Had my man’s wrong number text revealed his biggest secret?
By Sarah Dingle, 32, Buxton, Derbyshire
I pulled on a slouchy hoody and slid my feet into a dirty old pair of trainers.
‘You’re wearing that?’ my friend Hannah said, giving me a look.
‘Yeah why not?’ I replied. ‘I don’t even know the bloke, why would I dress up for him?’
I’d planned to spend the evening with Hannah round at her boyfriend Dan’s flat. But Dan’s friend had recently moved in too, and I could tell Hannah was planning to set us up together.
I wasn’t that interested though. And, from what I’d heard, Shane wouldn’t be either. He’d just split from his wife and I wasn’t going to be a rebound romance.
Sure enough, that evening there were no sparks flying between us. But when Hannah and Dan went to bed, Shane shrugged.
‘Don’t worry about sleeping on the sofa, you can share my bed,’ he said.
So we ended up under the covers together. We were both adults, so I didn’t see why we couldn’t have a bit of fun.
The next morning, I assumed it would be something best forgotten about. But, Shane was really sweet. He made me a cuppa and gave me a kiss when I left.
I could tell he was different to most guys I’d met before. He knew how to treat a woman nicely. I dropped a few hints with Hannah that she should pass on my phone number.
Then Shane got in touch a few days later, and that was the start of our romance.
Within six months I’d fallen pregnant. I ended up moving in with Shane at his mum’s house. Then, just before Reece was born we found our own place in Buxton.
For the first few years, life was perfect. I couldn’t believe I’d been lucky enough to find the man of my dreams and start a family so quickly.
The only downside was Shane had to work so hard to keep us afloat financially.
He’d spend 12 hours a day as a supervisor at a plastics production factory, and often end up going in on the weekends too. Meanwhile, I’d be left at home caring for Reece alone.
It sparked some blazing rows.
‘I feel more like a single parent some days,’ I said one night, when Shane arrived home after another long shift.
‘I can’t help it. We need the money,’ he replied, clearly exhausted.
‘Well I also need a bit of support sometimes,’ I said, getting angry.
When the argument had simmered down I could see I was being unfair. Shane was doing his best, and I did appreciate how hard he worked for us.
But, within a few days the same old resentments would start rising again. Most days would end in some kind of a tiff. Our relationship was going downhill, fast.
Then, one night over dinner, with Reece in bed, we decided to talk like adults.
‘This is pulling us apart, and I don’t want that to happen,’ Shane said, reaching for my hand.
‘Me neither. What can we do to get things back on track?’ I asked.
‘I think we both need some space. How about I move into a flat nearby, just until we both clear our heads?’ Shane said.
He promised that we weren’t breaking up, and in fact this was a desperate bid to save our relationship.
I could see that he was right. We couldn’t go on as we were. So, a couple of weeks later Shane signed a short agreement on a flat just a mile down the road.
Within a month I knew we’d done the right thing.
Shane would still come to stay at home, or Reece and I would stay at the flat. But, it gave Shane a bit of space after a particularly hard day at work.
I began to find myself looking forward to spending time with Shane, instead of dreading another argument. It was just like the old days.
Then, one evening, Shane phoned me at home.
‘I just wanted to let you know I’m going out with some work friends tonight,’ he said. ‘But don’t worry, we’ll work through this. I love you.’
I didn’t resent him having an odd night out. Things had been so good between us that I was happy to go with the flow.
I told him to have fun then settled down in front of the telly after putting Reece to bed. Then, a few hours later, my mobile phone pinged.
I smiled when I saw Shane’s name on the screen. It made me feel special that he was thinking of me, even when he was out with his mates.
But when I opened up the message my smile dropped.
Shane had sent me a dirty picture. But, it wasn’t of him. It was a naked lady spreadeagled on a bed.
Why would he send me this? I thought.
Then, when I took a closer look my jaw dropped in horror. I recognised the bed covers, and the layout of the room looked awfully familiar too.
I realised that the photo had been taken in Shane’s flat.
This wasn’t just a silly joke with his mates. Shane was having an affair, and he’d accidentally sent me the evidence to prove it.
Furious, I dialled his number.
But when Shane answered, he was adamant nothing was going on.
‘I lent my mate the flat keys, he’s cheating on his girlfriend and he wanted somewhere to go,’ he said, slurring from a few whiskeys.
‘So how do you explain this picture?’ I said, demanding answers.
‘He sent it to me or something. And maybe somehow I sent it to you?’ he said, mumbling.
It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any sense out of him. He’d had too much to drink.
I went to bed but barely slept a wink, imagining the confrontation we’d have when he was sober.
I desperately wanted to believe Shane’s version of events. But, the story seemed too good to be true.
When Shane came home the next day, I grabbed his phone. I wanted to see the evidence for myself before listening to any more excuses.
Tears filled my eyes as I scrolled through snap after snap of the same girl, dolled up in different sets of underwear.
It was obvious the photos had been taken on different days.
‘I’ve got the proof, now tell me the truth,’ I said, begging Shane for answers.
He crumbled and admitted he had been having an affair. He promised me it was over though.
‘Well who is she?’ I said.
‘No-one. It’s my mate’s sister, Claire,’ he said, not even able to look me in the eyes. For the next few weeks the relationship limped on. The trust was gone though.
I decided to find out for myself whether Shane really had called off his affair.
But when I phoned his mate he was confused. He insisted he didn’t even have a sister called Claire, let alone a sister who was sleeping with Shane. Something wasn’t adding up.
Then, one morning I found an Ann Summers receipt stuffed down the side of the seat in our car. Someone had been shopping for sexy stockings just a few days earlier, and it certainly wasn’t me.
It shouldn’t have been Shane either. I looked at the date on the receipt and I clearly remembered he’d told me he’d gone straight to bed after work to sleep off a long shift.
I rooted around in the rubbish in the footwell for more evidence, and produced a parking ticket for town on that very same day.
‘What’s this about?’ I said, confronting Shane with the receipt.
‘Erm, I gave a mate a lift the other day. They must have dropped it,’ he said.
‘So how do you explain this?’ I said, shoving the parking ticket under the nose. No-one had dropped the receipt. Shane had been shopping that day and he was obviously lying to me about it.
He’d been treating his bit on the side to yet another set of undies.
Again Shane couldn’t apologise enough. In my heart I knew our relationship was over but I wasn’t going to call it off until I had all the answers.
The one bit of the puzzle I couldn’t solve was who Shane’s mystery lover was.
That’s until one afternoon when I was pushing my trolley around Morrisons.
Suddenly a swish of blonde hair caught my eye. Even though I could only see the woman from the back, I immediately recognised her from Shane’s sexy shots.
‘Excuse me love, do you know Shane?’ I asked, tapping her on the shoulder.
She turned to me and sheer panic shot across her face.
‘Sorry, no speak English,’ she said, stuttering. Then she scurried off.
I knew I’d busted her, and suddenly it made sense. Shane had mentioned a Polish girl from work a couple of times and the pieces all fell into place.
I dumped Shane, telling him he’d broken the trust.
We kept things civil for Reece’s sake. But, 18 months later there was still an undeniable spark between us and we ended up back together.
Now we’ve moved on and I’ve forgiven Shane. However, I’ll never forget the night he sent me a sexy photo of his mistress.
Shane, 43, said: ‘Although it is many years down the line, this still hurts Sarah deep down. I want to say how much I have regretted it since we got back together and I realised exactly how much I have broken her heart. I know that she will never forget but I am so truly happy that she forgave me. And at least now after all we have been through we have got each other and a son that we are both very proud of.”