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.

My husband, my head and my heart

(39 Posts)
LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 09:46:42

I went to a counselling session last night. On my own. I had hoped it would be couples counselling, but looks like individual counselling now as the lady so nicely put it.

So how, oh how, oh how, do I begin to accept the fact that the man I have spent my life with has found another woman, lied to me, hurt me, come back to me, lied again, told me we could work everything out, given me hope, smashed my hope, and now (I think) has finally made a decision, despite my relentless begging, to leave me and attempt to build a new life with her.

I'm bitter, broken, ashamed, hurt, seething, flawed, devastated, desperate, at fault, STILL wanting him to change his mind though why on earth would I, tearful (constantly), useless and miserable with not even the tiniest sliver of a glimmer of hope.

What next?

ErikNorseman Thu 13-Dec-12 10:10:39

Time, distraction (kids?), friends, keep busy, get some exercise, write a list of all the shitty things he has done to you, talk to people! Get it out there. Ask for support. Make positive changes to your life (or start thinking about them) and focus on how things will be better very soon, cos they will xx

Fooso Thu 13-Dec-12 10:15:56

how awful for you - there is nothing you can do to stop these feelings - they are all normal - and I think you are going to have to go through them OP. My ex DH had an affair for 2 years and fathered a child behind my back (10 years ago now). I went through all the emotions you describe. It took time but it will and does get easier. I look back now and am so thankful for where I am and that we didn't make it work when we tried - I'm amazed I even considered working it out! Be strong, focus on your kids (if you have them), be with your friends, and think of yourself - you deserve better - don't settle x

blossombath Thu 13-Dec-12 10:19:01

Couldn't read and run, don't have any good advice but just wanted to say you are stronger than you think, we can all cope with much more than we think, if we have to. You are not at fault. Just get through one day at a time, or one morning or one hour. Try not to start thinking long term unless you have to, but just do what it takes to get through the short term. Time will make it easier, promise.

DoingItForMyself Thu 13-Dec-12 10:22:39

Firstly, I'm really sorry you're in this situation, it must be awful for you and I hope you have some good RL friends to support you as well as all the wonderful advice you can get on here.

Secondly, the coming back and attempting to work things out before leaving again is only too common, so please don't feel like that was 'your chance' to make him stay, to persuade him that things would be ok - chances are he had already made his decision, but he was too cowardly to go through with it in the face of your devastation, so he pretended to you that he was trying again, giving it one last shot, when actually he was just biding his time until he had the balls to leave for good. For this alone you should be really angry with him, use it as fodder for your 'better off without him' list.

If you are in any doubt about whether there is life after a marriage breakdown, just read the inspirational tales on here, there are literally thousands of women who have had to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and start again. For many of them, life has even improved, they have more confidence and they have found new interests, new friends and even new men.

There really is hope, but you have some grieving to do first, so don't expect too much of yourself too soon, be kind to yourself and spend some time just trying to accept what has happened before you worry about moving on.


Guiltypleasures001 Thu 13-Dec-12 10:29:02

Hi op

When you get to counselling tell the counsellor everything you have typed ie the emotions you are feeling, it sounds like you need/want to sound off and she will allow you the time and the space to do that. You can shout and rant as much as you like hun and he/she wont bat an eyelid

Everything you feel is valid and none of it is your fault, you had to get to this point for you to realise that this is truly the end as far as you are concerned.
The worst thing that could have happened is for him to continue this farce any longer and set back your future recovery even more.

Many of us have been there where you are, with many of the same emotions, the only positive out of this is you know where you stand now, and thats a great base to take that first leap forward. You will need support so take it where you can, getting angry is a great first emotion and focuses you on what you need now to do and achieve. Holding all this in is very destructive so you rant away love it does help honest, I am a proper serial ranter and always feel better afterwards, my family have learnt to ignore it and let me get on with it.

all the best

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 10:36:23


That's exactly how I've been feeling. That I had a chance, a shot to show him I could be better, that I could stop shouting at him, that we could be happy. And that I blew it, I was impatient, I asked too many questions, asked too much of him too soon, too much pressure. I regret every word I screamed at him, and I remember every word of the argument we had about a bloody meal the night before he got back in touch with her. I feel like if I had been better and let him see a different side of me, he would have stayed.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 10:41:35

I wasn't sure if anyone would reply to this thread at all - thank you all.

No children - never the "right time", always my career first, always making sure we had the money, the home, everything we wanted to be perfect

I don't seem to be ready to hold on to the angry part of me yet, I think that's the biggest struggle just now, today at least. I just feel sad for everything that I've lost, everything that I won't have. I've spent 14 years in this relationship, and he was, is, my first love. Hence, I'd like to cancel Christmas please. Thanks.

DoingItForMyself Thu 13-Dec-12 10:45:52

I know too many people who have had exactly the same thing, even when there is no apparent OW. The H says he's leaving, then backtracks, gives it one last heroic shot, it doesn't work out (because DW hasn't tried hard enough to make him happy of course) and within a few weeks has met the woman of his dreams.

The fact that your H had a woman waiting in the wings for him says to me that this was nothing to do with how you behaved, it was about how available she was at the time sad

Its hard to accept that during that time he was not committed to making things work out, but you said yourself, he lied to you and he's building a life with her, that doesn't sound like a man who was trying to patch things up with his wife.

foolonthehill Thu 13-Dec-12 10:53:29

No, if he were a better man you wouldn't have gone like this.... he was the one who checked out found another woman, lied to me, hurt me, come back to me, lied again, told me we could work everything out, given me hope, smashed my hope, and now (I think) has finally made a decision, to go.

If he were the sort of man who you need/want he would have worked at the relationship with you and together you would either have made it work or it wouldn't have and you would have parted. only a sleezebag would line up the OW check out of his marriage and then blame it on you.

You will not have been perfect, none of us are. but he is the one who left, not you.

You'll have to ride those feelings I guess, but you will get through this, you will survive and you will make a life for yourself/your DCs and it will be OK.

maleview70 Thu 13-Dec-12 10:54:05

Time will heal but you need to stop begging and start showing him who is boss. If a friend treated you this badly they wouldn't be your friend anymore. Why allow someone who treats you like shit to continue having a hold.

My wife had an affair and left me for someone. That went tits up very quickly but I have gone on to become a much more confident person and enjoy life much more now without the hassles I had with her.!

You can do the same but you need to start taking small steps to make that happen.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 10:55:40

But at the moment I can't get past the feeling that the whole reason he kept her in the wings, the whole reason he wants her instead of me, is because I let him down, I wasn't good enough. He said I stopped making him feel special. That he didn't feel important to me any more. I guess she does make him feel those things.

I found out about the affair by an email from her saying "I love you" a couple of weeks after they started chatting to one another. He says that she makes him feel good about himself, that she doesn't put him down or shout at him, that she understands him.

I wish I didn't, but I still feel like if I'd done better I wouldn't have lost him.

foolonthehill Thu 13-Dec-12 10:55:51

PS Christmas is now cancelled...for you now if you want.

If you can afford to, go and book a sunshine holiday to escape the cold greyness and the tinsel.

foolonthehill Thu 13-Dec-12 10:58:31

No, he was on the lookout for "fun" and it is not just your job to make a marriage takes 2, DO NOT let him put the blame on you. DO NOT believe the lies he tells you.

If he truly felt all those things there are millions of ways of dealing with it...running off with "someone who makes him feel special" is not one of them.

You deserve better OP

Abitwobblynow Thu 13-Dec-12 10:58:47

What Maleview says. When they are already seeing you as the cause of everything that is wrong, begging (trying to connect) becomes more suffocating and they pull away more.

There is a very good book by Dr James Dobson 'Love Must be Tough'. Even though it is Christian based, as long as you view the bible quotes as merely the distillation of 1000s of years of human experience, it is a sound wise book.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 10:59:22

Sadly can't afford holiday. We had just bought a house. The week before he started the affair. Currently I have all the finances on my plate, all the bills for the beautiful furnishings we chose (which I hate looking at every day), and the decorating to finish which I can't even face.

DoingItForMyself Thu 13-Dec-12 11:04:11

If you really want to cancel Christmas why not volunteer or something, help others and make yourself feel better by doing something worthy! I know its a cliche but it might help you to see that there are people worse off than yourself at Christmas. x

Of course the rush of a new relationship will make him feel special, the point about marriage is that you work on it together to try and keep something more solid than the 'high' of a new fling. We all start to take each other for granted after such a long time, this was the opportunity to start trying again, but instead of focussing his efforts on trying to be a better husband, making YOU feel special, so that you in turn would make HIM feel special, he was (best case scenario) hedging his bets to see who he wanted to be with or (worst case scenario) going through the motions so that it would SEEM that he was putting in the effort, to placate you.

This is not your fault - it takes 2 to make a marriage work and no matter how hard you tried, if his heart was elsewhere it wouldn't have made a difference. If you were still shouting, finding fault etc its because you were still having issues with the way he was behaving towards you. He wasn't trying.

foolonthehill Thu 13-Dec-12 11:04:39

Currently I have all the finances on my plate angry: of course you do...does he not work?

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 11:12:16

He lost his job. The day I found out about the affair co-incidentally. He had been told a month before hand (a week before he began the affair) that it was likely they'd let him go as the company was struggling financially. Not there long enough to qualify for redundancy etc as he'd relocated jobs to accommodate a move for my career.

There were a tremendous number of stresses on BOTH of us on the months leading up to the affair. I'm not naive enough to pretend things were great before her. I just thought we had time to figure things out.

foolonthehill Thu 13-Dec-12 11:17:26

You did have time...but only if he was going to give it his best...not bail out

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Thu 13-Dec-12 11:22:56

So, he must be a real bargain for the OW. A married man, without a job.

You are not "at fault", he, it would seem, is a failure.

ErikNorseman Thu 13-Dec-12 11:27:44

He's behaved like a hideous cunt. Your belief that he wouldn't have cheated if you had been 'better' is utterly wrong. There's a book that is often recommended in here 'not just friends' by Shirley glass - I think you should read it to get some perspective on how and why he cheated. I suspect it may make you feel better. Self blame is completely misplaced and futile. You are going to have to start putting blame where it belongs - with him.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 11:34:29

And when we've sat in tears together, and I believe he has genuinely been sorry and sad for what has happened (I wouldn't love him if he was a total monster), and he's held my hands and stroked my hair...

...he has given me reasons, he said that my successes make him feel inadequate, that he has never felt good enough and having people tell him he's "punching above his weight" began to seem true. He's told me that he wants her because he IS good enough for her. Because if she will have an affair with a married man (she is also married, but of course her husband IS a horrific monster, Satan essentially) then she's no better than him, so they deserve each other. She lost her job too.

Trouble is I still think I deserve him. I can't bear the idea that he'll take any lessons from our relationship, anythings to make him a better person - and do a better job with her. That makes me a pretty spiteful person I think.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 11:37:29


How on earth do I start to put blame, or anger, or hate, on someone who has been (or at least I thought was) my best friend for 14 years, who I've shared everything with, who has been the person to hold me when I'm sad and tell me it will all be okay, who I made my vows to - and who I meant every word, who I feel desperate every time I consider he'll never kiss me again?

I've no clue how I'll ever get to that place.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Thu 13-Dec-12 11:38:19

It is all about him isnt it? What he feels. And how she feels about him.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Thu 13-Dec-12 11:39:02

Did they both work in the same place? Did they lose their jobs because of their conducts in the workplace?

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 11:41:43

No, the magical world wide web

catsrus Thu 13-Dec-12 12:00:21


You don't have to have anger or bitterness or hate towards him. That is a response you often see on MN but it is not always the best, and most healthy, way to deal with this (though I accept it can be in some situations). My H left for an OW after 25 yrs together - I don't hate him, I don't get any pleasure from the fact that his marriage to OW seems to be a disaster - I think it's very sad that this is the case. My ex's lies have led to him losing out on relationships with friends and family and I can't believe how much happier I am now - 2 yrs down the line.

You cannot fix him, you cannot make him happy, you cannot make him less insecure about who he is, you are not at fault for abandoning the relationship. He has to take the responsibility for that and not try to make it your fault.

As much as you can - detach detach detach. Spend time with people and things that nurture your soul and help you grieve what you have lost. My approach was to think of it as though the person I had loved had died - and this stranger had taken their place. This stranger was not someone I would want to live with. I refuse to let exHs actions taint the great years we did have together - we WERE happy and did have good times, nothing and no-one can take that away. Don't let his actions now rob you of your past - it's yours and you need to protect it. Grieve for what you have lost and move on.

You WILL be happy again - but from reading MN for the past few years I would honestly say that the people who seem to come out of this best really are those who manage to detach and not be consumed by anger / hatred.

good luck!

ErikNorseman Thu 13-Dec-12 12:15:40

I'm not advocating bitterness, just that blame is placed where it should be - with the person who chose to cheat, not with the poor OP.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 12:25:52

Thank you catsrus. I have been feeling as if I'm supposed to forget the hundreds and thousands of happy times we did have together, that I have to box up the photos, pretend he doesn't exist. But he does, he did, and for a huge part of my life he was the most important person in it, I think I was to him once too. I want to want him to be happy (if that makes sense) - I'm just not ready.

I want to recognise that he has made decisions he must be responsible and accountable for, but because I have always loved him, I feel sad for him that he has lost friends and relationships as well as me. I know this won't help me but it's truthful. I think everyone (though I haven't even told many people) is so angry with him at the moment that they can't help me really yet. I don't want them just to shout and swear about what he has done, because I feel like he has died. In the most awful way, which I'm horribly ashamed of, part of me wishes he had died.

maleview70 Thu 13-Dec-12 13:02:11

I can tell from your comments that you are in pain.

This happened to a friend of mine (female). He husband decided to end the marriage and go off with someone else after ten years together. She was distraught. I have never seen anything like it. She couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't work and had 6 weeks off, couldn't hold a conversation properly. It was as if he had died out of the blue in a terrible road accident or something and she had been given no warning. It was grief and it is what you are going through.

The holding your hand and stroking your hair and the tears may well have been genuine. Whilst he has acted like a twat he probably in his own way was trying to make you feel as less hurt as possible but in doing so gave you hope that was never really there. Any decent person doesn't like hurting people but they don't have the bollocks to be brave and end a relationship before finding a new one. This can apply to men and women equally.

The fact is he was looking for someone else on the Internet. It wasn't love at first sight or a friendship in real life that overstepped the mark. He conducted the chase online! If it wasn't her it would have eventually been someone else.

Take time to come to terms with it. Step by step.

My friend who I mentioned earlier slowly but surely began to eat again, sleep again, work again and funnily enough as most people do, in time began to love life again and low and behold a couple of years later she was in love again. She is now married again with a beautiful 6 year old daughter and 4 month old baby boy. Life couldn't be better. Her ex husband is a distant memory.

This can happen to you too. It just won't happen overnight.

As for Christmas being cancelled. Don't allow him to ruin things for you. Volunteer to help on Xmas day at an old people's home or refuge. It will make you feel good about yourself and bring joy to other peoples lives.

Take care x

Gay40 Thu 13-Dec-12 13:11:27

My mum says to me "When a man marries his mistress, it just creates a vacancy." So true.
Really, be thankful that this spineless cunt has moved onto some other woman that he will cheat on. In the meantime, give yourself time to grieve and recover and eventually move on to better things and a nicer bloke.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 14:38:45

Thanks Gay40 - that saying is definitely a keeper.

Less use of c**t though guys - I do so hate that word (and not specifically referencing my hubbie, just in general !)

JustinBoobie Thu 13-Dec-12 15:18:57

He failed you OP.

He failed you. He failed. Not you.

I hope in the coming weeks/months/years you can realise you deserved better... and they deserve eachother.

Firepile Thu 13-Dec-12 16:19:39

OP, I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I am 2 and a bit years on, and remember too well how much I blamed myself. I found it impossible to be angry with my husband despite his appalling behaviour and turned my grief on myself. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Like you, I didn't think I could get through it. Even thinking about it made me panic and there were times I felt I couldn't breathe let alone eat or sleep.

It does get better! Really it does. I drew on:
- my brilliant friends and family. People in other timezones come into their own when insomnia strikes! Your friends know that none of this is your fault. He made a decision and you've been caught in the fallout. It took time for me to be able to hear that message and accept it, but I am so glad that my friends kept saying it until I was ready to do so. I used to invite myself to see people because I couldn't bear to be on my own at weekends

- a fantastic counsellor who I saw on and off for 18 months or so, working on building my self esteem and self help cbt (cognitive behavioural therapy) resources

-my GP and a timely prescription for antidepressants when I needed them (after 9 months)

- being very open with my colleagues about what had happened. they were extremely supportive and many shared their own experiences. It was so helpful to see people who had got to the other side and were happy again!

- making myself do new stuff. The process of building a new life felt so artificial at first. But I stuck with it and it has become my life and feels natural now!

- mumsnet. Posting and lurking helped me see that I wasn't freakish to feel the way I felt, and it was so helpful to see other people getting through it. And lots of support here.

Take care.

Abitwobblynow Fri 14-Dec-12 12:28:00

it ain't over till it's over, Christmas.

At the moment he is feeling very ashamed useless and hopeless and she 'understands' him.

Just keep going to your counselling, process your emotions (HUGE and overwhelming) and take one day at a time. xxx

Firepile Fri 14-Dec-12 13:24:28

How are you feeling today, OP?

DoingItForMyself Mon 17-Dec-12 12:25:34

I agree that seeing it as grief as is a good way to process it. I told my XH that I felt like someone had died and that actually, they had - the man I thought I was married to. Maybe he never existed or maybe he did, but he changed and I had to accept that loss, which hurt every bit as much as it hurt to lose a loved one to cancer.

In fact when my dad died, my mum said she felt more sorry for my aunt, whose H had left for an OW than she did for herself, as she knew that my dad hadn't CHOSEN to leave her. It probably is harder in some ways to lose someone to an affair than it is for them to die and you should give yourself the same TLC, even if others don't see the comparison.


imdreamingofaskyebluechristmas Wed 19-Dec-12 00:10:56

How are you doing? You have had some great advice on here and I hope it has helped you.

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