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Mid Life or Over?(129 Posts)
My husband of 15 years has closed down over the last 8 months - we have had moments of happiness, have been intimate (although this stopped a month ago) have tried to keep talking, he just says he is evaluating his life and everything in it. We have 2 lovely children, a nice life, nothing too fancy.. just a nice life, with good friends and close family. We have always been a very sociable couple and he has tried to keep this going although it is getting harder and harder for me to be with him around friends as I miss the closeness we shared. I have felt the distance growing and now a couple of weeks ago he told me that he thinks he wants to move on, says he can start to see how it might be without me, starting over with somebody else (he has promised me there isnt anybody else and I do believe him). He says we both deserve happiness which of course we do, but I am devastated as I have tried to support him over the last 8 months by just being there and I feel he hasn't given our marraige a fair chance. When he told me, I suggested two options, either we talk seriously about what he's going to do and how we are going to split up, or I asked him to reconsider and just see if there was any possibility of second chances. He knows how much I love him, feels guilty at the pain he is causing. Despite these words, he is still here. He said he knows he needs to make the decision, but he is now talking to me about things we are doing in May and June, still kissing me goodbye albeit briefly in the morning, still giving me the odd cuddle in bed. I am so, so confused. Is this him trying to see if he can give it a chance still, or is it him trying to make me feel less sad by just being nice whilst he is here? I know you will say I have to talk to him, but I'm scared to push him and that talking further will just mean the end. For the sake of our relationship and our family, if this is just a MLC I am of course prepared to wait longer. If he is thinking about leaving still, then I know he needs to go and I need to be strong. Interested in what people think, perhaps people that have been there - thank you so much in advance x
OP - i am so sorry to hear all this. What about you though? What about you having time/space/opportunity to think?! Not all up to him, try and take back some power.
I do think it sounds like there is someone else despite his inevitable protests, sorry, but all the signs are there. Be prepared, take stock. Is there. rL friend or someone you could talk to/stay with?
I'd actually be very, very surprised if there isn't someone else. I know he's said there isn't, but that seems to be par for the course unless confronted with evidence. I'm not saying that to hurt you, but I think you need to be prepared for finding that he's 'met someone' within a very short space of time should you decide to go your separate ways.
Regardless of whether there's a third person, I would ask him to leave while he thinks about it. It's simply not on for him to be giving you mixed signals like this and you will never have the space you need to work out how you feel about this and what you want to do next while you're sharing a house.
I'm sorry you're going through this.
I'm sorry you are going through this.
I've been in the same situation, a few years ago - in fact so similar I could have written your post at the time! Especially the line about deserving happiness, which he kept repeating almost as if he was trying to believe it.
It turned out to be an OW. Sorry, I think that is probably what is happening.
It's the 'starting over with someone else' line that gives it away IMO.
People who genuinely want to leave a marriage because they are unhappy in it and unfulfilled in life in general, don't picture their future with someone else before they've even left the person they're currently with. All they can think about is being 'free'.
So sorry kitty, you are in a horrible position. This is classic affair behaviour and the chances that this is anything other than OW are very slim. She is most likely married, and he is hedging his bets around her leaving, hence the lack of decisive action at the moment. It's very cruel. He will no way admit it - he will leave, if it comes to it, and quickly 'meet' new partner. I would keep quiet for a short while, watch and listen, and look for hard evidence. Is he protective of his phone? Keen to go out alone at weekends/evenings? Check his car for another phone. The other option is to put a stop to it and say if he's not commmitted, it's over. That will make him shit a brick. Good luck x
"For the sake of our relationship and our family, if this is just a MLC I am of course prepared to wait longer"
All waiting does is keep the power in his hands. You're like the poor buggers in the Colosseum waiting for the thumbs-up or thumbs-down from the emperor. I'm afraid I agree with others that it sounds like there is someone else already waiting in the wings. Tell him to make his mind up off-site therefore..... take the initiative.
I know it's been a huge shock and wake-up call but tonight please tell him you think it's a good idea for you both to get some space. So would he move out for a while. This is no way signals you are 'giving up on your marriage' or 'forcing the issue' or 'breaking up the family'. Where does it say you have to put up and shut up and let him call the shots?
He could be genuine, he could be truthful when he says there is no-one else. In which case he won't mind you asking him for space to let you think. He... feels guilty at the pain he is causing how does he show this? Withdrawing from you gradually is often a sign of a partner shutting up shop, distancing himself.
If he has met someone - a colleague, a mutual friend - he won't rock the domestic boat by admitting it right away. Being super-nice to you assuages any residual guilt he feels. You could turn into superwoman and he'd lap it up but still claim to be unhappy. By making plans for May or June it reassures you and gives you hope to cling onto. Last thing he wants is to have you cry or make a scene or show any need for him. He could be a monumental prick and still not want to look like the bad guy. As said above, it's cruel, it gives you false hope, the cards are stacked against you if you don't know what the root cause is.
Don't do any laundry or packing or worry about fixing a meal before he goes. You may have to fake keeping calm and composed but tears or pleading won't work. Initially this can be explained to the DCs as Dad needs to work away a while. Of course he can arrange to see DCs when he wants and start as you mean to go on, remain civil.
Thank you everybody for your replies and for taking the time to think about my situation.
I have of course thought that there must be somebody else because his actions of shutting down all lead me to think that (sadly it's the only thing that makes actual sense to me).. although he hasn't spent any unusual time away from us at all and I haven't noticed a difference in the way he is (i.e. appearance, clothes, movements, etc) He has been very down and sad a lot of the time. That's why I have given him the benefit of the doubt (and of course I haven't wanted to 100% believe anything else).
Since we had this conversation and I suggested that we may have to face the fact its over and sort out logistics re house/children etc. he has changed his behaviour and seems like he's reaching out to me but yes of course that may be out of guilt at what he's done to our marraige/family. I guess that's why its so confusing because again of course I want to believe him. He's a good man and has been through a lot of heartache over the last few years and I struggle to think that he has suddenly turned into a lying cheat.. But I'm sure those of you who have been through this (and I'm sorry to hear so many have) would have only said the same about their men at the time.
I know in my heart that I've got to take back the power and tell him to leave while he sorts his head out. But if there isn't another woman, or he's taken a bite and now isn't sure, I feel I am giving up on our marraige and causing untold problems for our children.. he is very stubborn. If he goes, even if he thinks he's made a mistake he's unlikely to come back.
It's so awful when you are trying to make sense of things and they don't add up kitty. But if he tells his partner, over a period of time, that he is not sure of the relationship and is thinking about starting a new life alone, then out on his arse is where he should expect to find himself. If he then realises that this is not what he wants at all, he has the option to try and persuade you that he was wrong and that the two of you could work things out. And to work at that. So what if he's stubborn? That's really degrading to you when you say he's unlikely to come back even if he's wrong. A lot of your thinking is centred around him - his needs and what he will/won't do. What about you? What about your needs and how you deserve to be treated? Let him worry about making it up to you if he changes his mind. You deserve more than this. x
I have been there before and it was OW even though I couldn't see how he could have found the time to have an affair.
Many affairs on conducted online or at work or during work hours (think fake conferences/training and half days).
My only advice is to take control and tell him that he has to go now - loss is the only thing that motivates cheaters and they will quickly realise what they are losing and often will beg to come back.
Please do not be the second option - he is hanging on in case things don't work out with OW and if he does decide to stay with you it will be because you are his back up plan.
Kitty - you wouldn't be the one causing the upheaval, he would! Please see that! Don't allow him to blame you somehow for any of this which he has initiated.
Kitty, I'm so sorry but he's the one who's given up on your marriage. A person who feels dissatisfied, but still loves their partner and would like things to work, does something about that. Yours, sadly, has already checked out of his marriage - and this is all you need to know
I agree there is nearly always someone else when this happens. At least he hasn't insulted you by pretending to do the counselling, romantic breaks and so forth, forcing you through the misery of false hope and eventual humiliation. Please show yourself the same respect.
However much you may want to avoid facing facts, the very best thing you can do for yourself now is surround yourself with people who do love you - talk as much as you need to - and start living independently, with enthusiasm.
Ironically, this is also the strategy most likely to win an 'absenting' partner back - but it only works when you do it for real. By then, you may well have fallen in love with your new life, so it's a win either way.
Gather good people around you! All the best.
I was in your situation this time last year. Another woman never crossed my mind as my husband didn't keep strange hours etc. however there was a young colleague at work who had her own car and lived ten mins from the office and train station - so leaving early and long lunches were perfectly possible without me suspecting. I blamed MLC so tried everything to help him.looking back now I wish I had kicked him out straight away. Instead he put me through hell for months trying to decide what he should do. I didn't know about MN then. Wish I had - would have saved me many hours of crying wondering what was up etc. Once he finally left he moved in with the girl immediately. Him 45 her 26. She is welcome to the over weight, no money, no ambition, sack of potatoes!
Sorry OP but it really does sound as if there is another woman. It could be an emotional affair, it could be that he's infatuated with someone else and nothing has happened yet, or it could be a full-blown affair conducted in his lunch breaks.
He's told you he's envisaging his life without you, that you might both be happier. He's causing you pain, doubt, sadness.
He's being cruel and unbelievably selfish.
Ask him to move out. Either he will come to his senses or he will move straight towards the OW.
Agonising and trying to be understanding and letting him walk all over you will do you no favours.
It really isn't down to you causing issues. This is all coming from him.
And if he is too stubborn to save your marriage if you ask him to leave, then again you have your answer : a selfish man who prioritises his own pride and needs over the needs of his family.
OP I WISH I'd told mine to go when I had the opportunity. If I had I honestly believe he'd have come to his senses instead of
shagging around having a MLC.
Having said that, I'd have also come to MY senses and I'd have refused to have him back instead of wasting years ..
I'm much, much happier now btw. And he's still middle aged.
I am so grateful for everybody's comments (even though they are causing me more heartache!) I know it makes sense to tell him to leave.
He still says he loves me, finds me attractive, blah blah blah I guess but as "garlyconi" says .."A person who feels dissatisfied, but still loves their partner and would like things to work, does something about that" Im just not sure he's doing anything about it..
I'm sorry to hear so many people have gone through similar times and that it hasn't worked out with their partners. For those who have found new love and happiness, I'm so pleased for you. It all feels a long, scary journey I'm afraid but I guess you were once where I am now.
I know those of you who are following this thread are probably rolling their eyes up at my stupidity... I'm just not sure I'm strong enough at the moment.. but when will I ever be I ask myself..
Kitty- don't think anyone's thinking you're stupid, honestly! we've all been there some time or another which is why we want to help.
Personally, I'm thinking "you poor love"
and "what an arse of a dh!"
tell him to go
whether there is OW or not (and I suspect there is) you need to make him experience what he might be losing
your self respect will thank you for it...that must have taken a battering over the last 8 months as you cling on to someone who is halfway out the door
give him that push, it will clarify the situation once and for all
this limbo only benefits one person and that is him....not you and not the kids
be aware this "unsureness" he is feeling could well be because he hasn't got his soft landing lined up just yet, but when he does it is likely he will just walk out that door with no further explanation required (in his mind....because you have allowed him to vacillate for so long)
man up, lady x
no eye rolling kitty, you're not stupid, you'll suss this out x
You might find reading the thirty years thread helps you to decide how to deal with situation. It might even help you find the courage to break the cycle now. I can only only say that it will become harder and you may become weaker if you continue living with a man who has 'checked out'
Having someone stay with you, possibly out of guilt, probably not out of love, is utterly corrosive.
OP, so sorry to hear you are going through this. I am not saying this to hurt you but I agree with the other posters here.
Both I and my sister went through this with our respective partners (except neither of us married but living together) within about a year of each other.
The pattern was the same. Both of us asked our distant OHs "Is there someone else?" Both denied it. Hers told her he thought their relationship had "just run its course". Mine looked me right in the eye as he denied having an affair!
Neither of us found out that an OW was the real reason until much, much later - years in my case.
But the ladies on here who said your DH may change his mind when you start to take control are so right!! At the moment your DH has got control and there is no imminent threat of you ending it. But once you start to take your power back you might see a different response.
I know a woman who had an affair with an OM and her DH found out. He was very hard: made her move out to a dingy little flat while he stayed at home with their kids and refused to have anything to do with her - in the short term.
It was this that proved to be her wake up call. She is now reunited with her DH and says it was his toughness and decisiveness that made her realise her mistake. It gave her the fright of her life.
Your DH is not frightened, he's comfortable. Which isn't good for you. You need to shake things up.
Anyway, if he wants to bugger off, pack his bags for him and show him the door... maybe even laugh and give him a wave as he leaves. Why? Because nine times out of ten they come crawling back - but only when they think you are strong and have moved on and NEVER when they see you upset and desperate.
Both mine and my sister's exes did indeed come crawling back. Happily, we'd both met someone better.
Good luck OP. And hugs x x
Others on here have said it but you need to take control.
If he's unsure make him realise what he's missing.
At the moment he's dragging through this emotional turmoil for his own benefit, if he doesn't know then make him leave... Take control!!!
Loss and change are among life's greatest motivators, whereas staying with an ambivalent partner ranks as one the most depression-inducing demotivators in life. From your husband's point of view, complacency and the belief that he will always have a safety net in you is also a big demotivator to working on the relationship or making an irreversible choice between two people.
If it's an affair (and I agree this is most likely) and you bring it out into the open, very often what happens is that the unfaithful party suddenly has to face the loss of a trusting spouse, especially if that spouse takes her time coming to any decision to try again and communicates that the relationship is over. The loss of control of events will transfer from you to your husband whereas at the moment you are powerless and unsighted. This often causes the affair to end and a straying partner to re-commit to winning his spouse back over a period of time.
If your covert enquiries fail to uncover an affair, insisting on a separation is still the best long-term measure for rescuing the relationship because of the motivational powers of loss. It is also the kindest thing to do for your own emotional health because I'd imagine your self-esteem is very low and taking control of this situation in any form will give that a much needed boost and your psyche a shot of adrenaline as you adapt to changed circumstances and a new way of living.
I don't think you're stupid at all. I was, as you say, where you are now.
I knew that telling him to leave to give me some much needed perspective, which can only be achieved through taking time out, was an option. But I was too ready to believe him.
As I said, Kitty I really regret not doing that when I had the opportunity. No one can tell you what to do but many of us have been there and I truly believe that if he means what he says he will be totally honest AND THEN give you the time you need to consider your options.
Since we had "the chat" he's been so much more attentive and reassuring - giving me chapter and verse about what he's doing at work, asking if it's OK for him to go out and play sport that sort of thing. He took me for dinner a couple of times and we've been talking about our memories of when we first met. He seems happier in himself but I'm not sure if thats because he has got everything off his chest and now he is effectively living the life with me (and OW if there is one one the go) or whether he is actually thinking about second chances at our marraige. I know I have to ask him what decision he's made and perhaps give him a timescale before I make it for him. I just don't want him throwing back in my face that I told him to leave when it all goes nasty, which I expect it will at some point.
Those of you who have suggested that if there isn't an OW he should still respect my view that he needs to move out so we can both get our heads straight makes the perfect sense to me. Of course he won't want to give up his comfortable home and to leave his children will break his heart, but I know I must think about my self-respect and my self-esteem. I went for a walk today and was talking out loud to myself (!!) about what I should do.. the fact that I don't trust him at the moment the fact that I am sad but angry that he is holding me in limbo like this. I definitely need to get away for a bit too to clear my head - I have a job that I love but needs constant attention and so this is clearly a distraction for me which is good, but as soon as I'm on my way home my mind starts to lurch in different directions.
Those of you who have been through this and are out the other side I am so pleased for you... if only we could fast forward a few years and see where we are. At the moment of course I would choose for my family to be intact and its so frightening to think of the prospect of it not. I am not scared to be on my own, but I just love him so much and life without him by my side seems the worst nightmare. I know that a lot of that is fear talking, but you get what I mean.
And so tonight I am planning to talk to him tomorrow. I know that sometimes tomorrow never comes, but I can't envisage going to work tomorrow if I'm brokenhearted. At least then we have the weekend to talk more. I don't want him to leave, but I can't go on much longer like this before going crazy.
Sending you best wishes for your talk with your OH. I have been through similar craziness lately - there was an OW. My husband is making minimal effort that I can see - I find it hard to accept any of his kind comments, compliments. I hate, hate, hate the fact that he has made me feel so second rate and he seems to be moving forward expecting me to just forgive and forget. .. while at the same time arranging to meet for drinks/chats/sympathy with his female friends and expecting me to organise weekend break for us. He also spoke about wanting to try life with another person, finding happiness with someone else because of course I have been, am? neglectful, too focused on kids - not a problem at the moment somehow - funny that isn't it - maybe the next most beautiful woman in the world will make him think so again! I find his words of kindness so hollow and forced because I need to protect my emotions and he has changed from soulmate to enemy in such a short space of time. I am trying to hold myself tight and build my defences because this is the worst time of my life.
debtherat... I'm sorry to hear you've been through this recently too... what is it with these men saying they want to try life with another person and then telling us we look lovely and they still love us... It just doesn't make sense.. and certainly not what we deserve. I'm not sure whether being with somebody for so long makes them inconsiderate of our feeings in this respect.. my husband just seems to open his mouth and speak all of his thoughts regardless of whether the words will cut so deep - and then he just comes to bed??
What happened with the OW? It sounds like your husband is just as confused.. wanting weekend breaks etc. but it sounds like you are at the end of your tether. Is he still with you? What are you going to do?
Sounds very much like a mid life thing to me. Often this coincides with a sort of 'grass is greener' attitude towards your close relationships, I imagine. I don't think it necessarily means that there is already somebody waiting in the wings though.
What sort of heartache is it that he has been through? Do you think this could have unsettled him and triggered any of this?
I am going to go to Relate on my own; I am maintaining a watch but not hyper vigilant because I don't have the time. Am focused on two events - a family wedding (he has avoided family events for past 2 years) which he is very keen to attend and the OW birthday - any hint of gift will be fuel to the fire. On Monday he is meeting long standing female friend who I don't really know - he hasn't asked yet whether this is Ok practically (kids) or emotionally. Last time he did this - another platonic female friend - he lied and said he was meeting a group of people. .. and he admitted that he had spoken to her about the affair and our marriage. Not happy about this at all. I think the OW made him feel he could do better, live life without negative aspects of family life - me asking him to help with housework, do something with kids and as a family. He has mlc issues - new haircut, more appearance oriented, likes young groups/new music. Let's face it we all start feeling our age at times, would like to go to Rome for the weekend at drop of a hat, catch someone's eye but for mlc'ers it seems pathological. If this is phase which does not end then our marriage will end and probably our friendship with it.
secretjewel... I don't want to go into detail here as anonymity is important but lets just say we've had lots of tragic loss. He says that isn't the reason and he says that he hasn't been happy with our marriage for a long time, hasn't felt supported by me, things like that, which are all really hard to hear as I've always been there and considered we have had a strong marriage - I know all of our friends will be so shocked as they always teased us (up until only recently about how we were like a teenage couple when we were out.. very tactile etc)..
Sadly he sees things very black and white at the moment, mostly black.. and unfortunately picking all the negatives (that he sees) out of our relationship. Most things he mentions are distorted views of things and just doesn't want to hear my side of the story. A lot of the things he talks about just aren't as they seem to him.. He said I haven't made him feel desired and yet I've desired him daily.. of course there are somethings I can relate to and I'm devastated at these but ups and downs of a marraige, doesn't everyone go through? He just doesn't seem to want to fight at all for us and looks broken
He said Friday that he would have gone by now if he was 100% sure that he wanted to leave but he cannot give me any answers either way whether it's over or whether its something we can try and work on.. he's totally confused and he says he can't feel anything at the moment - this is why I have been thinking mlc but there are other things that don't fit with this.
I suggested that he move out for a bit to get his head straight but I'm not sure that's the best idea. He says he can't stand to see the pain I'm going through and although I try and hide it a lot of the time I find not having any physical intimacy with him impossible to cope with as we have always been so close.
My dilemma is whether to sit with this still and try and "live normally" or whether to insist he leaves. A lot of people here have said he should go but that could be the biggest mistake of all.. Perhaps I should go away for a bit and let him be on his own here, but then that's not reality of leaving is it?
DebtheRat; I hope Relate works for you, it's a shame he won't go with you. He sounds similar to my man, female friends and all that. I think they feel insecure and female contact makes them feel flattered. Mine has a couple of close female friends, one I trust implicitly and who is lovely and the other who I don't trust at all and who is vulnerable and needy herself. I know she makes him feel all wanted and special and he's drawn to her. He told me this weekend he has opened up to her about how he is feeling and I feel terribly betrayed. What happened to our husbands being "our" friends? Sadly if he moves out, I fear its only a matter of time before they become an item.. if they aren't already. i know what you mean about the marriage and then the friendship. There are times at the moment I feel drawn to him and want to be close and then there are others where I want to slap him and call him all the names under the sun.
At the end of the day, we do deserve better, there's no doubt about it. Its just so hard letting go...
Or pack his bags for him.
That's genuinely the first time I've ever said that on here.
It's so obvious to an outsider.
He is surely loosing respect for you as you allow him to treat you this way. He will start to think you are pathetic.
Sounds like he is re writing history - another part of the cheater's script, as they do this to make them look less guilty and less bad about choosing to check out of the marriage.
In fact everything he says is classic cheater's script.
YOU deserve better. Tell him to leave so that you both have the space and time to think about what you want.
Your ONLY chance of saving the marriage is to get him to leave.
This will force the issue.
If he has been having an affair, LOSS is the only thing that motivates cheaters - as soon as he realises that the grass on the other side isn't greener, he might come back begging for another chance.
He should be the one to.
He's not really sorry for you going through this.
Leaving would be more charitable as then you could start moving on. As it is, he's keeping you as a back up plan, possibly as a housekeeper. And he's keeping up appearances for outsiders. Then he's nice so he keeps your hopes up.
It's all for him, not you.
Personally, I'd tell him that if he's not sure, then I don't want to be with him.
Actually, just him playing this would be enough to make me lose my trust in him.
You will always be wondering if he has changed his mind, if you are being good enough for him and so on. It's not a good position to be in.
I think everybody's being a bit harsh here.
Completely understand you don't want to talk details on here, but going through a tragedy of any kind is a common reason for having these sort of thoughts, I think.
It doesn't mean that he has acted on them as yet, and he may still come to his senses before he does act on them.
Did the heartache you refer to not affect you as well?
If not, maybe what he's going through now is a very personal thing and not really a reflection of your relationship?
How has he been with the children? Any different to normal at all?
Well, what is best for you Debtherat? Ok the DCs need to be looked after but you seem to be coming second fiddle to all his angst, and flirting, and swithering over whether to go or stay.
He can't be devastated at the thought of leaving the DCs AND having relationships with OWs.
I hope the counseling can help you decide what you want and need other than what he can, might or will/won't provide.
We had a major fall out the other evening...tried to talk about impact on me...his solution ... I should detach. No explanation for why he fell in love with someone else...it just happened but background of feeling unloved by me, not sharing interests and passions apart from children. Things we liked in the past pre-children he now says he no longer likes - things he likes - endurance sports, new music - he knows I don't have same level of interest. He maintained he makes same housework effort including recent 1st time in 15 years whole house vacuum - not a big deal. He said love for OW was more than he'd ever loved me but backtracked when he saw the impact. He has a lot of anger/frustration - the man who held our two newborn DS called me - his faithful, trusting wife - a whore??!!! Sunday normal routine, he spent pm in pub with son's football team eating, drinking, nice as pie to everyone incl. me when I picked him up. Physical intimacy still and v. connected and special. This gives me hope. But so much confusion and pain.
deb - have you posted before about your situation? You sound familiar. You need to grow some balls and take control of the situation - as it is he is messing with your mind, and prolonging the torture
He is having an affair because he wants to and because he is selfish and entitled - not because of something you are not doing or doing.
As I keep saying on here, LOSS is the only thing that works in these situations. As long as he is getting the best of both worlds - OW for the thrills and you to keep his house clean, wash his clothes and look after his DC, NOTHING will change. He will continue to take the piss out of you.
Stop being such a doormat.
Are you posting under two names?
If so you're saying ou still have hope?
Name change fail ?
Get some self respect love, and get rid of this dog currently strutting around with two dicks.
debtherat - I have just read some of your old posts. You keep asking for advice but you are not listening to any of the several wise posters who gave great advice
I am not sure why you keep posting
I think you keep posting cos you want the answer to be different.
I agree with those posters who've said to take back the control and make him leave.
He is making you out to be unsupportive etc because that way he doesn't have to admit the truth to himself, that he is behaving like a prick and all this is on him. He wants to still think of himself as a decent human being and the only way to do that is to convince himself that his bad behaviour is somehow your fault. It isn't.
You sound lovely. What he is doing to you is so cruel. You might find that when he actually goes, you feel better and happier. You won't be living with the constant stress of not knowing where you are.
Wrt to him imagining a life without you, well that's a two way street. The time will come when you start to contemplate living without him - it feels terrible and scary right now, but I promise you those thoughts tend to get less scary as times goes on. Even if you do end up staying together, it's a good thing to have thought about a life where he wasn't a part of it and know that you won't die without him. To know that a man who can behave in such a way is really not much of a prize and so it is possible to one day be very happy without him.
But first things first, stop letting him make all the choices - you need to upset his cosy little life where he gets to do as he pleases with no real regard for how you feel. He needs to experience the fear that comes with knowing the decisions aren't all his to make.
I think my problem is getting mixed up with Debtherats!
SecretJewel: The tragedies did affect us all, but he lost his sister and his close friend in the space of two years, both tragic deaths. It is very much affecting him and he hasn't really grieved. Thankfully he is brilliant with the children. He still does lots with them, still does his fair share around the home and still cooks dinner, fixes things, runs me baths, does the shopping, buys me flowers etc. so I'm not a glorified housekeeper as somebody suggested! He does obviously have a problem with our relationship and has drawn away physically and yes i agree with Karmabeliever (if you were messaging me...) that he is trying to make me think his behaviour is all my fault and I know it isn't. I know I can be strong and make it throught the other side if that's what I have to do. And i am going to make some decisions of my own now. I do feel I have turned a corner today after a terribly painful weekend. Friends have commented this weekend that I look sad and empty (friends who don't know what's going on).. well that's not good enough and I am going to find me again and start to take some time for myself.
Thank you people for your comments and advice. x
Hi kitty - yes I was messaging you. I'm glad that you are going to start taking some of the decisions away from your H.
Sounds to me like he has a whole ton of suppressed anger and frustration, and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't know where it's coming from or why, hence the mood changes. Hence his nastiness to you. He wants to take it out on someone.
But your pleading and getting upset and trying to make him love you is only making it all worse, and more confusing.
Whatever decisions he makes in this mood will probably be the wrong ones for him.
I can't believe you are discussing hoovering the house and his choice of music. As if any of that matters.
Go to speak to a solicitor, as the first visit is free (from what I've heard on here), and find out where you stand if he leaves/ you ask for divorce/ he asks for a divorce. It doesn't matter who's doing what. Just take this first step, tell him or don't tell him, but get your head around the possibility of splitting up. Work out where you would live, how much money you would have, and start thinking sensibly about things, not this confusion and desperation that you have just now. It isn't helping either of you.
Hang on, she hasn't mentioned hoovering or music choices! Why does everybody keep thinking Debtherat is the OP?!?!?!?
So, Kitty - sounds like he is still there in person, still doing all your normal family activities, but his head is gone? It's impossible to know whether this is down to the level of loss he's been through, whether it's an OW, or even both.
When you see him all withdrawn and sad, does it look like grief, or does he seem like he's thinking of someone else?
I'm tempted to say give him time. Even if he has developed feelings for someone else, if he doesn't act on them would you be of the opinion that it might be better not to know?
I suppose the question is how much time is reasonable to give him with this? Are your children very young?
In the case of the OP. This sounds like a mid life thing, nothing more, for now.
But it could very easily become more if you get too hooked up on some of the usual toxic MN advice, which seems to always consist of the same LTB rubbish spouted by the same people.
That doesn't mean I think this is all going to just blow over, and there are certainly steps that need to be taken.
Protect your turf, as you correctly assert, female contact is nice, especially when one (as a man) is not feeling great. Women for the most part are nice, and kind, and female contact can be flattering and seem good in the short term. But it's a bad idea really and it could easily lead to something else that could put a spanner in the works.
Nobody leave anybody. Get away to have space maybe, but leaving could be the thing that tips the balance forever in the favour of a split. If your DH is not feeling great, and is having anxiety due to various things, it would not be a good plan to bet on him making sound decisions.
Talk. Many men are shite when it comes to dealing with the feels. Beginning slowly without confrontation may result in the floodgates being opened and things being worked out rapidly. But because someone doesn't appear to want to talk it doesn't mean they have nothing to say, it may well be the case there is so much to say and your DH is completely incapable, paralysed by fear because he's overblown everything in his mind.
Seeing your GP about things like this is a daunting prospect. There are some online tools that can be used to help see the world and ourselves in a more positive way to make good choices. It could be that all is required is a realignment of perspective.
We had a similar crisis last year, up until about 6 weeks ago. I ignored all the advice I was given on MN - we had been through a horrendously stressful time with our business and were left with enormous debt. My view was that he was very depressed but he announced he wanted to leave. It was the worst time of my life. OW was hovering in the background, his freelance work dried up and he sat around in his pj's, furious with everyone. I was devastated but tried to keep going, with lots of support from family and friends.
Just as we were at rock bottom, I got myself two new jobs which I love and he got a really good NHS management placement. With the financial strain off, a more healthy outward focus for us both and his self confidence restored, our relationship has improved enormously. We have a way to go but I feel confident we are facing the future together.
I don't know if I was weak or strong but I didn't feel ready to give up, even though he apparently had. He has since admitted he had been trying to push me away, to ask him to leave but I always felt it was a decision he had to make openly for himself, rather than blaming me for forcing him to go. He has also admitted he thinks he was depressed, a big thing for a mental health professional!
Anyway, most of the advice I had was to LTB - but I'm glad I didn't. I'm also grateful to another MNetter who shared a similar experience and was kind enough to let me witter on to her...
Best wishes to you, OP, whatever your outcome.
I second what Squibb said about an inability to make sound decisions. DH was looking at expensive flats to move into; I subsequently found out that he hadn't actually paid the mortgage on our family home for 3 months (now sorted!). It was like he completely lost touch with reality.
I am pleased to hear that Absolutelylost, it's good to see the vultures don't get everything round here.
He also resisted seeing the GP for ages but when he finally went, he really talked honestly for the first time for months and began to open up at home.
Funnily enough, although I am usually a very sensitive person and take everything to heart, I knew this was never about me or our actual marriage. I think I became a shorthand for everything he was stressed/guilty about; if he could somehow get rid of me, everything else would be fine. In the end, I think he knows he is a lucky man!
Right, so women are supposed to just wait it out while their husbands who are supposed to love them and be committed to them, faff about deciding whether they want to be in or out...
What about the mental cruelty these women are subjected to?
There is a huge difference between staying with a man who's behaved badly and is desperately sorry and doing all he can to put it right and staying with a man who is continuing to treat his wife with no respect or caring.
I think that fear is a great motivator and the prospect of losing his wife, of realising that he is not the only one to get a say in whether he stays or goes, will focus his attention on what he really wants.
It may be that they stay together in the long term, but there is no balance of power at the moment and that needs to change.
The point that I was trying to make was that, whilst his actual behaviour was pretty crappy, my DH wasn't a well man and I personally am glad that I stuck it out. I think that forcing a confrontation may well have neen terminal. But that's me and my situation. I'm not saying that women should hang around for ever whilst their erring husbands constantly vacillate.
I was aiming that at squibb, who seems to be implying that men are delicate creatures, who have to be handled carefully and never mind the devastation they are leaving in their wake for their wives to put up with until said delicate man is feeling better!
Women's feelings always seem to be lower down the pecking order
Women, eat shit to hang onto your (inadequate) man seems to be the latest message on this thread
I said no such thing, but clearly that is how you consider such problems to be.
Men are human beings, and if you look carefully at an awful lot of these threads, there are certainly some real nasty pieces of work out there. But not all men are like that, many want to be good people but over time things can become difficult.
So "waiting it out" is an option, but that's not a good option really, like godo t may just never happen. No, what I was talking about is making positive steps to sort stuff out.
But squibb, if they want to be good people, it's really not that hard. It starts by treating their life partner with respect and consideration - if a man is willing to not do that for extended periods of time then the best thing for the woman is to make it clear that she won't tolerate it and to demand what is her due. Not pander to him until he has a change of heart and decides he doesn't want ow (if there is one) after all!
Kitty, I went through a very similar situation starting in 2004....I felt exactly as you do, tried to be the perfect wife even though I was being called names on a daily basis.... He had had some tragedy too.... I made all the same excuses for him that that you are. By the time I realised he def had an OW, he wouldn't leave as he was too busy setting himself up for his future with her! And of course he had the best of both worlds. Fast forward to 2008 when I was finally divorced with my own house,he realises what a mistake he has made, I'm not all of the horrible things he called me and wants to get back together! I don't think so!!! So what I am saying is force his hand, show him the reality NOW..... Make him leave and as everyone e says here you may save your marriage if by then you still want to.
if men are "human beings" why are you excusing them from treating others as such ?
Thank god I did not "wait it out" or eat shit when my DH did the same thing and that I had enough self esteem to take control by telling him that it was over as I didn't want a loveless marriage.
There was an OW in our case too. With stats showing that most affairs remain undetected, I often wonder if these blips are due to a hidden affair/infatuation.
Are men not human beings then?
I don't think people should be excused, that implies that it's forgotten about, like it never happened. But forgiveness is a little different.
Squibb, you are telling women who are being treated badly that they should try harder to help the person that is mistreating them
That is poor advice, IMO
Squib, IME, men don't emotiinally check out of marriage without having 'options'.... By which I mean an OW. Should we try and understand that also...
No I am not, that is your inference.
What I think, (as aposed to what you read form my words) is that occasionally essentially good people behave poorly. And those people will occasionally need some help in order to get back to be the good, reliable, kind hearted person they want to be and normally are. Sometimes stressful events can cause this, sometimes illness. If it happens then there should be a road back to normality.
I also know that some people are utter bastards, and they shouldn't be allowed to hide behind the facade of being misunderstood, or being ill etc. These people will always be thus, they should not be given chance after chance and then continue to make life a misery for their partner.
So it would make sense to check which camp the DH is in, before putting the boot in.
How long would you give a person like this, squibb ?
How much more time for them to check out emotionally, further erode the self esteem of their partner and have them trying to save a relationship that is already dead in the water ?
Sadly I have encountered quite a few men and women who 'waited it out' and in practice it's a disastrous strategy, for so many reasons.
IME there is nearly always an OM or OW in the background and for the 'confused spouse' the 'waiting it out' period becomes the trying it out period. So they have the affair in the full knowledge that their spouse will be there to catch them if it all goes horribly wrong.
They nearly always want to come back to the marriage or relationship once the affair is over, but the respect for their partners has long since gone. This often leads to further infidelity and a pattern of 'mid life crisis' is created, with episodes every couple of years.
Even on the rare occasions when no OW/OM has surfaced (it's impossible to prove there never was one after all, unless you're the people involved) there is a loss of respect for a partner who didn't have enough self-respect to say "Enough. I am not waiting around for you to choose whether to stay with me, so I'm taking the decision out of your hands."
Curiously enough, in my observation those who have adopted a firmer stance have managed to get the relationships and lives they wanted, either with the previously ambivalent partner or apart from him/her.
This is all about self-respect and the ability to command respect from others. Once either of those things have gone, they are very difficult to win back.
...particularly if you hand it over on a plate and invite someone to stamp all over it in the name of "helping them find themselves"
How long AF? I would want to some immediate action on the part of the DH. Some sort of counselling for example sorted out within a week.
Yes and in all conscience I will say that I have never known this strategy to work in the long term. This is about human nature. It is almost impossible to respect someone who allows you to choose in a competition between two people, or who will put up with disrespect and inconsiderate treatment without the incurrence of loss. The power dynamics completely change in the relationship but more grievously, the loss of self-respect damages the individual so much. So this strategy irrepairably damages the relationship that the 'waiter' was determined to save, but worse still it damages the person more profoundly than could ever have been envisaged.
Mine has a couple of close female friends, one I trust implicitly and who is lovely and the other who I don't trust at all and who is vulnerable and needy herself. I know she makes him feel all wanted and special and he's drawn to her. He told me this weekend he has opened up to her about how he is feeling and I feel terribly betrayed. What happened to our husbands being "our" friends? Sadly if he moves out, I fear its only a matter of time before they become an item.. if they aren't already. i know what you mean about the marriage and then the friendship.
Squibb, you would really cling to a man like this?. He doesn't want to save his relationship with the Op. He doesn't want do counselling (and even if he attends it will be a waste of time because he has already checked out).... he is actively seeking intimacy outside his marriage.
And because he is doing it in plain view of his wife, he justifies it to himself. There is no "helping" a man like this. The only assistance you should be offering is to your own self and removing him from your (romantic) life.
Yes - it seems so obvious to objective observers that this man is having an affair with the friend and it is this that has precipitated the current crisis. Instead he is presenting it as the crisis coming first and the unburdening to the 'friend' happening as a consequence of that.
The chronology is, IMO undoubtedly reversed.
And no amount of stroking this man's fragile ego will change that, unfortunately
Squibb, you are the vulture here, if anyone is. Preying on women who are posting at a point in their lives where they are beginning to realise that enough is enough.
Here they mostly find support and advice from people who read the OP and respond honestly.
If anyone has an agenda, it's you. All this 'blindly stand by your man regardless of your own pain' bullshit. The OP has obviously invested a great deal of love and support to her H already, to her own detriment.
Loyalty and commitment are essential in relationships - but there are limits. The OP has reached hers, understandably. And where is her H's loyalty and commitment?
Try to put down your agenda and read threads with an open mind.
(Sorry for thread hijack OP, Squibb had been similarly undermining on another thread today).
Crikey! It's all gone off while I've been absent from here hasn't it!
secretjewel: "When you see him all withdrawn and sad, does it look like grief, or does he seem like he's thinking of someone else?" It looks like grief and feeling really really confused... it doesn't look like he's thinking about somebody else he looks absolutely broken at times"
I do think he's developed feelings for her and its confusing him even further. I still have a small amount of belief in him as a person though, although I know there are some out there that will think I'm crazy. I genuinely don't think he wants to set up a life with her as she has her own set of problems but I think that his head being turned has confused him. I do think that he is seeing everything very negatively, the good times we have shared of which there have been plenty seem to be forgotten at the moment because it's easier for him not to remember them. I think he has emotionally shut down, because its easier not to feel than to feel the pain from his grief, but the pain from his confusion also. It may just be that I have to face the fact that he has actually fallen out of love with me and that by not talking to me about his problems he has actually left it too late to turn back.
One of our children is quite young and this is breaking DH heart. Its also breaking mine to think of me having to pick up the pieces.
It does depend very much on how long I can give him. I have turned a corner this week although not sure how long it will last. I have started to feel like I can move forward. I'm sad, but not paralysed. I think a small piece of me died last week when we talked. I stayed with a friend this week and expected to cry all the way there and then when she hugged me when i arrived. But I didn't.. and we managed to laugh together and I even sang along to "Against All Odds" without a tear! Perhaps I am getting stronger!
Absolutely Lost: Thank you for your post - "I don't know if I was weak or strong but I didn't feel ready to give up, even though he apparently had. He has since admitted he had been trying to push me away, to ask him to leave but I always felt it was a decision he had to make openly for himself, rather than blaming me for forcing him to go".
This is very close to home for me. I don't feel ready to give up and I do think he has been trying to push me to make the decision for him. I think it's a lot to do with self-worth as well, thinking you're not good enough and pushing those you love away to confirm it.
I'm glad you are on the road to recovery and that you had support from people here to help you. I wish you all the best with your onward journey..
Squibb: Thank you for your posts too - I have thought for a while it has been a MLC and the books I've read say they can last a few years! We are talking and that's good although of late our talking does deteriorate but we talk very well and compassionately until I mention his "friend" and then he gets defensive. He keeps telling me that I've got to get it out of my head its a me vs her thing, and accept that she's just a friend - he even said that he was sorry and that he knew it was wrong to have such an emotional friendship but that he had dug his heels in because he knew I didn't like it and now he is closer to her. I know, I know, where's the respect in that.. but if IT IS just a friendship, I could be doing more damage than good by keep going on about it. The trouble is, the OW option seems to make sense, the MLC isn't that easy to touch if you know what I mean.
The way I see it with her now is that if it's going to happen or if it's already happened, there's not much I can do about it.. at the end of the day it is his choice. If he makes a bad choice because he is in some sort of darkness at the moment there is little I can do. That having been said, i do believe that if I forced his hand and asked him to leave, it would lead him to her (as a friend) and it WOULD develop eventually .. its inevitable.
So, rather than thinking he is biding his time here.. I am looking on it that I am biding mine.. we are still living together, still doing things as a family, still sleeping in the same bed (albeit no sexual relationship), but we are close. He is still trying to be considerate and reassuring and we are at a point where if I feel he is distant I tell him and he nearly always comes back with that's not how he is meaning to be, it's just work, or traffic, or something else. And so, I move forward slowly, think about myself, my children and my friends and hope that if I am supporting him in the best way I can, without making myself a doormat. I am trying to stop thinking about what I'm not getting from him, and starting to focus on what he is doing that makes things feel better albeit in a small way.
Phew... doesn't it help getting it off of your chest!
I don't mean to be unkind OP but FGS wake up and smell the coffee here.
Your husband is having an affair with this woman right under your nose and you're enabling it.
Just because someone tells you they've got a 'special woman friend' doesn't make it right.
You're making far too many excuses for him and making life far too comfortable while he gets his jollies on the side, with his benign wife mopping his brow through his entirely fake confusion.
Do you think either of these traitors respect you for acting like you are?
He's not depressed, he's not confused and he's not ill. He's just unfaithful.
Lord knows why you're not angry about that, or why you can't see what's going on right under your nose.
I feel very sad for you kitty
What is this man ? Some kind of Higher Being deserving of all judgement to be suspended ?
No one is worth compromising yourself so much. He must think you came down in a shower, whilst progressively diminishing you in his eyes for every day you tolerate his ridiculous self entitlement
As for not wanting to be with an OW with her own set of problems, haven't you heard about men who are attracted to damsels in distress? The bigger the set of problems that the knight in shining armour can fix, the greater the sexual thrill/ego boost. Just as she's pretending to be the all-listening ear when he drones on about his 'sadness'.
Mark my words, they wouldn't be rescuing or listening to someone they didn't find attractive or whose 'friendship' wasn't a massive ego boost.
I'd put a good sum of money on all your alleged problems starting when this 'friendship' kicked off. Midlife crisis my arse
Why do you keep talking about supporting him?! You should be angry with him. That would be more normal!
Healthy. Healthy is a better word than normal.
'He's not depressed, he's not confused and he's not ill. He's just unfaithful.'
He's manipulating you so much, OP. Insisting you shut up about his involvement with the OW or it'll get worse, and you'll only have yourself to blame!
There's a sort of bright, forced cheeriness to your last post. It doesn't sound as if you've got it all off your chest really. There is great tension there. Understandably
It must be horrible going through what you are going through with your H. I understand you are probably desperate to make everything ok, for you, for your family. You truly have my sympathies.
But please, don't become a surrendered wife in this. He's behaving abominably.
OP's last post actually makes her sound like one of those stiff puppets with a broom up the arse and wires moving the mouth
Really bloody terrifying < shudder >
OP, are you speaking with tongues because you are scaring the shit out of me
oh waken up OP
He is having his cake and eating..your head is firmly stuck in the sand here.
Time to grow a pair of balls and chuck him out.
Oh dear, he has you right where he wants you - the obliging enabling wife bending backwards while he is having this emotional affair.
The only way to burst this fantasy fuelled bubble is to tell him that you have had enough of being treated like this and that he has to go.
LOSS is the only thing that motivates cheaters and its your only chance of saving the marriage and I really do hope you find the courage to do this.
You may find this link useful.
Please read this:
link to relevant page
How much do you actually know about the OW, Kitty?
Have you met her? Does he talk about her much? Did he used to talk about her, and then kind of stopped mentioning her?
Has she got a family of her own?
Is there any evidence of an actual affair at all, or do you think maybe he's got the feelings but hasn't acted on them (yet?)
He is obviously very mixed up about lots of things, but I think if I was you I would be looking to get answers to some of these questions before I could start getting anything straight in my mind.
Oh . Reading your update makes it plainer. I think he is biding his time, waiting to see how it all plays out, all the while keeping up appearances at home.
Take great care of yourself Kitty, I know you want to keep some kind of control, but it sounds like it is all going off right under your nose.
OP -don't wait around for him to make up his mind.
You deserve better.
Get space now. Maybe it will work out but don't wait any longer for him to make a decision.
I can hear you all loud and clear.. Not too happy about the puppet comment. I do have a family to look after and a job to hold down and therefore creating havoc here is not as easy as just telling him to sling his hook. I am not laying down in front of him being a doormat. I am getting on with my life and looking after my family.
Secret Jewel: I know her.. we have been friends for a few years, often the four of us meeting up with our children. He has always been her friend as they share an interest together (I can't go into detail, I am almost laying my life out in public if anybody knows me..)
There isn't evidence of an affair - she doesn't live anywhere near us and he isn't a man that goes out/missing. I have asked lots of questions and he does answer them but he gets defensive. He has put her above me in all of this, friendship or affair and I have got very angry about it. But we have never been husband and wife who live in each others pockets and we both have friendships with members of the opposite sex - obviously my gut instincts have been rattled with her because he has closed down emotionally with me but he does keep saying to me its not about me vs her. I know he cares about her, I know he finds her attractive but that doesn't = 100% affair. We hae lots of female friends who he thinks this about as do I with male friends.
He keeps getting angry with me because there's so much going on for him in his head not just with me, work, family, grief, all sorts of things and I am a part of the problem, not the whole problem.. at least that's what he says. She has just happened to try and support him at a time when i really needed him to avoid turning to somebody else, particularly another woman. That's why I'm mad and I am mad for those who don't think I am.
I have to go and have my hair done now, so post later!
Kitty, it was an affair as soon as he started to disengage with you, in favour of her. Even though he may not be sleeping with her.
I think if you wait this out, he may well stay in the marriage - it's the easy, convenient thing to do. But what you need to consider is how you will feel about this, long term. At the moment you are choosing the least disruptive course of action as a kind of damage limitation, in the hope that it will all blow over and life will go back to normal. But that is impossible now - it will never be what it was, because he has betrayed you and shown you that you are not the most important person to him. If the dust settles and he is still 'with you', it won't be because he has actively chosen you, because he has woken up to the reality of life without you and he will never fear the possibility that you might not choose him - he will have been allowed to behave in this appalling way and experience no consequences.
He won't respect you. Eventually I think you will find this very unsatisfactory.
No, no - as another poster said, you've probably got the chronology all wrong on this.
I think you'll find that something started with her first and then he started getting distant and withdrawn from you. You say this started 8 months ago. She was in your lives then but I promise you, something happened between them just before you started noticing changed behaviour in him.
Have you seen his phone bills from 8 months ago?
You do know too that people take days off work to have affairs, or worse, claim they are just going to their shared interest thing again, when really they are heading for a travelodge?
Stop thinking the confusion came first, followed by this deepening 'friendship'.
This all happened because he started an affair with her, over 8 months ago.
In plain fucking sight of you and her partner
Karma -you could have written that to me
OP read her post clearly. I'm six month post discovery to someone who would 'never do this to me' 'just friends' 'no time so so busy with work'
Kitty - so many of us have been there, and believe me it is always the same. They tell you there is no one else, then it comes out there is but she is 'just a friend'. Someone who has been kind and supportive in their hour of need . Then further down the line it comes out that ok they might have kissed, he can't really remember, but eventually, after lying through their teeth they admit actually it is a full blown affair.... It is soul destroying, and the lies are in my mind a worse betrayal than the sex. Once someone starts lying to you it makes a mockery of everything.
Where you go from here is up to you. Me, I got on with my life, filed for divorce, and was actually very happy in myself. Ironically, we then made it through, after hours of talking, and we're despite everything happy. The dynamic has changed though, I'm no longer the besotted wife who'd do anything for my DH,. I have a tough shell, I have my independent spirit back, and my attitude is he is bl**dy lucky to have me. He's changed too. For the better. If he changes back I'll be out of here, like a shot.
Put yourself first and if he wants to go let him. There is nothing as unattractive as a clingy partner. Once you become the unattainable option his true feelings will out.
I think he would like to move to be with new lurve but can't face the fall out of hurting you OP and the DCs. Plus what is he taking on, more DCs?
He would need to be sure of a very strong relationship with OW to withstand all that angst.
What about you try making an appt with relate or counsellor or even GP to try to get some advice. Or better still an appt for him to speak to someone.That would be much better for him than opening up to OW. Could you perhaps book 3 appointments for him over a week or two and ask him to go. He sounds very confused and would have nothing to lose.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hmmm. I don't know. I think there are a lot of people here who have been cheated on in a horrible way and are assuming that this bloke is just like their old partners.
He doesn't sound that bad to me. Sounds liked he has had his head turned, he is evaluating his life and questioning things that he has probably never questioned before, but essentially so far has remained loyal to his family.
To a certain extent, this is only human.
I agree with those who say the change in behaviour is most likely to do with OW. But I don't think this means they're having a full blown affair. Just developing feelings for someone else after that side of yourself has been switched off to new people for so long would be enough to cause this kind of change in behaviour.
Have you been together for a very long time? Or since you were very young?
I suppose the question is whether he will decide to act on his feelings at any point? Or also, whether you feel that him having these thoughts is enough of a betrayal even if he himself has consciously decided not to carry out an ongoing physical affair.
Meh, everyone projects. OW project what their own OM were like, people who've been cheated on project what their spouses were like, people who've cheated project what they were like and people who've been round the block for a lot of years project what they've learned from other people's experiences.
It would be a mistake to think that only people who've been on the receiving end of this sort of thing post on these threads.
Having dipped in and out of MN for years, I've seen loads of threads like this one. Once a man has said he thinks he wants out of the relationship, it's an affair alright.
Tis called the Cheater's Script - many of us know it by heart either from experience or from hanging around this board (not all of us have been cheated on )
I disagree secretjewel, I make no assumptions, but I have read a lot of threads that all start off with 'he has told me there is no one else and I believe him', move onto 'there is someone, but it's not physical', and end with 'I'm devastated..... etc'. Men are in the main cowards and find a new port before leaving the old. I'd love it to be otherwise but it rarely is.
Hi there ladies..
Schmaltzingmatilda: I do respect him but I'm not sure about trust.. some days I do trust him and really still believe in him and worry about him and some days I doubt, think he's a selfish b and caught up thinking about himself.. He has been the only man that I've ever put my trust in after a very dodgy start to relationships with my family and my first boyfriends etc. so it makes it all the harder.
Leavenheath: They are always with other people when they go out. It's a social event that they enjoy with others.. I know that they could well be meeting up during the day etc. but I don't think so and there has never been any evidence of this. I do think that in the last couple of months though this might have changed.
SecretJewel: We've been together for 15 years, married for 4. You are right, he is evaluating his life and he has definitely had his head turned. I don't trust her as far as I can throw her. Yes, he has betrayed me and I am not sure whether I can get over this. Trouble is if he did stay and we worked this through, I'm not sure he would end the friendshp and this would just make it very difficult indeed.
Worcestershiresauce: I'm glad it worked out for you and your hubby. I hope it continues to. I am putting myself first now, have been making plans with the children/family etc. and he is currently coming along.
JustinBsMum: He won't go for counselling at the moment but I think me making an appointment for Relate and going even if he doesn't want to is a really good idea.
I am not being clingy and am not crying or anything like that... I just get up and get on with it each day. Weekends are the hardest because we are together and we still spend a lot of time together on our own. He still comes home from work every day and we enjoy our evenings athough it's tainted with sadness for me. We laugh together still, most people wouldn't see the difference.. But as I've said before, I find it so hard when i see him go to put his arm around me in bed and he pulls it back, he walked up to me today while we were out with friends and where normally he would pull me in for a cuddle he just stopped 3 inches from me. It then becomes awkward. I do really believe that he just doesn't want to feel the good because it confuses him as he believes there are so many things wrong and all he can see are the negatives. We used to go away very often, overnight hotels, dinner, walks etc. We used to connect the minute we got in the car together. But when he looks back, he says we were running away from reality - I don't understand why thats distorted in his mind..
Thank you for all your posts - even the ones that are uncomfortable to read, they give me different perspectives if they're fair and respectful. He has always been a decent man and I have had an awful lot of respect for him. I know he is going through a tough time.. he knows I am too.. At the end of the day, I will keep my self respect and at the moment I am fighting for my marragie - if I have to ask him to leave I will. He has said an awful lot of things that I can't forget in my head.. it may be too late.. But we are both on a journey of sorts.. I have to see it as that.
What does OW's husband/partner make of this?
Have you checked your husband's phone bills/phone itself?
OW's husband is too far away - they don't live local, about 3 hours away - I don't want to talk to him - wouldnt want to put him through what I'm going through... and no I haven't - I don't go down his phone -we've always kept our phones private. Once I start snooping around, I would feel I have let myself down. If i'm going to believe him, I have to believe him. If I don't, I have to get him to go.
So really what you're saying is that you're in denial?
You don't want to find that this is an affair, because then you'd be forced to do something and leave the marriage?
Not facing up to it, doesn't mean it isn't happening you know.
I don't see how anyone can help you here then. It's so startlingly obvious that he's been having an affair for the past 8 months, but you don't want to acknowledge that.
Even if this burns itself out like many affairs do, he will never respect you again. Whereas you'd have a fighting chance of saving this marriage if you blew the lid off it all and took away his safety.
He is on a journey finding out if the OW really wants him and will be a soft place to land if he jumps out of your marriage. If she gives him enough reassurance, he'll go. And he doesn't want to be hassled or challenged about it, or his feelings, by you whilst he's on that journey.
Your journey currently involves making life nice and comfy for him while he sees how the land lies with the OW. And trying not to feel too crap. And trying to imagine that it'll all go away.
You won't let yourself down by snooping - he's already made it clear that there is an OW - whether they've had sex or he's just besotted or somewhere in between.
Empower yourself, somehow.
Leavenheath that's harsh, you know how to kick a woman when she'd down. fwiw I kind of agree with you, put perhaps a little empathy here.
OP, fighting for your marriage is ok, an affair or just an infatuation, whatever it may be, doesn't have to be the end. I do have a caveat to that though, and it is an important one. The running has to come from him. If he isn't chasing after you, desperate to keep you, doing everything within his power to show you he is committed and faithful and SORRY, then it won't work. No matter how much you want it to work it won't. Because his heart won't be in it, and eventually his head will be turned again and you will be back to square one, only this time even more broken.
I posted on here when my DH had an affair and got such unbalanced vitriol, lectures about flogging the dead horse that was my marriage that I ran away, licked my wounds, name changed, and disappeared for a while. However, reading between the lines of some very poisonous comments I did learn that the only way to save my marriage was to walk away from it. My DH and I spent days and days talking, real heart to heart stuff, clearing years of misunderstandings, getting to know each other again... but it wasn't until I walked away that we actually solved the problems and made it work. Close off the options, and start communicating from a level playing field.
I don't 'do' soft-pedalling and neither can I empathise with the OP's take on this, so I'm not going to pretend that I do.
I'm never rude to posters, just straight-talking. I never want to kick anyone but I do want posters like this to wake up to the truth.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Empower yourself, somehow
I would speak to a solicitor, it's nothing final, but you say you've been married for 4 years, not that long, I would be interested to know where I will stand financially if we did split.
And 8 months is a long time to be confused, he should be moving one way or the other by now, surely.
As someone has already said upthread the strategy you have adopted never works - even if he does come back to you, he will have lost respect for you as he will know you are willing to accept this behavior, and that there is nothing to stop him from cheating again.
MN helped me to see the wood for the trees too. It wasn't fun and it wasn't nice. There were some very harsh comments. But the thread I made helped me to see that there were OW, after five years of denial.
It took me three years to start checking up on him, and even then the evidence seemed thin. However, he was all right.
I learned that:
Men don't detach and question their marriage unless there is OW
Finding out is almost always preceded by months of detachment
Detachment dates to just after they started
They will always find a way
They justify their behaviour by questioning the marriage
No man can be won round by patience and tolerance where OW are concerned, but most can be won round by a change of tactics, where you take the control right away from them and make plans to divorce yourself. If they don't at that stage, they never would have stayed long term, and were just biding their time.
I also think, OP, that your H is having an affair with this woman. Now he has detached, he almost feels justified in his head.
Take back control: it is the only chance you have to save it, odd as that seems.
kitty, I know you don't want to check his phone and start down the route of snooping, but at some point I think you have to establish the truth.
You can't rely on him to be completely honest with you - it sounds very dog eat dog, but he is putting his own interests above yours and so you can only rely on yourself now. The best way to look after yourself is from a position of full knowledge about the life you are choosing.
I think that if you just take his word for it and don't look for yourself, you will one day be out of this fog and having a nagging doubt that what happened with ow was far more than he ever let on.
I really do think you are playing this wrong. No man is worth keeping at all costs - he has to want you more that he wants anybody else. He has to see you as someone he could lose and he has to come to a clear decision that you are the one for him. All the time he has this cosy arrangement, whereby he gets everything and fears nothing, he he is not choosing you.
Personally, I don't think it really matters all that much whether he is actually having a physical relationship with her or not. The point is that this 'friendship' is damaging your marriage and yet, from what you've said, he is not prepared to put you and your marriage first and stop seeing her. That, in itself, would be a dealbreaker for me. He had made a choice at some level as to what or who is more important in his life, and it would appear to be her and their friendship/relationship.
Believe me if I knew beyond reasonable doubt that they were having an affair I would kick him out this afternoon. I'm not scared of finding out.. I would rather know as painful as that would be.
Mrsminiversecharlady I think you're right, it doesn't matter.. He has dug his heels in and chosen their friendship over me and that is what is wrong. If he's not having an affair, in his head he knows that's wrong but won't be told what to do and that is also wrong because my feelings aren't being taken into account. This makes me very angry it really does and I'm not just sweeping this under the carpet like people think.
What is good from here is that I have a weekend like we've had this weekend where we've had a nice time with friends, spent time together, hes been quite close to me and I start to hope and feel closer to him.. Then this chat thread slaps me again to waking up to what is going on whether its an affair or not.. And then I feel empowered to do something.. Take myself away from him and be stronger.
I hate what he's doing.. Affair or confusion or end of marriage.. It would be easy to think he's having an affair and that's what's caused this but he could have just fallen out of love with me regardless and that's something I have to face up to. Despite all this I'm still very torn but I know I can't take much more of this surreal existence.
He is such a stubborn bloke he will cut his nose off to spite his face - I'm not sure I can be bothered with it all for much longer.. I'm getting tired and to tell you the truth a bit bored..
Sounds like you are starting to make the emotional break from him and that he is coming to the end of your tolerance levels.
I also think it's very likely that this affair pre-dated your husband's confusion about his marriage. When did the person who was close to him die? Bereavement is a real trigger factor for an affair.
This doesn't sound to me as though he fell out of love with you and then started an affair. It sounds more as though something started to burgeon with the friend and that gradually, more boundaries got broken. As they've been friends for a long time, I'd set the clock from around the time of the bereavement and think back to occasions he met up with or had contact with this friend around this time and in the weeks or months following.
When someone is bereaved, there are often feelings of complete helplessness. So individuals are often especially attracted to needy characters with problems in their own lives, who they can 'save' or help. Affairs also often have the effect of making people feel 'alive' and full of adrenaline and after a bereavement, these feelings are especially intoxicating because they reinforce Life and Vital Signs.
But if you've ever seen any of my posts on this, infidelity never happens in a vacuum. I expect your husband has always a been a bit selfish but you've probably overlooked it because of his other qualities. I'm wondering for example whether he has ever put this hobby he shares with the friend, before family events either in terms of time or budget?
I don't get the sense that you want proof beyond all reasonable doubt, because if you did then the most normal things to have done would have been to verify things for yourself. If you don't want to covertly snoop then I'd suggest asking your husband to show you his phone bills for the past year and his phone/laptop now, before he's had the chance to delete anything. If he's telling the truth about this being a friendship only, he should have nothing to hide. If he won't then I think you've got your answer and I'd personally be amazed if this affair hasn't been going on for at least 8 months. But affairs have very distinct stages and don't just start when something physical has happened.
IME men especially never leave their marriages or threaten to, unless an affair has become physical. So I'd judge that this affair was emotional in nature for a long time and that sexual activity of some sort has taken place within the last 3 months.
Is that true? Do men never leave their marriages unless it has become physical? maybe they find that by even "fancying" and becoming close to someone else it makes them doubt their marriage. it may make them think of things in their marriage that annoy and frustrate them, and build it out of proportion. ie my wife can't work but this other woman can, and look what she can achieve. A high earner who has built all this up on her own.
I think men take many things at face value. They are stimulated by the visual and it makes them think again about what they do have at home, and they can think the grass is greener the other side.
I don't know the answer sweetheart but I do know it is painful, only you can decide whether to sit it out and wait or to take the bull by the horns.
There are real differences between men and women in this respect; not biological but because of socialisation and culture. Men have traditionally been socialised to value sex as being high up in the pecking order of relationship 'needs' whereas (unfortunately) women are socialised to place sex low in the pecking order.
Because in a depressingly high number of relationships, women still do most of the childcare and domestic work men will often only leave relationships if there is another woman to assume that workload, or can provide the means through earnings for someone else to do it all. But many of them will not leave until they are assured of a good sex life with a compatible partner and so it is rare for a man to leave for a woman when there has been no physical contact at all. However, this isn't always penetrative sex - but usually sex in some form has taken place before they will risk leaving.
If we take out the pain and emotions of these decisions for just a moment and look at this logically, it makes sense from a rational decision-making point of view. Sexual compatibility is important for most romantic relationships and it hardly makes any sense to sacrifice so much for something that's an unknown quantity.
Charbon, I understand what you are saying, I was meaning maybe some men think twice about their marriage if they are attracted to another woman and even though nothing physical may have happened there was a connection.
Would they leave their marriage then? Would it make them think"oh maybe I have been unhappy and I could find someone else who I have more in common with?" They may not have realised that they were unhappy but maybe being attracted to someone else brought it to the forefront of their minds? And they are thinking of things that annoy them about their partner? Just a thought.
Would a man leave their marriage then? Even if they had no one to go to? Would a connection to another woman have made them question themselves? Even if nothing came of that attraction? Would he still leave?
I find that really difficult to answer. Not all men are the same. Not all women are the same.
Absolutely not all men and women are the same as their gender socialisations prescribe.
And yes, lots of people think twice about their connection to a spouse once they meet someone else they are attracted to. It is however, in my experience rare for a man to leave or threaten to when there has only been an unconsumated attraction for someone else. I have however known men to leave marriages that were openly abusive and unhappy, without there being anyone else involved at all.
But not marriages like the OP's describing. Not at all. Nor have I ever encountered a man who was in a reasonably content relationship leave simply because he felt a mere spark or an attraction for someone else. Something more than that has always happened, although they might claim otherwise.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
He doesn't respect you at all, OP.
I hope the tide is turning for you emotionally, as you suggest, and you are realising how little he really thinks of you.
Take back some power. Honestly it's degrading for you to play along with happy families over the weekend when he has explicitly stated to you that another woman matters more than you and he won't be challenged about it.
I do understand it's fucking horrible and hard and you probably still can't really believe it, and you don't want to. Sympathies and strength to you, woman.
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