NOVEMBER 2016. And… publish. ‘Hey, Jude’ went live. I suppose it was kind of like one of those things I just had to do. Tell my side of the story – finally. When I left Kurt, and consequentially, my military friendships, I never got to say, ‘This is why I’m leaving.’ Weeks after I left, and returned to Sydney, I heard whispers that he informed our friends that I had left because I “couldn’t handle being a military partner”. I spread the word as best I could that he, in fact, cheated on me. That’s why I left. I didn’t choose this. This wasn’t what I wanted.
However, like many people who were friendly with Officer Kurt, they placed him on a pedestal, and I was deemed a liar. According to his friends, and even his parents, I left because, after four years of moving around and doing long-distance, I apparently couldn’t handle the ups and down of military life. What could I do? My word against his. So, I cut ties with all bar one or two military wives and moved on with my life. As best as I could.
It took me a year to get over it. It took me a good year to find my feet again and get over the distrust. Come June this year, it will have been five years since I moved back to Sydney. Five years since I’ve been in a relationship that’s lasted any longer than three months. And, yes, I certainly do wonder if Kurt is one of the reasons for this. He changed me – partly for better, partly for worse.
Five years on, I know little about Kurt. But, I know enough. I know enough to know I dodged a bullet. He ruined me for a little while there, but I’m okay now. I am certain, however, that he would have ruined me for life if I had forgiven him and stayed. It would have been the worst decision I ever made. This is how I know: Hey, Jude: The Aftermath.
NOVEMBER 2016. 4 YEARS. 5 MONTHS. SINCE THE BREAKUP.
And… publish. ‘Hey, Jude’ went live. Within twenty-four hours my article was shared unknowingly on social media and online news publications. I guess so many people can relate to a cheating ex-partner. In the midst of the article being shared across social media platforms, I received an email. An email from a woman named, Karli*. A woman I had never heard of, yet she knew of me. She knew of me four and half years ago. And so, when I turned up on her television screen all these years later, divulging in private details about my cheating military ex-boyfriend, she instantly recognised me. However, it would be another seven months until she would reach out. It wouldn’t be until she read, Hey, Jude that Karli felt the need to contact me.
Karli: “Hi Simone, my name is Karli. I’ve just read Hey, Jude and I feel I need to get in touch. You say in your blog that you met Kurt in the September of 2008, and spent Christmas with him. However, you don’t mention anything about New Years. You didn’t spend New Year’s with him, did you?”
DECEMBER 2008. 4 YEARS. 6 MONTHS. UNTIL THE BREAKUP.
It was three months into my relationship with Kurt. We hadn’t become official, despite spending at least five out of seven nights a week together. Kurt planned to spend New Year’s at his parent’s house on the Central Coast and although I wanted nothing more than to bring in the New Year with him, he told me New Year’s was a family affair. So, instead, I spent it with friends at a local bar.
On the upside, his parents were going away for an entire week from January 3rd and Kurt invited me to stay with him while they were away. A whole house to ourselves for an entire week. So, I enjoyed Christmas lunch with him and his parents, his grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles, nieces and nephews, at his parent’s house, and looked forward to my stay come New Year.
When January 3rd rolled around, I was super excited to see Kurt. We spent the week at the beach, cooking dinner, watching movies, drinking lots of wine and one night, we pulled his bedroom mattress out onto the outdoor balcony and fell asleep under the stars.
I had never had a serious boyfriend before Kurt. I was just twenty-two. I had never been in love. I had never spent so much time with one person. I had never had someone make me feel like I was so worthy of their time. And I had never slept with anyone. I waited three months to sleep with Kurt. The week of 3rd January. At his parent’s house. In his bed. He told me he loved me. I told him I loved him too. It was nice. I was happy.
On January 7th, we became official. And despite knowing he would be relocating to Sale, Victoria come March, we agreed to do long distance. At the time, I was working at a Flight Attendant for Qantas, and so with staff travel and a flexible roster, I deemed the 12-hour trip every few weeks an easy task. A very easy task, for love.
NOVEMBER 2016. 4 YEARS. 5 MONTHS. SINCE THE BREAKUP.
Simone: “Hi Karli. Thanks for reading TDJ! That’s correct. I didn’t spend New Year’s with him.”
Karli: “No, I know you didn’t, because I did. You met him in the September and I met him in the October. We dated for three months.”
Just like that. A confession from the other side. Despite all the emails, texts, and Facebook conversations I found on his phone, I never got a solid, ‘Yes, I cheated on you’. Not from him anyway.
This is what I wanted. All those years ago – the cold, hard facts. The cold, hard truth. A confession. A confession that would make it easier for me to move on.
I responded with what I would have been too scared, too upset, too damaged, to ask back then: “Tell me everything.”
Before Karli replied, the enormity of her confession hit me. That feeling came back. The feeling of hurt and betrayal. It came flooding back like it was yesterday. I started to think about our time together. Our first three months. The night we met. Our first date. The nights I spent in his room on the RAAF base. The nights I didn’t spend in his room on the RAAF base. Meeting his Mum for the first time at Christmas. Welcoming his parents back from their week-long holiday. The moment I confronted him about cheating on me four and a half years later, and flat-out asking him, “Did you cheat on me during the first three months, before Sale?” and him flat-out responding, “No.”
Karli: “We met on the Central Coast at a club. He told me he was single. I spent New Year’s with him at his parent’s house with his parents and his relatives. That night we slept together, for the first time, in his bed. I left on January 2nd. I remember your name coming up on his phone on New Year’s and he told me you were just a friend. Shortly after, I saw photos of you two on Facebook. I figured he wasn’t interested in me and that’s why he never returned my calls. I didn’t know how long you’d been in the picture so I never said a word.”
She never said a word.
MARCH 2015. 2 YEARS. 9 MONTHS. SINCE THE BREAKUP.
While recovering from the horrendous flu – one that also resulted in me being hospitalised for borderline pneumonia, missing out of Ed Sheeran’s concert #devo – I killed time while recovering by swiping through the single lads of Sydney on Tinder, as you do. I was swiping left at lightening speed when I came across a familiar photo. A photo of a guy in a Superjet, fitted with a helmet and oxygen mask. His face was almost completely covered. Not at all a great first impression for winning over the single ladies of Tinder. And then it clicked: That was the point.
I knew where I had seen the photo – Facebook. Suggested friends. Switching apps, I scrolled through a list of people Facebook suggests I add to my friend’s list. These were people whose numbers I had saved in my phone. Past brides. Acquaintances. Industry colleagues. And a guy in the back of an Airforce Superjet, fitted with a helmet and oxygen mask. His name? Jacob Wilson.
Jacob Wilson. Jacob Fucking Wilson. Aged 28. Is this guy serious? Almost three years after I kicked him to the curb for cheating and creating fake Facebook accounts, talking to girls online under different alias’, he was at it again. This time, it was Tinder. And this time, it wasn’t me who was in the dark. It was his girlfriend of almost two years, Belle*.
Surely, it’s not him. Surely, right? I scroll through his photos, and it most certainly is him. It’s Kurt. At a wedding. At work. At the beach. Swipe… right.
Instantly. One new match. Jacob Fucking Wilson. You’ve got to be kidding me.
We matched and I couldn’t help myself. I just had to say something. But, first, let me take a screenshot. Of every. Single. Photo.
Simone: “Well, this is funny.”
Simone: “Oh, not funny. I meant pathetic.”
Kurt: “Relax. It’s a competition for a bucks weekend. No need to get nasty.”
Simone: “Right. Well, good luck with that.
Kurt: “Likewise, I hope you are well.”
Simone: “I am.”
Kurt: “I don’t doubt that for a second. This is funny. I did joke about this exact thing happening when we got the challenges this morning.”
Simone: “Oh, God, Kurt. You’re a terrible liar. Don’t worry, I won’t tell Belle. Although she deserves to know. It’s really sad to know you haven’t changed at all.”
Kurt: “Oh, you know all about me now?”
Simone: “I have better things to do.”
Kurt: “See ya.”
Screenshot. Screenshot. Screenshot.
And then I did the one thing I wish someone had done for me. I logged onto Facebook. New message.
Simone: Hi, Belle. My name is Simone…”
Belle replied a few days later thanking me for my honesty. She said she was appreciative.
And then she replied once again a few days after that, to tell me she couldn’t find anything about Jacob Wilson online.
By then, Kurt aka Jacob Wilson had deleted his Tinder account, Facebook account and all remnants of our conversation. Despite providing her with screenshots of everything, she told me she didn’t believe me. Who knows what lies he spun her in an attempt to get out of this one. Whatever they were, they obviously worked…
NOVEMBER 2016. 4 YEARS. 5 MONTHS. SINCE THE BREAKUP.
I thanked Karli for her honesty. We made some small penis jokes and then…
Karli: “Do you follow him on Facebook?”
Simone: “God, no. I’ve blocked him on everything.”
Karli: “Well, I’m not sure if it’s of interest to you, but he’s just about to become a father. His girlfriend is pregnant.”
Simone: “Do you mean, Belle?”
Karli: “Yes, she’s due in a few weeks.”
JANUARY 2017. 4 YEARS. 7 MONTHS. SINCE THE BREAKUP.
Karli: “Kurt is officially a father. A little girl.”
Belle stayed. She didn’t dodge the bullet. She chose not to dodge the bullet. For whatever reason. And now they are a family of three.
MARCH 2017. 4 YEAR. 9 MONTHS. SINCE THE BREAKUP.
Hey, Jude. My Jude. We dodged a bullet.