Wife dumped us for teen lodger

Article "Wife dumped us for teen lodger" appeared in the April 2016 edition of Take A Break.
 
I could hardly hear the TV above my wife Sarah's chattering. Pointedly turning up the volume I motioned for her to wind up the call. It was 11pm, she'd been on her mobile phone for ages.

It's Tasmin.' She mouthed.
Tasmin worked with Sarah at the care home where she worked. Although Sarah was almost 20 years older than her, the pair had become close friends after Sarah had started mentoring her. Now they texted most evenings.

'She's a great kid,' she'd said. 'But she's having a hard time at the moment.'
'Everything alright?' I asked when eventually she hung up.

'Not really,' Sarah said. 'She's had an argument with her parents. She told them that she was gay. She's nowhere to go.
'That's terrible,' I said. She was only 17, two years older than our oldest son, Louis and three years younger than our eldest daughter Lucy, 21.
My brother's gay, I knew it couldn't have been easy for her coming out.

'Give her a call back,' I said. 'She can come her for a few nights, kip on the sofa.'
'Are you sure you don't mind?' Sarah said.

'It's fine.' We had five kids ourselves. I couldn't leave a teenage girl alone on the streets.
Half an hour later we'd driven her back to ours. There wasn't a lot of room what with our four youngest kids living at home – Louis, 15, Chloe, 13, Charlie 11, and Harvey, seven – but Tasmin could kip on the sofa.

Tasmin was a nice kid. Chloe clicked with her straight off and treated her like a big sister. I'd find them baking together in the kitchen, or to see Tasmin giving her a makeover.

It wasn't long before Tasmin seemed like one of the family. We took all of them out bowling for a treat. It was nice having a full house again, like before our oldest, Lucy, 21, moved out to start her own family.

But after a fortnight, I had a few concerns. Not so much with Tasmin, but Sarah. She was staying up late drinking, and acting like a teenager herself. She'd even taken up smoking.

'Haven't,' she said sulkily when I asked her about.
But I wasn't stupid. I could smell it on her breath.

She couldn't be bothered with the kids either, like they were an annoyance. She just wanted to spend all her time with Tasmin.
'She's going through a difficult time,' she reminded me.

One morning, I woke to find I'd overslept. I sat up in a panic, the kids would be late for school.
'Sarah, get up!' I said groggily. But her side of the bed was empty.
I assumed she'd got up earlier but when I went downstairs she was fast asleep on the sofa next to Tasmin.
I was annoyed. No doubt they'd been up late drinking and chatting. The only difference was, Tasmin was a teenager and Sarah was a grandma and had five kids to think about…
'C'mon get up!' I said, shaking her shoulder.
'Ugh, I feel terrible,' she whined.
'Come on Sarah, I don't want them seeing you like this, it's not fair.'
'I can do what I like. Get off my back!' she spat.

Angry, I left her to it. But the next morning she was in the same place, curled up next to Tasmin.
'We're supposed to be a team,' I said as she struggled into the kitchen. 'What's got into you?'
'If I want to spend my evenings with Tasmin, that's up to me,' Sarah retorted.
'Come on, Mum!' Louis said, embarrassed.

Sarah and I rarely argued. Now though, we seemed to constantly be at each other's throats. As I drove the kids to school I couldn't help hoping that Tasmin would find somewhere else to live – and soon.

But as the days passed, she seemed to be getting more and more comfy while mine and Sarah's relationship was becoming more and more tense.
One evening Tasmin was out and I was cooking dinner when I could hear Louis shouting.
'What now?' I thought wearily.

When I got into the living room, Louis was in tears.
'What's going on?' I said.

'Mum said she doesn't love you any more Dad and she's leaving!' he bawled.
'What's going on now?' I sighed.
I looked at Sarah expecting her to tell me it was a joke. 'It's true,' she said, ashen-faced. Then she walked out of the room.
I followed her upstairs.

'What's going on? Is it something I've done? Whatever it is, we can sort it out.'
But she ignored me and carried on packing her bag
'Sarah, please,' I pleaded. 'Please stay. We can sort it.'
'I can't,' she said, zipping up her bag.

I was begging her, I had no idea what was going on.
'Well what about Tasmin?' I asked. 'What shall I do when she gets home and asks where you are?'
'You don't need to worry about Tasmin,' she said. 'She's got somewhere else to live.'

It was the first I'd heard of it but I still didn't put two and two together. The kids were devastated as Sarah drove away.
'Why's Mummy going?' Harvey asked.

'When will she be back?' said Charlie.
I didn't know what to tell them. I didn't know myself.

Then Lucy called. She lived nearby with her boyfriend and baby son Oliver, two.
'What's going on, Dad?' she said. 'I've just seen Facebook…'
'What do you mean? I asked, logging on as we spoke.

I soon found out. Sarah had changed her status to say she was in a relationship with Tasmin.
'I need to go,' I said to Lucy, in shock. 'Get to the bottom of this before the others see it.'

Furious, I tried to get hold of Sarah. But she wasn't answering her phone or replying to my texts. Then I thought to try her friend Jan
'Yes, they're living here now,' she said. 'And no, she doesn't want to talk to you.'
I tried to hold it together until I'd put the little ones to bed. Then I sat on our bed and broke down. How long had this been going? Right in front of my eyes… under my own roof?! And how had I missed it?

I had to know. Fuelled by anger, I logged into her emails. I knew her password.
Scanning them for clues I discovered suggestive messages to a different woman. I felt sick. How much did I really know Sarah at all?
I hardly slept. I didn't know what to say to the kids, couldn't find the words.

Mid-morning I got a phone call from Louis' school. Some of his friends had already seen the Facebook post and showed him it. Humiliated, he'd lashed out.
'I need you to come and take him home,' the headmaster said.

'I'm not angry at you, son,' I told him as we drove home, the air red with rage. I knew where he was coming from. I wanted to hit out too.
Instead, I sat down and tried to explain to the other three what had happened. I didn't know what to say.

'Mummy still loves you but we're not together any more,' I eventually blurted as they started to cry. How could I tell them the truth? If I couldn't get my head round it, how could a seven-year-old?

That evening, exhausted, I again tortured myself by looking at Facebook. I wished I hadn't. Now there were photos of them kissing. I was horrified. They looked more like mother and daughter than lovers.

'I'm going to have it out with her!' Lucy said enraged.
But Sarah refused to speak to her. She hardly saw the other four either, kept cancelling her visits saying she was sick and leaving me to console sobbing children who just wanted their mum.

I found out the pair of them had both been sacked after bosses at the care home found out about their relationship.
But really, it didn't mean a lot. So what if they didn't have jobs, I no longer had a wife….
Then my brother messaged me. 'More bad news I'm afraid mate,' he said.
My heart sunk. What now?

Sarah and Tasmin had only announced online they were engaged.
I don't believe it! I raged. She was still married to me.

There they were, brazenly flaunting their rings and their relationship without a care in the world and no thought to the shame and embarrassment it's bringing on the kids. The oldest are mortified and want nothing to do with her.

'You can't get engaged yet, you are married to Dad,' Chloe messaged her mum, when she heard their latest news.
But Sarah simply unfriended them on Facebook.

Typical Sarah, I thought. Just doing what she wants and ignoring anyone who stands in her way…even her upset and confused 13-year-old daughter.
As the months passed, Sarah saw the kids less and less. She would often cancel visits at the last minute, leaving me to explain to the youngest two why Mummy wasn't coming to see them anymore.

Now, ten months on, I still can't quite believe what's happened. I guess I thought it might be a silly fling but here we are and my wife is still engaged to a teenage girl younger than our oldest daughter and only a couple of years older than my son. It's sick.

When I said Tamsin could stay, I thought I was doing a kid a favour. Never in a million years did I think she would end up setting up home with my wife...
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