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What would you have done?

(37 Posts)
Curviest Sun 19-Jun-16 16:11:01

Met my life partner when we were in our late 40s. We are both quiet, nerdy, geek types. He was so shy that he had never had a girlfriend. We quickly slipped into a deeply committed but unexciting, comfy, affectionate relationship. He lived an hour's drive away and, because of his employment, slept at his little flat above the office Mon-Thurs, and at my house Friday til Sunday. We also spent every moment of his annual leave, Xmas, Easter, Bank Hols together. He was going to retire at 62, earlier if his dad died (inheritance), we planned to sell both our homes and buy a place together.

Everything was sweet as pie for 10 years. Only a few more years to retirement. Suddenly, he was unfairly dismissed. A colleague offered to help him build his legal case by being his "spy" (peeking at the boss's files, eavesdropping his phone calls to his solicitor, finding out what his defence was going to be, and reporting back).

Most evenings after work she popped in with a "spy" report. One evening he invited her to stay for a bite to eat. Next evening she turned up with pizza to return the favour. They'd chat about anything and everything.

One day he let slip that she had asked about our relationship.... and found fault with me. I was miffed at another woman picking my relationship to pieces and critiquing it. I told him not to discuss it with her and he said I was being "too sensitive".

Nearly every time he spent an evening at his flat, she'd drop in, they'd discuss his legal case and share a meal. She started bringing wine and, as he never drank, he got tipsy really quickly. Alarm bells went off in my head, but I shut them up: they had worked together for years before he met me. If she was interested, she'd have made her move back then, when he was single.

Once I (half) jokingly remarked that she was making a play for him. He laughed like a drain: no way would she, a mid-30s, attractive, nubile young woman, be interested in a late-fifties, weedy, nerdy, bespectacled, Hush-Puppy-wearing (and now unemployed!) old codger. They had nothing in common other than work; she was young enough to be his daughter.

As well as the shared meals and long chats she took him to see her DD perform in a play and they went to the cinema. It felt like my fella was "dating" another woman. I "ought" to do something to stop it, but I did not know what. Besides, by what right could I have "banned" him from seeing her, anyway? I have opposite-sex friends, why shouldn't he? And I wanted her to help him: if he won, he'd get compensation and we could buy a place together even sooner than we planned.

Her name was constantly on his lips. She didn't think it was right that I "made him" do DIY when he had no financial stake in my house. And I "ought" to buy groceries before he arrived here, not "make him" take me in his car. She also didn't think I "made the most of" myself (I am the jeans-wearing, fresh-faced type) and ought to make "more effort" when he visited and wear make-up.

One evening I rang him and she answered! Her boiler had broken down and she was kipping on his sofa. I tossed and turned all night, and rang next morning just to see if I could "tell" from the tone of his voice whether anything had "happened" between them.

I'd forgotten that years ago she'd added me as a "friend" on Facebook, so I was surprised when he rang me, very upset, saying that I had "announced on Facebook" that I had dumped him, without having the decency to inform him first. I told him that I had no idea what he was on about, but he hung up and blanked my calls. This was the first contretemps we'd ever had, in ten years! And caused by her! I was distraught. I decided to go by train to his town next morning and sort things out.

Arriving outside his flat he told me via the intercom to "go away", it was over. I burst into tears, walked to a nearby cafe and rang and rang. He would not answer. I went home, devastated.

He emailed asking when he could collect his belongings. Once he was here, we sorted it out. She had searched for my marital status on FB, which is "single". (I never post anything personal). Jennie claimed that it used to say "in a relationship" and I had lately changed it, thereby "announcing to the world" that I'd dumped him! I told him that wasn't true, it had always been set at single, since before I met him. He looked sheepish, but said that he was "with her" now and he didn't see how he could backpedal.

He said he was happy with me until she had pointed out things about our relationship. These things never bothered him till she criticised them, I said. He agreed that this was true, but what man would turn down a woman like her, attractive, sexy, younger etc. He simply could not help himself; he preferred being with her.

Since then I have been beating myself up, trying to pinpoint the moment when I should have "put my foot down" and "ordered" him to cease meeting her. But then arguing with myself that nobody has the "right" to stop another person from being with whoever he wants. Do we "own" our boyfriends and have the right to stop them leaving? Did I do anything wrong? Was there nothing I could do?

I'm curious to hear what other Mnetters would have done, and at what point, if they were me in that circumstance.

heyday Sun 19-Jun-16 16:22:59

You can't stop another adult from seeing whomever they choose; they will only continue seeing them secretly even if they agreed to your request. You haven't done anything wrong. He was caught up in his own ego, felt flattered by her attention. It's a shame but unfortunately these things happen. You somehow have to pick yourself up and be kind to yourself. In time you will move on with your life but trusting another man in the future may be difficult after this.

WellErrr Sun 19-Jun-16 16:29:19

You haven't done anything wrong. They've both been twats and probably having an affair. I'm so sorry flowers

Whatever you do, don't do the pick me dance. Not worth it.

ImperialBlether Sun 19-Jun-16 16:29:29

Oh, you're too nice. I would be on the phone to the boss who's been spied on by now.

It looks as though his inexperience has acted against him and he's been taken in by all the attention he's been given. I wouldn't assume the relationship will last - I think she was getting her rocks off on bitching about you so she'll be stuck for entertainment now. I just hope you're involved with someone else when he comes crying to you.

EverFallenInLoveWithSomeone Sun 19-Jun-16 16:33:34

You couldn't have prevented this from happening. Only he could have done that and he chose not to.

Redisthenewblack Sun 19-Jun-16 16:36:25

OP I have reported your post as you have used the OWs name so thought it may need amending by HQ.

You have done nothing wrong.

You've had a lucky escape IMO. The man sounds like a dick.

Once she moves onto her next victim he'll lonely come crawling back. But stay strong. He's done this once, he'll do it again!

I'm sorry you're going through this. Time will heal.

Redisthenewblack Sun 19-Jun-16 16:36:53

Likely not lonely!

Curviest Sun 19-Jun-16 16:50:42

Redisthenewblack - I changed her name - that isn't her real name, and not even similar. Please don't remove my thread!

Redisthenewblack Sun 19-Jun-16 16:55:13

Ah I see. Sorry. I didn't report it to have it removed. Just in case you wanted the name deleting. smile

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 19-Jun-16 17:11:51

You didn't do anything wrong.

There is nothing you can do to force someone to do or not do something. Everything he did was his own choice.

PeppasNanna Sun 19-Jun-16 19:01:16

Bless you. Thats so unfair.

In all honesty, you know you can do better then him.
She'll get bored.
He'll realise when its too late...

Move on. Look after yourself. Have some fun!

sykadelic Sun 19-Jun-16 21:30:46

To answer your question: "what would you have done?"... when he told me she had found fault with me I'd have told him that she's behaving inappropriately and her coming over makes me uncomfortable. I'd ask him to stop seeing her at his home and have her e-mail the "reports" so he had a record instead (as she doesn't NEED to come over daily).

The wine incident would have made me very angry and I'd've said so.

You've been together many years, you'd hope he'd have your back and pick her up on comments she made about you and stop seeing her himself. I'd agree with other posters that he was flattered by her attention. I also agree that she will dump him soon enough and he'll feel like the complete fool he's been...

It doesn't appear to me that he cheated on you, but he DID allow his head to be turned, he did allow someone else to say negative things about you. Basically he was disloyal without actually cheating.

I'm sorry OP hugs

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sun 19-Jun-16 21:45:13

If he was that easily put off you then it was never going to last anyway. You couldn't have done anything. You did the right things I think.

springydaffs Sun 19-Jun-16 22:09:25

She nicked him right from under your nose!

No we don't own anyone but we can set boundaries in relationships ; what is and isn't acceptable to us. The moment your alarm bells went off was the moment to shout HALT! This is making me uncomfortable! And hold by it. Don't budge.

I'm so sorry. What a truly horrible and nasty situation flowers

AnyFucker Sun 19-Jun-16 22:15:39

He is a first class prick

Why do you think it was your fault ?

springydaffs Sun 19-Jun-16 22:18:03

I think he is extraordinarily naive. And she is a predator.

That's not to let him off, mind. He's as deep as a puddle.

LellyMcKelly Mon 20-Jun-16 04:38:57

Ultimately, she couldn't have done anything if he hadn't wanted it. She sounds vile, but it was his decision. You setting boundaries probably wouldn't have made a difference. I suspect you'll see him again, asking for your help to get rid of her.

Diamogs Mon 20-Jun-16 04:50:39

None of this was your fault they are arses.

No point fighting for someone who wants someone else.

If he can cheat on you then he can cheat on her.

And I'm petty so I'd be sobbing Miss MI5 into the boss.

BertPuttocks Mon 20-Jun-16 10:14:01

"He agreed that this was true, but what man would turn down a woman like her, attractive, sexy, younger etc. He simply could not help himself;"

I think that with this attitude he was always going to be someone who would be very likely to cheat. Even if you had managed to magically step in at the right moment to stop the relationship with Miss Super-Spy, there would eventually have been someone else.

If you have to manage and monitor someone's friendships and relationships in order for them to be faithful, you're better off without them.

I don't think you did anything wrong. I think you had a lucky escape.

BoatyMcBoat Mon 20-Jun-16 12:07:41

The first time he was disloyal was when it was time for you to dump him. You're far better off without him. I'm sorry this happened, I'm sorry he wasn't good enough for you and that you've been hurt. You're still a fair bit younger than me and there's still a lot of life waiting for you to live it. I have v good friends in their 70s who got married last year and are living the life of Riley (whatever that means! good anyway - they're having a lovely time). That can be you too, lick your wounds, and stand up with your head high.

When she dumps him, (or he needs a bit of a rest from youthness) he'll come limping back to you saying it wasn't his fault and his head was turned by a predatory bitch. Yes it was. Tell him hard cheese and bin him.

springydaffs Mon 20-Jun-16 12:19:59

He's acting like a kid in a sweetshop.

Ugh.

AgathaF Mon 20-Jun-16 12:33:35

There is nothing you could have done any differently. He obviously had poor boundaries. Coupled with her stirring things up with him and flirting with him. Bad combination.

Move on, hold your head up high. You are worth more than being messed around by someone like him, however upsetting it is to you at this moment.

FinallyHere Mon 20-Jun-16 12:53:59

Agree with Bert and others who point out that his 'excuse' but what man would turn down a woman like her outs him as a potential cheat, just waiting for an opportunity to come along. Ugh. What decent person would think that, never mind say it.

Be grateful to her, for letting you find this out about him. Enjoy the luxury of having him out of your life. Oh, but no need to be kind to her, when the next opportunity comes along. Ugh. Lucky escape.

FenellaMaxwell Mon 20-Jun-16 13:04:14

He's a scummy, spineless arse weasel and good luck to her - you can and will do better. He doesn't sound like too much of a catch - why would you want someone like that to stay with you anyway?

Fmlgirl Mon 20-Jun-16 18:58:41

Good riddance. She won't want this unemployed, lying loser after a while anyway. I sincerely hope you won't take him back then.

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