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Getting over infidelity

(115 Posts)
newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 14:23:55

Have posted before, under another name. Basically, I found out dh had been having inappropriate conversations with ow(plural), receiving dirty pictures from them, flirting with someone he met at work and just generally flirting on line with women he met through work etc.

He swears blind there was no sex and I do believe this. Discovery was about 8 months ago. He has been extremely apologetic, cut off all contact with these women (so far as I can possibly 'know'). He is completely aware of the devastation this has caused me - I got him to read the thread i had posted on previously. He says he wants to fix this, that he was weak and stupid and will never do this again. So he is making all the right noises.

The thing is, he has always been very good at saying all the right things and I never felt that he didn't love me (maybe that was arrogant of me, or maybe i was deluded in putting all that faith and trust in him in the first place). I know MN says to judge him by his actions rather than his words.

Sorry, I'm rambling a bit. He has recently changed jobs and i don't have his email username/pw for work email. My question is, should I insist on having this? I know that if someone is determined to cheat there are numerous ways to do this, so having access to all email etc wouldn't prevent this. I also think it is unhealthy to check up all the time. i could send myself mad, policing him. Would I be better just not insisting on having access to everything and forcing myself to trust, because he will either keep his promises or he won't.

Also, he is meeting a former colleague for coffee in the next couple of days. He says there was never anything inappropriate there and he won't go if i say not to. i have said to go ahead but deep down I want him to not go, but I also don't want to be telling him he can't have friends - that way madness lies.

I am so very angry still and hurt. i want to get over this bur don't know how. Has anyone gotten over this?If so, can you tell me how you did it.

My greatest fear is that i will trust him again and that he will throw it away like he did before and i will be back where i was emotionally 8 months ago. Couldn't cope with going through all this again. All advice gratefully received,

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 17:57:03

I wouldn't expect you to feel sorry for them and sure, they aren't victims and are responsible for their own shitty behaviour. But what I'm getting at is that he seems to have put these women into a 'sex' box hasn't he? Suitable for sexual kicks and free porn, but not worthy of anything else. This is where there's a link with porn. The woman seen on screen are regarded as 'other'; suitable for wanking over but he wouldn't like to think that you, his daughters, nieces, sisters or mum were those porn actresses or OW, would he?

Of course, it could all be lies anyway. He might have crafted his lies according to your deal-breakers. So if he thinks you could forgive pornified contact with several women, but not full sex or worse still (in your eyes) actually feeling something for any of them, that's what he'll insist happened.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 18:09:45

He has said that actual sex would have crossed his own boundaries. I have no way of knowing what is true and what isn't. It is very hard to think of him as the kind of man who does this and yet he has.

Hatpin Tue 05-Feb-13 00:21:10

I can't see how you can rebuild trust if you don't know why he did it, or why he thought it was OK to do it.

Say the multiple women means he gets off on having the attention of a number of different women at once. It's a power trip. In which case he shouldn't be going for coffee because even if this time its platonic, if he hasn't addressed his behaviour, this will just fuel his fantasy of having a number of women fawning around him who either gently, or more overtly, stroke his ego.

If you don't know WHY he chose to ask women he worked with to send him dirty pics then you won't know if going for coffee is likely to fan his addiction, or whether its harmless. And so you can't trust him.

Plus I think him putting the ball in your court is him testing to see how long you are prepared to make his leash.

You said you wouldn't consider counselling but it might help block this stalemate. If he doesn't give you more insight I can't see how you can get past it.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 00:33:19

I totally agree with Hatpin. He is choosing to go out with a member of the opposite sex before you are over his last indiscretions. It is thoughtless, and it suggests he has a lack of empathy for your feelings, which in turn suggests he doesn't see what he did as being that wrong. He should be trying to spend every spare minute outside work making things up to you.

If I had behaved like this behind my husband's back I can't even begin to imagine how long it would be before I would feel it was okay to go out for coffee with another man...it certainly wouldn't be 8 months. I would judge it based on his recovery from the pain and shock and broken trust, which might be years.

(See No.9 on the link I posted for you).

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 07:58:09

Have had a long talk. He swears that this will never happen again because he hates the way I look at him now and seeing all the pain he's caused me. He has said he won't go for the coffee since it makes me feel uncomfortable. From his pov, he thinks that seeing as he is in contact with lots of women on a daily basis, if he was going to do it there would be plenty of opportunity, therefore he can't see why I am uncomfortable with him meeting someone where there is no history of inappropriate behaviour. As for why he did it, he says it was titillation and that he really didn't think too much about it - he just did it. I think he was viewing these women as of no more significance than pictures in a magazine. I do believe there was no sex - I don't think he would have risked my health in that way, but of course I cannot know definitively, I just have to trust his repeated assurances. But then he does know it would be a deal breaker for me.

I have told him about this thread. He feels he is being judged according to the lowest common denominator and that he does not have a porn addiction and hasn't had sex with someone else. He is getting fed up with the ups and downs, because it is not getting better. Everytime I read something on MN, it gives me fresh doubts.

I know that if I had done similar to him, I would be getting fed up by now of constant suspicion. I would want my husband to either forgive me or end it. I am constantly picking at this and we talk about it a lot. Does there come a point where I just have to draw a line under it and stop throwing it in his face all the time and then see what changes within the relationship? I would hate to have it constantly thrown back at me. Our house is an emotional roller coaster at the moment and this is not sustainable.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 08:06:54

The other thing is that he doesn't trust me and never has. He has lived with that for years. He is used to it. I was unaware of this until all this happened. He is not controlling, hence me being unaware of it. He is used to not feeling trust and therefore cannot quite see why the loss of that feeling for me, is such a huge deal. He has also said he wouldn't leave me if I had done similar. Truthfully I don't think he would throw it up at me all the time either. He is very good at burying things he doesn't want to think about, whereas I pick over it incessantly.

In recent years he has had lots of stress at work. I am a sham so all the pressure has been his and his employer went into administration. Prior to that he had suffered from depression. Is all this relevant.

I think there may be something in the idea that he needs validation from lots of women. His boundaries were definitely inappropriate.

Sorry for massive posts. Thanks for reading

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 09:30:39

Did you get him to read the link? It explains that what he did is classed as a kind of 'affair' as these were 'real' women he had met in real life that he was lusting after. have you have had time to read it through? (there's more after the 10 points but it's the best article I've ever read on the subject). Please read number 7 - your spouse is trying to dictate how long your recovery should take and he is making things worse for you.

What you are feeling (and doing) is normal...and with regard to him saying he has never trusted you, unless you have done something to fuel this he is just deflecting blame. People do this when they are caught out.

I am not judging him generally - he might be a lovely bloke, but what he did was so wrong and has shattered your trust in him. He is underestimating what it has done to you if he doesn't understand how you feel. If he doesn't want to understand how you feel there is every chance he'll do it again when he is bored later in the marriage. He has work to do to help you get over this, there is no getting around that if he wants your marriage to work and it is necessary to your healing.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 10:20:11

My DH had an affair - it started off online with sexting and became physical after a few months.

Because he worked really hard on addressing his issues, flaws and boundaries, reading affair threads MN do not bring up fresh doubts for me. From what you have written I doubt your H intends to put in the hard work that is required to help you recover.

I am appalled that your H says he does not trust you - you can't have a relationship without trust and it is very telling that he has said that because as well as deflecting the blame, it suggests that he does not believe he has to rebuild your trust....

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 11:34:00

I have read the article and also emailed it to dh and he has read it too. It sums up exactly what I am feeling.I am not sure how much of it really resonated with him though. He isn't feeling what I am feeling. He is away with work until tomorrow, but I will discuss it with him when he gets back. I think he is genuine in his intentions, but as you all say, if he cannot be sure of why he did this, then how will I be sure that he doesn't find himself in the same place further down the line.

I really am scared of letting myself trust him and feel happy and then have this happen to me again.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 11:43:50

"He is used to not feeling trust and therefore cannot quite see why the loss of that feeling for me, is such a huge deal. "

Why are you making his excuses for him?. Are you seriously saying that he doesn't understand why you feel betrayed and insulted by his behaviour? That he can't see why he has to be 100% straight down the line from now on, erring well on the side of caution rather than risking making things worse?

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:44:53

That is perfectly natural...have a talk with him when he gets home and see if he 'gets it'.

Hotchoc - did your DH just 'get it', or did you have to help him understand how devastated you were?

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:46:08

I meant it's perfectly natural that you don't want to put your guard down...it suggests he isn't working hard enough to help you.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:48:38

Cogito - if there was a 'like' button I would have pressed it.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:24

By the way, if he really didn't trust you it would have manifested itself in some sort of controlling behaviour. He is lying about not trusting you.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 11:53:16

seen thanks for telling me that what I feel is normal. It is helpful to know that I am not the only person who feels exactly like this and that I am not going mad with the up and down feelings.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 12:04:47

X posted with some of you there. Cogito, he would say that he is being 100% straight with me now. He says he does think that at some point I have cheated, even if it was years ago. I have wondered if he justified his behaviour on the grounds that he thinks I have already cheated.

Wrt to him saying he doesn't trust me - he seems to be taking a what will be, will be approach, hence the lack of controlling behaviour. He has admitted to checking my fb, which I didn't know about. I don't actually care that he has done this, because I have not been hiding stuff from him. Although on some level, I think there is something wrong with me because surely the normal response is to mind invasion of privacy. I think he thinks that trust, as a concept is overrated.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 12:34:28

I don't mind invasion of privacy between DH and I. I would be different about the kids, but I have nothing to hide from DH and so I tell him my passwords and he is free to roam. I have never cheated, and would definitely leave a marriage if I was unhappy rather than cheat.

It is nice that you don't mind about your DH mooching through your stuff, and he should see that as a sign you have nothing to hide.

Has he been cheated on in a previous relationship? Perhaps he brought previous unresolved insecurities with him into yours and assumed you were the same. If so, you need to really drive it home that infidelity is not something you would do OR tolerate.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 12:47:28

I think his beliefs about trust are based on his own behaviour, as if he thinks its normal and justifiable for people to cheat. I remember upon discovery, my DH saying that everyone would cheat if presented with the opportunity to do so, then I reminded him of how I have been chatted up and hit on a few times and yet I still turned them all down so not everyone would do it.

Hotchoc - did your DH just 'get it', or did you have to help him understand how devastated you were?

He knew I was shocked and upset but because he was still in the affair fog, he did not really appreciate the extent of damage and devastation he caused for a while.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 12:48:52

I don't have a problem with transparency - e,g looking at my emails etc but it seems as if your H is looking for justification for HIS behaviour hmm

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 12:50:08

*He knew I was shocked and upset but because he was still in the affair fog, for a while he did not really appreciate the extent of damage and devastation he had caused.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 12:57:12

We have been together since we were 17, so I don't think so.

His parents were unhappily married and finally called time when he was in his early 20s, so his examples of marriage have not been great. His dad died before dh could properly make peace with him. He has been under a lot of stress, had quite a few things going on at work (company went into administration and he had the pressure of finding new work quickly), plus a bout of depression.

This isn't the first time he has kept things from me. Years ago he was friends with a woman at work who he says was having some problems (bullying I think) at work and he spent a lot of time texting her and helping her. These texts were very frequent and at all times of day and night. I never saw any of them but he swears blind it was friendship and help only. He initially lied about who they were from because apparently she didn't want people to know about the problems. He only admitted the truth when he had no option. Even if what he said, is completely true it points to lack of appropriate boundaries with other women (which he has acknowledged and has promised to change). I was hurt and angry when I found out, but I did believe him. at that point I knew nothing of emotional affairs (which he denies this was). Wish he could have learned from that instead of putting me through all this. I look back and I just see repeated lies and weaknesses and failures on his part to do the right thing by me.

This really is last chance saloon for us, which is why it is so important that this is fixed properly. I have four dc and want to give them a stable and happy home life, but I cannot be here again.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 13:01:55

Ah, so he has form for lying, keeping secrets and inappropriate relationships with women sad

The only way for him to learn from his mistakes is for him to LOOK into himself to find out what issues, characters failings, values, beliefs etc that made him choose to behave in this way and to address these.

Did you both read Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends or Linda MacDonald's How to help your spouse heal?

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 13:10:37

I read the Shirley Glass book and told him the main parts that were relevant to us. I will order the other book and get him to read it.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 13:21:07

Get 'how to help your spouse heal' for him too...it's quite short and to the point, and gets the point home. If he refuses to read them it is a sign he doesn't get it at all so I would genuinely threaten to boot him out...I find it staggering that you've had to read a book and relay bits to him. He reminds me of my unfaithful ex - who is an ex for those all of these reasons.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 13:22:04

Just seen you said you would get it...sorry. smile

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