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.

Cheating and abuse - how to move forward?

(100 Posts)
Puzzledandpissedoff Wed 26-Mar-14 12:00:35

Back story, and sorry it's long: it’s 2½ years since DH sexted a Filipino for 6 months, visited prostitutes and thoroughly betrayed me with his family; I posed 6 months later but of course it’s ages ago. Frankly it destroyed me, costing me my self confidence, my job and my peace of mind and telling me again that I just don’t matter - all after 35 years of marriage

The empty shell left has staggered on against my better judgment, stupidly being made to feel I’ve got to earn his favour and shut up about it. I didn't know about Mumsnet at the exact time or that the advice is to make them leave for a while - wish I'd done that but stupidly didn't. I’ve now completely lost the capacity to save myself and am wrecked with it all. There was little remorse since he wanted it forgotten and the nastiness, petulance and curled lip has got worse. He’s also had more illnesses and crises, all of which I have to suck up although I get only half a story. He claims this is to save me worry (and yes I AM a worrier) but he won’t accept that always knowing there’s something I’m not being told is worse. In view of his history, I DO think there’s a lot I don’t know, kept from me for his convenience not mine - but no, apparently it’s my fault

Anyway, last night I finally laid out all his neglect, cruelty and deceit. I told him he’s an abuser who’s destroyed me, that I feel I have no firm ground beneath my feet and that I’m honestly frightened of him. He suggested Relate so I told him it’s not advised with abusers (I checked with them) and now he’s just saying “I’ve obviously got it wrong, tell me what you want me to do / help me to do better” However he also claims “not to remember” many of the things he’s done, which I really have trouble believing

The reasonable part of me thinks I’m obliged to suggest something helpful, but then it will all just get put back on me again; anyway, shouldn’t he work out for himself that honesty / trust / kindness / respect are vital?? I wish this could somehow be made to work, as being alone frightens the hell out of me - after so long I can’t remember a life without him

He’s back this afternoon and I’m planning to ask if he’s given any more thought to what I said, but god knows where we go from here - any advice would be very much appreciated

LavenderGreen14 Wed 26-Mar-14 12:50:32

I think you are very brave - if I were you I would be asking him to leave now, giving you some space etc, to decide whether you want him. But if he is an abuser and has treated you with such disrespect and disdain for so very long I would be divorcing him. I think without him in your life your self esteem would soar. I would look at some counselling for yourself and would also recommend the Freedom Programme - you can do it online for free if you don't want to attend in person.

You sound completely beaten down.
This man is making you feel worse and worse every hour of every day.
Please take the first step and contact Womens Aid today.
0808 2000 247
It is now your top priority to 'get yourself' back!
You will feel so much relief and so much better about yourself once this vile man is out of your life.

NightOfTheCactus Wed 26-Mar-14 13:03:13

I'm so sorry. Of course you have had the stuffing metaphorically knocked out of you, and as long as you stay around this abuser, the harder it will be to restore your confidence. Him denying remembering bad behaviour, I believe, would come under the abuse subcategory "gaslighting", where the abuser works on making the abused person feel as though they are losing their sanity.

You owe him nothing. You owe yourself far more. You are not obliged to suggest something 'helpful' unless it is something that is helpful for you. You deserve love, respect, happiness. The only reason you don't believe this is that it has been bullied out of you. I think counselling could be a good idea - not for both of you - but for you counselling on finding yourself again, on building yourself up. On moving forward.

Have you read "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft? It's recommended a lot on here, and I found it invaluable in getting my head around my emotionally abusive marriage (the emotional abuse was of a different type, and thankfully for me my marriage was 8 years long, not 35 years - but I know how your sense of self can feel robbed after having the drip, drip, drip of a toxic influence under your roof over a prolonged period of time). A year away from the emotionally toxic influence in my life and I am a new woman by the way.

Do you have RL support? Please take support where you can get it. Don't believe your husband's lies. You are worth so much more than that. Sending you much love.

NightOfTheCactus Wed 26-Mar-14 13:10:31

By the way - on fear of being alone. I had the same thing with my husband - I was terrified of being alone. I was broken down enough to have the belief that I couldn't function on my own - that everything would collapse around me - that I needed him. I am a worrier too by the way - I have mental health problems (funnily enough that have improved immeasurably since we split up), and he used to use those to "protect" me from information that would "upset" me - of course it was a means of control...

Then something wonderful happened. He lost his job. After months of looking, he had to take work away - which meant him being away except for 2 fortnights a month - and you know what I learned? Not only could I cope alone, I thrived alone. The fear and lack of self belief that you have is being strongly influenced by your husband's abuse. I am sure of it.

Puzzledandpissedoff Wed 26-Mar-14 13:30:26

Thank you very, very much everyone - I was worried I'd get flamed for being weak

Yes I fully realise that his "forgetfulness" is abuse/gaslighting in itself. Years ago a pharmacist silently offered me a helplines card when they heard him talk to me in the shop, but he claims that didn't happen either; apparently I was very ill with depression at the time (which is true) and must have imagined it ... too bad for him I still have that card, though he'd no doubt say I picked it up somewhere myself. I know (hope!!) I deserve more than this, it honestly isn't that I don't realise what's happening, just that I've have been dragged down to the point where I've not been able to address it, but that can't just go on and on

Yes, I'm going to think about some counselling (there's a womens' centre in our town which apparently offers it) and also call Womens Aid when he's out - don't know if they recommend counsellors too unless anyone else does??

He's back from his meeting and I asked if he'd thought any more about what I said last night. The answer?? "Yes I have and I'm going to work to put things right" All right in itself, but nothing offered as to how, no further discussion, nothing ... I honestly believe he'll just brush it under the carpet and revert to type as so often in the past

NightOfTheCactus Wed 26-Mar-14 13:35:53

Yes - he very well may brush it under the carpet and revert to type - in fact I would be staggered if he didn't.

How he deals with this isn't the issue from now on in. He has already shown his true colours. He is not your friend.

Really glad that you are seeking out avenues of help. It is so easy to underestimate the amount of strength that can be sucked from you through emotional abuse - but do you know what, you are showing that you do have the spark to deal with this. Somewhere inside of you, the "you" that was there before any of this, still exists and is cheering you on. You do deserve better, you are good enough, you do possess the strength to find yourself, to cast off the things that are doing you no good whatsoever

Puzzledandpissedoff Wed 26-Mar-14 13:48:44

I don't know if it's a spark or what it is, Cactus - I only know I can't go on like this

No, I've not seen that Why Does He Do That book - will have a look on ebay. I also don't have many people in RL and hardly any family (he alienated many friends) but there are a couple of ladies I'm close to who are supportive and, to be honest, can't understand why I'm still here

Neither can I in a way, except that as I said I'm frightened of going off on my own - frying pan into fire and all that. I keep worrying that I'd be even worse off and wish I hadn't done it, but with no way to go back; rationally I know it's silly, but it's making that jump which seems such a huge thing right now

Guess I really DO need to get that counselling booked ...

NightOfTheCactus Wed 26-Mar-14 13:54:54

Yeah. Do some work on yourself. From what I hear from others and from what I experienced myself, that fear of being alone keeping people trapped in emotionally abusive relationships is pretty common. Basically, if you have someone telling you in their words and actions every day that you are not good enough, you have to be remarkably resilient not to take that on board - even though it is all lies!

I maintain that you do have that spark. That is why you are on here. That is why you are questioning it - because you know that this is wrong. I can imagine the spark may be faint - that wouldn't be surprising after all this "man" has put you through - but tiny sparks can light warm, blazing fires.

I know it's hard - but baby steps - put one foot in front of the other in the right direction, and before you know it you will be running towards a brighter future x

NightOfTheCactus Wed 26-Mar-14 13:57:52

Oh hang on - perhaps the fire analogy isn't a good one! Just to clarify, I am talking of a fire that you warm yourself by - one that thaws you out, restores your strength :D

but it's making that jump which seems such a huge thing right now
You don't need to JUMP.
You've already started taking some steps.
You are planning to take more steps.
Day by day - bit at a time.
You will get there.

Puzzledandpissedoff Wed 26-Mar-14 15:47:15

Just thought - this Womens Aid organisation - surely that's going to be for physically abused women, isn't it?? I'm just wondering if they wouldn't perhaps be a bit hacked off and think I'm wasting their time, since I'm not being hit??

Actually, that was another of his gems: "It's not as if I've ever raised a finger to you" ... like I'm supposed to be grateful for that, am I???!!! Oh, and "I've fed and clothed you" like I'm sort sort of charity case??!!! Sorry - getting bloody angry at the moment ...hmm

NightOfTheCactus Wed 26-Mar-14 16:35:01

I would be very shocked if Women's Aid were hacked off with you for asking for support with emotional abuse - because it is a recognised form of abuse and taken seriously (they have information on EA on their website). I have never personally dealt with Women's Aid, but I can't imagine you'd be the first person to contact them about things like this, and I should think that if they know of agencies that would support you better they would point you in the right direction rather than dismiss you. I'd give them a call. Nothing ventured...

That "I've never raised a finger to you..." Yeah - I had that one too: "it's not like I beat you", "I could be getting drunk and spending all our money on drugs" was another one hmm. Empty, self-justifying nonsense is all it is. At least you recognise it for what it is!

LavenderGreen14 Wed 26-Mar-14 16:57:50

Of course Women's Aid will help you - don't you think neglect, cruelty and deceit are enough. Have you looked at their website?

Examples here

Puzzledandpissedoff Wed 26-Mar-14 17:09:47

I hadn't looked at the Womens Aid website when I last posted, but I have now - it does seem I'd be sort of "appropriate" to them, so thanks very much for that. I shall give them a call when I'm here alone, and maybe they can also advise about local counselling too

DH still thinks Relate would be relevant, but they really don't seem to advise this when someone's with an abuser; he doesn't like to see himself that way but that's his problem - and he's still sitting here looking like the little boy who santa claus forgot. Actually some friends used Relate for a while, but her DH tried using it as a forum to prove what a wonderful guy he was - I don't want that!!

LavenderGreen14 Wed 26-Mar-14 17:18:04

He would say that though - but you are right, it is never advised if he is an abuser. He will never admit to it. It is his problem, and no longer yours.

Puzzledandpissedoff Wed 26-Mar-14 19:20:10

You're right about it not being my problem, Lavender - at least the behaviour isn't, though the results of it obviously affect me

This is partly the trouble; as I said it's still all "what do you want me to do?" "I need you to help me do the right thing" and so on. I guess I'm not used to being deliberately unhelpful and it makes me feel I should be suggesting something, if only so he can't say "I'd have done that if you'd asked"

In the end, and after all these years, it's a VERY hard thing to stop doing

Hi Puzzle
I hope you have managed to be on your own to make that call.
I think you'll be very surprised at how abusive he is and Women's Aid will spot that immediately - as we all did.
Hope you are feeling a bit more like 'you' today.
Keep strong and keep taking those steps.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 27-Mar-14 11:06:43

He's in and out all day today, Melons, but he's working all day tomorrow so that's when I'm hoping to make the call - I'll update all you kind people

I had a GP appointment first thing and mentioned a few "intimate" symptoms I've been having. On examination she said it may well be age-related, but also asked if I'd been exposed to any STI risk. OH GOD!!!!!!!!!! shock

I told her about DH's use of prostitutes, she's said to go to the clinic and I'm horrified. Here's the point, though - I might make HIM go instead, at least to start with. I've certainly not cheated, so if he's clear then I know I am if that makes sense?

I can't quite believe I'm in this situation at all to be honest ...

LavenderGreen14 Thu 27-Mar-14 11:25:32

You need to get yourself checked & treated though.

If it's safe then I think you should make him leave as well.
Get those checks and get them fast.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 27-Mar-14 12:57:09

Hang on, surely if I make HIM go to the clinic and he's clear, that 99.9999999% means I'm clear as well and this soreness is age related like the GP suggested as the first possibility?

There's absolutely no way I can have caught anything except through him (truly) and it's not as if I'd trust him about the results - I'd demand to see the paperwork as well

In all honesty I hate, hate HATE the idea of going to the clinic. I've been married for 35 years for god's sake and never expected to have to do that. If I've got to I've got to, but can someone please explain why it wouldn't be safe to rely on him being clear, which would then mean I've not been at risk??

LavenderGreen14 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:01:17

well what if he did have something in the past and got treated - he will be clear now wouldn't he.

Your GP told you to go to the clinic didn't they?

Why trust him now? He will only tell you what you want to hear sadly.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 27-Mar-14 13:10:50

If he'd got treated he'd be clear now ... dear god I hadn't thought of it like that. I'm sorry but my mind's in a hell of a mess and I should have realised, if I'd been thinking clearly I would have done. I wish my GP had put it like that but I understand they must see this a lot and don't have the time to explain everything I suppose

Okay, so is anyone who's been there able to tell me how long for results? I suppose they give you a sort of "scrape" do they, like a smear test? And do you have to keep going back or is it one visit with the results posted?

I just can't believe this - I'll be mentioning this to Womens Aid as well tomorrow, though I don't suppose I'll be the first blush

LavenderGreen14 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:18:03

Don't apologise - you have done nothing wrong. It isn't your fault and it is a huge thing to come to terms with and get your head round.

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