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Dad needs some Mums perspectives on relationship

(33 Posts)
Silverfox1Dad Sat 24-Aug-13 20:59:39

I've read around a few posts here and found many mums who have difficult relationships, unfaithful husbands, and much advice to leave those relationships. My wife has been the one having the affairs, to the point where I had to DNA test our youngest to establish he was mine - possibly the lowest point of my life.
The thing is, I am the majority carer, as I am at home most. Whilst this has facilitated my wife's career, I believe at the same time it has made me less attractive - she is drawn to older alpha males, and a caring nurturing husband comes second to that. My problem is that I come from a broken home and my biggest single goal in life was not to put my children through that - so I work at ways to make this marriage work. And in many ways it does, we can get along very well, be tender and caring at times, but at the back of my mind, I know she still talks to her other 'men'. I know she probably has limited opportunity to actually see them, but for me it is about emotional fidelity. In a way I can (and have) forgiven sexual indiscretions, but when you feel that you are taken for granted, that when away on work you slip from your partner's mind and perhaps the other men take that place, it makes the whole relationship hard.
I do realise I can't do anything to change her, no one can change anyone else, all I can do is change myself. I know that the best thing would be for me to find my independence, which means finding the childcare, finding the job that can fit around childcare (at the moment I work from home with sporadic income, not real independence). I know I crave some contact with other adults and yes some closeness with women, because I have been starved of it for so long. We do occasionally have sex, and its fine, but I know that her desire for these other men is always there. I also know that it stems from her father issues (he is mentally ill) and so I feel very compassionate about it, but perhaps to the extent where it is damaging me. Now it may be a feature of the mental illness, but her father is a very selfish man, and my wife does seem to have some of those traits. Her primary affair was also with a man old enough to be her father.
I have ideas about what I should do, but I think I need some female perspective. I don't want to break up our marriage, my kids even ask me to make sure that doesn't happen! And as I said it would break my primary motivation in life. But I am very lonely and unhappy with my life, even though I also feel blessed with my children.
Before I became a father I was an adventurer, travelling the world with my work, not highly paid, but always exciting. Now I've spent a decade in one place - that's hard as well.
Any words of wisdom?

Phineyj Sat 24-Aug-13 21:04:36

Your wife really doesn't sound very nice, and if you separated wouldn't you be likely to get custody? What do you get out of this marriage?

Chubfuddler Sat 24-Aug-13 21:06:24

Sounds like you are the primary cater and this marriage is destroying your self esteem. I would leave in your shoes.

NatashaBee Sat 24-Aug-13 21:12:17

You've spent a lot of your post excusing her behaviour. What do you actually get out of your relationship with her? Do you think she actually wants to be with you, or just doesn't want to rock the boat?

Silverfox1Dad Sat 24-Aug-13 21:22:05

Well I guess that we do sometimes have good times - so then it feels fine, but its just that its not that often. We can blame work and pressure, but I guess you prioritise what you want to prioritise. She says she's no longer interested in the affairs, but because the trust isn't there, its hard to know the truth.
I guess I hope to restore balance to the marriage by increasing my independence and decreasing her need to work all the time, and therefore not have to break things up and upset the kids.

AdoraBell Sat 24-Aug-13 21:33:14

You say you don't want To break the family, and I can understand that, but the reality is that your family is already broken.

If I were in your position I would leave. As the main carer you will quite líkely get custody of the children. I believe the time when a mother is almost garuanteed To be granted custody is gone. And in terms of what you teach your DCs by staying or leaving, do you want them To think relationships should be like that of you and your wife?

kotinka Sat 24-Aug-13 21:38:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Notmoreschoolholidays Sat 24-Aug-13 21:50:59

Hi op, I'm sorry if this sounds brutal but you and your DW are not going to be providing a very good relationship template for your DC. They will internalise your behaviour, and that of your DW and they will be very likely to play put these same patterns in their own adult relationships. I really think you need to reassess your attitude to 'broken homes', as I bet you would be devastated if one of your adult DC came to you and described relationship like yours. FWIW my parents stayed together when they should have called it a day. It's been really hard to learn what a healthy, loving relationship really looks like as an adult because I genuinely had never seen one when I was small. Two self-respecting parents who are apart is a much healthier thing to have than what you have described.

ZenNudist Sat 24-Aug-13 21:59:09

Have you tried couples therapy? It doesn't sound like its working and you say the trust is gone , your sex life moribund, your confidence trashed. You deserve better than this.

Perhaps put yourself on a six month to one year plan to try and make it work properly and then leave. Or rather, ask her to leave. Seek custody of the dc and alimony from wife.

If you are determined to make it work your wife needs to know it's make or break time. She needs to show she is putting you first.

My first reaction to your post btw was to say "Leave". I'd also say getting some legal advice just in case would be a very good idea.

Ett36 Sat 24-Aug-13 22:23:50

your message is so heartfelt. I truely feel for your situation. as others have suggested, maybe together try counselling? and as much as you don't want to break the home up as someone else has mentioned that isn't providing a good example to your clearly loved children.
my H and I are working on being nice and kind to each other and where we can spending adult time together. small steps. but you need to have that conversation first together. its no good if u are working to different ends. you need to be singing from same hymn sheet. you need to both really set out what you would like and what the alternatives are. I think you have to fully recognise the alternatives and possible consequences to know what it is you really want/need. I know I wish I could fast forward time to get out of this life that I never saw would be mine. you have to be happy. you need to discover how to be that. good luck.

Notmoreschoolholidays Sat 24-Aug-13 22:39:50

There are a couple of posters who have mentioned couples counselling, but I think individual counselling should be a priority for you. If dw is eager and willing to work hard on your marriage with you, then great. But from what you have said, I suspect she will not be over keen to attend counselling with you. I believe it would be of greater benefit to you and your DC to work on your self-esteem with your own therapist. Why is it that you are willing to tolerate someone treating you so badly? It is so unbelievably important that we treat ourselves with kindness and respect, and that includes not scooping up other peoples shit because they don't want to deal with it themselves (I'm talking about DW and her daddy issues here). Sorry for the blunt manner, I really hope you work it all out.x

Himoutdoors Sat 24-Aug-13 23:05:58

Sorry to hear about this. I think the first bstep should be to try to find a job and a carer if necessary. I think this will help your confidence and esteem.

fifi669 Sat 24-Aug-13 23:28:46

Honestly? You don't want to break up as you don't want your kids to have a broken home. Yet they're actually saying to you they want you two to stay together. That says to me they know its an unhappy household. It's far worse for them to grow up in that atmosphere than two happy households.

You've been taken for a mug. Forgiving an affair is doable. But she is showing you a complete lack of respect.

Areader Sat 24-Aug-13 23:32:13

Why exactly did she marry you if she prefers older alpha males? Have you asked her if she loves you? How could a woman like this respect a man who does not have a full time job or career?
You'll need to become far stronger mentally to match the kind of woman you are living with. Otherwise she'll treat you as insignificant and unimportant, and possibly view you with a degree of contempt.
Sex with such a man is bound to be a bit of a turn off. I think a full time job plus insistence on going out more on your own, i.e. building a life for yourself which extends beyond your wife and children, e.g. hobbies and interests involving going out and meeting others, males and females, who she doesn't know.
Let her start doing or arranging more baby sitting and caring of her children rather than just focusing on her career alone as if that's more important. Just tell her in advance you'll be going out on such-and-such an evening and let her see to things herself. Let her get on with it.
If she admires confident alpha males become one yourself! Only then will she start to respect you.

Himoutdoors Sun 25-Aug-13 06:29:03

If you don't already excercise perhaps start by becoming fit. Have her lock after children whilst you work out. How old are both of you?

It is clear that you still love you DW and don't want to lose her. Understandable but you need to show strength and confidence in all aspects as I suspect that is what she finds attractive. Do you know what/who was her first sexual encounter?

The other thing that she may find attractive is positivity and optimism? If you are not already so then practice seeing the positive aspect in every situation.

Do you have any good friends, male or female?

What is you sexual desire like? It does sound as though she has a psychologicalproblem rather anything else. In exchange for you being so admirably understanding there should be some quid pro quo of her having counselling.

Big hug

Chubfuddler Sun 25-Aug-13 07:49:03

I don't think bending himself double trying to be an alpha male to woo back his wife is the way forward here areader.

TheGirlFromIpanema Sun 25-Aug-13 10:42:40

I would be asking her to leave the home if I were you.

The exact same advice I'd give a woman who was putting up with shitty behaviour from a philandering partner.

Whether you can or cannot find a way through this is then up to you if that is what you want; but at the moment she has already 'broken' the family and you shouldn't put up with it.

paperlantern Sun 25-Aug-13 11:27:28

hmmmm....

While she knows your not going to leave, regardless of her behaviour, she isn't going to change. Whilst you are determined not to leave you woll continue the family unit even though the marriage has failed.

essentially you seem to be taking responsibility for her behaviour onto your self. even if something in the marriage was wrong, she has made the choice to seek interest outside the marriage as opposed to discussing it with you. she is not committed to making it work.

Whilst going back to work may be good for your self esteem you are taking a gamble that it will re spark her interest. Your marriage might not improve/survive

what I don't think you realise that you're gambling with. if your marriage fails now you are in a position to claim primary carer, go back to work and you will not.

That is a pretty heavy gamble for something where only you are committed to the other's happiness.

scaredysausage Sun 25-Aug-13 11:36:41

Stop excusing her behaviour, and stop taking the blame for it. The facts are that she does not love and respect you, otherwise she would not be behaving like this.

As someone who's parents separated, I know how much you want your own marriage to work out, but would you want your children to grow up thinking that your relationship is normal and acceptable?

Do what you need to do - i.e. work, get more etc, and talk to her. Make sure she knows how you feel. If she does want the marriage to work as much as you do, then she'll do something about it.

Mojavewonderer Sun 25-Aug-13 15:30:36

If one of your children came up to you in the future and told you what you have just told us would you advise them to stay for the sake of the kids, to be unhappy and miserable but at least together? I doubt it! You would try your best to help them leave and get custody of the kids!
You say you don't want to break up your marriage and that just makes me feel so sad because you sound like a really nice person and there are some wonderful people out there who would love and cherish someone like you.
I hope you wake up and smell the coffee soon because before you know it she will have fallen head over heels for some old bloke and left you with nothing except a broken heart.

Backonthefence Sun 25-Aug-13 15:38:00

Don't let your children think its okay to let them stay with a person that treats the m like shit. You need to tell her To go, stop excusing her behaviour. The irony is as soon as you start standing up for yourself she will probably want you more but you deserve better.

hareinthemoon Sun 25-Aug-13 15:55:53

You sound very wistful - very understandable. It is hard to recognise that, no matter how much you bend yourself into knots to create a family that will make up for what you didn't have, this one isn't it. But more than that you sound wistful for your life before children. DH and I struggle with this a lot - children are a massive focus in our lives, and give it meaning as you say, but we miss ourselves. Both of us were in jobs/situations which were unconducive to a life with children and we have done a lot to change that and give them a stable comfortable life. But we've been honest and clear eyed about trying to make whatever space we could for what we were before. For example, in DH's case he was a successful musician but didn't want the travel that came with that. He plays less often with less travel, and has a "day job". I still struggle with creating my own work in addition to my day job...I was the main carer for most of the children's early life, and I have a lingering inability to make time for what part of me clearly sees as indulgence. And so we struggle on. For you I suspect that you need to not think so much of the type of masculinity/behaviour your wife might seem drawn to, but to think about how you can return to a sense of the adventurer in yourself. You've tried admirably to be true to the relationship and family, but you need also to be true to yourself.

Incidentally, that truth to self is often what makes someone attractive...

ProphetOfDoom Sun 25-Aug-13 16:20:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Angelarium Sun 25-Aug-13 16:26:51

Your wife must want to live with you or she'd have wanted to separate. You say there is tenderness and caring between you sometimes. So how exactly do you know she's thinking of other men? Is she writing to them on the internet? And how does she get to meet them anyway? Has she promised you she won't do it again? How did she react when you forgave her? You seem to be obsessing about it too much. Maybe it's over and done with. Or does she just love sex?
Are you seriously jealous of her fucking older men, some of them maybe fat and bald with high blood pressure, struggling to get it up? If she said she isn't maybe it really isn't happening any more. And anyway, if she's attracted to seedy, narcissistic, men far older than her and long past their best maybe she needs to see a psychiatrist!
Sound like she needs help actually. Her attraction for old men sounds more like a mental illness than anything else. Don't you feel a degree of contempt for a woman being attracted to such undesirable males? She clearly doesn't have much taste.
You say you have sex with her and it's often fine. Yet you say you also desire other women's company. So I take it that means your wife isn't really enough for you either? If you love her alone you'll want to be with her only. But is the whole thing all just about the children's welfare and stability in the home because of your own childhood?

ProphetOfDoom Sun 25-Aug-13 16:37:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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