Road To Somewhere: Can Cheating Lead To True Happiness?

Discovering the truth can be a tough pill to swallow but may be bitter sweet on the road to happiness.
Is cheating the key to happiness?
Image source: ©deagreez -

“Can I see you tomorrow?” I asked, hoping the answer would be yes.

Michael turned his head away slightly before looking at me. “I’ll try,” he said, “but I think I might be meeting an old friend.”

Trying not to look disappointed I smiled, even though I knew that meant no. “Okay, well just let me know,” I said, kissing him before leaving the car. 

I don’t know why I asked. In all our three years together he’s never seen me on a Saturday as it’s the one day he likes to himself. That was one of the first major conversations we’d had. That, and how he could never imagine himself living with anyone, so naturally I never broached the subject of us moving in together. 

As I drove to the local supermarket that afternoon, I wondered if he was really happy with me, or if I was just another plaything he enjoyed whenever he felt like it. I shook my head in a bid to get rid of the thoughts. I need to stop thinking that way, I told myself.  

Pulling into the supermarket car park, I looked over at Starbucks next door and contemplated a coffee. A vanilla latte and a blueberry muffin would be perfect, I thought climbing out of the car.

As I headed for Starbucks, I could have sworn I saw Michael’s car parked right in front of the door. Squinting I tried to look at the number plate but I couldn’t quite make it out. Just then the door opened and out came a long-legged blonde, followed by … Michael!  

I quickly ran around the corner before either of them could see me. Panting, I peeked my head around and saw that the blonde woman was Heather, a colleague of his. 

At the start of our relationship, he would tell me stories of how she would touch his leg or stroke his arm during a conversation. He told her nothing would ever happen between them and they just stayed friends. I had trusted him. 

Watching them now, my heart pounded. What was he even doing with her? He’d told me he was going straight home because he had to take his cat to the vet. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I had often suspected something between them but whenever I tried to talk to him about it, he just blew it off and said I was being paranoid. 

I watched them standing there for what seemed like ages, animatedly chatting. Then all of a sudden Michael lent forward. Was he kissing her? I couldn’t tell. Maybe they were just having an extra-long hug. It seemed to go on forever before they pulled apart. My heart was racing. I knew I should have been upset or sad, but instead, I was numb.  

As I watched him drive out of the car park, I contemplated whether I should ring him now and have it out with him, or wait until I saw him next. I could feel anger beginning to rise as I made my way back to the car.

“Where are you?” I probed as he answered the phone. I couldn’t wait, I needed to know what was going on. 

“I’ve just come out of the garage why what’s up?” he replied airily. 

“I’ve just seen you with Heather,” I blurted. 


“At Starbucks.”

“And why were ya there?” He demanded.

“I was going to the supermarket and fancied a coffee,” I began to explain. Wait a minute, I thought, why am I justifying myself? I’ve done nothing wrong.

“You’re supposed to be at ya mums,” he said, trying to make it about me.

“What does it matter?” I shouted. “I’ve just seen you kissing her!”

“What?” he gasped. “I didn’t kiss her! Look, where are ya? Let me come talk to ya properly and sort this out face to face.”

As I sat there waiting for him, I began to doubt myself again. Maybe they were just hugging. But why would he lie to me about seeing her? The more I was thinking the more I was persuading myself that maybe I was the problem. That this would be just another time where I would be left feeling stupid and paranoid about yet another misunderstanding.

He pulled up in the space next to me and glancing over I could see the stern look on his face. I began to panic. He’s going to finish with me this time, I know he is, I thought. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. The anger was subsiding and being rapidly replaced by fear. 

By the time I had stepped out of my car and into his passenger seat, I was convinced it was all in my head and that he was going to leave me because of my paranoid, psychotic behavior. 

“Well? Are ya gonna speak?” He said calmly after a few minutes of silence. But seeing his clenched jaw, I knew there was anger behind his words.

“I said everything on the phone,” I whispered, trying hard to hold back the tears that were now stinging my eyes. 

“So what if I met her? I can meet friends ya know?” He blurted. 

“I know …” I began to sob quietly.

“And you think I kissed her?” He accused.  

“Did you?”

“Of course not!” He protested. “Why would I risk losing ya?”

“But then why wouldn’t you just be honest with me and tell me that you were meeting her?” I sobbed, watching his face desperately.

“Because for some stupid reason you seem to have this thing about her that makes ya paranoid and I shouldn’t have to deal with that.” He looked in my eyes. “She makes ya crazy.” 

I looked down, feeling ashamed of myself.

Sighing, he knew he’d won this battle. I knew he’d won this battle. Tears continued to fall silently down my cheeks.

“Stop crying,” he said turning away from me, shaking his head. “This needs to stop, Jo, it really does. I can’t do it anymore.”

I was shaking. The thought of losing him made everything else seem insignificant. I just couldn’t be without him. He was my everything.

“I need to go,” he said unexpectedly.

“Oh, okay,” I swallowed. “Are … are we over?” I couldn’t look at him.

He sighed deeply as he looked out of the window. “I dunno,” he eventually replied, brushing his hand across his forehead. “I just don’t see how we can get past this.”

I turned my body to face his, “I’m sorry, I really am. I’ll stop. I just get so scared and insecure …” I trailed off.

“But why? What reason do you have to be insecure?” He asked despairingly. “You have everything I have ever wanted in a woman.”

I hung my head and shrugged, “I don’t know, I just do. Maybe because she’s younger and has more to offer than I do.”

Surprisingly, he laughed. “It’s a shame ya can’t see yourself through my eyes,” he said lifting my chin.

As he looked into my eyes, I felt a shred of relief. Maybe he would give me another chance, and this time I wouldn’t let him down. I couldn’t.  

“Look, I really need to go,” he pulled away. “I’ll see ya next week, but this is ya last chance. I mean it.”

As a smile spread across my face, I leaned over to kiss him but he moved away.

“Can I not have a kiss?” I asked, feeling even more insecure but now unable to show it. 

“You don’t deserve one,” he said. “I’ll see ya later.”

Feeling sick, I climbed out of the car and welcomed the gush of fresh air. Taking deep breaths, I watched as he drove away without so much as a backward glance. 

What an idiot, I thought. I knew this would happen and yet I did it anyway. How does he always manage to make me feel like I’m some kind of psycho? It’s incredible how one person can hold so much power over you. 

A few weeks later we were starting to get back on track. He wasn’t so distant from me anymore and when I opened the door for him that afternoon, he kissed me. 

“Howdy,” he grinned as his lips left mine.

Stepping aside to let him in I couldn’t help but grin back. “Why, hello there,” I replied, “you’re in a good mood.”

“It’s a nice day,” he said sitting down on the sofa.

“Fancy sitting in the garden?” I asked.

As we sat out in the sun, I poured him a beer while I drank lemonade. We talked about all sorts for what seemed liked hours and I felt all the unease of the past few weeks drift away. I couldn’t remember the last time we had laughed so much. 

“It’s been a great afternoon,” he stood up and walked round to sit beside me. “I know it’s been a rough couple of weeks but we’re gonna be okay.”

I snuggled into his chest as he wrapped his arm around my waist. I treasured these moments we had together, they seemed so rare lately. 

“Oh, I bought a new dress the other day that I’ve been meaning to show you,” I said excitedly. 

He grinned, “Let’s see then,” his eyes burned with excitement. He always loved seeing me in new clothes. 

I raced upstairs and changed into the white laced, strappy dress. As I tip-toed back down to surprise him, I saw that he was occupied with his phone. My heart sank. Was that Heather’s name I saw? No, surely not. And even if it was, it was probably something about work. 

Shrugging it off, I walked in front of him and twirled but he still didn’t see me, instead he was smiling at his phone as he typed. Trying to stay positive, I smiled, ignoring the dread I felt. 

“So, what do you think?” I asked, hoping he couldn’t hear the anxiety in my voice. 

He looked up with a slight smirk, clearly distracted. “Yeah,” he nodded. “It’s beautiful.”

“I knew you’d like it,” I twirled again. “I just need an excuse to wear it now,” I hinted.

“I’m sure we can think of something,” he said standing up. “I need to go now but it really has been great, I’ve really enjoyed it. Like old times.”

I tried to hide the disappointment from my face, “Yes it really has.” I felt like I’d deflated. Like something wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

“What’s up?” he asked, sensing my obvious sadness.

“Nothing,” I lied. “So, will I be seeing you tomorrow?”

He looked at his watch like he was running late for something. “I’ll see what I can do for lunchtime. Is that okay?”

“Yes, of course,” I breathed. 

About an hour after Michael had left, he rang. “Hey, are you sure you’re okay? Ya just seemed a little distant.” 

I wanted to tell him that I had thought I had seen Heather’s name on his phone and that I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that was telling me something was off. But I couldn’t. Not this time. This time I needed solid evidence. 

“No, no I’m fine, honest. I just miss you that’s all,” I gushed, which was half true. I always missed him, but I most certainly was not fine.

“I know ya do sweetheart, but we have to treasure the time we do have and just think,” he paused, “it won’t be forever.”

Wait, what? Did that mean what I thought it meant? Did he see a future with me? He had never said anything like that before. Never even hinted at us living together. 

I was shocked. “Okay,” was all I could muster. 

“Well if you’re sure you’re okay I’ll get off?” 

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’ll speak to you later.” I needed to get off the phone. I needed to process the afternoon. Properly.

That evening as I sat on the sofa cradling a cold cup of coffee, thoughts were whirling around in my head. I knew in the pit of my stomach that something was going on between them, and this time I was going to prove it. Grabbing my coat and car keys I headed for the door. 

As I got closer to his house my heart began to thump in my chest. What on earth was I thinking? If he caught me it would definitely be over. But then if he was cheating, it would definitely be over anyway. Either way, the realization of what I was about to do was that, whatever happens, this is it for us. 

Before I had a chance to talk myself out of it his house was there, but his car was gone. A night in front of the tv, his words came back to me. I shook my head as my heart sank slightly at the thought that I could actually be right. I began to wrack my brain as to where he could be, where he liked to go. 

After driving to several bars and restaurants but not seeing his car I thought maybe I was wrong. That maybe I would drive by his house again and he would be home after having a pint with his friend or something. 

Realizing I had come much further from home than intended, I turned the car around and started to head back. As I slowed at a set of lights, there was a pub on my left that still had its lights on and looked very cozy. I smiled thinking that it would be nice to be in a cozy corner with Michael, talking and laughing while enjoying a nice bottle of red. 

Pulling away from the lights I took one last glance at the pub. Wait a minute, I thought. Is that his car? No, surely not. As I turned around and went back to investigate, I could feel the anger fuelling my motive. 

My heart was racing and my palms were hot on the wheel. Pulling in I could see the number plate and it wasn’t his. I felt relief wash over me and then I felt shame. As I began to cry, I realized what an idiot I was being. Maybe I really was a psycho like he said I was. 

Next door was a hotel and a coffee shop with a drive-thru that was still open. Drying my eyes, I decided to grab and coffee and calm myself down. I really had to start trusting him and stop being so paranoid. But I still couldn’t shake the unease in my stomach. 

“Thank you,” I said as my card beeped on the machine.

“Next window please,” the assistant smiled.

As I waited for my coffee, I looked across at the hotel, and there it was staring me right in the face. His car! My heart hit the floor as tears rimmed my eyes once more. 

No! I told myself. You have to be strong now. 

“Here’s your coffee,” said another assistant making me jump slightly. “Sorry about your wait.”

I grabbed the coffee with a shaky hand, “Thank you,” I said trying to sound normal. 

Not really knowing what to do. I drove to the car park next to the hotel and found a spot where I could still see his car. 

As I sat there watching I began to feel sad. This really was it, there would be no coming back from this. I tried to think of all the good times but every time I did, there were at least two bad memories that tainted the good ones.  

I began to think of all the ways he had changed me, some changes for the better, some not so good. My dressing sense was so much better now and I wasn’t afraid to wear clothes that suited me even if they were deemed ‘too young’.

He had given me a confidence I had never had before, but the biggest change was within me. I questioned myself when it came to him. He challenged me but he also had me challenging myself. He had me questioning my own mentality and intuition, which had always been really good before. 

Yawning I looked at the time, it was 2 am and my eyes were starting to hurt. Climbing into the back seat, I decided to try and get a few hours’ sleep, I mean it didn’t look like he was about to leave the hotel any time soon. 

Opening my eyes and realizing this nightmare was actually my life, I sat up and checked his car was still there. It was. I stretched and glanced at the clock. 7.30 am. Oh good, I’ll be able to get a coffee soon, I thought as I scrambled back into the front seat.

I brushed my fingers through my hair and got out of the car breathing in the fresh, cold air, and walked slowly to the coffee shop. I thought it best to grab a coffee early so I wasn’t risking getting caught if he did decide to leave early. I wanted to confront him on my terms.  

Climbing back into the car clutching my hot coffee I shivered and switched on the engine to try and warm up. It was freezing outside and the sky looked white.

A few hours later, snow began to fall. Great, I thought, just what I need. I hated driving in the snow and I contemplated leaving as it got heavier. Check-out should be no later than 12 pm, I thought so I decided to try and hold on until then as I watched a few people starting to leave. 

The clock display showed 11.30 am as the snow continued to fall at a heavy rate. I put my seat belt on ready to go and took one last glance at the hotel. Just as I was about to drive away, Michael stepped out into the snow, smiling, wearing a jumper and jeans. My heart pounded in my ears and I felt sick. I watched as he climbed into his car and waited for him to pull away. 

Suddenly, my phone buzzed. Frowning, I looked to see who was messaging me. Michael. I laughed out loud and opened the message:

Sorry for the late reply. I won’t be able to make it today as I’m having to go to work. Hope you’re ok?

Wow. I couldn’t believe he was messaging me as I sat and watched him pull out of the car park. I threw the phone on the passenger seat without replying and drove up to where he had parked. I didn’t recognize any of the other cars so I just parked in his spot and waited to see who came out of there. I knew it would be Heather, it had to be. 

As predicted, twenty minutes later, out she strolled all legs and teeth. As I watched her standing in the doorway chatting to the receptionist, my anger grew. I could feel myself shaking and sweating. I tried to stay calm. I wanted to scream and shout at her that he was mine and how dare she disrespect me in that way but I knew the minute she got in her car she would ring him and forewarn him. 

Instead, I rang him. I couldn’t help myself; I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer. 

“Hey, how are you?” he answered brightly. 

“Hi,” I snapped. “Did you stay at a hotel last night?

“No,” he sounded calm. 

“Really?” I couldn’t contain my anger. “So, you didn’t spend the night with Heather in a hotel?”

“What are you talking about?” he shouted. “I’ve just told ya, no. I was at home.”

I shook my head and closed my eyes. I knew telling him that I had seen him meant more questions for me and he would be so angry but how could I prove it and get him to admit it if I didn’t say that I had seen him with my own eyes? 

“I saw you,” I tried to stay calm but I was shaking all over. 

“What do you mean ya saw me?” he said. “Saw me where?”

“Coming out of the hotel.”

“When?” I could hear the anger in his voice now.

“About half an hour ago,” I said.

“What were you even doing there?” he spat.

I reeled off some lie about dropping a friend there last night and how I’d seen his car. I couldn’t tell him that I had stalked him, he would just use all that against me and somehow manage to wriggle out of it like he always did. 

He went quiet. 

“So, did you spend the night there with Heather?” I asked again. “There’s no point lying because I saw you leave and Heather is sat in her car at the side of me.”

I was trying so hard to not look at her as tears began to sting my eyes. 

“What she’s there?” he said.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Put her on the phone then,” he ordered.

I put my window down and shouted her name. She looked up with dread on her face but put her window down anyway.

“Hi there,” she said sounding caught off guard.

I held the phone out to her. She frowned and looked at me. “What?” she asked.

“It’s Michael,” I spat. 

She grabbed the phone and they began chatting. Her side of the conversation was very limited and I knew he was telling her to not say anything.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” she spoke into the phone. “I just got in my car and she was here at the side of me.”

Handing me the phone back she put up her window and drove away. He obviously hadn’t believed that I was where I said I was. 

“So?” I said as he stayed quiet.

“Look, even if I did spend the night with her, why can’t two friends just go out for a drink and stay the night in a hotel?”

“Are you serious?” I couldn’t believe my ears. “So you didn’t sleep in the same bed then?”

“Erm, well yeah,” he said, to my surprise. 

“I knew it. I knew you were cheating on me.” I couldn’t stop the tears anymore. “How long has it been going on?” I demanded.

“It hasn’t.”

“Stop lying,” I shouted. “You’re lying. I’ve caught you out. All this time you’ve had me believing that I’m the psycho one when all along you’ve just been playing me and having a good old laugh about it with her.” I was sobbing now.

“I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you …” 

“If?” I screamed. “If? I loved you!”

“I know,” he said quietly.

“Just admit it. I need to hear it.”

“No,” he said. “I know it’s over between us so let’s just leave it at that alright?”

“You’re damn right it’s over,” I spat, disgusted. How could he even think I would stay with him after this? This was what I needed to leave him. Proof. And now I had it.

“I know I’ve hurt you but I really hope you’re okay and I wish you all the best in life,” he said before he hung up on me.

I stared at the phone shaking my head unbelievably as I tried to think how I was going to get through this. I began to cry loudly, not caring who saw, not caring who heard. My heart was broken and I realized that the last three years of my life were a waste. 

After an hour or so I dried my eyes, looked in the mirror, and vowed that no man would ever make me feel that way again. Once the initial pain had ebbed away, I felt relief. I was right. My instinct was right and I would never doubt myself again. Strangely, I felt happy it was all over as I drove home to begin the next chapter of my life.

An all round creative with an appreciation for nature and life.

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