Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Cheating DH, 'friend' and my strange domestic set-up.

(123 Posts)
merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 17:37:10

This may be long and will totally out me but wtf. DH lives abroad Monday to Friday and commutes back to the uk at weekends. He's a big-shot lawyer and keeps us (three dc's) in a very comfortable lifestyle.

The whole family had lived there until 6 years ago when dc's and I came back to the Uk as the schooling was poor and my eldest Dd was suffering (she has AS). The kids and I are happy here, lots of new friendships formed and life is good. But not for DH. He's lonely out there and I'm acutely aware that he's sacrificing so much for us; we often have the conversation about him giving it all up but it remains inconclusive.

To get to the point. Two months ago, I got a call from a friend I'd made out there. She had some temping work at Dh's company and fancied a chat.I suggested that she looked DH up and hung out with him as I knew he was lonely, she had been a close and valued friend who was having a horrible time with her H and why the hell not.

The two of them had two lunches followed by an evening out the following week and that, I thought, was that. She emigrated to the Middle East the following week with one of her kids (this had always been on the cards).

The week after their evening out our family went on holiday. A lovely time was had by all; I entertained the kids most of the time but that's our family dynamic, I'm the gregarious one while he does his own thing. At the end of the holiday DH seemed to have developed 'mentionitis' over our mutual friend, so much so that I asked him, almost as a joke, if he'd shagged her. Of course he fucking had. Two days before he came home to us and we all set off together. They had arranged to spend the Saturday together, both of them knowing what would happen, and it did. She phoned him the next day and said she'd fallen in love with him and he responded likewise. Throughout our holiday (which coincided with our twentieth anniversary) they phoned each other, texted and e-mailed. They missed each other you see.

He confessed all this three weeks ago and he's so, so sorry. Can never forgive himself etc. He phoned her straight away and finished it and there has been no further contact (he says). He wants us to begin again and all the rest of it. At the moment I am still in shock. DH is a very successful and clever man and is, clearly, an attractive one. ( 'friend' is extremely attractive). He has always had chronically low self esteem and presents as an honourable and rather quiet chap who is utterly loyal and seems to dote on me and the kids.

But that's all bollocks isn't it? Devoted husbands don't do that. He had a very real cause for complaint in that our sex life has been rubbish for years (I'm on anti-depressants which have killed my libido) but I rather thought that a serious conversation would have been a better solution than shagging one of my mates because "she made me feel good about myself". And don't even get me started on that fucking skank.

So, any thoughts?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 20:32:50

Merlin - I hope you can work it out and that you get the support you need.

Good luck.

Me23 Fri 06-Sep-13 20:42:29

Yes quietly that is the point I was trying to make. Op I hope you manage to be happy with or without him.

LittleMilla Fri 06-Sep-13 21:51:41

Been lurking but just wanted to pipe up.

Firstly Merlin, I'm very sorry that you're in this situation.

I want to say something about the money though. It's highly unlikely that her DH will be happy to take a lesser paid job so he can work closer to come. As Santa said, it's as much about status etc as money. And if he's a senior lawyer then he'll still work stupid hours. He's used to achieving. A lot. And that innate desire won't just disappear. It's in some people's make up and he'll likely end up severely depressed if he doesn't have the thing that seems to define his personality.

I don't have any answers I'm afraid. But I just wanted to try and defend the op (and her DH) as it really doesn't sound like it's all about the money. And that by removing the money it'll magically make everything better. Cause it won't.

WoundUpWanda Fri 06-Sep-13 22:53:06

Jesus Christ- he cheats on you, you seem to think 'OW' is the one beyond the pale, intimidates his children, and you reward him with a shitload of sex?

Things aren't going to change. You want your lifestyle and you like your part time set up with him, he's going to keep working abroad and the head will be turned again and you'll be back- knowing what you should do, but not doing it.

Good luck.

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 07:52:50

Thanks everyone, this is all very helpfull. I accept the criticism that have sleep-walked into this and that our set-up has to change. I also acknowledge that, having happened once, these events will almost certainly happen again if we carry on as we are.

My instincts are that he should return to the UK whether we stay together or not. He still has a good few decades left to him and he shouldn't have to spend them as a wage slave. Not sure what this weekend will bring.

InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 08:03:06

Morning merlin, I'm glad you're back.

I was one of the early posters to suggest that it was "inevitable" but I didn't for a minute mean that it was your "fault". He is obviously responsible for his actions.

For other posters who are convinced that a man and a woman can have dinner without it coming to this, they are probably right where they both (or at least one of them) happy with their lot and will be returning to a secure relationship where they feel loved and valued. Where they are both unhappy and feeling unloved and where alcohol is (probably) involved I don't think it is any surprise. It's not right or OK, but it's not surprising. IMO anyone who believes otherwise is either very young, is burying their head in the sand or has lived a spectacularly charmed life.

TBH (assuming this is the first time) he probably didn't realise how unhappy he was until he was in a situation which made him feel happy, even if just for a short time. That's a very strong pull.

There is one thing worrying me though. Who are these women he spends his precious weekends with? Why is having time together not more important to you and him? If he's been this unhappy for 6 years and is close to other women, I'd be amazed if it hasn't happened before. Sorry.

I hope you all find a way to be properly happy, whether that's together or apart

alarkthatcouldpray Sat 07-Sep-13 08:07:04

What a horrid thread. Why are posters being so hard on the OP?

Presumably she didn't force her husband to take a job abroad. She takes treatment for her depression which affects her libido, what is she supposed to do? To look after three children on your own for years and years requires you to be at the top of your game, not a weeping wreck. A bit more support from DH at weekends might have improved things on the libido front.

Then it is implied she is greedy. Because her husband earns well?

I am puzzled by the victim blaming. Are people jealous of her wealth? Have no particular axe to grind or experience of this but am sympathetic - hugs from me too OP. Hope you can work out where to go from here. I agree with those who say you have to live together to work through this properly.

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 08:22:45

Thank you both. You're right that the medication has been all about keeping me at the top of my game with the kids. Unless you have a child with AS it's really impossible to describe the anxiety that eats away at you. I suppose being Fun Mum was one way of tackling that. The GP did clearly recognise my depression though. I've actually been taking them for 8 years; while we were all together out there. The role of 'coper' doesn't really suit me, alcoholics aren't very robust people.

alarkthatcouldpray Sat 07-Sep-13 08:33:37

Pretty much everyone in stressful situations has a crutch of some sort merlin. Drugs (prescribed or otherwise), alcohol, cigs, a career or hobby they become addicted to, tons of family support, extra-marital affair... Please don't feel guilty about your crutch which is the best you could have chosen under the circumstances.

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 09:30:57

Regarding the OW, do you think I am justified in feeling angry with her too? I know that DH is responsible for what he did and the blame sits squarely with him, I really do mean that, but she was supposed to be my friend! I sat for hours listening to her marital woes and she supported me with my worries over Dd1. In what universe is that an acceptable way for an adult woman to behave?

Offred Sat 07-Sep-13 09:34:53

I think you are entitled to blame her for betraying your friendship but not your marriage IYSWIM. I think you have to be careful not to focus too much on her too.

Another one here who thinks he does not sound like a prize tbh. Every post about him makes him sound worse and worse I think. On the weekends he needs 'quality time'?! Wtf?!

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 09:47:46

Point taken Offred. Desperate people do desperate things I guess and I can't bring myself to hate her, it's not my style.

The conclusion I am coming to is that he just isn't cut out for domesticity; he's a very emotionally austere man, a loner. And I'm not. No blame on either side really, just a profound mistake.

InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 10:05:08

Tbh he doesn't sound like a loner to me. I don't think a loner would seek out the company of groups of women at the weekend. He seems to have removed himself emotionally from your marriage and family, but i don't think that can necessarily be attributed to his character type. Have I missed the bit about who these women are?

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 10:09:25

They are close friends, both in relationships. He doesn't enjoy male company despite being a bit of an alpha-male.

Lazyjaney Sat 07-Sep-13 11:04:33

The conclusion I am coming to is that he just isn't cut out for domesticity; he's a very emotionally austere man, a loner. And I'm not. No blame on either side really, just a profound mistake

Working away from home for years plus no sex at home would probably lead to this situation no matter what sort of person he was, except a eunuch. It's the setup, not the person here.

TheLightPassenger Sat 07-Sep-13 11:08:48

I agree that very long distance relationships are more vulnerable, but I agree with motherinferior that I don't see that the dh sounds in need of pity or sympathy, even at the weekends he doesn't focus on family life by the sound of things. Good luck OP whatever you decide

The ow has betrayed you massively too op. of course you are reeling. It is a terrible thing for a 'friend' you are helping to do.

Platinumstart Sat 07-Sep-13 13:21:27

Crikey - no idea why merlin is getting such a hard time. Actually I lie, of course I do, you have committed the MN cardinal sin of being wealthy and despite the fact you have clearly devoted your life to a difficult parenting role you are being cast as the greedy, money grabbing wife who gets what you deserved hmm

You're raising three kids single handedly whilst on anti Ds due to his lack of support, and aren't having regularl sex because he is emotionally and physically absent. If he was a factory worker from Hull people would be falling over themselves to sympathise but because you're perceived as a kept woman fuckit put the boot in hmm

I'm so sorry you're going through this OP, both your DH and "friend" are tossers. Of course you are right to be furious with them both

I hope you can work out what you want.

stripytopgirl Sat 07-Sep-13 13:52:52

omg, merlin, i can't believe some of the answers you are getting to this problem.
I read the first few posts and was so angry I had to go away, come back and now I'm posting this....

can you remember your wedding vows? where you promised fidelity and love etc etc? at any point did either of you say 'I can make these promises as long as we live together 7 days a week?'
and what about the 'sickness and health' part? you've been depressed, that's sick! it's not an excuse for him to shag someone else because your libido has dipped is it????

none of this is YOUR fault, you said it yourself, he had a FUCKING choice! he could have remedied this situation by contacting you/putting the brakes on contact with OW/changing the situation as soon as he realised the current set up had caused his eyes to wander....but he didn't!!! it doesn't matter if he's a good provider, father, etc, does it?if he was he'd be a good husband and he'd have stuck to his vows, wouldn't he?

it is particularly upsetting to me that you're now at the stage of 'hysterical bonding'and realise how much you love him, but the OW is much disliked. why does he get away with it and she doesn't? she didn't make you promises in your wedding day, he did.

I don't know what advice to give re job change/ltb but ffs, please respect yourself because your husband isn't respecting you. you deserve so much better than this from what I can tell in your posts things haven't been easy. surely there is someone irl who can echo what I'm saying?

Sorry if this is harsh,I really feel for you and I'm sending you hugs.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 07-Sep-13 14:01:59

merlincat, you've very eloquent. I'm so sorry that you have been betrayed in this way.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 07-Sep-13 14:55:15

Merlin you are allowed to be angry at OW and your DH.
He betrayed you -end of. No matter how bad things are in a relationship you should never ever cheat , one time or a hundred times. He should have had the balls to talk to you before anything happening.
You need time and space from him. Ask him to stay away for a few weekends or make arrangements that when he is back you go out, let him be dad and give yourself a break, you deserve it/need it.

Lazyjaney Sat 07-Sep-13 16:40:57

Can you remember your wedding vows? where you promised fidelity and love etc etc? at any point did either of you say 'I can make these promises as long as we live together 7 days a week

There's another bit to the vows, to have and to hold, which seems often forgotten on MN.

In the real world, once sex ebbs out of a relationship, it becomes vulnerable, and increasingly so over time.

PeachesForMe Sat 07-Sep-13 16:52:58

Hang on, you say he has devoted his life to you and the children...except he very, very much hasn't. To do that requires presence, and you say you have brought them up alone and they are a bit scared of him. He has shown no devotion and it would worry me if you were my friend that you were rewriting him as some sort of paragon. Even if this is a set-up you have both encouraged or have both put up with or whatever, it is not devotion!

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