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.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
Is it possible to move on from an affair?(83 Posts)
I found out just over 4 months ago that my husband had been having an affair with a much younger colleague. To say it came as a huge shock is something of an under statement- I've known him for most of my life and thought I knew him better than anyone.
At the time he moved out and, after a lot of soul searching, I decided to try again. Over the last few months though I have uncovered the depth of the affair. Including details of how many times they had sex, initially he swore that hadn't happened.
I have two daughters and feel wretched for them. I also really deeply love my husband - this in itself makes me feel weak and desperate. How pathetic am I??!
He is entrenched in my history and I never imagined being in this situation. He is trying to make amends but we are so uneasy with each other. If feels like we take one step forward and two back all the time.
To write down the extent of my excruciating pain would take forever. A million thoughts, ideas and images trawl through my mind constantly.
I read a lot of threads on here by women in my position. I know I'm not alone.
I read on another thread yesterday about how you should have a 'bottom line' of what you will not accept. In truth, what he has done falls below that bottom line. I feel so torn though- I feel I should give things more time and not make a hasty decision. But I am just so do tired and exhausted of feeling so utterly bewildered.
I'm also aware though that divorce on grounds of adultery you have a 6 month window- if we do divorce I bloody well want the truth on that certificate!!!!
I'm sorry for the ramble. Do i make any sense????
I suppose what I really want to know is can you ever really recover? Or am I going to live with this haunting us and never able to truly move on? My heart is just broken and I feel so so sad.
I don't feel I am taking responsibility for his fidelity - I've spent time monitoring him and time when I don't over the last 5 months. H is very keen to prove himself to me, he wants the opportunity to prove himself trustworthy again. Which will only come in time anyway, if ever. I am fully aware it's a 'fool's gold' as its easy to have secret phones, emails etc. For now I'm going along with it.
Do you use the passwords (anyone in this situation)? Must be awful having to take responsibility for their fidelity.
You will probably never trust him again, always wonder where he is, what he's doing, is he where he says he is, why torment yourself when HE did wrong. He fucked up, ruined your life and frankly doesn't deserve you, you deserve better
My H too - total transparency with email, phone, pc etc, all passwords given to me, tracker on his phone. That's all well and good but doesn't 'delete' the bad things he has done and the lies he told. I'm still struggling with that.
yes - all passwords are shared. Including banking ones. I could clean him out tomorrow if I wanted to. But I don't want to as I have to try and build a life together, not erode what we have
I asked on a previous thread of PTFswife what actions you can see from a partner who is truly making amends (rather than just saying the right thing). Somebody suggested being open with all passwords and transferring savings to your name. Are you doing either of these PTF?
Thank you for all the messages. Have been at work today - which helps as I haven't time to pick over it.
I will look into a counsellor. Perhaps talking to someone neutral will help.
Thanks again for helping to keep me (just) the right side of sanity.
I'm in a similar position - mid July I found out my husband had been having a 3.5 month affair with a woman he worked with (only 2 years younger though!). Almost overnight he became mean and unpleasant to live with. I could not understand why, and listened to him when he said he'd just fallen out of love with me because I am moody, unattractive etc. (I'm not!) I lost a lot of weight (dropped to 6.5 stone) and was very unhappy. Eventually I found a converstaion between them on our iPad and confronted him. The next day he said he would end it and save our marriage. In fact it took another 6 weeks or so before he stopped texting and meeting her (although no sexual contact in this time). This was the most traumatic time of the whole episode. He has now started a new job (1 month in) and as far as I know has no more contact. He is back to normal loving person. He admits we were happy before and nothing was wrong with our relationship. I still love him and cried with relief when he said he would end it. I'm very hurt and have good days and bad days. My self esteem is recovering. Sometimes a small trigger/reminder will set me off. Some nights I don't sleep because my brain goes over and over the trauma. I find it hard to believe when he says he loves me. However, I'm slowly getting better. I've bought myself a new wardrobe, a sports car etc. We had sex about 2-3 times per week before, during and after the affair. Sometimes he is kind and reassuring and sometimes he is angry that I'm not over it and still asking questions. Sometimes I think about ending it but the thought of throwing away a happy family and living without him is inconceivable. I go round in circles. I love him but can't reconcile that with what he's done. I too thought about revenge, divorce has to be on grounds of adultery etc but it doesn't change anything. Stay sane!
I think the thing here is that it is not just a question of whether you can/can't get over the affair. This is not a solo event, it is up to him as well. The posters who have a happy ending describe husband behaviour which is quite different to what you have been describing. Someone who is contrite, and transparent and is equally committed to making things work.
Also individual therapy is what you need right now. Someone who is supporting you and helping you to understand how this is WAY more to do with him than you. You feel shit right now and all those millions of things are going to continue just going around and around unless you can let them out in real life. Pref to your H, does he understand how his actions have impacted you? Best of luck you are not weak and pathetic just broken hearted for you and you children and your family
Absolutely agree with what others are saying about needing time apart. It's so important. If you miss out that step there is a very real risk of falling back into a largely unchanged unhealthy relationship.
MrsCraig For goodness sake don't feel weak and pathetic. If you are I am too. My ex has been part of my life for 30 years and is the father of our 2 children. That's not an easy thing to dismiss.
You are still coming to terms with the fact everything you thought may not have been the truth. It takes time. That's why you need to take time out from him and if you do get back together that you are both committed to making it work. It seems to be quite a common phenomena that the innocent party takes other party back but by that point realises that they don't want them anymore and it's the innocent party who finally ends it once and for all.
I am in a very similar position and a lot of what you say is exactly how I'm feeling too. It's only been four weeks and he's made his choice to go with OW. However I found out by accident and I think it's forced the whole issue. I think he thought we'd carry on family life as before with him doing what he wanted elsewhere.
I couldn't live like that and have gone for a complete break. I have refused to speak or see him for a month. We sort out practicalities via text and e-mail regarding the children. I feel better for taking control and also I think it gives us time to work out what we both want.
I thought we had a good relationship but now I'm wondering if I want him back for all the wrong reasons? The fear of the new, being left on my own, keeping the status quo re the kids and also just not wanting her to have him and therefore 'winning'.
I think you need time out from each other whatever to make things clearer in both your minds.
As JoinYourPlayfellows points out - now you know the 'real' him and what he's capable of. It's has been very hard for me to see that and is a large part of the trauma I feel now. A question that haunts me is - if I had known this about him would I have married him?? Of course not and yet here I am 5 months later trying to save that marriage. It's so difficult to process that contradiction. Of course my H is not all bad and has many good traits as I'm sure your H does too. The question is, I suppose, is where do the scales balance in weighing up your lives together? The DC are part of that decision making process too and it is far from straight forward. I don't think you have had anything like enough time and are still reeling from the shock of it all. I don't think concerning yourself about the legal timings will help in this process - if you want to get divorced that can happen as and when you're ready.
Now you know the kind of man you are married to.
A man who will cheat on you, despite the promise of fidelity being so central to your relationship with each other.
A man who, on being caught out cheating, will tell more lies (using your love for your children to manipulate you into believing him by swearing on their lives), will continue to treat you like a fool, will save his own skin at your expense.
He is a weak man. A dishonest man. An unkind man. A coward. A man who places himself far above you and what is best for you.
Who cares if he is remorseful NOW?
He wasn't remotely remorseful when it actually mattered, when he could have stopped having the affair, or when he could have helped you recover from the affair by being honest.
Remorse at this points is meaningless and says nothing good about him at all.
Maybe he can become a different kind of man one day. But this is the kind of man he is now.
Do you really want to hang around seeing if he can become a person of integrity and worth?
Given his propensity for selfishness, lies and manipulation, it's hard to see how that transformation could come about.
Sorry - pressed wrong bit of the screen on my phone!!
Anyway - my H's affair was discovered 5 months ago and I'm in a similar hellhole to you. I have days when I feel completely desperate and overwhelmingly sad. It's not all day every day as it was for the first couple of months though and I'm hoping the pain will continue to gradually lessen. I do feel trapped though and there times when I think it would be a blessing if he had a terrible accident, at least it would be a way out of this hell. What an awful thing to think which just upsets me more!!
My H is remorseful of his actions and bad choices but hasn't handled the situation (of his making, he admits that) well at times. He is depressed and really doesn't like himself at all. He finds the depth of my pain difficult to deal with too. We struggle on though, taking each day as it comes. Both of us find the idea of splitting up almost impossible - not quite as long as you but we have been together our entire adult lives and its extremely difficult to disentangle ourselves.
I second the suggestion that you each have individual counselling - I have found mine a lifeline in terms of trying to think in straight lines rather than the spiral of thoughts that can drown me. My counsellor is also getting me to focus on myself and what I want and how I feel rather than constantly responding to H. That's very hard to do - most of the time my answers are 'I don't know'. His counselling is helping him understand himself better to avoid such behaviours in the future. And is challenging and painful for him to peel back the layers of his personality.
We had marital counselling during months 2 and 3 post discovery but stopped that at the end of July (school hols were my excuse but in truth it wasn't being very helpful - I don't think either of us was in the right place for it.)
I have no idea how we will end up or whether we can 'get over' his affair. Currently I don't like, love or respect my H but I do hope those feelings can come back in time. I have no idea how though!! Its not something I can control. And it's incredibly difficult to live with - as I say I don't know how long I can 'bear' it. Each day as it comes I guess. Good luck to you and I hope you find some moments of peace soon.
mrsc you are far from weak and pathetic - you are strong and you are trying to save your marriage. I know people tend to shout LTB, and I understand why, but I see nothing wrong in trying to save a marriage you think is worth saving. The harsh reality is that either you will find a "new normal" with your DH moving forward, or it will not work out. Either way, you will have stayed true to yourself.
I hope you do manage to work things out, but I would imagine it is a very long road to even begin to be able to trust someone again when this has happened - could I do it? I have no idea.
Mrs C (funny calling you that as that's my real life nickname!) I remember your earlier threads as I am only a month ahead of you -
I wanted them named and shamed on the divorce papers six months ago, I wanted her to pay costs. Eight months down the line I could really give a shit as long as I never have to look at his face on the pillow next to me again.
Mrsc, have you confided in anyone in RL ? Are you keeping his grubby secrets for him ? That is guaranteed to make you feel like shit. Where is your support ? Don't look to him for any...this is the person that hurt you unforgivably.
By the way, you aren't weak & pathetic. Betrayal from someone you love makes you flail around all over the place. You can't just stop loving someone because they've been a shit. It's even harder when they seemed so straight & incapable of such deceit.
Op, even if your marriage was less than satisfactory prior to the affair, your H should have talked to you about that rather than start an affair. I know that sometimes people don't do what is right, but with kids in the mix, having an affair is short-sighted, selfish & weak.
The fact that he lied again about having sex with her is just plain awful & unfortunately, rather predictable.
For you to even stand a chance of recovering from this, he needs to tell you everything. I think it's very hard to begin to even tackle the fallout from an affair without full disclosure. If he blames the marriage, but doesn't want to work on his faults & what made him choose to have an affair rather than talk to you, then it's going to make any chance of recovery very, very difficult.
At the end of the day, all marriages have rough patches/periods of disconnect. It would seem that many people who have affairs aren't necessarily unhappy in their marriages either - they're struggling with other stuff in life.
My exH lied about having sex - it was only a kiss. This didn't sit right with me & then I found evidence of a full affair. What I read will be seared into my brain forever. He claimed he lied to protect me - he was only protecting himself. What I found was much worse than if he'd told me the truth.
Have you got Shirley Glasses book?
Back in August I was asking a question about deleted messages on iPhones. He wasn't in contact with her. The messages I read were old. When I initially found out 4 months ago, again it was by text. I rumbled them, this wasn't a post affair discovery.
And that really hurts. It could have gone on and on. Or it could have fizzled out. I'll never know. I have so so much to be angry about. The relationship prior, during and after discovery is, to put it mildly, less than satisfactory.
Why do I love him? I am still in love with the man I married and have known since I was 11. It's him I'm in love with. I feel so weak and pathetic. I'm so ashamed of what has happened. People who know us will be stunned if they knew the truth.
MrsC hang on in there IF he loves you, you love him and if it is what you want. We are two years on from from the end of DH's affair. It had gone on, on and off, for two and a half years. I know I will get flamed on here for sticking with it but it is the right thing for me, for our DCs and for him. We were fortunate enough to be able to make a radical change at that stage and DH became a househusband, which has been massively great for him, for me and for DCs. It took us a year to find a steady place but I can honestly say now we have never been happier. Yes, there are demons, memories that come in unbidden most days. I will never ever forget but time does heal. I completely trust him now but I am mindful that I don't know what the future will bring, but then I figure none of us do.
I was willing to make my marriage work but my STBXH had to cut contact with the ow and work on our marriage. Neither of these things he could do. At the time I didn't realise this I just thought it was me going mad until I found a text from her. That was it I asked him to leave - I wasn't being second choice.
It wasn't what I wanted. I liked being married and I liked the security (!?!). 18 mths on I still miss him and wish it could have been different but my h and the ow were determined to be together and I didn't stand a chance being stuck at home with 2 children.
You have to do what you feel is right for you. None of us can tell you what to do. But you only get one life and you deserve to be happy. If you can make your marriage work then that is brilliant. Take your time you don't need to do anything yet.
Join the discussion
Please login first.