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Getting over an EA - sorry for long post.

(119 Posts)
KtemaL Mon 07-Oct-13 16:16:21

Hi, I'm new on here and have read a few other threads on this subject but am really struggling to move forward from my dh's EA.

Back in April I found emails between him and a woman who works for him arranging a lunchtime 'date'. At the time he swore it was just a drink, that he had felt uncomfortable with it and only stayed for one drink. However, I then found out that they'd been chatting online a lot. I'd been suspicious as he'd started playing a word game online and seemed obsessed with it - now I know why!

We decided to move forward and I thought things were going OK. However, in June I then found out, by looking at his texts, that he'd met up with her again (they still work together) and that during a boys day out at the races he'd spent most of the day texting her. When I asked him to restore his iphone messages (as he'd deleted all but the last one) he refused and admitted that they'd talked about taking things further i.e having sex but, again, swore that nothing had happened.

We went to one session of Relate but he didn't want to go back as he felt that it didn't do anything and that we were already doing everything suggested i.e date nights, checking in with regular texts etc and giving access to his emails and texts.

Again, I tried to move on and thought things were looking up. In August we went on holiday with our best friends and their children (we also have two). On the first day there I picked up his phone, totally innocently and saw an email he'd sent to her that morning from a Hotmail account I didn't know existed. It said that he'd had a great time on their 'day out' which turns out was the day before we flew on holiday. He said that she was beautiful and that he'd tried to kiss her but she'd rejected him!

I'm not proud of this but I ended up emailing her and telling her that unless she left the company I would tell her bf as I couldn't see any other way forward. After one text she threated me with a solicitors letter (via email and turns out it's a friend of hers) with a court injunction if I contacted her or her bf! She then went on to tell me that MY actions had left her so stressed she had to take time off sick and was on antidepressants.

I was devastated and obviously it totally ruined our holiday (and that of our friends). Since then, I've found out that they went out 5 or so times and that they did kiss (twice) at a work event where they were both drunk but he insists nothing else happened and that he regrets it and wants to be with me and to move on.

She also reported this to my dh's boss and insinuated he'd been sexually harassing her, apparently also on the advice of her solicitor friend!! When the boss suggested they retrieve all emails between them to establish the facts etc she retracted the letter and said she would look for another job.

Basically, I don't know if I'm coming or going. It's been about 8-9 weeks since I found out but I still cry a lot and feel sick whenever I think about it. I just can't trust him and question everything. She still works there and on his first day back in the office she tried to contact him via their office IM and asked how he was etc. He didn't respond and told her verbally he didn't want any communication with her expect for work emails but it's certainly not ideal as he sees her every day, she reports to him and I see constant emails from her (albeit work related).

He won't go to counselling and although he is making an effort I just don't know if it's enough. I know it wasn't sexual (or at least I'm pretty sure it wasn't) but to me it feels as though he kept choosing her over me (and our family) even though he knew how much it would hurt me.

How do I move forward? Will I ever trust him again? Any suggestions??

FrancescaBell Tue 08-Oct-13 15:40:26

It sounds like there's a bit of a culture at the firm that affairs at work are an occupational hazard and it's no big deal unless the shit hits the fan. I once worked somewhere like that and affairs were rife. So as long as your husband is working there, he's absorbing that culture.

What happened abut retrieving all the messages? Is he going to do that?

swannylovesu Tue 08-Oct-13 15:48:20

OP, cognito speak sense. i am 9months down the line and my dh is fully repentant. He would have walked over hot coals if i asked him too.

He fucked up...it needs to be fixed on your terms (should you choose this route)

Good luck.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 15:49:09

FrancescaBell - Hi, I genuinely don't think that's the culture but I could be wrong. I think the ow just mistakenly thought she could gain some money out of the situation by alleging sexual harassment and a subsequent payoff. I suppose I can understand that but the decision to leave is hers/her bf and she's certainly not being forced out in any way.

We talked about retrieving any messages that we could and, to be honest, he wasn't keen initially. For obvious reasons I'm sure! He told me again what they'd consisted of and said that the messages certainly talked about the fact that he wanted to sleep with her but he maintains he always said he would never do that whilst married (not sure why that's an issue yet everything else was ok). It was late last night when we talked as we had to wait until the children were in bed and then I had to go to work first thing and he left to go abroad so we didn't really get a chance to do this but he did offer to do it when we talked again this morning.

His reason for doing this was that he did want to be open about everything and he also felt it was another way of demonstrating that he's been honest about not texting her at all since holiday. Deep down, think I'm hesitating because I'm afraid of what I might find but feel a bit stronger today and am currently planning on insisting we do this at the weekend when he returns. That's assuming I haven't come to any other major decision in the meantime!

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 15:50:06

FrancescaBell - Hi, I genuinely don't think that's the culture but I could be wrong. I think the ow just mistakenly thought she could gain some money out of the situation by alleging sexual harassment and a subsequent payoff. I suppose I can understand that but the decision to leave is hers/her bf and she's certainly not being forced out in any way.

We talked about retrieving any messages that we could and, to be honest, he wasn't keen initially. For obvious reasons I'm sure! He told me again what they'd consisted of and said that the messages certainly talked about the fact that he wanted to sleep with her but he maintains he always said he would never do that whilst married (not sure why that's an issue yet everything else was ok). It was late last night when we talked as we had to wait until the children were in bed and then I had to go to work first thing and he left to go abroad so we didn't really get a chance to do this but he did offer to do it when we talked again this morning.

His reason for doing this was that he did want to be open about everything and he also felt it was another way of demonstrating that he's been honest about not texting her at all since holiday. Deep down, think I'm hesitating because I'm afraid of what I might find but feel a bit stronger today and am currently planning on insisting we do this at the weekend when he returns. That's assuming I haven't come to any other major decision in the meantime!

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 15:53:26

Oops, posted twice confused

swannylovesu - thanks, think that's my plan now. I could definitely sense a change in him this morning because I think he's finally realised that I might actually walk. A few days apart should help too so we'll see what awaits come the weekend when he's back!

swannylovesu Tue 08-Oct-13 15:58:43

good lass.

i lost count of the times i told dh to fuck off and keep fucking off grin but now, things are good. i still have my moments but he knows they are his doing.

He came clean, i didnt catch him. at the beginning he was a bit like yours, used every reason to justify his actions. Then about 6wks after he left he said he had a "what the fuck am i doing" moment and finally started being honest.

Give yourself space, process it all in your head and find your inner strength..its in there somewhere.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 16:09:19

Thank you so much for your post - it definitely helps to hear that others are working through something similar and making progress.

I'm really hoping we're at that stage as he certainly said things along those lines last night i.e WTF? can't believe I risked everything etc etc. He was genuinely upset this morning when I left for work and has been texting me throughout the day to apologise, telling me he 100% wants to work this out and can't imagine his life without me and said he can't believe he's been such a dick.

Even said he'll go to counselling...we'll see.

FrancescaBell Tue 08-Oct-13 16:13:59

I hope you insist on seeing them and that what you see matches up with his bill so you can be sure that there haven't been any deletions.

BTW, I'm not saying that your husband's a born philanderer or that affairs like this are rare. I've seen more 'can't cope with the big 4 Oh' men lose their heads when another woman gives them an ego boost than I've had hot dinners...but it's the compulsive lying that takes this into new territory isn't it? I think it also shows how strong his attachment or addiction was, because if it had been 'nothing' then as soon as you found out, he would have out a stop to it.

That's probably why I'm so suspicious that there was/is more to this than you know.

FrancescaBell Tue 08-Oct-13 16:16:43

Like I said, go to counselling on your own. Relate are meant to be rubbish with this sort of thing- there have been loads of threads about that this week alone.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 16:21:10

FrancescaBell - thanks. I think that's what I'm hesitant about. I so want to believe that there wasn't more to it than he's told me and that it's all over but just not sure and because he's lied so much about it all, I'm not sure we can ever get that trust back.

That's what I'm trying to work through at the moment and think that solo counselling might be a good start. I've seen some other comments about Relate and am planning to go with a local independent counsellor and see how it goes.

onefewernow Tue 08-Oct-13 16:29:59

I think you should not see it as a positive thing that he is saying he is willing to come with you to Relate, when he had initially refused.

I think he doesn't want to go. I think he doesn't want you to go alone, either. But if you are going, he will join you to ensure that you don't get too carried away without him...

Smacks of controlling to me. Also suggests that he knows there is plenty to talk about, doesn't want to, but doesn't want you to have those discussions unless he is in the room. Not good.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 16:42:58

onefewernow - I do understand your point and am planning to go on my own initially but I think he does need to come along too as we need to work this through together and he needs to hear some home truths and how we try to fix them.

As much as I don't want to, I'm trying to be rational about this and think whatever he does now regarding counselling would be viewed as wrong. If he continues to refuse that's him not wanting to fix this and show any remorse and now he's said he does want to come that's wrong too!

I'm going on my own first though as think I need to get my head around whether I actually want to work this out.

FrancescaBell Tue 08-Oct-13 16:56:48

Yes I think that's the right approach, but I think a couple of things might happen first if you stick to your guns about seeing those messages.

You might get a new confession when he comes back. Possibly something like 'okay I had sex with her once' to pave the way for what you might read or to stop you in your tracks and forget about seeing the messages/decide they are going to be too painful to read.

Or there will be a confession that he 'lied to her' about his feelings for her, the state of his marriage, his feelings for you.

He won't show you those messages until he's got an explanation in first for what you might read.

But read them you must. What you see cannot lie, whereas memory and people can.

I don't think couples counselling is ever appropriate until the whole story is out there.

And I really don't think that it is.

So the order I'd follow is this: get all the info first, then go to counselling on your own.

Keep in reserve the possibility of him joining you if your counselling convinces you you could forgive, in time.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 17:02:29

Thanks FrancescaBell - that makes good sense. On reflection he definitely does not want me to see the texts so there is clearly something more that he's hiding. At the moment he's saying that he doesn't want me to see them because in them he talks to her about wanting to have sex with her and I imagine that, if that's all they say, then they may be fairly explicit?

However, I do know there's every chance that they say more than that and that's why I know need to insist on seeing them. I think I will do it on Friday evening when he comes home and am planning to have already downloaded/installed the software to enable me to do that so it's all ready to go.

Loopytiles Tue 08-Oct-13 17:39:01

You are minimising the sexual harassment thing. The work relationship may have been mutual, but there was power imbalance. He behaved unprofessionally at best, exposed the firm to legal and financial risk, and risked being fired and all that would mean for your family.

Agree with others that the holiday he booked was mainly for his own benefit. Likewise "date nights", "re-connecting" and all that bollocks. Bet you felt under pressure for everything to go well and "move on" - he was rewarded with your attention, effort, sex and so on.

He seems to have got off very lightly. A short spell living elsewhere while you consider your options might wake him up a bit (and should still leave enough cash to pay those school fees!)

Solo counselling with someone good could be a good idea. If he wants to do joint counselling (from a different counsellor) in addition, fair enough. Would be controlling of him to try to stop you going alone.

clam Tue 08-Oct-13 19:28:27

Yes, I bet he's squirming about the possibility of you reading his ridiculous texts. I mean, let's face it, they're not going to just say, "dear x, I want to have sex with you," are they? They're going to be a bit more explicit than that.
Once you have read them, you won't be able to erase them from your mind. Be aware of that. I'm not saying you should let hem get away with this but do you really want to read them, in all their gory detail?

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 19:34:42

Hi clam. That's exactly what I'm struggling with - when we went to Relate back in June/July she asked me the same question and, at the time, I said no.

Now I'm just not sure. I keep asking myself what I'd do if I found out he's slept with her and I think the answer to that is I'd leave. I know it's pathetic of me to think that perhaps I'd rather not know as then I don't have to deal with it.

However, I know that it would affect our relationship as I'll always wonder. Not sure that's any basis for a relationship or a starting pint to rebuild any trust.

Problem is now he may well have already retrieved them and permanently deleted them so either way I don't think I'll ever know.

I've made an appointment o see an independent counsellor tomorrow so will see how that goes first.

Funnily enough he texted me just now as his flight landed and said he'd been thinking about things all day and he knows I'm right to want to see the texts and he's OK to do that and he's also happy to come to counselling at any time if I want him to. Hmmm...

clam Tue 08-Oct-13 20:04:55

How come the cynic in me suspects that those texts will miraculously have disappeared and be unobtainable?

Xales Tue 08-Oct-13 20:08:29

Seeing the texts is fine. What about all the IM and emails on the account you didn't even know existed? Are you going to see them too?

This man went out of his way to set up a secret email account to contact this woman. Don't forget that level of dishonesty because he is now being totally honest and open with you (to save his life style as he knows it).

Don't be surprised to see how 'bad' your marriage was and how much you didn't understand him or how little attention you paid to him in these texts either.

Most people don't just go my marriage is awesome, my wife is amazing but hell let's shag any way.

They pave the way by showing how bad their current relationship is and how the other person is better.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 20:19:33

clam - I think that would most probably be the case. Also, he's updated to IOS7 recently and I have a feeling that may well affect whether any texts are still retrievable (I'm not techy enough to know for sure?) Or maybe that would be his excuse for them not being there. He's already said that there aren't many as they didn't text very often due to it being a work phone.

Xales - I've seen some some emails but by no means all of them. The IM system is an office one so I couldn't see those even if I wanted to. Their IM is tracked so, again, I don't think they communicated much via that. I get the impression that they communicated briefly on IM/email/text but generally met up under the guise of 'business' meetings and trips to the London office which turned out to be trips to bars instead.

He's already told me that he did discuss our relationship with her as she was also going through a bad patch in hers and he echoed that we were too (although I thought we were working on that and things were looking up!). Sounds like it was a mutual swapping of BS if you ask me to try and justify that there was a reason for what they were doing.

LessMissAbs Tue 08-Oct-13 20:47:29

* He said that she was beautiful and that he'd tried to kiss her but she'd rejected him!*

This is the only evidence you have. All the rest is hearsay. Obviously your DH is not going to tell you he chased after her, persuaded her to spend time with him (probably pulling the "friends" line) and then got rejected gently enough for him to still try again if he thinks he can get away with it.

Do you actually believe she fancies him? Because if she does, it certainly sounds as if she could have had him. I don't know why so many women blame other women when it is obviously their husbands/partners chasing after them. She is quite possibly being polite to him because they work in the same place.

Do you know how many attached men pretend they are single/available when theres a pretty woman around, and how creepy they can be? My friend has had this (the jealous wife) in a similar situation and she is happily married, was persuaded to go to dinner after work with this man and chats to him, as do many at their workplace, on Facebook. Or at least until his wife flipped, went on his Facebook and defriended her. She doesn't fancy him, she finds him physically unattractive, and is totally put off by the fact he has a wife.

LessMissAbs Tue 08-Oct-13 20:56:53

In other words, I think it is entirely possible that she is being sexually harassed. At least as possible that your DH is involved in some sort of relationship with her. She doesn't sound all that willing, from what you have described, even though you are trying to paint her as the guilty party. Do you know how common sexual harassment is in the workplace, and how women who aren't interested in attached men quite often react at first by trying to be polite and friendly to diffuse it?

tbh if I had a husband behaving like that, I'd just leave him.

KtemaL Tue 08-Oct-13 21:03:13

LessMissAbs - I understand where you're coming from. I'm trying to be rational and not blame her. My dh is the one who broke our marriage vows, cheated and lied to me - she owes me nothing and I know that.

It doesn't make it any easier though and there will always be a part of me that hates her for her part in making me so miserable. I think that's human nature.

Anyway, I'm trying not to focus on her and concentrate on working out if our marriage can survive this, if I even want it too and, if so, how we move forward and try to rebuild the trust etc that he's shattered.

On a final note though, if I was in her position and genuinely had been harassed by my boss I would not have retracted the written letter as soon as it was suggested that emails etc were looked at because surely I would know that they backed up my story? I also wouldn't be, even to this day, sending him fairly friendly emails, work ones granted but I certainly wouldn't be shortening his name and signing myself off in the same way as she doesn't do that on emails that she sends to other people at work. Just feels a bit familiar/friendly for someone who doesn't like her boss and how he's been behaving??

Dahlen Tue 08-Oct-13 21:12:24

Nothing makes a cheater sit up and rediscover respect for their spouse like being kicked out of the marital home. Even if you want to work on your relationship and stay married, I would advise you to do this. You tell him that you both need space to reflect on what went wrong and what you both want for the future. Right now, he's stuck in the mindset of thinking all he has to do is wait out your display of emotions because your behaviour will eventually return to normal even if your feelings don't.

Dahlen Tue 08-Oct-13 21:14:43

I'd also stop concentrating on the actions of the OW. Even if she was absolutely intent on snaring your DH, the fact remains that she would not have been able to if he had not been willing. It's also a fact that if they are colleagues it is wildly unprofessional, and if he's in a senior position to her also an abuse of position, regardless of how willing she may have seemed.

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