Standing at her living room window, Catherine McGhee watches her husband John drive off to work.
But she doesn’t feel love and affection – she feels aching sadness and bitter rage.
Even though she sees taxi driver John each morning she can’t make him a cup of tea or talk to him over breakfast before waving him off.
And the only person he kisses goodbye is her one-time best friend Lynne – because he now lives with HER, right over the road in their quiet cul-de-sac.
In what sounds more like a far-fetched soap opera plot than real life, heartbroken Catherine – who was unknowingly pregnant when they split – is recovering from a miscarriage while her husband’s new partner is pregnant with his baby.
“I’ve lost the two most important people in my life,” says Catherine. “It’s like a bereavement.
What’s worse is that they live so close to me so I am reminded every day of the life I should have.
"Looking across the road is like looking into a mirror in a parallel universe. My best friend has stolen my life.
“That should be me kissing him goodbye and expecting my own baby. Instead I’ve lost everything. Never feel like you have everything you dreamt of because it can all be snatched away so easily.”
A couple of years ago, life seemed to be trundling along nicely for Catherine.
Her two children were growing up, she and John seemed happy together and she felt lucky to have the love and support of her best friend and neighbour Lynne.
But – more easily than most of us would like to imagine – she suddenly found herself in a dark place.
The happiness that was so cruelly shattered began when the three of them became friends at secondary school.
Catherine and John, both now 37, became boyfriend and girlfriend after a playground romance. Then when she was 15 she got pregnant. Nobody thought the teenagers would stay together.
“Against the odds, we did,” says Catherine. “Having our daughter Jade so young was a struggle and we had our ups and downs, but we managed to muddle through.
“I knew I could always turn to Lynne whenever I was having a bad day. She was always like a sister to me and she helped us through the trials of young parenthood.
“She was always hanging around to help out, so much so that John didn’t like it in the beginning. He used to moan about her always being there.”
Chris WattCatherine McGhee's and husband engagementCatherine and John got engaged while on holiday in Ibiza
In 2004 Catherine gave birth to Aidan, but went through a period of severe postnatal depression soon afterwards.
“Without John and Lynne I don’t think I’d have got through it,” she says. “John did such a great job of looking after the children – Jade’s 21 now and Aidan’s 11 – and Lynne phoned constantly to check I was OK.
“I always considered myself very lucky that I had them both in my life.”
Three years later the couple got married after John proposed on a romantic holiday in Ibiza. In the seven years that followed they regularly met up with Lynne, also 37, who was married too.
Catherine had no reason to think her husband was anything but content, but she was led to call everything into question one evening at home in February 2014, when he told Catherine his feelings for her had changed.
It was the moment every woman dreads and, to make it worse, she had no idea it was coming.
“John came home from work late and he looked really tired and worn out,” she says.
“I was worried that he was ill or had been working too hard but, when I asked him, he said he needed to discuss something with me. He told me his feelings had changed and that he needed to move out. I asked for an explanation but he couldn’t give one.”
John later claimed he could no longer cope with Catherine’s unreasonable behaviour, which she says she cannot understand.
“I couldn’t get it,” she says. I was hysterical. In the days that followed he didn’t come home and I couldn’t eat or sleep.
“It was only a few days later I found out I was pregnant with the third child we’d both wanted so much,” says Catherine, who is a full-time mum. “But I was so stressed that I miscarried.
“I knew as soon as I felt that pain in my stomach and a dull feeling inside that the pregnancy I had longed for was over. I told John what had happened but after his hurtful words the thought of confiding in him and allowing him to comfort me made me wince.
“Lynne was amazing, though. She came round every night and we ranted about how badly John had treated me.”
But after several weeks she says Lynne seemed to start ignoring her texts and calls.
“I was hurt,” Catherine told The New Day. “So I went round to her house but she made it clear I wasn’t welcome. I felt really confused.
“Then I heard from another neighbour that Lynne was having marriage problems of her own, so I just assumed she was preoccupied.”
Lynne claims that her lack of contact was because she was ill with diabetes.
It was only when Catherine saw John’s car outside her friend’s home one day that everything fell into place.
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