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Is it possible to move on from an affair?

(83 Posts)
mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:09:03

I found out just over 4 months ago that my husband had been having an affair with a much younger colleague. To say it came as a huge shock is something of an under statement- I've known him for most of my life and thought I knew him better than anyone.

At the time he moved out and, after a lot of soul searching, I decided to try again. Over the last few months though I have uncovered the depth of the affair. Including details of how many times they had sex, initially he swore that hadn't happened.
I have two daughters and feel wretched for them. I also really deeply love my husband - this in itself makes me feel weak and desperate. How pathetic am I??!
He is entrenched in my history and I never imagined being in this situation. He is trying to make amends but we are so uneasy with each other. If feels like we take one step forward and two back all the time.
To write down the extent of my excruciating pain would take forever. A million thoughts, ideas and images trawl through my mind constantly.
I read a lot of threads on here by women in my position. I know I'm not alone.
I read on another thread yesterday about how you should have a 'bottom line' of what you will not accept. In truth, what he has done falls below that bottom line. I feel so torn though- I feel I should give things more time and not make a hasty decision. But I am just so do tired and exhausted of feeling so utterly bewildered.
I'm also aware though that divorce on grounds of adultery you have a 6 month window- if we do divorce I bloody well want the truth on that certificate!!!!
I'm sorry for the ramble. Do i make any sense????
I suppose what I really want to know is can you ever really recover? Or am I going to live with this haunting us and never able to truly move on? My heart is just broken and I feel so so sad.

itwillgetbettersoon Thu 03-Oct-13 16:20:54

Mrscraig, I'm not sure whether you recover from such betrayal from someone you thought you could trust but you can move on. It is like a death, you wonder how you will continue with life but ultimately humans are very strong and we continue.

My STBXH also had an affair with a younger colleague (20 yrs age gap). Eventually I kicked him out as I couldn't trust him, he was still working with her and also was still in touch with her. He now lives with her And most of the time I think she is welcome to him. In 14 yrs time he will be 60 and she will be 40 that is a huge gap I think. Most of the time I am happier. There are occasions when I think I miss him - or rather - the life we had but I try to think if other things as it isn't helpful.

It is hard. I have lost friends because of it and have gone from a full social life to rarely bring able to go out. Couple friends we had do not invite me out so that is sad.

I'm not sure what you should do in the long run. I found I was driving to work crying every day that's when I knew he had to go.

Good luck x

Jan45 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:21:03

You are making perfect sense, esp under such stressful circumstances. 4 months is nothing. It doesn't sound like he left for long? Perhaps you need more time on your own, it's hard to fathom out what you want when the person who has caused you so much pain is there, constantly.

Some people can recover from an affair, others can't, you probably don't know yet what bracket you fall in but one thing is for sure, the trust is broken forever so even if you do stay with him, you will always have that piece of broken that can't be glued together again.

I think you need time out from him, even when confronted he swore there was no sex, what else has he sworn that is not true.

You are not pathetic for being loyal and loving your husband, he's the big let down, not you!

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:26:02

I cry on the way to work too. And been known to let out ear piercing screams!
I am so so torn. Some days are good and I think I see light at the end of the tunnel, others are just wretched and full of despair.
My self esteem and sense of worth is on the floor. You probably wouldn't think that if you knew me. I feel my life is a constant charade.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:28:04

Itwillgetbettersoon- did you initially try again with your husband.
I'm so pleased you're happier now. Being truly, heart singingly happy seems a long long way off for me.

meditrina Thu 03-Oct-13 16:29:31

You don't have to decide straight away.

If you separate before the 6mons is up, you can still use adultery as a grounds. But if your personal timings are different, it can still feature in an unreasonable behaviour petition. Do not let the legal timelines override your personal ones.

Reconciliation is bloody hard, and you have bipoth to be utterly committed to it. It's not surprising that, after only 4 months you are still unsure what is best. There is no crystal ball about what course of action will bring you enduring contentment. Take all the time you need now. You don't sound ready to make such a big decision. There's no timetable for when you will be.

ScrewtapesOppositeNumber Thu 03-Oct-13 16:31:02

I don't have any emotional advice but I would say - PLEASE don't force yourself to stick to the time window of 6 months to file for adultery. Filing for adultery gets you no advantages whatsoever (in terms of settlement etc.) and you can file for unreasonable behaviour at a later date. All it does it put pressure on you and raise the risk that you make the wrong decision.

You're not pathetic. Good luck.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:36:38

I suppose wanting to get to 'adultery' on the certificate is pretty vengeful. I want their bloody names on there so it's their shame, not mine.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:39:42

I found out 6 weeks ago they had had sex. I feel like such a massive fool. He swore on our girls lives they hadn't. I believed him. I am completely humiliated.

joblot Thu 03-Oct-13 16:39:47

I'm very sorry you're in such limbo. What you need perhaps is him to be honest now at least about why and how he is going to make amends. I'd want massive effort on his behalf and major changes. Or it'd have to be over. He's treated you like shit, can you be sure he won't do so again?

ScrewtapesOppositeNumber Thu 03-Oct-13 16:40:48

Yeah, except it doesn't actually matter what's on the certificate. No one ever sees it. Lawyers have seen it all before (and then some, believe me) and are not interested. Bit of a pointless revenge, really. Surely the point is to get a divorce in a manner convenient for you. Also, if you name the other woman in the divorce then you make her a party to the divorce, which means she will be sent copies of absolutely everything that happens as part of the divorce. Also, she could be very obstructive if she felt like it. If you see a solicitor, s/he will explain that to you more clearly.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:42:17

He is trying....for now. I've read on here that the ones who have the affair put least into marriage and take most out. That was him really. Didn't see it at the time, it's as clear as day now. Now, I would say its more equal.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:44:41

Does it make me spiteful that I want her to see the consequence of their actions? I know it sounds spiteful and I'm putting blame on her- I'm really not but I can't help feeling that I want her humiliated too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 16:44:44

I'm so sorry you're in such a wretched situation. I can only give you my personal experience which is that 'no', it's not possible to come back from having been so badly betrayed. I did exactly what you are doing at the time and vacillated between being desperate about the future, wanting to kick him out and feeling I ought to give it another try. I recognise the screaming and the million thoughts going through your head. It's panic, grief, anger and it's not conducive to making any kind of rational decision.

In my case, once he came back I felt relieved, the panic subsided and I thought we might have a chance. But one day, I woke up (figuratively and literally) looked at him with fresh eyes and realised that I despised what he'd made me become.... pathetically grateful for someone else's cast-offs.

Don't be anyone's second choice.. Good luck

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 16:46:02

"Does it make me spiteful that I want her to see the consequence of their actions?"

It's human to cast blame but it's not her actions that are causing you pain, it's his decisions. Go after the OW and you gain nothing.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:47:02

Thank you cogito. You are so much more eloquent than me. I feel like I'm arguing with myself a lot of the time and lack coherence. There'll be a whole other train of thought tomorrow.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:48:39

Cogito- out of interest, how long after discovery did you reach your decision?

herald Thu 03-Oct-13 16:49:57

mrscraig I recently (3 months ago) found out my stbxw was having an affair , I could not forgive her because of the loss of trust and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life wandering why she was home late or the affair coming up in every argument.

I have filed for divorce on grounds of adultery, but i have not petitioned against the other person, it serves no purpose,can delay the divorce and run up the solicitors fees if they do not respond. You need to maybe have a separation for a while and see how you feel after some time apart, because you still don't know the extent of the affair, but that decision can only be made by you.

All the best for the future

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 16:51:49

I think there was about a three month period (I've blocked a lot of it out smile ) between discovery and the end. After he returned and things had calmed down he booked us on an exotic holiday to talk and patch things up allegedly. I discovered him calling his OW from the lobby in the hotel and I realised I couldn't be bothered to be angry. I just didn't give a shit about him any more.

herald Thu 03-Oct-13 16:53:29

Also to add cogito gave me loads of advise and helped more start to move forward

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 16:54:15

Thanks herald. smile

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 16:56:27

I know. Have read much of her advice. She's a wonder!
Good luck to you too.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 17:03:01

Any positive stories though...?

MyBoilsAreFab Thu 03-Oct-13 17:07:29

mrscraig I have not been in your position but have done a lot of matrimonial work in the past. Please don't focus too much on either the timescales, or reason for raising a divorce action.

If you go for adultery as the grounds, all it means is that is what will be narrated on the papers, and on the divorce certificate - neither of which anyone will really see, and which believe me will not give you the satisfaction/feeling of revenge you might think it would. Also it could potentially draw out an action - making it not only stressful but costly. Of course, if it comes to divorcing for financial reasons you can still use unreasonable behaviour, or indeed adultery, but it is better to see it as a means to an end, not a way of closure.

That said, I totally understand why you would feel like you do, but the only one who will ultimately suffer by thinking of these things will be you, as they will take up energy and feelings that can be much better used by you in other areas of refocusing yourself.

All the best for the future, because although it doesn't feel like it now, you will have good things ahead of you in time.

MyBoilsAreFab Thu 03-Oct-13 17:08:35

I should add that I am in Scotland, and don't know much about the English system, so forgive me if I am talking bollocks!

Mrscraig so sorry for your pain.

In my very humble opinion, as someone who has not been in this situation, I think in the long run it is a question of whether you want to stay with him and him with you, if the answer is yes then can you forgive him and can you trust him?

I hope you will work out what is best for you.

The other woman has caused you immense pain, yet I feel that it is your husband you are really mad at, and yet as you love him you cannot fully blame him. He is to blame but he can be forgiven.

If you choose to forgive him, it is something that will take time. I do not speak from experience so maybe I should not say, but I have seen the result of not being able to forgive or trust in a relationship after unfaithfulness, and that is corrosive.

I have also seen the turmoil of someone who wanted her husband back but he did not want to come back. If you want him back and he wants to stay with you, can you rebuilt your life together? Only you two know if you can rebuilt. Maybe it will not be the same, maybe it will be different. But will it be better or worse than being with someone else or being alone.? Again, only you know.

So if you do stay together please find some way to forgive and move on for your own sanity, and if you do part ways, equally please forgive and move on. What he has done is very very hurtful, but he did not do it to hurt you. So many men in the world (and some women) purposely hurt those closest to themselves. So even if there is nothing else good you can find in your heart at the moment it was maybe a very foolish mistake and not a deliberate act. But I don't know the circumstances so all I can really say is wishing you all the best for your future whatever it holds.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 17:12:33

blush Some people do come back after affairs but I think it requires a hell of a lot of compromise, ability to suppress quite visceral feelings and, worryingly, for the injured party to believe that they were somehow a contributory factor. The subsequent relationship - and this is my observation from what I've read here where people tend to be quite honest - sounds like it never regains that 'easy', naturally trusting quality that makes for a good relationship IYKWIM. It always sounds rather self-conscious.

maleview70 Thu 03-Oct-13 17:14:52

The minute he swore on your children's lives that he wasn't lying and then you found out he was would have been the bottom line for me.

You can make history again with someone new in time. Maybe someone better.....

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 17:20:34

Myboils - great name!!!
I know you are right and am grateful. I can be truly honest on here. Wanting that revenge is in my deepest darkest thoughts. Today is a deep dark day.
Thanks for all your contributions. I think I would be in a much worse place if it were not for mm.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 17:21:29

You're right- swearing on the children's lives is unforgivable.
He knows it too.

moonfacebaby Thu 03-Oct-13 17:26:56

Swearing on the childrens lives is common - my STBEXH did this.

I'm divorcing him on the grounds of adultery. We limped on for 5 m

MyBoilsAreFab Thu 03-Oct-13 17:32:54

It is my Halloween name (usually MyBoys!). That is the great thing about MN - you can vent away anonymously, which can in itself be cathartic enough to let you see the way forward. And also you can get a bit of humour too, which never goes amiss.

moonfacebaby Thu 03-Oct-13 17:34:02

Sorry, I always press the wrong button on my phone...

We limped on for 5 months & I'd had enough by then. He wanted to sweep it under the carpet & blame our marriage for making him do it. I had no idea he was supposedly unhappy so I was blindsided by his affair.

Even now, he blames me & I see him as the weak, selfish man he is.

I think it's very hard to come back from infidelity. Trust is imperative in a relationship & very, very hard to rebuild. The devastation of an affair is horrendous - I have never experienced pain quite like it. The sense that you just don't know them - who are they? - is disorientating to the extreme.

I couldn't live looking over my shoulder like that. We all deserve to be loved by someone who respects us & an affair shows enormous disrespect & the kind of character flaws that I can't tolerate - I'd like to think that I'd never do that to someone.

Good luck Op & look after yourself x

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 17:34:21

I'm so dazed, didn't register Halloween! Told you I'm naive.

I'm afraid the continuing of lying even after the initial discovery would put the boot in for me.

I'm sorry he let you down so badly.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 17:40:33

Thank you moon face.
My head agrees. Know it sounds so corny (but its truth) my heart says differently.
I wholeheartedly agree about bring faced with a stranger. If I had a list if potential cheaters he would be down the bottom. Actually he wouldn't have been on it. We both come from parents who have divorced. Through infidelity. We BOTH know the carnage and pain from the fallout. It's not like he didn't know what could happen. We both swore to each other time and time again wed never put our kids in this position too. Even as an adult it impacts on you. It's truly truly shit. This knowledge doesn't help me, I never wanted my children to be in the same boat as me. I know he's caused this but I feel it's my decision that will do this to them. I have a choice not to. It's fucking horrible horrible horrible.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 17:41:27

Sorry for typos. Hard to be accurate with your face buried in an ice cream.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 17:49:42

It's not a choice though, is it? You didn't choose any of this. I think that's the cold hard truth of this kind of thing. You're left with no realistic options and yet this other person - the one you can't trust - is the one that actually made the decision.

Viviennemary Thu 03-Oct-13 17:49:50

I think it is very much down to the individual. I like to think I could try again if this happened to me. But certainly not the forgive and forget bit. Because I wouldn't do either of these things entirely. But not sure what would happen in reality. People do survive this though. And can be happy. Because I've known it happen.

familyscapegoat Thu 03-Oct-13 17:54:11

It's the nature of the beast that people project their own break-ups or flourishing relationships on to the advice that they give, but as someone who forgave her husband's affair many years ago now (and have often posted on threads like this), I do take issue with some of these observations.

I suppressed no feelings, made no compromises and neither my husband nor I ever believed that my actions were a contributory factor. I've seen other posters say much the same, so I do wonder where these observations come from.

After the first year or so, our relationship stopped being 'self conscious' but I acknowledge that it was in the months after D day. I think that's natural.

The things that made the world of difference to our success in building a new relationship were the following:

- He didn't lie about the major details. He minimised his culpability for it, but soon stopped when I was having none of it.
- He recognised himself that this had come about because he had always been quite selfish and lazy. We'd had a very good relationship on the whole in the 20 or so years prevously, but his lack of matched contribution had been a source of conflict many times.
- He took total responsibility for his actions.
- He set about a programme of transformation and the changes he made got embedded quickly and remain, all these years later.
- We both had great individual therapists.
- He read everything there was to read on the subject of infidelity.
- He was willing to talk about what happened and eventually got into the habit of starting those conversations too.

My interpretation of your situation is that because you've uncovered a major lie only 6 weeks ago, you are not 4 months on from this at all. I summise you'll be constantly fearful that fresh shocks and discoveries await.

It's impossible to forgive when you don't know what there is to forgive. If there is any hope of getting past this, your husband needs to tell the whole truth. You then need to take your own time processing all that information.

I post very infrequently and wasn't on Mumsnet when this happened to me. Often I'm very grateful for that when I see some of these posts! I know I wouldn't have had the objectivity to work out that posters project their own stories on to threads and unusually for someone with very high self-esteem, I might have felt very small and belittled.

When I come on to Mumsnet now, it doesn't personally affect me that there are these posts, because I know my situation is so different to what is described. I worry about others though and it saddens me that ever time I come here, there is a new thread like this. Infidelity isn't a rare occurrence and I'm always sorry to see another person going through it.

headinhands Thu 03-Oct-13 17:55:57

I think so if it happened because you were ignoring a bigger problem. But not if they just don't get commitment.

Whatnext074 Thu 03-Oct-13 17:56:26

mrscraig - you might have seen my own post and I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you.

I wouldn't worry too much about the 6 month thing for divorce, it sounds like you need time and like in my position, you can divorce under unreasonable behaviour too. My understanding anyway is that you would need to be separated for 6 months after the initial discovery of infidelity.

As you are now together at the moment, is he offering you any reassurances or security that he is repentant or has he just settled back in? My guess is it's not working if you are crying on the way to work, I really feel for you.

Also, please don't feel bad or weak for still deeply loving your husband, that is perfectly natural. I'm not sure myself if my H asked to come back to me whether I would turn him away. We just believe our vows were forever - some of us do anyway.

headinhands Thu 03-Oct-13 17:58:31

Sorry op I just fired off a reply without reading your post. I am so sorry he did this to you sad

familyscapegoat Thu 03-Oct-13 17:58:36

Re. it being your decision regarding divorce and the impact on the children, we never looked at it that way. Right from the start, it was acknowledged by both of us that if we divorced, it would be because of my husband's choices, not mine.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 18:13:11

Have seen your thread what next. Am truly sorry. There is nothing quite like this pain is there. Sounds cruel but I could have coped with him being hit by a bus better.
Thank you for reminding me its still early days. It doesn't feel like it though. Am so desperate to not feel like this. I'm exhausted.

Whatnext074 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:28:50

mrscraig - I felt/feel the same way I could cope better if he had passed away because then I would be left only with our happy memories and knowing he truly loved me, rather than the horrible feelings that have ensued.

The pain of discovery is too much to bear, particularly as you found out after you took him back and 6 weeks is no time to get over anything like that or deal with thinking of a divorce when you still deeply love him. Have you tried couples counselling?

You said to write down the extent of your excruciating pain would take forever. A million thoughts, ideas and images trawl through your mind constantly - - - have you told him exactly how you feel? Even if you don't go to couples counselling, it might help you to see a counsellor to talk through your feelings.

Distrustinggirlnow Thu 03-Oct-13 18:29:17

Mrs C, I feel your pain. I too have cried on the way to work. And then when I was trying to recover,the road would remind me why I cried and I'd cry again. blush

It is not a journey for the faint hearted. I said to my H several times that the easy option would be for me to walk away metaphorically as I'd never leave my house and DC

I now have total transparency and support from him. He does everything he can. At the moment I'm happy with that.

Do I trust him, you know that absolutely blind trusting that you don't even have to think about.....? I'm not sure, because I think that a little piece of me died and although we live a charmed life with lots of laughter and family times I can tell you that if I ever, ever got a sniff of something was not right, then I would be gone without even so much as a glance over my shoulder.

I've given him another chance. Even after the lies etc. I've given him a chance. He knows this. He appreciates how difficult it was/is for me and does everything to help. He is genuinely sorry. Is your H? Does he answer all questions over and over and over again without getting arsy, or impatient.

You can do it Mrs C if you think he deserves another chance. I have. We all have different things that are deal breakers. My H had very personal and simply horrific reasons for what he did. They had nothing to do with me. Altho the end result was that I got hurt.

Without that back story I'm not sure that I /we would've recovered.

Sorry if I've waffled! It's such a hard subject to articulate when it's caused so much pain.
Keep talking to him. thanks

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 18:32:01

"if I ever, ever got a sniff of something was not right, then I would be gone without even so much as a glance over my shoulder. "

Do you find that stressful? Are you particularly conscious of being on the look-out (sniff-out?) for the something that isn't right? Has the power-balance in your relationship shifted?

moonfacebaby Thu 03-Oct-13 18:34:36

Familyscapegoat is spot on.

If your H is approaching it in the way she describes, maybe it is possible to get over it.My exH didn't & it was pointless to continue.

Op, as for your H not seeming the type - mine wasn't either. Always abhorred affairs & was so honest & loyal. Everyone was so shocked that he'd had an affair. The thing is, there isn't a type. Sometimes the only indicator is a pattern of selfish behaviour. It's only with space & distance that I can see how my exH was selfish - sexually, domestically, all sorts. Yet I was always labelled as selfish & unreasonable for challenging him.

I have to say that he's done me some damage - such a personality change & subsequent constant blaming causes you to really doubt your judgement. That's on the bad days but generally, counselling has helped me unpick it all & realise that I will never understand why he did it.

I'm not sure if you've mentioned counselling. If not, I'd recommend individual counselling for you. It helps enormously.

AnyFucker Thu 03-Oct-13 18:45:50

How did you find out he had lied about having sex with her, OP ?

MissScatterbrain Thu 03-Oct-13 18:47:25

The problem is that he lied. A major one at that. Which means you both are now back at square one and you are in a much worse position given that you have invested so much in the recovery process.

You now know he isn't committed to honesty. Or helping you recover by being truthful and open.

How did you find out he shagged ow?

Have you both been tested for STDs?

If I were you, I would ask him to go away and give you space to reconsider things - lying and secrecy at this stage is NOT acceptable at all and he needs to understand this and that you cannot make any decisions for some time.

PTFsWife Thu 03-Oct-13 18:55:17

MrsCraig, I found out just over a month ago that my husband had an affair. Some people will say that is too soon for me to make a decision, but I knew the minute he told me that I wanted to stay with him. I didn't know how to do that and I didn't want him to just think it was fine and we could move on. I let him stew - went abroad, cleared my head, thought long and hard about it all.

But we are both determined to fix this and make our marriage even better than it was before his affair. Here's how it is possible:
- he has been entirely honest (he willing gives me access to all his tech devices, bank accounts, the works)
- he is utterly full of remorse and knows that he has to fight for me.
- he has read and read and read a bunch of info I have sent him and found stuff for himself too about what I will be going through and what he is going through
- we have started seeing a therapist (jointly and he is seeing one on his own too to try and understand why he did this)
- he fully accepts that his affair is his fault, not the fault of a poor marriage
- he talks to me openly and honestly every day now (more than he ever has in our marriage)
- we have drawn up a plan as to what we want our marriage to be like and are both working hard to make that happen
- we are taking baby steps. He is sleeping in our bed, but we only hold hands. I can't say I love you to him. Yet. He accepts that. We go out together and try to talk as much as we can (not about the kids/house).

I still have bad days, my anger is still close to the surface. But the initial shock and hurt have mostly gone. I know that he made a monumental mistake. HUGE. But that is what it was. He lost his mind for four months. He was led entirely by his cock. It is as though he has come out of some kind of sex-induced coma and now is so very ashamed of what he has done. I believe people - who are willing to accept responsibility like this and do whatever it takes to make amends - deserve a second chance. And frankly, I still love him and want to be with him.

We haven't had sex yet. That is another thing we still have to get through. And he fully accepts that me agreeing to try and put it behind us and rebuild is not the same as condoning what he did.

I read that forgiving someone is actually a gift to yourself. And it's true. I am working towards forgiving him and I feel much happier for it.

You need to ask yourself whether he is 110% committed to you and your marriage and takes full responsbility for what happened. If he does and you still love him, then you can make it work.

keepyourroomtidy Thu 03-Oct-13 18:57:07

I gave my ex a chance but he chose not to take it. Am glad I tried though and that one day I can tell my children I didn't make the decision in haste or without trying to hold on to a normal family for them. In all honesty though I felt relieved when he blew it a second time a year on as I was in turmoil wondering if I could live with his betrayal and gradually realising that I couldn't. My deep sympathy to you and look after yourself.

Mrscraig before you make any decisions take a step back and remember who you are, as an individual, not a wife. Be proud of you, go out, take up a new hobby, look for a new job, do something as simple as change your hair, get new clothes, anything, but be proud of you. Build up your self esteem, and know that you are ok, invincible, a strong woman, and that you don't need him. Then you will be better placed to know if you want him. A marriage can't survive if you desperately cling on. It can if you both confront your issues, work together, pull together and start again.

I'm with my DH. I initially filed for divorce and rediscovered me. My DH and I talked, socialised, had fun and became friends. We'd cleared years of hurt and misunderstandings. It was a strange but calm time. I think we were sad that we'd wasted so many years but genuinely wanting to do whatever it took to make the other happy.

Now we have a very close and understanding relationship. The onus is on him to prove himself, not on me to police him. Your DH has to want to give up everything to do with the affair, and do everything you need him to do without being asked. If he doesn't reach this point he isn't worth a second glance.

It is hard though. You will feel a bit dead inside for a very long time.

mrscraig Thu 03-Oct-13 21:04:01

Thanks for all the replies.
I found out they had dtd by looking again at his phone and deleted messages. He wasn't really prepared to be transparent despite me asking. I think he knew I'd get to bottom of it all eventually.
Now it's a different story. He's leaving phone out, texting during day and regularly checking in. I think he is remorseful. This time he 'gets it'
But I feel like damage is done but I don't think I'm ready to throw towel in yet.
Am so lost. I write this all down and feel like such a bloody fool.
Perhaps I do need to go and talk to someone. We did go to relate once but just didn't feel right. Counsellor was basically asking him where the problems in our marriage started for him...

Distrustinggirlnow Thu 03-Oct-13 21:32:08

@Cog

No I don't find it stressful as I don't go looking as such, I would just trust my instinct a bit more another time.
It's an interesting point you raise about the shift of power, I certainly feel that the relationship is on my terms. He has made huge efforts to be part of my life and hobbies, things that are important to me. I've always been pretty independent. I know I could go it alone. Doesn't make the shock of discovery any easier tho! Despite what the motivation was.

Parrot46 Thu 03-Oct-13 22:09:01

mrscraig, it is possible. My DH had a brief affair while our children were young and I was devastated. 10 yrs on and we are together. You never forget but you can rebuild trust if he recognises how wrong it was, the impact and potential consequences and if you are utterly honest with each other. people do make mistakes and they can make amends but both must really want it and be prepared to try to understand each other, and it takes ages, took me about a year before I felt normal again and longer to feel secure. Good luck

onefewernow Thu 03-Oct-13 22:43:57

Mrscraig, I think you posted in August that your H had returned after his affair to make a go of things but was still texting her ? Was that how you found out?

I ask because if so, I would suggest his "good behaviour " now is less about remorse and more about trying to get back in your good books.

I feel for you. I have had two years post affair and we are ok pretty much, but only relatively recently, and there has been no more evidence of that sort. Although I was probably daft enough to spend a year getting him to he the H he should have been to start with, in full.

I think if he came back and dared to carry it on , that's a bit too much.

Just keep thinking about what you want, not anyone else.

itwillgetbettersoon Thu 03-Oct-13 22:45:08

I was willing to make my marriage work but my STBXH had to cut contact with the ow and work on our marriage. Neither of these things he could do. At the time I didn't realise this I just thought it was me going mad until I found a text from her. That was it I asked him to leave - I wasn't being second choice.

It wasn't what I wanted. I liked being married and I liked the security (!?!). 18 mths on I still miss him and wish it could have been different but my h and the ow were determined to be together and I didn't stand a chance being stuck at home with 2 children.

You have to do what you feel is right for you. None of us can tell you what to do. But you only get one life and you deserve to be happy. If you can make your marriage work then that is brilliant. Take your time you don't need to do anything yet.

OnceWild Thu 03-Oct-13 22:58:52

MrsC hang on in there IF he loves you, you love him and if it is what you want. We are two years on from from the end of DH's affair. It had gone on, on and off, for two and a half years. I know I will get flamed on here for sticking with it but it is the right thing for me, for our DCs and for him. We were fortunate enough to be able to make a radical change at that stage and DH became a househusband, which has been massively great for him, for me and for DCs. It took us a year to find a steady place but I can honestly say now we have never been happier. Yes, there are demons, memories that come in unbidden most days. I will never ever forget but time does heal. I completely trust him now but I am mindful that I don't know what the future will bring, but then I figure none of us do.

mrscraig Fri 04-Oct-13 07:00:03

Back in August I was asking a question about deleted messages on iPhones. He wasn't in contact with her. The messages I read were old. When I initially found out 4 months ago, again it was by text. I rumbled them, this wasn't a post affair discovery.
And that really hurts. It could have gone on and on. Or it could have fizzled out. I'll never know. I have so so much to be angry about. The relationship prior, during and after discovery is, to put it mildly, less than satisfactory.

Why do I love him? I am still in love with the man I married and have known since I was 11. It's him I'm in love with. I feel so weak and pathetic. I'm so ashamed of what has happened. People who know us will be stunned if they knew the truth.

moonfacebaby Fri 04-Oct-13 07:24:37

Op, even if your marriage was less than satisfactory prior to the affair, your H should have talked to you about that rather than start an affair. I know that sometimes people don't do what is right, but with kids in the mix, having an affair is short-sighted, selfish & weak.

The fact that he lied again about having sex with her is just plain awful & unfortunately, rather predictable.

For you to even stand a chance of recovering from this, he needs to tell you everything. I think it's very hard to begin to even tackle the fallout from an affair without full disclosure. If he blames the marriage, but doesn't want to work on his faults & what made him choose to have an affair rather than talk to you, then it's going to make any chance of recovery very, very difficult.

At the end of the day, all marriages have rough patches/periods of disconnect. It would seem that many people who have affairs aren't necessarily unhappy in their marriages either - they're struggling with other stuff in life.

My exH lied about having sex - it was only a kiss. This didn't sit right with me & then I found evidence of a full affair. What I read will be seared into my brain forever. He claimed he lied to protect me - he was only protecting himself. What I found was much worse than if he'd told me the truth.

Have you got Shirley Glasses book?

moonfacebaby Fri 04-Oct-13 07:28:26

By the way, you aren't weak & pathetic. Betrayal from someone you love makes you flail around all over the place. You can't just stop loving someone because they've been a shit. It's even harder when they seemed so straight & incapable of such deceit.

AnyFucker Fri 04-Oct-13 07:44:26

Mrsc, have you confided in anyone in RL ? Are you keeping his grubby secrets for him ? That is guaranteed to make you feel like shit. Where is your support ? Don't look to him for any...this is the person that hurt you unforgivably.

Mosman Fri 04-Oct-13 09:40:16

I wanted them named and shamed on the divorce papers six months ago, I wanted her to pay costs. Eight months down the line I could really give a shit as long as I never have to look at his face on the pillow next to me again.

3HotCrossBuns Fri 04-Oct-13 09:42:24

Mrs C (funny calling you that as that's my real life nickname!) I remember your earlier threads as I am only a month ahead of you -

MyBoilsAreFab Fri 04-Oct-13 09:42:26

mrsc you are far from weak and pathetic - you are strong and you are trying to save your marriage. I know people tend to shout LTB, and I understand why, but I see nothing wrong in trying to save a marriage you think is worth saving. The harsh reality is that either you will find a "new normal" with your DH moving forward, or it will not work out. Either way, you will have stayed true to yourself.

I hope you do manage to work things out, but I would imagine it is a very long road to even begin to be able to trust someone again when this has happened - could I do it? I have no idea.

3HotCrossBuns Fri 04-Oct-13 10:01:42

Sorry - pressed wrong bit of the screen on my phone!!

Anyway - my H's affair was discovered 5 months ago and I'm in a similar hellhole to you. I have days when I feel completely desperate and overwhelmingly sad. It's not all day every day as it was for the first couple of months though and I'm hoping the pain will continue to gradually lessen. I do feel trapped though and there times when I think it would be a blessing if he had a terrible accident, at least it would be a way out of this hell. What an awful thing to think which just upsets me more!!

My H is remorseful of his actions and bad choices but hasn't handled the situation (of his making, he admits that) well at times. He is depressed and really doesn't like himself at all. He finds the depth of my pain difficult to deal with too. We struggle on though, taking each day as it comes. Both of us find the idea of splitting up almost impossible - not quite as long as you but we have been together our entire adult lives and its extremely difficult to disentangle ourselves.

I second the suggestion that you each have individual counselling - I have found mine a lifeline in terms of trying to think in straight lines rather than the spiral of thoughts that can drown me. My counsellor is also getting me to focus on myself and what I want and how I feel rather than constantly responding to H. That's very hard to do - most of the time my answers are 'I don't know'. His counselling is helping him understand himself better to avoid such behaviours in the future. And is challenging and painful for him to peel back the layers of his personality.

We had marital counselling during months 2 and 3 post discovery but stopped that at the end of July (school hols were my excuse but in truth it wasn't being very helpful - I don't think either of us was in the right place for it.)

I have no idea how we will end up or whether we can 'get over' his affair. Currently I don't like, love or respect my H but I do hope those feelings can come back in time. I have no idea how though!! Its not something I can control. And it's incredibly difficult to live with - as I say I don't know how long I can 'bear' it. Each day as it comes I guess. Good luck to you and I hope you find some moments of peace soon.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 04-Oct-13 10:01:54

Now you know the kind of man you are married to.

A man who will cheat on you, despite the promise of fidelity being so central to your relationship with each other.

A man who, on being caught out cheating, will tell more lies (using your love for your children to manipulate you into believing him by swearing on their lives), will continue to treat you like a fool, will save his own skin at your expense.

He is a weak man. A dishonest man. An unkind man. A coward. A man who places himself far above you and what is best for you.

Who cares if he is remorseful NOW?

He wasn't remotely remorseful when it actually mattered, when he could have stopped having the affair, or when he could have helped you recover from the affair by being honest.

Remorse at this points is meaningless and says nothing good about him at all.

Maybe he can become a different kind of man one day. But this is the kind of man he is now.

Do you really want to hang around seeing if he can become a person of integrity and worth?

Given his propensity for selfishness, lies and manipulation, it's hard to see how that transformation could come about.

3HotCrossBuns Fri 04-Oct-13 10:18:58

As JoinYourPlayfellows points out - now you know the 'real' him and what he's capable of. It's has been very hard for me to see that and is a large part of the trauma I feel now. A question that haunts me is - if I had known this about him would I have married him?? Of course not and yet here I am 5 months later trying to save that marriage. It's so difficult to process that contradiction. Of course my H is not all bad and has many good traits as I'm sure your H does too. The question is, I suppose, is where do the scales balance in weighing up your lives together? The DC are part of that decision making process too and it is far from straight forward. I don't think you have had anything like enough time and are still reeling from the shock of it all. I don't think concerning yourself about the legal timings will help in this process - if you want to get divorced that can happen as and when you're ready.

FelineSad Fri 04-Oct-13 10:42:06

I am in a very similar position and a lot of what you say is exactly how I'm feeling too. It's only been four weeks and he's made his choice to go with OW. However I found out by accident and I think it's forced the whole issue. I think he thought we'd carry on family life as before with him doing what he wanted elsewhere.

I couldn't live like that and have gone for a complete break. I have refused to speak or see him for a month. We sort out practicalities via text and e-mail regarding the children. I feel better for taking control and also I think it gives us time to work out what we both want.

I thought we had a good relationship but now I'm wondering if I want him back for all the wrong reasons? The fear of the new, being left on my own, keeping the status quo re the kids and also just not wanting her to have him and therefore 'winning'.

I think you need time out from each other whatever to make things clearer in both your minds.

FelineSad Fri 04-Oct-13 10:47:04

MrsCraig For goodness sake don't feel weak and pathetic. If you are I am too. My ex has been part of my life for 30 years and is the father of our 2 children. That's not an easy thing to dismiss.

You are still coming to terms with the fact everything you thought may not have been the truth. It takes time. That's why you need to take time out from him and if you do get back together that you are both committed to making it work. It seems to be quite a common phenomena that the innocent party takes other party back but by that point realises that they don't want them anymore and it's the innocent party who finally ends it once and for all.

Absolutely agree with what others are saying about needing time apart. It's so important. If you miss out that step there is a very real risk of falling back into a largely unchanged unhealthy relationship.

southfieldsmum Fri 04-Oct-13 13:59:32

I think the thing here is that it is not just a question of whether you can/can't get over the affair. This is not a solo event, it is up to him as well. The posters who have a happy ending describe husband behaviour which is quite different to what you have been describing. Someone who is contrite, and transparent and is equally committed to making things work.
Also individual therapy is what you need right now. Someone who is supporting you and helping you to understand how this is WAY more to do with him than you. You feel shit right now and all those millions of things are going to continue just going around and around unless you can let them out in real life. Pref to your H, does he understand how his actions have impacted you? Best of luck you are not weak and pathetic just broken hearted for you and you children and your family

Littlet932 Fri 04-Oct-13 14:09:49

I'm in a similar position - mid July I found out my husband had been having a 3.5 month affair with a woman he worked with (only 2 years younger though!). Almost overnight he became mean and unpleasant to live with. I could not understand why, and listened to him when he said he'd just fallen out of love with me because I am moody, unattractive etc. (I'm not!) I lost a lot of weight (dropped to 6.5 stone) and was very unhappy. Eventually I found a converstaion between them on our iPad and confronted him. The next day he said he would end it and save our marriage. In fact it took another 6 weeks or so before he stopped texting and meeting her (although no sexual contact in this time). This was the most traumatic time of the whole episode. He has now started a new job (1 month in) and as far as I know has no more contact. He is back to normal loving person. He admits we were happy before and nothing was wrong with our relationship. I still love him and cried with relief when he said he would end it. I'm very hurt and have good days and bad days. My self esteem is recovering. Sometimes a small trigger/reminder will set me off. Some nights I don't sleep because my brain goes over and over the trauma. I find it hard to believe when he says he loves me. However, I'm slowly getting better. I've bought myself a new wardrobe, a sports car etc. We had sex about 2-3 times per week before, during and after the affair. Sometimes he is kind and reassuring and sometimes he is angry that I'm not over it and still asking questions. Sometimes I think about ending it but the thought of throwing away a happy family and living without him is inconceivable. I go round in circles. I love him but can't reconcile that with what he's done. I too thought about revenge, divorce has to be on grounds of adultery etc but it doesn't change anything. Stay sane!

mrscraig Fri 04-Oct-13 17:17:08

Thank you for all the messages. Have been at work today - which helps as I haven't time to pick over it.

I will look into a counsellor. Perhaps talking to someone neutral will help.
Thanks again for helping to keep me (just) the right side of sanity.

Vivacia Fri 04-Oct-13 18:27:21

I asked on a previous thread of PTFswife what actions you can see from a partner who is truly making amends (rather than just saying the right thing). Somebody suggested being open with all passwords and transferring savings to your name. Are you doing either of these PTF?

PTFsWife Fri 04-Oct-13 19:39:02

yes - all passwords are shared. Including banking ones. I could clean him out tomorrow if I wanted to. But I don't want to as I have to try and build a life together, not erode what we have

Vivacia Fri 04-Oct-13 20:18:52

Good luck to you both PTFs.

3HotCrossBuns Fri 04-Oct-13 20:25:56

My H too - total transparency with email, phone, pc etc, all passwords given to me, tracker on his phone. That's all well and good but doesn't 'delete' the bad things he has done and the lies he told. I'm still struggling with that.

str8tothepoint Fri 04-Oct-13 20:39:11

You will probably never trust him again, always wonder where he is, what he's doing, is he where he says he is, why torment yourself when HE did wrong. He fucked up, ruined your life and frankly doesn't deserve you, you deserve better

Vivacia Fri 04-Oct-13 20:45:35

Do you use the passwords (anyone in this situation)? Must be awful having to take responsibility for their fidelity.

3HotCrossBuns Fri 04-Oct-13 20:51:06

I don't feel I am taking responsibility for his fidelity - I've spent time monitoring him and time when I don't over the last 5 months. H is very keen to prove himself to me, he wants the opportunity to prove himself trustworthy again. Which will only come in time anyway, if ever. I am fully aware it's a 'fool's gold' as its easy to have secret phones, emails etc. For now I'm going along with it.

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