Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Advice needed - OW problems resurfacing.(125 Posts)
My husband of 22 years had an emotional affair about a year ago. A woman friend (married without children) came to him and told him she was in love with him, had been forever. He / we were going through a difficult time with work, money shortages, his mother dying and general day-to-day shite. They had lots of things in common and she said that they were soul mates, destined to be together blah blah blah. She said she knew how to help him find happiness ( yoga teacher) and that her love was 'unconditional'. Like an idiot he got hooked on the escapism and flattery. It went on for a couple of months; clandestine meetings and a kiss. It all came to a crashing halt when I felt suspicious and listened to a message on his phone, telling him that her husband had found out and had asked her to leave. DH admitted what had been going on and I was absolutely devastated. He wrote to her severing all contact the next morning.
Since then has undergone a year of counselling, endless soul searching and as a result everything is much better between us now. He's even started going to church - bit weird for me as I don't go, but I can see it helps him. It has been a very, very rocky road but one that we've both tried very hard to steer a course on with the help of the brilliant Shirley Glass book. He's far from innocent is this but I do believe it was a strange period of madness that he regrets very much. We've managed to keep this from the children. So far so good.
That is until last week. They both work in the same street but he has managed to avoid any contact for 12 months. Last week she flipped in the street, shouting that he couldn't treat her like this and that she could make everything very difficult for him. She insisted her love had been 'unconditional' and had never meant to hurt anyone. This is in spite of her husband marching her to the park and showing her a family with young children, pointing out that this is what she was trying to break up. She said to DH that he 'must hate her to treat her this way'. Actually he's scared that if acknowledges her then I will be upset and we will take a step backwards. In order to calm her down he said that he didn't hate her but he had to go. She calm down immediately. He came back, got himself into a state about it and then told me. It's all feeling a bit bunny boiler. A friend of mine says she's nut and needs to be 'managed', i.e we need to stop ignoring her. This fills me with dread in case she tries a range of irritating spiritual hypocritical excuses to worm her way back into our lives. What do you think? By the way, I hate her with the fury of seven hells ;) but I know it's not good for me and I look forward to the day when she is a dim and distant memory.
I don't believe the park bit. Apart from that you poor thing.
Majestic - hmm... yes. This is all very helpful. Sometimes I think that the 'unconditional love' she was offering may have made him happy for a while ( he was very unhappy at the time). She felt that she could provide an 'outlet' for him that I couldn't and that somehow her wisdom and devotion would improve our marriage. She was very into the celebration of the self. I remember her telling me how she never had children because they took up so much time.
Her husband phoned and told me about the park bit. Apparently she has form.
Mmm... life as a county (pun intended) & western song. Now there's a concept to conjure with...
It seems to me that in her thread Lilly has struck the odd of note of triumphalism at having won her man back but, given that she has variously described the ow as old, menopausal, nutty as a fruitcake, and other epithets which suggest it wasn't much of a contest to wrest him from her arms, I'm wondering why she's spending so much time attempting to anaylse the ow's reasons for honing in on her h especially as she's described him as a veritable babe magnet which, in itself, should surely be explanation enough?
You've said you like your 'new' marriage and you also like the 'new' you, Lilly. Maybe it's time to send the ow a note thanking her for services rendered?
After a year of no contact she randomly flips in the street saying he can't "treat her like this"..... ?!
Something smells really fishy here. I think there's been contact in the year that you know nothing of. Sorry.
I understand why she likes him, I don't understand her lack of respect for our family. I don't understand why she apparently can't take a hint. I don't understand her anger or lack of guilt. I don't understand why a year on she is raking it all up. Until I understand this it's hard to forgive and move on.
Honestly, I've been watching him like a hawk. There has been no contact at all. Not even a 'hello' until last week. I think that's the problem.
Apparently he isn't treating her "like a human being". She is insisting on acknowledgement.
What does it matter why she's behaving as she is or what she wants? If she makes a
complete tit spectacle of herself, the police can have a word in ear about the necessity of decorum in public if harassment charges are to be avoided.
One encounter after a year of him morphing into the invisible man every time he enters and leaves his workplace? Why has it rattled your cage so much?
Why? Really? Because I thought everyone had moved on. We feel like the door was closed. Obviously she doesn't and I'm scared that she'll do something stupid like start telling everybody or that our children will find out.
So she starts telling everybody and she/you/he risk being laughed at, or your dc - who are now teenagers - find out their df's
a fool human? Shit happens to all of us and you'll deal with it as a when a pile of manure lands on your head doorstep.
What is the point of living in fear of something that may never happen? Read what happened to Job for a salutory lesson in the danger of fears becoming reality.
Izzy is right Lilly; shit does happen, and it's bloody horrible, but you have done nothing wrong in all this. You have convinced me that you want to save your marriage, and indeed, you have saved it. What I'm sensing now is that you want it all swept away, and to move on, and for there to be no fallout. You thought it was over, buried, dealt with. The hard fact is that your husband, whether he was depressed, had a lot to deal with, whatever, made a mistake. The fallout is his, and his alone. You are not to blame for this. All you have done is forgiven him, and last time I checked, that wasn't a crime.
You say you're worried that 'she'll do something stupid and tell everyone or our children with find out'. Your worry is the elephant in the room here; she has your fear as a weapon, she senses it, and she's probably going to use it, if he doesn't acknowledge her existence. You disarm her. So, you have to develop a tough skin, and sit back and wait for her to 'do something stupid'. Then you simply shrug your shoulders, look people in the eye, and say, yes, he did get close to having an affair with this woman, I found out, we worked through it, it's history and we are stronger than ever'. You could even get in there first, and tell a few chosen people the truth. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You can't cover for him, or be responsible for him. You might balk at this, because he might not like people knowing. Well, he's going to have to face the consequences of his mistake. He's a grown up. You all are.
If you confront her with your husband, and simply state what I suggested upthread and walk away, you will achieve two things - 1, you will see him tell her that it's over, end of. 2 - you will hear him say what you need to hear him say to her, that it's you he loves. Earlier you said that he said he was staying for the family, and it hurt you, that he didn't say because he loves you. You excused this by saying he was in a bad place at the time. After the work you've both done on repairing and improving your marriage, he's not in a bad place now, is he? So now he can look her in the eye, make his statement, and you can both walk away. And if she spits her dummy out, and tell people, so the hell what? You confirm it if people ask, and you tell them it's history.
I'd have thought it was obvious why this has re-opened fresh wounds and brought back some fear.
But if the worst that could happen is that she starts telling others, including your children, you will deal with it. It doesn't do kids any great harm to know their parents are capable of fucking up. As long as part of that life lesson is understanding what adults do to repair the harm they cause from their mistakes. And some reassurance that it won't happen again. They might even remember this when they are adults and they face similar crises in their relationships. Your husband would have to take the lead on this though - not you.
In fact if the worst happens, there might be some other blessings. I don't think it helps cheaters to face up to what they've done if they're allowed to keep it secret. As he's been allowed to go about his life with his reputation intact, it must have distanced him somewhat from the reality of his actions and the consequences thereof.
I like Saffy's idea, myself. Either that, or he finds a way to get the right message to her that is so unequivocal that it closes the lid on this once and for all.
I do think being a 'wuss' as you describe him was probably a contributory factor to this happening, so if he's still like that, it's a problem isn't it?
Sorry, I've been up at the school taking in forgotten P.E kit. Yes 50- 'Earlier you said that he said he was staying for the family, and it hurt you, that he didn't say because he loves you. You excused this by saying he was in a bad place at the time. After the work you've both done on repairing and improving your marriage, he's not in a bad place now, is he?' Absolutely, it would be good to hear in that setting. Badinage - Our kids are so settled and lovely, I don't want to upset them with this daft adult shit. But you make a good point that they will see we tackled it head on, that problems can be overcome. 'In fact if the worst happens, there might be some other blessings. I don't think it helps cheaters to face up to what they've done if they're allowed to keep it secret. As he's been allowed to go about his life with his reputation intact, it must have distanced him somewhat from the reality of his actions and the consequences thereof.' Yes, I hadn't thought of that.
Is he still a wuss? He still hates confrontation but he is definitely prepared to say whatever he needs to to mend us. Maybe that meeting is the way forward after all.
I think it does older kids good to know that marriage isn't a fairytale and that in the real world, even if you love your partner to bits you can fancy other people. Or they'll fancy you and so you need defences in place to deal with people who wish your relationship harm.
The wuss comment came from what you said yourself and yes I do think he needs to get better at confrontation, or he could sleepwalk into something like this again. If he'd sent woo lady packing at the first fence, none of this would have happened would it? Part of being a grown up is to stop being so bloody polite with idiots and to be curt and dismissive of people who are out to cause trouble. If he still can't do that, it's a problem.
Having been there before, I can sympathise with your fear of the DC finding out - but those who say its not the worst thing that can happen are right.
If my teenage DC were ever to find out about DH's affair and given how OW was an old friend, it is a very real possibility, I am sure that the fact that unlike their weak and selfish grandfather and uncle, DH manned up and repaired our marriage will serve as an important and useful life lesson for the DC.
Take a chill pill, let it go, let him deal with him and instead focus on the rebuilding of your own life
It's funny. A big part of his job is telling people 'how it is' in no uncertain terms. He's fine about to delivering difficult news that people don't want to hear but he's historically been terrible about confronting emotional stuff ( I've always thought he was a bit autistic that way). He's much better at it these days - I actually think the church malarky is helping with that. Maybe this latest confrontation is God testing his progress !!!!! Maybe it's time he grew up and faced the music.
And yes, the fact that he is afraid of confrontation is a vulnerability that he needs to look at.
MadAbout - that's good advice. Sorry to hear about your own personal shitstorm. It sounds like everything is good now. At the beginning it's hard to believe it will ever be better, but it can be.
Yes, things are good but as you won't be surprised to know its been a hell of a journey that I never ever want to repeat
What a good idea
Accompanying him to a meeting with the ow will scream insecurity on your part. It's saying you really can't trust the poor
babe magnet diddums to say what you want him to say needs to be said and keep his flies zipped hands off her.
There's also the small matter of luring the ow to a meeting a trois under the false pretence it's going to be a deux. Quite apart from the possibility she'll cause a scene on the spot at discovering she's been duped, you'll be condoning further underhandedness on his part - and, if my memory serves me right, it was his underhandness that got you into this fine mess, was it not?
The problem is that a year on, you've discovered you're no further on and the ow will be the spectre at the feast for as long as you can't trust him. And you no longer trust him. do you? Saying you've been watching him 'like a hawk' says it all.
In choosing to deal with his infdelity 'in-house', so to speak, you've had no outlet for your feelings, no opportunity to share your experience in rl with those who'd understand where you were coming from and respect your confidence.
It's probable you indulged in the hysterical bonding that is a not an uncommon phenomenon when a spouse is exposed as a lying skank who has been putting it about in theory or in practice, and you used those feelings to convince yourself you'd not only 'won' him back from the harpy but had also rejuvenated your marriage and yourself.
Due to events beyond his control, he may well have been in a bad place. But you were going through those same events by his side, weren't you? Did you find yourself in a place where you were lusting after
the bloke in the chip shop that looks like Elvis om for a little light relief from your cares and woe? Thought not.
It's always a shock when we discover our idols have clay feet, which is why we're best advised not to raise anyone above ourself. You've learned a hard lesson and in many respects his behaviour with the ow has given you a gift that'll keep on giving for years to come - unless he steps up to the plate and works to convince you that he's staying in the marriage because he loves, adores, and worships you and there's no place he'd rather be than by your side.
Has he made any noises which have gone some way to convincing you that he's not just marking time until the dc have flown the nest, at which point he'll be looking to stretch his wings too?
I think it would be cruel to lure this woman to a meeting under false pretences. I understand about closing ranks against her, but would you need to be quite so manipulative about it ?
yes, she she has been manipulative on her own account...but do further wrongs make a right ?
there's a great big elephant on the thread here
why, after 12 months has she popped up saying she "won't be treated like this" ?
treated like what if there has been no contact since she was allegedly packed off back to woo la-la land ?
there's some la-la-la-la going one here, and I suspect it isn't her
I think you need to stop taking the piss izzyizin. This isn't comedy theatre and no-one's laughing at your lame strike-outs any more.
"The problem is that a year on, you've discovered you're no further on" Er...yes we are. " And you no longer trust him. do you? Saying you've been watching him 'like a hawk' says it all. " I'd be an idiot not to watch him. He handed over his phone and his email passwords without me asking.
I never doubted his faithfulness before, I thought he may occasionally flirt but there was a line not to be crossed. I watched it happen to other couples again and again and I thought we were immune. Not so. It came as a terrible blow as I just didn't see it coming. I will never trust him completely again, but that doesn't mean that progress hasn't been made or that I don't love him. It's not about what he does to prove his love, it's about me protecting myself. Trusting someone completely is a daft idea anyway, it puts them on an unrealistic pedestal. 'Hysterical bonding' undermines a year of trying to rebuild our marriage. I can assure you it has been much more than that. As MadAbout says 'it's been a hell of a journey'. As for nest flying - he's made no sounds about that and I don't know why he would.
Join the discussion
Please login first.