Mark* and I got married in a lavish ceremony at one of the most posh hotels in Singapore. We had been dating for more than three years and it was the 'happy ending' I had so wanted with him. But I also knew that being married wasn't going to be anything like a fairy tale and that we both had to work hard to make our marriage work.
Our first year together was bliss. We certainly had an extended honeymoon and were so happy together that we spent almost all of our free time together, like a couple in a new relationship.
Our sex life was amazing too. We waited till we were married to have sex so it was a new experience for us and we couldn't get enough of each other. We did it in every room in our flat and tried every possible position we could think of (although we soon settled for a few tried-and-tested ones).
But, as with most relationships, this excitement soon faded. It wasn't because we got bored of each other, we just got so caught up in real life and the stresses that came with it that we realised we couldn't act like randy newlyweds forever, sneaking off to spend time with our other half as often as possible.
Then, to make matters worse, Mark got promoted and, although this was obviously good news, he had to travel a fair bit for work. He would be away for around two weeks every month and we promised each other that we wouldn't let this affect our relationship. For the first six months or so, I visited him often, planning my schedule around long weekends away with my husband. Since his trips were mostly in the Asian region, it was easy for me to hop on a plane for just a couple of nights here and there.
But it got tiring after a while. I was exhausted from all the flying, even though they were short flights, and Mark didn't get much time to catch up on his work most weekends as we were either spending time together overseas or in Singapore. As a result, he felt he was lagging behind so we made a decision for me not to visit him anymore – or at least for a few months.
Distracted & Moody
It was tough at first. I missed Mark so much and it was so hard to be away from him for a week or two at a time. But I told myself that at least he wasn't travelling for months, like some of my friends' husbands did. We spent a lot of time together when he was in town and still had an amazing relationship.
Things started to change after a few months. I noticed that Mark was distracted and moody when he was home and he no longer wanted to go out and do things with me. He turned down meals with my family and friends and never seemed to want to leave the house when he was in Singapore. I asked him after a few weeks and he said it was because he was so tired from all the travelling and dealing with clients that all he wanted to do when he was home was relax and not talk to many people, unless he really needed to. I decided to cut him some slack and didn't plan outings during the weekends he was back in Singapore.
A few weeks later, I discovered something that changed our relationship – and lives – forever. Mark was in the shower and I heard a message come in on his phone. I was watching TV on the couch and his phone was near me so I looked over to see who it was from. I didn't have any reason to think he had anything to hide so I took a peak. It was from a sender with just two initials (JM) and it was a simple message – '”Missing you already”.
My interest was piqued, of course. But I could hear Mark walking out of our bathroom so I knew I didn't have time to investigate. When he joined me on the couch and picked up his phone, he quickly unlocked it so that the message disappeared from the screen, then put the phone away.
That made me more curious. So I did something I never thought I'd ever do – I waited till my husband was asleep then took his phone and looked through his messages. I had never done that in all the years we'd been together, but I knew his passcode (as he knew mine) so took the opportunity to spy. Then I wished I hadn't done so.
“Just a bit of fun”
Mark had been exchanging sexts with this JM for a couple of months and some of them truly shocked me. They were mostly about how much he missed her (and her body) and how 'last night' was 'amazing' and that he couldn't wait to see her again. There were also a few graphic ones that described what he liked about a particular body part of hers or a sexual act they did.
It was obvious that he was having an affair with a woman overseas but I didn't know how to react to it. I put his phone back and tried to get some sleep but couldn't as my mind was racing. I left for work very early the next morning as I had to get away from Mark to think.
Thankfully, Mark was travelling again the next day. I spoke to my mum and my best friend and they both advised me to confront him, then make a decision from there, and I knew they were right. I decided I had to speak to him face-to-face so pretended to be very busy while he was away so that we didn't have to talk much, then waited for him to return to Singapore.
Mark was back on a Friday evening and we had planned a nice dinner at home. Before we could even eat, I blurted out what I knew. Mark was shocked, he obviously had no idea that I knew. He admitted that he had been sleeping with someone else but dismissed it as 'just a bit of fun, nothing serious'. I couldn't believe he would think I could just move on from this. It didn't matter to me if he was serious or having fun with her; the fact that he had cheated on me was unforgivable in my book.
I told him I couldn't be with him after his cheating and, after a bit of grovelling, he gave up. He confessed that him being away so often had affected our relationship and he didn't feel that he could be a good husband to me anymore. In fact, he realised he didn't even want to be a husband to anyone at that point in time.
It was all happening so fast that I couldn't fully understand it but I realised that my marriage had come to an end. I wonder if things had been different if I had ignored his phone that night, when I head the beep of the incoming message. But it's probably best that we didn't carry on with our marriage when one party had lost all interest in it.
*Name has been changed