Share A Secret
When Terry* and I got married, nobody was surprised. We were college sweethearts, and considered by our friends to be a perfect matching couple. Terry was tall and hunky, and I was called the Wonder Woman to his Superman – not to boast, but I was athletically built and had lustrous hair. But that was then…
When our firstborn Chris* came into our lives, I quit my job as a sales manager to raise him at home. Two years later, Samuel* unexpectedly came along, so I remained as a full-time mum. It was a fruitful time spent with my boys, but there was some personal regret – in just those few years, I had let myself go.
I couldn’t lose half of the combined weight that I had gained during my pregnancies. I was too busy and tired chasing after two playful tots to care about my appearance, opting for oversized T-shirts and stretchy pants as daily wear. And I gave in to my binge cravings when I’m stressed.
Meanwhile, my husband not only kept his job as a sales manager, but kept fit. He maintained his physique by gymming, and groomed himself daily with the latest beauty products. He even took to Instagram to keep a visual diary to track his progress and was even regarded as a micro-influencer of sorts!
I became more aware of my husband’s “semi-celebrity” fame when I returned to work part-time at his company after both kids have grown older. His male colleagues would compliment him on his looks often and ask him for fitness tips, and the female co-workers would tell me how lucky I am to have such a “hunkle” hubby. At first, I was proud of him, but after a few months of hearing them heap praises on him, I was feeling a little uncomfortable.
It didn’t help that some of them showed surprise when they found out that “Mr Perfect” was married to me. I became more self-conscious of how I was perceived, and was suspicious of any talk about him and of me. I felt like I was his ugly, plump and insignificant other half!
Before I knew it, jealousy had set in. I would stalk Terry’s Instagram account, and leave sarcastic comments that he took good-naturedly as his “loving wife’s ribbing”. Whenever the office girls and guys spoke of him, I would sneak in some snide remarks. They were true, but harmless jibes – his feet were big but also stinky; his snores were like thunder; and he always hogged the bathroom.
Our colleagues revelled in these tidbits, and I soon found myself embellishing more and more. I felt a sense of satisfaction and justification, in bringing down the company’s “false idol”. But that was not the most terrible thing I did… I even created some fake Instagram accounts to fan the fires of the gossip by pretending to be people who’ve known him in the past.
All in all, Terry took it in his stride that these were just jealous comments left by keyboard warriors – he even felt they were quite entertaining and did not remove them.
Little did I know that this malicious talk can lead to dire consequences. One day, on the way back home from work, Terry suddenly confessed that he had lost a possible promotion. His colleagues hinted that that it was due to office gossip, about how he used his looks to get ahead, that he was too vain, and that he often snapped back at his colleagues for making fun of his “loosemouthed pudgy” wife.
I started tearing, and Terry comforted me, telling me not to worry about these rumours and that he was sorry about the behaviour of his workmates. He also apologised for how he made me stay home all these years to take care of our kids. I cried even more. I could not bring myself to admit I was the one behind some of those nasty comments, but I felt super-guilty.
We left the company after Terry found a similar position in another organisation. Terry’s personal Instagram account remains active, but we now share a new account with Chris and Samuel, one that celebrates family life. And as for returning to my Wonder Woman status, that will have to wait – right now I have a more important role to fulfil as an honest full-time mum, in preparation for our third boy wonder!
*Names changed to protect privacy.