I’m really appalled by Katie Hopkins’ latest round of controversial comments but I really don’t want to give too much attention to a woman who clearly gets paid to be so vile – and take pride in it too. Katie has been very open about her lack of remorse in taking her now husband away from his first wife. Everyone knows about Katie’s penchant for married men so this doesn’t come as a surprise. She’s clearly not someone who believes in women sticking together, and sadly there are other women out there who come from the school of thought that if you see something you want – take it. And they do take with very little regard as to who it belongs to or who gets hurt.
Naturally, as a happily married woman, this doesn’t sit well with me. Mr. D. is without a doubt a real catch; the best thing to happen to me. He’s as gorgeous on the inside as he is on the outside. It doesn’t surprise me that he catches the eye of other women. But I would hope that he’d tell her where to go. However, I would hope that a woman would have a strong sense of sisterhood to not even go there in the first place.
Sadly, there are plenty of women who don’t have this sense of solidarity – and so would go there without a second thought.
Earlier this year, on a night out, I got acquainted with the friend of someone I know. Kerry* was hardly what you could call shy and retiring but even I was amazed by a later confession – probably fuelled by too much alcohol – in which we got talking about ex-boyfriends and she revealed that hers was already in a relationship when she met him.
“Oh my gosh,” I said, “he lied to you! So when did you find out about his girlfriend?”
“Er, when he asked me out,” she replied, clearly thinking I was an idiot.
“You went out with him even though you knew?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes!” Kerry replied, a little defensively, “his girlfriend and his relationship are his business. Nothing to do with me. I was the one who was single so I was free to do what I liked.”
Let’s just say we didn’t promise to add each other on Facebook at the end of the evening.
With friends like these…
Amanda* was a girl I knew from school. She was definitely not the kind of girl you wanted to mess with but one thing that did impress me about her was her strong sense of loyalty to her friends. And they did seem to be a pretty tight bunch of people. As someone not cool enough to make it into this elite ‘girl gang,’ I have to admit, I did feel a little envious of their close bond.
Fast forward six years and guess who runs off with her best friends husband? That’s right – Amanda! What was surprising was that many of Amanda’s friends – as shocked as they were by what had happened – stood by her. Amanda, herself, didn’t feel any remorse over what she had done, claiming that her friend Emily and husband Sean had had a very unhappy marriage and weren’t suited. She even claimed that Emily had even cheated on Sean once. It all worked out very well for Amanda as she is still with Sean and they now have two children together.
I actually bumped into Amanda several years after we had left school. By then she was expecting her second child – a daughter. It was a super quick catch up, in which she talked mostly about her children. She obviously wasn’t going to tell me about how she met her fella – and she didn’t know that I knew what had happened through mutual acquaintances.
Once again, there were no offers to keep in touch as I had no desire to keep in touch with anyone who treats their friends so shoddily. To sleep with a stranger’s husband or boyfriend is bad enough but when it’s the boyfriend of a friend or family member… it’s just not on.
Ruth* knows only too well the pain she felt when she realised that her husband, Simon*, was cheating on her with a woman she considered to be a friend, Erica*:
“I returned from a business trip and found things that things were not in it’s usual place or in the order they would normally be arranged. The biggest giveaway were the sheets being changed – something my ex-husband wouldn’t even know how to do. I asked a lot of questions but his answers were very vague and I instinctively knew that something wasn’t right.”
Eventually it was a local café owner who told Ruth what had really been going on:
“I mean we live in a town where pretty much everyone knows everyone. I can’t believe he was so stupid as to think he wouldn’t get caught. What I learned is that he had been seeing her for a while and that they had been seen out together. I now believe that whenever I was away working, he’d bring her over to the house. I didn’t know which was worse: the fact that everybody knew or the fact that he’d brought her into our home. It tore me apart that he cheated with a woman that I was quite friendly with. It was the ultimate betrayal.”
Ruth confronted her husband and her friend, before kicking her husband out. He then tried to work things out with Ruth but when it became clear that she wasn’t going to take him back, Simon then moved in with Erica and the two of them carried on their relationship for the next four years:
“I was never going to take him back. He’d destroyed my trust. There was no way our marriage could ever work. I was devastated though when he went to live with my former friend. Devastated but not surprised. However, what made it easier was knowing that he still loved me – if you could call it that – and that he was only with her because he was so needy and didn’t want to be on his own. Even our mutual friends agreed he’d be back tomorrow with his tail between his legs if I’d agree to have him back. Strange as this may sound even though I hated my ‘friend’ for pursuing my husband the way she did, I also felt sorry for her because it was so obvious she was second best.”
Ruth has since remarried and has very little contact with Simon – who is no longer with Erica.
“Thankfully they moved away shortly after they started living together which made things a lot easier for me. It took a while but I slowly picked myself up and moved on. I met Craig* about two years after my divorce. He restored my faith in men and relationships and we’ve been together for nearly nine years now. Simon even made an attempt for us to get back together just after I met Craig but obviously it never happened. By then, they’d broken up. I think she [Erica] was expecting Simon to propose after the divorce came through. It never happened and the relationship didn’t last long. I see Simon from time to time at weddings and other events. We are civil towards one another but I don’t know anything about his private life. As far as I know he’s not with anyone.”
I’m glad that Ruth got her happy ending and that Erica didn’t come out of this so well. I just hope she’s learnt her lesson and won’t hook up with a man who isn’t available ever again.
The same thing applies to men and ‘brotherhood’…
Sadly it’s not just women who have a lack of respect for relationship boundaries. Men can be just as bad too.
Gavin* has been with his wife Amy* for thirty years and married for just over twenty. The reason why it took so long for them to walk up the aisle is because Amy was already married with a young daughter when they met.
“It would sound odd to a lot of people but with Amy and me there was no sneaking around or hiding. Our relationship was common knowledge – even to her husband Rick*. Her husband had hoped that this would be something that would fizzle out and he was worried that if he’d pushed her into not seeing me again, she might leave him. As a result it just made me have absolutely no respect for him at all.”
Rick and Amy then went on to have a second daughter. Many people hoped that this would strengthen the bond between them and that she would stop seeing Gavin. But there was a twist in store…
“We all limped along for another six months after Lilly* was born, but the truth eventually came out: Lilly was my daughter – not Rick’s. Rick already suspected it so the news wasn’t that much of a shock. It was the end for Rick and Amy after that as he knew that I just wasn’t going to go away. Amy moved in with me and we got married about a year after her divorce came through and we’ve been together ever since. People used to ask me if I was worried about Amy doing to me what she did to Rick but the honest truth is I don’t. They weren’t compatible and the truth of the matter is that if it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. Amy and I love each other even after all these years – we were meant to be.”
However for those of you who think that Gavin sounds a little too much like the cat who got the cream, it may be a comfort for you to know that it hasn’t been all plain sailing…
“Amy and Rick had a daughter, Rosie*, so naturally Rick was always going to be around as he had to play a part in his daughter’s life. Despite everything and how I felt about him, I was never going to take his daughter away from him – even though I love Rosie as though she’s my own. The three of us decided to behave as adults and put her first. This has meant that Rick’s been present at every sports day, school play and presentation evening. And it’s always Amy and him who went to Rosie’s parent’s evenings. At Rosie’s wedding, he obviously was the one who walked her down the aisle which I accepted; there isn’t much of a role for stepfather’s at weddings even though I helped raise her too. When the kids were young, we used to have him over for Christmas as Amy felt it was best for Rosie. And now that there are grandchildren, we still occasionally have to have Rick – along with his second wife Beth* – over for Christmas dinner. We’ve all learnt to be civil even though we’ll never be great mates but I’d be lying if I said I miss not having Rick over for Christmas. It’s not ideal but what can you do?”
I’m sure there are plenty who don’t feel any sympathy for Gavin – and who can blame them?
I remember a conversation at secondary school, in which I asked a friend if she thought it was OK to go out with a boy who was already seeing someone else.
“No”, she replied quite matter of fact.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because I would hate it if I had a boyfriend who did something like that to me,” she answered,”so I couldn’t possibly do that to someone else.”
Wise words from someone who wasn’t even sixteen at the time. Too bad people twice that age don’t take that advice. The world might be a happier place with less heartbroken people.
* Names have been changed