Share A Se­cret

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - Contents -

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.

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