Keeping a marriage going can be tricky – it involves putting in a lot of time and effort to ensure the other person is feeling loved and supported.
And when you add children into the mix things can get even more complicated.
But sometimes you can do everything right and things still don’t work out.
This was the case for one woman, who thought her marriage was fine, until her husband announced he was leaving, completely out of the blue.
The woman, known only as Kayla, shared her story with news.com.au and it’s a really emotional one.
Kayla starts by revealing that last Christmas, she and her husband took their five-year-old twin sons away for a holiday, but little did she know this would be the last thing they would do together as a family.
The day after they arrived home, her husband announced he was leaving for good.
"I never saw it coming," says Kayla.
She goes on to admit that their relationship, like most others, wasn’t perfect.
"We’d had our ups and downs, and our sex life had dried up after the boys were born, but I thought we were just getting on with our married-parenting life.
"We were comfortable. We weren’t setting the world alight, but we were a team and we could rely on each other."
After her husband walked out, old friends began confessing to Kayla that they’d seen him out and about with another woman but hadn’t known how to tell her.
A look back at old bank records then revealed that he’d been using Tinder for over a year – paying extra for the premium membership so he could hide his profile
"What I learned was that my husband was a lying cheat, and that he hadn’t been in our marriage for a long time," proclaims Kayla.
But it turns out, it was actually all for the best.
Since their marriage broke down, Kayla has had to learn to do everything for herself – from putting petrol into the car to changing a lightbulb.
She’d also previously always let her partner be the "lead parent" and take charge of disciplining the children.
However once he left, she was forced to step up and take charge – and she soon discovered she was really good at being a mother.
She says: "I grew up in a dysfunctional home with a single, alcoholic parent and I was always worried I’d made bad decisions for our boys. I used to avoid being home alone with them because I worried I was a boring mum.
"But when my husband walked out, he didn’t take the boys for about a month.
"I spent time with my boys and learned how to trust my own judgement. I was cautious at first, but I soon enjoyed the autonomy that came with parenting on my own."
She added: "I realised my husband had been gaslighting me the whole time, suggesting my background had affected my ability to be a good mum."
And as well as improving at parenting, Kayla says she also became more confident and and spontaneous – visiting friends, joining a yoga class and even dating again.
"I still question my judgement sometimes but I’ve grown as a parent and as a woman and I’m taking it day by day," Kayla said. "I look back on my marriage now and realise how numb we’d both become, and although I’ll never thank my husband for what he did, I’m glad I’m exploring this new chapter of my life."
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