When I met Leon he was top of the league but when I discovered he was playing away, I was forced to show him a red card…
By Angela Kavanagh, 30, from Crawley
Meeting Leon for a drink I couldn’t help but smile. He really was perfect. My friend had set us up a few weeks earlier, but I’d been hesitant.
‘What if he’s a player – on and off the field?’ I asked her. ‘He is a footballer, after all.’
At five years younger than me and a professional footballer, Leon and I were in completely different places in our lives.
But there was no denying we got on well and after a few dates, I couldn’t help but give in to his charm.
Leon was top of the league. He lived away in London for his job and I had a son from a previous relationship at home to care for, but he still made me feel special by whisking me away for romantic getaways.
And when I was curling up in front of the telly with a cuppa, Leon would send me messages telling me he was having an early night too.
He was so understanding and I knew he’d be an amazing dad – and a year later, in 2013, I made a happy announcement.
‘I’m pregnant,’ I blurted, and watched as Leon’s face broke into a broad grin. I was over the moon and couldn’t wait for us to be a little family.
That Christmas, I wanted to get my son a new phone but money was tight. ‘Let me buy it,’ Leon insisted. ‘It’s fine, honestly.’
We agreed that I’d give my little boy the new handset for Christmas and then keep the SIM card for if ever I needed it.
‘Thanks Leon, he’ll be dead chuffed. You’ve saved Christmas!’ I beamed, wrapping him up in a huge hug.
I was six months into my pregnancy when I decided to upgrade my mobile phone contract and remembered the spare SIM card Leon had given me.
Pulling the little card out of the drawer I’d stashed it in, I slotted it into my phone and watched as the phone screen lit up.
‘Oh no, what’s happening?’ I panicked as it notified me it was syncing devices. I tried to swipe the notification away but my phone locked.
I hope I haven’t messed up Leon’s account, I thought, as I managed to unlock the handset and watched as my phone returned to normal.
But just then, Leon’s phone bill flashed up on my screen. I was about to exit the document when I noticed something strange.
Leon had been ringing the same number, again and again, in the early hours of the morning. I didn’t recognise the number and I squirmed as I felt a niggling feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Something wasn’t right – and I was going to find out what.
Quickly, I punched the mystery number into Whatsapp and watched as a pretty young girl’s smile flashed up on the profile picture, revealing the identity of Leon’s late night caller.
I felt sick. Was my footballer playing away?
Turning detective, I scrolled through the rest of Leon’s phone bill and typed in the unknown numbers unto Whatsapp. Every single number was for another girl.
I felt the bile rise in my throat as I clicked on the profile pictures of the girls, linking their numbers to their Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Leon wasn’t even picky.
‘What’s going on, who are these girls?’ I rang Leon and demanded answers. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I cradled my burgeoning baby bump.
‘Umm, there was only three other girls,’ he whispered sheepishly. ‘I’m sorry.’
Only three? That was more than enough! I was disgusted. My top of the league boyfriend had just falling to the bottom of the tables.
I was heartbroken. It was almost too much to bear but my morbid curiosity got the better of me and I knew I needed to find out more.
As I rang the various girls that showed up on Leon’s phone bill I began to piece together the extent of his betrayal.
I was staggered. Every one of his floozies thought Leon was single and he’d been unfaithful right from the very start of relationship until now, while I was carrying his baby.
‘It’s over Leon,’ I told him as I showed him a red card. ‘I can’t do this any more.’
My family looked after me as I confided in them, but the truth was, I couldn’t forget Leon. I couldn’t trust him but I still loved him and we had a baby on the way.
I needed his support now more than ever and even though he had scored an own goal, I decided to give our relationship another chance for the sake of our unborn child.
‘I’m so sorry,’ he begged. ‘Please, I will make things right with you.’
I didn’t want to be a single mum again and so, slowly I relented.
‘But you’re on a yellow card! Some things have to change around here,’ I warned him.
Leon was by my side when our son was born in June 2014 and he’s a doting dad. He couldn’t be more romantic and while I’ve agreed to stop digging into the past, Leon has promised to listen to me more and make more time for family life.
Now we’re engaged and planning our wedding for 2019. We’re moving on and are stronger than ever. But I’ll never forget the day I discovered my footballer fiance was playing away.
Leon says: I think I was a bit young and naive. I thought I could have my cake and eat it. I thought I could be a single man as well as be the committed relationship man as well. I was 21, so I was still quiet young and trying to play the field a little bit and trying to find myself. Obviously at the same time I wanted to be in a relationship as well. I’ve learnt my lesson, I try to listen more to her and pay attention to her needs.”