There are fewer things in life more gut-wrenching than discovering that the person you love is cheating on you. It’s a terrible feeling that turns your whole life upside down and makes your blood boil, and skin crawl. The rift caused is unimaginable. The friends you once shared now take sides and if you have children together the awful possibilities are endless. Holidays are split up, weekends divided. Maybe in the end you still get your closure or revenge, but do you even feel whole anymore? After the dust has settled things still don’t feel the same.
Birds don’t sing, the sun doesn’t shine as bright anymore, life feels like a dreary black and white movie because it’s lost all its charm. It’s the worst feeling imaginable and unfortunately it happens to so many people.
Steven is one of those people he just doesn't know it yet, unfortunately. He's 43, a successful mechanical engineer and is married to his wife, Miranda, 40, who manages a marketing firm. Steven and Miranda have been married for 16 years and together have two children, Sarah and Jeffery. They resemble the happy American family, but all the work they've put into building it is about to be shattered into a million pieces.
"We married young, so maturity wasn't all there yet, but we knew we loved each other and could conquer any obstacle that comes between our marriage," explains Steve. "Though I'm still not sure whether this was wishful thinking."
Wishful thinking is right. Steven goes hot on the trail to discover the secrets his wife is hiding from him. If the truth sets you free then this is about to send him reeling. It's a journey of courage, determination, and ultimately revenge in a dramatic episode that explodes in Miranda's face. Cheating always cuts deep but Steven is going even deeper.
Steven says it first started two years ago. A divide was slowly growing between him and his wife. At first, it was unnoticeable but day after day he could feel the valley widen and his spouse grow colder and colder. It was like he wasn’t even there. When he tried to talk to her about their problems she would recoil and fly into rages. But the strangest thing is who she kept mentioning...
"She kept comparing me to her boss," shares Steven. "Yes, I know how strange that sounds now, but she would always tell me how her boss would handle things. I can't read her mind? Well, apparently her boss can. I don't take the initiative to take her out on dates and make her feel special? Well, her boss 'does that for his wife.'"
Miranda’s boss, Jared, and his wife, Stephanie, were longtime friends of Steven and his family. Steven would even ask Jared, man-to-man, for relationship advice. In his time of need, Jared was a very supporting friend to Steven, but the advice didn't help his marriage.
"Why are you so immature?" Miranda mocked in Steven’s face, "Actually, don't ask. You should already know how to fix this. Just do it."
Miranda was a constant avalanche of belittlement, but Steven never gave up on trying to improve their relationship. To spice up their love life he bought books, chocolates, flowers, but nothing seemed to work. Steven would watch the roses wilt in their vase as Miranda ignored him once more. What was he doing wrong? Was this how marriage was supposed to be? Steven and Miranda still lived in the same house, but they might as well have been strangers. For Steven, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. His once happy and vibrant marriage was fading fast but the worst thing was that Steven didn't even know how to fix it. Miranda wouldn't tell him anything. Marriage is a two person effort. If one partner is unwilling to tell the other what's wrong, then what is there to be done? He felt absolutely hopeless.
Steven was coming to his wit’s end.
“I had grown emotionally tired from my wife's criticisms without any explanation. She was making excuses. I was honestly shocked with her attitude because before all this, I thought we had a great marriage,” says Steven, “So one night she was busy laughing and giggling while texting someone.”
This was the first clue.
Steven and Miranda were in bed together with her back to him. The moment he peeked his head over her shoulder she viciously lurched the phone away and got up from bed. She was instantly angry and asked Steven what he was doing. Given it was the first time in weeks he’s seen his wife grin and laugh, Steven was genuinely curious what was so funny. But it was no use. Steven was the villain in this situation now. Miranda said that it wasn’t his business and then retreated into the bathroom.
Steven let out a long sigh as he heard his wife giggling behind the bathroom door. What was his life coming to?
“I think that was the day when I just knew deep down that she was having an affair.”
Steven kept quiet, but inside his heart was breaking. Thing is, he still needed proof. The next morning he brought up what happened the previous night and it only made Miranda furious. He asked for the phone, and she refused, but he wanted to know the truth terribly. It was killing him. Only later that night did Miranda reluctantly hand the phone over to Steven. Almost every text thread was deleted and the photos wiped. What a cruel joke.
Steven gave the phone back. A dead end. That’s when Steven remembered that Miranda had a second cell phone for work. When she wasn’t looking, he swiped it and handed it off to a buddy who know how to recover deleted texts. It was through the bits and pieces of the texts that Steven was able to stitch together what was going on. Miranda was having an affair with, you guessed it, her boss and Steven’s friend, Jared.
The lying snakes. Steven couldn’t fathom why Jared gave him marriage advice while he was sleeping with his wife. He sobbed in front of his friend. Steven had already assumed the worse but what he was worried most about was the kids. The mother of his children was willing to break up his family over a fling? It made him sick to his stomach.
Steven was reeling but he needed to keep his cool. He knew how cunning Miranda was. If confronted she would lash out or weasel her way out like a cornered animal. He had to play this smart, build up more evidence, and catch them in the act. He would need some help on this one.
Steven is a good man with an unfortunate curse; he’s almost too nice and too forgiving. Even after having the cold hard evidence in his hand and crying on his friend’s shoulder, he was still determined to salvage his marriage. Three days after discovering the texts he bought the book, “How To Help Your Spouse Heal From An Affair.”
“It’s okay if you’re shaking your head,” he jeers, “but I still had hope.”
He started reading, hoping to give it to his wife who would come clean and stop the nonsense. Steven still loved his wife and the family that they created together. He believed it was something still worth fighting for. For Sarah and Jefferey. Surely Miranda would snap out of this? Steven planned the intervention for Saturday but that day Miranda said she had an emergency at work to attend to. Steven thought this was fishy so he called his wife’s marketing firm. The phone rang and rang...they weren’t open on Saturdays. Another lie. He tried Miranda’s phone next but no answer. She snuck back home at 2 am that Sunday, immediately showered, then went to bed like nothing happened. Steven asked why she was up so late, and she simply dodged the question and turned her back to him.
Steven was sick of this. He threw the book away. He was suffering, and she didn’t care; it was tearing him to shreds. Steven needed to tell the right person about this. The truth needed to come out.
The next day Steven reached out to the boss’s wife, Stephanie. She was as shocked as Steven was at the sight of the texts. They both agreed to lay low and not confront their spouses until they had gathered more evidence. Stephanie did some snooping and was able to find more texts and even pics between her husband and Miranda.
“We decided to ignore the pics because we didn't want to emotionally scar ourselves with the images. We wanted revenge, but not an affair ourselves. We both decided that if they wanted each other than they can have each other,” Steven says.
Steven and Stephanie both drew divorce papers. They had the element of surprise. It was only a few days until Miranda and her boss were at it again but this time Steven and Stephanie where a step ahead of them. They already knew where they were meeting up. This weekend it was a luxury hotel on the other side of town. Too bad their night out on the town was about to be ruined.
The trap was set, the only thing left was to pull the cord.
Steven arrived at the hotel with the county sheriff, his heart thumping in his chest. All this heartbreak, all those years of marriage had led up to this. They waited in the lobby as the concierge called his wife down from the room. Miranda traipsed down the stairs, dressed in a bathrobe and nothing else. She had a carefree look on her face. The moment she saw Steven she turned as white as a sheet.
“It was very satisfying seeing the shocked look on her face,” says Steven.
He grinned devilishly. She had been caught in the act.
Miranda acted like a cornered animal, screaming and yelling at Steven like a madwoman while the sheriff served her papers. Steven had seen enough. He had few words for his ex-lover, but she tried everything she could to claw her way back into his life. Literally. Miranda pounced on Steven's arm and held tightly.
"Steven please! It's not what you think!" she pleaded.
She latched onto Steven’s arm and fell to her knees, shouting as hot tears rolled down her face.
Steven looked down at her pitilessly.
"Miranda, you had an affair, and I am leaving you. Goodbye," he scoffed and lifted his hand.
Miranda shrieked again and yanked his arm down hard. The sheriff stepped in and restrained her when she refused to let go. Patrons in the lobby turned around at the commotion.
"You have the wrong idea! It's not my fault!" Miranda screamed, "I didn't do this!"
Steven couldn't believe the nonsense he was hearing and shook his head. The Miranda he once knew, the one he met when they were in college, the mother of his children, his soulmate and confidant, was dead and gone.
Steven's sweetest revenge was looking into the teary eyes of his ex-lover, pulling his hand away, and leaving without a word as she fell to the floor in a mess.
Miranda was a mess. She scrambled and told her boss about what just happened, and he instantly panicked. From what Steven heard, Jared pulled a frantic u-turn on the highway and headed straight back home to his wife to save face...only to be served papers by the sheriff. The element of surprise certainly worked. The two didn’t even have time to get their stories straight. Absolutely blindsided. Steven and Stephanie had caught their cheaters in the act and won...but at what cost?
At the time of his account Steven’s divorce is months away from being finalized. Despite being caught in the act, both Miranda and Jared have fought their spouses tooth and nail against the divorce. Their excuses are as flimsy as a house of cards.
Miranda feigned that it was nothing but a purely physical affair but that still doesn’t excuse her hateful behavior towards Steven. Hardened by years of emotional abuse and gaslighting, Steven has little sympathy.
“I have asked my wife what she thought the outcome of all this was? She said she was going with the flow and acted completely out of character. She is not that person anymore. I told her she's an idiot.”
But what really bothers Steven is that people are actually taking his wife’s side. Some have even called him evil for not giving his wife another chance. Too bad she’s had two years to make things right. At least Steven’s children, Sarah and Jeffrey, stand behind their father. But his resolve is slipping. It doesn’t help that he still lives in the same house as Miranda. Nowadays the roles are almost reversed. Steven gives Miranda the cold shoulder while she brings home books about infidelity for him to read. All of a sudden Miranda is the persistent and hopeful one but Steven knows that he cannot budge on this. At the end of the day he has to value himself.
“I feel very bad for treating her the way I do. I still love her even though there's hate there. Am I being unnecessarily cruel to her? She's trying really hard, but I just don't care. Should I reconsider the divorce?”
You can feel Steven’s pain and confusion when Steven says “I don't know what's real and what's not.”
In this crazy and mixed up world we are all just trying to find someone happy to be with, someone who helps the world make sense to us. Miranda was that pillar for Steven but sometimes those same pillars crumble away. Though Steven may have lost his best friend and marriage he gained a greater sense of self-worth. No one deserves to be deceived and manipulated like he did and no one who does this to their partner and puts their children through such a rift deserves an apology. Sometimes to move forward in life we need to let go of some of our favorite things.
At the end of this journey we have Steven, a father who took life into his own hands to find the truth and now has the opportunity to start again. It’s a new day.