“‘Confidential, if you’re still in a relationship with Rob, please get in contact.’ I awoke on a Monday morning to this message, sent at 3 a.m. I ran nervously into my roommate’s room to show her. I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I knew. I knew my boyfriend of almost a year was cheating on me. What I didn’t know was the extent and the web of lies that was to follow.
‘Excuse me, who is this,’ I replied. ‘I’m the other woman in Rob’s life,’ she instantly messaged back. It was such an unusual feeling of betrayal, yet also confidence in myself that my gut was always right. ‘Please call me.’
What followed was not what I expected. We ended up talking for hours about her time with Rob, my time with Rob, and how they overlapped. It turned out this poor woman had been dating Rob on and off for almost four years, having had no idea of myself and also his girlfriend prior. She found out about me via Instagram. Oh, how social media, despite its flaws, makes it much trickier for the philanderer to conduct their usual business. It also enabled contact between this woman and me which set off a life-changing cascade of events.
The honest truth was this woman was awesome. Beautiful, kind, lovely, intelligent, and I just felt so sorry for her and the things she had been put through. These feelings took me off guard; however, this woman was still in love with Rob and was having a hard time coming to terms with it. My feelings that followed still intrigue me to this day. Don’t get me wrong, I was SUPER PISSED that my boyfriend of almost a year, who had befriended my friends, and integrated himself into my family, was living a double life and had completely betrayed and humiliated me. But there was no sadness – only anger and compassion for this other woman who felt she had wasted four years of her life. So we made a pact, if she ever thought about texting Rob, she would text me instead, reminding her of the true person he was.
It transpires that not only was there this other woman – there were multiple. He was very clever in how he led his life. He used to choose one ‘trophy woman’ who he would show off to his friends, very rapidly move in with, and appear like he lived a normal life on the outside. However, behind the scenes would conduct multiple affairs with the extent of which we still don’t know to this day. This particularly hurt C, because he had told her he wasn’t ready for a girlfriend and needed to sort himself out first, while in the meantime had had at least two in the period of time he was dating her.
How did he conduct this web of lies, one may ask. Well, he used to ‘work away’ a lot, do day trips mid-week, completely bunking off work, pretending to meet friends. The excuses were endless. So following off from this, we started an unusual friendship. Texting most days, releasing all feelings of hurt, anger and betrayal to each other and helping each other through. I don’t think my friends or family thought it was healthy, but it really helped and was a constant reminder we were better off single than with this man.
Shortly after, C wanted to get in contact with a previous ex of Rob’s, P. She was particularly keen on getting questions answered during the period of time Rob said he was single, only to be caught out again by social media, showcasing P as his new shiny girlfriend. This led on to the two of them chatting and the three of us forming a Whatsapp group together. Now, I suspect at this point lots of people will think it was a toxic, man-hating group, but it couldn’t have been more opposite. We were each other’s constant encouragement. It was also helpful to see these women were intelligent, beautiful women, who would actually have been friends had our paths crossed in a different way. The most important thing for me was, how did I let this happen to me? I feel I have a pretty strong and accurate gut instinct, and also am a fairly decent judge of character, so how could I be so wrong? Speaking with these women reminded me it was his manipulative behavior and not my bad judgement that was the issue.
Following on from this, I kept having this niggle in the back of my mind regarding X’s ex-girlfriend prior to me. He had previously told me, about 3 months into dating, that he was still living with his ex-girlfriend, but they were broken up and were staying in separate rooms. Of course, at this point I was completely ready to end things. However, he slowly manipulated me into believing him, having spoken to his friends who confirmed the story, saying they had been broken up for over 6 months prior to me even meeting X, but they just couldn’t get out of the contract.
He even tried to be the ‘decent boyfriend’ and paid to stay in a local hotel for the last month of the contract, just so I didn’t need to be worried. I want this to be a piece about love, so will try to not make this a piece about him, but just know he had an excellent way of ‘love-bombing’ at the beginning, making you feel like the most important, loved human being, and then gaslighting you when he gets bored. Then he would cheat, and when you would question him, he would make you feel like the crazy one. This is important to note, because in the back of my mind when I found out who he really was, I kept wondering, does this poor ex-girlfriend have any idea, or just think he upped and left one day without any explanation?
It was at this point I got in contact with L. It was Christmas 2018, and she replied straight away. I ended up explaining a little bit over text, worried I’d completely ruined her festivities, however she replied saying a big thank you. She was so relieved she wasn’t going crazy when she accused Rob of cheating on her. She was also so relieved we were all in it together. A few days later, after she’d had time to process things, she asked if she could meet up with me, to talk through everything and get things straight in her mind. Despite having some reservations, I agreed, and on January 3, 2019, we met in a pub.
L was a complete enigma to me. Firstly, Rob’s friends pegged her as a pretty, timid, ‘just wants to get married and have babies’ kind of girl. She rocked up looking sensational, with this hybrid American-international accent and a huge packet of cigarettes. ‘This is going to be a fun night,’ I thought. We spent the first two hours drinking prosecco, telling tales of our relationships with Rob, determining how we overlapped and speaking about the other girls and their stories. Then we started talking about our friends, families, likes and dislikes, and it turned out we had much more in common than we’d initially thought. The mood also started changing, and it started to feel a bit more like a date. I mean, when do you usually meet a stranger one-on-one in a bar and start spilling your life stories?
Now, just to mention, I classify myself as bisexual. I’ve dated men and women pretty equally from the age of 20 and am attracted to someone based on them as a person. L, on the other hand, identified as completely straight, although always open to the opportunity of love, delivered in any shape or form. The night moved on and we started to become closer, both emotionally and physically. At this point my head was saying, ‘EMMA, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING. THIS IS ROB’S EX???’ However, we couldn’t deny the chemistry and we kissed. Sparks were flying everywhere, and it was one of the most amazing kisses we’d ever had.
The most interesting part about our blossoming relationship was, despite the unusual circumstances by which we met, nothing felt wrong; everything felt right. Our relationship went from strength to strength and very quickly we just knew. Our family and friends were insanely supportive, and we were so lucky to be able to choose love. In November 2019, I proposed. Yes, it was soon, but was absolutely perfect. We were meant to get married in July 2020 (thanks COVID!). We are currently living in the cutest London flat, with our first baby on the way, and due to get married in October. The four of us girls regularly chat and are each other’s biggest champions! We hope this story shows if good people stick together, when they could easily choose hate, you can find love in the craziest ways!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Emma and Lee. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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