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what to do?

(36 Posts)
koalalou Fri 03-Jan-14 13:23:19

I have just discovered that DH - who has been living and working overseas - has had a girlfriend while he was there (she has sent a couple of emails with photos, nothing explicit but clear that there is/was affection between them).

He is home now as his work came to an end but he is/was planning to return to another job in the same country (though apparently she is in a neighbouring country that he had to visit quite often with his last job) after a 3-month break with us at home.

Since coming home he has been very distant and critical - critical is unfortunately very normal for him, but the distant/no affection isn't. I did speak to him about it and he said that maybe we now have little in common/have grown apart but that we should carry on for the children. I was upset/hardly slept for 2 nights (while he snored away...) but he has since thawed slightly so I put it down to the stress of being out of work (the new job is not yet confirmed).

He has been pressuring me to get a job, and I have started looking - I have been on my own looking after the children while he has been working away, and a year ago I moved back to Australia with the girls which has made things a bit harder (previously I was living with family in the UK for 3 years, though the original plan was to be there for just one year) The plan was for him to rejoin us after a year but he has said that the new (potential) job is too good an opportunity for him...

Anyway, today I received the email from the former girlfriend - he split up from her and she has been threatening him with blackmail/telling me. He apparently told her he wouldn't pay her and his attitude now - to me - is that he isn't as bad as other men, hasn't spent a load of money on her, could have been worse etc etc. In other words he has shown no remorse at all for having been with her while I was here on my own with the children.

I am in shock - he has always been so anti-misbehaving in this way so I never expected it from him. I thought the cold, hard attitude would eventually wear off and we would be okay again. Our two DDs are 11 and 9 years old (we have been married for 13 years, together for 18), and have been making plans for the house, for the girls etc etc etc.

I have told him that if he goes back to the same country (or indeed if he goes away again at this stage) then I will divorce him citing his behaviour and give the lawyer the photos. There is no way I am going to sit at home looking after the girls on my own - and working, hopefully - while he is living the single life overseas. The least he can do is be here to help look after his children (or if not then it will be clear to all what he has done).

He has now gone to bed (after spending the day at the cricket) and I am still up wondering what the hell to do...

brokenhearted55a Fri 03-Jan-14 13:37:56

Dont have much advice to give. But sounds like you have done the right thing in giving him an ultimatum.

All you can do now is see how he responds to it.

CailinDana Fri 03-Jan-14 13:38:38

What are the reasons for staying married to him?

Jaffacakesallround Fri 03-Jan-14 13:38:42

I think you ought to divorce him now.

He is not showing the tiniest remorse for having a long term affair. His pushing you to get a job is his way of easing himself out of your lives as the sole provider.

I wonder how this girl friend (I'd rather she was called a mistress which is what she was) got your email details?

I'm not a believer in 1 strike and you are out with marriages, especially when there are children, but the fact that he is minimising his behaviour shows he has no real affection for you or cares about your feelings.

I think you ought to end it now-and act on what he has done- not what he might do given another chance to.

mammadiggingdeep Fri 03-Jan-14 13:39:17

Sorry you're going through this.

Give yourself time. Really clear your head and think rationally, once the hurt and shock has subsided. Do you want to remain married to him anyway?

I think the fact he's not full of remorse is relevant here.

pictish Fri 03-Jan-14 13:44:48

Oh dear. My advice can only be to divorce him.
You seem prepared to accept all this is as the best you're going to get, which seems like madness. Your response seems to be to do as you're told and toe the line.

Imvho, he is going to leave you anyway. He is making anew life for himself wherever it is he's working, and you are not a part of it. Neither are your kids.

Why would you even consider staying married to him?

koalalou Fri 03-Jan-14 13:45:23

Thank you for your replies. I am really stunned by this - it is just so out of character.

I am also a bit worried because I left my career (which was on a par with his before children) to be a trailing spouse and have not found it as easy as I'd hoped to slot back into it now that I have returned home. I am also reluctant to take a low paid job (despite his suggestion that I take a job stacking shelves) as I will probably end up fending for myself, though I do think he would do right by the children or at least I hope he would.

He seems to want to just carry on pretending things are okay until he can go away again.

pictish Fri 03-Jan-14 13:46:42

He wants you financially independent so he can go and leave you to it. That's all I can think.

CailinDana Fri 03-Jan-14 13:49:26

I think you're right koala. But why make him stay? He clearly couldn't care less about your marriage. It seems to me that he would be happy to have you waiting around at home while he goes and shags around. Git.

koalalou Fri 03-Jan-14 13:51:15

I have no intention of staying with him if he isn't committed to me/our marriage. But I don't want to drive him away as that would be very hard on me (no family support here) and the girls - it would be easier all round if he at least stays closer to home and can have a part in the girls' lives

pictish Fri 03-Jan-14 13:56:52

He is not committed to you, or your marriage. He could not be less so.

You have not driven him away, he flew solo. And he intends to remain that way.

I am very sorry that you are facing this, you know. I do not think it would be helpful however, to sugar coat what has taken place here. He is telling you that he is going to live in another country because it suits him, and that he will have another woman on the go if he feels like it. Which he will.
Even if he stays close to home, his sense of entitlement is such that he will cheat on you wherever.

Why would you stick around for that?

koalalou Fri 03-Jan-14 14:01:30

I so hate being a dependent spouse. Would never have given up my job if I'd thought it could have ended up like this.
I guess the real problem is that I feel so vulnerable because I am finding it hard to find a job where I can earn enough to be independent, and have enough flexibility for the children.
If I had that job I would probably be telling him where to go (rather than where not to go...). Bugger.

Jaffacakesallround Fri 03-Jan-14 14:02:08

I can only agree that he is not committed. His actions show that. He's asking you to find a job. He's doing that so he won't have to be 100% responsible for your finances once he leaves- which I think he will.

What's missing from this is any discussion between you over why he had the affair, how long it carried on, and whether he would ever have confessed had the OW not blown his cover.

He is using you like a doormat and TBH unless you 'man up' then you are behaving like one.

It doesn't matter how you thought he was- he's now shown you how he is which is not a very nice man at all.

Jaffacakesallround Fri 03-Jan-14 14:03:05

You are in Oz?

I don't know the divorce law there but in the UK he'd have to pay for his children till they were 18- and something for you too until you found your feet again with work.

koalalou Fri 03-Jan-14 14:12:58

Yes, there has been very little discussion. He is very reluctant, I am hurting, the children are around (it's the summer holidays here). I am fairly sure he would not have told me about it though he probably could have kept it from me for a while longer if he'd agreed to pay her - he sees himself as very principled for not doing so... I started shouting, the kids came in/were about, that was the end of the discussion... Has been very frosty since.

He is very controlling and controlled as a person. Hard for me to deal with without losing my temper.

Yes I am in Oz. I have a couple of numbers to ring next week to find out where I stand legally/financially.

CailinDana Fri 03-Jan-14 14:18:08

He is controlling and critical and makes you angry. Sven if he weren't a cheating fuckwit, it sounds like you'd be far better off without him. U know the financial side is scary but he will be required to pay maintenance and you will find work eventually.

pictish Fri 03-Jan-14 14:21:33

Start divorce proceedings...that's all I can say.
He will have to put his hand in his pocket and pay maintenance. You have children together.

You do not have to stay married to him...and your enquiries will reveal that to be true.

I wish you all the best in the future, I really do. xxx

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-Jan-14 15:48:40

Wow... he drops this bombshell, you get upset and he goes 'frosty' and tells you it could be worse? That's beyond controlled, that's a cold, cold fish you've got there. Ultimatums are pointless if someone doesn't care. I'm glad you're getting legal/financial advice but I'd also strongly recommend you tell him to step out of the family for a while so that you can think clearly.

koalalou Fri 03-Jan-14 16:30:30

yes, have just got angry with him in front of our youngest. not proud. definitely need some space, might look at taking the girls away for a couple of weeks.

Get him to move out.
You do not need him and fuckwit ways around you right now.
You need space to think.
If you think it will be better to get away from him with the girls then do that.
Just get that head space and quickly.
You are putting up with so much for this horrible, vile man.
And he thinks it could be worse! Blimey, I don't know how!
Good luck and make sure you divorce this 'man'!!!

Cantabile Fri 03-Jan-14 18:24:30

Go away for a few weeks with the children. Do you want to stay in Oz or would you prefer to be with your family in UK? Make plans for yourself and the children and leave him to it. Just talk to a solicitor about money. Get the finances sorted.

stickysausages Fri 03-Jan-14 18:30:19

Agree some space is needed, for your sake.

koalalou Sat 04-Jan-14 15:23:49

We talked last night. He says the reason he has been distant/cold is because he has been worrying about the extortion/me finding out. Apparently the woman threatened him and became violent when he told her he was leaving. She also told him she had my phone number - and read it out to him. He didn't know she had my email address.

Anyway, he has said he is very sorry, and embarrassed. Tbh he seems quite humbled.

But it apparently went on for a year (he was working there for 2.5 years). He says he tried to get out of it but couldn't. I cannot for the life of me understand that.

He also talked about us standing together against the outside attack - again, not quite how I see it. He brought it upon us, not her or anyone else. He also doesn't want her to 'win'... like that really matters.

I think he has been very naive, weak and stupid - not endearing qualities at all and whether we can recover from this I really don't know.

Regarding him wanting me to work, he says - and tbh this was my understanding from a while ago, ie before she came along - the reason he is so keen for me to work was to make it easier for him to move back home.

For now, he is painting the house and pretty much tip-toeing around me. I feel slightly better because I can now see that our problems are due to him being weak and stupid rather than any failing on my part.

I am still going to take advice, set up a separate bank account (though I have control of our finances), etc as I think there is still a chance he may go back - because he thinks the new job could secure our financial future. I think he would be stupid to go back given what has happened, and it would definitely be a deal-breaker.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 04-Jan-14 15:28:58

'Weak and stupid' are not really qualities you can respect in a person. My prediction would be that, now that the immediate shock has worn off, you'll start to look at him with fresh eyes and you probably won't like what you see. Glad you're getting advice and getting prepared for independence.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 04-Jan-14 15:32:01

He's turning it all around onto this other woman to shift the blame from himself.

He sounds like an utter idiot anyway, regardless of the other woman. I haven't read anything that would make me think he is a good husband.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 04-Jan-14 15:33:46

and the 'weak and stupid' thing. I hate those two words because they tend to excuse behaviour by giving twee little personality traits to blame it on. 'i'm so weak and stupid woe is me'
He was selfish, he was greedy, calculating and knew exactly what he was doing.

pictish Sat 04-Jan-14 15:39:42

I don't think he's naive, weak or stupid. People don't have affairs against their will ffs!
I think he's dishonest, manipulative and cunning.

So...now the issue is no longer his prolonged, deliberate year long infidelity, but rather that he was the hapless victim of this seductive blackmailer whom he was powerless to resist. You need to stand together to save your marriage from her!
No...he certainly isn't stupid.

So he's blown you off with a sack of bull, and now you've lapped it up, he's got the green light to go ahead and either keep seeing her, or even somone else. After all, what consequences has he faced for his year long affair? None, none at all.
He couldn't help it after all...he's just a silly boy.

I think you can do better, but it's your funeral.

bumbumsmummy Sat 04-Jan-14 15:50:17

I just want to offer you a hand to hold but what absolute arsehole thing to do my lovely this is a man keeping his options open

Look into retraining in your chosen career so that you can provide for your family as it looks like he's about to jump ship

As for the affair I'm so sorry but he doesn't love you he loves himself most of all and wants an easy life while he sorts himself out with no hassle

Think about yourself and the girls in all you and seek some really good legal advice

koalalou Sat 04-Jan-14 17:17:01

thank you for your replies. I am sitting here at 4am wondering what the hell I should do. needless to say he is fast asleep. I told him I wouldn't sleep in the same bed as him and he just looked surprised... he really doesn't get it at all. I'm no good at pretending - and I do find it hard to talk things through.

I think he thinks he can just put it behind him - there's no reason for him to ever have any contact with her again (unless he goes back there of course, which would be a completely different scenario). But the damage is done, the trust has gone - no matter how many times he says 'this isn't me, this isn't how I am'...

You sound like you need some space to sort your own feelings out. He has totally lost any value of trust you may have had for him and you need to work out if you want to start again.

He will need to put a lot of work into you trusting him again.

If you could do anything at all, what do you think you would do?

CailinDana Sat 04-Jan-14 17:28:21

Don't swallow his bullshit. He has zero respect for you.

sunshineandhappy Sat 04-Jan-14 17:34:25

I could have written your post 5 years ago. I gave up my career, and moved 8000 miles to allow my h to 'better himself' in his career. We stayed 2 years, our relationship was poor, at that time I didn't know why.
I returned with the children to the uk, he got another contract in a neighbouring country. He then lived ( unknown to me) with the girl he'd met in the first country for a year.
When I found out, he had a similar. reaction to your dh. Had no idea what my problem was.
I went to a solicitor, was awarded two thirds of the equity in our house, to compensate for my loss of earning power.
I had a difficult couple of years coming to terms with it all. Counselling helped.
And now? He is married to the girl, still not settled, still talking about moving to yet another country to make his fortune, and the children have seen right through him.
I'm back in my old career, a bit lower down the scale than I would have been, but independent. And best of all, about to buy a house with the most wonderful loving man, I am happier than I have ever been, and the children are happy too.
I just wanted to give you encouragement, your circumstances sound similar to mine, and there truly is light at the end of the long dark tunnel. Don't settle for being second best, just because of fear of the unknown.
Best of luck.

koalalou Sat 04-Jan-14 17:58:40

sunshine - that sounds so similar, he was so looking forward to making his fortune - it has completely blinded him to the possible consequences of what he has done, what he has chosen to do. I am finding the waiting to see what he does so painful, though I am more annoyed than hurt now though.

I know that he has no idea what he needs to do to fix things - and tbh I don't really know either. He only says he's sorry when I point out that he is showing no remorse - that's the way he is, never one to admit that he's in the wrong.

If I could do anything at all I think I would like to buy two properties in the same suburb and live separately. I'm not sure I want to stay where I am as the house needs so much maintenance - though he is trying to get on top of that while he's here (the plan was for him to be home for 3 months before moving on to the new job). The new job was hopefully going to pay for a renovation.

I am going to have to talk to him tomorrow about a) sleeping arrangements and b) me going away for a few days with the girls. I know he'll complain about the cost but it'll be a lot less expensive than one of us moving out. Which I guess is what should happen - at least then he'll be able to either win me back or go his own way, instead of just painfully plodding along.

Meanwhile we have friends coming over for a bbq tomorrow afternoon which could be awkward...

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Sat 04-Jan-14 18:10:01

Very telling that he wanted to encourage you two to "unite to fight the common enemy" ie. the OW

This man hates women, and he hates you too. Sorry.

Thetallesttower Sat 04-Jan-14 18:21:22

Why on earth would you want him back? He's not even sorry he brought this into your lives, if the woman hadn't turned on him and demanded money, he'd still be with her now.

I think you should work out- which country you would like to be in, where you and the girls would like to live, how you are going to restart your career and gain success in your own right. Where he then lives is up to him and shouldn't be your main priority.

Sorry, but you weren't his main priority, were you? You need to start being a little more selfish and start making some of your own life choices, don't wait for the axe to fall with him, don't wait for him to say yes to winning you back (what a prize).

I think you made a big mistake giving up your career and following this man and I would start thinking how you can get that back on track for the next twenty years as it will prove a lot more satisfying and stable than your marriage.

I know you'll say- it's for the children, I want him around, but clearly that isn't his priority, he's happy to work away again chasing some imaginary fortune and sleeping with the locals, I would make you and the children your priority and get on with your lives, after some good legal advice.

Cantabile Sat 04-Jan-14 19:16:04

No remorse, no understanding of what he did wrong, no understanding of how to make it right. It'll be your fault soon. He acts surprised that you don't want to share a bed!

Book yourselves into the most expensive hotel - in fact, take the children abroad for a bit of ski-ing or something. Tell him that if he'd spent his time making his fortune instead of getting his end away he wouldn't have to worry about the cost, he can put it om a credit card and pay it off when he has made his fortune. Maybe it'll concentrate his mind on important things.

Until he really does admit responsibility for what he's done - a whole year ffs! - nothing will change and he will wriggle around to make himself the victim until you really have no respect for him at all.

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