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.
Healing after affair and then the golden OW(56 Posts)
6 months on from affair crisis and things getting slowly better in my 20+ years marriage with 2dc. Able to talk more now but we are running at different paces - OH "its over, was once, lets just move on, stop attacking me, getting angry". This anger is v. Infrequent on my part - normally triggered by PMT, OH not helping with stuff, just random moments of sadness. Been thinking a lot about contacting OW to say "I know, you and OH behaviour had devastating impact on me and DC - if you have any humanity/empathy, know this and own it". Mentioned this to my OH and his response "Contact her and I will divorce you". Absolutely floored - not what HE wants as it will upset her!!!!!
I totally second your sentiments Wellwobbly that some posters are impatient for this and other OPs to get with the programme and leave their husbands.
Either they are lucky enough to have never encountered these kind of marriages, lucky enough to have the ability to have sent men packing who have treated them badly or post from the comfort of their own successful marriage.
I can see that this is probably the time to try and muster some courage and take back some authority , he has said he values his OWs feelings over yours and you know what that means OP. Carefully read wellwobblys two excellent posts and consider what small step you can take right now to further yourself down the road of recovery but maybe not recovery of your marriage but recovery from its end and the affect that will have
Be kind, Isetan.
This stuff (realising your life isn't what you thought it was) is very very painful to come to terms with.
Wow! It seems you respect yourself as much as your husband respects you, which ain't a lot.
The only reason he hasn't left you is because he can't be bothered, he's biding his time until another vagina comes along.
Focusing on OW is a distraction. You are not responsible for his cheating but you are responsible for the slow and painful death of your own self esteem by staying with this fuckwit.
He treats you badly because he is horrible and you let him. Your marriage is over but neither you and your H has the guts to end it. Depressing and sad.
I could not agree more with WellWobbly. I suspected my ex of cheating in our first year, and when I was pregnant in our second year, he always denied it. I even used to have nightmares of him walking off with another woman and just looking straight through me. I used to wake up and tell him about my dreams, he used to say I was being silly. Now 20 years later, 2 years after our seperation and consequent divorce (I left him as he treated me with no respect whatsover), I finally got the truth, yes, he was cheating on me during my pregnancy, and then went on to sleep with an estimated 42 prostitutes!
He didn't have the guts to tell me when we were getting a divorce, he made me do all the work, only so that he could say 'I'ts what you wanted'. When I got angry once I had finally found out, his response was 'It happens to other women all the time'. I didn't have the 'right' to be angry, because it was all in the past, and we were already divorced. He still doesn't acknowledge that he did wrong by me. The worst thing I did was strike up an emotional connection with an ex boyfriend, and that gave me the strength to leave. I was faithful to him until the day the divorce papers came through.
For a man to be physically intimate with another woman, and then to come home and expect you to do his washing and cook his dinner.... I did it unknowingly for years, but it always felt wrong, and he was very good at belittleling my feelings. He used 'gas lighting' to draw me off track, kept me on my toes, I never knew what I was doing right or wrong, it could be either.
I am really sorry that this has happened to you. I am now, alone, but so much more at peace, I do not wake up rigid with anxiety, grinding my teeth. I no longer walk on eggshells. The saddest part is that my DD knew and was unable to tell me, and she carried his burden. She no longer talks to him, and of course I am being blamed for that too. Do yourself a favour, go look at a website called 'lovefraud'. See if that helps any, it did me.
Good luck debtherat with whatever you choose to do, it is an unenviable position to be in, but make sure you direct your anger and hurt at the person who has done this damage, him. Once you start standing up for yourself, and look him straight in the eye, and know that you are right, you will see what a coward he is. And as a side issue, I taped absolutely all of my conversations with him, it's good to have proof. Just in case.
I suspect it has nothing to do with her feelings and all to do with what he fears she could tell you if you were in direct contact with her.
The thing that strikes is the casual character assassination - you're not positive about things, you watch programmes about social issues and try to talk about bad news stories.
It's a little thing that says so much
I couldn't put up with that coldness and casual dismissal and negative spin of things I was interested in.
He sounds dreadful. Selfish and cold.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
You're blaming the wrong person. She dumped him when she found out he was married, you said.
Why attach any blame to her at all? It was his fault. All his. Seems to me she did the right thing but yet you want to lay a guilt trip on her.
from chumplady.com: Dear Chump Lady,
Before I share my cautionary tale, Id like to tell you that finding your site a few months ago changed my life. I am in a state of complete freedom. Your banner says it all I left a cheater and gained an amazing life.
For those chumps who are still on the fence about leaving their cheaters, get a divorce lawyer now. Listen to your intuition. You do not want to go through what I went through. A little background on myself I am well educated, financially successful, a great mom, attractive and have lots of real friends and great family. I was successful in all aspects of my life except my relationship with my serial cheater ex-husband. (Um, how could one have a successful relationship with a cheater?)
Twenty-three years ago, my ex had his very first affair when I was pregnant with our only child. He was drunk when he had sex with a co-worker in his car, but he did go back for more a few weeks later. He confessed to me after our child was born (perfect timing but he needed to get it off his chest typical selfish, cheater trait) and I went through severe depression for months. The co-worker? She slept with the ex a few weeks before and after her wedding. I called and confronted her when I found out, and I still remember her screaming to my ex, Why did you tell her? She was terrified I would tell her H (all about herself), so she told him. He promptly threw her out of the house. Good for him. Chump he wasnt. They were married less than 6 months at this point.
We worked on reconciliation but it was never the same. The trust was gone. I spent the next ten years being the marriage police, lowering my standards and expectations just to continue to believe that he loved me, and in the process lost my self-worth, self-respect and functioned on auto-pilot. He still had the upper hand because I felt I would not make it without him. I could relate to all that reasons why chumps stay as pointed out by Tracy. Somehow, I managed to stay sane and still be successful in other areas of my life. And yet, I was diminishing as a person while thinking I was making the right decision to stay. You truly do not know what you do not know.
Next affair that I knew of happened 10 years later. This OW was a piece of work. She told me I know youve been married to him for a long time but I cant help myself. I threw him out and a year and half later, filed for divorce. He got scared and begged for forgiveness. I had no self-love at this point and was happy to take him back. I became even chumpier than ever. Twelve years after the second affair, he had his third one. Prior to the final affair, I had been going to counseling and working on myself for the past three years, and now I had strength and clarity. I threw him out so fast, his head spun. I went no contact unless absolutely necessary because of the divorce settlement. Divorce was final 4 months after the discovery of the final affair. No energy whatsoever was wasted on contacting the OW like I did in the two previous affairs.
Its been seven months since I threw him out. LIFE IS FREAKIN GOOD! Do I have tough moments? Sure but not tough days or weeks. That is part of healing, but the alternative of spending the next 23 years of my life in pain and suffering (by choice, mind you) makes all the occasional grieving worthwhile. The joys now surpass the pain.
My journey right now is doing deep therapy work to find out why I allowed myself to stay and take the emotional abuse. No, I am not taking the blame for his cheating. That is on him 100%. (Dont let anyone ever make you believe otherwise.) I take ownership that I allowed myself to be the victim. The answer for me? I did not have self-love. I gave myself permission to lose it while holding on to a marriage with a cheater (a losing proposition, by the way). I am working on truly loving myself and please dont confuse this with narcissism. Loving yourself means you give yourself the love and respect you deserve from ALL your relationships, and realizing that the best relationship youll ever have is with yourself. Narcissists dont even have a clue what true self-love means. With the help of my incredible counselor, my spiritual life, amazing books of authors who have been through a similar life journey and daily commitment to love myself through my thoughts and actions I am definitely on a healthy path. I want to be a healthy person who will attract only healthy people, so I am taking my time to love and know myself, so I know exactly what I want in a future relationship. Finding a future partner is not a must have but rather a gift. And if I never, ever find a partner who would love me the way I deserved to be loved, then be it. I would rather live alone than in quiet humiliation with a cheater. Even without a partner, I know for sure that I will continue to have a full life as I have today with myself, family and friends.
The ex? He is shacking up with the final OW and supporting her 100%. I didnt waste energy contacting this OW. (I probably should send her a thank you card, though.) The ex sends me occasional, nice and polite emails to engage me in whatever topics, and I completely ignore them. His letter of apology was deleted so fast my computer nearly went up in smoke. Our adult child has chosen not to have contact with him.
I am not naïve to think that I am fully healed. I am not but I am getting there. The longer I stayed, the tougher the healing. So chumps, call a divorce lawyer today. Cheaters do not change. Dont take nearly 23 years of your life to figure that one out like I did. Cheating is part of who they are. My ex, on the outside, is a kind, attractive, successful man and I believed he was just broken. Hes intact alright plus a jerk in disguise. You know who will get broken if you stay? You. Dont do that to yourself. As Maya Angelou said, When people tell you who they are, believe them the first time.
I look back at my life and instead of being angry why I stayed as long as I did (I had to do work on that), I am grateful for today that I am finally free with an opportunity to have an awesome life on my terms. Please heed my caution and dont waste another minute of your precious life on your cheater. Dont join me in the Chump Lady Hall of Fame. YOU are worth more than that. They do not love you. Love does not hurt. The cheater, on the other, truly deserves their affair partner. Dont think you are hanging on to a prized possession; you actually have garbage in your hands. Discard them. Now.
Sorry, left a bit out: 'secretly .... OW, after being as fucking horrible blaming and avoidant as you describe your husband'.
(I seriously hope you tell him to F the F off and call a lawyer, as quickly as HotChoc, AF and others hope).
HotChoc, be kind. This is Debthrat's journey and she WILL get there.
Trust me on this one! Just because we all know, she has to come to terms with this stuff herself.
Deb, I have a lot of sympathy for you because I did what you are doing for 4 years (20 year old marriage also). It wasn't wasted years, because I worked on a lot of stuff and learned to unhook myself from the hope-ium pipe (hope that he would care enough and change).
You are currently making a huge mistake, because what you are trying to do is appease him to stay and trying your hardest not to bring up your hurt and pain, and need for answers (this is called eating the shit sandwich. Because you swallow the shit of humiliation).
What is this doing? Increasing his disrespect of you and letting him know he has got away with it.
He still thinks very fondly of the OW and has checked out of your marriage, sorry. You are useful only as a house keeper and nanny.
Your ongoing pain loneliness and humiliation will eventually be more than your fears and force you to face this reality (and choose a life of dignity and self-respect), but I respect that it is a long journey where you face your fears and know you will survive, and it can't be done at MN pace (no matter how right they are).
Just to let you know what my turning point was: I found he was secretly back in touch with OW.
Good luck DTR, and we are on your side.
Chumplady.com. Visit it soon.
So your husband cheats on you, breaks your heart and pisses over your whole life but then gets angry at you when you need to react to it and threatens divorce if you go near his little shag friend?
Fuck that. I would be packing his bags and divorcing him come Monday.
Op is probably sticking her fingers in her ears saying lalala....
This marriage isn't in recovery, it's in crisis. Sorry x
what perfect storm says.
im so sorry.
please leave for your own sanity
Wasn't she married too, and went back to her dh?
Either way, he's not in this marriage anymore. He doesn't want to be married to you.
I'd put money on him running straight back to her given half the chance.
Please open your eyes. Surely you have enough self-respect to see that you deserve much, much better than this.
I agree with all he sounds horrid and manipulative. I wasn't the least bit surprised he blamed you for the affair - he has taken no responsibility.
He doesn't want you to contact her in case she gives him a second chance.
This man despises and resents you. He's treated you like crap in cheating, and now he treats you with contempt because he's hurt you and he finds your pain irritating. It also sounds like he resents you because the OW had no idea he was married and ended it when she found out, so he sees you as the road block instead of his own dishonesty to her - from what you say, she's got too much sense to want, trust or forgive him even if you did split up. I'm not surprised he doesn't want you to contact her - she and you could probably learn quite a lot about him, together, and he'll have spun her a line as well.
Usually, I would argue against contacting the OW. In this instance, she is NOT responsible in any way, in fact he's betrayed and abused her trust as well, and she rose to the occasion and did the right thing by you as soon as she found out. That being so, contacting her to thank her for her integrity might be nice. She's been hurt, too.
And your husband sounds a worthless piece of filth. Can't fathom why you are tolerating his nasty, spiteful little carcase in your life, tbh. Do your children not deserve better than what sounds a totally toxic atmosphere?
Pretty clear where his priorites lie. Up to you if you are happy to be married to someone as shitty as this, he certainly ain't gonna change.
Counselling - few sessions - then he ducked out as he thought counsellor was biased, salacious.
He has said that he wont change but wants to try and make things better... but leaves it to me to arrange things... As he is so busy with his things
20 years and he treats you like this.
No I would not contact the OW.
I suspect you are talking to yourself OP and as soon as the next Miss Wonderful OW comes over the horizon he will be off faster than a butcher's dog.
As you know I did contact the OW and got written apologisies from both, did it help ? Nah not really maybe a little bit at the time but months later I couldn't give a shot if they regret it or not, didn't stop them opening their legs at the time so why bother feeling guilty now.
However I would question his motive in all honesty.
It's never going to gd the same again is it ? I do wonder whether you'd be better of putting together an exit plan and concentrating on building a new life for yourself.
He is taking no responsibility for the A-Bomb he exploded in your lives.
He wants you to STFU and get on with it.
Getting on with it means you have no right at all to need time to heal, to repair the hurt he inflicted.
As it stands, the relationship stands NO chance whatsoever of survival.
You need to tell HIM to go. For a while, until you work out what you want in life.
Unless he sees the conséquences of his behaviour, he's never going to change.
It may be that this is too little, too late. You possibly ought to have told him to go upon discovery.
Where's the deterrent for him? If he knows that it's game over, he's less likely to chance it.
In any case, you deserve way better than this.
OW didn't know he was married, when she found out, she dumped him. Good for her. She made the right choice. The bastard in all this is your H.
We are talking to the hand, I think
Wow - he's not even trying to be sorry!
I'm afraid you have been taken up again as the old reliable wife until the next OW comes along. He expects you to swallow his infidelity and get back to your old life double-quick so he doesn't have to hear about your whining feelings. Of course he doesn't want you to contac the OW - then she'll tell you all the crap he's telling her about YOU!
The OW is not the issue here OP. You are married to a nasty PIG.
Join the discussion
Please login first.