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 for a dad? tricky times(135 Posts)
I posted this in another thread as a reply, but a responder suggested I start a new thread therefore some of it is copied and pasted.
I'm a dad of 4 with a wife who has serious health problems and have signed up for this forum because I have nowhere else I feel I can get support for the tough time we're having at the moment. Recently I became aware she was having an 'emotional affair' (emails and texts to. A work colleague, it had already got to the point they were telling each other they loved each other). I've worked full time and carried the family for years and you can imagine I was very upset to find that despite this she still felt that she needed to see someone else. Her justification was that I neglected her- the way I see it is that I had become a robot, working, essentially a single father in terms of the practicalities of bringing the children up, and being a carer for my wife. She would get me to get long lists of stuff she needed in town to keep me out long enough. Its truly horrible to think of the betrayal.
After finding out I wasn't sure if we could go on but she pleaded that she has finished with him and wants to make a go of it with me. However she has been distant since and I'd be lying if I said I believed her fully that this is the case. We're in a bit of a state of limbo, and she puts her apathy down to needing to 'get better' before dealing with our relationship. However we just don't seem to be dealing with it at all. She managed to find the energy to instigate and maintain the affair whilst being this ill. Part of me thinks that she is just keeping me around to do all the practical stuff like looking after her and bringing up the kids.
At the moment I'm really just trying to make myself trust her because the alternative is a life of constant emotional pain. I have been trying to weigh up the situation to work out whether it is worth it at all. The family I had worked to build for years is my justification for giving it another try. I hated having to analyse everything my partner did or said to work out if she was lying. Its harder in a sense because the usual thing for a dad to do is move out but my kids need me and I really want to see if we can be happy as a family.
I don't know of any Dadsnet sites so I've arrived here to see if I can get any advice or ideas to try and get through this.
I'm so sorry to hear this. It sounds like she has been taking you for granted. What kind of health problems does she have? In what way does she need to get better?
I think you need to insist that she treat you with more respect and consideration. It sounds as if you do an awful lot for the family and she very little.
I feel for you.
Do you feel that her bad health is preventing you from moving on from what seems like a bad relationship overall?
Are you happy in this marriage skaboy?
Do you love her?
I understand the sheer resentment, that you do everything for the kids & also for her & she tells you its not enough. I imagine that you are doing everything you can & its a massive kick in the teeth for her to have an affair. Putting all that aside do you neglect each other? Are you doing all the work because you want the relationship to continue or because if you won't do it then who will?
You have lost touch with your wife, but whether you want to regain what you once had is up to you. I know all too well how it feels to not trust your partner & to be constantly looking out for lying & betrayal. Its fucking exhausting & yes you do reach the point where it becomes too much & you don't want to live like that anymore. And more importantly you don't see why you should.
Also it worries me that you don't feel there is an alternative except constant emotional pain. There is an alternative & its different but you can live your life without living with her. It may not be fun all the time & it can be lonely but its doable & it gives you the chance to find someone else to share your life with, in a life where you will be equal. You sound so trapped at the minute, you sound as though you feel you can't get out & that's not true.
So practically, is her health good enough to bring the kids up by herself or would you get custody? Would your children be happy to live with you if they are old enough to decide? Can you afford a lawyer skaboy so you can talk through the practicalities of living a life apart from her & possibly only seeing the kids at the weekend.
If you decide that you can't live this way anymore then see a lawyer, if you can't afford a lawyer then see Citizens Advice to understand your options. I don't know the law well enough to comment but if you do everything around the house & support the kids emotionally plus she has had an affair, is it possible the kids will stay with you?
I go back to my original question of are you happy? because if you know that then you will know what has to be done If you want to stay with your wife then perhaps you need to communicate better & make time for each other. If you don't want to then you need to understand where you can go. Also you need to know what your wife wants to do.
I never once regretted leaving my ex H, its been 3 years now & it was the best decision I had made for a long long time. I have a new partner now & am so much happier. So its a scary time, leaving a spouse but imho it just gets better & better. Look into your heart, put your family aside for a second & see what YOU want to do for YOU.
Bugster: its a long term back problem and its very genuine. When its good she is able to work and drive etc but wheb its bad she can do very little. Its been particularly bad for a while.
PureQuintessence: it is one factor. The main factor is being there for the kids and the fact that we were all happy once upon a time and I genuinely think it might be possible to get back to that provided I get at least some things my way (I've been trying to get out and see friends occasionally for instance, something which had dissappeared)
My main worry is that I'm doing all the running to get the relationship back together. I'm not sure if I should just distance myself but its very hard to do that when I have to be here to run the house, sort the kids etc.
Onetiredmummy: thanks for that and I've touched on some of what you said in my earlier reply. I do think we have a basis for getting through it if it is more on my terms than it was. However, since agreeing to make a go of it, I feel its just gone back to me doing all the running. If I'd had an affair I think I'd be trying a lot harder.
I have health conditions that ebb and flow and my DH has had to bear the brunt. I have never taken advantage of him though. You both need to talk at great length about the situation and I think you need some legal advice as well. I'm very sorry this is happening to you and she is absolutely taking you for granted.
Adversecamber, thanks its interesting to get the perspective of someone who shares that similarity. She seems to think she cannot discuss anything until she is better, but I'm worried she actually just doesn't want to face up to it for whatever reason. My worst fear is that she'll get back to health and still not want to deal with it - effectively use me as a crutch so that she can continue to take advantage. Haven't gone down the legal advice road yet. Not exactly stacked for money but will do what I can.
How old are the kids?
If you work full time, who sees to their needs while you're at work?
If they are old enough to more or less see to their own practical needs, could your wife leave and you apply for residence or could you go for 50-50 shared residence?
I'm asking practical questions mainly, because IMO either your wife is still having an affair or she still wants to, but is pretending she wants to stay in the marriage because of her own needs and no-one else's.
If she was genuinely sorry and wanted to make a go of your relationship, you'd be seeing that - and you aren't.
If you were a woman I would say speak to a solicitor to find out exactly how things would stand if you separated eg would DCs be with you or DP, how would time be split, how would money be split and from a position of knowledge of what might or could be the future scenario decide what you want for the future. Then try to discuss with DP.
I'm fully prepared to look into all the eventualities of splitting up-just want to make sure I've tried my best to keep us together in the first place. I'm reasonably sure she isn't still in contact with the guy. But I do worry that she isn't helping matters by refusing to deal with the problem. Its only been a couple of weeks so I'm willing to give it a bit longer before making any decisions
I wouldn't leave it a bit longer before expecting to see some signs of her wanting your marriage to work. Is she being open with her technology - passwords, phone, laptop etc. Who is he?
Honestly, I would see a lawyer - it won't make anything worse, promise, but it will knock out some of your anxieties about what happens to the family if the marriage ends.
She sounds like she's a user - and 4 kids is a lot, that can't be making things any easier. How old are they?
I really feel for you. If it were me, I'd give her a month or so. Then ask her if she wants to leave.
I'd be off too with her not being able to work on your relationship now, when she could have a relationship with someone else. It just seems that she doesn't want to.
So, it does look like she doesn't love you anymore, but is happy to have your support.
She probably realises that if you leave, you'd probably leave with the children, as she can hardly take care of them and you'd probably be happy too.
You can't force anyone to love you, obviously. And you should be with someone who does.
Which is sad, but it would mean that you should separate, regardless of her health.
It is fine for you to do the running, the housework, your full time job, and look after the kids, if she is of ill health, if you both love each-other and are committed to your relationship. As it is, your wife does nothing aside from feeling sorry for herself, seeking attention and gratification elsewhere.
A good marriage can survive one of the parties being unwell and not able to work, but not if their heart is not in it.
I would see a lawyer.
Your wife is perfectly able to start conducting a relationship with somebody else, but says she is too unwell to communicate with you. You know what this translates to? She is too unwell to deal with the upheaval of a split, see solicitors and start moving out. This is why she is waiting for a "good period" so she has the strenght, not to improve your relationship, but to leave it behind.
Be smart and prepare yourself.
Really sorry to hear about your situation.
I'm afraid, she's taken you for granted and is treating you like a doormat. If you want this to continue , then continue pandering to her.
Always keep your cool. Tell her exactly how you feel and tell her it's up to her to rebuild trust and work on the relationship if she wants to. If she's not prepared to put the effort in now then I think it tells you all you need to know about what she wants. I can guarantee she still has feelings for the other guy from the way she is behaving.
You will continue to be treated like this if you put up with it.
Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to front it out tomorrow. Can't really go on like this. Even if the worst happens, I feel as prepared as I'm ever going to be. A close friend said I have a strong heart to even have got this far and I'm still mid-30s so things can only get better which ever way this goes. I've got lovely kids and cant really be hurt much mire than I have already.
Sadly it sounds like she is in the selfish bubble of the affair still. My XH managed to text OW over 100 times a day, yet can't ring his 4yo DD once a week as he is too busy working.... like your wife being too ill to communicate with you, but manages it with OM....
Good luck with the chat
Dammit - that didn't go too well. She got angry at me for forcing the issue. Said she'd only discuss it through relate, wants space to make her mind up. Laid more blame on me for the whole situation and suggested a trial seperation. Hate this world of limbo. Spent the day with friends and now back at home not knowing what to do or how to play it. I know I'll eventually be ok either way but hate the waiting.
She got angry with you for forcing the issue, she can't keep you hanging around forever until she decides to make her mind up, does she truly think you will just wait around for her. So sorry for you I hope you feel strong enough to give her an ultimatum, because otherwise you could be in the same place in 6 months time. I hope someone gives you a big hug.
If she wants a trial separation can you ask her to leave? I know it is not ideal and l don't know if it is doable with the kids but she seems to be the one calling the shots and wanting it all her own way.
Perhaps if she sees what she is about to lose she might pull her finger out her arse and start trying to sort things out with you
TBH, I think it might be a good idea to take her up on the trial separation.
Yeah my best hope is that somehow she works out what I actually do for her when I'm gone or something. The kids have to stay here really so not sure how to do the whole 'space' thing. If I give her ultamatums she may well refuse to go to relate and call the whole thing off so I'm praying we get an appointment soon. I'd like a decision either way so I know what the hell I'm doing.
If I give her ultamatums she may well refuse to go to relate and call the whole thing off
She is holding all the cards and all the power. She will call it off if she doesn't get her own way--emotional blackmail.
Skaboy you deserve so much better than this. Time for you to take control and stop pussyfooting about her.
Leave-get as much access to the kids as you can --call her bluff.
Join the discussion
Please login first.