Talk­ing about

View­ers are sure to be hooked by the next in­stal­ment of Doc­tor Foster. But for some, the on-screen drama is all too re­alé

Woman (UK) - - Inside The Issue -

What hap­pens when he mar­ries the mis­tress?

This week, BBC one’s Doc­tor Foster re­turns to our screens, and the sec­ond se­ries is set to be even more grip­ping than the last.

Two years have passed since that ex­plo­sive din­ner party. Gemma Foster is still work­ing as a GP and liv­ing with her teenage son, Tom, while her ex, Si­mon, has moved away with his mis­tress Kate.

All seems well in Parmin­ster… That is, un­til the cou­ple – and their new baby – re­turn to live in a plush man­sion close to Gemma’s home, and host a party to cel­e­brate their mar­riage. Sent into a rage once again, Gemma has to come to terms with watch­ing Si­mon and Kate play happy fam­i­lies, spend­ing time with her friends and, even worse, her son.

Ad­dic­tive view­ing? Yes. But for some, it’s a sit­u­a­tion that is all too fa­mil­iar. Here, we speak to one woman who knows ex­actly how Gemma Foster feels…

‘i was Dev­as­tated, But ter­ri­fied of Rais­ing A fam­ily Alone’

waited, hop­ing the af­fair would fiz­zle out. But by March 1999, I’d lie awake think­ing about my hus­band with an­other woman. I knew I de­served more and asked him to leave. He begged me to give him a sec­ond chance, but the trust had gone.

I knew he would go to his mis­tress, but I never ex­pected him to be so brazen as to move her into a flat di­rectly across the road from me.

From my house, I’d get a glimpse of them cook­ing to­gether in the kitchen, or snug­gling on the sofa, and each time I’d feel a pain in my ch­est, as though my heart was break­ing a lit­tle bit more.

Even worse was watch­ing her with my chil­dren. We had joint cus­tody – he saw them ev­ery week­end and when­ever he wanted dur­ing the week. Henry, then four, was very wary of this un­fa­mil­iar woman, but Matthew, just a baby at 18 months, in­no­cently smiled when she cud­dled him. It felt like she was re­plac­ing me.

Thank­fully, all but a few of our mu­tual friends stayed loyal to me, ap­palled by the way he’d be­haved. But even af­ter all my hus­band had done, I still loved him. I even tried to make friends with the other woman, know­ing she’d be look­ing af­ter my chil­dren.

And yet, four months later, I knew I couldn’t go on liv­ing in such close prox­im­ity to the peo­ple who’d wronged me. De­feated, I told Brent he could have our house, and moved away. I hoped that would be the end of my sor­rows, but twice a year, Brent and his once mis­tress would take the chil­dren on long, ex­pen­sive hol­i­days to Europe or Amer­ica. The boys would come home full of ex­cite­ment and I’d feel so jeal­ous about it. While Brent was a suc­cess­ful broad­cast jour­nal­ist, I’d put my ca­reer as a best-sell­ing nov­el­ist on hold to look af­ter the boys, so I didn’t have the fi­nances to spoil them.

It wasn’t un­til April 2001, when I met Erik at a friend’s wed­ding, that I fi­nally started to come to terms with the af­fair. Fi­nally, I had a man who loved and re­spected me. I found that my anger slowly started to fade away.

Now Erik and I are mar­ried, and we have a daugh­ter, Lily, born in Septem­ber 2002. Brent and his mis­tress got mar­ried, too. I heard it was an ex­trav­a­gant af­fair.

Time has passed, but just the men­tion of an af­fair can still bring back those feel­ings of shock and be­trayal. Watch­ing the drama un­fold on Doc­tor Foster will be hard. I know how it feels to watch some­one re­place you with­out a sec­ond thought. Even now, al­most 20 years on, I’ll never for­give them. ✱ Tess is the au­thor of The Adul­tery Club (£7.99, Pan­macmil­lan) and 11 other best­selling nov­els. Visit tessstim­

Doc­tor Foster starts Tues­day, 5 Septem­ber at 9pm on BBC one

Au­thor tess has never been able to for­give her ex-hus­band for his be­trayal

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