An American woman has opened up about cheating on her husband-to-be at her bachelorette party and going through with the wedding anyway — and how her shameful secret finally came to light when one of her best friends intervened.
Evangeline Grace, a writer for Medium’s P.S. I Love You, insists that she loved her ex-husband Jayden, but couldn’t express at the time that she wasn’t ready to settle down — and wasn’t excited about the future she saw with him.
So instead of breaking things off, she did something drastic and catastrophic just before her wedding, sleeping with a stranger in a bathroom bar and keeping it to herself for years after.
The terrible mistake — and her short-lived marriage — seems to have happened about a decade ago, but Evangeline still is still learning from the experience.
In a personal essay, she said that looking back, she was ‘certain’ she loved Jayden, but also ‘resented him for wanting to tie me down.’
The future laid out in front of them wasn’t one that excited her — but even she admits that wasn’t his fault. A self-described people-pleaser, she was bad at articulating what she wanted.
‘My resentment manifested as cheating,’ she said. ‘I wanted to regain a sense of control in my relationship with Jayden, and I went about it in the most immature way possible.’
She remembers feeling anxious the night of her bachelorette party, before she even got to the bar to celebrate. She tried to fend of her discomfort by chugging cocktails.
Her friends cheered her on, assuming she was in a great mood — when in fact, she was drinking to escape the warning voice in her head, which was telling her she wasn’t ready to walk down the aisle.
On her way back from the bathroom, Evangeline ran into a ‘dark-haired stranger’ who chatted her up. Almost immediately, she kissed him, and they were soon having quick, ‘soulless, and unsatisfying’ sex in a restroom stall.
Despite the infidelity, Evangeline didn’t call off the wedding — or tell anyone what had happened.
Instead, she dutifully showed up on her big day ‘feeling sick to my stomach’ and filled with shame, wanting to turn around even at halfway down the aisle.
‘Then I reached the altar and looked up at my husband-to-be, who had no idea how I’d betrayed him. I saw his eyes shining with pride and adoration where there should have been disgust,’ she remembered.
She told herself this was the right thing to do, that she had to ‘protect him from the trauma of learning what I’d done,’ reasoning that while she didn’t deserve him, he didn’t deserve a broken heart
She even managed to convince him that she was crying happy tears when they shared their first kiss as husband and wife.
Evangeline kept her ruinous secret until a couple years later, when her friend Nina noticed that she was ‘more and more unhappy.’ After inviting her over for dinner and drinks, Nina pressed her to share, and Evangeline confessed what she’d done.
Nina didn’t let her off the hook, calling her ‘delusional’ for thinking she was doing the right thing by lying. She accused Evangeline of manipulating Jayden, and insisted that if Evangeline didn’t tell him, Nina would do it herself.
Evangeline still couldn’t bring herself to do it, so Nina did, and Jayden filed for divorce a week later.
‘I thought I was protecting Jayden by keeping my transgression a secret. In reality, I was robbing him of the right to choose whether he wanted to be with me,’ Evangeline says now.
Looking back, she wonders if things would have been different if she’d confessed earlier. But since she can’t change the past, she is working on improving herself through therapy and drinking less.
She is learning lessons from her mistakes, she said, including that sometimes ‘the most loving thing you can do is speak up and say how you feel.’