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Cheating DH, 'friend' and my strange domestic set-up.

(123 Posts)
merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 17:37:10

This may be long and will totally out me but wtf. DH lives abroad Monday to Friday and commutes back to the uk at weekends. He's a big-shot lawyer and keeps us (three dc's) in a very comfortable lifestyle.

The whole family had lived there until 6 years ago when dc's and I came back to the Uk as the schooling was poor and my eldest Dd was suffering (she has AS). The kids and I are happy here, lots of new friendships formed and life is good. But not for DH. He's lonely out there and I'm acutely aware that he's sacrificing so much for us; we often have the conversation about him giving it all up but it remains inconclusive.

To get to the point. Two months ago, I got a call from a friend I'd made out there. She had some temping work at Dh's company and fancied a chat.I suggested that she looked DH up and hung out with him as I knew he was lonely, she had been a close and valued friend who was having a horrible time with her H and why the hell not.

The two of them had two lunches followed by an evening out the following week and that, I thought, was that. She emigrated to the Middle East the following week with one of her kids (this had always been on the cards).

The week after their evening out our family went on holiday. A lovely time was had by all; I entertained the kids most of the time but that's our family dynamic, I'm the gregarious one while he does his own thing. At the end of the holiday DH seemed to have developed 'mentionitis' over our mutual friend, so much so that I asked him, almost as a joke, if he'd shagged her. Of course he fucking had. Two days before he came home to us and we all set off together. They had arranged to spend the Saturday together, both of them knowing what would happen, and it did. She phoned him the next day and said she'd fallen in love with him and he responded likewise. Throughout our holiday (which coincided with our twentieth anniversary) they phoned each other, texted and e-mailed. They missed each other you see.

He confessed all this three weeks ago and he's so, so sorry. Can never forgive himself etc. He phoned her straight away and finished it and there has been no further contact (he says). He wants us to begin again and all the rest of it. At the moment I am still in shock. DH is a very successful and clever man and is, clearly, an attractive one. ( 'friend' is extremely attractive). He has always had chronically low self esteem and presents as an honourable and rather quiet chap who is utterly loyal and seems to dote on me and the kids.

But that's all bollocks isn't it? Devoted husbands don't do that. He had a very real cause for complaint in that our sex life has been rubbish for years (I'm on anti-depressants which have killed my libido) but I rather thought that a serious conversation would have been a better solution than shagging one of my mates because "she made me feel good about myself". And don't even get me started on that fucking skank.

So, any thoughts?

lotsgoingon Fri 06-Sep-13 17:41:27

given the scenario you've described, I'd have thought that what happened was pretty much inevitable, sorry.

hmsvictoria Fri 06-Sep-13 17:41:41

I'm so sorry you're going through this, it's a nightmare sad

What happened between him "falling in love" with her and him confessing all to you and saying he was sorry?

Do you believe what he's told you and is telling you now about no contact etc?

And do you think you want to stay with him?

WafflyVersatile Fri 06-Sep-13 17:50:32

I think flying home and back every week for 6 years is pretty devoted actually.

InternationalPower Fri 06-Sep-13 17:58:29

I'm sorry this has happened to you, but I agree with lots. With with their circumstances as you describe, I do think it was more or less inevitable.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:00:35

Inevitable? You may be right, maybe I'm the selfish one. And yes, he has been the best provider imaginable.

He confessed it all without any real prompting from me, I would never have suspected a thing.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:01:02

Inevitable? Why? It is actually perfectly possible for men and women to spend time together and keep their pants on.

HairyGrotter Fri 06-Sep-13 18:02:57

I don't get the whole 'inevitable' thing, what a sad view of people some folk have. He cheated, end of

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:04:15

If he's been there for six years, presumably his loneliness is his own problem. He's had plenty of time to sort out a social life for himself. I think you're being unfairly bashed.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:05:34

How horrible for you. But as others have said, your relationship was already precarious.

Could he look for another job back in the UK as your current relationship clearly isn't sustainable.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:06:48

I suppose you could argue that it was inevitable that I too would cheat (I have had offers). What prevented me was the sheer ingratitude implicit in that, also that I thought my wedding vows actually meant something.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:07:22

I don't think he can be excused for cheating. But, if there's very little sex - well I do think it puts a relationship in a dangerous place.

But he should have spoken to you before it got to this stage.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:08:25

Merlin - I do think the whole mon-fri apart thing puts an enormous strain on relationships.

For both of you.

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 06-Sep-13 18:08:34

Where do you want to go from here, OP?

Do you want to try and work through this? Or do you think that this is the end?

There is a lot to work through, so take it one step at a time. One decision at a time.

It's a good thing that he told you, if you'd never have suspected. At least he was honest. That doesn't excuse what he did, of course, and you'd be completely reasonable to kick him out and refuse to speak to him again.

What is your heart saying? And your head?

WoundUpWanda Fri 06-Sep-13 18:10:54

I'm sure there will be more posts to come so I'll reserve judgment until then- but I think you are perfectly in your rights and he should WANT to stop this set up, to ask he find a job locally and move home.

Irregardless of whether you want to work on your marriage, it stands no chance of doing so whilst he's only there Saturday or Sunday.

PenelopePitstops Fri 06-Sep-13 18:11:24

Cheating is cheating end of. Lack of sex isn't an excuse.

On the other hand he had sex once.

Perhaps he needs to move back to the UK?

Don't make any major decisions yet.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:14:53

My heart and head are all over the shop. Did I deserve all this? Maybe I did. I should also add that he is a very cool and controlled individual; the sex may have been rubbish but I have had to do without affection, or even approval, for a very long time. I have also brought up the kids single-handedly.

defineme Fri 06-Sep-13 18:15:49

Nothing is inevitable. There were many many other solutions to loneliness/no sex than adultery with a close friend... Personally I would have thought having a wank and joining some clubs would have been a more appropriate solution in the short term and long term looking for another job at home so he could work on relationship he's committed to and his children.

I's up to you op.If I could forgive, everything would have to start again from scratch and that would include work/living arrangements.
You'd be perfectly within your rights to file for divrfce.

WoundUpWanda Fri 06-Sep-13 18:16:40

The more I look at it, he needs to come home and I'm concerned as to why he hasn't started making plans to in the wake of all this.

If you don't want this and are fine as you are- then I would say it's time to call it a day. I don't see what you'd be getting out of this relationship, especially a Friday to Sunday one with a cheating bastard. Apart from funds and your lifestyle maintained? But you could apply for spousal support, hefty maintenance and get sole custody of kids.

alterego2 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:16:54

The fact that some people see it as inevitable doesn't make it any less painful. I am sorry for what you must be suffering merlincat

My husband sounds very much like yours - quiet, apparently honourable, a family man. Two years ago, he had an affair - with his secretary. What a cliche.

These things are not inevitable - they are the result of choices that have been made. Decisions that have been taken.

Right now, you need to try and make sense of what you have learned. And then you need to try and work out if you want him to go, or if you want to try and make a go of things. Neither route is easy but it is your choice. If he is away every week anyway then at least his absence will give you the headspace to try and work out what you want to happen next.

FWIW we are trying to work things out. It is not easy but it was the choice we made.

Badvoc Fri 06-Sep-13 18:22:10

What, exactly, are you getting from this relationship other than a comfortable lifestyle op?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:25:10

Has your DH said he's now looking to change job/location after his big revelation? The current situation clearly isn't working for either of you so I'd be expecting him to do that at the very least.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 06-Sep-13 18:25:51

Why would somebody be in love with somebody one day then call the next and finish the affair/ not be in love.
OP, your dh could have said no, even though many would say it was inevitable.
Him being away and very little time for you and the dc will have taken its toll over the 6 years you have been back here again.
This is no excuse for what he has done.
If you want him back and to try again I would suggest insisting he works in this country and becomes a family man. There is no reason why you should be the sole carer for your dc. I know sometimes one parent does more than the other but he should want a good relationship and to care for his dc. Considering he has a very good job, he should find work here easily.

MakeHayIsAWhaleNow Fri 06-Sep-13 18:27:06

Inevitable? Really? As a pp said, he made a choice - could have chosen not to.

So sorry, OP. Positives? At least he came clean....

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:29:15

It's made me realise that I love him, much more than I realised. If we stay together it will require a complete reworking of our relationship. In a nutshell, he wants intimacy and I want warmth. It's almost too late for his relationship with the kids, they're intimidated by him, most people are.

Looking at it objectively you have been leading very separate lives for years, and it is very hard to sustain a relationship under those circumstances.

If you both want to make things work you probably can, although the one shag thing may be a red herring. Most men who cheat minimise and I'd assume there is a lot more to it than that.

If he's still out there, and so is she, it isn't over.

The biggest question is do you want to work things out?

morethanpotatoprints Fri 06-Sep-13 18:30:47

Sorry OP.

How old are your dc and do they acknowledge their father much? I ask as bringing them up single handedly they must have an opinion on him being away and not being a family man.

LondonNinja Fri 06-Sep-13 18:32:22

Jeez. It's not fucking inevitable. No, no, no. He had a choice.
OP, I hope you can work through this.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Fri 06-Sep-13 18:32:34

Saying its inevitable is not the same as saying its ok, or acceptable.
He has been living alone, apart from his family, for years. He's unhappy and lonely. He sees his wife on weekends who is also unhappy and does not want to sleep with him (her prerogative, of course). He doesn't get to spend much time with the children he works hard to provide for.
After YEARS of this, an attractive woman showed an interest in him and he cheated. He admitted this very soon after. Is it ok? no. Is it something you can get over? Up to you. But is it understandable? I have to say yes, it is.
and it has nothing to do with him being a man, I'd say the same if it was the other way around.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:33:47

That's very sad about your children - must say that would hurt me more I think than a one-off shag.

Would he move back to the UK to save his relationship with you and your children?

Whocansay Fri 06-Sep-13 18:34:00

I think it says a lot that he came clean, when he could have kept his mouth shut and you may never have known. That sounds like real remorse to me.

It was not 'inevitable', however hmm.

What do you want to do, OP?

Biscuitsneeded Fri 06-Sep-13 18:36:21

I think it's interesting that you were the one who encouraged your friend to make contact with your husband. Are you sure your motives were 100% altruistic, or is it possible on some unconscious level you knew this would happen and wanted it to happen, because then you would be the one 'sinned against' and he would be the bad guy. When actually your relationship doesn't sound that great and maybe you are no longer able to live with the pretence. I'm not judging, it's kind of where I am too... By the way I'm not implying that men and women shouldn't meet up for platonic reasons - I have two fantastic platonic male friends - but I wonder if you knew that they would both be tempted.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:36:49

They are Dd1 (17 and As), Ds 15 and Dd2 12. The older girl doesn't like him as she is very judgemental of his cold manner. The other two love him but are wary. I was always sorry that she couldn't see through his reserve to the utterly decent man beneath. That view has taken a bit of a beating, obviously.

Badvoc Fri 06-Sep-13 18:38:20

He intimidates your dc, and has cheated in you.
Sounds like a keeper hmm
LTB

What has prompted you to post this now OP? I mean, how have things been in the 3 weeks since he confessed? Is he coming home this weekend (tonight)? How are things between you right now?

I am not usually one to jump right on the LTB bandwagon so I am happy to see it hasn't come around on this thread yet.

Ha! Massive ironic x-post with Badvoc there.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:41:59

I still don't understand why he's allegedly lonely when he's lived there for six years. That really isn't your fault or responsibility.

FWIW, I think if you do ultimately decide to try and give your relationship a go, you need to be living together as a proper couple and a proper family. The current way won't cut it any more. Intimacy and warmth need a certain amount of proximity.

MissStrawberry Fri 06-Sep-13 18:43:03

I find it really sad that some people appear to be saying it was inevitable that he shagged someone else as he was away from home, not getting any sex with his wife and spent time with another woman.

What happened to forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, doing the right thing and being a decent person?

If you don't get regular sex your dick doesn't fall off. If you want it you be a grown up and talk to your spouse.

You also need to think whether you want him back for you as well as it is the right thing to have him back for the children.

It sounds like the op was quite satisfied with the arrangement of a wkend relationship and infrequent sex. He wasn't. He has fucked up big time and i feel for the op who is shocked but now is a chance for her to decide if she wants a full time marriage or not.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:44:41

Biscuits, no. It never occurred to me in my worst nightmares that this would happen. My female friendships are what keep me sane. I honestly believed that they would enjoy each others company, most of his friends are women- large parts of his weekends in the Uk are spent with his female friends.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:44:41

Biscuits, no. It never occurred to me in my worst nightmares that this would happen. My female friendships are what keep me sane. I honestly believed that they would enjoy each others company, most of his friends are women- large parts of his weekends in the Uk are spent with his female friends.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:46:12

You are right MissStrawberry he should have discussed if he wasn't happy with the lack of sex - am presuming he hadn't? But I do think if there is no/little sex, well it puts a marriage in a very vulnerable place if that's not something both partners are happy with.

But he absolutely should have talked to the OP about how he was feeling.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:47:39

Merlin - so are you around when he sees these friends at weekends? Or does he go off and seem them during the limited amount of time you have as a couple/family?

I'm really struggling to see what you get from this relationship other than being comfortably provided for.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 18:48:08

A lot of people seem to be implying that it's the OP's responsibility to repair the relationship. With a man who has, she says, been the one who has been cold and unresponsive. And isn't particularly interested in a holiday with those children he 'works so hard to support'....

But you have traded your husband for a comfortable lifestyle, why do you complain?

You have however also made a choice for your children to live without a father, so you can be kept in comfort without him around.

Not sure what you want now.

It is her choice to repair it, not her responsibility.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 18:50:36

No Mrscampbell, I'm not around then. It's his 'quality time'.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:51:26

MI - I think the OP's husband should be the one making the big gesture, ie, moving back in with his family.

If that's what she wants - not sure it is though?

Badvoc Fri 06-Sep-13 18:51:46

"Quality time" = shagging around now, does it?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 18:52:56

Hmmm, Merlin - it really doesn't sound like he adds much to your life apart from money. Well I'd be consulting a very good divorce solicitor if I were you.

MissStrawberry Fri 06-Sep-13 18:55:21

It really is twatty to talk about quality time and me time. Who exactly gets this "quality time"? Is it everyone but you?

BetsyBell Fri 06-Sep-13 18:56:10

That he's being honest with you is hugely important here. It means that he is acknowledging responsibility for his actions. You now need to decide what you want to do. If you both still want to be together then it is possible to move on, eventually.

It would seem to be a good time to decide on where to go career-wise too. Have it all out and make a new future, either together or individually - whichever you both feel is right.

How long were you planning to live apart for? How did it get to six years?

escape Fri 06-Sep-13 19:06:36

I completely understand how easy it is to slide into less than conventional domestic set ups, and how time can truly fly past..
Have been there / am there.
OP - you say you have re-evaluated everything after this 'shock' - ( to badly paraphrase) What have your discussions with H been since the discovery.

Dahlen Fri 06-Sep-13 19:06:42

I don't think you can make any decisions about what you want to do right now. You are hurt and angry. You need time to work through that before you can decide a resolution that is going to affect the rest of both your lives and those of your DC.

I would advise you to do that without him around (he should spend the time thinking, too), since seeing each other will make it much more difficult to think rationally. It will take as long as it takes, but you could set a time limit if you think it will help you both know where you are, even if it's just to decide that you need more time.

No one on here knows if this is a case of a good man who's done a bad thing that your marriage can come back from, or whether you're much better off without being married to a cold, controlling man. That's for you to work out.

The one thing both of you need to accept though, is that life will never be the same again. If you decide to continue with your marriage, it is imperative that you both recognise that it will need to be new marriage, renegotiated in a way that's fair to you all and capable of meeting both your needs.

I'm so sorry you're hurting at the moment and hope you find the clarity and support you need. flowers

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:09:00

The answer is that neither of us knew. He is very senior in his organisation and is, rightly, proud of that. We have both become so polarised in our lives; I'm the 'people person' with the chaotic past (I'm a recovering alcoholic, sober for 20 years) but have had to deal with the struggles of my AS daughter and all the heartbreak involved with that. He is the jet-setting executive. It seems such a mis-match when I see it written down but it did seem to work. I honestly love and, still, respect him for all he has done for us.

TheLightPassenger Fri 06-Sep-13 19:12:24

excellent post dahlen.

gotadifferentnamenow Fri 06-Sep-13 19:13:03

I don't mean to minimise what he's done at all, but the greedy cynicism of the "take him to the cleaners" posts leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth.

TeaLadyExtraordinaire Fri 06-Sep-13 19:14:20

I am sorry to say this but I am surprised that it didn't happen sooner. I would have thought that 6 years of commuting like that would put a strain on the most devoted of marriages.

I hope you can sort it out OP.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:16:26

I would never advocate a visit to the cleaners. He has devoted his life to me and the kids and I will always love him for that. The money is nice but I want a loving relationship much, much more.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 06-Sep-13 19:17:39

I had a devoted DP who worked away. Adored me. Worshipped the ground I walked on. Couldn't wait to get back to me in the UK

Until I found out he'd been living with another woman for over a year over there

Someone said the word "inevitable" up thread. I didn't used to think it was. Now I'm not so sure

Sorry you're going through this OP. If I had the answers I would give them to you

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:20:11

Rather oddly, we have been at it like middle-aged rabbits since the revelation. So that's good.

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 06-Sep-13 19:20:31

Must be reading a different thread gotadifferentnamenow as I have missed those posts...

As for inevitable, really? If he is following a Neighbours script as he lives his life then perhaps. If he is a human being with free will, not so much.

Good luck OP, sounds like you want to work through things. Hope that is possible.

Merlin google hysterical bonding, it's a very very normal stage that couples go through.

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 06-Sep-13 19:25:22

Predictable rather than inevitable maybe BitOutOfPractice? A cliche?

Badvoc Fri 06-Sep-13 19:29:19

He shags around, you forgive him and have lots of sex with him.
Ok.
Hope it's all goes well for you and your dc.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 06-Sep-13 19:29:34

Maybe if I weren't so jaded alark I might agree with you wink

I guess so. I mean I didn't cheat on him while he was away so I guess it's not inevitable. So, reluctantly, I'll give you that one <magnanimous>

merlin I'm not sure suddenly jumping into bed with him will make you feel better in the long term

ChelseaBun Fri 06-Sep-13 19:31:41

Sadly all too often I have seen this in marriages where the husband works abroad. I saw up close in the petchem industry, men who had their wives and kids at home in the UK and a "second wife" set up abroad.

I think a marriage can survive a year or so of living separately but when it becomes long term, they lose a certain intimacy, and I'm not talking about sex.

Merlin if you should decide you want this marriage to work, you might want to look at why you're on A/Ds. Was/is your unhappiness linked to your DH?

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:35:57

The medication is because of my Dd1.

YoniMatopoeia Fri 06-Sep-13 19:36:31

Oh Merlin. So sorry to hear that you are going through this sad

You NEED to get 'Just good friends' by shirley glass. It is mainly aimed at couples who are going to stay together, but is useful even if that is not the final outcome.

If he is at all wanting to fix this (and if that is still what you want) then he needs to come back to a job in the UK.

Please remember that this is NOT your fault. it was HIS choice to do this.

gotadifferentnamenow Fri 06-Sep-13 19:38:05

Yeah, merlin, I didn't mean you. More than anything else, I think you sound like you want to make it work with your H, although I agree with those who say take your time making such big decisions.

Alark, I was thinking of this post

"I don't see what you'd be getting out of this relationship, especially a Friday to Sunday one with a cheating bastard. Apart from funds and your lifestyle maintained? But you could apply for spousal support, hefty maintenance and get sole custody of kids."

and this one

"Hmmm, Merlin - it really doesn't sound like he adds much to your life apart from money. Well I'd be consulting a very good divorce solicitor if I were you."

But I admit I know absolutely nothing at all of how it is to live off someone else's money, comfortably or otherwise, ex or current partner. <shrug>

ChelseaBun Fri 06-Sep-13 19:40:20

Merlin I'm sorry to hear about your Dd1. Have you heard from your so called friend in all this?

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:44:37

No. I never want to see her or think about her again. He's the cheater and all that but she is just beyond the pale.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 19:49:52

I suggested seeing a good divorce lawyer and I don't think that's being greedy. Its about ensuring a fair financial settlement is reached which reflects that the OP has been married for a long time and brought up the children largely single-handedly.

I would always advocate saving a relationship if possible and its what both partners want. However, if a relationship can't be saved its sensible to seek a fair settlement.

Me23 Fri 06-Sep-13 19:50:15

This isnt a marriage, I cant believe he spends the limited time he has in the country with his female friends and
not with you and the kids.

All he seems to be is a way for you to live comfortably. If you really meant more to each other then he would have found a job here years ago with a salary cut if necessary. It seems like money was more important than a relationship and a family. That is really sad and materialistic.

LondonNinja Fri 06-Sep-13 19:51:43

Yes, but he chose to sleep with her and shit all over his vows. He's worse.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 19:52:15

And I don't think its living off someone else's money when you're in a partnership. Especially one as the OP describes.

ChelseaBun Fri 06-Sep-13 19:52:20

merlin, when I was on A/Ds I lost my libido spectacularly. The effect it had on my fiancée at the time was awful. His self esteem went through the floor. He was decent about the lack of sex for a long time because he was an honourable man.

It's not the lack of sex that does the damage but the rejection - whether it's a man or woman. I don't wish to make you feel bad but the lack of sex might have some bearing on his low self esteem.

Apart from feeling outraged at his infidelity, do you genuinely feel sexually jealous of him having sex with someone else? I guess I'm trying to work out if there is still some passion between you two? I know you love and respect him but is there still a spark?

Badvoc Fri 06-Sep-13 19:53:24

Yeah....it's ALL her fault.
Fucking hell, he has done a number on you hasn't he?
sad

ChelseaBun Fri 06-Sep-13 19:56:58

Badvoc, nowhere has Merlin suggested it is all the OWs fault. And it doesn't sound like DH has tried to put the m blame on the OW but has taken responsibility for his actions.

In Merlin's position, I wouldn't give this friend the time of day.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:59:19

Fuck me, I'm not some lady-who-lunches swanning around while my poor downtrodden spouse grafts away all alone. I have lived with the agony of an autistic child and have done my very best with The other two. They are happy and well-adjusted kids who are aware of the sacrifices made by their dad because I remind them on a daily basis. Please don't characterise me as a greedy wife.

hysterical bonding
Before you shag him again, have a read and reflect on your motives. I admit I felt pretty betrayed by my own feelings when I realised I had been in the hysterical bonding phase.

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 06-Sep-13 20:01:50

Me neither gotadifferentname <reflects shrug>

However 17yrs raising a child with SEN has the potential to impact upon your earning potential & career options I would guess. Not to mention relocating to accommodate the needs of others. I would hope the courts would acknowledge this if the OP decides to split from her DH. If it took a good lawyer to point it out to them so be it.

BitOut maybe I am being idealistic!

Badvoc Fri 06-Sep-13 20:02:42

Really?
Add message | Report | Message poster merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 19:44:37 He's the cheater and all that but she is just beyond the pale.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 20:03:24

Merlin - it wasn't you she was suggesting was greedy, rather my advice.

Which I still stand by. I don't care if someone on here thinks I'm greedy. Yes I may be cynical but I think its prudent to see a good solicitor if you do decide to divorce. Not sure how its more noble to get an unfair settlement to be honest, but that may just be me.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 20:07:27

Badvoc, I am not blaming the OW. It was his choice, she owes me nothing.

ChelseaBun Fri 06-Sep-13 20:09:02

What the friend did was beyond the pale. And Merlin may decide that what her husband did was beyond the pale also and the marriage will be over.

But twenty years of marriage with three kids needs to be given more consideration than a friendship of a few years duration.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 20:10:04

I think you're slightly exaggerating the sacrifices he's made. He has an interesting well-paid job, he doesn't particularly want to interact with you and the kids so it isn't a problem being away, he spends his weekends doing his own thing, he's had six years to forge a social life if he really wanted to...where's the sacrifice?

SPBisResisting Fri 06-Sep-13 20:15:07

This is a sad thread. I feel sorry for both the op and her dh

Dirtymistress Fri 06-Sep-13 20:18:13

I don't think either of you have behaved very well. His shagging someone else is unacceptable but your failure to address both his unhappiness with being separated from his family coupled with the lack of intimacy in your relationship doesn't reflect well on you either. It seems you have been burying your head in the sand. His confession seems to me to be a plea for your attention rather than anything else. Your marriage needed shaking up. It has been. You need to begin again, whether that is with him, or without him, is your choice.

WhatWillSantaBring Fri 06-Sep-13 20:18:24

OP, I'm so sorry to hear you've had to deal with this. It sounds really hard, proabaly more so than if it was a conventional set up.

I've been an expat and seen what happens- sadly all too common, BUT marriages do survive. How happy each spouse is I've never worked out, but there does seem to be a certain "acceptance" that this happens. I'm not saying its right at all, more than the moral compass in a lot of the expat world seems to be centred slightly differently, so I think some expats forget that cheating is cheating.

Having also known several senior partners in my time, I've seen what happens to their personalities. I think there can be a long term affect of being treated like a deity at work (partners never get questioned, can treat people like shit and the working world is 100% centred around pandering to their egos) that means partners can become very narcissistic and self centred. Adjusting back to family life is a tough one. The flip side is the very handsome pay.

I'm not condoning any of this- just trying to say that this does sound "normal" for the fucked up world of expat lawyers. So perhaps, OP, it's not just a case of looking at your particular marriage, because I'm not sure that anything would change if he came home. He'd still be absent during the week )due to the long hours culture) and still have the same personality. All that would change is that you would know where he was sleeping. And it doesn't sound like that would be enough for you?

None of this is your fault. Don't let anyone make you think it is. Hugs.

MissStrawberry Fri 06-Sep-13 20:19:51

hmm at DirtyMistress.

Are you?

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 20:20:24

It is sad. It should never have come to this. The money has not made either of us happy, I do love him though, hope it's not too late.

WhatWillSantaBring Fri 06-Sep-13 20:20:25

I think some of the posters are being really harsh on you, OP. He's a grown up (allegedly) and you can't be blamed for the choices he's made.

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 20:22:34

Does he miss his family? And I still don't understand why he's so lonely. Are you expected to sort out his social life?

motherinferior Fri 06-Sep-13 20:23:40

If he was that unhappy he could have got another job, surely. Not your fault he didn't.

merlincat Fri 06-Sep-13 20:24:57

whatwillsantabring, thank you. And I will gladly accept your hug.

quietlysuggests Fri 06-Sep-13 20:28:32

Listen, its just not sustainable in the long term to be married to someone and not share your life with them. Of course your children don't seem to love him, they don't know him. You really did, both of you, sacrifice your marriage on the altar of money. And don't say your antidepressants are because of dd, when its much more likely that they are because you cannot cope with your level of stress, with the level of support you have. I mean, how come your dd gets to be the cause of your depression, and not the husband you hardly ever see?

You can forgive this if you see that you both sleep walked into this.

Summon him home to the same country as you and get him to actually live with his family. Stop ignoring his loneliness, and your need for greater support.

Live on less money.
Be happier.

Bakingnovice Fri 06-Sep-13 20:32:49

I feel sad for you both. And from what I've read it seems like there is something worth trying to save. It can't have been easy for you all these years, but he too has missed out on all those precious years and memories with his family. I hope you get your warmth.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 06-Sep-13 20:32:50

Merlin - I hope you can work it out and that you get the support you need.

Good luck.

Me23 Fri 06-Sep-13 20:42:29

Yes quietly that is the point I was trying to make. Op I hope you manage to be happy with or without him.

LittleMilla Fri 06-Sep-13 21:51:41

Been lurking but just wanted to pipe up.

Firstly Merlin, I'm very sorry that you're in this situation.

I want to say something about the money though. It's highly unlikely that her DH will be happy to take a lesser paid job so he can work closer to come. As Santa said, it's as much about status etc as money. And if he's a senior lawyer then he'll still work stupid hours. He's used to achieving. A lot. And that innate desire won't just disappear. It's in some people's make up and he'll likely end up severely depressed if he doesn't have the thing that seems to define his personality.

I don't have any answers I'm afraid. But I just wanted to try and defend the op (and her DH) as it really doesn't sound like it's all about the money. And that by removing the money it'll magically make everything better. Cause it won't.

WoundUpWanda Fri 06-Sep-13 22:53:06

Jesus Christ- he cheats on you, you seem to think 'OW' is the one beyond the pale, intimidates his children, and you reward him with a shitload of sex?

Things aren't going to change. You want your lifestyle and you like your part time set up with him, he's going to keep working abroad and the head will be turned again and you'll be back- knowing what you should do, but not doing it.

Good luck.

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 07:52:50

Thanks everyone, this is all very helpfull. I accept the criticism that have sleep-walked into this and that our set-up has to change. I also acknowledge that, having happened once, these events will almost certainly happen again if we carry on as we are.

My instincts are that he should return to the UK whether we stay together or not. He still has a good few decades left to him and he shouldn't have to spend them as a wage slave. Not sure what this weekend will bring.

InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 08:03:06

Morning merlin, I'm glad you're back.

I was one of the early posters to suggest that it was "inevitable" but I didn't for a minute mean that it was your "fault". He is obviously responsible for his actions.

For other posters who are convinced that a man and a woman can have dinner without it coming to this, they are probably right where they both (or at least one of them) happy with their lot and will be returning to a secure relationship where they feel loved and valued. Where they are both unhappy and feeling unloved and where alcohol is (probably) involved I don't think it is any surprise. It's not right or OK, but it's not surprising. IMO anyone who believes otherwise is either very young, is burying their head in the sand or has lived a spectacularly charmed life.

TBH (assuming this is the first time) he probably didn't realise how unhappy he was until he was in a situation which made him feel happy, even if just for a short time. That's a very strong pull.

There is one thing worrying me though. Who are these women he spends his precious weekends with? Why is having time together not more important to you and him? If he's been this unhappy for 6 years and is close to other women, I'd be amazed if it hasn't happened before. Sorry.

I hope you all find a way to be properly happy, whether that's together or apart

alarkthatcouldpray Sat 07-Sep-13 08:07:04

What a horrid thread. Why are posters being so hard on the OP?

Presumably she didn't force her husband to take a job abroad. She takes treatment for her depression which affects her libido, what is she supposed to do? To look after three children on your own for years and years requires you to be at the top of your game, not a weeping wreck. A bit more support from DH at weekends might have improved things on the libido front.

Then it is implied she is greedy. Because her husband earns well?

I am puzzled by the victim blaming. Are people jealous of her wealth? Have no particular axe to grind or experience of this but am sympathetic - hugs from me too OP. Hope you can work out where to go from here. I agree with those who say you have to live together to work through this properly.

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 08:22:45

Thank you both. You're right that the medication has been all about keeping me at the top of my game with the kids. Unless you have a child with AS it's really impossible to describe the anxiety that eats away at you. I suppose being Fun Mum was one way of tackling that. The GP did clearly recognise my depression though. I've actually been taking them for 8 years; while we were all together out there. The role of 'coper' doesn't really suit me, alcoholics aren't very robust people.

alarkthatcouldpray Sat 07-Sep-13 08:33:37

Pretty much everyone in stressful situations has a crutch of some sort merlin. Drugs (prescribed or otherwise), alcohol, cigs, a career or hobby they become addicted to, tons of family support, extra-marital affair... Please don't feel guilty about your crutch which is the best you could have chosen under the circumstances.

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 09:30:57

Regarding the OW, do you think I am justified in feeling angry with her too? I know that DH is responsible for what he did and the blame sits squarely with him, I really do mean that, but she was supposed to be my friend! I sat for hours listening to her marital woes and she supported me with my worries over Dd1. In what universe is that an acceptable way for an adult woman to behave?

Offred Sat 07-Sep-13 09:34:53

I think you are entitled to blame her for betraying your friendship but not your marriage IYSWIM. I think you have to be careful not to focus too much on her too.

Another one here who thinks he does not sound like a prize tbh. Every post about him makes him sound worse and worse I think. On the weekends he needs 'quality time'?! Wtf?!

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 09:47:46

Point taken Offred. Desperate people do desperate things I guess and I can't bring myself to hate her, it's not my style.

The conclusion I am coming to is that he just isn't cut out for domesticity; he's a very emotionally austere man, a loner. And I'm not. No blame on either side really, just a profound mistake.

InternationalPower Sat 07-Sep-13 10:05:08

Tbh he doesn't sound like a loner to me. I don't think a loner would seek out the company of groups of women at the weekend. He seems to have removed himself emotionally from your marriage and family, but i don't think that can necessarily be attributed to his character type. Have I missed the bit about who these women are?

merlincat Sat 07-Sep-13 10:09:25

They are close friends, both in relationships. He doesn't enjoy male company despite being a bit of an alpha-male.

Lazyjaney Sat 07-Sep-13 11:04:33

The conclusion I am coming to is that he just isn't cut out for domesticity; he's a very emotionally austere man, a loner. And I'm not. No blame on either side really, just a profound mistake

Working away from home for years plus no sex at home would probably lead to this situation no matter what sort of person he was, except a eunuch. It's the setup, not the person here.

TheLightPassenger Sat 07-Sep-13 11:08:48

I agree that very long distance relationships are more vulnerable, but I agree with motherinferior that I don't see that the dh sounds in need of pity or sympathy, even at the weekends he doesn't focus on family life by the sound of things. Good luck OP whatever you decide

The ow has betrayed you massively too op. of course you are reeling. It is a terrible thing for a 'friend' you are helping to do.

Platinumstart Sat 07-Sep-13 13:21:27

Crikey - no idea why merlin is getting such a hard time. Actually I lie, of course I do, you have committed the MN cardinal sin of being wealthy and despite the fact you have clearly devoted your life to a difficult parenting role you are being cast as the greedy, money grabbing wife who gets what you deserved hmm

You're raising three kids single handedly whilst on anti Ds due to his lack of support, and aren't having regularl sex because he is emotionally and physically absent. If he was a factory worker from Hull people would be falling over themselves to sympathise but because you're perceived as a kept woman fuckit put the boot in hmm

I'm so sorry you're going through this OP, both your DH and "friend" are tossers. Of course you are right to be furious with them both

I hope you can work out what you want.

stripytopgirl Sat 07-Sep-13 13:52:52

omg, merlin, i can't believe some of the answers you are getting to this problem.
I read the first few posts and was so angry I had to go away, come back and now I'm posting this....

can you remember your wedding vows? where you promised fidelity and love etc etc? at any point did either of you say 'I can make these promises as long as we live together 7 days a week?'
and what about the 'sickness and health' part? you've been depressed, that's sick! it's not an excuse for him to shag someone else because your libido has dipped is it????

none of this is YOUR fault, you said it yourself, he had a FUCKING choice! he could have remedied this situation by contacting you/putting the brakes on contact with OW/changing the situation as soon as he realised the current set up had caused his eyes to wander....but he didn't!!! it doesn't matter if he's a good provider, father, etc, does it?if he was he'd be a good husband and he'd have stuck to his vows, wouldn't he?

it is particularly upsetting to me that you're now at the stage of 'hysterical bonding'and realise how much you love him, but the OW is much disliked. why does he get away with it and she doesn't? she didn't make you promises in your wedding day, he did.

I don't know what advice to give re job change/ltb but ffs, please respect yourself because your husband isn't respecting you. you deserve so much better than this from what I can tell in your posts things haven't been easy. surely there is someone irl who can echo what I'm saying?

Sorry if this is harsh,I really feel for you and I'm sending you hugs.

currentlyconfuseddotcom Sat 07-Sep-13 14:01:59

merlincat, you've very eloquent. I'm so sorry that you have been betrayed in this way.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 07-Sep-13 14:55:15

Merlin you are allowed to be angry at OW and your DH.
He betrayed you -end of. No matter how bad things are in a relationship you should never ever cheat , one time or a hundred times. He should have had the balls to talk to you before anything happening.
You need time and space from him. Ask him to stay away for a few weekends or make arrangements that when he is back you go out, let him be dad and give yourself a break, you deserve it/need it.

Lazyjaney Sat 07-Sep-13 16:40:57

Can you remember your wedding vows? where you promised fidelity and love etc etc? at any point did either of you say 'I can make these promises as long as we live together 7 days a week

There's another bit to the vows, to have and to hold, which seems often forgotten on MN.

In the real world, once sex ebbs out of a relationship, it becomes vulnerable, and increasingly so over time.

PeachesForMe Sat 07-Sep-13 16:52:58

Hang on, you say he has devoted his life to you and the children...except he very, very much hasn't. To do that requires presence, and you say you have brought them up alone and they are a bit scared of him. He has shown no devotion and it would worry me if you were my friend that you were rewriting him as some sort of paragon. Even if this is a set-up you have both encouraged or have both put up with or whatever, it is not devotion!

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