic. Well, some of it was. We walked on a pier and spent hours out there, talking. He held doors for me. He listened when I spoke. It wasn’t a night of stories about him. It was each of us learning about one another. I was impressed. So much so that I agreed to another. And another. And not before long, we were inseparable. We had so much fun together. Before I knew it, I had fallen for him and was in a whirlwind relationship. He received word he was going to be deployed overseas soon, so for two people who didn’t want to be separated, we decided to get married and go together. When the orders came down, it meant he would have to extend his time in the military and he opted not to do that, so we weren’t sent anywhere.

We didn’t regret getting married. I will admit, there were a few signs that should have been a warning to me prior to our marriage, along with the fact that we married so quickly, but hindsight is everything, right? The heart wants what the heart wants. Things went well for years. Yes, we had ups and downs at times, but for the most part, we were happy. At least I was. I thought he was. We had a daughter 2 years into our marriage. Fertility was an issue, but a fertility doctor helped us and we were blessed the first time we tried. Of course adjusting to the fact we were going to be parents was different for us. I settled into the idea right away, and he seemed to try to recapture one last bit of partying and craziness. It caused issues, but we seemed to make it through. Or so I thought.

He got a really good job. I was so proud of him. He wanted me to stay at home with the baby and I was more than happy to. It was the perfect life it seemed. Soon we started to argue more and more. I decided to go back to work, thinking that would maybe make him feel better about things. He had a very stressful job and we were making it, but things were tight. We worked opposite schedules so that the baby spent time with us and not sitters. Personal choice.

He then just up and quit his job. No word to me beforehand. Just quit. I made good money, but not like he did. When I asked why, he didn’t have a reason. All he would say was that he just couldn’t do it anymore. He decided he was going to work for the same company I did. It was a casino, so there were plenty of jobs to be had.

At first, it was great working there. I made quite a few friends. I became close with one girl whom I felt so terrible for. She would come to work with bruises or black eyes sometimes and it broke my heart. My husband met her also and they became friends as well. A bunch of us got together and decided that we would help her get out of the situation she was in, if she wanted to, and she did. She had 2 children and only 1 belonged to the guy she was with. Just as our plan was coming together, a horrible tragedy happened. Her youngest child was killed by the father. Details are not necessary but just know it destroyed so much. Instead of planning a safe life for them, we were now helping her arrange a funeral. We were all so devastated. To make matters even worse, she temporarily lost custody of her oldest child. (Before anyone blames her for having some part in this, she did not. She was working with me at the time it happened.) We helped her find a new place and regain custody of her oldest child. She lived right near us. We would carpool to work. Spent a lot of time together. Our kids were practically the same age.

During all of this, I noticed that my husband and I started to argue a lot. Almost daily. This isn’t something that we did before. The more I tried to understand, the worse it seemed to get. Then tragedy struck again. During a visit with her oldest child’s father, he was involved in an accident and was rushed to the hospital. She called me and I took her to the hospital where he was. It was bad. He wasn’t given much of a chance for survival, but thankfully, he did make it through after quite a while. In order to help her with him, we suggested that she move in with us so that she could work part time and go visit him at the hospital if he needed therapy and such. This seemed like the perfect idea. I was wrong.

One day, I needed to use her car for work. She was off and my husband was going to a sporting event that he was in and she was going to take the kids so they could enjoy the outdoors. We had all learned to co-exist in our house. On the way to work, I stopped to get something at the gas station. I only took what I needed for work because purses weren’t allowed, so I had very little money on me. When I went to purchase my stuff, I was a dime short so I decided to look through her car to see if she had some spare change, figuring I would just put it back when I got home. As I opened the glove box, a book fell out onto the floor. It fell out open, but upside down. When I picked it up and put it on the seat, I just laid it over on the seat, but it was still open. I didn’t pay attention. So, after taking it all out, there was no dime. I started putting things back into the glove box, and as I uncovered the book again, across the top of the pages it was open to, it said, ‘THIS ONE GOES OUT TO THE ONE I LOVE!’ Honestly, I was shocked. She had shown no interest in anyone since her youngest child was killed, and because we were so close, I was dumbfounded. I thought that I would glance through and see the name. Not read it, but just look for a name. Just to tease her a bit. Horrible of me, huh? Invading her privacy like that.

As I skimmed over it, just looking for names, I found one. This guy had the same name as my husband! WOW! I wonder which one it was, because there was quite a few of them that we worked with because it was such a common name. So, I skimmed a bit more to see which one it was. Then I read something to the effect that she just wished that she could have my life and wake up next to him every morning. To cook dinner for him. To make love to him without hiding it from me. Huh?! Heart pounding, I backed up a few pages and skimmed through it. Again, more instances of writings about him. And her. I backed up some more. More. Went to the beginning, and BOOM! The entire thing was a journal about their affair. ALL OF IT! I was dumbfounded. Humiliated. Mortified. PISSED OFF! At this point, I felt my stomach at my feet. My heart felt as if it was shattered. It was. I called work and told them I was in an accident and would not be in. I lied. Sort of. It was an accident that I saw that. A total accident. I drove to the park they were at.

As I pulled in, I was wrecked. I was a total mess. Scared. Hurt. As I parked, I ripped out pages out of the book as proof and shoved them in the back of my shirt, tucked into my pants pocket. He came running up to me and asked what happened. I asked him if he had been doing the deed with her, only in some not so nice words. He simply said, ‘Which one of your friends is filling your head with this?’ I pulled those papers out and had them in my hand and said, ‘Look. It’s in her own handwriting!’

I shouted at him. I had always told him that if he felt he had to be with someone else, all he needed to do was tell me and we would go our separate ways. But no. When I got over to her, I asked her why she did it. ‘WHY?!’ She looked at me and simply said, ‘Because I wanted him.’

I can honestly say that it was like an outer body experience. It was like I did but didn’t know what I was doing. I can see how it is possible for someone to lose it when they catch a cheating spouse, because I did. It took several guys to pull me away. No, not really proud of it, but my goodness. After everything I had done for her! I felt her betrayal was worse than his. She knew that he was my life and I held her responsible for what this was going to do to my daughter. They destroyed what I had hoped to give her. Needless to say, I left with my daughter and I moved out that night. Admittedly, I did try to find a way to make it work, but the more I tried, the more I felt he was trying to have his cake and eat it too. So, I quickly realized there was just no doing that. Then, I found out that she was pregnant.

I was bitter for years. I didn’t hate them, but I definitely would not have thrown a glass of water on their burning house. They married. It took me a good long while to be able to talk about him and not wish a bird would crap on his head and in his coffee. Hers too. It took me 10 years to get over it. It took meeting my husband now to see that he did me a favor. They both did. Had they not done what they did, I would never have met him and discovered what it was truly like to be loved and cherished. To live a happy life. I actually feel a bit bad for them now. My husband and I have such a wonderful life and them…? Well, they divorced after quite a bit of time together. To this day, neither of them are remarried.

So, to all of you who have experienced similar things in your life, I leave you with this: no matter how much it sucks right now, you will find someone who will treat you right. They will show you that you never really knew love. You will love so deeply and completely that you will be amazed! They were just a steppingstone to a greater love. Hang in there. It gets better.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by a woman from League City, Texas who wishes to remain anonymous. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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‘I let our friendship go on for far too long. It was toxic. I would hear things she’d say about me that were simply not true. It was hurtful. Once I realized she was a liar, I knew it was time to let go.’

‘I cheated on you with a woman I met at the gym. She has a daughter, and I’m her father. She’ll be 1-year-old in a few days.’ My mind went blank. ‘Did she know you were married?,’ I asked.’

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