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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 don't think it should be you who leaves the family home either. Living under the same roof is unsustainable. Get legal advice.
See a solicitor. File for divorce, custody of the kids, and a solid financial provision to enable you to take care of them.
It will focus her mind wonderfully on what she wants to do. If she decides her future is with you and the children, you can stop the divorce proceedings in an instant. If she decides that she doesnt want you, youve avoided prolonging the agony for everyone.
Otherwise I can see you still being in the same situation in six months time. Only older, embittered, and the kids more messed up in their minds.
You are right, there is no quick fix, but YOU need to decide what YOU want. Like you say, you cant hang around for six months while she
waits for her lover to leave his partner makes up her mind .
You do not deserve to be second best. Find your feet, find your own life and carry on now as a single man.
My XH pulled the same trick. "I no longer feel the same, I don't want to be here anymore, but who knows, I may feel different in three months or six months"...
I divorced him,
Cheers for the advice. The main reason I'm here is for the kids- they are used to me being the go to guy. Additionally, if I move out, legally I could be thought of as abandoning them. I think at some point someone needs to move out and I don't think it should be me.
The counselling session was pretty good in the sense that some ground rules were set: no talking about hectic stuff outside of counselling, put the kids first etc. I am going to get out more and so is she. She said she still hadn't slept with the guy and was 'havving some space from him' but wanted to use the next six months to decide what she wants. I said I'm not working to any timescale now and will sort myself out. I don't really see why I should be tied to someone elses decision. Also she has lied a lot so I'm not taking anything she says as gospel.
One other thing I learned: the other guy has a long term partner of 15 years as well. Someone said upthread that they thought my wife might be stalling for time because of something being held up at his end. That rang a bell with me.
The overriding feeling I have is one of trying to get away from this situation but to do it in the most painless way for everyone. Its going to be difficult and there is no quick fix.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I'm not sure you should have gone back but you need to do what you feel is best for you and the DCs.
I hope the session goes as planned later.
Ok, haven't updated for a while because I've mainly been keeping my head down trying to move on and only having minimal contact with the wife. I've been staying back in the house because I have come to the conclusion that I shouldn't be the one to leave and the kids really need me around rather than being a bit-part dad. I have always been the main parent in a practical sense.
However I don't think this arrangement will be sustainable in the long run and plan to get more structured help to resolve it. Tonight is our first couple counselling session. I'm a bit nervous to be honest. The aim is not to get back together, but to deal with this situation without arguing.
Stuff I want to say/find out:
Whether or not this 'six months to sort her head out' is bollocks (I am pretty sure it is).
To tell her that we have to make our plans based on the kids welfare first and foremost.
To say that I cannot continue to play the 'family unit' under the same roof while she is seeing someone else. I don't know how this can be resolved though.
To tell her I don't think I am going to be able to hang around just in case she changes her mind. To be honest I have withdrawn a lot over the past few weeks, lost a lot of trust and respect for her, and begun to find myself again after 15 years of being in a relationship.
Not sure what else to say but hopefully this will be positive whatever happens
Also you are looking after the children why do you need to contact her? If I was your wife I would only expect a call if one of my kids was hurt and I would only call at night to wishes them sweetdreams.
How she handles her relationship with the kids is her business. When they are with you just consentrat on them.
Info your wife should tell you are things like;
Event the kids have arranged like birthday partys or activities on weekends
If they are sick, dr, dentist appointment and medical info
Parents evenings and school trips (this can come from all the kids as they areold enough to talk)
How do you know she has turned her phone off?
Its been nice to see the kids this weekend. The wife hasn't csalled them snd turned her phne off and they were asking questions. I think she should treat them a little better than that but she will be the one who loses out by behaving like that.
Have a good weekend and I hope everything works out for you.
Hiya Skaboy l am so glad you are having a break becuase this has been full on for quite a few weeks now.
Have a good stress free weekend with the kids. You are probably wise to make arrangements through a 3rd party but have you managed to seek legal advice yet. That is a priority.
I'm having a bit of a holiday from it. Been out all night with friends, now she's away most of the weekkend. Not been texting her either apart from arrangements with the kids. Mentally I'm moving on-i don't want to get back with her because of how she has been.
However the practical stuff will need sorting out. It will have to be done with third partys because of the arguments it always seems to cause.
Just catching up with this thread and feel very sad to hear how you are being treated. I am glad to see all the great advice here.
It sounds from what is going on like you should be the one who stays with the house and children while she moves out, as she can't cope at home with the children. Can your hours be made to work around school times? Can the younger two go to after school club?
I agree that the texting and letting her keep you dangling are not on. She needs to make her mind up now. Though really you should be making the decision to leave properly, not leaving it to her.
Saw you post in another thread glad you have got advice here since starting your own thread.
Keep calm and as civil as you can be. She is lashing out either out of pure annoyance at things not going all her own way or trying to provoke you.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Doha that is exactly what I intend to do now. There is no constructive way of handling this. I'm staying at a friends but dividing my time so I see kids as much as possible.
Are you living away just now? She just doesn't want the status quo to change--it suits her living this way.
Please do not engage in any discussion with her now outwith the relate appointment, you wont achieve anything but grief. Keep texts to a minimum about the DC's only.
My idea was joint custody, split child related costs down the middle. I didn't even get the chance to suggest that. The mere idea of me getting my own place caused mental armageddon. The house was ok, but there will be others and I have the support. I think I'm going to ride it out until the relate appt and then calmly suggest my ideas (I was willing to be flexible). Until then minimal contact.
Its a living nightmare but I'm going to stay strong and of course the messages and support here are helping immeasurably. You have no idea how much it means
Where's that strong, fighting spirit Skaboy?
Come on.. You can do it!
Stay strong, stay positive.... We're all behind you... xxxx
Skaboy she didn't think you would move out, that is why you are being threatened and using emotional blackmail, She is vile. She thought you would just sit around and let her get on with her affair while you continued to be the dotting dad and DH at home. Well her bubble has been burst and her plan has been thwarted.
How did you get on with the house you were viewing??
You must for your own sanity move out and l think you are right to explain to the DC's what is happening (she won't like it) but you must start to move on and make a future for you and your kids. If you can work out custody that you can have them most of the time all the better for them for stability and for you (D) wife's health.
Skaboy, just read this and wanted to let you know you have someone else on your side. PLEASE take care of yourself, get counselling for yourself if you can and ask your rl friends for support.
A friend of mine went through something similar many years ago and still bears the emotional scars, but I know that if he'd been less of hisi idea of how a "man" should be at the time and talked to someone then he'd be in a far better place now. I'd love him to talk to someone now, but I know he'd just scoff at the idea. So I'm really pleased to hear that you are open to accepting help.
One word of advice: don't worry about what your children will think of you in years to come. My friend had similar worries and was told by his mum that the kids would work out for themselves who the good guy was despite their mother's attempts to badmouth him at every opportunity. 20 years on and he has a far better relationship with them all than she does and she hates it. But he's always been careful not to say anything bad about her to them and his care has paid off. The kids see the parents for what they are.
So, good luck with it all, keep us updated and take care.
Skaboy, you have to think about the practicalities of who is going to look after the kids and where will they live in the future. This should be your first priority. I know that you said before that you would like a 50/50 residence for them is this really practical? Could they all spend a week with their mother, and then a week with you? Is her health up to this? Can she get them up, washed, dressed and off to school in her week with them? If the answer to all this is no, you have some serious thinking to do so, as it is going to be no good for you to have to step into the breach and then take care of them during her weeks. If it is the case that you honestly think that you would have to intervene when she is unwell, you really should consider having them live with you and for her to have say an extended alternative weekend. Also do try to think what the elder kids would want if they may want the stability of spending the majority of their time with one parent, I suspect that you should respect this.
What I am trying to say is that there is your wifes serious health problems do make this an abnormal situation, where the conventional wisdom of what is right for the kids may not be applicable. One of the worst things you could do is to give them uncertainty.
Once you have decided what is best for the kids, then you can decide what position do you want to take on the house, the money and everything else going forward.
She has to accept that you have feelings and that you have a right to do what you want to do. It is not all about her.
My XH walked out, announced it was over but didnt want a divorce. That was not his decision to make!
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