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.

Update on EA

(866 Posts)
faulkernegger Wed 26-Jun-13 13:53:22

I posted some weeks ago about DP's suspicious friendship, and even though we have talked about it (I've said I feel uncomfortable, children have noticed etc) it's still going on.
He has been attentive and loving, and when I asked if we were ok he looked me in the eye and said 'yes'. However, a few evenings ago about 11pm he took his phone into the loo. When he came out I challenged him - why on earth do you need to take your phone into the loo at 11 o'clock at night? to which he replied - I had it in my pocket on the way upstairs. Well he didn't - it had been on the bedside table. So I said - you;re not telling me the truth and I want you to think about why you're not telling the truth.
A couple of days later he took me aside and said he'd made a decision to step back from this woman, because I clearly thought that 'something' was going on. I felt so relieved.
But, having a gnawing feeling still, I did some checking on his mobile phone bill online ( about the only thing he's forgotten to change his password for) and he seems to have called her more often and for longer, since that conversation!

What do I do now? confront again and ask exactly HOW this is stepping back? or, as my sister says, back off, be sweetness and light and give him more time to end it.
I have been for an initial assessment at Relate to see of there's anything I can do about 'me' that will help the relationship, but I feel there's no point if his mind is elsewhere.
Help!

onefewernow Tue 01-Oct-13 00:16:51

I'm sorry to pop up again with an echo, but it fits. At this stage, but before he would admit, the youngest two were very anxious, and the reason I went for it was partly because my 15 year old was acting out and demanding that " I didn't let him treat me like shit".

I truly thought she/they weren't aware. I thought that she saw me as a strong person. I was wrong. They see more than you expect.

All you need to do is burst the bubble. Give him an ultimatum, namely stop teaching her child and resume relate, or he can walk.

You will sooner or later, I promise. One day you will snap over maybe some small unrelated issue, as I did, and it will happen. It would help the kids ( and you) to hurry it along.

Meanwhile at least well done to avoid the Stepford wife routine! I can see you are trying.

Fairenuff Tue 01-Oct-13 08:24:10

Yes, let the school know. You can do it by letter or in person. You might prefer to meet privately with the class teacher, in person so that you can be reassured that they will help your son.

They will have supported lots of children through this difficult phase, are very experienced and professional. Many school have a Family Support Worker too and you might be able to make an appointment with them, just to talk through the situation.

Regarding arguing in front of the child. Children learn how to resolve conflict from their parents so there is no need to hide it. However, you should model assertiveness. That means staying calm or, if you feel yourself getting angry, say 'I'm getting angry, I can't talk about this right now, let's take a break'. But do make sure that you come back to deal with it later.

Actions speak louder than words, so if you say one thing, but do another, the child will be confused. (This is why parents should always follow through on their discipline threats). Children feel insecure when parents are not in control. They like to know who is in charge and what is going to happen to them, it helps them feels safe.

The music lessons. They could have stopped and he could be spending the time each week with her, not the son. You don't know, you're not there. I would suggest that, whilst you are still deciding what to do about your relationship, you insist that the music lessons take place at your house.

The boy can be dropped off and picked up. If that doesn't fit in with her then she can find another teacher for her son. It will, at least, ensure that they are not meeting up every week to plot against you and stroke each other's egos.

What do you think?

captainmummy Tue 01-Oct-13 08:32:45

Tessa and Faire are so right.
When I split from exdh (it took a few months) they dc were definitely affected. We didn;t shout, or argue; in fact he was barely there, but the tension when he was, was definite. When I and the dc moved out, things got better immediately. Dc get used to things so quickly, so long as they have one constant (you) and a routine - and it's so much better than the 'eggshells' and constant edginess - that the dc will pick up on, even if you think they don;t.

Xales Tue 01-Oct-13 09:03:59

He can help it. I bet he wouldn't shout at her son and reduce him to tears. I bet he is all smiles and encouragement.

That he is getting paid makes no difference. He feels he has the right to treat DS this way.

Just like he can you.

tessa6 Tue 01-Oct-13 11:17:04

Faire is right, I'm not saying there should be no conflict in front of the child but children should witness strong, respectful disagreement (which is about what it seems to be about) and hopefully, a resolution. If you are not able to do that right now, then it's best to stick to fighting in private.

But from what you've posted previously I think you're absolutely crazy if you don't believe your DS knows what's going on. The most horrible atmosphere for a child is insecurity and actually a situation like this is much more insecure than a separation where everyone knows what's going on.

I would go in to the school, as suggested. And I agree that this really needs to be brought to a head in some way, preferably with a professional like a counsellor present. A continuation of all this will be more damaging, not get less and less gradually, if that's what you're hoping.

What is the situation as it stands? Has he promised not to contact her? What rights and demands have you made? Or are you in a busy denial stage?

Cosydressinggown Tue 01-Oct-13 14:13:01

I've felt a concerned, friendly interest in your posts up to now inthedusk but this has suddenly struck a horrible chord with me.

My dad did not have an EA, he had a sexual affair, and he was like you describe your partner being, towards my brother. The shouting, temper, undermining etc have destroyed my brother as a person - his self esteem is rock bottom and he is now in his late 20s. You MUST protect your children from this.

Part of protecting your children from this is standing up for yourself for once and STOPPING HIM FROM DOING THE MUSIC LESSONS. I'm sorry but this is core. You stood up to him and told him to stop, or it was over. He hasn't stopped, and it isn't over. You have made yourself a total pushover that he has no respect for. Not only do your children see their dad behaving the way he does towards them, they see how he behaves towards you. They see you accepting his half apologies and his excuses. Believe me, they see - and will see more as they get older. This is very damaging for them, both for their own self esteem and for their relationships with the opposite sex as they get older.

I wish my mum had stopped trying to hold it all together for the family - she stayed with my dad, put up with his shit and his excuses and his bullying of her and us all. I wish she had shown us that she - and we - did not deserve to be treated like that.

tessa6 Tue 01-Oct-13 14:45:00

Same for me, Cosy. Aggressive, absent father. An anxious, conflict avoidant mother. My brother suffered the brunt of it and had ten years of being an absolute nightmare as a young man.
I now continually find myself in relationships with frightening men that I try to appease.

I'm still not sure I understand the dynamic between you and your DH, OP? Are you afraid of his temper at all? Do you communicate well? What would people on the outside say about you? Have you got some rules in place about OW? I guess you're still working things out but when you're ready it'd be great to have an update of the picture.

Jux Tue 01-Oct-13 16:11:26

Inthedusk, it is nearly a month ago that I suggested he gives the lessons at your house. My dh teaches guitar at our house. I will say, it's not ideal but very much preferable to having a dh who is in the throes of an ea wandering off to his paramour's house on a regular basis.

It is time you stopped thinking and acted. Lessons at yours or no lessons at all. What excuses has he given for not doing that? Have you made the suggestion at all?

Your child is suffering. This is when people start to get upset and agencies start to get interested. Don't let it go further, please.

Fairenuff Tue 01-Oct-13 16:17:06

He has a music room at their house so lessons from home would be easy.

I strongly suspect, though, that he is not in fact continuing the lessons. I expect he spends half an hour a week with the OW. This is the only time they can meet and talk freely and do whatever else they want to do.

This is why he is refusing to give up the 'music lessons'. They are a front for the affair.

By continuing like this, they get to miss each other all week and yearn for each other, thus keeping the affair fresh and alive. If they were living together, he would soon start to annoy her with his overbearing ways.

Like this is perfect for him. He gets to pine for her and look forward excitedly to his clandestine weekly date with her, without having to put in any effort to hide what he's doing, or make up elaborate excuses about where he's been.

On top of that, he has a partner at home who allows all this to go on. She moans occasionally but he fobs her off and after a while she shuts up.

Sorry, Faulk but I honestly do think that's what's going on here. There is no other reason for him to cling so fiercely to those 'lessons'.

Jux Tue 01-Oct-13 16:30:38

I agree with you, Fairenuff, which was why I wondered what excuses he gave about being unable to teach the boy at Faulk's house.

Faulk, I'm really sorry, but there is no reason is there?

I know dh teaches at home anyway, but if he didn't and I was worried about what he was getting up somewhere else under the guise of 'lessons', then I know - absolutely know - that if he made any excuses about transferring lessons here, it would mean my fears were justified. Mind you, I am pretty sure he would have given up giving the lessons straight away, and things would never have got to this point.

lazarusb Tue 01-Oct-13 16:31:59

Interesting post Cosy. Looking back I can see similarities between your brother and my eldest ds. His dad was abusive. I did anything I could to avoid conflict. I left him when ds was 5 but even the 4 years we lived together as a family in that atmosphere had an effect on him.

Inthedusk Do you feel as if you're in a hole - that everywhere you look there's no answers, no way out, no daylight? This man isn't only damaging you, he's hurting your son too. Poor lad. I hope he will prove to be the inspiration you need to stand up for yourself properly.

Fairenuff Tue 01-Oct-13 16:42:06

Oh, I just realised that the date lesson is today. In about half an hour he will be with her.

How do you cope with this Faulk? I really don't know how you can watch him leave to go to her every week sad. So, so sad

tessa6 Tue 01-Oct-13 16:45:38

you must feel very judged and put upon, Faulk. Please try to have the strength to return here when you need help. I know how impossible it is to imagine turning your life upside down. Thinking of you.

Cosydressinggown Tue 01-Oct-13 16:45:54

I don't understand how you can watch him walk out the door knowing he is going to hers, when you have asked him not to (and put the relationship on the line over it), knowing he has chosen this over you. I don't understand how you can bear to look at him or speak to him when he gets back from crapping on your feelings yet again.

You say he's apologised and admitted etc - he hasn't, if he is still continuing these lessons. He really hasn't.

onefewernow Wed 02-Oct-13 10:12:01

Is it that you feel that because he says nothing is happening, or you need the money, or some other old bollocks and lies, that you can't argue it?

If so, that is because you may have become accustomed to arguing within the terms he defines. You don't need to. You just ignore all that and state what you want. You tell him that you are not interested whether he "can do this", or anything else. It just has to stop.

Fairenuff Wed 02-Oct-13 16:05:34

I think it's because Faulk believes him when he says the OW is not there.

Fairenuff Fri 04-Oct-13 08:23:33

How are you today Faulk? Any luck with the moving out? Did you speak to ds's teacher?

Have we frightened you away again? Hope you're ok. You know where we are if you want to talk, rant, let it all out.

lazarusb Fri 04-Oct-13 12:17:05

We are here, even if we're lurking and not posting. We are on your side, ready whenever you want to come back.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 04-Oct-13 12:32:29

Whether he has stopped the lesson, made sure she isn't present is now irrelevant. What is and always was relevant is his behaviour, which is worsening towards you and spreading to your dc.

Fairenuff Sun 06-Oct-13 15:37:38

Faulk I have been thinking about your ds this weekend and I think you should talk to him about what's happening. It sounds like he is a sensitive boy and the whole situation could be having an adverse affect on him. The fact that no-one is talking about it will be hard for him to reconcile.

I think you should ask if he has noticed that dad has been a bit irritable lately, or mum has been a bit tearful (or whatever you think he may have noticed).

Explain to him that you and dp have got some big decisions to make and at the moment you can't agree on them. Tell him that it is nothing that he has said/done or not said/done and that you both love him as much as ever.

If he asks if you are going to separate, be honest. Tell him that it might happen because if two people cannot be happy together, then separating is the right thing to do. But, at the moment, you are hoping that you will be able to sort things out.

If he asks, is it her (OW), tell him it is partly to do with that but mostly because you and dad haven't been able to work as a team and support each other and teamwork is very important in a family.

He will probably ask what will happen to him because that is what most children are concerned about. Tell him he will still have his mum and dad and they both love him. He will have a home and his friends, and go to the same school (if indeed you think that will be possible).

Tell him that if he has any worries or wants to ask more questions, he can come to you anytime.

I think this will help him feel more settled. He might be finding it hard to concentrate at school or be worried about an uncertain future. I also think this will help you because if you do decide to separate, the worst part of telling the children will be pretty much dealt with.

Normally I wouldn't suggest involving the children or telling them about marital dischord Faulk, but in your case I do think that your ds is reacting to the circumstances and it's better to talk about it than leave him anxious and worried.

What do you think?

Hope you're ok btw x

intheduskwiththelightbehindher Sun 06-Oct-13 23:31:08

hi everyone- just checking in. Nothing has changed re lessons - the boy can't come here because OW has to take other dcs to their activities and wouldn't be able to pick him up. I know what would happen - my DH would suggest dropping him off on the way to his next lesson. Erm NO.
I have been doing a lot of reading and research and putting my energies into that, and also into the dcs. fair - thanks for that. It would be awful if we did split, having told ds that we wouldn't. I've been trying to think of a gentle way to bring it up, and I like the way you have put it.
DP is working hard, organising family days out, cooked tea this evg while I went into the music studio to practise! He actually said 'I need to step up - I haven't been doing enough'
This is all very nice, but he still won't talk. He keeps going to bed early (about 9.30 tonight) because he has some early starts and feels better for having more sleep. More like avoidance I think.
I have been doing some work on myself re boundaries and trying it out on my pupils and other adults. Also on not being a 'parent' in my attitude to dp, but an adult - it's quite liberating.
Baby steps.

clam Sun 06-Oct-13 23:36:13

Hi, thanks for updating.
I hope you don't feel too bombarded on this thread.
Are you still going to Relate?

intheduskwiththelightbehindher Mon 07-Oct-13 00:14:41

clam - in principle still going to Relate, but work etc have got in the way a bit. DP and I are self employed so when work comes in we have to do it - can't afford to pay for relate session and lose money for not working.

Fairenuff Mon 07-Oct-13 08:19:09

Well done. Things are changing for you, slowly, but you'll get there.

What is the situation with his phone? Have you looked at it recently? Does he routinely delete his messages? The way he is clinging so very tightly to that damn music lesson is the big giveaway. Everything else is just a smokescreen. Sorry to say it.

But you are slowly building up your courage and your self esteem. Hopefully there will come a point when you are ready to say enough is enough.

Keep posting, keep reading up and practising sticking up for yourself smile

Cosydressinggown Mon 07-Oct-13 17:58:00

Nothing has changed at all, has it? He's still doing exactly what he wants, including teaching the lesson that you've asked him not to, because he had an inappropriate, emotional affair with the mother of his pupil.

Him saying, 'I need to step up, I haven't been doing enough' is just bullshit. He may as well have said, 'I need to sweeten you up by doing what I should be doing anyway, so that I can carry on getting away with my affair'. Can your dignity really be bought with family days out and cooking tea?!

The going to bed early thing is an enormous waving red flag that he is a) avoiding you and b) enjoying some nice alone time with his phone/secret phone/secret e-mail/messenger account. This is classic.

You've been doing some work re boundaries but yet can't tell your own partner to stop doing something that is tantamount to shitting on your relationship, or you'll go, because you deserve better? hmm

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now