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How do I forgive,

(98 Posts)
persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 13:46:42

Some years ago I posted here about my dh whom I suspected of having multiple inappropriate relationships with several of his colleagues. He always denied and made me feel I was going mad. However, eventually the truth came out. Even faced with the e-mails he tried to deny, but was eventually obliged to concede. It seems he needed the excitement of these relationships which I am fairly sure fell short of sexual intercourse. I suspect too that he did not discuss our relationship. I think he pretended to be single. He claimed he was a good husband as he provided well financially. He thought that what I did not know would not hurt me. He is a person who needs constant stimulation and variety at all times. Most things bore him quickly, I fear that includes me. However he is kind to me in most other respects. MH was enormously supportive, but told me to LTB. Relate feared he would never really change and gently suggested I leave him. Worn down by years of the situation and with compromised health, I was too fragile to lose not only the marriage, but all our lovely couples based social life, our couples based hobbies, our couples based holidays, my home, my standard of living , the base we provided for our adult children etc... It was suggested both by Relate and MH that I rebuild my own life. This I have done. I have my own friends, a part-time job, hobbies etc. I was even able to ask my dh how he would feel if I behaved as he did. I asked him why only one of us could have inappropriate relationships. He was horrified at the prospect. He has certainly scaled down his behaviour. He would say stopped. Frankly I no longer much care. I am not so afraid of losing everything although I do not welcome it. However, I do feel resentment and bitterness and often react unkindly and irritably to him. I hate the way I sometimes react. I dislike what I find myself saying. How do you forgive? I am unlikely to forget, but I want to forgive, or at least not react in the way that I do.

givemeaclue Mon 16-Dec-13 13:47:56

Why do you want to forgive? You sound very unhappy are you sure you wouldn't be better off without him?

Unless he takes full responsibility you have no chance. Burying it under the carpet is not the same as forgiveness. I don't think I could forgive that.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Dec-13 13:48:58

You can forgive far more easily from a distance than if you persist in keeping someone around as a daily reminder of their treatment of you.

wannabestressfree Mon 16-Dec-13 13:50:11

I think its too late for that tbh.
I think you are acting the way you are because you have successfully rebuilt your life and feel that the shackles of that relationship are falling away except for him...
You must have been married a long time and yet he denied you, I would be angry about that too.
I would revisit your decision to go it alone as I thin thats what you need to do.

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 13:53:27

I'm not sure you can forgive someone who isn't sorry.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 14:12:05

So he denied and denied his cheating until you forced him to admit it, he then said he didn't have sex with them (this is 100% definitely a lie, I guarantee), he had no reaction to your sense of urt until you implied you could cheat too (ie until you mentioned something that would affect him, your feelings are irrelevant) you feel he did it because he was "bored" (nice), and you haven't mentioned anything he's done to show remorse or to repair the relationship. You can't forgive him because he doesn't want forgiveness. At best you are totally irrelevant to him, at worst he actively hates you. Either way he certainly doesn't love you. Sorry.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 14:48:23

I have no idea why you want to forgive. Absolutely none. He isn't sorry, he isn't going to really change.

You're staying with him for your own reasons, I think you might just have to accept that what you have isn't a real relationship but a bit of a facade that fulfills your social needs.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 14:50:54

Wow! Thank you for the replies. They make a lot of sense. I realise now he has never expressed regret. He refuses to discuss his inappropriate behaviour, asking why I am "dragging that up". He makes me feel bad about "spoiling the atmosphere". He never talks about emotions or anything difficult. He has been divorced before and his ex took the majority of the family assets, so he dreads a further divorce. That alone might curb his behaviour. He has a health issue now and that and the medication has calmed him down. He claims to love me, and does provide generously and willingly for me and our adult children when they need help. We are quite good friends. However I did suffer much humiliation and grief. Apart from being unable to forgive him, I am not unhappy. I think I am too old to face major changes.

givemeaclue Mon 16-Dec-13 14:52:58 are too young to consign yourself to this

Meerka Mon 16-Dec-13 14:53:20

Very difficult to forgive a lying hypocrite

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 14:53:34

Oh Folkgirl, I don't think the status quo simply fulfills my social needs. Because of a the state of the marriage, I really need my friends.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 14:59:21

But you don't need to be in a marriage to have friends!

Seriously, it would be difficult to begin with but give it a few months and you'd be a different person.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:00:04

You say his poor health "might curb his behaviour." Does that mean he's still behaving inappropriately?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:01:18

Besides, his behaving being curbed because he is ill isn't the same as him not doing it because he doesn't want to.

Sorry, but it really doesn't sound like a marriage that I would want to be in.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:05:23

One of our friends got divorced and no longer feels she can join in the hobbies she and her now ex shared. Of course she is welcome, she just feels awkward and inappropriate. She is a lovely person, but has stopped her active social life. We try to involve her, but she no longer enjoys joining in. I don't want to be isolated. Why should I lose my friends and hobbies simply because my DH behaves as he does or did.
However, I have always felt guilty about not being able to forgive. Thanks to your clear replies, I will stop that at once.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:06:56

But that was your friend's choice. She wasn't pushed out. You could make a different choice.

Your husband, quite frankly, is a dick.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:09:20

It sounds like your self esteem is on the floor and no wonder given the way you've been treated. You can make a better life for yourself but it will be hard. It's totally up to you. If you choose to stay things are very unlikely to improve.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:11:21

The fact that he has treated with you with such contempt and still you are the one who feels guilty shows just how much this marriage has damaged you.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:17:37

I agree, I'm not sure I can even get my head round why you would feel you should forgive, let alone want to!

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:21:27

CailinDana, He doesn't consider that he treated me with contempt. He believed that what I didn't know couldn't hurt me. I don't think he intended to hurt me, or for me to find out. He believes that anything short of actual intercourse is not infidelity. Well he did until I asked if he minded if I behaved as he had. I think he is sorry I got hurt. I'm not at all certain he regrets his behaviour, or that he has stopped completely. I think at worst it is light flirtation. Who cares? My hurt is long exhausted. I am done with the pain. I have moved on. But I don't want to turn bitter. I am not irritable with anyone else except him. I always heard that failure to forgive hurt the person unable to forgive most. I want to forgive to stop behaving in ways I don't like. Does that make any sense?

Jan45 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:25:29

So if I am reading this right, he cheats and will still cheat, you asked him why only one of you are allowed to cheat and he has now scaled down his extra marital affairs. Sorry but this is not a husband or a partner, it's a man who wants the life of a bachelor but still have the benefits of a domestic wife and all that entails.

Sorry but it looks to me like you are staying purely out of money, i.e., a high standard of living, oh, and hobbies - sorry but if he loved you he wouldn't be looking for shags elsewhere and if you really loved him I don't think you'd settle for this. I know I wouldn't but it's up to you, what happens next time you find him out cos you do know it will continue, right?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:28:23

Why is this all about what he thinks? It's all very him-centric.

Do you think he treated you with disrespect?
Do you feel hurt by his actions?
Do you think what he did was infidelity, even if it did fall short of intercourse?

No it doesn't make sense. None of it makes sense. You can't forgive someone if they are still in your life doing what they did and not accepting that what they did was wrong.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:30:06

You aren't going to get any advice on how to forgive because this is an utterly ridiculous situation.

I'm sorry to be harsh, really, but I really want you to see just how wrong this is. You're only going to get one life and this is it.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:32:14

Jan45, I think you may be right in that he did want the life of a bachelor and the benefits of a wife. Now I think his behaviour is much modified, and having faced the real risk of us parting, he appreciates our marriage more. But he will not talk about such things.

I stayed because I simply couldn't face all the losses that not staying would have entailed. He is very sociable, popular and fun. Without him I would be isolated. I hoped that I could rebuild my life and then consider the future.

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 15:34:26

Have you had an still check?

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 15:35:11


FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:38:26

He is very sociable, popular and fun. Without him I would be isolated.

I thought the same. I was wrong on every count though. People started to be honest about how they actually felt about him once we were no longer together, and I wasn't isolated.

You really do deserve better than this. But only you can make the choice to take it.

WigWearer Mon 16-Dec-13 15:39:03

He is very sociable, popular and fun

So what?

He is also a lying, cheating, selfish bag of shit.

You will never be happy until you rid yourself of him. You know this, deep down.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:41:35

You are really making me think. Nobody is telling me to forgive!

Jan45 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:42:47

Because you can't forgive someone who isn't sorry?

WigWearer Mon 16-Dec-13 15:44:02

Of course not!

Why the hell would we?

You deserve to be happy. You shouldn't have to swallow down your (entirely justifiable) anger and resentment at the way this man has treated you.

You could have such a nice life without him. Don't you feel even a little bit excited at the prospect...? grin

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:45:07

Have you confided in any of your friends about this, at all? Can any of them give you a kick up the arse!! grin

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:46:34

Thank you for not blaming me for my bitterness anger and resentment.
I had never realised that you cannot forgive someone who is not sorry. It's obvious once pointed out.

You are making me think...

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:47:34

I bloody hope we are making you think.

How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:48:25

Besides you shouldn't forgive someone who treats you with utter contempt and who clearly doesn't love or respect you.

You should tell them to fuck off (and I rarely swear on here or in RL)

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:49:23

FolkGirl I confided in one friend, she then told me that he had ooggled her. We are no longer friends, I didn't need to hear that. I told our eldest child who got very very upset even though it was no surprise.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:51:42

But it wasn't her fault! Why would you cut her out as a friend for being the passive recipient of your husband's lecherous gaze?

It sounds to me like she was showing you support, that she was confirming your suspicions and reassuring you that you were not mad.

HOw long ago was this? Could you approach her and rebuild the friendship?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:52:56

Oh OP, I can't believe just how angry this is making me. I wish I could come and give you a big shake and a jolly good talking to.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:53:39

Picture this scenario: one of your children while at school befriends the popular kid in the class. Through that child your child becomes more popular and has more of a social life. But one day your child finds that the popular child has been stealing his stuff. He confronts popular child, who acts as though he has done nothing wrong and is only sorry your child has found out. Not only that but he doesn't stop stealing, he just scales it back when your child threatens to steal his stuff. Your child gets worn down by constant disrespect but is terrified to drop the friendship for fear he might lose his other friends.

What advice would you give your child? To forgive the popular child and just ignore the stealing?

WigWearer Mon 16-Dec-13 15:54:31

Oh OP. Why not reach out to this friend again? She was trying to help you, to get you to see the truth.

Sounds like your 'couples' life is a bit of a sham, to be honest.

The other friend who 'dropped out' of your social circle - where is she now? You might be surprised at what she tells you if you contact her.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:56:35

Oh and if your child told a friend about it and friend said "oh yes he stole from me too" would you expect your child to end that friendship?

LEMoncehadacatcalledSANTA Mon 16-Dec-13 16:03:47

"He is very sociable, popular and fun. Without him I would be isolated." It suits him that you feel like this - he has destroyed your self esteem - you described yourself as not exciting enough for him in your OP. He is a parasite and he is making you feel bad to make himself feel good. You would be surprised, I bet you are just as popular - otherwise you would spend social times stuck in a corner and hating it, but you don't, you enjoy your social life - it is about you, not something you need him for. People love you for you, not your DH. Maybe if they knew what a shallow, self centred arse he is, he might not be quite so popular!

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 16:03:54

I suspect a lot of your social circle see him for what he is, particularly if he's been eyeing them up. They probably keep quiet to spare your feelings but should the two of you split up then it could easily be him that is edged out of your joint hobbies.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 16:05:44

I would completely agree with TheFuture. You told one person and she told you he'd been ogling her.

I wonder how many of your other friends would tell a similar story...

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 16:09:35

I do feel sorry for the friend you cut out because your husband ogled her. Is there any way you can get back in touch and build bridges?

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:25:25

I sort of got the feeling my friend was enjoying adding to my suffering. It was not the time to add to the pain. I do see her, but it's not the same.
Perhaps she should have told me when it happened or not at all. I don't know, but it was very hurtful.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:27:38

Leoncehadacatcalledsanta, yes shallow is an adjective that comes to my mind, though I am not altogether clear what it means when applied to people. Can you help?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Dec-13 16:35:44

I've reached a few conclusions about relationships over the years. Infidelity and mistrust are pretty terrible things. Abuse is shocking. But IME one of the most soul-crushing a thing a partner can do to someone is to treat them with contempt. It's worse than being ignored or hated or even bullied because it means you simply don't matter enough to them to even care about your feelings. You don't count. You're a non-person to them.

I don't know how old you are but find it desperately sad that, for the sake of a particular lifestyle you're considering sticking around for more punishment and at the same time berating yourself for being resentful or bitter... as if that's a failing. I'm pleased that you are making a life for yourself adjacent to his but I would urge you to seek out any opportunity to spend serious time away from him.... volunteer overseas for example... because then I think you'd start to appreciate just how much he's dragging you down.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Dec-13 16:39:10

I feel sorry for the friend he ogled. It's traditional to want to blame the 'OW' for the actions of a git of a husband but she was actually the innocent party and doing you a favour being honest. That you don't want to hear the truth says more about you than her.

BTW 'shallow' means that someone is only interested in the superficial rather than the meaningful... usually their own selfish pleasures, impulses, instant gratification etc.

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 16:39:27

If she was enjoying your suffering she would have flirted with him in front of you and made it obvious. it would have been easy for her to say nothing and I bet she wishes she had now. It was probably very difficult bringing it up.

I think you are blaming the wrong people here. Her for making you question your relationship and yourself for not being able to forgive your partner. The person you should be angry at is him for chipping away your self esteem to nothing, not behaving like an adult and talking openly about the problems in your relationship and how to solve them and for not apologising or feeling sorry for his actions that have hurt you.

FloWhite Mon 16-Dec-13 16:48:19

Oh OP, it doesn't have to be the way you think it would if you leave the marriage.

My social life actually got better after I left, I was invited to more events, our mutual friends were hugely supportive of me, my depression disappeared……and it was HIM who lost the social life, HIM who lost the support, HIM who became depressed after the truth came out. There's no reason why you shouldn't have the same - I'm nothing special.

TBH I wish someone had jumped off the fence whilst I was trying to forgive and told me what your friend told you because I'd not have wasted a second more of my precious time and emotional well-being on a man who did what he did - because he felt entitled to.

You're hurt by your friend's admission because you are hurt at his behaviour. You have deflected this hurt onto your friend because you can't handle dealing with your hurt and anger at him. That's because you are suppressing your feelings in order to maintain your nice/sham life. It's a horrible way to live.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:54:08

I am taking on board all that has been said. However the distress of my eldest child still concerns me. A split would devastate many people. But you have all made me think. The message is unanimous.

sisterofmercy Mon 16-Dec-13 17:03:29

Your friend could not have told you straight away for fear of not being believed. Once she realised you knew what he was like, she told you straight away - which to me sounds like she cared about your feelings. You couldn't face it at the time because it still hurt too much but perhaps as time passes you could forgive her for hurting you inadvertently.

Did you marry quite young? You sound like you never had the chance to develop your own judgements of people and relied on your husband a bit too much. It's good that you sound pretty open minded about people here think about the situation. You are making your own judgements now. You have plenty of time to think about things and consider what to do.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 17:11:52

I was brought up to forgive others and if possible always see the best in people. It has not served me well.

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 17:18:03

What did your eldest child actually say to you when you discussed it with them? How do you think your other children would react?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Dec-13 17:18:17

Forgiveness and seeing the best in others are great qualities... to a point. But when you still forgive and still see the best in other when a) they hold you in contempt and b) they do not show remorse, then all you achieve is a reduction in your self-respect, a great deal of personal suffering and a lingering feeling of being extremely hard done by. In short, you feel like a fool.

You've dodged saying how old you are (which is fine smile ). How old is your eldest DC?

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 17:21:22

I think you were actually brought up to believe men are more important than qomen. Why else would you be angry at your friend rather than your husband and feel guilty when you've done nothing wrong? Why would you allow your husband to treat you like you're nothing?

You say a split would hurt many people. Do you feel ok with giving up your happiness for them? Would they thank you for doing that?

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 17:26:15

Sorry that should say "men are more important than women"

FloWhite Mon 16-Dec-13 17:26:37

Forgiveness and calling time on someone are not mutually exclusive positions to take though. For me forgiveness is about not feeling angry any more with someone who has wronged me - and I can do that whilst walking away. So can you.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 17:44:00

Not dodging personal information Cognito, just hoping not to be recognised. It is even possible my dh reads this. I am however, a grandmother looking forward to a bus pass.

itwillgetbettersoon Mon 16-Dec-13 17:46:26

Until he says sorry and displays the right behaviour how can you forgive him. I don't think you can. He has worn you down to accept his completely disrespectful behaviour. If someone doesn't treat you with respect, how can you forgive - it just doesn't work.

Why don't you have a trial separation. Say six weeks and see how you feel when he isn't around. I bet your friends will rally round and you will surprise yourself. I'm late 40s and just starting out on my own again - it isn't that bad.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 17:50:26

Thefuturesupremerulersmum, my eldest child was very upset. Sad for me and for my dh, who has been a devoted and fun father. (He is still a feckless child himself in some ways). My adult child doesn't want either of us hurt or lonely, thinking neither of us would cope with major upheavals or cope separated. There are now health issues too. Once I stopped talking about it, because it caused such discomfort, it was never raised again.

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 18:02:00

Whilst I'm your your eldest wants the best for you both it is not fair of them to impose what they think is right on you. Cailin raises some very valid points. Do you think your eldest (and your other children) genuinely understand how unhappy you are and would they want you to put aside your happiness for their sakes?

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 18:03:05

Your child cannot in any way be objective about this. Talking to him/her about it isn't advisable because he/she is far too emotionally invested.

Joysmum Mon 16-Dec-13 18:11:00

If he doesn't see what he's done as wrong then there's no reason not to do it again and again.

There's a big difference between making a mistake and being sorry and not seeing the problem in the first place.

cupcake78 Mon 16-Dec-13 18:16:34

A few things spring to my mind. Firstly did you watch the channel 4 programme on psychopaths because your dh ticks all the boxes!

Secondly he's paying you to stay with him so he doesn't have to go through another divorce. He's not financially supporting you because he cares about you its to protect himself not you!

Thirdly it's not the infidelity that's the main issue. It's the fact he simply doesn't care that he's hurt you. He doesn't see you as an equal op.

Fourth your self esteem is getting such a battering! You are worth treating like gold. Your feelings should be treated like crystal. You should be loved, honoured and most of all respected. Your dh does none of these things. It's all about him.

You can't forgive him op because he doesn't deserve forgiving! He hasn't proven he won't hurt you again. Its self protection. If you don't forgive him he can never hurt you as badly again.

I find your situation very sad and hope you realise how much better than him you are. How much your life is precious and how you deserve to be loved, protected and treasured by someone who loves you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Dec-13 19:20:24

If you're coming up to 60 your eldest must be at least in their twenties. I'm sure they don't want anyone hurt or lonely... who would?... but it's really not her decision.

WigWearer Mon 16-Dec-13 19:25:25

It's friends you need, OP. Your DC are not necessarily the best people to talk to about this. Many adult DC prefer the status quo when it comes to their parents.

Please treat yourself well, and reach out to other people. Build yourself some support. You really do deserve a happy life - and you can have one. Soon! But he has to go.

Good luck thanks

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 20:53:42

I'm genuinely shocked at the strength of your unanimous views. Apart from wanting to stop being bitter, I thought I was now happy.

I agree that involving my child was a mistake which I now regret. Children, even adult children who have made their own mistakes too, just don't want to hear of their parents' problems. Telling both my friend and my child proved mistaken. It didn't help, I wished I had kept matters to myself apart from MNetters who were brilliant.

I'm not sure my dh does not care that he has hurt me. I think it did not occur to him that it would, (shallow?) as he believed I would not find out. Besides, anything he does short of intercourse, he felt fell short of infidelity. When I put it to him that that meant I could behave as he had done, I think he began to realise the extent of his betrayal. I think he refuses to discuss it as he always avoids confrontations. His childhood was peppered with unpleasant confrontations, he says.

Surprisingly, my child asked me if I had seen the programme on psychopaths. I have not and wish I had. Please tell me what boxes my dh appears to tick.

You guys stun me with your willingness to offer help.

cupcake78 Mon 16-Dec-13 21:16:52

There are many psychopathic traits and everyone is on a scale. Some more extreme than others. They are basically inter species predators. So they prey (play games) with other humans with little or no sense of remorse.

They include

No or little guilt.
Unable to empathise or sympathise.
Selfish ruthless behaviour (unable to put others first).
What is described as a deadened heart.
Risk takers and thrill seekers.
Black and white thinking.
Do and say things to simply get a reaction.
Don't feel as much as most people.
Will do anything necessary to survive/get what they want.

It might be worth a look op!

cupcake78 Mon 16-Dec-13 21:37:08

As well as an ability to be incredible charming and captivating. They can turn this on and off like a switch. They are very alert.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 22:44:33

As you see it, it's not that your husband doesn't care about your feelings, it's that it didn't even occur to him to consider your feelings in the first place. So would you agree that as I said earlier you're pretty much irrelevant to him?

lookingfoxy Mon 16-Dec-13 23:01:39

Hi OP.
I think you could deal with this one of 2 ways.
Either you could accept your marriage and husband for the reality you now know it to be and remain as friends and companions to each other, if you want to do this I think you will need to grieve for what you thought you had and be able to move on from it.

Its obviously eating you up whats happened and will continue to which you have said yourself is making you angry and bitter and for your own sanity you will need to eventually leave your dh.

sorry if very concise but trying to type on a tablet is not my thing.

persephone2013 Tue 17-Dec-13 07:46:23

CailinDana, you may well be right, but that's not quite as I see it. To me it seems he had considered the possible effect on me, but had decided there would be no effect on my feelings as I would not find out. He was wrong.

lookingfoxy, Yes that it exactly where I am. We are companions/friends/parents/grandparents. Because I have rebuilt my life, and it is now full and enjoyable (thanks to advice received on MN and from Relate) I was hoping to continue as I am, BUT to learn to accept dh as he is and not react in a shrewish manner to him. Which is something I do, particularly after a glass of wine. I like my current life, but I don't like the person I sometimes become towards him. I'm not unkind to anyone else. His behaviour, probably now all in the past, has turned me into someone I don't want to be. That is only at times of course, not all the time. I was originally seeking advice on how to overcome that. However I am grateful for all replies. I probably should have left him on discovery.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 17-Dec-13 08:00:35

If you don't like the person you are when you're with him why do you persist in seeing that as a failure in your personality? 'Shrewish' is a misogynistic word usually used by men about women who have opinions they don't like .... don't use it about yourself. You describe yourself as 'unkind' but why do you have to be 'kind' at all costs? Why is anger an emotion that everyone else on the planet can engage in legitimately but is uniquely off limits for persephone2013?

I've met a few people in my life that can take me from Easy Going Cog to Venom Spitting Cog simply by saying 'hello'... and, you know what, I don't spend a second longer with them than I have to. Life is too short to waste it being miserable when there are alternatives. You have alternatives.

FolkGirl Tue 17-Dec-13 08:22:11

Yes, you should have left him on discovery.

Whether he had considered the impact on your feelings or not is irrelevant really. He still betrayed you.

Do you think his behaviour would have been ok if you'd never found out about it? Obviously, you wouldn't have known and been hurt by it, but would his behaviour have been ok? Would it have been ok for for him to have done what he did?

Is that what a husband does?

What would you be saying to any daughter of yours if she'd come to you with the same story?

Would you have told her to suck it up, but on a brave face and forgive him for the sake of a comfortable lifestyle and some friendships?

Lweji Tue 17-Dec-13 08:44:06

It feels to me that you have lost your respect and your love for this man. That is why you react the way you do.
I really don't think you should work on that, because of something he has caused. He should be the one working on regaining the trust and the love. It may not be possible for you to have those back, in which case you need to consider what you really want to do. And he may need to be prepared to put up with your resentment.

MerryFuckingChristmas Tue 17-Dec-13 08:44:44

I guess it's true that if you stay with a philanderer for long enough he will eventually stop when the equipment starts to fail him

Imagine being this man's carer when his health deteriorates further. The resentment you feel now will turn to hate. I have seen this happen. Still some women feel this strange sense of responsibility to a man that has disrespected them for years and think they can swallow their disgust when they have to wipe his arse for him

Could you do that, and do it with love ?

cjel Tue 17-Dec-13 08:47:40

I just wanted to say that I had counselling and started to recognise that I wasn't treated as I should have been in my marriage, but wasn't able to face and change it at the time. I came to the conclusion that I would build mylife and if we were together after that then that would be good, but if we weren't then that would be good as well.

I started to build my life and became more 'me' and 3 years into a 5 year college course to get my own career he got a girlfriend!! He had taken her out for 2 lunches and I left!!!

That was over 2 years ago and although its not been a party all the time, I have renovated my little house and come and go as I want. I have friends that I didn't have 2 years ago and am much more peaceful and haven't felt irritated and angry since I left him.

I have 2dcs and 5 dgcs. Were married 30 years, together 35 from the age of 17.
You can get rid of that last little bit of you that you don't like and its not too late at your age. You could have another 30 years of feeling like this otherwise?xx

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 09:09:08

Persephone, your feelings are normal. Totally normal. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the way you do.

Somewhere along the way in life you learned that you don't really count as a person. That everyone else can be happy but your job is just to support them and avoid hurting them at all costs. To an extent that comes with motherhood, as your children's (rightly) come before yours, but your children aren't children any more, they're grown adults with their own lives and it is now time for you to start living as a person in your own right.

You behave in a "shrewish" way towards your husband because you know he doesn't respect you. You can't force yourself to be civil to someone who has hurt yourself so badly. The only way to achieve that is to entirely kill your own self worth and accept that you're not deserving of a faithful loving husband. It is good that you haven't done that, that you haven't entirely resigned yourself to be nothing. Since you've regained some of your confidence your inner self is fighting back and refusing to be dismissed so contemptuously. Listen to that inner self, she is the one who has your best interests at heart.

FolkGirl Tue 17-Dec-13 09:12:04

Yes, I discovered my stbxh was looking on dating websites and kicked him out. I had no proof he'd actually met anyone. He cried and he begged and then his RL affair came out.

But at the point at which I kicked him out, I knew he'd logged into a dating website for married people and sent a few messages.

By your example, I should have 'forgiven' him for this. Why? It wouldn't have stopped him doing it!

And you only have his (untrustworthy) word for it that it didn't go as far as intercourse. My stbxh also said the same. I have no idea if it's true or not. Of him, I can believe it was, because I think he would also have been able to convince himself he was doing nothing wrong as long as it stopped short of PIV. But it's irrelevant really, he betrayed me mentally and emotionally. Physical fidelity is only 1/3 of it of the commitment he made to me when we married.

I'm so much happier now. I also thought I'd be isolated, that he'd have all the fun and I'd be left with nothing and no one. But it couldn't have been further from the truth. He had a breakdown, lost the respect of his friends and family, and I'm the happiest I've ever been.

I really want this for you too.

persephone2013 Tue 17-Dec-13 12:41:09

Folkgirl, that is a sad story, I am very pleased that you are happy now.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom. Last night, contemplating your posts, I had a "light bulb" moment. I realise now that my dh hates women. You're right I am less important than him, in his eyes not mine. All women are. I see it in his relationships with other family members.

Cjel, you are probably much younger than me. I am so glad it worked out for you. I fear that at my age, the alternatives are not attractive and time is not on my side. However, there is no way I would ever nurse him. I just could not sacrifice more of my life or be tied down for him. I am off work now until the New Year. Plenty of time to think this through. I am so grateful for all the wise posts.

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 14:06:09

It must be hard to accept something so negative about your husband but in spite of that I'm glad you have. How are you feeling about the whole thing?

FolkGirl Tue 17-Dec-13 15:18:33

The thing is, Persephone is that, yes, it is quite a sad story. But no where near as sad as the one you are living.

You could be that happy too. And if you really feel that you don't have time on your side, then surely, you also feel that you don't have a moment to lose or a second to waste.

Take care and be kind to yourself. x

persephone2013 Tue 17-Dec-13 15:33:55

Some of what posters wrote didn't ring true for me. I don't think I have low self esteem at all now. I am confident and usually happy. But I see now that my dh sees women in general as inferior and as people who hold back men, tie them down, trap them. I see that he idiolises powerful men. Like hero worship for small boys. He always assumes that successful and powerful men have lots of women. I see now that he feels entitled, and that a woman who seeks to restrict his behaviour is to be ignored. I have finally worked this out, with lots of help from you. Knowledge if power, and I feel empowered.

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 19:13:07

That's great. It seems to me that your self esteem has been very low and but it is currently rising and that's why you are questioning your dh's actions and attitudes and beginning to see that you don't have to accept them. However I think you have some way to go as you still seem to doubt yourself quite a lot and feel you can't have a happy life on your own. Do you agree?

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 17-Dec-13 19:41:13

I guess the question you need to ask yourself is will you be a person you are happy to be if you continue to live with a misogynist who has treated you like shit for many years?

You don't enjoy the way you react to him. But your reactions are entirely reasonable.

You can't stop yourself from being irritated by and resentful of this man without submitting yourself for a lobotomy.

He's not a nice man.

Can you be a nice person while you share you life with him?

persephone2013 Tue 17-Dec-13 20:07:34

I have a job I love and am really very good at. My social life is very satisfying. I love my home and my many children do too. It is the hub of our family. I have time for my grandchildren. My marriage is the one and really the one and only disappointment in my life. My dh has faults as you know, but he did agree cheerfully to have far more children than he wanted, to live where I wanted and to happily support us all without any complaint. None of my children left University in debt, and he still helps them whenever they ask. They adore him faults and all. I don't think I have low self esteem as my children and grandchildren love me and my employers and workmates all appreciate me. There is only one "fly in the ointment", but he too is greatly loved by our family. Whether to go on accepting him warts and all, that is the dilemma. Compared to many people I have a good life. I have a long break over Christmas to think it all through. Thank you, you have made me see clearly for the first time. I shall certainly no longer feel bad about my resentment. I am so grateful for that.

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 20:12:00

Fair enough. I'm glad you've been able to let go of your resentment. Do you think you'll talk to your DH about all this?

MerryFuckingChristmas Tue 17-Dec-13 20:26:09

OP, do you think your H will stop being this wonderful and generous father if you end your marriage ?

Teeb Tue 17-Dec-13 20:45:32

I don't think I have low self esteem as my children and grandchildren love me and my employers and workmates all appreciate me.

Op, is that what self esteem means to you? You've listed how others perceive you in relation to your own personal value. It should be about you appreciating you.

Meerka Tue 17-Dec-13 20:47:48

genuine question: are you quite sure your children don't know about their father's affairs?

cjel Tue 17-Dec-13 21:11:36

I have just had my family around my table again this evening, all day saturday and in for lunch sunday. My home is still the hub of my family. My H just doesn't live here any more, There is more laughter no than there ever was because I'm not living with the pressure of H any more.

FolkGirl Tue 17-Dec-13 22:37:38

Teeb is quite correct.

Self esteem is about how you feel about yourself. Not about how others perceive you.

And you perceive yourself very negatively.

I know in recent posts you've said you've started to see the light, but it will take more than this thread to undo the years of damage that have been done.

LadyLapsang Tue 17-Dec-13 23:13:44

OP I think you are wrong about nursing him were he ill /disabled. Imagine if he had a stroke tomorrow and in a few weeks the hospital discharged him, then what? You would feel it was your duty, after all he had provided for you etc. What would your children say, leaving their dad when he needed looking after; couldn't make him lose his home etc.

Remember your childen have a vested interest in some practical as well as emotional ways in you staying together. If you split they may have to do more caring as you both age and then there may be issues about property /inheritence, remarriages etc.

Ultimately it sounds like you will stay, it doesn't sound a great relationship but I'm sure you present a good front most of the time. But maybe you should see a solicitor and find out how you would stand financially if you did split up & remember pension sharing. Then make a decision from a position of strength. Also, perhaps it may be helpful for you to have some ongoing counselling on your own to think about your options.

Out of interest, how did these inappropriate relationships come to light?

persephone2013 Wed 18-Dec-13 13:15:24

The inappropriate relationships finally became undeniable once I had found e-mails. There had been indications for some time before, but they were always "explained away". I am sure all our children have a pretty good idea. My dh's transgressions are probably all in the past now. However, I would not nurse him if he became sick. I am not good at that sort of thing anyway. I rather suspect he would not want me to, either. He would hate being dependent on me. Contrary to what you feel, I think I have good self esteem and confidence, partly because I am so well thought of generally. I know it is my dh who has the character flaws and not me. I had an alcoholic parent, but even as a small child, I knew that person was flawed and behaving badly, and that even though the blame was often transferred to me, I simply did not accept that. My life isn't perfect, whose is? It is better than it was on and before discovery. I think the alternative at this stage of my life, could be worse, but I do have an open mind and I am open to all possibilities.

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