Listen to the podcast here.
Today I am speaking to Ayo, 37 from Dalston who works as an I.T specialist and has no children. Ayo was in a relationship for 5 years until he caught his partner being unfaithful with a friend from work. He has since been single and is actively dating over the last seven years to the present time.
How did you discover your partner was having an affair?
I caught her with somebody one time, but prior to then I had found nude pictures she had sent to an ‘unknown number in her phone’.
What was your initial reaction when you found these images?
Before I had found the images, I had suspected something anyway.
She used to work with this guy and would tell me that they were going to the gym together. It was a bit too friendly for me personally.
When I discovered the pictures in her phone, I instantly called the number and waited for him to speak. I heard the accent (Caribbean, small islander – no shade I’m just saying) and knew that it was the ‘friend’ from work.
When I confronted her, she was stunned and said it must have been an accident as she didn’t know who’s number it was.
I let her know that I had already called the number and that I knew it was her work colleague. She immediately got angry and classically went on the defensive, saying that I had no right to go through her phone. Her reaction angered me because at that point, me going into her phone was irrelevant.
Why didn’t you end the relationship at this point?
I should’ve done, but I didn’t want to end the relationship.
You try to make excuses or try to find reasons to make it happen.
I would give her scenarios and ask her whether it was because of this or that as to why she did what she did. I just needed answers!
All she had to do was say ‘yes’ to any scenario of justification I gave her, because that’s what I wanted it to be and it just made it easier for her.
How soon after you found the images did you actually catch her with this man?
It would’ve been at maximum a year, but I believe that she had probably been seeing this guy the whole time.
To be honest our relationship was a bit rocky after I found the pictures and we went through a cycle of breaking up and making up.
So do you think she had continued to see him in-between the time you had found the images until you actually caught her cheating?
Yes. Although, we kept trying to make it work we struggled to keep it consistent. In the stage where we were trying to work it out, that is when I caught her with the other dude.
But were you ‘officially’ together at this point?
I guess you could say technically, no, we weren’t together officially. However, I didn’t trust her and she was supposed to be earning my trust back at this point. We had made an agreement to work it out. She was saying to me that she wanted to be with me and that there was no one else. So, whilst we were working things out, she then does this!
Tell me about what happened on the day you caught her ‘out there’?
My dad was away and I had the house to myself. My friends all had their ‘links’ so we had arranged to chill at mine that day. On the way to picking up the girls I saw the guys car (her work colleague) outside her house.
I called her and got no answer. I called her brother and found that her parents were away also, so it was effectively just them in the house.
I went to the house and knocked on the door angrily. I began shouting but she never came to the door.
The guy came to the window in his vest. I shouted to him to tell her to come downstairs and she eventually did.
We ended up arguing and I was trying to explain to him that she was trying to play both of us. We had slept together that same week and whilst I was trying to explain to him that we were together she was signalling behind my back for him not to say anything.
What happened after that?
I left and they went back into the house. I went home but I was fuming. My friends said they would happily go back to the house to vandalise it and assault the guy, but I said no of course.
I then decided to go back and my friend gave me a knife. I was that angry that I took it with me. I wanted to go back and have a confrontation with the guys. I’ve never driven so fast in my life.
When I got there she was there alone but wouldn’t open the door.
In hindsight things could’ve worked out very differently and not for the better. I was so angry I was prepared to stab him. You don’t know how these things can make you go crazy sometimes unless you’re in the situation.
I was honestly devastated for a very long time.
How long was a long time?
Do you remember that movie ‘Two Can Play That Game’ where the guy goes to the gym for a week and got over it? I tried that and it didn’t work. It took at least a few months before I felt like I could move on.
I couldn’t think straight at work, I couldn’t think straight at all.
I would go on dates to make myself feel better but I wasn’t listening to a word they said. It was just an irritating noise.
Neither the gym or dating worked. The only thing that worked for me was time.
You eventually dated her again after sometime. How long was the gap in-between?
She began dating someone else for a few years but I still hadn’t really met anyone that was worth settling down with. We had no contact for all that time until I overheard her having a domestic with her man over the phone. Randomly, she was outside my office.
We basically started speaking to each other again and that led to us sleeping together. We weren’t official but I guess I was always trying to get back with her because I was used to her. At the same time I didn’t want to risk her getting pregnant because I knew then that I would be stuck. She wanted children and I didn’t.
In the back of my mind I knew it was never going to work but I continued to sleep with her.
You mentioned that you weren’t on the same page with regards to starting a family. Do you think this is maybe why she cheated?
No. I don’t think so in my opinion. I think she cheated because she’s just promiscuous! I don’t know her to be promiscuous but that has to be what it is if you’re sleeping with two guys at the same time.
Upon reflection is there anything you could have done better in the relationship? Not that I’m transferring the blame onto you, but can you see your faults?
Yes definitely. That was my first real adult relationship, I didn’t know what I was doing to be honest. I learnt a lot from her and although she cheated, as a result I have become a better person.
I never realised communication was so important in a relationship and that was a skill I took for granted and lacked. These things matter and I get it now.
What have you learnt from that failed relationship?
As soon as you feel like cheating maybe an issue, it more than likely is, so just end it. Why wait to gather all the evidence? When you find out for sure, end it!! Don’t take her back.
I have a lot of female friends who I used to socialise with a lot. She never liked it and it made her uncomfortable. I could not see what the problem was because I suppose, I was blindsided by the fact that they were just friends of mine. I struggled to see things from her point of view.
In hindsight she probably thought I was cheating.
A relationship can’t survive infidelity?
Once the trust is gone you can’t get it back to how it was. You shouldn’t be having doubts and second guessing your partner. If you’re having those thoughts, its long!
Do you think it’s a coincidence that 7 years later you’re unable to find a partner after that turbulent relationship?
No, because that was my only real relationship aside from casual dating and sexual liaisons.
What advice would you give to someone who might be in your situation?
SLEW DEM! (in this context it means to get rid of them or cut them off)
Walk away and leave.
I think it goes to show that men and women don’t react that differently to infidelity. We shouldn’t take for granted how feelings of jealousy can quickly turn into rage and potentially make us do things that we regret. Ayo could have very easily acted out of character and viciously harmed this other man, had he not left his girlfriends house.
We have to question ourselves as to why we may want to attack (verbally or physically) the other person. Essentially the other guy didn’t owe him anything, they weren’t friends or even acquaintances. It’s hard to rationalise in the moment, but we must put our own safety and that of others in the forefront before we act.
I ran a poll on social media and asked the question whether women cheat for the same reasons as men. The large majority (approx 70%) said no.
So what are the differences? In this story, Ayo was able to admit his failings and could identify things that may have led her to start seeing someone else.
I personally don’t believe cheating is ever really justified, but I can understand how people end up doing it.
Ultimately, both parties have some type of fear. The cheater may not want to leave because either of guilt or because they know that whomever they’re cheating with isn’t right for them anyway. The victim may continue to stay because they don’t want to be alone or go through the hassle of finding a new relationship.
We will discuss these issues in the podcast, however please leave your opinions in the comment section below.
Tune into the podcast here.
Take care of yourself.