Carrie and Melinda had been close friends since college. They both married their partners around the same time and had children within months of each other.
But the bond of friendship was soon to be broken in a most unexpected way.
"Melinda and I were super close - we had a lot of fun together over the years, we'd seen each other get together with boyfriends and then go through messy breakups. She felt like a sister to me but without the arguments that most siblings tend to have. I would definitely have called her my closest friend," Carrie explains.
"We had a lot in common as we were both brought up in wealthy families and, for both of us, our parents were never around much. I felt like I brought myself up and Melinda always said she and her brother had to raise themselves. So while neither of us ever went without anything in the material sense, we were both neglected by our parents."
Then, we both married our boyfriends around the same time, Melinda married first then I married my partner Charlie two years later. The four of us hung out a lot together, especially after we had kids. But then a year ago, Charlie left me for another woman that he'd met at his gym. I was shocked and devastated. There's no other way to describe it. I didn't see it coming. Although, in retrospect, there were signs that he was playing around. I guess you could say I was suspicious enough that I made moves to safeguard myself financially in case he did leave me, but I never really thought that he would."
During this time, Carrie claims Melinda was very supportive, helping her with every aspect of her divorce. She even helped Carrie move out of the marital home and find a new apartment.
"At one stage it got very nasty as Charlie wanted to take half of the business I’d started before I married him. I felt that was very unfair because my business doesn’t make even half as much as Charlie’s business makes," Carrie says.
"Before all this unfolded, I had some suspicions that Charlie was cheating on me. He always denied it but all the telltale signs were there – he started working late, never answered his cell phone and there were a few occasions I could smell perfume on his clothing. He always came up with excuses – that his PA had given him a hug and it was her perfume that I smelled. I never bought that at all."
"So I did something I thought was smart – I put some of my money into a different and didn’t tell him. I had my “secret bank account” and the only people that knew about it was my mother, and I also told Melinda. I deeply regret telling her because of what happened next. Why did I tell her? Why not?"
"I had no reason not to tell Melinda anyway. I trusted her. So I told her all my secrets, including the fact that I set up a secret account because I didn’t trust Charlie. There was one night when I’d had too much to drink and I was crying about the divorce. I told Melinda that I was upset that Charlie was trying to take a portion of my business. Then, I said something stupid – I told her that I had managed to put quite a lot of money in my secret bank account as a safeguard in case anything went wrong."
"I was proud of myself for setting up that account because I knew how ruthless Charlie was with money. I said to Melinda, “Hopefully he won’t hire a forensic accountant because then he’d know that I have some secret funds stashed away.”
Melinda didn't think any more of that conversation. She went ahead with divorce proceedings, even when she still had hope that Charlie wouldn't leave her.
"But he'd made up his mind and there was nothing I could do about it. I still don't know for sure whether another woman was involved. I've done a lot of soul searching and I think he just fell out of love with me and wanted to move on," Carrie says.
"One night he came over because he wanted me to sign some papers. When we'd done signing, he turned to me and said, "I know about that money you've got in a secret account." He told me that half of that money belonged to him and he would have his lawyers draft a new letter to address the money that I'd hidden."
"I was so shocked! I didn't even ask, "How do you know" because the answer was very obvious - Melinda had told him! I knew she'd told him because the only other person that knew was my mother and she has absolutely no reason to tell him. So it could only have been Melinda betraying me. But why?"
"I waited until Charlie had left and I called Melinda, asking, "Why did you tell Charlie about my secret bank account? How could you do that to me?" She started to cry, telling me she was so sorry, it just "slipped out" when they saw each other at an event at the kids' school.
Carrie was devastated - not only that Charlie knew about her secret bank account but that Melinda had effectively ended their friendship with that sneaky betrayal.
"I'm no longer friends with her. She has begged me to forgive her. Maybe I will in time but, for now, it feels like such a backstabbing. A mutual friend of ours told me that she believed that Melinda had always had a crush on Charlie and that she was using my secret to try and get closer to him. I don't know whether I buy that theory but, one thing is for sure - she has always had a big mouth. I just wish before she'd opened her big mouth she'd had thought about the consequences."
"I'm very much single at the moment and having a hard time financially. And, thanks to her, I had to hand over half of the money I'd stored in that secret bank account."