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Getting over infidelity

(115 Posts)
newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 14:23:55

Have posted before, under another name. Basically, I found out dh had been having inappropriate conversations with ow(plural), receiving dirty pictures from them, flirting with someone he met at work and just generally flirting on line with women he met through work etc.

He swears blind there was no sex and I do believe this. Discovery was about 8 months ago. He has been extremely apologetic, cut off all contact with these women (so far as I can possibly 'know'). He is completely aware of the devastation this has caused me - I got him to read the thread i had posted on previously. He says he wants to fix this, that he was weak and stupid and will never do this again. So he is making all the right noises.

The thing is, he has always been very good at saying all the right things and I never felt that he didn't love me (maybe that was arrogant of me, or maybe i was deluded in putting all that faith and trust in him in the first place). I know MN says to judge him by his actions rather than his words.

Sorry, I'm rambling a bit. He has recently changed jobs and i don't have his email username/pw for work email. My question is, should I insist on having this? I know that if someone is determined to cheat there are numerous ways to do this, so having access to all email etc wouldn't prevent this. I also think it is unhealthy to check up all the time. i could send myself mad, policing him. Would I be better just not insisting on having access to everything and forcing myself to trust, because he will either keep his promises or he won't.

Also, he is meeting a former colleague for coffee in the next couple of days. He says there was never anything inappropriate there and he won't go if i say not to. i have said to go ahead but deep down I want him to not go, but I also don't want to be telling him he can't have friends - that way madness lies.

I am so very angry still and hurt. i want to get over this bur don't know how. Has anyone gotten over this?If so, can you tell me how you did it.

My greatest fear is that i will trust him again and that he will throw it away like he did before and i will be back where i was emotionally 8 months ago. Couldn't cope with going through all this again. All advice gratefully received,

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Feb-13 14:34:03

The crux of the matter is trust. If you have to insist on having all his e-mail accounts, managing his social engagements and checking up on him etc. then you do not trust him and you're quite right... it is a very unhealthy and stressful way to live. The only way to have any kind of constructive relationship is to give him free rein to behave responsibly but with the very serious consequence that, should you find out he has abused that freedom, he is out on his ear immediately, no second chances. It is up to him to prove he can be trusted... not your responsibility to police his actions.

For example... the coffee with a former colleague. He should not be saying 'I won't go if you don't want me to'.... where the onus is on you to police his behaviour. If he wanted to regain your trust he would say that he realised it was inappropriate and he would cancel it himself. That would be taking responsibility.

Ultimately, if you still don't trust him in spite of everything he says or does then don't feel obliged to keep trying.

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 14:39:15

Did he do anything other than 'make the right noises'?

Go to counselling on his own?

Read any books about infidelity?

Identify why he did these things?

I imagine that all you could 'prove' was that he was in contact with all these women, but you couldn't prove he'd had sex with any of them.

Which is curiously enough, all he's admitted to?

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 14:39:42

Regarding the coffee with the colleague, I genuinely have no reason to think that anything inappropriate has ever happened there. Back when I was checking his emails, I saw some notes between the two of them and they were friendly, but not at all flirty. They both talked about their families and holidays etc. Is it the case that he should not ever have female friends, on the grounds that in the past he has not respected proper boundaries with some women. I genuinely don't know.

He has put the ball in my court with this particular friend. What would be the best thing to do in your opinion, given that he hasn't decided himself not to see her? Do I say that I don't feel comfortable and tell him not to go? Even then, I won't actually know if he did as I asked. And will i end up making the thing i fear actually happen, because no one can live in 'prison' forever.

My head is a mess.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 14:45:35

badinage, the thought has occurred that perhaps he hasn't been entirely truthful. I have no way of establishing that though and he has been given ample opportunity to tell me the truth.

I have made it very clear that if this happens again or if i find out there is more and he hasn't told me, then I will leave him. I can't go through this again and if he does this to me again then it will mean he doesn't give a shit about all the pain I have gone through for the last 8 months and i will not be able to fool myself otherwise.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Feb-13 14:48:02

"He has put the ball in my court with this particular friend. What would be the best thing to do in your opinion, given that he hasn't decided himself not to see her?"

I would say to him that, given his past behaviour, if he is serious about regaining your trust you expect him to be ultra cautious about any relationship with any woman at any time. You are not of a mind to be charitable or to give him the benefit of the doubt. This is an abnormal situation and he has to appreciate just how low his stock has sunk with you.

In that way you are not saying 'don't go' but you are putting the ball back very firmly in his court and giving him the opportunity to do the right thing voluntarily, empathise with your state of mind, appreciate the seriousness of what has happened etc. If he still goes... then I think you tell him to get lost.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 14:49:00

Even though there is nothing beyond a friendship there?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Feb-13 14:52:06

Yes. This is about his sensitivity to your feelings. If he is truly sorry he will understand that any one-on-one female relationship, however platonic he claims it is, is under suspicion. A contrite man that understands the hurt he has caused would therefore cancel out of respect for your feelings and quite unilaterally .... not ask you 'is it OK?'

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 15:01:27

So that's a 'no' then to any of those questions?

My view is that if he's going to cheat, he will - and him not going for coffee won't change a damned thing about that.

I'd rather you concentrated on why you're staying with a man who you don't trust, has done fuck all to find out why he wants to be unfaithful and has done nothing in terms of actions to show he's changed.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 15:03:00

Okay. The idea of it has been niggling at me all weekend. I didn't know if I was being reasonable to ask him not to have female friends. I will talk to him when he gets home from work.

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk through this with me. I can't see the wood for the tree as the moment

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 15:07:23

He seems really sorry badinage. He read some very telling threads on MN, which were not easy reading, esp the bits I posted and has said that he is determined to change. Counselling is something neither of us has a lot of faith in (or the money for tbh)

Reasons for staying are numerous - we have been together such a long time. He is woven into every strand of my life. Also, we have children - I don't want to destroy their stable family life (and I know it isn't me who's done that, but still).

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 15:08:50

You are right though badinage - actions speak louder than words. It is all very well him saying the right things, but yes, he does have to put his money where his mouth is now.

will have a talk when he gets home

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 16:32:00

I'd broaden the conversation to more than just meeting a woman for coffee, because that doesn't address the core problem.

If he'd worked on himself and why he was unfaithful with numerous women, meeting someone for coffee would be a non-event, because he would know what his boundaries were and would have learnt ways to steer clear of trouble.

Reading a few threads on Mumsnet is hardly a Damascene experience is it?

The multiple women thing suggests to me he uses porn. If so, has he stopped?

Until he knows why he wanted to be unfaithful with so many different women - and starts changing the habits, attitudes and behaviour that made him feel entitled to do that - it will happen again.

The coffee woman is a big fat red herring. What you need to be more worried about are the women he'll contact in the future that he doesn't tell you about, in case you say 'no'.

He's got to be the guardian of his own propriety - not pass that responsibility on to you.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 16:42:12

what would you suggest he does, in order to make permanent, positive changes? I'm not sure he even knows why he did this. We have been together since we were 17 and I can't quite believe I am having this conversation about him - I feel sick.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 16:48:19

I think he did use porn and I think it has stopped. We were not without our issues pre all this. I was quite reserved and found it difficult to talk about sex, so I will accept some responsibility for our relationship not being perfect. We talk a lot more now, but I see he was selfish and 'entitled' and I know that selfishness has to demonstrably disappear if we are to stay together. I need to see that he puts me first, rather than assuming he does, just because he says so.

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 16:56:42

He does know why he did this. It might be as banal as just thinking that he was entitled to a bit of fun that as long as you didn't know about, couldn't hurt you - but he knows, alright.

What he hasn't faced up to is what led to him thinking he was entitled to do that. So, if he hasn't identified that he has always been selfish he won't see a link between all his habits, attitudes and behaviour all his life - and what happened.

Counselling on his own would be my suggestion, plus him reading some good books about infidelity and why it happens.

Behaviours that allow this are things like selfishness, a habit of telling small and big lies to a partner, secrets, laziness at home, sexism and treating some women as playthings, a porn habit and a general sense of entitlement that is never extended to a partner.

I think it's very likely he had sex with one or more of these women. So the above stuff is almost redundant and pointless while he's still telling lies about that.

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 16:59:44

How did he get to be in contact with all these women incidentally?

No surprises he was a porn user. It's telling that you only 'think' he's given that up.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 17:10:15

Two were women met through work and one was a fb acquaintance. I have no way of really knowing about porn as I haven't seen everything he's ever done. I am almost certain there was no emotional involvement, if only because of numbers!

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 17:14:06

Does it matter? Would you be able to forgive him shagging numerous women that he was just treating as inhuman receptacles then?

What does he say about porn and its role in what happened?

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 17:21:11

He says he doesn't use porn. He was receiving explicit photos and messages from these women, so that is porn really, isn't it. I would not be at all happy about him having sex with ow, but a proper affair with actual feelings would be worse for me. Not very feminist, I know. Part of me is very uncomfortable at the way he's dumped these ow. But then they didn't behave like decent people and therefore he hasn't treated them like decent people. But it doesn't sit easy with my feminist viewpoint.

Seenenoughtoknow Mon 04-Feb-13 17:31:51

Here's a great article which helped a friend and her husband set some 'rules' within the marriage after he did similar things to your DH. It doesn't matter if no sexual contact or a real 'affair' occurred - it's more about mending broken trust.

If this doesn't work (the link) then copy and paste's a really good read.'s-Trust-After-an-Affair

I wish you the best of luck, but do what's comfortable for YOU.

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 17:35:45

Yes it's porn and I don't believe for one minute he didn't use porn before he got involved with these other women. It doesn't sound like you've actually discussed all this very much - it seems to have been confined to a weak assurance that he 'doesnt use porn now'.

You do realise he wasn't just 'receiving' images and sexual messages don't you?

What these women did was no worse than what he did.

I've got to say I don't understand this view that it's better for a bloke to treat women as disposable sex toys rather than as human beings with feelings. Sure, that might be more reassuring to you as a partner that he didn't get emotionally attached elsewhere, but what does that say about him as a man and a human being? What does it say about his attitudes to women?

There's so much difference in my mind between a man or woman who had an affair because a friendship between equals crossed a line, where there was at least mutual respect - and someone who was looking for sexual thrills with a bunch of randoms who he dehumanised and spat out when they were no longer convenient.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 17:43:46

Yes, I know he was sending messages too. Have seen one Skype conversation. From a wife pov, it is harder to think of one's husband actually falling in love or caring about someone else, than thinking of them having sex with randoms. Have to say that these women were not defenceless or victims - they were very much active participants in this. With that in mind I struggle to feel all that sorry for them. My husband has always displayed a respectful attitude towards women, generally and the women he was involved with were definitely equal participants.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 17:46:23

I don't blame the ow. They owed me nothing. I blame him for squandering all my trust and doing this to our family. I am fucked off that he didn't think about me or our kids.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 17:48:21

seen thank you for the article. will have a read when the dc have gone to bed

badinage Mon 04-Feb-13 17:57:03

I wouldn't expect you to feel sorry for them and sure, they aren't victims and are responsible for their own shitty behaviour. But what I'm getting at is that he seems to have put these women into a 'sex' box hasn't he? Suitable for sexual kicks and free porn, but not worthy of anything else. This is where there's a link with porn. The woman seen on screen are regarded as 'other'; suitable for wanking over but he wouldn't like to think that you, his daughters, nieces, sisters or mum were those porn actresses or OW, would he?

Of course, it could all be lies anyway. He might have crafted his lies according to your deal-breakers. So if he thinks you could forgive pornified contact with several women, but not full sex or worse still (in your eyes) actually feeling something for any of them, that's what he'll insist happened.

newNN Mon 04-Feb-13 18:09:45

He has said that actual sex would have crossed his own boundaries. I have no way of knowing what is true and what isn't. It is very hard to think of him as the kind of man who does this and yet he has.

Hatpin Tue 05-Feb-13 00:21:10

I can't see how you can rebuild trust if you don't know why he did it, or why he thought it was OK to do it.

Say the multiple women means he gets off on having the attention of a number of different women at once. It's a power trip. In which case he shouldn't be going for coffee because even if this time its platonic, if he hasn't addressed his behaviour, this will just fuel his fantasy of having a number of women fawning around him who either gently, or more overtly, stroke his ego.

If you don't know WHY he chose to ask women he worked with to send him dirty pics then you won't know if going for coffee is likely to fan his addiction, or whether its harmless. And so you can't trust him.

Plus I think him putting the ball in your court is him testing to see how long you are prepared to make his leash.

You said you wouldn't consider counselling but it might help block this stalemate. If he doesn't give you more insight I can't see how you can get past it.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 00:33:19

I totally agree with Hatpin. He is choosing to go out with a member of the opposite sex before you are over his last indiscretions. It is thoughtless, and it suggests he has a lack of empathy for your feelings, which in turn suggests he doesn't see what he did as being that wrong. He should be trying to spend every spare minute outside work making things up to you.

If I had behaved like this behind my husband's back I can't even begin to imagine how long it would be before I would feel it was okay to go out for coffee with another certainly wouldn't be 8 months. I would judge it based on his recovery from the pain and shock and broken trust, which might be years.

(See No.9 on the link I posted for you).

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 07:58:09

Have had a long talk. He swears that this will never happen again because he hates the way I look at him now and seeing all the pain he's caused me. He has said he won't go for the coffee since it makes me feel uncomfortable. From his pov, he thinks that seeing as he is in contact with lots of women on a daily basis, if he was going to do it there would be plenty of opportunity, therefore he can't see why I am uncomfortable with him meeting someone where there is no history of inappropriate behaviour. As for why he did it, he says it was titillation and that he really didn't think too much about it - he just did it. I think he was viewing these women as of no more significance than pictures in a magazine. I do believe there was no sex - I don't think he would have risked my health in that way, but of course I cannot know definitively, I just have to trust his repeated assurances. But then he does know it would be a deal breaker for me.

I have told him about this thread. He feels he is being judged according to the lowest common denominator and that he does not have a porn addiction and hasn't had sex with someone else. He is getting fed up with the ups and downs, because it is not getting better. Everytime I read something on MN, it gives me fresh doubts.

I know that if I had done similar to him, I would be getting fed up by now of constant suspicion. I would want my husband to either forgive me or end it. I am constantly picking at this and we talk about it a lot. Does there come a point where I just have to draw a line under it and stop throwing it in his face all the time and then see what changes within the relationship? I would hate to have it constantly thrown back at me. Our house is an emotional roller coaster at the moment and this is not sustainable.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 08:06:54

The other thing is that he doesn't trust me and never has. He has lived with that for years. He is used to it. I was unaware of this until all this happened. He is not controlling, hence me being unaware of it. He is used to not feeling trust and therefore cannot quite see why the loss of that feeling for me, is such a huge deal. He has also said he wouldn't leave me if I had done similar. Truthfully I don't think he would throw it up at me all the time either. He is very good at burying things he doesn't want to think about, whereas I pick over it incessantly.

In recent years he has had lots of stress at work. I am a sham so all the pressure has been his and his employer went into administration. Prior to that he had suffered from depression. Is all this relevant.

I think there may be something in the idea that he needs validation from lots of women. His boundaries were definitely inappropriate.

Sorry for massive posts. Thanks for reading

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 09:30:39

Did you get him to read the link? It explains that what he did is classed as a kind of 'affair' as these were 'real' women he had met in real life that he was lusting after. have you have had time to read it through? (there's more after the 10 points but it's the best article I've ever read on the subject). Please read number 7 - your spouse is trying to dictate how long your recovery should take and he is making things worse for you.

What you are feeling (and doing) is normal...and with regard to him saying he has never trusted you, unless you have done something to fuel this he is just deflecting blame. People do this when they are caught out.

I am not judging him generally - he might be a lovely bloke, but what he did was so wrong and has shattered your trust in him. He is underestimating what it has done to you if he doesn't understand how you feel. If he doesn't want to understand how you feel there is every chance he'll do it again when he is bored later in the marriage. He has work to do to help you get over this, there is no getting around that if he wants your marriage to work and it is necessary to your healing.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 10:20:11

My DH had an affair - it started off online with sexting and became physical after a few months.

Because he worked really hard on addressing his issues, flaws and boundaries, reading affair threads MN do not bring up fresh doubts for me. From what you have written I doubt your H intends to put in the hard work that is required to help you recover.

I am appalled that your H says he does not trust you - you can't have a relationship without trust and it is very telling that he has said that because as well as deflecting the blame, it suggests that he does not believe he has to rebuild your trust....

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 11:34:00

I have read the article and also emailed it to dh and he has read it too. It sums up exactly what I am feeling.I am not sure how much of it really resonated with him though. He isn't feeling what I am feeling. He is away with work until tomorrow, but I will discuss it with him when he gets back. I think he is genuine in his intentions, but as you all say, if he cannot be sure of why he did this, then how will I be sure that he doesn't find himself in the same place further down the line.

I really am scared of letting myself trust him and feel happy and then have this happen to me again.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 11:43:50

"He is used to not feeling trust and therefore cannot quite see why the loss of that feeling for me, is such a huge deal. "

Why are you making his excuses for him?. Are you seriously saying that he doesn't understand why you feel betrayed and insulted by his behaviour? That he can't see why he has to be 100% straight down the line from now on, erring well on the side of caution rather than risking making things worse?

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:44:53

That is perfectly natural...have a talk with him when he gets home and see if he 'gets it'.

Hotchoc - did your DH just 'get it', or did you have to help him understand how devastated you were?

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:46:08

I meant it's perfectly natural that you don't want to put your guard suggests he isn't working hard enough to help you.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:48:38

Cogito - if there was a 'like' button I would have pressed it.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:24

By the way, if he really didn't trust you it would have manifested itself in some sort of controlling behaviour. He is lying about not trusting you.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 11:53:16

seen thanks for telling me that what I feel is normal. It is helpful to know that I am not the only person who feels exactly like this and that I am not going mad with the up and down feelings.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 12:04:47

X posted with some of you there. Cogito, he would say that he is being 100% straight with me now. He says he does think that at some point I have cheated, even if it was years ago. I have wondered if he justified his behaviour on the grounds that he thinks I have already cheated.

Wrt to him saying he doesn't trust me - he seems to be taking a what will be, will be approach, hence the lack of controlling behaviour. He has admitted to checking my fb, which I didn't know about. I don't actually care that he has done this, because I have not been hiding stuff from him. Although on some level, I think there is something wrong with me because surely the normal response is to mind invasion of privacy. I think he thinks that trust, as a concept is overrated.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 12:34:28

I don't mind invasion of privacy between DH and I. I would be different about the kids, but I have nothing to hide from DH and so I tell him my passwords and he is free to roam. I have never cheated, and would definitely leave a marriage if I was unhappy rather than cheat.

It is nice that you don't mind about your DH mooching through your stuff, and he should see that as a sign you have nothing to hide.

Has he been cheated on in a previous relationship? Perhaps he brought previous unresolved insecurities with him into yours and assumed you were the same. If so, you need to really drive it home that infidelity is not something you would do OR tolerate.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 12:47:28

I think his beliefs about trust are based on his own behaviour, as if he thinks its normal and justifiable for people to cheat. I remember upon discovery, my DH saying that everyone would cheat if presented with the opportunity to do so, then I reminded him of how I have been chatted up and hit on a few times and yet I still turned them all down so not everyone would do it.

Hotchoc - did your DH just 'get it', or did you have to help him understand how devastated you were?

He knew I was shocked and upset but because he was still in the affair fog, he did not really appreciate the extent of damage and devastation he caused for a while.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 12:48:52

I don't have a problem with transparency - e,g looking at my emails etc but it seems as if your H is looking for justification for HIS behaviour hmm

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 12:50:08

*He knew I was shocked and upset but because he was still in the affair fog, for a while he did not really appreciate the extent of damage and devastation he had caused.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 12:57:12

We have been together since we were 17, so I don't think so.

His parents were unhappily married and finally called time when he was in his early 20s, so his examples of marriage have not been great. His dad died before dh could properly make peace with him. He has been under a lot of stress, had quite a few things going on at work (company went into administration and he had the pressure of finding new work quickly), plus a bout of depression.

This isn't the first time he has kept things from me. Years ago he was friends with a woman at work who he says was having some problems (bullying I think) at work and he spent a lot of time texting her and helping her. These texts were very frequent and at all times of day and night. I never saw any of them but he swears blind it was friendship and help only. He initially lied about who they were from because apparently she didn't want people to know about the problems. He only admitted the truth when he had no option. Even if what he said, is completely true it points to lack of appropriate boundaries with other women (which he has acknowledged and has promised to change). I was hurt and angry when I found out, but I did believe him. at that point I knew nothing of emotional affairs (which he denies this was). Wish he could have learned from that instead of putting me through all this. I look back and I just see repeated lies and weaknesses and failures on his part to do the right thing by me.

This really is last chance saloon for us, which is why it is so important that this is fixed properly. I have four dc and want to give them a stable and happy home life, but I cannot be here again.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 13:01:55

Ah, so he has form for lying, keeping secrets and inappropriate relationships with women sad

The only way for him to learn from his mistakes is for him to LOOK into himself to find out what issues, characters failings, values, beliefs etc that made him choose to behave in this way and to address these.

Did you both read Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends or Linda MacDonald's How to help your spouse heal?

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 13:10:37

I read the Shirley Glass book and told him the main parts that were relevant to us. I will order the other book and get him to read it.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 13:21:07

Get 'how to help your spouse heal' for him's quite short and to the point, and gets the point home. If he refuses to read them it is a sign he doesn't get it at all so I would genuinely threaten to boot him out...I find it staggering that you've had to read a book and relay bits to him. He reminds me of my unfaithful ex - who is an ex for those all of these reasons.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 13:22:04

Just seen you said you would get it...sorry. smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 13:22:15

He only thinks you cheated and this suspicion is justification for his actions?..... hmm

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 13:23:50

Best of luck by the way - I really hope he sees what he's done to you and does his best to fix things. I'll keep checking in.

Looksgoodingravy Tue 05-Feb-13 13:24:15

newMN my story is very similar to yours, I found out 10 months ago. Dp & I are still together.

The one thing we have discussed which came about through reading the Shirley Glass book mentioned above were the appropriate boundaries.

Dp wouldn't dream of meeting another woman whom I didn't know even 9 months down the line. I think this is highly disrespectful of your dh considering everything he has done. He needs to change, he HAS to change for this to work. What he could do 8 months ago is a far cry from what he SHOULD be doing now.

I still find it difficult some days but I'm over the worst. We have had some fantastic times since, never thought we would share good times again but we have. There are little set backs every now and again caused by my insecurities but we don't scream and shout at eachother we sit and talk. Dp has been very patient and he needs to continue to be so for this to work. I also need at some stage to forgive him so that I can move forward another step.

Good luck. I hope that your dh moves mountains to make this work. He needs to work much harder though to make you feel secure again and he needs to know that it's work in progress.

Great article btw Seenenoughnow!

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 13:29:16

I read the Shirley Glass book and told him the main parts that were relevant to us. I will order the other book and get him to read it.

There in those two sentences is everything that's wrong at this stage. You bought and read a book that he couldn't be bothered to. You coached him from what you learnt and here you are again ordering him a book which he'll say he'll read, but won't.

The further details about him projecting his own cheating behaviour on to you and the earlier affair and lies about it (you realise now that was an affair?) are illuminating.

You will be in this position again because he hasn't done a thing to address his flaws and he's still bloody lying to you.

Now you've told us he had an affair before, it's obvious he met one of those women he was messaging.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 15:00:50

Sorry to disappear. Had to nip out. Badinage, he is adamant that the previous thing was not an affair. I didn't see the texts and have no way of establishing what really happened beyond what he told me. I agree it looks bad and if I was reading this about someone else I would assume an affair too.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 15:01:45

Do you think anything could be gained by him reading this thread?

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 15:09:26

He is still not taking full responsibility for the affairs (and yes, I would class the previous relationship as an emotional affair).

You seem to be the one doing all the work, organising and sorting out things and I wouldn't be surprised if this has been the pattern throughout your marriage, making it a parent-child type relationship. If so, then this is something you both need to look at.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 15:12:52

Does there come a point where I just have to draw a line under it and stop throwing it in his face all the time and then see what changes within the relationship?

Well, you were getting to that point and then he showed you by his actions (planning to meet another woman he knew from around the time of his infidelities) that you were mistaken to do so

he projects his own duplicitous behaviour onto you, with his foundless lack of trust in you

you have described several character traits and behaviours of a man you could never trust not to betray you again, given the opportunity or if you were to relax your policing of his behaviour and you make excuses for him not taking full responsibility for it time and time again

it doesn't bode well, at all

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 15:13:49

When talking to him again, I think it would be far more useful to get him to read the link from seenenough and ask him why he is not doing all the things he needs to do.

I would be very wary about showing him the thread as this needs to be your space to air your thoughts and feelings - should things go tits up, you need to have this private space esp since you can't and don't trust him...

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 15:15:01


This guy sounds like he's dismissive of other women's opinions. You need somewhere you can vent in private. But I'm sure he's reading this thread anyway as you've told him about it and he already invades your privacy.

The previous thing WAS an affair. He kept it secret, lied to you about it and only fessed up to what you could prove........again.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 15:15:21

No, don't show him this thread

he is a manipulator, he will use it to say the things you so desperately want to hear

and cut off the things you need to hear (from us)

Hatpin Tue 05-Feb-13 15:19:24

This is not just titillation, honestly, its not

He has a history of befriending women in his workplace and thise friendships progressing far enough for those women to trust him enough to send intimate pictures to him. If he just wanted titillation he could buy a porn mag. He wanted to develop relationships with them in order to get them to respond to him sexually. Why?

Do you think any of the women thought that they were in some kind of relationship with him? It's possible.

Did any of them know about the other(s)? Again, its possible.

There is a motivation for him here which is not about sex, imho. It's more complicated than that - you need to find out the why, and he is conveniently side stepping it every time you discuss it.

You also need to know about when he feels he might be more vulnerable to the temptation again. Is stress a motivating factor? Otherwise, again, you won't know which situations you can trust him in.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 15:21:38

No, don't show him this thread

he is a manipulator, he will use it to say the things you so desperately want to hear

and cut off the things you need to hear (from us)

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 15:21:58

sorry for repeat post

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 15:25:33

I agree with Hatpin. I think this bloke has deeply dysfunctional attitudes to women. You need to recognise too that controlling behaviour isn't always obvious. Everything you've posted about him is in the controller's handbook, I assure you.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 15:27:15

multiple women have sent him intimate photographs

honey, he has put some major work in there to bring that situation about

I know you want to think badly of them too, but I don't actually know many women that would do that on just a very superficial basis

these were women he worked with, not random exhibitionists he scored on the internet

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 15:39:51

ye, he must have gained their trust to get these pictures...think about it, you wouldn't send such intimate pics unless you are in a relationship with him.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 15:46:11

I have posted under a different name to my usual one, but I suppose he could read this if he was so inclined. I think it might be good if he did so - he would see how he is coming across to people who don't know him. I feel sick reading these posts - you are talking about a man I don't recognise and yet all the clues were there.

I think he is freaked out by the idea of me leaving. We have been together so long. I do believe that he loves me. But I cannot live like this forever

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 15:46:22

Anyfucker you are right - I hadn't thought about how much time and energy he would have to put in to get this intimate with these women. That involves a lot of sexy talk at the office, a lot of winks and nudges in work at the very least...I can't imagine how it would start AND end at a makes me think there could have been more to it maybe.

I would be asking him a LOT of questions and going over old wanted to believe him so your instincts probably hadn't kicked in newnn - I'sd go through it all again with my eyes wide open this time.

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 15:50:31

Yes but if he read this, he'd probably dismiss us all as shrieking bitter harpies who hate men. He'd probably point out how chivalrous he is to women and how he often gets on better with women than men.

What he means is that he find some women easier to manipulate than men. I bet there are men and women he encounters that have his number and steer well clear of him. No doubt he despises them for it, while respecting them deep down for their better judgement.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 16:17:37

He said about one woman that he has the impression he is not the only one she sent pics to. She was ver pretty ( saw Skype pic). The other one sent a filthy text. She was an older woman and he said he thinks her dh previously cheated. Her fb is completely open and I was shocked at how old and unattractive she was ( sorry, I know that's not very nice). I could see all her son's graduation pics on there. So it's not as if they were all beautiful, which I would understand more. The other is a girl in another country that he met doing his MBA, I think. But I only really know what I have seen and what he has told me and he is not the best source of info.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 16:20:48

How will I know if he is telling me the truth? I can't rely on my own instincts. And yes, he already thinks you are unfairly judging him by the worst case scenario. He insists that 'all' he did was flirt and use pics for titillation.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 16:23:35

Its nothing to do with their looks or age.

Its all about HIM and his issues - his view of women as sex toys is warped and sexist.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 16:27:37

Tell him he has to tell the truth and he has to hand over his phone and laptop immediately and that if you find out he has lied then its game over.

Then he has to do all the work required to find out why he chose to behave in this way and to work on his issues - if he is unwilling then you have your answer.

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 16:30:38

Bloody hell.

I can't stand this bloke and I've never even met him.

How dare he assassinate the sexual morals of the first woman. She wasn't the only woman he was contacting, was she? So what does that make him?

The women weren't required to be 'beautiful' FFS. Just compliant and willing to play. The second woman just sounds vulnerable. And she didn't send a 'filthy text' completely unsolicited.

Did he use the word filthy out of interest, or is that your word for what she wrote?

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 16:34:20

I wonder if he has a Madonna vs Whore view of women...and if they were "filthy" what does that make him hmm

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 16:38:55

Does he have many close men friends?

Has anyone ever described him as a bit pompous and full of his own self-importance?

Does he judge women for the way they dress and act?

What does he think of feminism?

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 16:44:21

I doubt there's anything on his laptop or phone. He's had loads of time to delete. I will tackle him about doing all the things in that article including handing over all passwords.

I think he is weak and fucked up, but I don't think he is fundamentally a bad person. He has done incredibly harmful things though There are personality traits that he has been trying to alter, like moodiness. I don't want to make excuses for him, but I don't want to entirely demonize him either. I see that he has to fix this and that I cannot and that it shouldn't be up to me to do all the work here.

TurnipCake Tue 05-Feb-13 16:48:35

Eugh, he sounds just like my ex. Very much a Madonna/whore view of women, using texts/photos etc to prop up his ego and some serious self-loathing issues.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 16:48:56

Filthy was my word, not his. It was all about bring home from holiday and being ready to bounce up and down on his balls! He didn't assassinate the morals of the other woman, just said matter of fact that he thinks he wasn't the only one, to make me believe it wasn't a serious involvement emotionally.

Yes, I would say he can be arrogant.

He has always been respectful of women and quite feminist in attitude.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 16:57:36

Not sure if it is relevant, but his childhood was spent moving from place to place. He finds it easy to make friends quickly (a case of having to, as a child), but he didn't really have roots anywhere. Once he moved, he detached from previous friends and moved on quite quickly. Might explain how he could form these associations quite easily and how he could end them just as easily. I truly don't think there was anything deep there from his pov. As for them, his marital status was no secret. I was angry with them, but less so now. This is entirely on him.

He has repeatedly said that there was nothing wrong with me, this is not my fault, that he acknowledges all the issues are with him and that he hates himself for having done this. Believe me, there has been no hiding the effect of all this on me.

badinage Tue 05-Feb-13 17:11:29

Well that's not my idea of filthy, but I wouldn't write that if I hadn't already done just that with the bloke or knew I was going to.

So no close men friends then?

What do you mean by respectful of women and quite feminist in attitude?

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 18:17:51

I mean that he has never expressed sexist attitudes. He does have male friends too.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 05-Feb-13 18:45:16

He has repeatedly said that there was nothing wrong with me, this is not my fault, that he acknowledges all the issues are with him and that he hates himself for having done this.

So what is he doing to address these issues?

fiventhree Tue 05-Feb-13 19:03:54

Hi newNN,

I have been in a very similar situation- h cyber sexing and obtaining photos of women dressed and otherwise, and the attendant lying and manipulation . In his case it went on for 5 and a half years, to my certain knowledge.

I discovered it and he finally admitted it November 12.

I think I have accepted that I can never ever be certain I got the whole story - it is hard to understand how so many women were willing to send photos without a meet and on the basis of one off conversations, as he says. He admits to a couple of hundred women, and about 25 ish sending photos .

My instinct is that I don't have the full story and never will have. He did attend joint counselling for a few weeks with me but never really read up himself. His behaviour has changed a lot, however.

What I did notice from my own reading and thinking was that his behaviour towards me in a number of areas over many years had been selfish and far more sexist in practice than I had ever realised.

I have decided that I won't check up- I will look for those kinds of markets instead. And if I find anything at all on future, he is out for good. I won't waver on that, ever.

By the way, he says that what he did was about wanting to experience " power and control" over these women, which I believe, but which is pathetic given that it was hardly possible anyway, certainly not over the net, a dodgy attitude to women and just as likely some if them were hairy male truckers anyway!

Also I think this type of thing is more dysfunctional than an affair, especially a one off one, not that I'm saying an affair is better or easier to bear. That dysfunction may show itself elsewhere.

Good luck anyway. You are not alone.

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 19:04:23

l have asked him to re read the article and do all the things it suggests. Just had long phone call in which I have said that the effort to fix this must come from him and not just from me.

He says there was little effort required wrt getting ow to send pics. Have to say that none of them strike me as shrinking violet types, so that would not entirely surprise me. Still, they wouldn't have done it without approaches from him and the thought of it physically hurts.

fiventhree Tue 05-Feb-13 19:04:48

November 11, ie 14 months ago.

fiventhree Tue 05-Feb-13 19:06:12

And markers, not markets! On a iPhone on a train!!

newNN Tue 05-Feb-13 19:07:26

Thanks for posting. It is horrible to think how many people are going about their normal business, with all this sadness bubbling underneath.

fiventhree Tue 05-Feb-13 19:16:54

Nn, it is a marker of low self esteem on their part coupled with a sense of entitlement and in the case of my h a lack of empathy for others.

Those are the traits he needs to work on, and which are NOT easily hidden- they are visible personality traits.

However, they pre-existed your involvement in his life. You didn't cause it and can't cure it/ only he can.

The key issue for you is what kind of relationship you will settle for, and managing your boundaries to ensure you get it. In my case, I am not rigid and don't expect perfection, but I won't tolerate any lying or manipulation- and I have studied how to recognise it.

Also, for me, and I think it isn't the same for everyone, I will never get that blind trust back- he smashed it, and we will never quite have what we had before.

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 19:17:40

A lot of people newNN - mumsnet has shown me that .

Seenenoughtoknow Tue 05-Feb-13 19:19:31

Very good post fiventhree - I agree completely.

fiventhree Tue 05-Feb-13 19:27:17

Ps re your initial question, feel free to ask for any email/ passwords you want, depending on where he works and data protection. But he will lie if he wants to - mine used to actually download and then delete later yahoo messenger on a thrice weekly basis, then cache clean. He also used private browsing .

He is also incredibly bright, and cautious. However, he slipped up eventually . They always do.

Looksgoodingravy Tue 05-Feb-13 20:00:36

Yes transparency should be expected but like fiventhree pointed out there are ways of getting around this.

I later found out just how much porn dp had been looking at through the settings on his phone, every web page was still listed. Up until this point he didn't think he'd got an issue with porn and tbh my blinkered view didn't put the two together but there was no denying that once we scrolled through pages and pages of history there was an issue. This has now stopped although he could of course use private browsing.

The trust in our relationship is going to take a long time to build back again but my self esteem has slowly grown again so I'm taking small steps to work on the trust for which dp is totally supportive of.

Looksgoodingravy Tue 05-Feb-13 20:03:06

And yes agree fiventhree I also won't put up with any form of lying, we've talked about this aspect of dp's personality and how it came all too easy to him, shocking really.

Doha Tue 05-Feb-13 20:06:52

Repulsive man....

LilSheepie Wed 06-Feb-13 21:28:47

Hello, I am new to this but just wanted to say that Ian strange (and slightly disturbing) way, this thread has given me some comfort.
I am at the start of this road, having found out 3 days ago that DH has been exchanging (urgh can hardly type this) sects with a girl he had a fling with before my time.
We have 2 young kids and I am in total shock. He hasn't really seemed to have any concept of why I am so distraught (have asked him to leave for a while) and says in his head it was totally separate from our marriage and life (withn2 young daughters). No idea what to make of that.
Reading this thread has made me understand that I am not overreacting and this IS as serious as I feel it is. Seeing the replies and support you have been receiving has given me some strength that I am not the only person in this situation, so I just wanted to say thank you and that I hope you get to the conclusion you want (whatever it may be) in the long run

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 07:53:22

Sorry you are going through this too

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 09:37:09

This has made me question our whole past relationship. We have talked a lot and I have told him that I feel he has repeatedly lied to me and that although he always said the right things, his actions haven't supported those words and from now on I will be judging him on how he actually treats me, rather than blindly believing his words.

He says he did not meet his friend yesterday, that he phoned and cancelled. He routinely deletes phone records so I have to believe what he says. I have made it very clear that anymore lying is unacceptable to me - that I must have honesty even if it makes him nervous or uncomfortable. I cant be with him all the time, so have to choose to give him this one last chance to prove himself. But if he is untruthful just one more time, then I cannot stay.

He has promised to follow the steps in the article, so time will tell.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 07-Feb-13 09:42:00

If he wants to be believed that he needs to be able to show you evidence and that means stopping this practice of deleting stuff. If he continues to do this, this means he is still not being honest.

Get his mobile bills - these can't be altered.

Seenenoughtoknow Thu 07-Feb-13 10:27:19

Madabouthotchoc is right - he needs to stop deleting the records to show you he isn't lying. How can you judge that he is telling the truth about anything if there is no evidence either way?

I'm sorry, but I think he's probably still telling lies, because if he wasn't he would come home and proudly show you his phone record as proof he is on the right track and he would be desperate for you to acknowledge that. He is keeping you in the dark for some reason.

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 10:35:17

I wanted to say thank you to all of you for taking the time to read and post. This threads been very helpful to me, in that it has made me examine historical events that have niggled at the edges of my mind. Everything I rhino AMD feel is now 'out there' with dh, nothingness hidden and there is no room for ambiguity. He categorically knows what is important to me an why, so cannot claim ignorance of that in the future.

He is not a bad person, although he has behaved badly. In many respects we have had a good relationship. We always have fun together, never run of things to say, see eye to eye on raising the kids, money etc. He honestly doesn't view women badly and has always supported my choices in life. If he was a straightforward bad person, then all this wouldn't be so hard. I really hope he takes this chance to address his own issues.

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 10:40:03

x posted. phone is a work one, so no bill available. He says he hasn't even seen an itemized bill. Think the office just get him to sign off on it every month. Have already told him to stop deleting records. Trust me, the thought has occurred that he could have lied, but he is distraught at the thought of me ending this. I think he lies because he thinks it is the easiest way to avoid uncomfortable conversations. It had become a habit. I have heard him lie to hisum on order to avoid a conversation he doesn't want to have.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 07-Feb-13 10:58:51

I think you need to separate what he's done from what type of person it makes him.

You keep saying that he's not a bad man - and maybe he's not. But he's behaved like one to you. If this was your daughter, what would you tell her? That she deserves better? That he's still lying, still deleting, still covering his tracks?

His views are skewed. He finds conversations with other women easy, getting naked pictures and sexual messages easy, but conversations with his wife are uncomfortable? He's getting uncomfortable at the wrong time.

I'd also carefully consider how likely it is that these women would all be so explicit with someone from work, without a big build up of flirting and sexual tension. There would be every chance that random pictures would end up going round the office, and make a job untenable - unless you've slept with the man that you are sending them too, which makes it distinctly less likely that he'll show them around, because he's got a secret too.

He doesn't have the option of lying to you anymore. He shouldn't be avoiding conversations. He should be being open, and honest, and desperate to show you that he has changed, that he's doing the right thing.

And most of all, he should stop blaming the women. He's branded them easy, vulnerable...he seems to take pleasure from how "easily" he extracted photos and sexy messages. That, or he's lying to you about how long this was going on, and exactly what did go on. Neither of those options are good.

Please don't just brush this under the carpet because you want him to be a good man. He isn't behaving like one, and he's very likely to hurt you again if he doesn't actively change.

Seenenoughtoknow Thu 07-Feb-13 11:44:23

Caja - excellent post.

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 12:12:51

Just read back my last two posts. Bloody auto correct has littered them with mistakes!

Wrt these women, I know that he never met up with one of them, because she is in another country, yet she was still happy to send a nude photo. I read a conversation on fb chat and it wasn't giving me the impression of two people in a relationship. It was conversational and a bit crude. He has said one woman was very aggressive and he distanced himself. I suppose that is blaming her, but I have to say that she put herself in the position of doing this with someone else's husband, as well as cheating on her own. She is not a victim. The text I saw, supports the statement that she was sexually aggressive. Generally he hasn't blamed them, but yes he took and encouraged and actively sought opportunities.

He says the urge to do this has gone, that he thinks of it as a period of madness and can't understand why exactly he did it. It is true that things with us were not perfect and I think they just stroked his ego and made him feel better.

The routine lying is of big concern to me. How does someone stop doing that? I want to see an itemized phone bill, but don't see how I can.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 07-Feb-13 12:20:09

If he is really serious about changing then he needs ask HR for an itemized bill.

Saying the women were aggressive is still putting the blame on them. Forget them, focus on HIM and HIS behaviour.

The urge will come back if he does not address his own issues and failings - and that includes the habit of lying in general. He needs to look at why he lies and take responsibility for stopping this.

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 12:21:18

Forgot to say that there is no way he would have shared those photos in the office. That's just not something I could ever see him doing, because he is not nasty. If I'd got hold of them, I would have forwarded them to their husbands, in a heartbeat. At the time I wanted them to have their lives as fucked over as mine has been. It was only seeing the graduation pics on a fb wall that stopped me putting the details of the text on her wall. Dh knows this. I wonder if he would have tried to stop me. I think probably not. I have calmed down about them now - they didn't know me. He was the one who really failed me.

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 12:24:32

Do all companies who have mobile phone contracts get itemized bills? Dh never pays for personal calls because the company pays the same amount however much he uses the phone. So is it at all possible that itemized bills don't exist?

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 07-Feb-13 12:26:39

My DH has a company phone and he can request itemised bills - HR will have to organise this though.

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 12:29:10

How does he ask for one without saying why he needs it. He has very efficient office managers and there really is no need for him to see it.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 07-Feb-13 12:30:03

Yes, your anger is misplaced - HE is the one who failed you and broke his vows.

Those women didn;t know for sure that he wouldn't share these pics. You both need to talk more about how these came about and remember women don't just send such personal pics out of the blue knowing they risk everything in doing so.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 07-Feb-13 12:31:00

How does he ask for one without saying why he needs it. He has very efficient office managers and there really is no need for him to see it.

That's his problem - its called facing up to consequences...

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 12:41:15

If he tells me that an itemized bill doesn't exist, is that at all possible? I want to be sure of my facts.

Also do you know if there is any way the network would give him the ability to view the bill online, given that it is a company phone and not his?

newNN Thu 07-Feb-13 12:44:39

I do think that some women are just stupid and take silly risks, the same as some men do. In the case of dirty text woman, she is just moronic - her fb settings are wide open.

I think he had as much to lose as they did, so I think they knew they were pretty safe. It would not be very professional or career enhancing to spread that stuff around.

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