The Daily Telegraph

‘It’s torture, locked in a house with a man by whom you’ve just been hurt so badly’


My husband of 25 years moved out on Friday. There was a time, not so long ago, when that sentence would have seemed unthinkabl­e. But since Christmas, when I discovered Nick* had been cheating on me for months with a woman he’d met at work, I have been living a strange kind of hell – only intensifie­d by the interminab­le weeks of lockdown.

In hindsight, there should have been alarm bells. In middecembe­r, when I was dreadfully ill in bed with shingles, and Nick announced he had to go to Italy on a lastminute work trip. “Are you sure?” I pleaded, worrying about being alone while I was that poorly. “It’s work,” he said.

“I’ve got to.” On his return, he was acting strangely and at one point slipped up, mentioning something about Austria

– I checked the Google location history on his ipad, and saw that he had indeed been there. I could see the hotel they’d stayed in, the restaurant­s they’d eaten in, and all the other places where they’d been meeting up regularly for months when I thought he was working.

We decided to battle on – partly for the boys, who are 22 and 25, but also because I was in total shock and briefly entertaine­d the idea of working through it.

At 50, I never expected I wouldn’t be married forever. Now, after being forced to spend four months together, the idea seems laughable.

The decision to split came in the new year, but Nick refused to move out until we’d gone through mediation and sold the house, and my solicitor said leaving would put me in a weaker negotiatin­g position.

Within days of putting the house on the market, however, lockdown began.

It’s a form of torture, having to endure four months locked in a house with a man by whom you’ve just been hurt so badly. The stress made me so ill I considered leaving and putting six months’ rent on the credit card, but I simply couldn’t afford it. Instead, we cohabited awkwardly. We kept ourselves separate: I ate dinner with the boys in the kitchen and then we’d disappear, then he would come down and cook himself something. We agreed I would have the lounge and he’d have a television up in one of the boys’ rooms, which he’d taken over.

There were rows, of course, and it’s fair to say I’m not proud of some of my behaviour. Having tense mediation on Zoom about what percentage of house equity you are owed while your husband sits on a laptop in the next room is surreal, to put it mildly.

It has been particular­ly tough on our boys. They are furious with their dad but have been so supportive of me and mature about it all. Four months of lockdown has slowed down our divorce proceeding­s, but it has hastened one thing: clarity that this relationsh­ip is over.

*Name has been changed

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