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How did I get him so wrong?

(40 Posts)
iwashappy Wed 18-Feb-15 21:27:37

I ended my marriage after discovering my husband of 25 years had cheated on me. He was having an affair for nearly a year with a woman I know. It then came out that he had cheated on me before with lots of different women and had cheated on his first wife too. He had lied to me about the reasons his first marriage ended.

He bragged to some of his friends about cheating on me and came over as a total sleaze in his texts to OW.

I thought he was a decent man with values, morals and respect for me. I never had him down as a cheat let alone a womaniser. I was totally oblivious to what he was up to. He was really the last person I thought would do anything like this and yet it seems he's cheated for most of his adult life.

How did I not realise what he was like. I don't understand how I can live with a man for 25 years and not have any idea at all that he is such a bastard. How could my judgement be that badly wrong for all of that time?

MelonBallersAreStrange Wed 18-Feb-15 22:36:03

Because you didn't want it to be true?

I don't think it is your fault BUT if you want to start asking questions of yourself I'd go with:

How did he fit in all the cheating without you noticing? Where did he have the time in the day?
Did he spend money on them?
Didn't you notice his friends were sleaze balls?

Queenofwands Thu 19-Feb-15 00:17:32

He's the fool not you. He never had your love, because you loved a different man not him. You can now mourn for that other man who has gone. I could fool my partner, and they could fool me because we trust each other. I wouldn't have it any other way. Your loving nature means you will move on and find love again...He will drag his issues with him into the next relationship. Big Hug.

Linguini Thu 19-Feb-15 10:00:56

I remember your first post, iwashappy.
Well done for ending thing I know it was such a shock.
Please dont be hard on yourself, these men depend on the good nature of their wives to get away with it.
How are your children? Are you still living in the family home?

It is no failing on your part.

Jan45 Thu 19-Feb-15 10:14:32

He obviously became an expert at it, practice make perfect etc....he will end up a very sad individual if he can't commit to one person, who wants that life.

HootyMcTooty Thu 19-Feb-15 10:16:35

You got him wrong because he wanted you to. He projected an image of himself that was far from his real self, you fell for the projection. There's nothing for you to reproach yourself for, he deceived you, for a long time.

Few people marry men knowing that they're a devious cheat, how often do you see women on these boards who find out their husband has cheated? They nearly always say the same thing "he didn't seem the type". Same goes for men who are cheated on. It's not you it's him.

I've followed your threads from the start and contributed occasionally. I think you're doing wonderfully, but you are, understandably, still spending a lot of time analysing his current behaviour. I think because you're only now finding out who he really is. It will take time to come to terms with who he really is as he's no longer interested in playing the part of the man he wanted you to love.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 19-Feb-15 10:23:02

We tend to take people on face value. We also tend to judge others by our own standards and assume - backed up with what they say - that they share our values. If you're with someone who is very good at deception, if you're not naturally suspicious and if you've never been cheated on previously, you'll trust them.

You won't trust anyone quite so completely in future. And that's probably not a bad thing

MakeMeJumpIntoTheAir Thu 19-Feb-15 10:38:26

Hooty lives up to her namesake. What you said there fits my ex too. Hope this helps you OP.

iwashappy Thu 19-Feb-15 11:19:29

I didn't want it to be true but prior to finding a text to OW I had no suspicions about him before. There was nothing in his behaviour that I brushed off by thinking "he wouldn't do that." Even with the benefit of hindsight it wasn't obvious that he was cheating.

With the most recent OW she is a neighbour and he used to go round to hers when I thought he was at work. We run a business from the grounds of our house and I thought he was in our office.

With some of the other women he used to cycle there, Sometimes he told me he was going for a cycle, sometimes he used to go off without me knowing when again I thought he was working. I don't know much more detail about how he used to see the previous women as I didn't really need to know by then. I know far too much about the recent OW and being able to paint such a vivid picture torments me so other than needing to know if he had cheated before and very basic details I didn't ask too much.

There was nothing obvious on our bank statements in terms of spending money. He didn't go out for expensive meals or hotel stays or anything, it was apparently just "fun." He did give the most recent OW things but as far as I know nothing he specifically bought for her.

As far as I am aware most of his friends that I have spent a lot of time with didn't know, or at least he didn't brag to them. He has an interest which he spends limited time doing and it was the men he did this interest with that he bragged to. I know some of these men through some social interaction with the interest and sometimes they come to work but it's not frequent at all.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 19-Feb-15 14:21:27

So he was a careful opportunist. It's not your fault. I know there's a stereotype for how cheating man are supposed to behave the same as there's a stereotype for the 'OW' but IME very few people actually conform to either. 'The Script' is also highly suspect. If they're discreet about it, don't act out of character & they're quite happy staying married (as opposed to the sort that believe themselves to be in love and want to make a fresh start) they can get away with all kinds of things for years on end.

I know a man who had a whole 'secret family'. It was my uncle, in fact. His job as a market trader meant he had a legitimate reason to be away from home for periods of time and neither woman realised what was going on. Even the day one of his 'other' children turned up at the stall and called him Dad, his DW didn't twig. She just thought the boy had a cute nickname for him!

Auburnsparkle Thu 19-Feb-15 15:44:38

It's not your fault you didn't notice. You can only judge by your own values. The fact that it is incomprehensible that he did this just shows that you are a decent, honest person and would never behave in the way he has. That is a good thing surely? I am sorry he has behaved so appallingly. Having made similar discoveries myself it certainly does tilt your whole world on its axis.

iwashappy Thu 19-Feb-15 16:43:03

I feel like the fool though. I thought I was stupid enough not realising that he was having an affair for nearly a year right under my nose. To find out that he has actually cheated on me throughout our marriage and I never even had an inkling takes an awful lot of getting your head around.

I must have loved a different man because I certainly wouldn't have fallen for the one who could do this to me.

I trusted him totally and yes I thought we had the sort of relationship where neither of us felt the need to check up on the other and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I just feel so stupid and naïve now for trusting him.

He's openly seeing the OW now, she knows his history - she knew more than I did - I'm hoping it won't last. Thank you.

It was such a shock, it still is really. When I found out that he had cheated before (on his first wife) it made the decision to end my marriage a lot easier.

My children are coping okay all things considered. My son doesn't really have that much to do with him. He does speak to him and sees him briefly but doesn't really spend time with him. My daughter does see her dad, she stayed at his last night, but things are a bit tense between them. She thought the world of him and it's hard for her and he doesn't make it easy sometimes - he wanted her to meet OW although he has shut up about it for now. She is blaming the OW quite a lot as I think it's easier for her to accept that but I think she will realise in her own time that it's down to her dad. We are still in the family home, not sure long term what I want to happen. Thank you for asking.

Paddlingduck Thu 19-Feb-15 17:04:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Auburnsparkle Thu 19-Feb-15 18:05:44

Happy - I trusted in exactly the same way. It is not your fault, you are not stupid. It is a huge, massive shock. But what he did is nothing to do with you. He would have done this whoever he was with. He did it because he wanted to and he could. That is nothing to do with anything you did or didn't do. I wonder if we project our image of our perfect husband/relationship onto them, and then when we find out they aren't what we thought it is just a huge shock and you then question everything.

I was a naive fool too. But heck, I am glad I trusted. At least I know I didn't lie or cheat, and nor did you. That is something to be proud of - certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

gildedcage Thu 19-Feb-15 19:17:22

I have been following your other thread. Firstly I want to say I think your coping brilliantly especially given the proximity, work situation etc.

My mother and us dc had a similar deathbed discovery about my df. Very very distressing because we knew that we would never get the answers that we needed to move on.

My dm didn't question herself but I know me and my dsis did. Its hard to feel like your whole life and what you knew was a lie. This is a grieving process, you're grieving not only the marriage that you had, (I know that you think it was a lie but don't let what you know now taint those happy memories...your children's childhoods, setting up home etc,) but you are grieving the future that you thought you would share.

I started to think about it along the lines of trusting myself. You are not in control of other people's actions but implicitly you can trust you. I think some counselling would be great for you, it would help you work through your feelings with someone outside the situation.

I wish you the best. You sound like a fantastic person.

HootyMcTooty Thu 19-Feb-15 19:19:12

None of you were fools!

Cog has it spot on (as usual), people tend to assume others behave in the same way they do. A person who wouldn't seek to deceive others often assumes others are the same, until evidence proves otherwise.

Being deceived isn't a consequence of your trusting nature, it's a consequence of someone else's deception. I would also rather be a trusting person and have faith in people until proven wrong, than assume everyone is a bastard who is out to destroy me.

Gfplux Thu 19-Feb-15 20:00:41

You are well rid of him.

Drumdrum60 Thu 19-Feb-15 23:54:39

Happy you have changed so much since your first thread. It's like a light bulb has come on and you are no longer naive! Welcome to the real world. Remember what he did is no reflection on you. He didn't deserve such a sweet person.
It won't last with OW. Hopefully when you're ready the tables will turn. They usually do.

iwashappy Fri 20-Feb-15 08:34:57

He clearly was an expert at it and he certainly had plenty of practice. You are right that I wouldn't want his life. I would rather he had stayed single for a while until things were a bit easier rather than being with OW. I hope that it fizzles out with her but at the same time I don't really want to see him in a succession of short lived relationships as I think that would be quite difficult for our daughter to deal with.

Hello Tooty I remember you. You speak a lot of sense there. If I'd have known what he was like I wouldn't have even gone out with him let alone married him. Even looking at his behaviour retrospectively there is nothing obvious that I should have been suspicious of.

I know a lot of people think that their husband would never cheat so I don't suppose I am in the minority in being totally shocked at his behaviour. It just feels different when it is someone that you think you know inside out and then you find out that you don't. Finding out that not only did he have an affair but that he is a womaniser and he was before I met him doesn't help with the shock.

I am spending a lot of time thinking everything over and trying to understand it all. Trying being the right word as I am struggling to understand. Thank you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 20-Feb-15 08:41:14

Accomplished liars can be very charming and very credible. If you hadn't seen the text, you'd still be none the wiser. You may have gone to your grave thinking you'd had a long, faithful relationship. I'm sure many do.

You can't change the past. All the 'what ifs' will torture you if you let them. You had a good experience for a period of time even if it ended badly and, even though there was deception, it doesn't mean the relationship was entirely false. Your feelings were genuine and I'm sure, on some level, so were his. They just weren't exclusive.

iwashappy Fri 20-Feb-15 08:41:41

I do take people at face value and yes I assume people have similar standards to me unless they prove otherwise and he didn't show me otherwise until now. He's always been very honest in every other way, always helped people out and just seemed good, kind and decent.

I'm not naturally suspicious, I have never had reason to be. I'm trusting by nature or at least I was. I certainly won't trust like that again. Thank you.

Auburnsparkle Fri 20-Feb-15 08:58:04

Don't even begin to try and understand him. Your brain doesn't work the same as his so you will never get your head around what he did. That way madness lies.

iwashappy Sat 21-Feb-15 15:01:04

Thank you yes some of the points made are helpful in trying to help me to understand all of this. I think with the level of deception it is important for me to try and understand as much as I can how I could have been so taken in by him.

Apart from not deleting texts with the OW he seems to have been very careful. Never did anything that made me suspicious. He was friendly with the most recent OW and he said it just developed between them into something more. Apparently he wasn't looking for it so it could have been that he took opportunities when they came along.

I feel less like it is my fault since I knew he had cheated on his first wife. If he had been married to someone else instead of me I think he would have cheated on her too knowing what I do now but it doesn't stop you feeling inadequate and that it is down to me in some way.

I'm not sure about the stereotypes and the script. My ex-DH didn't show a lot of the supposed tell tale signs of cheating but he did lie repeatedly to me when I confronted him and continued to do so. It was just banter and nothing happened, then it was a one-off, then he didn't have full sex with her, he'd never cheated on me before etc. I know OW and she wasn't someone that I saw doing this I have to say but she's enough of a bitch to have been all nice and friendly to me to my face while at the same time she was bedding my husband.

He was adamant that he never had any intention of leaving me, it was always just a bit of fun on the side when he cheated apparently so Cog what you say about it being possible for a man to be discreet and not act of character and get away with it for a long time rings true.

Your poor aunt, that sounds awful.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 21-Feb-15 16:40:45

My uncle and aunt separated eventually. It all came to light after one of the OW's children was killed in an accident and police went to the address he shared with his DW. hmm We've since had another man contact the family via FB claiming to be his son from yet another relationship. The resemblance leaves little room for doubt.

And yet if you met my uncle you'd never peg him for a love rat. Extremely nice man, not arrogant or flirtatious, very family-oriented and appears to be as honest as the day is long. I should write his story down one day and turn it into a novel.

Some people just don't do 'tell-tale signs of cheating'.... trouble is that their definition of fidelity is also unique to them. I'm sure your DH's 'bit of fun on the side' didn't contravene his personal definition but it's no comfort to you

Gfplux Sun 22-Feb-15 11:24:48

Hello iwas,
Good to hear your progress.
Now you are separate people running the Company have you given any thought to booking your holiday dates in. From a business and personal point of view this may have some good values. You will know when he will be away and also you will have your own holidays to look forward to in addition looking forward to those nice times when he will be away.
This moght be very practical but I get the impression that these "normal" things will help you.

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