‘My second husband informed me he was going to move his girlfriend into our family home.’: Woman shares story of life after infidelity

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“We all make choices, but the decision to have an affair has serious consequences because of the traumatic impact it has on the other partner.

This piqued my interest much later after I went through devastation when my (second) husband informed me he was going to move his girlfriend into our family home.

So, I had no choice. Just had to move out.

I knew it was going to be difficult because being a housewife for eight years—at his behest—I was completely reliant on him to support me. He wanted me to stay at home to look after the home and the family as well as the farm animals on our smallholding. I took up the challenge and enjoyed it.

At that stage, I had little to no experience in the business environment. Leaving my home meant I had no place to live and no money.

Kind friends offered me a room in their house, and my children had to live with my first husband as I had no means to support them.

I eventually got a job with the Johannesburg Centenary through a friend, despite my lack of experience. The political environment in 1985 was very unstable and celebrating the 100th birthday of the city did not go down well. But I desperately needed the money and had to grab anything just to survive.

In the background, I was experiencing serious depression without knowing how to deal with it. Every morning, I would arrive at work, get out of my car, and say to myself, ‘Showtime folks!’ and breeze into the office as if I had not a care in the world. When I got home after work, I would collapse in a heap and wonder how I was ever going to survive.

Admittedly, having a salary gave me some peace of mind, knowing one day I would be able to rent an apartment and make a home for my children. But I couldn’t get rid of the debilitating depression. I clung to the thought there was hope and I could survive.

Then the bomb exploded. I was retrenched six months later, and once again, I was penniless and with my back firmly pressed against the wall.

My saving grace at that stage was I had a packet of sleeping pills, which I carried around with me just in case. I realized I had nothing to offer and certainly no future. Suicide had been on my mind for some time, and I had carefully planned how I would do it. I’d find an isolated place where I could park my car under a tree and swallow the tablets.

After work that night, I sat down in my friend’s lounge to plan my ‘escape’ and what to write in the note I would leave behind. On a whim, I turned on the television and at that precise moment the question being asked was ‘What is the meaning of life?’

Well-known psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was being interviewed. And this was her reply—and I paraphrase:

‘The meaning of life is not being served beautiful fruit on a silver platter. It’s about taking the knocks and going through trials and tribulations life throws out, because these will hone you into the caring and empathetic person you are meant to be, so you can help others.’

I put this down to divine intervention. It gave me a reason as to why I was being challenged. The next morning, I was certain I could do this. I went on to develop a coaching program for women who were going through a divorce and from there I launched a Public Relations Consultancy. After 35 very successful years in the industry, I retired.

Now I’m back where I started all those years ago and now have launched an online recovery program, LifeAfterInfidelity4UMembersGroup, for those who have been traumatized by infidelity.”

woman with red suit jacket smiling at camera
Courtesy of Lesley Ann van Niftrik

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lesley-Ann van Niftrik. You can follow her journey on  their website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘My 2-week-old infant in my arms, I discovered my husband was having an affair with a close friend. All I could mutter was, ‘I’m going to die,’ over and over again.’: Woman navigates marital infidelity, addiction, ‘I am living proof it gets better’

‘You put the kids before me.’ I didn’t realize I’d failed him, too. I truly assumed love would be enough.’: Mom of 3 discovers husband’s infidelity, goes on ‘journey to redefine our family’

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