| 5.5°C Dublin

Suzanne Power: Suspicious? Get in first and dump the cheat

Affairs. They say that the wife or husband is always the last to know. I think this is often because they're the last people who want to.

If you're the last person to know that your husband or wife is playing away from home then you're one of two things: in denial or living with a denial professional.

Habitual liars are the only ones successful at affairs. One friend of mine had no idea her husband had a mistress all the time they were married, if not before: "He knew her before he knew me. I don't know why he married me instead of her. We're divorced now and he still hasn't, so maybe he was never going to. We'd still be married if I hadn't actually seen them.

"When I phoned my best friend she thought I was joking. She thought he was the loveliest man on earth. But she was the only one. I know now everyone knew for years he had another woman. Couples who had us to their houses knew he had another woman. They just thought I accepted it. My name is not Mrs Mitterrand! I spotted them in a public place, a restaurant. I think I would have gone at him with my brother's hurley if it had been anywhere more private."

One of my good friends only found out her boyfriend was seeing someone else when he was spotted in casualty with his lover. She freely admits now that there were lots of signs he was a philanderer, but things between them were so strained she didn't know how to go about fixing them. They had just started going for relationship counselling, a thing he had to be jack hammered into, when he packed his bags and left her on Valentine's Day. Touche.


"I should have kicked him out long before but when you've been going out with someone that long, you try everything. I did see signs though. His moods were bad and his gifts were very generous. They're such cliches I didn't even consider he would behave that way. But he's not as bright as I am, poor man, or he'd never have left me."

I love that attitude and wish I had had it when the only boyfriend who ever got a chance to cheat on me did so, with the woman who is now his wife. He is such a nice guy I never thought he'd go there. But he went there. They fell in love and he hadn't the heart to dump me. So he dumped me in the worst way possible, very quickly after a very painful holiday, during which he barely spoke two words to me. I knew it was someone else because he's so nice I think he would have paid for 'let me down lightly classes', if someone else hadn't been insisting he do the honest thing.

He called round to my house the Christmas after the break-up with presents for me and my family. They don't play hurling so they didn't go after him with sticks. But they spoke to him as little as he had spoken to me on our trip away.

I got some life skills out of that break-up. First was that I would never again believe a man loved me unless he was saying it a year after we met. The first year, as far as I'm concerned, is all horn and hormones. Secondly, if a nice guy's behaviour changed towards me, and the signals started to buzz, I would say goodbye before they got a chance to.

As a result I dumped a perfectly hot and handsome Frenchman after five dates, when he told me he had never managed yet to stay faithful. I know, Frenchman, affair junkie. Stereotype or what? Non, je ne regrette rien. I made him cry. But that was better than my tears on another pillow.

If you feel something's not what it was, you have to risk rather than fake it. Find out. No one who has found their lover is loving someone else says they found out too soon.