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.

second marriage he is secretly contacting ex-wife

(23 Posts)
Cloudy20 Thu 25-Jun-15 22:53:12

Looking for your help and advice! Both of us were married before - his wife left him after 32 years for another man and they've grown-up kids. My ex and I mutually split after 18 years and have one just-adult child.

New husband and I met a few years after each split, 4 years ago. Married 2 years, he professes love to me constantly but our relationship can be difficult. He is not an easy person to be around but I always believed in his honesty.. Says he is only in contact with ex wife abt their children but I wondered. He is odd about her, saying he feels nothing for her. She still has her new man.

A few weeks ago his phone pinged a text and her name came up. I asked him later, casually, if he'd been in touch with her recently and he said he hadn't heard from her in over 2 months.

Yesterday I did something I never thought I'd do - checked his texts when he was out. Couldn't believe - he'd met her a month ago when I was at work.

He'd also texted her last week when he was away for a day camping asking if she ever still camped now (they used to go together when married). She texted back saying she was jealous and saying no, and saying 'I think of you often' with a casual personal sign-off. He texted her back 'I think of you often too.' There were other concerned, personal, over familiar but not downright romantic messages.

I have no patience for lies. I spoke to him generally last night saying I needed his honesty, he could tell me anything, it seemed he was keeping a secret. He assured me there is nothing. Looked in my eyes and said I don't know what you could mean. Just been worried about his daughter not being in touch enough. I looked at him and stared and thought how can you say that.

He also told me in that conversation that, by the way, he is dropping off some stuff at his ex-wife's flat tomorrow morning, and then going straight to gym. I know from those texts she said ' oh good, I'll get the breakfast and have coffee ready' .

I am sick of arguments. Feel sick about confronting him with this, having to defend my sneaky look at texts. But I am sick at this deceit. Doesn't of course mean an affair - I don't believe it is - but does mean he is emotionally lying and I have no patience for it. We have gone through a huge amount of pain after divorces, financial struggles, getting this house together. I feel I cannot do it again, but Mumsnetters - what would you advise?

He constantly holds himself up as an honest man, and he did not flicker last night when I told him how I felt, albeit not mentioning her or the texts.

ImperialBlether Thu 25-Jun-15 22:55:53

You've had one bad marriage. This one's a liar so I'd dump him. There are nice guys out there, ones who won't lie through their teeth. He just isn't one of them.

Cloudy20 Thu 25-Jun-15 23:00:00

I don't want to admit that might be true. But reading my own message, it doesn't look good. I think I am in shock still,

andthenagain Thu 25-Jun-15 23:05:34

he looked you straight in the eye and lied.
It would appear he is still not over his ex wife from what you have written.
Save yourself a lot of heartache and get rid.

honeyroar Thu 25-Jun-15 23:12:54

I feel sorry for you. He is not being fair. I'd be tempted to tell him here and now that you've seen his texts. I think you only want to look at texts if there is something not feeling right in your relationship. I also think that looking at a phone pales into insignificance compared to lying about meeting your ex. There's nothing wrong with them being friends, but it should be able to be a friendship that includes you and isn't secret.

Suggest you go with hm tomorrow as you fancy the gym? (At the last minute). See if he squirms.

K888 Thu 25-Jun-15 23:27:47

Wow I really feel for you. What a horrible, tricky situation.

I think you are in shock. I had a similar situation a while ago with my boyfriend. Not about his ex wife, but who knows? He had texted other women, I saw a phone bill with odd numbers - I eventually called one of them and it had been a flirty/emotional type affair - not physical. But that has crossed a line, especially with his ex wife - that is dangerous territory.

My guy also denied at first - he really couldn't quite see how the emotional stuff had crossed a line - e.g. talking about our relationship etc - more easily could see flirting.

I would confront him when you feel the time is right for you. Have all the evidence and insist on complete honesty as the first step from him about everything with his ex - no matter how inocuous it might seem to him. Then take some time/counselling or whatever both of you - to see if he is willing to rectify the situation and win your trust back - the ball will be in his court.

VanitasVanitatum Thu 25-Jun-15 23:32:27

I would hate this. No it doesn't sound like a physical affair but it's certainly a re kindling of emotional feeling, at least on his side, maybe a nostalgia - suggests that all is not right with his feelings for you.

I think you need an honest, 'I read your messages' chat.

molyholy Thu 25-Jun-15 23:34:21

He has lied to you. What else is there to say? If u ain't got trust you ain't got nowt

Rosieliveson Thu 25-Jun-15 23:39:13

He isn't be fair on you. He is also blatantly lying. Before he goes off tomorrow, tell him you've seen his messages, know about their breakfast arrangements and want to know what his end game is and why he is lying. Don't allow the issue to become bogged down in you having read his texts. That is a small matter which is way off point at the moment. In the end, you read them because you felt he was lying to you. He was so has no defence.

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Fri 26-Jun-15 06:37:49

They were married a very long time and have so much shared history. The end of the marriage came about due to her affair so presumably not his choice. Clearly (and if I'm being objective understandably) he still has feelings for her. Perhaps they're based on nostalgia, perhaps something deeper.

However, that's not to say he doesn't love you and love your relationship and being married to you. Yes he's lying (and I can't stand lyng either!) but in his head it won't be lying it'll be protecting you 'from something you'll get upset about that is really unimportant.' That is not true of course - it IS important - but he will be rationalising it in his head like that.

You need to talk to him honestly and openly. Why does he feel the need to lie about contact with his ex-wife? What are the feelings he has for her? Would he take her back if she wanted him? He'll naturally want to minimise the feelings and hopes he has so you'll need to be really patient, understanding, grown up and calm to get even half the truth out of him. Tell him you need complete honesty or what is the point? Remind him how he felt when his wife cheated on him. BTW I don't think these two are having an affair but I do wonder if he'd be interested if she gave him reason to.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you all.

Optimist1 Fri 26-Jun-15 07:47:15

MagicalMrsM nails it.

Hissy Fri 26-Jun-15 08:00:59

I'd tell him to get a head start and leave straightaway so as not to be late "for the gym"... Oh and he'd not be needing a gym bag, right? More like a suitcase

Tell him to go, and that you won't live with a liar. When he looks all offended, tell him not to treat you like a bigger fool than you've been already, and that you KNOW EVERYTHING, and then say nothing.

Cloudy20 Fri 26-Jun-15 09:09:27

MagicalMrsMistoffelees - a lot of what you say is so right. When I first met him I used to say I wanted to know when he was in touch with her and he would go on about it saying 'why are you asking? she is my ex, parent of my kids' stuff. Said I was over reacting. They have got a huge long shared history. Really - I feel so naive now looking back.

He has gone this morning now. I had suggested I might come (like other posters here have said) and he said well ok, if you want, but to be honest i couldn't be bothered with the farce. It felt demeaning if you know what I mean? But maybe I should have.

He was all loving this morning and 'it's great its nearly the weekend with you' etc.

I plan to look out for his phone again in the next few days and see what's there. And if he stops leaving it around, that will say something too.
Half of me thinks it is beneath me to even care - I should instead get on and do my own things without him, think of this relationship in a different way. Not trust him as much - not because I think they'll ever do anything, but because of that emotional dishonesty, the two of them playing a game. Feel maybe I should not even ask about her ever again, but look after myself?
But I am still freaked about what's going on in his head. I think you are right about him justifying it to himself by thinking he is protecting me from something I'll get upset about.

I'll give it a week or two, see i the right time to get it in a conversation or see if I can switch off about this and protect myself mentally.
I just need to think about it.

But thanks everyone for this - I haven't been here for many years, and it's great to know you are all out here. I've absolutely no-one in real life I can talk to about this. I will return and let you know what happens!

Threefishys Fri 26-Jun-15 09:48:46

I can offer you a perspective here. I am the ex wife and I have a friendship with my exh that his current/soon to be ex wife could not accept. Now. She would at first insist on knowing when he was in contact with me about our DD (13). Knowing did nothing to help her feelings of unease however. She became more and more paranoid that something must be going on between us (it wasn't, isn't and never will be). The wife made contact between us very difficult. Exh felt he had to contact me in secret so as not to upset/rile her. This of course made everything worse - she felt if he was keeping secrets he surely must be up to no good - in short she caused a scenario then started to believe it. The bottom line is this. She entered into a relationship with a man with a previous wife and child. She could not accept what this meant and tried to pick it apart - through her own insecurities. No amount of reassurance from me (trying to be friendly for the sake of my DD really) and minimising from him (ie hiding it because being honest didn't assure her either) could stop her feelings about it. Ultimately it was and is a no win situation until her mind set changes. DD and I exist . It is what it is. Exh is like a brother to me. You have to believe in yourself and your marriage, for your own sake and self esteem because you DH has a past and that's how you found him. He can't change his affection for this woman - she's effectively a family member. Does this make sense?

Threefishys Fri 26-Jun-15 09:51:48

I should add I am in a very happy relationship and have no designs on my ex h whatsoever, however I do have a child with him and I don't hate him, he's family. My DP gets on very well with him, he knows there is nothing residual. I think men find it a lot easier to accept than women, we naturally over think and then start to match 'evidence' to our beliefs.

honeyroar Fri 26-Jun-15 12:24:22

Threefishys I understand all of what you've said, but do you feel that the "I think about you a lot" texts etc and the cooking of breakfast etc is within the boundaries of what's normal for a platonic friendship with an ex?

It's a strange one. My parents split up after 35 years. Vis he met someone else, they're not together anymore. My mum and dad are good friends. Still help each other out, go out for lunch etc. They're fond of each other. It must seem strange to other people. I think my dad does actually still have a flame for her. However the more time they spend together, the more they fall back into niggling one another, and I remember why they split up!

Threefishys Fri 26-Jun-15 12:33:29

I think it depends entirely on context. They may well think of each other a lot. I think of my ex h a lot. I have literally zero wish to have anything other than an amicable co parent relationship with him which we have now. To me he is just a family member who I'm fond of . I can't change that I'm part of his history and present due to having a child nor should I or anyone else have to defend their presence. It's about how you feel in yourself. If your self esteem is good you can embrace the situation you have now entered ie a life long connection with the ex because of the child. If you trust your partner it's fine. Maybe OP husband is up to no good but the point is this in my first hand experience, the ex wife can bizarrely be pegged as the other woman from the outset in the new wifes mind and really how can anyone head that off? We exist and we can't change that! So he is contact with ex as mates - New wife gets upset. Husband doesn't want to upset new wife but knows there is nothing wrong in being amicable with his ex - so tries to manage by hiding contact. New wife finds out - assumed worst because of the hiding. There is only one solution to this and it lies wholly in the new wife's outlook and approach in my honest opinion. The facts and history are what they are and how she found him and what she effectively signed up to. It's not easy.

Threefishys Fri 26-Jun-15 12:37:14

I should had I personally think there's nothing weird about people who've fallen out of physical love having some residual affection in fact it's quite cute in my opinion. Exes are exes for a reason doesn't mean you can't be friends in fact I would venture it would be nice on impossible to be friendly if you still held a flame for an ex.

Threefishys Fri 26-Jun-15 12:38:11

I'm not even attempting to correct all those auto correct mistakes! grin

honeyroar Fri 26-Jun-15 12:42:12

Quite agree that when you get together with a man that was previously married with children you take his history on as well. I am a stepmum and second wife myself. It's not always easy and you do have to swallow it sometimes. I. My case it's easy as his ex has done so many dirty tricks over the years that husbands tolerates her rather thinks of her fondly! I do agree that many second wives don't realise how much baggage their husbands will have that can't be put down. However if the second wife is the person that the man has chosen to spend his life with, and she is upset at the level of contact he has with his ex, and the husband simply hides things then the marriage is pointless. Arranging secret breakfasts and sending texts like that are just disrespectful in that kind of situation. The relationship between the current wife and the ex and the husband needs working on until the second wife feels ok about it, otherwise the second marriage will fail too.

honeyroar Fri 26-Jun-15 12:43:23

I think it's great if ex partners can get on after a break up, especially if there are children. But it shouldn't need hiding.

Threefishys Fri 26-Jun-15 12:49:53

I agree with all that. OP has to be a little crafty in my opinion. She has to assert herself as the wife and lay down what's she's comfy with (and stick to it) whilst also getting her self esteem in check so she feels confident and unthreatened by the ex. The husband for his part, should stop hiding communication with his ex, he's fully entitled to have friendships with whoever he chooses however he obviously needs to be understanding of OP feelings about the time he is spending with his ex. Nobody's relationship is rock sold set in stone but a friendly ex can be a very healthy thing - imagine the alternative! OP husband needs to include her in his friendship to put her mind at ease in my opinion.

MorrisZapp Fri 26-Jun-15 12:57:43

He could be a sly dog, or he could just be a normal guy trying to protect you from having negative feelings about his ex.

I'm not sure there's enough evidence either way. I generally think its great when people are friendly with their exes, much more so when kids are involved. My parents have been divorced since I was a kid but they hug and kiss whenever they see each other (they are hippy throwbacks smile )

I wouldn't make plans to dump him on this evidence alone.

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