I was exhausted after endless nights feeding our newborn baby when my hubby made a confession which woke me up with a jolt.
By Angharad Howells, 38, from Abergwaun, Sir Benfro
I rolled my eyes as a figure made a beeline for me at the bar. I was sitting down, enjoying a few drinks for my mate’s birthday, when he approached me.
‘How tall are you?’ the stranger asked, out of the blue. What kind of chat up line was that?! But he’d got my attention.
‘I’m this tall,’ I sighed, sticking my leg out from under the table. After the awkward start, the mystery man introduced himself as Gary and we got chatting.
In fact, we didn’t stop. We talked all night and clicked instantly.
We discovered that we both had two children from previous marriages and I must have told him about the local primary school where I worked as a Learning Support Assistant because the next day, he turned up carrying a bunch of flowers.
‘What are you doing here?’ I felt my cheeks blush red when I met Gary at reception. ‘I realised I didn’t get your number,’ Gary replied. ‘These are for you,’ he went on, passing me the bouquet.
Our relationship moved quickly from there and after just six months of dating, we moved in together.
We’d both been married before but we knew that this time, it was different. So when I walked down the aisle in July 2011, I was over the moon to become Gary’s wife.
‘We’ll have something else to celebrate very soon,’ Gary smiled, rubbing my swollen belly. At seven months pregnant, I was a blossoming bride, and I could wait for us to be a proper family together.
A couple of months later, in September 2011, our gorgeous daughter, Gweni, was born. ‘She’s beautiful,’ Gary cooed as we examined her perfect, tiny features. ‘Just like her mummy.’
We doted on our daughter but life with a newborn was tough. Gweni didn’t sleep at all and I was up all night breastfeeding her.
I couldn’t even share the night duties with Gary because he was working all hours in his job as a bouncer at a local nightclub.
‘Sorry love,’ Gary whispered, when he crawled into bed in the early hours after a shift. ‘I’m knackered.’
I was exhausted too. I’d been nursing Gweni all night and could have done with an extra pair of hands.
But I couldn’t be mad with Gary, I knew he was working hard for me and our baby.
Then one night, when Gweni was a year old, Gary came home from work and jumped straight in the shower.
‘Why don’t you come to bed?’ I called out from the bedroom, where I was cradling Gweni.
‘It’s been a long shift, I’m stinking!’ Gary shouted out. Then I heard the hiss of the water coming on as Gary showered.
I had no reason to doubt him. It had been a long shift. Come to think of it, Gary had been coming home from work later and later these days.
But that was the nature of door work. It was on demand. Sometimes Gary would be quiet, other times he’d work extra shifts if they were on offer. It was just the way it worked and I understood that.
A few weeks later, I was making a cup of tea when Gary followed me into the kitchen. ‘You know there’s a lot of temptation, working on the door of the club,’ he blurted, out of the blue.
It was an odd thing to say and it had come from nowhere. ‘And you haven’t done anything about it, have you?’ I said, bringing my cuppa back into the sitting room.
I expected to have a giggle with him about it, but a look in Gary’s eyes betrayed a secret. ‘Yes, I have,’ he whispered, looking to the floor.
I was stunned. His words hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t say a word but my whole body was trembling.
‘I need to put the baby down,’ I managed to say, putting Gweni down in her cot as I began shaking uncontrollably.
I was on the scent and I wouldn’t let it drop. ‘What do you mean, you’ve done something? Tell me!’
At first Gary wouldn’t go any further, eventually admitting to kissing another woman.
‘Did you sleep with her Gary?’ Silence.
‘Swear on Gweni’s life that you’ve been faithful,’ I demanded. I felt physically sick when he couldn’t. It felt like my world had ended in that moment, but I had to know everything.
‘I’ll tell you anything you want to know,’ Gary sighed, defeated. Part of me didn’t want to hear it, but I had to know.
Gary went on to explain the girl he’d met on the door was just a teenager, a 19-year-old who had given him her number.
‘I picked her up after my shift and we drove to a carpark. That’s where we slept together,’ Gary admitted, sheepish.
I couldn’t believe it. He’d bonked another bird in our banger!
Our trusty Vauxhall Zafira had chauffeured the kids to school and served us well on countless family holidays and day trips.
He must have moved the child seats to get his leg over. The thought made me sick.
‘How could you?’ I stormed, hurling my cup of tea at the wall. When Gary told me they’d met a second time for another sordid session it was almost too much to bear.
I forced myself to carry on as normal, determined that the kids wouldn’t pick up on anything, but I was utterly crushed.
I was physically sick whenever I thought of my hubby bonking that floozy on the backseat, and I lost two stone in weight.
Driving the kids around in that car was agony. Gary’s fling well and truly knocked the stuffing out of me.
But a few weeks later I was feeling stronger. I needed to track down this other girl, I wanted her to know that I knew all about her. She hadn’t got one over on me.
I found her on Facebook and we exchanged messages. She told me that at first, she didn’t realise Gary was married. ‘He wasn’t wearing a ring,’ she insisted.
Gary had been doing some building work at the time so had taken off his ring when his hands grew swollen. Or was there more to it?
‘You must have known the second time?’ I typed back. She admitted that she had… ‘but I’d already fallen for him by then,’ she said.
It was my bouncer hubby that bore the brunt of my anger. Gary couldn’t do enough for me around the house, but I could barely look at him.
So when I discovered a month later I was pregnant, I was stunned.
‘It’ll be a fresh start for us,’ Gary insisted. ‘We can move house, a new beginning.’
But I wasn’t convinced. And when sadly, just a month on, I miscarried the baby, I was certain it was due to the stress of his sordid affair.
‘I’m tired, Gary. I haven’t got the energy for this any more. It’s over.’
I couldn’t see how we’d ever get past his infidelity but Gary refused to give up on us. He quit his job as a bouncer to prove his commitment and took on some work as a labourer instead.
We sold the car too. There was no way I could keep my mind on the road, knowing what had happened.
It’s been hard but we managed to work through it. Gary’s changed and now, we’re closer than ever. He tells me he loves me every day and brings me a cup of tea in the mornings.
It’s the little things that matter and I think Gary realised how close he came to losing everything. We’re building up the trust slowly and things are back on track.
But I’ll never forget the day I discovered my hubby was bonking a bird in the back of our old banger!
Gary says: “It was the worst mistake of my life. It made me realise what I had. I’m very lucky that I’m still here to tell the tale. I’m so grateful I’m with the most forgiving and wonderful woman.”