Laura* never suspected that the love of her life was being unfaithful to her, right under her nose. She tells us her story of shock and betrayal.
“Melanie* had worked for our family for two years. She and I were close – we often shopped together and confided in each other – and she was excellent with my kids. I treated her like a younger sister.
“When her contract ended two years ago, I made sure she went to a good employer. I never suspected she had been having relations with my husband, Thomas*.
“It was my aunt, who was helping me look after my children as I was busy with my job, who noticed the unusual closeness between my husband and helper. After Melanie left our family, I decided to see a fortune teller to confirm my aunt’s suspicions.
“When I put the question to the fortune teller, she said yes, Thomas and Melanie had indeed slept together. When I asked how many times, she simply said, ‘Way too many to count.’ I was devastated.”
The painful betrayal
“By then, Thomas and I has been married for 16 years, with two lovely children. We worked hard to make ends meet, but I thought we had a comfortable and happy life.
“Thomas and I had sex a couple of times a fortnight, which to me was normal, and everywhere we went, we held hands like a couple in love.
“He was hardworking, dependable and filial, but he also loved being the centre of attention. He enjoyed drinking with his buddies in bars, but I saw that as harmless. He wasn’t the womanising sort, so I didn’t think I had anything to worry about.
“When the fortune-teller told me about the affair, I confronted Melanie at her new job. After repeatedly denials, she finally confessed to having had a sexual relationship with Thomas. It seems that after I left, she telephoned my husband, because he went to see her, and called me to tell me to leave Melanie alone, saying the problem was between him and me.
“He promised to discuss it with me later at home, but instead, went drinking with his friends. He didn’t come home until the wee hours, after which he simply got dressed and went to work, acting as if nothing had happened.
A broken family
“I left Thomas almost immediately after that. I packed some things, took the kids and went to stay at my aunt’s house. I just couldn’t be in the same house with him anymore.
“When I eventually calmed down, I confronted my husband. He admitted that he’d slept with Melanie ‘at least 30 times’ throughout her time with us. Melanie had told me that the affair started shortly after she began working for my family.
“Thomas begged me not to divorce him, but within weeks of leaving him, I was seeing my lawyers. As I had no proof of his affair, I had to divorce him on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. The court granted our divorce two months later.
“Thomas blamed me for the affair, saying I had refused to give him sex. Sure, there were times when I rejected him because the sex was painful, but overall, I thought our sex life was okay.”
Red flags that I ignored
“Looking back, I probably should have been more vigilant. My neighbours had even warned me about Melanie but I ignored them. They complained that she dressed provocatively – she was in her mid-20s and well-endowed – but I always made excuses for her. I trusted this woman with money and my children, so why not my husband?
“I trusted Melanie to the point that when she fell pregnant a year after working for us, I didn’t even ask her whom she had had sex with. As she was four months along, I had to send her back to her home country to terminate the pregnancy. I told her she had the option of staying there or returning to Singapore to continue her job, and she chose the latter.
“I suspect that Melanie was in love with my husband. If Thomas had forced himself on her and she didn’t want a sexual relationship with him, wouldn’t she have just left Singapore and not returned?
“At the time when I had told Thomas about Melanie’s pregnancy, he didn’t seem too concerned. And when I had asked him if he wanted her to come back, he left it to me to decide.
“I suspect too that Thomas had tried to sleep with our previous helpers, because a few of them had cut their employment short, telling me they had to return home to be with their kids. They'd had it really good with us, so it had always surprised me when they wanted to leave.”
A new life
“Maybe if I’d kept my eyes open, I could have stopped the affair from happening. I’ve since learnt from friends that it’s not uncommon for male employers to have affairs with their domestic helpers. And in fact, I know a man who only has sex with helpers.
“My advice to women with helpers is to keep a close eye on them, as well as on your hubby. When your helper starts to dress differently, question it. And, don’t leave your husband alone with your helper for too long. That was one of my biggest mistakes. I worked late and often, while my husband was home from work – and alone with Melanie – by the mid-afternoon. He had all the time in the world to be unfaithful to me.
“My kids and I live with my parents now. I am happier and my children are well-adjusted. They were never close to their father, although after our divorce, I made sure that Thomas saw the kids about twice a week.
“Some months after the divorce, Thomas asked me for a reconciliation but I said no because I don’t need him in my life. I’m not dating anyone now and I’m not sure if I will marry again, but I’ve got my kids and they’re all I need to be happy.”
*Names have been changed
By Sasha Gonzales, SimplyHer, 16 March 2015
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