I thought I’d struck gold with my window cleaner hunk after he supported me through cancer, but was he really squeaky clean? I was about to discover the truth…
By Tanya Chase, 35, from Wellington in Somerset
I blushed as Carl grinned at me and gave me a cheeky wink as I walked past him up to my friend’s door.
“Your window cleaner’s a bit of eye candy!” I giggled.
It had only been a few months since I split up with my husband, but I couldn’t help but notice tall, dark and handsome Carl.
We got chatting and got on like a house on fire, I was surprised at how relaxed I felt flirting with him.
So when he asked me out I just couldn’t resist letting my hair down and having a bit of fun.
The first few weeks with Carl were exciting and made me feel like a love-struck teenager again.
I didn’t expect anything serious to come of our fling, but I knew I was falling for Carl and his carefree, laid back attitude.
But then disaster struck.
“I’m afraid you’ve got skin cancer, we’ll need to operate right away,” the doctor told me.
We had caught it early, but I was inconsolable.
The cancerous patch of skin on my back needed to be removed urgently to stop the cancer spreading, otherwise it could be fatal.
I had two young sons from my marriage and I couldn’t bear the thought of not being there to see them grow up.
And my sorrow only worsened when I thought about Carl and how much my feelings had already grown for him.
We had only been seeing each other for a matter of weeks, I knew there was no way he would take on this extra baggage.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“You’re not going through this on your own, I’ll be there to hold your hand every step of the way,” Carl told me.
I sobbed with relief as he held me tightly – I couldn’t believe I’d found someone so caring.
With him by my side, I felt like I could take on the whole world.
True to his word, Carl was there for me for everything I needed as I had two operations to remove the skin cancer.
It was such a stressful time juggling my health scare with two young boys, but Carl really lightened the load.
Until another bombshell hit us three months later when I found out I was 20 weeks pregnant.
“What are we going to do?” I panicked.
I wasn’t sure I could cope with having another baby after such a traumatic time – I’d already done the whole baby thing.
But my heart melted when Carl told me he wanted to build a future with me.
“We’ll manage, I’d love to have a baby with you,” he cooed.
So I agreed to keep the baby and with the cancer in remission I dared to hope for a new life with my gorgeous and sensitive window cleaner.
For the next few months life was absolutely perfect.
Carl doted on me and I became really excited to welcome our baby into the world with Carl alongside me.
When our angelic baby girl, Ava, was born it was one of the happiest days of my life – she was absolutely beautiful.
I thought my heart would burst with pride as I watched Carl cradling her, it was amazing to think about how far we’d come since my diagnosis.
I had been so terrified in facing death – it was incredible that despite everything I’d created new life with my dream man.
But just six weeks after Ava’s birth, I was stunned to receive a message out of the blue from a girl I didn’t know.
She claimed that she was in a relationship with him and that he had been two-timing us for months.
I was devastated – our baby was just days old. How could he?
But when I confronted Carl with the messages he was equally as horrified.
He promised me that nothing was going on and that this girl had been trying to cause trouble, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
For six months we settled back into family life and I tried to forget my suspicions.
But then Carl started spending a lot of time away from home and we started to argue more and more.
He would often have window cleaning jobs a few miles away near where his mum and friends lived, and if the jobs were rained off he would stay with them.
I didn’t mind at first but then he also started spending weekends away for friends’ birthdays and other occasions, and I quickly lost patience.
I just wanted him back home with me and Ava, so it caused real tension between us.
It all came to a head when Ava fell ill and had to hospitalised one weekend in October 2012.
Carl claimed he couldn’t get back to help me care for her because he was at a birthday party in Wales.
I was furious. He was partying when he should have been parenting!
“What could be more important?” I fumed. “We need you here!”
But my anger turned to shock when a few weeks later a friend showed me some pictures she had found of Carl on Facebook.
I was livid as I realised he hadn’t been at a birthday party in Wales at all – he was living it up at a Butlin’s just a few miles down the road!
And it got worse as I saw him draped all over a mystery woman in nearly every one of the pictures.
“How do you explain this?!” I raged.
But again Carl insisted nothing had happened.
“It was just a bit of flirting when I was drunk, nothing more!” He promised.
I agreed to give him another chance, for Ava’s sake, and we tried to get back on track.
We argued a lot for the next couple of months, but then in January 2013 Carl had a big fall at work and split his head open.
He was unable to work for a few weeks and I devoted all my time to looking after him.
It had been a really serious accident and we both knew he was lucky there was no lasting damage.
It seemed like the near tragedy was bringing us together again and we were closer than ever – it felt like we were back in the honeymoon period.
But I just couldn’t forget those pictures of the Butlins bash and I was unable to shake my niggling suspicions that my window cleaner wasn’t squeaky clean.
His excuses just didn’t wash.
I wanted to trust Carl but I knew I had to be sure, so I had a sneaky look through the text messages on his phone.
My blood boiled as I scrolled through countless steamy messages with a mystery woman called Abigail, all referring to the great time he had at Butlin’s with her. Rat!
Not only had I been caring for our poorly daughter while he had been bonking some bird in Butlin’s, I’d even cared for Carl himself while he had someone else on the go.
I was devastated as I realised he had been betraying my trust the entire time.
Heartbroken, I kicked him out and just a week later, Carl announced on Facebook that he was in a relationship with Abigail.
He has since gone on to marry her and he’s no longer part of Ava’s life either, but I know we’re better off without a cheat like him.
That window cleaner is far from squeaky clean – he’s a dirty rat!
Carl says: “At the end of the day I wasn’t cheating on her, we had split up on numerous occasions and I tried to get back with her for the sake of our daughter and in the end it just wasn’t working. I certainly wasn’t cheating on her with Abi. I don’t really take into count of how long it was afterwards but I certainly wasn’t with Tanya. I haven’t really got a clue [if there were text messages and pictures], I don’t think it really matters anyway, at the end of the day the relationship was long over, more or less, even before I broke up with her. I just wasn’t prepared to stay with somebody who wants to shout and swear at me in front of kids.”
As told to Helen O’Brien Google