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People sitting around a table and eating | Source: Flickr
People sitting around a table and eating | Source: Flickr

I Was Heartbroken When I Accidentally Found Out Why My Husband Stopped Inviting Me to Dinners With His Friends

Prenesa Naidoo
May 15, 2024
11:16 A.M.

Mandy and Jack's marriage is carefree and childless — exactly the way they want it. They spend a lot of time with Jack's childhood friend group, going on group dates and adventures. But then Mandy realizes that Jack has been keeping her away from events. Who or what is the reason? Find out more...

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In the nine years that Jack and I have been together, our marriage had been the kind of story that you'd recount with a smile, filled with love, shared dreams, and tons of adventures.

A couple standing under an umbrella | Source: Pexels

A couple standing under an umbrella | Source: Pexels

But about three months ago, things started to feel a little different.

Before that, we always attended events together — whether they were work events or other events planned by his group of friends. Jack and his friends had been together since before we were married, them having all been on the same football team since high school.

Football players standing together | Source: Pexels

Football players standing together | Source: Pexels

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Recently, Jack had been making up a lot of excuses about leaving me at home when he went for these events.

"It's just the guys, Mandy," he would retort while getting dressed. "Do you really want to sit around in their company without the wives?"

To be fair — that sounded horrible. As much as the friend group had become our second family, I knew that a night with only the men would mean drinking, wings, cards, and maybe the occasional cigar.

A man's hand with two cigars | Source: Pexels

A man's hand with two cigars | Source: Pexels

Without the wives, it wasn't the best way to occupy my time.

So, I thought that there was truth to Jack's story. Most of the couples had children anyway, so I also knew that the wives would have been busy with them.

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But then, I went to the grocery store and ran into Kevin's wife — Kevin was one of Jack's oldest friends, and we used to see him and his wife, Marcia, all the time. Until they had twins and we had to just meet at the group events.

A woman at a supermarket | Source: Unsplash

A woman at a supermarket | Source: Unsplash

"Mandy!" she said, hugging me tightly from behind. "Are you alright, dear?"

"I'm fine," I said, smiling at the twin toddlers who were sitting in her shopping cart. "I haven't seen you in ages!"

Two people hugging | Source: Unsplash

Two people hugging | Source: Unsplash

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"Well, yes," Marcia said, frowning slightly. "Jack told us that you two were trying for a baby, and that you were taking hormonal shots. I didn't know that you were going through In Vitro Fertilization! I would have sat you down first, you know that's how we ended up with the twins."

My jaw dropped. I didn't know what to tell the woman standing in front of me. Why did Jack lie?

"How are you handling the shots now?" she asked, looking concerned.

A person holding an injection | Source: Unsplash

A person holding an injection | Source: Unsplash

"It took a while for my body to adjust," I said, lying through my teeth.

"I hope this means that we'll see you for the next dinner!" she said. "I've missed having you around as my silent judging partner of all the other women."

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Next dinner? I thought. What else had I missed?

A group of friends sitting around a table | Source: Pexels

A group of friends sitting around a table | Source: Pexels

"You should have seen some of the outfits that the other wives wore during the poker night two weeks ago!" Marcia exclaimed, chuckling. "I was going to call you later that night and tell you everything, but something must have come up."

I smiled at her. As upset as I was feeling, I realized that this was Jack's doing — whatever Marcia told me was because she had been fed it by Jack.

A couple playing poker | Source: Pexels

A couple playing poker | Source: Pexels

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"So, you're feeling good? All things IVF included?" she asked while picking bananas.

"Yes," I said. "I think my body just needed a minute to catch up."

I had no idea if anything I said made sense because I didn't know much about IVF.

I also didn't know why my husband was lying about it.

A woman looking to her right | Source: Pexels

A woman looking to her right | Source: Pexels

I couldn't understand if it was his way of saying that he finally wanted children. But that made no sense. Why would Jack tell his friends that we were trying for a baby?

"He just doesn't want you there," I said aloud as I walked to the cashier.

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The drive home was a blur, tears streaming down my face as I wondered what was really going on. I simply couldn't comprehend any of it.

A person paying at cash register | Source: Pexels

A person paying at cash register | Source: Pexels

I sat on the living room couch and tried to think of all the reasons why my husband wouldn't want me there.

Was he taking someone else? — But that would be too risky. He knew that he would get caught red-handed. One of the wives would have let it slip.

Surely, they would have.

I decided to play detective and see what was really going on.

A woman sitting on a couch | Source: Pexels

A woman sitting on a couch | Source: Pexels

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Sitting down with my laptop, I accessed Jack's and my joint calendar — usually whenever the group planned anything, the invites went straight to that. And there it was, an invite to a dinner for the following Friday evening, explicitly stating "wives included".

I assumed that Jack had been deleting the previous invites that he had attended by himself.

I saw that the RSVP hadn't been done yet, so I RSVP'd for us both, and then removed it from our calendar.

An open laptop and a cup of coffee | Source: Pexels

An open laptop and a cup of coffee | Source: Pexels

The night of the dinner, I presented it as a surprise for Jack.

"Date night, my love," I said, getting dressed and doing my makeup.

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"Fancy dinner?" he asked, eyeing my clothing.

"Yes! We don't usually dress up. So, let's just do it. Take some photos, enjoy the evening."

I didn't tell Jack where we were going, I just directed him as we drove — his brows furrowing in confusion.

A woman wearing a yellow dress | Source: Unsplash

A woman wearing a yellow dress | Source: Unsplash

My husband's confusion morphed into shock as we arrived at the restaurant — greeted by an uneasy silence from our friends.

But it turned out that the shock was mine to bear.

There, sitting among the familiar faces, was Jack's ex-girlfriend, Sasha, not simply in attendance, but as the new bride of one of his closest friends.

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The dinner passed in a blur of strained conversation and awkward glances. While I dug into my salmon, my stomach churned with the odd looks that Sasha threw my way. And Jack's.

A woman sitting in a black dress | Source: Pexels

A woman sitting in a black dress | Source: Pexels

Whenever she spoke, she directed the conversation to him specifically.

I didn't know what to think. Yes, Sasha was there as a wife to one of the guys, but why had Jack kept it a secret from me for all this time? There was nothing wrong with her being in the group because as a wife, she had every right to be there.

But why would Jack hide the truth from me? My mind went in all directions, including the fact that my husband might be having an affair with his ex-girlfriend.

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Silhouette of a couple | Source: Pexels

Silhouette of a couple | Source: Pexels

The drive home was heavy with the anticipation of the truth — from both ends. Jack wanted the truth from me about how we ended up at the dinner. And I wanted the truth about why he had been keeping me out of the loop. Not to mention the truth about the whole IVF scenario.

"Mandy," he said slowly, as if choosing his words very carefully.

"Sasha joined the group recently. She and Mark recently got married — well, registered at the city hall. So, she's back," he said.

A man driving | Source: Unsplash

A man driving | Source: Unsplash

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"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked.

"Because Sasha told me that it would be better to have you two separated from the events. Remember the last time you saw each other?" he asked.

The last time we saw each other, Sasha had tried to trip me at a wedding rehearsal dinner. She was that petty.

My silence allowed Jack to continue.

People at a wedding rehearsal | Source: Unsplash

People at a wedding rehearsal | Source: Unsplash

"She said that it made more sense for her to be a part of the group because she was in school with the rest of us, too."

Which was when they dated.

"I don't understand why you couldn't have just told me that, Jack," I said. "Why would you just allow her to choose? And anyway, most of the wives were not in school with your group of friends, but we've gotten close to each other."

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Jack remained silent, clenching the steering wheel.

A young teenage couple | Source: Pexels

A young teenage couple | Source: Pexels

"You should have told me first. You should have let me decide if I wanted to be exposed to Sasha and her pettiness or not."

"I'm sorry," he mumbled.

"Or is there something else going on?" I asked. "You and Sasha—"

He stopped me before I could even finish my sentence.

"No! Mandy, no! It's definitely not like that," he exclaimed.

When we got home, I washed my face and found Jack in the kitchen making me a cup of green tea — my routine before bed.

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A woman washing her face | Source: Unsplash

A woman washing her face | Source: Unsplash

"I'm sorry," he repeated.

"We have something else to talk about," I said.

"Yeah?" he asked, sipping his own tea.

"Why did you tell Marcia about IVF?" I asked.

"I don't know," he admitted. "I heard something about it on the radio, and when I saw them all and they asked about you, it just came out of my mouth."

I couldn't help but giggle at his reply.

A mug of green tea | Source: Unsplash

A mug of green tea | Source: Unsplash

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"There's nothing more to the story?" I asked, wanting to be sure about the question of children.

While Jack and I had spoken about it hundreds of times, we had both decided that we liked our lives exactly the way it was. But we also settled on the fact that should we decide to be parents later on, we would adopt a baby.

"No," Jack smiled. "We're still on the same page."

That night I went to bed thinking about everything that had been confessed. I understood why Jack had wanted to protect me from Sasha — she was a strange woman who loved to taunt me whenever our paths crossed.

A woman holding a toddler's hand | Source: Unsplash

A woman holding a toddler's hand | Source: Unsplash

I couldn't understand why because she had broken up with Jack over the fact that, at the time, he knew he didn't want children — biological, adopted, or even pets.

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"It was a big deal for her, Mandy," he said when we had the initial conversation about our exes. "She always wanted to be a mom."

But even as I lay in bed, I wondered what would happen at the next event — Jack had promised not to hide anything from me.

"I'm pretty sure Marcia will tell you anyway," he chuckled. "Did you see how excited she was to see you?"

The only thing left to figure out is Jack's IVF lie — I don't know how to navigate that one.

A woman sleeping in bed | Source: Pexels

A woman sleeping in bed | Source: Pexels

What would you have done?

Here's another story for you | Chloe finally thinks that she's gotten a relationship right. She feels loved and happy with Jack. Until one day, she finds a note and a personal keepsake on Jack's fridge — everything relating to her ex-boyfriend. What is going on, and how does Mike fit into the equation?

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This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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