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I have massively screwed up my marriage, and I desperately want to get it back.

(169 Posts)
SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 15:17:59

I'm in love with somebody else :-(

We've been friends through work for a long time, but over the last year or two, we seem to have gradually fallen in love.

That sounds terrible. I have never felt like this before about anyone.

The depth of feeling that comes from loving someone based on gradually getting to know their character and personality over a long period of time has blown me away.

When I met dh, the initial attraction was all based on looks and was very much a physical thing. Obviously the growing to love each other then was based on more than that, but I still know that we would never have got that far if it wasn't for the looks thing.

The new man, I wouldn't have looked at twice across a crowded room, but I have fallen in love with him through our friendship, and now I think he is gorgeous!

Anyway, so our 'relationship' has now gone as far as kissing and texting all day every day. I can't stop thinking about him.

Apart from him and dh, there has never been anyone else in my life. I settled down with dh when I was 17. I'm now 35 and we have 3 children.

Every conscience thought that I am in control of tells me, I want to stay with dh, I want my family together, I DO NOT want to bust our lives apart.

BUT, my heart says so different. My heart is gone. I love the OM now and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it.

I know the answer is 'I am in control of my own actions'. I know this and I did stop all contact with OM for a period of about 5 months. I saw him again a couple of months ago, and now we're right back to square 1.

I almost wish he didn't feel the same way. That it was just some silly one sided crush. But it's not. I'm going to push him away. I'm going to plod on day by day with my family life, but I'm always going to know now that there is someone else out there who I could be so happy with.

I was happy enough with dh before I knew what it was like to feel like this about someone. Nothing can ever undo that now. sad

happyAvocado Mon 01-Apr-13 15:28:54

stop seeing OM for 6 months and see how you feel then

Numberlock Mon 01-Apr-13 15:31:05

Is happy enough good enough though?

NutherChange Mon 01-Apr-13 15:33:37

I think you hit the nail on the head saying that you were happy with your DH before this other man came along.

Do you really want to hurt the people you love to be with a man who is willing to cheat with a married woman?

Do yourself a favour and stay away from this man. No good can come from this.

Leavenheath Mon 01-Apr-13 15:33:54

Is the OM married?

If so, it was him who called it off before wasn't it, not you? Because there's no way you'd have ended this if he'd still been keen.

I think what you want is to have the choice yourself of ending this- or continuing it.

Tigglette Mon 01-Apr-13 15:35:22

Could you be "so happy" with him with three unsettled children, a broken marriage and all that goes with it? Of course it's easy to picture the perfect life with the perfect partner when you don't have bills to pay, a house to manage and his laundry to do but really what makes you think that day to day life with him would be so different from what you have now?

Leavenheath Mon 01-Apr-13 15:35:53

Meh, millions of couples are 'happy enough'. Marriage isn't all hearts, flowers and racing pulses 100% of the time. Sometimes that's not enough for the drama queens of this world though,,,,

fedupofnamechanging Mon 01-Apr-13 15:45:11

I say shit or get off the pot! Stop with the texting and flirting and kissing behind your husband's back and either end your marriage do you van start up with om or stop arsing around with om and put a proper effort into your marriage.

Tbh, I think you owe it to your kids to put the effort in with dh. That means looking for a job where you won't see om for a start.

If he is married too, then what you are doing is proper sleazy and your respective spouses deserve better. You are not Romeo and Juliet, you are just two cheaters. It might not have been entirely intentional, but somewhere along the way you both chose to betray people who didn't deserve to be treated shabby.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 01-Apr-13 15:46:29

Sorry about typos. Am on my phone and didn't check before posting.

Sunnywithshowers Mon 01-Apr-13 15:49:04

Your title says that you want your marriage back, but the rest of your post makes it sound as if you would rather have the OM.

What you are doing is cheating on your H who doesn't deserve it.

Creameggkr Mon 01-Apr-13 15:51:01

Have you got a new lock barrel handy?

nevergoogle Mon 01-Apr-13 15:56:55

oh how very romantic you make it sound.

as a child of a parent who had an affair I can tell you that you are damaging your children with your behaviour. you are affecting how they see relationships and trust people as adults.

hey, perhaps they'll even get to witness your DH fall apart. a very scary thing for a child to see.

go you!

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 15:58:07

Yes, it was him who broke it off before. Very astute :-)

I've known him long enough to know that he is no more a sleazy womaniser than I am. He is desperately unhappy with the situation.
He tried the no contact thing because he wants to put his family first, but now he says it just didn't work. He still feels exactly the same.

I haven't admitted it yet, but so do I.

I am under no illusion that our lives would be all romance and cherry blossom rain if we were to end up together. In fact, it would probably be the complete opposite, given the circumstances of us getting together.

But, I just can't be happy now, knowing that there is something so wonderful that I am missing out on.

So I can't win either way, and I can't really see the wood for the trees at the moment.

nevergoogle Mon 01-Apr-13 15:59:59

poor you hmm

Oh FFS. Grow up and break it off. Honestly. What else do you expect to read on here?
It's all exciting and secret and texty text and thrilling..... and you know what, if you go public you are going to have three kids wondering what the FUCK happened to their home life.
If you must, split first, give it six months and THEN see if you still want to have mind blowingly hot sex and massive 'ooooh, he really gets me' meetings of minds.
I get that you might not have married the man of your dreams. I honestly do. I did the same.
But that does not give you the right to be an adulteress and a home breaker.

Just saying.

FGS do the right thing - either stop it now, or split first, calm down and then see how you feel.

jinxdragon Mon 01-Apr-13 16:06:14

What exactly do you want? Your title said you have wrecked your marriage and want it back, but your post says you are desperately in love with the OM.

TBH that depth of feeling (even if it is partly due to the "something different" ness of the OM, which it usually is) means you should end it with your husband anyway, whether you end up with the OM or not. It's not fair to him, you're not focused on your relationship with him. He will most likely find out anyway, if you're spending all day texting the OM.

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 16:07:11

stop being such a drama queen and hand on heart angst.you need to get a plan
1. You stay and work through marital issues
2. You and om decide if you want tog olive and be couple
3.stop wallowing in all this bs about love,hearts and angst.how many dc are involved?

formerdiva Mon 01-Apr-13 16:09:17

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but the moment you became a mother your wants ceased to be the priority. Unless you were married to an abusive man or bad father (neither of which your DH is I assume), I'm afraid that continuing with OM is nothing more than criminally selfish.

I do feel sorry for you, but please stop now while you can without destroying the vey people you should be protecting.

chicaguapa Mon 01-Apr-13 16:09:54

I don't think you are in love with this OM, but you are infatuated with him. Infatuation is like an addiction which you can't give up, even though you know you're tearing your family apart.

Ask yourself what you talk about when you're together. Do you discuss the future, finances, dreams & aspirations etc? Or do you talk about how you feel about each other, the situation you're in, how desperate it all is? The latter is a symptom of infatuation.

Doha Mon 01-Apr-13 16:16:28

Grow up OP. I feel so sorry for your DH and your DC's. If you really feel like a star crossed lover do the decent thing and leave your DH and your DC's. You do not deserve them.
Stop the Mills and Boon romance and get into the real world. You are having an affair--you are cheating on your family.
Shape up or ship out---and once the reality of throwing what you had away hits you, you will realise just how pathetic you sound.

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 16:16:39

Ok,show you and fancy man sat down down the maths on splitting up with partners?
How many kids involved?what commitments are there to maintain
Adult relationships are about money,daily pragmatism,not solely I luffs him

JustinBsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 16:19:06

'kissing and texting all day every day' - hmmmm, this sounds like real life - not.

I think you aren't 100% sure he will leave his DW and DCs.

Hence it is a problem. If you were both totally committed to your new loves there wouldn't be a question, just some decisions to make about when and how.

chicaguapa Mon 01-Apr-13 16:24:31

OP, download a sample of Not Just Friends from amazon and read it. If any of the sample resonates with you, it'll tell you it's an affair not true love and that should give you a reason to end it. Then download the whole book and start to understand how your friendship with this man developed into what it has.

Have a look at the other threads under relationships and see how many men in this situation come back with their tails between their legs, full of regret once real life has merged with the affair. That should tell you how seldom these things turn out to be true love and not just about the wonder of having developed a relationship with a new man.

Remind yourself why you chose to marry your DH and what made you feel that he was someone you wanted to spend your life with and have DC with. You have been together 18 years. Concentrate on rebuilding your marriage and don't put your energy into OM.

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 16:26:02

I know we can't ever be together. We just can't. There's 5 children and 2 very long marriages at stake. Neither of us will ever be happy taking responsibility for blowing all that apart.

I suppose my question is really, how I can get over the fact that now I know what it's like to feel that way about someone.

I've honestly never felt this before. I didn't know what it was like. I married too young to the first bloke that kissed me (literally!).

fedupofnamechanging Mon 01-Apr-13 16:31:48

You should keep inind that if you don't put a stop to this now, then it might not be your choice to make for much longer. If you ate texting on all day, it is only a matter of time before your dh clocks on and he might not want you back. This will go so much better for you, if you are the one to end the affair, rather than your dh catching you in an affair which is ongoing.

Trazzletoes Mon 01-Apr-13 16:32:39

Justin I think you've not the nail on the head. I suspect that one of the things that is making it hard(er) for the OP to just up and leave her marriage is the possibility that the OM won't leave his.

OP, it is desperately unfair on your DH and DCs to carry on with this behind their backs. Either stop the affair or leave, regardless of whether the OM leaves his DW or not. Regardless of what you think right now, you aren't committed to your marriage.

NutherChange Mon 01-Apr-13 16:33:00

You have two choices:

1. Stop giving the OM head space and you will eventually see the situation for what it is and hopefully never put yourself in the same situation again, or

2. Devastate your DH and DC by leaving them for this man. Your feelings way very well change once he bottles it and doesn't leave his DW and DC and you end up loathing the man when you're left with nothing.

Trazzletoes Mon 01-Apr-13 16:40:24

secret but you ARE blowing it all apart, right now!

Trazzletoes Mon 01-Apr-13 16:43:32

secret if you really WANT to concentrate on your marriage then you need to do it. Cut all contact with OM. Would you be able to change your phone number? At the very least, delete and block his. If you have had a 5 month break, it sounds like you don't work together any more... If you do, is it possible to have no work contact with him? Otherwise I think you will have to look for a new job. If you're going to stay, it is up to you to devote 100% of your relationship energy to your DH and DCs.

HeySoulSister Mon 01-Apr-13 16:46:42

Op I can really relate to this. I'm not in same situation but yes, I can relate to the bit where you can't go back because now you've felt this with someone, nothing else will do

EdithWeston Mon 01-Apr-13 16:48:19

"I know what it's like to feel that way about someone".

No you don't. You are in affair bubble. It's not real.

chicaguapa Mon 01-Apr-13 16:51:12

how I can get over the fact that now I know what it's like to feel that way about someone.

Time, time and more time. And hopefully knowing deep down that you did the right thing for your family will give you comfort and strength. If after more than 12 months away from OM, things are still not good with your DH, you'll have more clarity on your marriage and can then think about your options then.

JustinBsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 16:52:38

how I can get over the fact that now I know what it's like to feel that way about someone

Imv this can still be an infatuation rather than real love. It's an artifical relationship, real life and all its demands is not intruding on it.

OP, were you infatuated by people in the past when you were a teenager? Have you missed this part of life and only just found it now. Surely most people have infatuations at some point in their lives. But you don't act on them.

SirSugar Mon 01-Apr-13 16:53:27

You can always wait like I did, until my H died and OMs children grew up and his marriage was over - took 20 years.

But don't sleep with him, stay friends if you like and talk about everything else apart from wanting to run off together. If it's the real deal you will get there eventually.

I knew for years I wanted to be with OM, accepted it knowing that it wasn't to be at the time, and got on with my life instead of all out destruction.

Love waits

You are with someone who is willing to cheat on his wife and kids, if you were ever able to be together you would be with someone who would be completely willing to cheat on you. I know people who have married the OM and have been consequently cheated on and their families have broken up.

Whomever said it was an addiction is right. Cheaters (you) show extremely similar behaviour to alcoholics. Many counsellors treat them the same way. Unless you are separated from your addiction you will continue to use it which will damage all the people you love.

Every time you get a text or think about sending a text imagine your kids finding out and how they will feel about it and them living in two homes and having to deal with the fallout. Invest the energy you would into making your marriage better instead of breaking it down.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com is a helpful place for those who want to make things right.

Charbon Mon 01-Apr-13 16:59:04

I remember your other threads.

Nothing has changed secretjewel.

For him or you.

You're still playing games in the hope that this man will fall properly in love with you and offer to leave his marriage, only so that you can say at that point that you're not going to leave yours.

This isn't love on either side and it never was. It's about the feelings this gives you individually about yourselves. For you it's validation because your esteem is disproportionately propped up by the prospect of winning unattainable men (your good looking husband) and for the OM it's that the interest of a good looking woman has made him feel alive and good about himself at a time when his life is all about responsibility and stability.

If he ended this 5 months ago, he doesn't want to lose his marriage. But a part of him like you enjoyed the addiction of the contact and since he won't have told his wife what had gone before, she has carried on as normal. He won't have done though. In his head he will have been looking at his wife more critically and blaming her for the 'sacrifice' he made. Every time she complained about something in those 5 months, he would have irrationally blamed her for it and inwardly thought 'she doesn't appreciate what I've given up for her'. You might recognise this in your own marriage, except of course it wasn't you who gave up anything; the OM did.

Next what will happen is that the OM will convince himself with your help that you both need to get this out of your system. Once he's fully committed to taking this a stage further, you'll rack things up with insistences that you love him and he'll start mirroring that adoration. Both will be false however. You will try to turn this into the love story of the century and he'll probably go along with that, while inwardly knowing it isn't.

Eventually the guilt will get to him and he will end it with you, or he'll get found out. What he won't do is give you what you want - an offer to end his marriage. But nothing less will validate you and when you don't get it, you'll be very hurt and feel worse about yourself because in your world, it's much worse if an average looking man doesn't want you or prefers his wife to you, than if he was what would be considered as a 'prize' by others.

At some point you'll start the process with someone else.

Because none of this is about the OM, your DH or your relationship.

It's about you and your personality.

StuntGirl Mon 01-Apr-13 17:02:11

Either leave your husband or make your marriage work. Those are your only two choices. Cheating is not part of any of it.

Dozer Mon 01-Apr-13 17:09:18

If you don't want to be married to your DH, then admit that and separate.

But don't count on OM leaving his family for you, or it all being happy ever after.

What you are doing is not romantic it is selfish and hurting your DH and children, and OM's family too. Grow up. Or at the very least shut up with the "neither of us has ever felt this way, we just can't stay away" bullshit, trying to convince yourself he/this is worth the inevitable damage.

Viviennemary Mon 01-Apr-13 17:09:58

I think the decision is yours to make. You either finish the relationship with this man, or end your marriage. I don't think this in limbo and cheating on your partner is a good thing for anybody. People do end marriages to be together. I don't know if I approve of that or not but it is not unheard of. But when you say you can never be together it sounds as if you've made the decision already. I hope you work things out somehow.

classifiedinformation Mon 01-Apr-13 17:17:03

Most posters answering this thread have basically said, you've made your bed, now lie in it. But no-one has looked at it from the side of the DH, is it fair for him to be with someone who is "settling" for him? Does he not deserve someone who truly loves him with all they are?

I would say OP that you need to decide if you can carry on and get back your love for your DH. Either way you have to really think about things properly and put all the romance aside.

I do think though, that having been with no-one else except your DH does leave you open to this kind of problem. It happened to me with my exh, although there was no-one else and some EA from him. I found out that I just didn't know enough about myself or life before I married. It's tricky, I feel for you OP, but be aware that this OM may not be "the one" either. Good luck.

Charbon Mon 01-Apr-13 17:22:47

If I remember rightly, the OM had suffered a bereavement before this all started and at no point had said that his marriage was unhappy. It's very common for people to start affairs at these points in their lives because there is a definite dip in most long-term relationships when life seems to be all about work, raising children and responsibilities and the mirror every morning shows the passing of time. A bereavement shakes this up a lot and forces people to face their own mortality and so they are partcularly attracted to an escape from that new pain/grief seeing as it's come on top of all the other burdens of life. So I agree with the OP that the OM is no more of a sleazebag than indeed she is.

You are just two ordinary people who happened to work together and are caught up in an escapist fantasy. It is absolutely nothing more than that though.

Lizzabadger Mon 01-Apr-13 17:25:56

I think you should tell your husband what's been going on so he can make an informed choice what to do.

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 17:29:54

Justin, you're right that I am not 100% sure he would leave his wife. In fact, I am 99% sure he wouldn't. Not sure what to make of that. That's just another thing that makes him lovely I suppose. I don't want to be with the kind of bloke who would put his own happiness before that of his kids.

Charbon, <gulp>. Don't know what to say. Mystic Meg?? :-)
With regards to the 5 months apart thing, I haven't asked him what his marriage has been like. I thought I was doing the right thing respecting his wishes for No Contact, but now I know that even after 5 months of it, my feelings didn't change at all. It was him that first got in touch again, and his feelings haven't changed either. We both thought maybe we could be friends again after the gap. I massively miss our friendship more than anything and am quite devastated to discover that friendship doesn't look like an option.
P.S. How do you know everything?!?!?

Sunnywithshowers Mon 01-Apr-13 17:40:59

OP this is an infatuation. I have been infatuated before - it's intense and very, very bloody painful. But infatuation can and does end: I was so relieved when mine was over.

If you really, really believe your marriage is over, then by all means consider ending your marriage. However, ending your marriage for an OM is hugely risky and, as has been pointed out upthread, will hurt a lot of people.

It might be worth going somewhere for relationship counselling (Relate?) on your own. It'll help give you an insight into why you are feeling like this now, and help you decide on a way forward.

LordLurkin Mon 01-Apr-13 17:42:26

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1720133-I-Think-I-destroyed-my-marriage

Read that thread and tell me the fallout is going to be worth it. Seriously I would advise you to show some dignity and tell your husband and get things out in the open. Sure its going to be messy and painful but do you honestly believe things will stay hidden forever. And as the OP on the thread I linked to is finding out it will be worse the longer its left.

weegiemum Mon 01-Apr-13 17:52:26

You could be my mother.

When I was 12, after a 4-year affair, she left my dad (and her 3 dc) for the OM, who was my dad's best friend! After years of sneaking about, denial, deceit etc she finally left.

And fwiw, she's been married to him now 20 years and my Dad is in a very happy marriage of over 25 years (with the lovely woman I now call my Mum! - as my relationship with my mother has irrevocably broken down).

30 years on, I'm still in therapy and my younger brother and sister probably should be!

Whatever you're planning, do it soon, do it openly and deal with the fallout!

BrunellaPommelhorse Mon 01-Apr-13 17:54:25

you just need to man up and stop being so fatalistic

Toasttoppers Mon 01-Apr-13 17:54:33

I think your bored op and narked off you have only ever been with one man.

I guarantee OM socks missing the laundry basket would be just as tedious as your DH doing it after a while.

weegiemum Mon 01-Apr-13 18:01:29

And I thought - me and dh. We've been married 18 years, have 3 dc of 9,11,13, been together since I was 19 he was 20. We've only ever been with each other. But it doesn't matter because we're happy and totally committed, despite health, mental health, financial etc issues.

We promised for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.

And yes, sometimes it's been an effort, but it's one we are both happy to make!

fedupofnamechanging Mon 01-Apr-13 18:01:48

jewel, he is not 'lovely'. If he was, he would not be doing this with you. When his wife finds out, ask her if she thinks he is lovely.

Cherriesarelovely Mon 01-Apr-13 18:14:34

I agree with Toast. However, I don't think that just because you are basically bored and fed up with your DH you would be with another person. I have no time for people who are cheating on their partners, having been cheated on myself twice BUT I do acknowledge that I may well feel unfulfilled if I had settled down with my very first boyfriend. For one thing I have spent the last 20 years in relationships with women so I agree that we are often very different people at 35 than we are at 17!!

I know it feels like the issue here is OM but if he is not prepared to leave his wife it isn't really is it? I think you need to move on from him for the sake of your own mental health. He has obviously been a catalyst for your thoughts about maybe leaving your DH. However, you also say you were pretty happy with your DH before this.

My advice would be to cut off all contact with the OM for good, however stressful that might be and to get some counselling so that you can decide once and for all if this is a "phase" or if you really do want out of your marraige. Please don't continue to conduct your affair behind your DH's back. Poor bloke.

Charbon Mon 01-Apr-13 18:19:11

OP of course he will continue to put his own happiness in front of his wife and family when he decides to stay with them. Because he already knows that's where his happiness lies, which is why he put the brakes on an affair last time. You're seeing this in overly romantic terms; that even if he chose his wife over you, he would be making a 'happiness sacrifice' for the greater good of his dependents. That really wouldn't be the truth, however much it would prop up your ego to think it. He will choose what makes him happiest. As will you of course.

Friendship is never going to be an option. Just as this relationship changed forever when you both made it an affair, so your marriage has been forever changed too.

How did he get in touch with you again?

Pilgit Mon 01-Apr-13 18:23:53

Charbon isn't mystic meg - these affairs all follow the same format. If this was true love you both would have ended your marriages. There are worse things than a broken home for children. You are not star crossed lovers. You are not giving up something real. This is fantasy escapism. The love you feel isn't real as it isn't rounded, it doesn't have commitment. Your feelings have developed to insulate you from the guilt and to justify your awful behaviour. You're in the middle of a cliche. You want to save your marriage? stop pretending this affair is anything but sordid and choose to step away from it.

My dad had an affair and left my mum for the OW. It didn't make him happy. Mum would have felt better if it had. The fact that it hasn't just makes the hurt pointless. He said a lot of the things you have. Reality doesn't match up. You are enjoying the drama of it - I suggest if you want that kind of drama watch the soaps

piratecat Mon 01-Apr-13 18:40:30

i don't ever understand how on these thread the op's are accused of enjoying the drama.

op you either have to stop it altogether, or ask this man outright if he wants to be with you.

If he doesn't it shows you that he is committed to his family. If he says he does wish he could be with you but doesn't want to break up the family, doesn't want to upset them, can't do it, won't do it till such an such date. END IT.

He doesn't love you enough.

It's hard, it hurts and if you are strong and stick to no contact, then time will pass and what will be will be.

Lavenderhoney Mon 01-Apr-13 19:15:40

If you don't want to continue to ruin your marriage and the stable home life of your dc, suggest you change jobs. Get your cv out there and move. Change your mobile number and block him from fb or anywhere else you have all these little chats.

Tell him to ignore you and any drunken texts or emails. You have already parted once, and you had a big chance to make it right. It's not fair on your dh and dc to give him headspace. What would you be doing if you weren't texting or mooning about?

Are you working together? One thing that co workers are really good at is spotting affairs. If you two aren't busy enough to work then no one else will be, they will be watching you instead, with interest. It will be obvious to anyone your dh wouldn't be madly texting all day, and causing high/ low mood swings. Do you think your dh hasn't noticed as well?

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 19:23:46

Frankly,op has said her and fancy man and self won't be item.so time to cool it
Work on the marriage or leave and pursue a life out with the marriage
If one is unhappy no pint going through motion in unhappy marriage.owe itself and dh

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 19:25:04

He got in touch again by e-mail.

We've only seen each other a handful of times. He seems happier just keeping up the emotional connection by e-mailing and texting, but is more nervous of actually seeing me. He seems to know where his vulnerabilities lie, and is making a conscious decision not to put himself in that situation.

But then why did he get back in touch?

I haven't asked him out right, but reading between the lines I think Charbon's description of his marriage since this all began is pretty accurate (as it is of mine really, I suppose).

And this is the bit where I get stuck. We go back to No Contact, we do the 'right' thing, no children get hurt, we eventually get over each other.

But, we've both already ballsed up our marriages now anyway. They ain't ever gonna be what they were after this, and if that leads to living in a general, mundane low level of unhappiness, then there's always going to be the option of us gravitating back towards each other again.

Surely there's a strong possibility that's why he suddenly decided to get back in touch with me out if the blue this time?

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 19:30:39

You're repetitively stuck on the lovey dovey narrative,avoidant of real life
Have you and he actually discussed what next term of rental,5kids,exes,where to live?
This is still all giddy,with no substantiation and schoolgirl ooh look he emailed you

thegreylady Mon 01-Apr-13 19:34:07

If you want to save your marriage then all you can do is delete OM's number,change yours and cut him out completely.What you are feeling is the lust,fun and excitement of a secret relationship.
What would you feel if your dh read this or even more what would you feel if he were the OM in this situation?
You are 35 not 15.You have children do you love them?Is your dh cruel and neglectful?
You know what to do.

that is a lame excuse and you know it (the fucked up marriages so may as well not bother bit) marriages are as good as you put into them.

He is satisfied with texting and emailing because he gets all the benefit of having a woman hang on his every word with extremely low effort on his part.

You are worth more than that.

Charbon Mon 01-Apr-13 20:13:08

No it's likely that his marriage will recover far better than yours. From what you've said on this and other threads, he is far more committed to his marriage than you are to yours. What he has always wanted was the thrill and the excitement but not the reality. He can continue to delude himself this isn't really an affair because nothing much has happened. So until this goes to the brink again, he can get all the nice bits without the guilt.

I'd guess that some disappointment occurred either at home or in life generally just before he got back in contact and that he did so because he knew it would be a sure-fire 'quickfix' to his ego. When he wrote that E mail I'm guessing he was deluding himself that there was no harm in restoring friendly contact. When you responded as he'd hoped you would, he told himself that he wasn't responsible for you still being as keen to meet etc. and now he's telling himself that as long as he rations this or backs off from meeting too regularly, no harm will be caused and he's not doing anything terribly wrong.

I think I may have mentioned on another thread of yours that for a man like this who was basically content with his lot, he would have always needed a long permission-giving process. Yours was very much shorter, hence he is more invested in his marriage than you are in yours.

If he backs away again, he will be able to make his marriage as good if not better as it was before by putting more effort in - that is assuming his lack of investment in it since he started this thing with you hasn't done too much damage to his wife's feelings for him and their marriage.

For your own marriage and you personally, I'm not so sure. I think you'd benefit tremendously from seeing a good counsellor who will examine with you why you play games. We talked a lot about that on one of your earlier threads and I was hopeful that you'd take some concrete action to address this destructive aspect of your personality. Because although the game is currently focused on this unattainable man, there will I think be others when this doesn't work out. And each time an unattainable man doesn't choose you, it will become even more important that the next one does with the stakes getting bigger and the affairs getting riskier and more high-octane.

I don't think you'll walk away from this affair and re-commit to your marriage. Obviously I hope you do, as much for the other characters' sake as your own.

But honestly I think until you address why you play games, this will just play out as I've described. You can change yourself and your own personal outcome if you really want to, whether your marriage survives or not.

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 20:15:08

Op,many people manage 2nd significant relationship after marriage
1st step is admitting to all concerned,things arent working and harm minimisation
you've got worst situation,deceit and hanging around for what ifs.and won't be honest with dh

Fairenuff Mon 01-Apr-13 20:30:05

I think you should end both relationships and then get some counselling for yourself.

Your marriage is over because you've broken the terms of the contract. If you were honest enough to tell your dh what you're doing you would then have the opportunity to build a new and different relationship with him, if he wanted to. As it is, you have a sham and you've already realised how unsatisfying that is.

Your other relationship is never going to work either. Even if you did both get together, neither of you would ever be able to trust the other. You both know that you're willing to lie and cheat to get what you want, so that would be an unsatisfactory sham too.

Maybe, if you could learn to be honest and trustworthy, you might eventually find someone you can be loyal to. Either that, or someone who is willing to have an open relationship which might suit you better.

Sad for your children though sad

Trazzletoes Mon 01-Apr-13 20:34:23

If you really can't see yourself ever being happy again with your DH then you should end your marriage.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 01-Apr-13 20:47:16

Work on falling in love with DH all over again

Cut all contact with the OM

Viviennemary Mon 01-Apr-13 21:16:32

I don't think you can work on falling love with somebody all over again. I think you can work and make a marriage a reasonable option and be fairly happy in a way. But I don't really believe you can work on falling in love with somebody. Maybe I'm just a hopless romantic.

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 21:16:37

So basically, I'm doing my best to tempt a committed and loyal married man into flattering my ego by having an affair with me? sad

How the hell did my life ever come to that?

I have indeed been getting myself some counselling (another secret to keep), but not enough obviously. It was getting expensive.

Charbon, I agree totally with the points you make about my game-playing character. I am not sure though whether this is really me as a whole, or whether it is just a funny phase I am going through.

I've been with 1 man all my life, and I've spent vast periods of time at home on maternity leave, or working very low hours due to lack of childcare. Now all the kids are at school and I've got a tiny bit more freedom, I am sort of finding myself again (and messing it all up clearly).

I have however, never looked twice at another man since I was 17. Dh was everything to me. He was the one who played around a fair bit in the very early years of our relationship when we were very young. I always wanted him back because I was besotted with him.

We went straight from that phase of our lives into marriage and children. He has been totally committed and faithful since then and I haven't really given the early days a second thought.

Until now. And I know that's why my permission-giving process was so much shorter.

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 21:19:54

I think I agree Vivienne sad

That's the bit I can't overcome. I will stay with dh, I will have an okay life.

But will I ever feel that depth of love again? It's not something you can control, is it? It's just there, or it's not.

I agree with Fairenuff. Yes, your marriage as it was pre-affair will never exist again. You can make it better than before but a new agreement should be reached and both parties should agree to it. It will also take a huge amount of work and perseverance and the cooperation of your husband whom you are treating very poorly right now.

It is unlikely to ever work longterm with the OM, no matter whether he wants to leave his wife or not.

Jewel, part of making a new marriage is figuring out why you were so in love with this man. The reason I recommended marriage builders is because they help with that.

Vivienne, I disagree. I know it is possible.

Fairenuff Mon 01-Apr-13 21:33:41

But will I ever feel that depth of love again?

No. At least not with either of these men. Both those relationships are more than crap and you cannot possibly work on your marriage whilst carrying this huge secret of infidelity.

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 21:36:35

Well, I am certainly going to give it a try then.

And will definitely have a look at marriage builders.

Really appreciate everyone's input. It helps a lot.
Even if talking about it here is enough to stop me texting him right now, that is a massive step forward :-)

yes, be aware, the marriage builders party line is that keeping infidelity a secret prevents fixing the marriage.

like I said, picture one of your kids sobbing every time you are tempted. You are screwing with them.

Viviennemary Mon 01-Apr-13 21:44:32

I hope you work things out. And I've never really tried to fall in love with somebody again. But one thing is for certain there is no guarantee the love for this other man will last very long. And good for you Selfconfessed for proving me wrong. grin

Fairenuff Mon 01-Apr-13 21:45:00

You are going to come clean to your dh then op?

JustinBsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:45:32

You are going to 'struggle on' despite the heartache boohoo - are you sure you're not just opting out of life because you don't have the courage to go and out and get one?

DCs at school? Take yourself off to uni, college, a new job.

But no, its easier to blame your lack of life on your DH and DCs, and to look for excitement with the OM, who you admit will never leave his DW.

Stop using other people and do something yourself.

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 22:04:09

Until you accept personal self responsibility,nowt changes.one can control and moderate emotion
One can moderate emotions like love,if you want to,if you chose to
we have higher executive function and morality we can chose we are not helplessly propelled by emotion

RatPants Mon 01-Apr-13 22:12:46

I feel sorry for your husband admittedly but also for you. Being married with children young is so final and it's awful luck that you have found someone you would rather be with (and he you) too late. You're right in that if you don't take this chance you will always wonder and be "settling" for the life you have now but the other posters are right in that by taking the chance, you will rip two families apart. A horrible predicament. I don't know what to recommend but do feel for you.

Cherriesarelovely Mon 01-Apr-13 22:20:36

Neither have I Vivienne but I do have friends who have been through incredibly stressful periods in their marriages but have come through them and are going strong now. I hope things work out for you OP.

Charbon Mon 01-Apr-13 22:43:52

No, you've been doing your best to get a selfish, self-delusional man who is nevertheless committed to his marriage, to have an affair and then once he can't delude himself any more that he's been unfaithful, for him to sacrifice his marriage. Only then would his appeal diminish, because you would have 'won'.

I know this sounds awful, but we discussed this familiar pattern quite a bit on the last thread and why this was about you and not necessarily your marriage. It's certainly not about the OM himself. You knew him for many years before this fantasy took hold but the reason it did and got fixated on him was because of the timing with you going back to work and feeling independent again and because he was always going to be more of a challenge than the other chancers who'd come on to you around the same time, who provided no sense of conquest or special validation.

Curiously I think the one cast-iron way to get you to fall in love with your husband again is if he didn't want you any longer. I expect his attraction peaked when he appeared to be less committed in those early days.

You can probably see where I'm going with this and I think there's a risk that if you walk away from the affair or the OM does now or in the future, you will try to get your love for your husband back by engineering another high risk game - telling him about the affair. Being honest with a partner should always be for his own sake though and not yours and if your motives were game-playing again, it would be old patterns repeating not to mention it would carry a high risk of backfiring.

That's not to say I'm advocating continuing dishonesty; just that if you're honest it should be for the right reasons.

We all carry around with us scripts of why we behave the way we do. Yours is that you sacrificed yourself to young marriage and motherhood and put up with a lot from your husband when you first got together. So now you're kicking over the traces and rediscovering yourself. Challenge that. Own your choices in that.

The OM's script is probably vaguely similar in that he probably thinks of himself as an all round good guy who has always done the right things in the right order and now feels entitled to a bit of an adventure, as long as he doesn't have to pick up the bill. He's probably wrestling with thoughts of never getting this opportunity again, what his wife won't know won't hurt her and even perhaps some delusions that once this is over, he can return to his marriage and it might even be revitalised and re-energised by this special secret memory. He'll probably never challenge all that unless he gets found out.

There is a more mature way of falling back in love in a long marriage that doesn't involve any games being played, but it's devilishly difficult to do when there's dishonesty and impossible to do when there is still contact with and feelings for a third party. But it happens surprisingly regularly in long marriages, despite the romantic notions to the contrary. It has to start with you showing love though. It feels like it's too soon for that here though, but the longer it goes without you giving love, the more risk there is of a permanent estrangement.

Fairenuff Mon 01-Apr-13 23:01:00

The irony of it is that if you told your dh and he subsequently wanted nothing more to do with you as a result of your dishonesty, you would then probably fancy him like mad and be convinced that he is the real love of your life, soulmate, etc. It's a no-win situation for everyone.

Just5minspeace Mon 01-Apr-13 23:11:22

No real advice but didn't want to read and run. It is never simple and the fact you are confused shows that you are trying to do the right thing. I do feel for you and hope you find a solution that keeps you as an individual and you as a member of your family happy. Good luck.

Mimishimi Mon 01-Apr-13 23:13:43

You have to come clean and cut it off with one of them -if it's OM you should still tell your DH so he has some say in the matter.

"It has to start with you showing love though."

I agree, what is it about your husband that you fell in love with? His witty conversation? Joint interests? Similar views on things? Are you doing any of the things you enjoyed doing when dating? Talking throughout the day, putting the TV on for five minutes for the kids so you can sneak outside and watch the sunset, texting jokes to each other... it is the small things like that that can build intimacy. But they will be like the house built on sand if you try to do that on a lie which is how your DH will see it if you try and fix things and then tell him you had an affair. He will think that you are only doing it because you feel guilty and not because you want a better relationship.

I really have found the late Shirley Glass helpful in many respects. I like this quote

"The conventional wisdom is that the person having an affair isn't "getting enough" at home.
The truth is, the person isn't giving enough."

I think this quote of hers is also wise
" The single best indicator of whether a relationship can survive infidelity is how much
empathy the unfaithful partner shows for the pain they have caused when the betrayed
spouse gets emotional and starts "acting crazy."

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 23:19:56

Your advice Charbon is absolutely invaluable.

I am not convinced that the counsellor I saw had anywhere near the level of insight that you do.

I wish I knew why I have this thing of always wanting something I can't have. Are other people really not like that?

Looking back, I have always been like this.

Whenever I fall for someone, I fall in a big way. And there might not be any sense as to why I like someone. It's like an X factor thing. It's there, or it isn't there.

Now I'm wondering whether that X factor is actually unavailability.
Dh was tricky to pin down in the beginning, and maybe that's why I had to have him. I remember lots of opportunities with perfectly lovely (and very good looking) blokes, but as soon as they made the first move, I would be turned off in an instant.

That said, I have been happy and settled in my marriage for a long time. For many years, the whole sexual attraction side of me has been completely switched off. I wouldn't of noticed if a yummy man had run down the street naked.

I seem to be at a point now where all that side of me has come back and I'm obviously not handling it very well.

You're also right about dh. He has got a fair idea about what's gone on, and he is turning a blind eye to it. If I lost him, I too bet that I would start feeling very differently quite quickly.

How did I end up like this? Or indeed, how did I start off like this in the first place, if this is how I've always been?

WeAreSix Mon 01-Apr-13 23:26:45

Maybe you need to allow yourself to fall in love with your DH again.

Do you ever get chance away from the mundane-ness of RL? Together, I mean.

Sorry I'm not much help really, just something that sprung to mind while skim-reading.

maleview70 Tue 02-Apr-13 00:16:29

Unfortunately getting married way too young before you have even had any other experiences often leads to this.

What on earth possessed you to do that?

If you don't want to be married any longer then just leave your husband before taking this any further. Don't bank on him leaving his wife though. They often don't as my ex wife found out to her cost.

Milly22 Tue 02-Apr-13 00:35:17

The grass is always greener on the other side............. If you choose the OM and think of how bad things will get for you and then x by 50. Do you really want to carry on? Your DH might even know something's going on already.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 02-Apr-13 00:40:14

maleview, lots of people marry young and remain happy don't cheat. Equally lots of people have plenty of relationships prior to marriage and still can't manage to be good spouses. I think this is more about character than age at which the OP got together with her dh. This is just the excuse she is using to justify it all to herself.

Sometimes people just do selfish things and put that feeling they get during the affair above their children's security or loyalty to their partner.

Leavenheath Tue 02-Apr-13 02:02:33

Who was it in your childhood that was emotionally unavailable?

I should think that's the key to why you are like you are.

What were you like at school? Did you make girlfriends easily? When did you settle into your looks?

What are your relationships like with the women in your life? Mother, sisters, friends, colleagues, bosses?

If you've got daughters, what are your fears for them and what are your non-negotiable lessons in life you feel you must impart?

StrangeDays Tue 02-Apr-13 02:20:14

Sorry am pissed but really OP FFS grow up.

And there's wealth of experience and 'been there' behind that statement so it's really not as glib as it sounds.

My cheating bastard of a husband upstairs sleeping would say exactly the same BTW.

It's just not worth it.
Really. It isn't.

HermioneHatesHoovering Tue 02-Apr-13 05:37:13

What LostMyIdentityAlongTheWay said, word for word.

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 07:19:10

Levenheath - sad even I can see that the answers to those questions are probably exactly what your expecting. Bit wary of sharing so much, but briefly, here goes... :-)

1) My Dad. He was always 'there' , and indeed still is, but emotionally? Nope. Have never had any sort of closeness or bond there.

2) School - I was happy. Had a nice group of friends, although was also on the receiving end of some bitchy teenage girl behaviour at one point which upset me very much. Did very well academically, but luckily went to the kind of school where this was respected and admired, rather than ridiculed.
I was certainly no oil painting as a teenager. However, I seemed to grow into my looks (very successfully) around my late teens/early 20's and was highly amused to start noticing the way that men were now behaving around me.
One of the things I found the hardest about having small children was the years of looking knackered, having no time for make-up, etc... I wouldn't go back to that for ANYTHING.

3) My relationship with women - mostly rubbish. I work hard on this (with some success), but I think the default instant reaction to me is not good, before I even open my mouth.
As for my mum - have always been very close, but in recent years she seems to have had enough of me.

So, yes it's fairly clear to see how this all fits together. But seeing that, doesn't actually help. I can't change any of those things, can I?

I feel like a right mess now.

Onanightlikethis Tue 02-Apr-13 07:59:11

Have pm d you secret

discotequewreck Tue 02-Apr-13 09:56:43

You sound like a selfish arsehole and your dh would be better off without you tbh.

Fairenuff Tue 02-Apr-13 10:09:27

I can't change any of those things, can I?

Why not?

You can change if you want to. But you have to really want to. Otherwise you will carry on as you are and you will never be happy.

You will always feel that something is missing even when you've got everything you thought you ever wanted.

RunRabbit Tue 02-Apr-13 12:45:09

How utterly selfish. You're not the only person in the marriage you know.

"I will stay with dh, I will have an okay life".
"living in a general, mundane low level of unhappiness"

Is that what your H deserves? Just existing without love with a woman who loves another?
Give him the freedom to choose if he wants to be with you.

Telling him will force you to work on your marriage and burst the smiley, happy affair bubble that you're currently living in.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 13:42:28

This is really interesting stuff SecretJewel. Accepting what you've said about your previous counsellor, did any of this come up with him or her in your sessions?

You probably won't be surprised to know that this is a familiar life script in women who get involved in triangular relationships; an emotionally unavailable father, childhood bullying from other girls, relatively late 'blooming' and difficult relationships with women. This could be one of the main reasons why you picked a married man and not a single one.

You can't change the past but knowing why you're motivated to behave in certain ways is a tremendously good start when attempting to change current and future destructive behaviours.

This is mainly about finding different and more worthwhile attainments that will truly validate you, without harming anyone else. For example, exploring female friendship more and being a good and loving friend as well as having a non-competitive, mutually supportive friendship. This might mean pulling down some of your defences once trust has been established though and asking a good friend to help you with the competitive side of your nature.

Curiously, it sounds as though your husband is emotionally unavailable too right now and not surprisingly because he senses what is happening, his defences sound huge. A very worthwhile quest that wouldn't harm others but which could yield tremendous reward and validation would be to work wholeheartedly on that relationship and with him, pull down some of your joint defences and aim for more emotional honesty and intimacy. I get the sense that he is filed somewhere away as a battle that was fought and won years ago, but intimate relationships are not like a once-and-for-all outward symbol of success.

Getting the OM to have an affair and then offering to leave his wife is an empty and ultimately pointless means of validation. While he might be likely to do the first because in the short term it will be at low-cost to him, he's unlikely ever to do the second. This is also pointless for you because it's a displaced battle that will get the same outcome as before. You know you have the ability to attract men who want to have sex with you, so there's no 'new' achievement in that but finding someone who loves the real you and who is genuinely emotionally available to you escapes you just yet, in most areas of life. The people who could provide that aren't getting your time and energy right now; your husband, new or old friends, the relationships with your parents.

Part of your growth I think will be to stop going after the 'easy wins' and realising that they don't validate you any longer and to devote more energy on things and people who are harder nuts to crack but from which success will really say something about the sort of person you want to be. Our validation comes as much from our self-respect and sense of ourselves as people, as it does from external measures of worth.

Fairenuff Tue 02-Apr-13 13:59:14

I agree with Charbon that your only hope for happiness is to be honest with your dh and see where that takes you. If you lose him, so be it, but carrying on as you are will only lead to more more heartache.

I'm suprised at your lack of care about your dh, your dcs and the om's family though. For someone so self-absorbed you don't apply that need for emotional fulfillment to anyone else. This lack of empathy is worrying.

All your concerns are for yourself. Are you aware of that?

JustinBsMum Tue 02-Apr-13 14:09:06

I can't change any of those things, can I?

Well, why do people go for counselling? Surely to understand themselves better and make changes for the better.

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 17:10:44

I think I've painted an overly negative picture of myself here.

Everyone is feeling very sorry for dh, and I know that what I've done here is wrong, but that emotional unavailability that Charbon refers to is nothing new. He has ALWAYS been this way. I don't think he has ever paid me a compliment out of the blue. In 18 yrs, I have never seen him cry about anything.

Having said that, he would go along with intimacy as long as I initiated it. He'd hug me if I asked for a hug. He's listen if I wanted to talk, but would give very little back.

The difference now, is not that he's cut himself off. It's that I've stopped being the driving force in our relationship. He seems to have hardly noticed to be honest (or if he has it's the usual head in the sand strategy).

When I was younger, I didn't really mind this. I'm the one that's changed, not him. I think I must have thought that all men were like him emotionally. I didn't know any different. After having kids and growing up a lot, I think I started questioning this and noticing that other men do not all appear to be so dysfunctional.

And then of course I proved my case with OM. He's the complete opposite of dh. His sensitivity and emotional awareness is very high. And I don't just mean in terms of our affair. I mean in all aspects if the way in which he interacts with people.

This is what I love about him. This is why what he looks like doesn't matter a jot. I'll never have that with dh.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 17:22:48

His sensitivity and emotional awareness isn't very high at all. He is hurting his wife and choosing to. He doesn't actually want you full time. He wants his wife and absolutely does not envisage you as a realistic alternative. He has less grip on what he's doing and why than you have, unless he's on a similar forum and has also taken himself off to counselling, which somehow I doubt. You are seeing neither him nor this affair realistically.

Your husband is a separate issue. You're not seeing him in any way clearly now either. For every action, there will be a reaction. You are choosing to see what he does very negatively right now, but your lens is blurred and distorted because of the affair.

You're seeing neither man or relationship clearly.

I think it's very likely that this will play out as I outlined. The only likely change to that story is if the OM backs away and stays away and that will be the best outcome for him and his family. I so hope he does, for his own sake and his wife's. That will still however leave you and your DH in a worse position than before, but only you can do something about that now.

scottishmummy Tue 02-Apr-13 17:25:29

No.If your fancy man was so sensitive and emotionally attuned he'd not be having affair
5 kids,2star crossed lovers making excuses,and Believing selves to be compelled
This it's not real,it's not the daily tasks of tesco,kids,paying utility bills,it's a fantasy

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 17:38:40

I think it's highly likely OM is going to back away now.

Even though it was him that did all the running this time.

Whether he will stay away, I suppose remains to be seen.

But yes, it's my marriage that is worse off, and obviously I am not happy about that and I know that it's only me that can fix it.
BUT, that means going back to all those years of doing all the pushing and all the driving in my relationship with dh. I could do this for the sake of the family unit (and because essentially I would be worse off as a single mum), but really I want to be in a relationship where I actually get something back.

scottishmummy Tue 02-Apr-13 17:42:58

Ok,tell respective partners,the kids make plans to not lie anymore.be a couple
Set up home,test the reality of the relationship,the tesco and finances and day to day stuff
If it's solid relationship you'll both weather the inevitable storm.at mo you live lalala land

Earlybird Tue 02-Apr-13 17:49:37

You are so passive in all this - not taking responsibility for your role at all. The emotional affair occurred because you allowed it to progress. Things like this don't just happen. If you had 'shut it down' earlier, you would not be in this situation.

Even now you say 'it is likely the OM will back away now' and 'whether he stays away remains to be seen'. Where is your will in this? Where is your power and strength? Where is your choice?

If you are determined to make a go of it with your dh, you must close the door to this other man absolutely and completely. Delete and block phone numbers and emails, etc. End it. Completely. Find some backbone and resolve. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop mooning around. Stop being the victim and the martyr.

I know i am being harsh with you, but it is going to take strength and courage for you to rebuild your life. So grow up and do it.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 17:55:53

No it doesn't mean going back to old relationship habits. You know this. You can try to create new ones and start a more honest relationship with your husband and if he doesn't want to join in or his efforts aren't working, you end the relationship.

Stop presenting this as though there are only bleak options. There are many options for you to take.

It shouldn't matter whether the OM stays away or comes back. If he's still the one controlling your fidelity and will continue to be, then the problems in your marriage and most critically within you as a person, will continue.

You are not passive and a victim of fate, or of any individual. Your most powerful enemy is yourself.

scottishmummy Tue 02-Apr-13 18:25:21

Essentially you have external locus of control op,belief op control your outcomes
And for whatever reason you like om strong,unobtainable and calling shots
it absolves you of responsibility,you think none of this your fault.all about love,om,anyone except you

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 19:38:45

I'd love to think that I could create a new relationship with dh.
What relationship we had (good & bad bits) had all fallen apart long before OM attraction.

Dh has always been distant with me. For the past 12-18 mths, I have been distant with him too.

Now I know that on this occasion, I am the one in the wrong, and so I am the one who needs to put some effort in.

But how do I balance that with the fact that I refuse to go back to the days of asking for hugs and following him around the house to talk to him.

In a different way, dh is just as unavailable to me as OM is sad

scottishmummy Tue 02-Apr-13 19:45:26

You like all the drama,the what-ifs.I get no element of you being distressed reading your posts
You get irritated at posters who you perceive attack you
But your post v egocentric all you,you.your dilemma.the compelling factors you can't control

Fairenuff Tue 02-Apr-13 20:08:46

But how do I balance that with the fact that I refuse to go back to the days of asking for hugs and following him around the house to talk to him

First you would have to tell your dh that you've been kissing and texting another man for a long time.

You have to take full responsibility for this. You cannot place any blame on your dh. You cannot explain that you felt emotionally neglected. You cannot excuse your behaviour in any way at all.

All those feelings are a separate issue and one that you should have faced earlier. You should have talked to your dh about your marriage and let him know how you felt. If all else failed, you had the option to leave.

You did not have to lie to him. You did not have to cheat. You did not have to treat him with such disdain and disrespect. These are the things that you will have to face up to before you can even consider rebuilding your marriage.

Are you able to do that, do you think?

JustinBsMum Tue 02-Apr-13 20:31:09

I've been with 1 man all my life, and I've spent vast periods of time at home on maternity leave, or working very low hours due to lack of childcare. Now all the kids are at school and I've got a tiny bit more freedom, I am sort of finding myself again (and messing it all up clearly)

You sound in an emotional turmoil but not due to lurve for some twerp, due to losing your identity or maybe never finding it in the first place. Being good-looking isn't enough to give you a happy life.

You suggest your unloving DH has pushed you into lurve for OM. And what - no tinkerbell is going to come along and wave a wand so that life is bliss from next week onwards. You are allowing yourself to wander into a disaster and heartache for your family - kidding yourself it's, I don't know, your DH?, your DF?, your early marriage? that's to blame. so somehow you can't do anything.

FGS sit down and think for a minute or two. WHAT do you want for yourself and YOUR life over the next decade or two. Forget DH, forget OM. Just think of you.

You prob think SAHM, bit of a pt job, boring husband - yes, that's the easiest but is it what you want???

I hope you can come back with some suggestions.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 21:15:27

The alternatives are all there, but you just don't want to take them.

You won't confront the most important issues, which are in you and how you behave.

You can stay with your husband in the dull marriage that you've both contributed to, you could make a genuine attempt to revitalise it or you could be on your own.

Those are all real options but the only ones you think you have are having an affair with a man who doesn't want you permanently if it means he's got to give up his wife - and staying in a dismal marriage.

That's not even looking at the other aspects that are lacking from your life that could use your attention; better friendships with women, better mothering, career achievements and better relationships with your parents.

Both of the options you've outlined involve emotionally unavailable men. Do you actually want to be defined as a person by just the unsatisfactory romantic attachments you form?

bunchofposy Tue 02-Apr-13 22:05:59

I've been following this post with interest, partly as you don't really seem to be what it says in the title, which is desperate to get your marriage back. Fwiw I think it's partly about the chase for OM too, and that if you leave your husband, he will find a reason not to leave his wife, and stay 'happy enough'.

Incidentally, my DH sounds quite like your DH! (why do you want to see him cry?) and I love him so much for it because he is so far removed from the 'emotionally sensitive' lying manipulators men I thought I wanted in my twenties.

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 22:25:29

I am taking all this on board, and the advice is very much appreciated.

The lack of identity thing and 'finding myself' is probably my biggest problem. Especially when, as pointed out, I never really 'had' myself in the first place because I've never lived a grown up, adult life without being a mother and a wife.

I've struggled with this for a long time. I was a high achiever at school, and wasting my brain being stuck at home drives me crazy. I was just starting to deal with all this when my relationship with OM started changing.

Since then, I have got myself a new job, I have increased my hours, and I have made huge efforts to rekindle friendships that I neglected whilst the kids were tiny.

I am slowly starting to see the benefits of all this, but of course building things like careers and meaningful friendships is a slow process.

Maybe OM was a quick fix?

I have however kept up all my efforts to redefine my life thought all of the on/off relationship with OM over the past year.

The thought of the next 10-15 years as SAHM, pt time job and boring marriage is NOT GOOD. I need a career and a social life.

At the moment, I am struggling with focussing on my marriage, and I am happier focussing on the career and friendships thing.

Does this mean I am paving the way for being single and happy on my own at some point?

I'm kind of hoping that my relationship with dh will naturally change as I find myself again and as I become a more interesting rounded person to be married to! Does that make any sense?!?!

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 22:40:46

Posy - intrigued that you like the emotional unavailability!

I suspect your dh is not as bad as mine though.

My dh has seen close relatives at death's door and gone 'oh right, I see'.

When he was handed his baby daughter in the delivery room, it was an awkward 'Oh, okay. Thanks'.

There's not a flicker of emotion in his eyes.

OM has character and people skills in spades. Although agree, he can also be a manipulative liar.

Dh couldn't manipulate someone if his life depended on it!

Earlybird Tue 02-Apr-13 22:41:19

STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM! STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF! (and yes, I realise I am shouting)

You created this life of yours. You chose your dh, you chose to marry young, you chose to have several dc, you chose to not work/take time off, you chose to put your career on the back-burner. This all did not just 'happen' to you - you made it happen. You chose every bit of it.

Having a romantic fling with a married man is a disastrous choice for all concerned - yourself included.

Start spending your energy thinking about how you are going to put together a life that you want, bearing in mind the responsibilities you have and the commitments you have made. Running off into the sunset with some fantasy man is not the real world.

Fairenuff Tue 02-Apr-13 23:01:26

You've been with this man for 18 years. You are trying to imply that he is responsible for your dissatisfactiion. You are trying to blame him for your infidelity.

Why?

AnyFucker Tue 02-Apr-13 23:04:31

There is a way you can change your relationship with your husband

Tell him the truth

See if it kick starts him into giving you what you need

It's a risky strategy, but one I think you are possibly playing out like a slow motion car crash

Speed it up...do a Jason Statham and light the touch paper under your marriage. See where the pieces fall.

it's as good as an idea as any other I have seen on your thread

the advantage for your H is that he gets to make a choice, and to know what fight he is currently engaged in if he but knew it

cjel Tue 02-Apr-13 23:21:46

You won't be single and happy you are married and will always be divorced, as for YOU being happy what about all the children who will then be from a broken home? Wont seeing their distress make you unhappy? Changes can be made to your life within your marriage. Successful marriages are made when couples grow and change together.If you txt and kissed your husband every day your marriage would be much more fun.

cerealqueen Wed 03-Apr-13 09:17:40

But, I just can't be happy now, knowing that there is something so wonderful that I am missing out on

But it won't be wonderful, and you won't be truly happy because you can't be happy when it is based on other people's unhappiness.

bunchofposy Wed 03-Apr-13 10:17:46

Secret, no, it's just that having spent my early twenties around manipulative lying men like your OM, I now just like straightforward, kind men who don't mess me or other people around for their own selfish reasons and I don't expect my DH to be someone he is not for my benefit.

How your DH reacted to someone dying or his DD being born has no bearing on whether he has feelings about those things or not. My DH didn't cry when DD was born, but do I think that means he felt nothing? No! His feelings are his business though, I am not going to probe him to spill his guts about how wonderful it was, because I know he thought it was. Why do you expect or need him to feel or act in a certain way, or in the way that you would?

If OM cared about you, he wouldn't have got in contact with you, and manipulated you back into this situation. He never took you seriously when you said you wanted not to be in contact. What does that say about him, and how he thinks about you? Do you really think your life together is going to be tearful conversations about feelings? Believe me, when it starts mattering, he will not provide the support you want and you will wish you had your straightforward kind man back.

OhLori Wed 03-Apr-13 10:30:22

OP, I just think you need some time to truly reflect. Perhaps seeing a good counsellor might help? You sound both struggling and excited and I get the impression you have a lot of dammed-up feelings. Expressing these with someone supportive might help you find your way more clearly. I don't think you need to make any decisions yet. Good luck.

madoldbird Wed 03-Apr-13 10:57:24

OM wants to have his cake and eat it. How can you find a man who treats his wife and family like this attractive?

The key here is "choice". Today, tomorrow, everyday, you can choose how you behave, and choose your goals in life. Do you really want to save your marriage? Then open up to your DH, be honest, and if he is willing to give things a go after what he has heard, then work together on it, get couples therapy or whatever you think will help. Do you want to end your marriage? Then take steps to do this, tell DH, get legal advice, etc. Do you want things to stay as they are? Then let them. How you behave is your CHOICE. You can change things if you want. You can end the involvement with the OM if you want. You are not like a helpless bit of seaweed on the shore being pushed and pulled by the tide.

Of course you cannot predict or control how the other people involved will react or behave. That is their choice.

Begin today to think about what you want from life, then take steps to work towards that.Good luck OP.

Fairenuff Wed 03-Apr-13 11:41:57

I'm going to push him away. I'm going to plod on day by day with my family life, but I'm always going to know now that there is someone else out there who I could be so happy with

This is your problem. You have a warped idea of what life would be like with om. You see your dh as boring, predictable, stable and uninteresting.

You see om as exciting, affectionate, fun. You have completely compartmentalised these men according to some fantasy in your head.

Do you think if you lived with om it would be all hearts and flowers? Do you think he would fart in front of you, or stink out the toilet? What about the daily grind? You would still be shopping, cooking, washing, ironing cleaning, going to work, picking up his smelly socks.

Guess what? You would still be plodding on day by day with your family life.

But this time your dh would be estranged. You would not always have your children with you. You might even have his children for Christmas and not your own. Have you thought about that?

He would still be in touch with his ex. You would never be able to trust him. When he doesn't answer his phone, or is later than expected, or needs to 'pop out' on some errand for an hour or two, you will always be wondering whether he is texting and kissing someone else.

Eventually your dh might settle down with someone and be really happy. How will you feel about 'the one that got away' then? All you see is that the grass is greener on the other side.

What did you expect us all to say? Ditch the husband and go with the om and live happily ever after. Or stay married and pursue the om for a bit of how's your father?

I think it's time to grow up before you suddenly realise you've wasted your life OP.

Tell your dh and get some really good counselling for yourself.

Btw, in case you're not aware, we all have opportunity to cheat in our relationships. We are not just attracted to one person for ever. We all have occasion where we 'click' with someone else.

I've had opportunity, I expect everyone has. I just say, 'No thanks I'm married' and don't give it another thought. It doesn't happen all the time, it is an ego boost, it does make me go all aflutter for a moment or two. But I'm married. That's my choice.

We all live like this, so the om won't be the last man you find yourself drawn to. Don't make it into a big drama.

Sorry for epic post blush but you just don't seem to 'get' it and you are only going to end up hurting yourself and everyone around you.

deliasmithy Wed 03-Apr-13 13:17:01

So your choice is threefold:
1. Bridges of Madison County - you bury these feelings for the sake of respecting your marriage vows and children. Feel bitter and resentful.
2. Run off with OM, sod the emotional consequences to the dcs, they'll eventually forgive you after years of counselling - stay with om for ever or it'll fizzle out in a year or so.
3. Tell OH that you love someone more. Let him decide whether he wants you to stay. You never know, maybe he has also had other feelings.

SecretJewel Wed 03-Apr-13 21:05:08

This thread has really helped me to gain some clarity. Certainly with regards to the OM situation anyway. I realise now that he was just a kind of side show to the fact that my marriage is a mess.

I think I had been a bit in denial about that before (telling myself "oh, it'll be fine when the kids get older'), and then the whole issue of developing such strong feelings for someone else has made me face up to the fact that my marriage must be crap. And that, I think, is what I'm really sad about.

So, I am not going to make any big decisions as yet. I am going to focus on myself, my career, and my friendships. I am already well on the way to doing this really, but things like this take time to become properly rewarding and fulfilling I suppose.

Not sure what will happen to me and dh. I'm hoping our relationship will naturally evolve as we leave the baby & toddler years behind.

I have thought about telling him the truth. My only motivation for doing this though is as some kind of desperate attempt to get a reaction out of him, and see what kind of feelings he can show for me. Like poking a worm with a stick. This is not a good enough reason to do it, is it?

scottishmummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:10:34

best wishes op.you do need some clarity,a plan, and time to reflect
i hope this resolves best it can,as it is a dreadful emotional guddle at moment
you need to act with integrity and try minimise the harm by being open

tessa6 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:31:10

OP, your relationship won't 'evolve' magically without you changing it. you will have to change how YOU behave in order to alter your dynamic and so how he behaves. And this willful passivity should be at the centre of it. The 'relationship' is not some nebulous distant thing far away from you, it is something you help create. Of course he is responsible foe his half of it and you must explore why you were attracted to emotionally unavailable men, but it seems like you're translating things into the negative to justify what you've done.

You say he's unemotional but is he also strong? You say you follow him around the house but if he perhaps unneedy? He doesn't cry or give you lots of compliments, is he honest and not prone to emotional manipulation? There are two sides to almost every quality and I bet if you looked on the underside of OM's good ones you will see someone far more deceitful, manipulative and weak, as proven already by the affair.

Telling your DH to 'get a reaction' is indeed a bad reason. But it's worrying you're not interested in any other reasons, like his right to know, or the possibility of a more mature, new relationship that could be built out of the rubble and honesty.

DippyBlinkey Wed 03-Apr-13 21:33:18

Hi op. I do feel for you as I have been in your shoes. Our marriage was based on attraction and children followed shortly. My ex h was emotionally abusive and when things got, and had been really bad, I got involved with a friend and colleague ..all very similar to you. And as is usual, it got messy, I faced the rot in my marriage, om did not. I have to work with him, a few years down the line, talking about his happy (intact) family..mine is apart ..divorce, two children missing their dad. I am not at all proud of m behaviour, I really regret it. I still have feelings for om (and I believe he for me, am sure he would act on these) but I will not go there again. My divorce was necessary as the marriage was damaging to us all, but I still have moments where i wish we could still be together...and the affair (undiscovered) taints totally my perspective on all the things I put up with...I can't ever really hold my head up because of my secret relationship.
In a round about way, I am saying ditch the om, he would not be any different to your husband a few years down the line. Marriage eventually is a supportive friendship, a companion, your opposite rock. Give yourself you time but a bit of investment with your husband. Don't compare, it's a no brainer. Young children utterly drain a lot of relationships, you are right. I wish you happiness x

Fairenuff Wed 03-Apr-13 21:42:21

I have thought about telling him the truth. My only motivation for doing this though is as some kind of desperate attempt to get a reaction out of him, and see what kind of feelings he can show for me. Like poking a worm with a stick. This is not a good enough reason to do it, is it?

Really? That's your only motivation. To 'get a reaction'?

My parents didn't get on. I guess my mum thought my dad was emotionally distant too because one day she cut him 'just to see if he would bleed'.

There are some weird fuckers out there.

Don't fool yourself that your marriage will naturally evolve into a happy one. You have to actually like and respect your partner for that to happen and, so far, it's still all about you and you alone.

In fact, op, you come across as quite emotionally cold yourself.

DippyBlinkey Wed 03-Apr-13 21:58:04

There are maybe two schools of thought regarding confessing to an affair. Am not advocating which, but yes the betrayed partner should have the right to a relationship based on truth and to decide if they want to continue with the relationship.

However, the alternative perspective is that this is your baggage to carry and why hurt your spouse by burdening them with the emotional fallout of your actions.?

There will understandably be plenty of people on here who quite rightly feel that honesty should be the only policy.

My mum wa on the receiving end of several of my dads affairs..they heart her enormously, but she took him back. I thought she wa a fool, but years down the line, they work. She says she would rather have no known, but I also see it did make them face some of the issues, though to no great extent.

Fairenuff Wed 03-Apr-13 22:15:36

How does it feel to be the ow?

Any remorse for his family at all op? Any twinges of guilt, or are you too hung up on how it affects you? If he's the type to be texting and kissing women, I expect you're not the first and nor will you be the last but I am just curious if you have any feelings towards his wife and children.

BruthasTortoise Wed 03-Apr-13 22:28:40

Just posted on another similar thread and though i could add something to this one. My DH was the cheated on spouse in his previous marriage, his ex left him when their DC were very small. Years down the line he says that he is eternally grateful to her for doing so, their marriage was largely based on shared care of their DC and while there weren't any massive problems, they were both vaguely unhappy and had she not had an affair they would've stayed that way. As it is she left him for her OM, she left the DC with him and now he and his DC have an excellent relationship although their relationship with their DM is strained at times.

Op ask yourself how you would feel if you leave your DH for the OM and he (your DH) meets someone new? I know my DHs ex was shocked when we got together, I don't think she had considered the possibility that he would move on.

You are bored and feel your life is predictable and mundane. You haven't changed when with OM (although I'm sure it feels like it), you have just used secrecy and subterfuge and flattery to make you feel better about yourself. The bit that makes you 'you' is still there.

You need to stop relying on men (or other people in general) for you to be happy and find out how to be happy despite the scenery and your travelling companions. Unless you can do that the cycle will repeat only hurting the people around you.

Of course we can all feel happy and young and wonderful in that first flush of love or on a fantastic holiday or when we win a million dollars. It is figuring out how to be happy with ordinary and mundane. Otherwise you are doomed to skip from one to the other because that first flush never lasts.

I agree that the only way you can possibly save your marriage and make it work is if you put every single last tiny bit of pity for yourself and your situation out of your head. Not a single excuse. Focus solely on putting yourself in your husband's shoes and how he feels. If you can take on all the blame and accept any and all hurt and anger he feels then you have a chance to put this right. He has the right to feel hurt and angry and betrayed when he finds out. There really is no excuse so making one (even in your head) will seem like a partial abdication of responsibility. Oh also forget about thinking how bad and guilty you feel that you have upset them.

Charbon Wed 03-Apr-13 23:33:07

Hmmm...I don't agree with some of these rather pessimistic depictions of how all marriages become. Nor do I agree that the OM is likely to be a serial offender, any more than I'd believe this had happened several times before to the OP. The future? Yes once someone has had an affair of any kind and the secret remains, repeat infidelity is a commonplace occurrence.

Of course that risk is greatly enhanced if the real issues about someone's personality aren't resolved. So if the OP continues to seek men's sacrifices for her as a means of validation, this is likely to happen again regardless of any relationship she is or isn't in. In fact this thread is unusual because these motivations are more commonly found in single women who keep getting involved in triangular relationships. The motivation and behaviour transcends the woman's attachments because it is about her and not her relationships.

SecretJewel I'd discourage your passivity about your marriage. If you continue to think it can evolve and change without your direct involvement, it will limp along in its current state until some other crisis forces its demise. This could be a crisis of your husband's or yours.

When I write on these threads, I am mindful of all the different characters in the story and not just the OP. So it's my hope that the OM takes this opportunity to repair the damage he's done to his marriage since this affair started and either makes a clean breast of it with his wife, or starts to appreciate what he could have lost and changes his behaviour. I won't vilify him any more than I would you. I think this is very likely to have been the first time he's ever departed from his values because of his caution thus far.

For you OP, I hope you'll be brave enough to find a different counsellor who will really challenge you and resolve this core issue of needing to 'win' unavailable men. As for telling your husband, as I said upthread, this is only ever advised if it would be for his benefit and the relationship's, not yours. I will add that in my experience, such revelations often yield similar admissions from the other spouse particularly if there has been long-standing distance in the marriage. You might be surprised at what you hear. Sharing secrets can have a powerful bonding effect but they can also induce explosions that cause the marriage to end. There are threats and opportunities in equal measure.

For your husband, I hope he too will find the courage and impetus to bring things to a head and resolve one way or another. I would think that fear is a primary emotion here, but in reality he should fear a listless, unhappy marriage more.

I think sorting you out and sorting your marriage out are entirely different things, but the second won't happen if the first doesn't. And if your marriage fails, unless you get some help I fear that history will repeat itself, whether you are single or attached to someone else.

Ouchmyhead Thu 04-Apr-13 01:13:36

I hope you tell your DH about your affair, you owe him the truth. You're keeping this huge secret from him, something that effects his whole world.

IMO if you truly want your marriage to work you need to cut all contact with OM and come to DH, how can you expect to move on and build on your marriage with secrets and lies?

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 17:19:42

Very intrigued that you say this sort if thing is more common in single women. I kind of feel as though I have been single for a good 2-3 years now. Maybe longer. Even dh is here every day, and is pretty good with practical support, I haven't had an emotional attachment or physical closeness with anyone for a long fine. So I kind of feel quite single in that respect.

Having said that, I really don't go round thinking that I want men to make sacrifices for me. Is that sort of thought process really all sub-conscious?

To me, it just felt like 2 people that like each other naturally getting closer over time (albeit with an awareness that it was at a time in my life when I as vulnerable to getting close to someone different).

Which leads me on to thinking, could he have been anyone? And I really can't see me feeling like this about anyone else. If he hadn't happened to work in the same place as me,, this would never have happened.

"I kind of feel as though I have been single for a good 2-3 years now. Maybe longer. Even dh is here every day, and is pretty good with practical support, I haven't had an emotional attachment or physical closeness with anyone for a long fine. So I kind of feel quite single in that respect."

You say that, but you aren't and if you don't have that intimacy then you are 50% responsible for that.

You keep trying to explain and it feels like you are trying to justify it.

As for it being anyone. Maybe not anyone, but I'm sure it could have been any number of people given the right circumstances. Work is particularly fraught because we are often looking our best and at our freshest and most rested. We come home, change into comfy (ugly) clothes and are tired after the work day.

DIYapprentice Thu 04-Apr-13 18:21:01

If you really felt as though you were single, then leaving the marriage wouldnt' be so difficult, would it?!

You may have felt ALONE, but dont' confuse that with being single.

Fairenuff Thu 04-Apr-13 18:27:03

The motivation and behaviour transcends the woman's attachments because it is about her and not her relationships

Quite.

This whole thread is screaming me, me, me.

Nothing wrong with that of course. If you are single.

tessa6 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:25:04

You have acted like you are single. By having a relationship with someone else. You have helped create that. I just don't understand why you keep framing everything as happening outside of you, OP, well, I do, because it protects you from taking responsibility.

I'm really glad you can see that the OM might have been a response to something you had allowed (YOU helped allow) to deteriorate in your relationship, and that the affair itself provided things you were lacking, rather than necessarily the man himself.

Practical support is good. Many women are frustrated by a lack of that.

If you feel a lack of physical intimacy and emotional intimacy can you address that with your partner in counselling or just in conversation between you? I think if you tell him something of the affair it may help this not hinder it.

Earlybird Thu 04-Apr-13 20:37:03

Do you still work together?

If either of you hopes to save your respective marriages, one of you should find another job.

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 20:39:50

'Winning' men is not subconscious for you. You've acknowledged this yourself on this and your other thread. Your DH was quite a prize before you got together and you said yourself on this one:

Dh was tricky to pin down in the beginning, and maybe that's why I had to have him. I remember lots of opportunities with perfectly lovely (and very good looking) blokes, but as soon as they made the first move, I would be turned off in an instant.

So as soon as you 'win' you back off and the game is over. It would be the same with the OM. If he agreed to a full affair, soon that on its own wouldn't sustain your interest. Only the ultimate 'prize' of him leaving his wife would give the affair new momentum. And if he did, you would lose interest instantly and it would be 'game over' for him too.

No he couldn't have been just anyone. But he could have been anyone from a number of men who fitted certain criteria. Happily attached, never had an affair before and a challenge. If he'd been single, you wouldn't have looked at him twice although he could have been a pleasant work friend.

I wouldn't read anything into feeling single, in connection with what I've said about this sort of game-playing mostly being associated with single, perennial OWs. What's more of a link is that your children are more independent now and so you have more time to focus on yourself. The game-playing I'm describing is seen mainly in single women, closely followed by childless attached women and then by women whose children are more independent. It's no coincidence that there is a rise in older women whose children have left home, participating in no-strings-affairs dating websites.

Having children and raising them often forces a hiatus in natural selfishness but as soon as that stage has passed, it can return with a vengeance. I was interested for example in what you said about being resentful about not being able to focus on your appearance as much in the SAHM years. Many parents feel the same way of course and it means nothing but idle wistfulness for the days when there was time for personal grooming - but alongside the other factors at play here, that comment seemed to carry more than average resentment.

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 20:50:35

Well, I have told dh some cack-assed version of events.

I missed out the kissing bit, but explained about the close relationship I have had with someone else.

He gave me a hug and said, ''that's okay - I know our relationship's a mess, and it's understandable that another bloke finds you attractive.''

Since then, he's been much more attentive than normal, with little kisses, and actually looking me in the eye when he's talking to me.

I know this whole thing is coming across as 'me, me, me' but I have honestly spent years and years practically begging for affection / sex / anything. It was ruining my self- esteem completely. I've worked bloody hard to build that back up out of the home, and have managed it in spite of dh, not because of him in any way,

Fairenuff Thu 04-Apr-13 20:50:43

How old are your children op? The eldest not more that 17 surely? They are not independent yet are they. Aren't you giving up on them a bit too soon?

tessa6 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:55:11

Sounds possible he might have had an affair at some point himself?

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 21:02:53

Charbon - absolutely, yes. My vanity is my downfall. Really, really don't like admitting the extent of that statement, but you seem to read me very well (!).

I struggled massively with the baby stage. Both because I had difficult babies, and because I had no time to get ready. I would rather not go out than have no time to get ready properly.

I suppose it's easy to see the change in me then when I was back to spending my days with make-up and office suits on.

Are other people really not that bothered what they look like? It is something that i can't see me ever being able to change. I had years of having to face it when the kids were babies, and I never got used to it for 1 minute.

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 21:07:33

Tessa - the thought has crossed my mind. He was one for playing around a lot many years ago when we were still teenagers ourselves, long before we married or had kids. I would be VERY surprised if there is anything more recent. He never goes out.

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 21:15:32

Why did you tell him what you did SecretJewel?

I agree with Tessa incidentally - and is what I was alluding to last night. People don't need to 'go out' - as you know yourself. Many affairs are conducted in what a parther thinks are working hours.

That's honest about the vanity and I'd thought as much. Most people have some if they are honest, but I sense yours isn't helpful to your relationship with yourself and the ones with others. For example, when this OM rejects you, at least some of your hurt is going to be that an average-looking man chose another woman who, even if you've never seen her, is in your eyes less cosmetically attractive.

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 21:58:49

Why did I tell him??? I have no idea! I just blurted it out.

I don't know. Maybe I was looking for a reaction.

I really don't think he is up to no good at the moment. But highly likely that there is 'stuff' that I don't know about from somewhere along the line throughout our marriage.

And, yes I suppose ego is bruised by OM now. Difficult to say how much this accounts for the hurt. The pain feels like more than that. It feels like I've lost a best friend. I have NEVER at any point in our lives been able to refer to dh as 'like a best friend'. We gave just never had a relationship like that. Very sad now I realise that what that's like, and that that's exactly what lots of other people must have in their marriages. Maybe even OM does? sad

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 22:47:12

Yes it's probable that before all this happened, OM and his wife were much closer, going by the fact that he's been so cautious. But it's more realistic in long marriages to acknowledge that there are times when it's hard to be the other's 'best friend'. People who have strong friendships outside of their romantic relationships survive these times much better, whereas people who have only superficial friendships are much more easily seduced by the illusion of an emotional connection with an affair partner. It fills a gap that healthy friendship fills for others. It is too high an expectation on a lone person to fulfil all our emotional needs; most of us get those needs met by a variety of different people. Of course there is a balance to be struck and a marriage does need to be a friendship but it will be stronger at times than at others (just like every other friendship) but just as it's said that it takes a village to raise a child, I often think it takes strong other relationships to build a marriage and sustain it.

What's evident though is that your friendship with your husband needs to be more intimate and close, but one of the things that will threaten that is the secrets between you.

I would give it a few days now while your husband ponders on your disclosure and see whether he comes back to ask more questions. If he doesn't, I would pave the way for a more honest conversation where you give each other permission to discuss his comment about your marriage being poor and where you can both make some honest disclosures.

I think the 'blurting it out' was another high-risk game, mixed in with a final realisation that this affair wasn't about the OM and his qualities, but other issues. As you know, I personally think this is much more about you than your marriage and sense that even if your marriage was satisfying, you would still be tempted to seek validation from other men.

But now you have done it, I don't think it can be left in the air. You would be better off now siezing the opportunity to have a frank discussion about what's been happening for both of you as individuals and within your marriage.

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 23:18:50

To shed some light on this issue of external friendships, I often ask a question on 'affair threads' about whether the person who had the affair had strong friendships where emotions could be freely discussed. I can't remember a thread where that question has received an affirmative reply. It's a very familiar situation with men, because they are unfortunately socialised not to share emotional conversations with other men, but it's an infidelity risk factor that yet again receives very little publicity.

Even in a close marriage where such confidences and vulnerabilities are permissible, it is extremely seductive to find someone new who appears to hang on your every word and who seems to understand you. We can probably all recognise the 'new friend syndrome' where an exciting new friendship gets more attention for a while than longstanding friendships during which all the stories have been told many times.

It's even more seductive if there has never been a friendship to rival it, or it's a totally novel experience to be able to talk and be listened to that way.

But in affairs, it's often a complete mirage. Sadly we are all rarely as attentive or as interested as we are at the start of a new relationship of any kind, because our agenda is to win the person over and achieve their attachment to us in some way. And affairs rarely give the participants the opportunity to see the whole person in a variety of different settings, over a long period of time - in the way that we can assess a new friend. This might have felt like a special and important friendship, but it probably wasn't at all.

tessa6 Thu 04-Apr-13 23:35:54

Bear in mind, OP, that sometimes people don't have a 'best friend' type relationship with their primary partner. They almost deliberately don't. If you are, and I don't know you at all, but if you are someone prone to vanity and the beginning stages of relationships and gaming around that, it's very very likely you'd choose someone who you're NOT extremely cosy and intimate with as a partner. Being very close and best friendy to a partner can sometimes lead to a sort of breakdown in romance and an almost sort of maternal contempt.

You see, I've oscillated my whole life between best buddy very close, relaxed relationships with boyish men and more separate but respectful, intriguing relationships with high status more traditionally masculine men. I settled in one of the latter because I worked out and accepted that actually I eventually lost respect and safety with the more intimate, joined at the hip ones. I guess a lesson to be careful what you wish for. It's not uncommon to richochet between two models of relationships, both of which have upsides and downsides. Clearly you feel lonely in this relationship and you should feel confident about addressing that. And maybe asking him about his own fidelity, maturely and kindly, might help you both open up and see each other again.

Fairenuff Thu 04-Apr-13 23:37:30

Sorry, op, I crossed posts with you earlier. Good to see that you have tentatively started to pave the way for a more honest communication between you and dh. It sounds like you have both been dissatisfied for a long time but have been equally afraid to 'rock the boat' by talking openly and in depth about what you each want or expect from your relationship.

SecretJewel Sat 06-Apr-13 15:16:56

Okay, so I have now told dh quite a bit about OM (I've still left out the kidding).

He really doesn't seen that bothered. Is not quizzing me about it, and in fact, doesn't really seem to want to talk about it at all.

I think typical head in the sand behaviour from him, although I have no idea what he really actually feels.

OM has come out with a load of 'I love you, I wish things were different, but we're going to have to stop this' waffle. I've heard it all before, but maybe this time he means it. Who knows?

So I am now moping around the place like a lovesick teenager. Can't concentrate on anything. Wish I could snap out of it. I suppose I have got so much that I should be grateful for. I am beginning to annoy myself.

Charbon - my close friendships are yet another casualty of having tiny children and very little family support. I have been making big efforts with this in the last year, and am beginning to make some decent progress now, but certainly at the time that this thing with OM started close friends were very thin on the ground.

Still hugely appreciative of all the support I have received here. Have been trying to keep away from OM this week, and getting it all out on here has really helped with that. Thank you [happy]

piratecat Sat 06-Apr-13 16:12:18

the more oyu start backing off the more om will up the anti.

unless he is actually leaving his wife for you, what does it matter how much he loves you.

honestly. take it from someone who has seen the destruction.

deliasmithy Sat 06-Apr-13 16:55:41

Ignoring the OM issue for a second, what you've described here is two people in a relationship who cant successfully communicate with each other.

If the behaviour and relationship with the OM is symptomatic of there being holes in relationship with dh then you need to be honest with dh that you recognise that you are missing essential things. Dh needs to listen to this rather than brushing it under the carpet.

Once you've got over the hurdles of honesty and listening, then between you, you have to find a solution.

something2say Sat 06-Apr-13 20:22:11

Just wanted to pop on and wish the op luck. You are not the only one with issues. I am not marred nor having an affair, but I had an horrific childhood and it left me with massive emotional problems, and the life I have created is one where I am only just settling down into a healthy relationship at the age of 38. The rest of the time I chose unwilling or unsuitable partners to mirror my own low self esteem. I think Charbon is giving excellent advice for you though. Having positive relations with ourselves is an excellent start. It may be that the one you want attention from is actually yourself. Xxxx

Charbon Sat 06-Apr-13 20:52:22

I think you're both putting your head in the sand. I'll speculate about your husband's reasons for doing that, but I'm interested in yours.

What's stopping you from asking your husband to discuss your marriage, after he said himself that it was in bad shape? And why are you drip feeding information about your affair?

Your husband's under-reaction to your revelations suggests that he either has infidelity in his own skeleton cupboard, doesn't much care any more or is playing a game with you of his own. He probably knows you very well, knows that you like drama and reactions and is stubbornly refusing to comply. Maybe he also knows that there is more you're not telling him.

Now you've let the genie out of the bottle and he has conceded that he's unhappy too, this halfway house won't work. Better now to get it all out in the open and tackle it.

I would strongly advise you telling the OM that you've made a partial confession to your husband. If he'd done the same and told his wife, wouldn't you want to know?

The OM wants to break this off, but he also wants to be wooed too. He's also playing a game. Your best bet is to accept what he's telling you at face value and to delete his number.

Oh for some grown up, direct and honest communication in this triangle!

Fairenuff Sat 06-Apr-13 20:59:58

He really doesn't seen that bothered. Is not quizzing me about it, and in fact, doesn't really seem to want to talk about it at all

That's because you're not telling him anything!! You are hinting at liking another person. That's not honest enough to make him sit up and take notice.

Jeez, what's the matter with you people. You're not living, you're bumbling through life. What a waste.

SecretJewel Sun 07-Apr-13 00:32:25

Well, the reason that we've not gone into in depth discussion re: the general state of our marriage, is because this topic has been done to death over the last couple of years!

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the majority of our 18yr relationship has been punctuated with regular 'this ain't working, is it?' type discussions! It's exhausting, but I am a persistent bugger. Once I have set my mind to wanting something, I tend to be like a dog with a bone.

I think actually, dh had never been the right person for me. But I was too stubborn to cut my losses & let go, whilst he was too easily led with no conviction to leave unless I told him to do it.

There was 1 incident in particular many years ago, which made me lose all respect for dh. I still refused to give up on my man.

However, in all these years that respect has never returned (actually, i'm not sure i ever really respected him - I was just fixated with him). And that's why I didn't give dh a 2nd thought when I was getting involved with OM. I haven't experienced the agony of guilt and mixed emotions that OM has at all.

And I think that is why I know now that I'm never going to feel the same way about dh again sad

notthesamenametoday Sun 07-Apr-13 00:39:02

Please be careful. You will end up losing both these men and feeling such a fool. If the OM leaves his wife he could go back at any time. He's got form for being flaky.

Charbon Sun 07-Apr-13 00:44:31

So if you've given up, end it cleanly.

But don't carry on like this.

The OM won't leave his wife and none of this is about him personally.

Start being proactive now. If you've decided you'll never respect or love your husband enough and the marriage is doomed, do something to bring about its end.

But this still leaves the issues that are central to your personality. Addressing those is of utmost importance because there will be other affairs with unattainable men, whether you stay with your husband or not.

SecretJewel Sun 07-Apr-13 00:57:10

I think the reason I am so sad about losing OM, is because it has made me face up to the disaster that is my marriage.

Leaving dh is just not an option though. We are mortgaged to the hilt, in negative equity, and have credit card debt coming out of our ears!

There's no way we could fund either of us moving out and finding somewhere else to live.

I wish I could change my feelings. The bloke is really not all that bad. He just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Charbon Sun 07-Apr-13 01:05:36

Of course it's an option. But the ramifications even though they might be temporary aren't ones you want to face. There are always options, especially for two people in work.

Fairenuff Tue 09-Apr-13 10:51:39

You are making yourself miserable and when people suggest you do something about it you have got an excuse ready. You sound like you don't want to be happy.

Some people just seem to like going through life miserable. They end up old and bitter and complain that they were 'right'.

There was 1 incident in particular many years ago, which made me lose all respect for dh. I still refused to give up on my man

This kind of thing is just cutting off your nose to spite your face. You will look back on your miserable life one day and realise what a waste it was.

Earlybird Tue 09-Apr-13 15:09:35

OP - do you and the OM work together?

I am under the impression that you do. If so, one of you will need to consider finding a job elsewhere (if possible), as seeing each other regularly will only add to the 'tragedy' of the current situation and will stop you (both) from moving on/concentrating on your respective marriages.

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