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just had a chat with dh about his emotional affair

(212 Posts)
FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 12:07:35

Dh and I have been together 10 years and have 2 dc (aged 5 and 1). Things are good between us, at times they are great.

However there has always been one niggle in our relationship -his very close friendship with his ex (they'd split about 2 years before we got together and remained friends). She suffers from depression, has had a string of crappy relationships, is financially unstable and she depends on my dh her only friend emotionally, for practical stuff (he still sorts out her car insurance), etc.they don't see each other often but chat on the phone every day, at least once a day and he always leaves the room for these chats, he guards his phone and never lets me near it, and he basically shuts me out of this part of his life. I fucking hate it.

In the past he has gone behind my back in order to help her out and make her happy, without any consideration for me and my feelings. The worst case was when dd was just born and he decided to start up a business with her without even consulting me or discussing it. This means I have severe issues with trust around their relationship as I know he is willing to prioritise her wants over my opinion. To me it felt like a complete betrayal of trust, but he cannot see this and views it as just him supporting her and helping her to get on with her life. This is just one example, not an isolated incident.

Lately the amount of phone calls, his secrecy, etc has ramped up and I decided to gently confront him as quite frankly I can't take anymore. I explained how I felt excluded, how actually she knows more about what's going on in his life than I do and how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

He got defensive, says it's all in my head, he's just helping her through a tough time, is pissed off I basically don't trust him and says I'm blowing it all out of proportion.

He asked what he was supposed to do, stop being her friend all together? I said no, I would not ask that of him, the only relationship I can control/end is the one between him and me and I know that if I did try and end their friendship he'd just resort to hiding it instead. I told him it was up to him to find a solution as his behaviour around things to do with her is the cause of my issues. I feel like he is having an emotional affair, and I'm just a convenience in his life who does his cooking, his laundry, childcare,, etc.

Then ds woke up and I'm now hiding in his room rocking him back to sleep.

Is there a solution to our situation? Honestly I am so lost. But their friendship is making me feel like crap about myself and I am unwilling to depend the next however many years continuing to feel like crap about myself.

Northernlurker Sun 26-Apr-15 12:15:10

Oh dear. Obviously the root of the problem is that this is his friend not yours as a couple. Have you got any sort of relationship with her at all? He hides this because he knows you will be jealous which makes you more jealous, vicious circle. I think you need to talk about how you can both value each other more because whilst you are bitter about this, he probably is too because he perhaps is getting something from her that he doesn't get from you. I don't think it's fair to designate it his affair. I think you've both got ground to make up.

FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 12:18:10

You are so right, it is a vicious circle of hiding and resentment at the hiding.

I have no relationship with her at all, neither would I want one.

Justusemyname Sun 26-Apr-15 12:21:54

Choice time.

You're his wife. You should come first before any friend.

If he chooses her the you'll be no real worse off as he isn't 100% in the marriage at the moment anyway and you wouldn't have to deal with having to run around after him as well.

FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 12:37:41

justusemyname I don't want to 'force' him into chosing between us, I believe he'd chose me and the dc, but would resent me hugely for making him cut out a long term friend. Plus, he'd probably go running back in to save the day again when her next inevitable drama unfolds.

We have spoken about this situation before, he feels that since they split his life has evolved really well (good job, nice house, lovely family, etc) hers hasn't gone smoothly (no job, crap relationship, alcohol abuse and now the latest is social services involvement with her dc). He somehow still feels responsible for her, and will do anything to help her out even at the cost of his relationship with me

I just wish that he could see how dependent she is on him, and how it's not actually healthy for her, for me and for him to have this level of support from him going to her all the fucking time.

mistymeanour Sun 26-Apr-15 12:39:42

Does your DH feel guilty about the divorce? Did he make a promise to always look after his first wife? Perhaps he likes feeling so needed by such a helpless woman. Whatever, it is certainly dysfunctional and a canker in your relationship.

However depressed she gets his ex needs to be getting on with her own life and organising things like her car insurance herself, your H should have detached from her and this is what needs to happen. I think he needs to work out a programme for cutting back on calls and stopping the practical calls and detaching entirely - he may need some counselling to help with this. You are not at fault - it isn't wrong to be mistrustful - you and you DC should be his priority.

I was in a relationship like this at one point. I felt penalised for being "strong". My DP was terrified his ex would commit suicide and felt he was "helping" her. I split with him. He came back 8 months later completely free of EX and we have been together 27 years. It couldn't have worked otherwise.

cleanmyhouse Sun 26-Apr-15 12:45:43

I doubt he's going to be able to see it.

I reckon its ultimatum time too.

SquirrelChaser Sun 26-Apr-15 12:46:28

The ex is never going to sort out her own life because she doesn't have to. She only has to cry poor me and your dh goes running. He is facilitating her inadequacy. Point out to him that his constant assistance is allowing her to fail all the time, which isn't fair on her either.

winkywinkola Sun 26-Apr-15 12:48:57

I'm shocked that he thinks this is normal and okay.

Sorting out at insurance is something parents do for their young adult children or a spouse does for their oh.

It's completely inappropriate behaviour on both their parts. They are not just friends. It's far too close. Too intimate.

He should choose between you. Absolutely. She is taking time away from your relationship and your children. He is indeed prioritising her. And that is fucked up.

She should grow and manage her own life without making demands on her ex. And he should stop being the big hero to her and start being your champion instead.

Sorry but he sounds like a real tosser.

FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 12:53:34

misty they weren't married, and she was the one that ended it. I don't think he feels guilty, but he certainly still feels 'responsible' for her.

I think he certainly does like being helpful and feeling needed, he probably doesn't get that much from me as I am a capable, independent, happy person who can sort out most grown up stuff for myself. My friends have suggested that I maybe try being more 'needy' with him and get him to fix my problems, arrange more of the practical stuff (like he does with her) but honestly he knew I was capable and independent when I met him and I refuse to pretend to be otherwise.

I agree it is certainly dysfunctional and a canker in our relationship, thank you for putting it so beautifully. I am desperate to end her dependence on him, but he will view it as abandoning her. Equally I do not want things to continue as they are.

tallwivglasses Sun 26-Apr-15 12:55:55

You're a saint to have put up with this for so long. A phrase I picked up here a while back is 'she is not a friend of your marriage.' Infact she's positively sabotaging it and obviously has no respect for you - what a lovely person for your DH to have as a close friend. What do his friends and family think of this set up? If they don't know the extent of it, maybe it's time they did. Do they still have a business together?

winkywinkola Sun 26-Apr-15 12:56:42

She's not his responsibility. Is he spending money on her too?

I think I would be binning him over this if he didn't stop contact.

She sounds like a nightmare too.

FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 12:59:48

winky *It's completely inappropriate behaviour on both their parts. They are not just friends. It's far too close. Too intimate. * yes, yes, yes to this. This is why I feel it's some kind of emotional affair, although I'm not sure it's actually the correct term exactly. But you have summed up my feelings on thus perfectly

Fairylea Sun 26-Apr-15 13:01:02

I'm absolutely amazed you have put up with this so long to be honest. There is no way I would have tolerated this at all.

My now ex dh left me for an ex he'd had before me that he'd found on Facebook and started a friendship with. I truly believe it's not possible to have close friendships with exes without it crossing a line.

I just wouldn't accept behaviour like your dhs at all. I'd be telling him it was her or me and that she can fuck off and sort out her own life and her car insurance!

winkywinkola Sun 26-Apr-15 13:04:32

It's a total piss take.

JaceyBee Sun 26-Apr-15 13:05:06

Wow. I'm a pretty laid back and non-jealous person but he is taking the absolute piss! I think what misty says about having a proper split to force him to see what he's losing might be the only way to deal with this, he's got no incentive to change anything otherwise.

Would he consider couples counselling if he thought you were serious about leaving him? He is being monumentality selfish, I think.

JaceyBee Sun 26-Apr-15 13:05:33

*monumentally

FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 13:05:53

tallwivglasses no they don't have the business anymore. huge eyeroll I would have told him the issues with it before they started it up had he consulted me before going behind my back and setting it all up. At the time I was so so so desperately hurt by this happening, plus feeling pretty darn vulnerable being 2 weeks post patrum that I didn't flag up immediately with him how very very wrong he was.

Rivercam Sun 26-Apr-15 13:06:18

The secrecy would worry me, and I agree with the poster who says he is encouraging her behaviour, even if unconsciously. I think you need to encourage your husband to wean himself of her ( and vice versa), and if she clicks her fingers, he needs to learn to say no. Maybe worth be honest and saying you don't trust him, and things have to,change.

Maybe worth getting hold of his,phone to check that it's nothing more serious.

JaceyBee Sun 26-Apr-15 13:07:56

X posted- why the hell should you pretend to be an incapable pwecious pwincess to massage his ego and play along with his rescuer complex?? Fuck that shit!

newstart15 Sun 26-Apr-15 13:08:42

I wonder if he enjoys the role of resucer, google Karpman drama triangle.I think you have every right to ask him to define boundaries for this relationship.Its not healthy for her as she is not learning to take responsibility.

I would suggest counselling, friendships are fine but your marriage should be the primary relationship.

winkywinkola Sun 26-Apr-15 13:11:46

Flapperty, I can see how very hurtful that would've been for you just after you had your baby. I wouldn't have been able to forgive that.

It's not at all honest or honourable what is going on here.

He messing up your marriage and your children's family unit.

Fairenuff Sun 26-Apr-15 13:11:52

I feel like he is having an emotional affair, and I'm just a convenience in his life who does his cooking, his laundry, childcare,, etc.

Yep, this is about it.

FlappertyFlippers Sun 26-Apr-15 13:13:12

jayce in all other aspects of our relationship I to am completely non jealous and totally trusting. But with regards to his ex I have lost all my ability to easily recognise how fantastically awesome I am, and the insecurities are starting to leach into every day life. After all, if your partner constantly prioritised someone else's happiness over your own it's going to get you down, no matter how solid one is in their own self belief.

This is why the situation needs to change. I do not like the feelings I'm experiencing, I do not like the distrustful person I am becoming. Dh is reluctant to try and see how HIS behaviour is the root cause of this.

winkywinkola Sun 26-Apr-15 13:14:18

Flapperty, I can see how very hurtful that would've been for you just after you had your baby. I wouldn't have been able to forgive that.

It's not at all honest or honourable what is going on here.

He messing up your marriage and your children's family unit.

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