Sometimes you stumble upon something you really wish you hadn't. These can be small things, or they can be truly life changing. These writers reveal the time they stumbled upon something that truly changed their lives. Content has been edited for clarity.
While She Was Next To Him
“I found the evidence.
I was sure my wife had been cheating, but she emphatically denied it. I had a load of circumstantial evidence, but not undeniable proof.
For 19 years, I never snooped on my wife. I never wanted to. It never even crossed my mind. I never looked through her purse. I never looked at her cell phone, never went through her computer, and never even opened the shoe box on the top shelf in the corner of the closet where she kept her personal keepsakes. I trusted her unconditionally and she never gave me a reason to suspect anything.
That is, until three years ago– the day my world crashed down around me. I was working on a project that required me to go out of town for approximately 6 weeks. My wife and I were talking on the phone one evening, and she starts telling me about a ‘friend’ who she met on Facebook on a community page for a band they both liked. She posted something, he made a comment about her post that piqued her interest, which led to more online chatting, texting and eventually speaking on the phone.
I’m not the jealous type– my wife has always had male friends, so that part didn’t bother me. However, it surprised me when she told me they had been texting and talking on the phone for a couple of months, yet she had never mentioned him until this particular day. I immediately got a bad feeling about this guy. I started asking questions and was assured they were just friends. He lived in another town and was half my wife’s age. She kept referring to him as ‘a kid’ and said she was like a mother figure to him.
A couple of months later, I was catching up on odds-and-ends around the house while my wife had dozed off on the living room couch watching TV. When I reached for a pen on the dining table and inadvertently bumped her laptop, the screen popped on. I thought it was off, but it was just in sleep mode. The window that was open was her emails, and when I glanced at the screen I saw my name, so I looked a little closer. I realized that there was a good chance I might find proof of her affair and my heart began racing. Part of it was because of what I might find, and part of it was because she was about 6′ away from me and could wake up at any moment and catch me.
What I found in the next few minutes has haunted me ever since. I wanted concrete proof she had been messing around behind my back, but what I found was so graphic and disturbing that I wish I had never seen it. I am not shy when it comes to intimacy, profanity and other ‘adult’ activities, but I was shocked by how hardcore their affair was. My wife never deleted any of these messages and emails, so I found stuff that went back to the beginning.
Did I want proof of my wife’s affair? Yes. Did I get it? Yes. Do I wish I never found what I found? Yes.
When I found these messages and emails on her laptop, she was pretty much right next to me sleeping on the couch. I couldn’t see her because the back of the couch was facing me, but she was right there. I was shaking. Part of it was anger, part of it was adrenaline. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I got up and walked over to the couch and stood over her, my mind racing a million miles an hour. I remember considering picking her up and throwing her out the front door. I’m not a violent person, and this was not how I would normally handle any situation, but I was in new territory…I had never been cheated on before (to the best of my knowledge) and I was so wound up I couldn’t see straight.
I was only standing over her for a moment when she must have sensed me, because she opened her eyes and saw the look on my face. She asked what was wrong, and I told her I found all the messages and emails between her and her boyfriend. She flew into a rage, accusing me of violating her privacy. She said she could never trust me again. As we went from room-to-room arguing, she was throwing clothing and other items in a duffle bag. She said she couldn’t take it anymore and left. At the time, I didn’t know where she went. She wouldn’t answer my calls or return text messages.
I now know she and her boyfriend split town and moved to another city about 2 hours away. I didn’t know where she was for several months. She was with the ‘kid’ for a little less than a year. They are now broken up. We are divorced, and I am working on re-building my life with our daughter whom I have full custody of and who lives with me full-time. I am still dealing with the fallout from this, but I am taking it one day at a time.”
A Twisting Tale
“Seven years ago, I met my 29-year-old boyfriend. I was 21 years old at the time. I still believe it was love at first sight, even though he had another date on the first night we met and I visited his place with my then-boyfriend.
My sister dated his friend, and on our way home that night, my sister’s boyfriend asked me what I thought about his friend. The naive, 21 year-old me jokingly replied that I was in love with the chubby one. Word must have gotten out because shortly after that, he started pursuing me. Within less than a week or two, we went on a date, and my then boyfriend and the idea of him was out of the window.
I was madly in love with ‘the chubby one.’ He was an extremely smooth talker and knew what to say and when to say it. I enjoyed his company because he was more mature than my ex-boyfriend. We could talk about anything and everything. He was an experienced kisser, and it was not long before he seduced me into sleeping with him.
I was gone, hook, line and sinker, madly in love. I was still studying at the time, and since he was self-employed, I would bunk classes to spend some days with him during the week. On weekends, I would sleep over. I enjoyed the fact that my new ‘boyfriend’ was older and working. I enjoyed playing house, making food, cleaning here and snooping there.
One Saturday morning, while he went to see a client, I found myself cleaning and snooping in his cupboard. I wanted to give him a call and tell him that he forgot his wallet at home, but next to his wallet was his green, barcoded identity document. I excitedly opened the ID to take a look at his face and man, was he handsome.
Before I could close his ID, something caught my attention. His identity number started with 721129 (meaning he was born on 29 November 1972), which would make him 38 years of age. Why would he own a fake ID if he is already of age? How is this possible? Perhaps he is a criminal with more than one identification document or passport? I frankly searched the rest of the cupboard for answers, but found none. Until, eventually, I had a light bulb moment, my loving boyfriend of two months lied. My loving boyfriend is 38 years old.
I was furious. I felt betrayed. I desperately phoned my best friend to inform her that I am, in fact, sleeping with a much older man. We were in the experimenting phase, and somehow my friend found this hilarious. I had no idea how I was going to tell my parents that my new ‘boyfriend’ was seventeen years older than me. My world came tumbling down.
I kept my cool and waited him out. He returned as charming as ever. Only when he thanked me for cleaning his cupboard did he realize that I might know the truth. I showed him the ID, tears in my eyes, I asked him why. He looked flabbergasted and said he could explain. I said that I did not want an explanation, but deep down I just wanted him to tell me that he was really 29 years old and the ID I found was a bad joke.
Instead, he told me that he was 38 years old. He explained that he had liked me ever since he had met me, and he knew that if I knew his real age, I would never considered being with him. I really did like him from the beginning as well, so it wasn’t all that hard for me to believe this. I told him I would not be able to trust him again, but we can remain friends. He started crying (I know, I made a 38-year-old man cry), and he begged me to reconsider.
I left extremely sad and told my parents, sister, and friends about the incident. Most of them could not believe it, since he appeared so young of heart and his genes were clearly counting in his favor. He looked better than 29 years of age. Two days later, he phoned me again, asking me out on an ice-cream date. Reluctantly, I said yes…best decision ever.
We spent the night talking and I remembered why I was in love with him. We clicked in a way that I did not click with anyone else, I was comfortable and myself around him. I forgave him for that BIG FAT LIE, and I made him promise to never lie to me again.
Seven years later, I completed my studies, got a job, and our first baby is on her way…
He has not lied to me since.”
“Several years ago, my teenage daughter (13 at the time) had some problems with staying up really late and then it was almost impossible to get her up in the morning. The major reason being she was on her phone/social media with friends until all hours. I felt it was getting out of hand so after 11 pm she had to hand her phone over to me and I’d give it back to her in the morning.
Normally, I’d throw her phone in a drawer and give it back to her the next morning, but for some reason one night I had it on my dresser. Around midnight, it started buzzing repeatedly with texts. I got up to put it in the dresser, so I wouldn’t hear it, but as I looked at the screen, I saw a bunch of texts had come in from her older sister who was away at college. My cell was downstairs in my purse and I thought maybe something was wrong and that’s why she was repeatedly texting her younger sibling. In any case, I opened the most recent text. It turned out to be a text telling my youngest daughter how much she hated me. I know I should have just shut it down and put it back, but I couldn’t believe my eyes and went on to read other texts between them. The texts mainly talked about how upset they were with me and what a bad mom they felt I was (main reasons were I checked up on their grades when they were in high school and limited cell phone usage). My feelings were so hurt. Initially I didn’t say anything to my daughters or husband because I knew I was wrong to have checked her phone.
This happened a week or two before Mother’s Day. In any case, as Mother’s Day approached my husband wanted to know what I wanted to do. He was trying to organize something with the girls for me, but I kept shutting it down. I felt it would be so hypocritical for us to do something together because my daughters really didn’t want to be with me anyways. I was so angry and hurt and I didn’t want to say or do anything that might make the situation worse. In any case, I finally told my husband what had happened and why I felt the way I did. We had a huge fight about it, and he felt that I had violated their privacy. I admitted to my daughters about what I had done too and expressed my regret about doing it. I told them I was sorry. My oldest proceeded to call me a cow and told me about all the ways I had ruined her and her sister’s lives. She threatened to tell my friends and coworkers that I was a child abuser.
The relationships I had with my daughters and husband were irrevocably changed because of that event. I had always been the prime disciplinarian in our family. My husband always wanted to be the girls’ friend, he hated the hard part of parenting. After that I cut back on disciplining my youngest and asked my husband to step up more with things. He resents me for it and will say ‘Why can’t you correct her?’ It’s definitely put a wedge between us. He also put a lock on his cell phone so no one can get into or see his messages but him. My oldest and I have mended fences somewhat, but we really aren’t that close. When she needs or wants something she’ll reach out to me at times, but her father is usually her preferred first choice. And my youngest, she is emotionally aloof. I constantly tell her how proud I am of her and that I love her, but she rarely if ever responds. It’s been almost five years since the incident. When my father died last year, it was one of the few times she said she loved me. I’m not sure if it was sincere, or she just felt she had to say it.
So, I often wish I had never found those text messages while snooping. I thought we had a strong family that loved each other but I now realize we only have tolerated each other. Perhaps the old saying ‘Ignorance is bliss’ is true. It certainly would have seemed so in my case.”
A Life Changer
“My original birth certificate!
Let me elaborate a little. I was 18 at the time, and had gone through life quite normally: had a normal family of two married parents, a brother and a sister; played football (soccer); went to school and got good grades; was applying to med school. Throughout my life I had no clue up until this point other than that my parents were a little older than average compared to my friends (I was 18, they were 60 and 63).
So, one night I was in my room with my girlfriend at the time and we decided to snoop around the cupboards and drawers a little. Right at the back of one cupboard we found a small, very old shoe-box. Inside there were documents like my sister’s old school reports and my paternal grandfather’s death certificate. Then I saw a birth certificate with my name on it…
I saw the first name ‘Kieran.’ Then the surname ‘Knox.’ with DOB the same as my own. Everything matched except the surname – my own surname ‘Doran’ switched out with the name ‘Knox’ I glanced at my girlfriend in absolute bewilderment. She had a look on her face like I’d never seen, but I still didn’t know what was going on. My mind took a long time to process, before-which I had rushed downstairs to my mother and handed her the certificate, asking ‘what is this?’
She instantly began sobbing and said that she was sorry for not telling me sooner, and that I was actually adopted! Then she and my father explained I was taken from two smack addicts, my birth parents, who were 18 when they had me. My adoptive parents won a court battle to take custody of me. I was originally placed in care with them and they grew to love me so much they wanted to adopt me, but had to go to court as they were over 40 at the time.
After hearing a summary of this from my sobbing mother and distraught father, I also started sobbing and ran upstairs into the arms of my then-girlfriend. It took me around a week to process the information and for that week I was very upset and battling an identity crisis. But after that, and now, I know I am no less loved by my adoptive parents than by any biological parent and their child. And I love and appreciate them more than words could describe. I have briefly spoken to my birth parents and they are still battling their addictions and demons. I feel sorry for them and definitely don’t feel any spite. But in my instance, I at least like to think the system worked! Adoption can be a life-saver – I can only imagine the horror my life would be if I wasn’t saved by it.”
A Grandmother’s Love
“In the early part of 1999, my older sister and I were playing in front of our grandparents’ house. I was 9 years old and my sister was 13. I think we were rollerblading up and down the driveway. Having fun outside!
In the midst of innocent play, we needed to get something from the back of my grandma’s vehicle. I don’t remember what it was we were getting, but I do remember what we found. We found a journal and it was in my grandma’s handwriting. Intrigued, we began reading what appeared to be notes about my mother and her behavior…and her lack of parenting abilities.
During this year, my grandparents had taken myself and my two siblings into their home. They had both just retired, and they did this not just out of love and selflessness, but out of necessity.
My mother had been extremely neglectful of us. She was literally not feeding us, we were unbathed, our heads were infested (always) with head lice, we rarely went to school, and we had no clothes or even a bed. Her boyfriend was abusive to us in many ways as well. This all happened while my father was incarcerated.
So, back to that journal.
In the journal, my grandma had been taking notes of how my mom would be late for visitation, how she wouldn’t show up sometimes, or how she was just not even attempting to be motherly. It was very thorough and even time stamped. Basically, my grandma logged all interactions with my mom. And she was doing this I’m guessing for the court, because they were trying to get custody of us.
But, the one thing that I remember reading was how my mom called my grandma one afternoon and offered to sell all three of us to them. She said she wouldn’t fight for us in the courts, if my grandma gave her $200 for us. And they could have us. That’s about $66 and some change for us each. Pretty good deal, right?
We stopped reading the journal after seeing that, but it always stuck with me. I never asked my grandma about it. I never asked my mom about it either. I’m sure they didn’t accept her offer and simply shared this information about her with the judge in the custody case. They did get custody over all three of us.
We had a wonderful life with my grandparents. We really did. I owe everything I am to them. And I have always known my mom wasn’t exactly ever going to be motherly. I’ve accepted that. But, I still wish I had never read what I read that day.
My mom basically attempted to sell us. And not even for a lot of money. I could have gone my whole life without knowing that.”
A Shocking Discovery
“After my business partner died, his wife asked me to help clean out the garage. While there I found a metal box buried very carefully among old clothes, etc. (You know where this is going, right?)
I should point out that this guy was very well liked and respected in his small town.
When I opened the box, I found video tapes and photos. The photos were pretty shocking, with him dressed up like a woman. The video tapes were truly grotesque. There was a woman in the tapes whom I recognized. Apparently, he liked to dress up like his mother and have her ‘do’ him in various ways. Now, we are talking about 60 year olds here, so this was in no way titillating to watch I assure you. There were also other freaky rituals on other tapes, including defecation, etc.
In the photos were very old photos of his first wife, who actually ran away from him. The story he always gave was that she was ‘crazy’ and ‘took the kids.’ But looking at the photos, it became quite clear why she ran away.
But wait, THERE’S MORE.
I grabbed the box because I didn’t want his wife or children to find this, of course.
Then I called the husband of this guy’s daughter, who was a very good friend of mine and who had a lot of difficulty with his father-in-law, who disapproved of the marriage. I asked him if he would search the main house, where, of course, he had total access during the cleanup. I wanted to be sure no other weird stuff would surface in front of the children or grandkids. I would not have been invited to the private parts of the house to do cleanup work.
So he agreed, and sure enough in a few days he comes up with ANOTHER box, hidden under a small compartment under the stairs (this was an old Victorian house). Then he tells me that in THIS box are more videotapes, but in addition to Mr. Playing His Own Mother, the WIFE is in the videos!
But wait, THERE’S MORE.
The son-in-law and I debate what to do with these tapes. Obviously, the wife was in on it. We decide we will destroy them all. No sooner do I finish that conversation, then I get a call from the very woman who was on the first tapes. She says:
‘You may not know this, but X and I had a long-running affair, and you know how imaginative he was—well we used to dress up and stuff and I remember he used to video some of our activities. I’m dreading the idea of these turning up. I can’t tell you what’s in them but I could never live in this town if anyone found out about them. If the contents were publicly revealed, I think I would consider suicide.’
She’s almost crying at this point. I actually like this woman and I was trying hard not to judge her. I certainly didn’t want her to kill herself (her father had shot himself some years ago, no joke).
I promised her that I would destroy everything IF I found it. Of course, I had already found it. Then I called her back in a day and said yes I found the very box she described and I didn’t look at anything and I threw it all in a fire pit (which was true).
Naturally, my whole attitude toward my business partner and his wife changed dramatically. It’s still been very hard to hear townsfolk praise him without knowing what a dark side he had.
Most troubling, and what I still hold against him, is that his illness was very long term, and he had plenty of time to arrange for these materials to be destroyed so that his children would not find them. But he didn’t. In fact, I learned that even when near death, and ravaged by disease to the point where he was virtually grotesque to look at, he was still making booty calls to women—many of whom were highly offended I might add.
I’m still good friends with his kids, who are innocent in all this, but I can’t stand his wife who still tries to present him as some saintly man.
I do wish I had never found this stuff. It certainly destroyed my memory of my business partner and his wife, and made living in that town very awkward. My only consolation is that the other woman’s reputation was saved, and to her credit, she never pretended that it didn’t happen. She kept her mouth shut and never offered praise to this scoundrel masquerading as Mr. Nice.”
The Unexpected Ending
“My husband has said, in the context of just letting life be instead of getting to the bottom of everything, that a person should be careful of how deeply they seek for answers because they might find a lot more than they bargained for. In our case, he was right.
Four years into our dating relationship, he began acting secretive. He was sure to log out of his email while looking over his shoulder if I was in the room. He excused himself for odd reasons during the day and night, and it seemed disingenuous the way he fidgeted when I asked where he was going. He took a few phone calls away from our shared spaces. It was very strange, sudden behavior over the course of a few weeks or so. I thought for sure he was having an affair because he seemed so much more giddy than normal.
I was heartbroken. I cried a lot, seething, ruminating, lamenting grief of loss in this cruel world, journal pages filled. How could this have happened?
My insecurities and hurt feelings got the best of me, and I did the unthinkable: I went through his email to validate my suspicions when I got the chance. He had left a window open on his computer before he went out to the store for a few minutes. I felt so guilty doing it, but I had worked myself up to soap-opera-level proportions of madness. I had to see the betrayal with my own eyes.
What I found broke my heart in another way; I blew the best upcoming surprise of my life. All of his secrecy and giddiness was a means to planning his version of the perfect night to propose marriage to me.
Everything made sense. He hid his emails from me because there were purchase orders for rings and inquiries into different venue options. There were excursions during the day to shop for a custom ring. He quickly left the room when phone calls rang in my presence because he was talking to vendors and didn’t want to spoil the surprise. There was an excursion at night for a couple of hours from which he returned happy and almost nervous because he had gone in person to the dinner-hours-only restaurant to reserve the right table in advance and make sure the entire place would be asked to direct their attention to our table while he popped the big question. The house piano player was then to break from the old standards to play a tongue-in-cheek rendition of ‘Here Comes the Bride’ after I said yes.
When he came back from the store that day, I peeped into his email, I looked into his big blue eyes and realized I was the biggest loser for ever thinking he could cheat. I was an even bigger loser for going through his email. But the biggest loss to me was that I ruined the biggest surprise for myself that happens once in a lifetime, if a person is lucky.
When the big moment arrived that night at my favorite restaurant, I acted as if I were surprised; the sudden piano player announcement and song, the bent-knee proposal, the whole place clapping when I said yes. I had to suck it up and pretend. It was disappointing and I had done it entirely to myself. The only thing left to do was not ruin it for him.
There was a silver lining to the cloud I created, however. I had not seen the engagement ring, and when I did, it melted my heart. He designed it himself and hired a local jeweler to make it: A modest, high-quality diamond surrounded by each of our birthstones supporting it, symbolic of our union together.”
Not The Dogs!
“A girl who I was madly in love with had told me she wanted to cool off our relationship because we were long(ish) distance and she wanted to focus on her final year of uni. I was 27, she was 24. I was trying to understand things, though of course very hurt about her unwillingness to try things more seriously between us (specially since she’s the one who wanted a serious relation ship in the first place).
Her character was great, down to earth, not gossipy, not demanding, not needy, really easygoing, etc. She was perfect for me. We got on so well. Similar humor, easy flowing conversation. She was an ‘earthy’ girl, if such a description may be used.
However, she had a ‘best friend’ – a guy who I knew with certainty was into her. We’d argued about it before but she said they were just friends and it was his problem if he still had romantic feelings for her. I trusted her as best as I could with this issue. It annoyed me just how much time they’d spend together. But hey, it’s the modern world, gender equality, guys and girls can be best friends, blah blah. So of course my jealousy was all just stupid male paranoia that I had to do my best to deal with alone.
So anyway, it was around the time she’d told me of her desire to cool things off. She was taking a shower. Her phone went off and a message showed on the screen. It was from him.
The message wasn’t downright incriminating but it seemed fishy. I unlocked her phone and had a look. This is the point when snooping led me to a thing I wish I’d never found.
I discovered a whole conversation which basically spelled out her feelings for him. She’d said things like, ‘I love you! Please don’t be angry! I’ll be back soon! I hate this place!’
And worst of all?
‘His dogs are horrible and ugly!’
I don’t know why, but this crushed me. I never expected this from this down to earth, supposedly moral, upstanding loyal girl. Not only had I discovered she was secretly in love with the best friend who I’d always suspected, but she also had the horrible, childish cheek to say that my two fantastic Staffordshire Bull Terriers were ugly. It was one of those comments that she probably didn’t even mean with sincerity. She was just adding more negatives to reassure the guy that she oh-so hated being at my house and wanted to leave as soon as possible to get back to him.
So thanks to my own dishonesty via snooping on her phone, I found that this girl, who I thought knew and was in love with, was a complete fake, and an utter backstabbing, gossipy cow as well. It was like she had died, but was still alive in a new form, with a new personality that I knew nothing about. An utterly bamboozling feeling, to say the least.
It broke me. Took me almost two years to feel okay about romantic relationships again.”
Horrible, But Good On You
“I was at my friend’s house, chilling, playing video games. His mother comes up to him and says she needs to be dropped off at the supermarket, pick up stuff. My friend protests, but his mom shoots him a deadly look, and he has to get up. I noticed all of this from the corner of my eye while playing COD.
‘I’ll be back soon man. An hour’s time,’ yells my friend. I nod and continue. I hear the car backing out from the lane and driving away. A few minutes later, the game ends and I’m wandering around his house. An evil thought about checking this hard disk, he would protect his life with comes to my mind
I took it out from his lat drawer and connected it to my laptop. It had what you expected– his epicurean collection made me chuckle, the little rotten bugger. However, as I scrolled down, I found videos of random women bathing. One of them was his cousin’s sister and a classmate’s. I was shocked. However, as I scrolled down, I found assault videos. Videos of women been beaten by iron roads, getting electrocuted, etc. I was shocked.
Can’t get any worse right? Wrong! I scroll further and find videos of people hurting animals. I started crying (which is weird because I normally don’t). I was so horrified.
I took the hard drive and drove to police station. A week later, the cops called me to notify me that my friend was a part of this trafficking ring. I was so horrified I had been that prick’s friend. I’ve tried to move on, but the nightmares still haunt me.”