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DH and e-mail from work colleague(133 Posts)
Hi looking for others take on this.
Married 6 years together 20 years. Very happy with two DC. DH very outgoing, the type that gets on well with everyone, very well liked by everyone and a bit flirty by nature.
A couple of years ago he became friendly with a work colleague. I was not fully aware of their friendship at the time. He did speak about her a bit as she had broken up with her bf and was internet dating so he would tell me about this and I would ask how she was getting on etc etc. After a while I started to get a little bit wary of their relationship - not sure why just instinct I suppose. Then one evening I was on his emails (he was fully aware of this) looking for something and came across an email from her to him that didn't sit right with me. It was from her saying "where will we go for lunch sexy". His reply suggested "get something and have it in his office or go to the usual cafe". Then her reply "yes your office as have no money. We can lock the door of your office right!!!!" Then him - "cop on you tart" then followed by lunch arrangements. Now at the time I found the e-mail I was very hurt as I felt very betrayed that he would think that this was ok. I confronted him and he said absolutely nothing going on, just friends, office banter and that was just her personality and how she was with other people. I told him I thought this was completely inappropriate and was not how I thought a married man should act. I asked for full access to his e-mails, phone records etc which he gave me and I looked back over all their e-mails and other than this mail there was very little else. I do have a suspicion that he may have called her once on a night out when he was drunk but found no evidence of this. It didn't stop me from being very upset and I told him to tell her how I felt and to tell her to stop this "banter" with him. He said he never viewed it the way I did but he could see how it looks to me. He did (after he spoke to her) suggest I meet her but I didn't want this as my take is that she owed me nothing and it was him that I was in a relationship with. After a lot of tears and talking I was satisfied that it was just a bit of flirting. Since this we have had another DC and are as happy as ever.
My issue - Since this happened I have to be honest that I find it hard to trust DH. 99% of the time everything is great but there is always something in the back of my mind and I feel like I am always on high alert. Reason being that I had no idea of their friendship. When this happened it turned out that they had regularly gone for lunch but he would never have told me. Every day we would ask each other what did you do for lunch but he never once told me that he had lunch with her. I found this very odd. We bumped into her and her new bf recently and since then it has brought back everything that happened a few years ago. She introduced me to the bf and said DH had already met him. DH never mentioned this. They still work together but he never mentions her and I never ask. I have no reason to doubt him at all. He is a great father and DH. We don't go out separately very often and I have no reason to think anything but I just wonder because I never knew the last time either as everything was happening during work hours.
My question is will the doubt ever go away?? Sometimes I think I am being totally irrational but I can't help how I feel. I have been reading here about EA and how most people are repeat offenders and it has just got me thinking. I hate feeling like this and wish that I could have that feeling of complete trust back again.
Thanks for reading and all comments welcome.
so has he given you any reason not to trust him in the past?
No. Have no other reason not to trust him.
do you think this is more about your feelings of self worth and confidence then?
I really don't think so. Would not consider myself the jealous type or to be lacking in confidence. I would consider myself quite a loyal person and expect the same in return. I cannot abide lies and think they are a terrible trait in a person. I suppose I feel I have been lied to and it's the unknown that is eating away at me
Hi have been in your situation - no dodgy emails that I have seen - but my discovery of my DH's coffee and lunch dates all resulted from his blowing our marriage apart by "falling in love" with a work colleague .Upsetting in the extreme and not life enhancing. What I discovered as I went into desperate detective mode for a short while was that his EA was one thing but that there was a background of female work friendships - coffee dates, lunch dates - "just work talk with good friends" which were never mentioned to me....over a decade - the decade of babies, small children, two working parents! And that the talk with friends was not all work - it was aspirations, hobbies, gossip - all the stuff that we didn't have the time to talk about and when we did, he was all talked out. He knows these friendships are wrong, I am not cool about them so beware... And don't be afraid to reset the rules for how you expect your DH to be behave with other women in work settings, on social media etc. ..it's about respecting you and your marriage as the slippery slope beckons. Google "just good friends". I will never regain 100% trust - have lost my innocence there - not fixable but hopefully you can nip in the bud. Good luck - don't buy into the cool wife scenario.
After I kicked my stbxh out for something else, I discovered that he had been exchanging flirty emails with a work colleague with whom he was sharing lunch and coffee (nothing had happened he promised, they were just friends) and about whom I knew nothing. I felt like I had discovered his 'affair'.
She is now his girlfriend (was the OW..?) and they are moving in together in the New Year.
I think your DH has been very open with you and you probably have nothing to worry about, however, there is probably a little platonic thing with this woman?
I really think you need to be very honest with him and tell him how you feel. Not in a dramatic way, but I think you need to rebuild that 1% trust that is missing there.
It sounds like your DH really cares about you and will understand how you feel. Hopefully he can think of what to do to remedy the situation. (The only thing I can think of is changing jobs but that seems extreme)
Often that nagging feeling of distrust is because your instincts are telling you there is more to this so called "banter".
Also I am suspicious about the the fact that you found that one "sexy" email conversation and nothing else suggests that he deleted the rest. No one jumps from mundane chat straight to sexy talk - there must have been steps taken to get to that stage.
There has been a lot of secrecy and deceit and this takes time to get over - what is he doing to be open, honest and transparent?
This is a good link that may help you think about how he should be addressing his own boundaries.
Well it did sound like he shot her down on the email (saying to "cop on you tart"), and doesn't particularly sound like he has been having an EA to me.
I understand that reading the email wasn'r particularly nice but as you say you have no other reason to suspect him, maybe you might try and put this behind you (easier said than done i know).
Maybe if you and him spent some quality time together (doesn't have to be loads, sometimes me and DP book into a cheap B&B) might bring you closer.
Is there any other reasons that would make you feel uneasy about DP or unsure/not as confident about yourself?
i have a couple of male work colleagues who are married but are big mates of mine. We text, we go out etc.
However I would never suggest we locked an office door if we had lunch ( and we do) together. Thats weird
Hi, thanks for all the replys.
Debtherat- thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear this has happened to you. Will google just good friends later when I get a chance as suggested. I understand completely when you say you went into "desperate detective mode". Me too but you know I don't want to have to be like this. Interesting that you say you could never 100% trust him again.
Folkgirl - sorry to her your story. That really scares me!
Timetoask - yes maybe there is a platonic thing going on but I just couldn't understand why you would act like this with a "friend". I think this is totally overstepping the mark. On the changing jobs - he did suggest this at the time but I didn't think this would solve anything. I think it would only get rid of her from the picture but obviously it is him that is at fault so not really addressing the issue. I don't blame her at all. I blame DH as it is him that needs to be loyal. I think I do need to talk to him again but have absolutely no idea how the 1% trust could be regained.
Miss ScatterBrain - I may not have explained properly in my original post. There were other e-mails but nothing flirty just normal stuff. What he is doing to be open and transparent - I am not sure. I asked him to stop the "banter" and he said he did. Unfortunately I have absolutely no way of knowing if they communicate other than there being no "evidence". Although I am not actively looking - only now and then like now when I feel a bit funny about it again. I don't want to be that crazy wife searching for evidence - it's just not me. I just want the trust back. Thanks for the link. Maybe I should ask him to answer those questions!
qazxc - yes I agree that he didn't partake in the banter and shot her down. He should have told her to stop though! Quality time would definitely be good. With 2 young DC we don't always make enough time for us. I have no other reasons to feel uneasy about DH. That's what makes me feel a bit silly feeling like this.
DrNick - that's exactly how I felt. Absolutely inappropriate and the main reason that I felt so uneasy about it.
Maybe I will have a chat again about it and tell him how I feel. I just don't want to be causing a fuss over nothing but as my username suggests I can't help feeling like this.
This happened to me. I saw a couple of emails with flurtiness frim my DPs work colleague. All about fancying him as well. His relies were polite but nit reciprocating. However, he did say thinhs about his home lie i wasnt happy with. I stupidly emailed her and told her to back off. I immediately regretted it and told my DP. He was angry but at least it sorted things out. Ive since seen her irl and i have no worries. She is definitely not my DPs type and she has now sorted things with her husband.
Im sure your husband is just enjoying the attention and flirting. Now she has a bf i wouldnt worry too much.
Sorry about typos. On my phone.
The banter from her did overstep the mark, but his response was to clearly shut that down, and you say you never saw anything else inappropriate. It sounds like he was very open with you after that. From what you've said, he was pretty understanding about your concerns, and to work out the issue together.
It's not surprising he didn't mention her to you any more after your showdown.
Be careful bringing it up again, especially if there have been no further developments. It may do more harm than good.
By being open and transparent, is he telling you about lunches/coffees with female colleagues, leaving his phone around, emails accessible etc. He also needs to reassure you that there is nothing to worry about - by inviting you to join
You are right in saying that she isn't the problem - it is HIM who is the one you need to deal with, he crossed a few lines with these secret meetings and the banter. It is so easy for people working together to fall down the slippery slope into a full blown affair.
Amateurish - communication is key and not talking about it again is not to be recommended - we all need reminding of our own boundaries and often secrecy is the fuel that can flame these things into an affair.
I agree about open communication, but on the other hand being asked to allow full access to phone, open emails, and report on all meetings with female colleagues can be seen as controlling. I certainly wouldn't agree to it.
He should be doing all he can to reassure OP and this means being transparent and honest. No secret passwords/codes. Why shouldn't he tell Op about his social meetings with female colleagues? I tell my DH about my meet ups with male friends and colleagues because I have nothing to hide and because I like sharing these things with him when discussing how our day has been.
Men don't tend to share absolutely everything in my experience. He might have bumped into her new partner, but wouldn't necessarily immediately think to share that information. In fact he might think that bringing her up would rock the boat and cause uneasiness so it's better to just leave it.
Rewind back to before he met this co-worker. Were you the sort of person who was instantly suspicious of other women he came into contact with? If so, was he aware of that?
Because you said he discussed her with you at the start - in some detail it appears if you knew she was dating after her relationship ending - but then stopped that level of detail and omitted to tell you they'd got so close that they were lunch buddies.
Why, if you weren't an unreasonably jealous person and didn't react badly to discussing her personal life with him in the early days, would he then stop telling you about her?
The "you'd go mad/be jealous/get the wrong idea" defence wouldn't wash would it, seeing as you'd behaved normally up till then.
One possible reason is that he actually had an affair with her and was careless about deleting ALL of the messages between them. I don't think co-workers seek locked offices in which to eat a sandwich, do you?
My interpretation of this is that he ended whatever it was after you found out and there's still a bit of resenment about that on her part. Which is why she made a point of telling you that he'd already met her new man. She realised she'd drop him in it and that you would be bothered by it.
I just bet he doesn't discuss her any more. That's a can of worms he doesn't want to be questioned on too closely, in case he slips up and forgets what he said last time.
Ton - your post would explain why OP isn't fully convinced that she can trust him, at some level she knows there is more to this.
Its so easy for one email/text to slip through the net after plenty of careful deleting - this is how so many affairs get found out.
OP, in your shoes, given he broke your trust, I would do some digging around - checking mobile bills, deleted email folders, doing a search on his computer/laptop for her name/email address and so on. If you find nothing, then you may have to accept that you will never know what really happened.
I'd guess the poster knows deep down that something happened back then and from what she's written, the husband never had a convincing explanation for his secrecy and omissions. Sounds like a strange dance has been going on with the husband not mentioning the co-worker or what happened before and the poster being too scared too in case she looked paranoid.
Whereas if this had been as described and the couple had really worked on the issue, it wouldn't be a banned subject at all. Being more open and transparent with no sacred cows and elephants that can't be mentioned, would be the more natural outcome if all was well.
Hello op. I can understand why yay didn't like reading that email exchange
Can I just say one thing though? And I will temper it with the caveat that I do love the relationship board. It gives out tremendous advice and support when people really need it. It is a lifeline and a fabulous resource
But, reading it can somewhat skew your mood I find. When I was I a. Low place I was reading it voraciously and I really did find that it was making me feel very jaded about men. Reading about all these cheating lying scumbags on here was actually really depressing and was really making me think that "all men are". When of course they aren't.
Ty and remember that the men portrayed on these boards are not a. your DH or b. representative of all men
That doesn't mean to say you shouldn't feel suspicious. Just to say that it is not a given that your DH is up to no good either.
FloraSpreadableMacDonald - thanks for sharing your story. Maybe I should go back to forgetting about it and move on.
Amateurish - there is no secrecy on passwords, emails, phone etc I know all passwords as he does mine and he regularly leaves phone lying around. I agree that there is a fine line between sharing information with me and total over the top controlling behavior.
Missscatterbrain - I agree with you on it being normal conversation about who you meet for lunch. I have absolutely no desire to be controlling, but I do expect him to share who he goes to lunch with - not because I NEED to know but because it's normal chit chat. I regularly go to lunch with a male colleague and would never not tell DH. I think I will follow your advice in the last post and just be watchful for a while.
If nothing turns up I will just have to let it go and may never fully know what went on.
Rek999 - totally agree that men in general don't do detail!! I think women like to know all the ins and outs and sometimes men just don't need that level of detail.
Tonandfeather - before this I had no reason to doubt him and would not be the jealous type. He has lots of female friends and I have no issue with this at all so long as there is no secretive behavior. He didn't just stop talking to me about her. She would sometimes come up in conversation re dating etc. it wasn't like he suddenly stopped telling me things. Completely agree that the locked door comment was strange.
Thanks for sharing - it's good to get different views.
I wish I could be a fly on a wall for a day!!
it must have been a shock at the time and I suppose always an eye opener to find any marriage isn't 'affair proof' but it sounds like he's been upfront in offering to introduce you etc - maybe he doesn't mention her now in case it upsets you - could you talk to him about that? I agree about reading not just friends
I think the first poster is really out of order.
She had trusted her husband, then she found the emails and now she doesn't yet somehow it is because the OP is insecure. .
"Cop on you tart" does not mean piss off and leave me alone I am married, in my world . It is totally flirting.
Toffee, that was how I interpreted it too - as in ooh get you, you little minx.
Me too. Also hate women being called "tarts".
I'm a bit bemused by the poster (Flora?) whose p was moaning to a flirtatious co-worker about his home life and when his e mails were discovered and she got in touch with the co-worker, got ANGRY. What's that all about then? I don't think co-workers having boyfriends new or otherwise is relevant either. These guys have wives or partners themselves don't they?
Tonandfeather - you are right that I don't want to look paranoid however she is not a banned subject I suppose I don't know her so have no connection to her so nothing I would want to know about her iykwim.
Bitoutofpractice - I take on board your point. Getting others take on this is helpful though and ultimately I will make an informed decision. You know sometimes I think that maybe I am way OTT with my reaction so it's good to know I'm not the only one that thinks it isn't right.
I think I will take a bit more time to think about it and then decide whether to speak to him again or just drop it.
Thanks for the help!
That was me Ton.....looking back i regret emailing colleague as i said previously. It was knee jerk reaction!
I should have been clearer about "moaning about homelife"....he wasnt moaning about me....he was saying that sometime working, short of cash, being a parent, partner, etc can be difficult. I could see from his replies that the feelings for her feelings for him were not reciprocated. His replies were a tactful "thanks but no thanks".
I regret emailing her. But thankful it was sorted out and now forgotten. If the OP is still unsetgled with the outcome then perhaps another chat.
My reaction was almost identical to ton - he talks about this girl, goes into detail about her dating, and then stops talking about her. Then it transpires they're good friends, been meeting regularly for lunch, and he hasn't mentioned this. He has withheld the truth from you.
Then you find a compromising email, which sounds so much like they're having an affair that it can't be true right? He says it's banter so it must be banter. It's too obvious to have got caught discussing sex. Except that if that's just how she talks then there would have been many exchanges like that. If that was the only exchange in that tone, then maybe that's not how she talks.
I worked mainly with men through my 20s and 30s and although there was a lot flirty suggestive banter, there was a line of intimacy you didn't cross - no - 'you & me in your office having sex'. I find that completely bizarre. Now of course she's not me, I can't speak for all women, maybe it was all just talk. But I didn't interpret his reply as turning her down, as others did, but as implying 'obviously we're not going have sex in my office'.
A few years later, after you've supposedly repaired the trust with your husband, you discover that he has at some point met her bf and hasnt mentioned it. Another instance in which he has been less than honest about this woman. Even now he's not being open with you about her.
I think the reason you cannot 100% trust your husband is because you know deep down that you have never had the full truth from him. Even if it wasn't a physical affair, there was still more going on than you were told about.
If your gut is telling you something is not right, then listen to it.
OP, as my (NC) title states, I've been the OW under very similar circumstances to how you describe (work colleagues, daily lunches, email exchanges). My MM was exactly as you describe your DH (outgoing, popular, liked by all) - the last person you'd expect to cheat on his wife - until it happened. It wasn't planned and we both fought it for months but but fell in love. This isn't an excuse (I have no excuses) just an explanation of how it happened as we spent most of our working week in close proximity.
I think you should trust your instincts and at the very least maybe keep your eye out for other signs.
Oh, and the suggestion for his wife and I to meet was a tactic to deflect suspicion. Sorry
Hi Flora yes I understand about regretting contacting the co-worker, but although those moans about the responsibilities of family life weren't about you specifically, there's a subtext to them isn't there? "Save me from mundanity" perhaps? Very unwise to do that with someone he knew was interested in him sexually and yet again, you say you 'saw' the e mails rather than him volunteering info about this relationship. Are you still with him?
"Cant" what reasons did he give you for hiding the extent of this relationship with you after you found those messages? I knew you'd say you weren't possessive or concerned before this woman came along, so I'd love to know what possible reasons he came up with for hiding things.
and what did he say about meeting her current boyfriend before? Why didn't he mention that?
It seems so incredibly fishy to me that you went through all this ages ago and he presumably promised more openness but has been found out so recently in such an omission about the very woman this was all centered around.
I'm confused why this is such a difficult subject for you to air with him. Would you get accused of being paranoid or unreasonably jealous?
Feel vindicated by sosuitablyashamed's post - look see what happens when male/female friendships start - it's a dangerous game - I know people see it as so evolved men and women being "friends" but personally I think for most men there is a sexual undercurrent which if recripocated wreaks havoc. As for the last comment about deflecting suspicion - playing the poor wife - I hope she raged against both of you!! Hope you are all in a better place now.
Ton...no we are separated...i discovered he was doing the deed with a girl from the gym, lol. So perhaps the colleague was the start of dipping his finger in another pie?! Needless to say im much happier and about to date a rather delicious single man who thinks Im an angel :0)
'Cop on you tart' is NOT shooting her down. Quite the opposite.
I don't like the sound of it at all.
Relieved you're not with him any longer flora and yes i'm sure that was just the start of it. glad you're happier.
Have a strange feeling after reading some of the replies. That nervous feeling that you can't get rid of.
It's funny how people see things differently. His reply "cop on " I saw as dismissive rather than flirty.
Twinklestein - I also couldn't get my head around her comment either. I just couldn't fathom it but it was explained by that was just her way. What I took from the mail was that it was her flirting with him. I didn't really see that his response was flirty (not condoning his behavior for a secMaybe I just hung on to that.
Sorry posted before I was finished.
Sosuitablyashamed - that is hard to read but I have thought that this could be the case - a cover up by saying go talk to her.
Tonandfeather - he didn't see not telling me about lunches etc as withholding information from me - he just didn't think it was that important. I didn't ask about where he met the bf why ? Because I wanted to get things straight in my head first and hence my post. He wouldn't necessarily see it is paranoia but I know he would be upset to think that this is still bothering me. I think he will say that he didn't want to bring it all up again and that's why he didn't tell me.
At the time I was satisfied that nothing happened between them but always was on high alert. Now I did really really want to believe him and that he wouldn't do that to me so who knows.
Lots to think about ....
I work in a male dominated industry. In a really male dominated job role. If my DH got paranoid every time I had lunch/coffee with a male colleague (or, for example, when a colleague texted me at 7pm on a Sunday to see which flight I was on the next morning and whether I wanted to have breakfast) then life would be very hard work. Similarly if he demanded access to my email - well, we work for competitive organisations so that would be in breach of both of our contracts, for a start.
I know there are a scary stories aplenty out there. OTOH there are also millions of perfectly platonic friendships between colleagues as well.
Stealthsquiggle - I also work in a male dominated environment but would never speak to a colleague like that. I don't think receiving a text about a flight and meeting for breakfast is in the same league as this mail. Your example is completely normal. The mail is completely inappropriate IMO.
I'm afraid I would also see 'cop on you tart' as flirty. It's not reining the conversation back into a professional arena, is it? If he's said 'Now, steady on, we won't need to do that', or something I would find it more dismissive. Sorry to pick on a small detail but I would agree it's inappropriate.
OTOH, it is a point in his favour that he instantly gave you access to his emails when you asked and there was nothing else. But I can see why you feel uneasy.
Mellowandfruitful - yes a lot of others are seeing it as flirty too so maybe it is. He was completely transparent on the e-mails with full access etc and that was part of the reason that I concluded that there wasn't anything to it. I still made it VERY clear that it wasn't ok.
Aha! I think I've got a handle on this now.
He didn't admit even to being flattered did he? Didn't even admit that yes she was flirting with him and it made him feel good? Tried to make out that it was just normal behaviour in the office and that she went around suggesting every guy locked his door when she joined him for lunch? That it was par for the course to call a co-worker a "tart"?
There's your problem and is why I absolutely think they had an affair.
If there hadn't been, he would have been so much more honest. Yes, she got a bit close to the wire and yes, he'd been enjoying the attention. No, not everyone acts like that around eachother at work and I'd be concerned if you did with a co-worker.
Then there is the completely deliberate omission about their lunches and how close they'd got. He says he didn't think it was important. Important enough to make darned sure he never let slip in an everyday converstaion with you in the evening that they'd lunched together. Not mentioning an occasional lunch - maybe. Not mentioning any of them when they are happening on such a regular basis? - too fishy for words.
My interpretation of the 'cop on' remark is that it was way too dangerous to have sex in his office at lunchtime and what would people think if they came across a locked door - the tart addition is a friendly put down reference to her not being able to control her sexual desires.
I'm afraid I also find the explanation too thin for the conversation you saw and the relationship you stumbled across, I'm really sorry, but I do.
If he was having an affair, how much damage would the knowledge do to you?
Reason I ask: I think they are. Way back when, he had mentionitis about her, then it stopped. This usually means an infatuation has turned into a 'something'. The poster who said "men" (that famous mass of humanity, who are all alike) don't talk about their day is obviously talking bollocks, as he talked plenty about her until he didn't! But you found out they were regular lunch buddies all of that time; the only thing that'd changed was the chat with you.
Having had extensive cause to think about infidelity in my own past, I reached the conclusion that, for me, the emotional side of it mattered far more than the shagging. As long as were were having decent sex on a regular basis, I didn't figure I was losing out there. What pissed me off immensely, though, was the transference of interest from me to a Ms Other. Instead of sharing his hopes, jokes, worries, and general chitchat with me, somebody else was getting it. That stuff, to me, is the glue in a relationship and at times we conversed chiefly by post-it notes stuck to the fridge
Where you go from here depends very much on your overall viewpoint and feelings. For now, I'm afraid, I don't feel you're 1% paranoid at all. I think you're missing him, because someone else has got part of him
But if the affair is past what can the op do about it now? It's only suspicion.
Speaking from experience, go with your instinct. You have that funny feeling for a good reason. I too stumbled across an email with a telling phrase and when I confronted DH, I was also told "oh, it doesn't mean that, that's just the way she speaks". There was not much I could do and just accepted the explanation like you did. Every so often I'd get that nagging feeling and think to myself that it just didn't sit right. 3 years later I got the truth. Turns out what had been minimised to a friendship had actually been a brief fling.
Not saying that this is the case with your OH, they might genuinely be friends. Just wonder why he wouldn't have told you about all the lunch dates if it was really so innocent? Especially when he has been asked directly what he did for lunch and never once mentioned eating with her! Odd.
I think his reply to her email sounds something akin to "haha, yeah right we're doing it in the office you filthy little minx".
About why he gave you free access to his emails- he was careless this one time- either didn't delete that one along with the others, or they don't usually email each other about non-work stuff.
Come on, he has lunch with a friend IN HIS OFFICE and has never once mentioned it?
As other posters have said, it maybe doesn't matter now. She seems to have moved on and perhaps so has he. If it's a thing of the past maybe you don't need to know. I found out well after the brief dalliance was over and I sometimes wish I never had found out. It was a few years ago and we're now stuck trying to figure out if that's it for our marriage.
Thanks for replys.
One thing that I probably should have mentioned in my earlier posts is that there is no way that they would have being doing anything in his office at lunchtime for two reasons. One - his office is just off an open plan office with lots of people and two - he shares it with someone else. So I suppose when I read her email I sort of think that nothing could have happened. Does anyone think this changes anything ? Like it is not like they actually could have locked the office and done anything.
Hermionepotter - yes I definitely think he would not bring her up because it might upset me. I will definitely speak to him about all of this but need to gather my thoughts first as this is likely to change a lot of things for us. I have to be prepared - probably not ideal leaving it so long but this is how I deal with things.
Tonandfeather - no at the time he did actually say that he was flattered by her attention and that it made him feel good. However, he did also say that it was normal for her - kinda like she carries on like this with others too. Now I was very straight about the fact that I couldn't care less how either she or other male colleagues acted in this situation - It still didn't make it right. And he agreed. At the time he kept saying "I can't believe that this (the e-mail) is causing all this trouble as there is absolutely nothing to it etc etc". I am fully aware that he could just have been saying that to get himself out of trouble but I did believe what he said and his explanations.
Also, on the lunch thing he also said that a group of them often met for lunch in a room in the office. That it wasn't always just her and him. However his suggestion of going to the "usual cafe" tells me they lunched together multiple times. You will see above my comment on the locked office thing.
Perfectstorm - thanks for sharing your perspective on this.
Garlicreturns - it would do a lot of damage. In some ways I feel like it already has. This is not me - looking for evidence, wondering, and all that. I would never have been like this before but like I said earlier I have lost part of that trust I had. I would completely agree that for me the emotional side is worse. I would hate to think that the closeness a couple shares is being shared with someone else. I am a very private person by nature and would hate the thought of anyone discussing things about me.
Winkywinkola- I suppose I will just have to decide if I am wiling to live like this and always have that little bit of doubt or not. The alternative is very scary. Mostly because aside from this our relationship is really great and there are others to think of too - the kids. However I am trying to leave them out of this for now until I sort things out in my own head.
Kittenzzz - on the e-mail access. I know that I saw everything as the system used holds everything including deleted mails. Obviously I know there could have been other modes of communication like another e-mail or text etc but I will never know that. I think I would rather know if there was something but I completely understand why you wish you didn't find out. It's a hard call to make.
A lot of people have said about instincts etc and I agree as I think I am a very perceptive person. However I have had no reason to have any suspicions aroused prior to that chance meeting.
Now for the next step. I am thinking that I will firstly ask about the meeting of the bf and where this was and why he never said anything. Then I think I will tell him that I have been thinking a lot about it again and see what he says and take it from there. I am not sure yet but I may even show him this thread although something tells me that I should keep this to myself.
Thanks everyone your replies are really helpful.
"Cop on you tart" has a feeling of familiarity about it that is coming from someone who has already passed the just colleagues page.
You need to decide what to do.
Do nothing, hope it all goes away and nothing nags at you again.
Tell him you know something went on and if he doesn't tell you you will do X. You need to make sure you are willing to do X otherwise it will be pointless making the statement.
Tell him if he tells you everything now you will be willing to move on. You don't have to be, you just have to make him believe it. If he does tell, be sure to realise he will minimise and you will get the Script. Afterwards you can divorce him if you want.
Lots to think about.
HI, if he was not open about the lunch dates, and emails. you have a problem.
when our dh's are open and honest, we know that there aren't feelings or a 'connection' with someone else.
I am starting to learn more from being on here, even the men we thought were decent are not they will still fall for the 'seductive' or 'intelligent' work colleague however attractive/unattractive whatever the reason they still fall for it. have you been able to talk about this with him?
OP I'm sorry but "Cop on you tart!" is not dismissive.
It would be like me saying "Ooo you naughty boy, get you!" back at a man. It's flirty. Sorry.
I hope your chat with your DH goes OK
"Tart" smacks of familiarity and he is acknowledging her as being a sexy person - very uninappropriate way of addressing a colleague.
The closed office comment - this is where the "cop on" comes in, as in you must be joking in a knowing way as its lunchtime and getting caught is likely. But I wonder what would happen after work...
Why do they always paint the OW as the office flirt?!
Also the bit about how he kept saying he couldn't believe all this trouble - this worries me because instead of being defensive, he should have been mortified that he has crossed some lines and upset you. Surely he must have seen how inappropriate and wrong he has been?
It could be that they don't usually communicate in this way via email - did you ever get to check his mobile and phone bills?
The fact that this is so unlike you and that you are usually not jealous/paranoid and yet you cannot shake off this strange feeling is very telling.
I don't envy you having to decide on what you want to do next - good luck.
OP: "Kittenzzz - on the e-mail access. I know that I saw everything as the system used holds everything including deleted mails."
I am no tecchie but if this is Outlook, you can permanently delete emails in the Deleted Items folder. I agree you also need to check his mobile and phone bills. When you are having your talk with your dh, quietly make sure he has his mobile phone with him and ask for it on the spot. Watch his reaction.
Have you been to an office function and has he introduced the colleague to you before? Sometimes, wives can sense there is something off when they see the OW, even if the OW is one person in a big group, particularly since you say you are a perceptive person.
Good god, this really is the wrong board for getting a balanced view. I had a totally different view of the situation from reading the op's post. I would agree with the op above who says to just be aware that this board can give a very jaundiced view of things - I remember a thread where a poster was worried about a text from her dh, which after several pages of LTB then turned out to have a totally innocent, corroborated explanation and some posters just absolutely refused to believe it. Just to give you an opposite view, nothing you have said indicates an affair to me and surely damage could be done by being overly controlling or suspicious - certainly I know I wouldn't like it. Maybe I'll be flamed for this opinion, I don't know
I really wouldn't assume the worst about this. If you're perceptive and you haven't worried about anything else, I would assume that there was something amiss - but something minor, perhaps she got drunk and lunged at him and he told her to piss off, or just flirted with him when she was doing a lot of dating etc. They do sound very familiar - but then you knew that they were good enough friends that she discussed her online dating etc with him (and he with you, remember). At that level of friendship, I wouldn't find this interaction very surprising. Are you a very professional type who would never make these kind of jokes with colleagues? Because where I've worked (various industries) greeting someone "Hello sexy" or making jokes of this kind with friends (definitely NOT with casual acquaintances etc) is totally normal.
Honestly, I would try to relax.
ToffeeOwnsTheSausage - think I have decided to speak to him. Re the ultimatum - this is what I think will be difficult. If he continues to deny anything happened then its hard to follow through because I dont actually know what went on. It is down then to whether I believe him or not and then back to the trust thing.
Youcanbemyfriendifyoubuymecake - Yeah it's hard to understand why people need this "extra" I just don't get it. Haven't spoken to him yet but think I will.
Missscatterbrain - yes he did see how inappropriate it was. I think his point about not believing the email could cause such damage was more because it didn't mean anything, it was just banter. Yes did check his phone records before I even spoke to him and nothing untoward found.
Blueshoes - no it is an e-mail management system that holds all mail items including deleted mails so I think it was everything. Not techie either so couldn't be absolutely certain.
Did get introduced to her before and got no vibes that there was anything out of the ordinary.
Apachepony - point taken. Do you think it is an inappropriate conversation though just not an affair? Definitely not interested in being controlling.
Thanks for all the views.
ElephantsAndMiasmas - yes am in a professional job and would not speak to a colleague like this. He is also in a professional job as is she. Thanks for your take on it. I know people have different views on what is acceptable.
OP - I do think you will get a very (albeit understandably) biased viewpoint from MN. How many people are going to post "well I got paranoid about a colleague of my DP's, went off the deep end / leftTB and it turned out to be absolutely nothing"?
I know the language is inappropriate, but I do know professional working environments (partners that we work with, not our own as it is a very "aware" US-based organisation) in which it would not be particularly unusual. I don't have an answer for you, but it would be good to think that you could find a resolution which settles your doubts without risking your relationship in the process (unless of course your fears are justified ).
I wish you the best of luck in finding such a resolution.
I think it is rather juvenile to say just because it is MN you will get people saying LTB. By its very nature more people post that their husbands have cheated, or they suspect they have, so there will be a larger majority of LTB posts than MTM (Marry The Man) posts. People generally post when they are worried or upset. Not many people come on to say how wonderful their spouse has been that day.
I'm going to play devils advocate a little here. My ExBF was an old fashioned sexist dinosaur (one of the reasons he's Ex!). When we first met I was working away in a job that left me very little time in the week (hotel, office by 7:30am, back to hotel at about 9pm dinner & sleep). That was fine, as it was when I was between jobs. Next job was commutable in London so I took the opportunity to go out for a drink a couple of times with a good mate of mine who happened to be male. We're not talking every week, maybe every couple of months or so (as we'd done last time we were both working in town).
Next thing I know I'm getting all kinds of accusations & jealousies from the BF, with it getting to the stage that I was sorely tempted to lie about who I was going for a drink with just to keep the peace. I will emphasise that I had known this mate many years longer than my BF, he'd helped me out & advised me on a number of things in the past & there had never ever been any question of either of us fancying the other.
I ended up just not mentioning that I'd been out even if asked as it just wasn't worth the hassle.
Toffee that was
exactly kind of my point - so not clear in what way it was juvenile when I said it but not when you did
Stealth, I apologise if I have offended you. I don't see that we were both saying the same thing. You said MN is biased. I don't think I said that. I took it to mean that you were saying posters automatically say LTB.
Clearly I didn't say what I meant then. I meant exactly what you said - people post when they are worried, not when they are OK, people who have been wounded see the worst, those that haven't see nothing and don't comment. It's not MN per se, it's human nature, but it results in a biased view of the situation IMHO.
Well I spoke to him tonight. First asked about when he met the bf. He said he hadn't ever met him and if he did he didn't remember. I told him that her comment had made me feel uneasy again and was making me rethink what happened before. He reiterated that to him there was never any connection other than friends, that he never saw her that way and as far as he knew she was the same. He said nothing ever happened between them and he never wanted anything to happen. He never saw their relationship in that way. He did say that he knows how it looks when you read the email and again said that he knows it was inappropriate. He said he didn't really know what else to say that hadn't already been said. He was very sad that I was feeling like this again. He also said his heart was beating out of his chest that this has come up again and that he didn't want me to feel this way. He said he has not once met her for lunch since and only communications are work related. I do feel better after having a chat. I don't suppose I will ever know for certain what their relationship was. Maybe I will never get the 1% back. I just hope that bringing it all up again hasn't caused us issues but it was the right thing to do as I just couldn't not say it as it would eat away at me and probably make me crazy. He also said that he was glad that I talked to him about it.
Thanks for everyone's input it has been very helpful.
I don't think saying we can lock your door is a normal flirting work comment at all... It sounds more than that
Him saying his heart was beating out of his chest is interesting. That happens when we're frightened, doesn't it?
I think this is one of those awful situations where you might never know one way or the other whether anything happened. It doesn't look like there's anything happening NOW and maybe that will be enough for you? I'd be interested in what he had to say about how he might avoid this sort of thing in the future, especially as you say he's flirty with people and use the present not the past tense about that.
I've worked in many corporate workplaces in the US and GB and have never known co-workers to write to eachother like that. I do make the distinction between what's written and what's spoken too. A flirtatious verbal exchange somehow seems more deliberate and overt when someone's gone to the trouble of writing it in a message, with editing and deleting facilities.
Tonandfeather - I thought the very same when he said about his heart. Didn't say it in my post because I wanted to see what others thought. However, I was very close to leaving him when this happened so I think this could have been why he felt like this. I don't think I will ever know. On what he is doing to make it better - not crossing the line I suppose. He is flirty by nature so I don't expect or want him to change that but just respect the boundaries and not take it too far and I have no reason to believe that he isn't doing this. I really don't think there is anything going on now and at some point I have to move on from this. Without any proof it would be foolish and possibly unfair to do anything rash.
Has he told you what changes he's made to his behaviour around other women since this happened?
There seems to be a contradiction between "I was flattered by the attention and it felt good" and "I never saw her that way and she didn't fancy me either" don't you think?
By the way I don't think "not having proof" will make one jot of difference to your feelings of doubt and mistrust. It might be more a case of managing those feelings, rather than being rid of them completely. I'm sure he wanted that conversation over quickly whereas it would have been much more reassuring if he'd outlined what he does at work and when he meets women to stop situations like this arising. You sound like you're guessing and hoping that he has boundaries rather than knowledge and belief based on what he's told you.
and sorry I'm not sure my first post today made much sense. I was trying to get across that people might flirt verbally and it not have as much import as when they flirt in writing. There can be a slip of the tongue but it's somehow more meaningful when a key or phone pad is involved, because the writer can edit and delete what's being said. She didn't and neither did he.
Male perspective - her emails were very flirty but his response in my opinion was very dismissive. Not dismissive how mumsnet would like - ie. 'I don't think that's an appropriate thing to say' etc etc. But dismissive in EXACTLY the way that a jokey guy dismisses a come on - making it into a joke and taking the piss at the same time.
Frankly I think it's outrageous that there seem to be people on this thread telling you that your husband has had an affair. Not only is there no evidence but allowing you free access to phones, computers etc is not the actions of someone having an affair.
I am/have been in a similar situation, it wasn't anything even as blatant as the emails you have seen but something that didn't sit right with DH and a colleague. I am 99.9% sure nothing happened but he is the sort of person that would be too worried to completely dismiss someone so even if he wasn't interested he may just be polite/say something daft like your DH did which could then look worse than it is. He can be 'over-friendly' and know this, it is more him feeling uncomfortable in social situations and not knowing how to act rather than being flirtatious.
He tends to omit things in order not to upset me when they are such minor things that they do not matter. He suffers with depression/anxiety and cannot cope with confrontation at all.
Every now and then things come up about her, he received a text that I thought seemed cryptic, he absolutely insists he has no idea what it meant and even replied in front of me to it and I saw her responses but I still find it hard to completely forget about it. Most of the time I do but if I am feeling insecure then it comes into my head. Our relationship is really good but with his depression and my insecurities this one thing can be difficult.
Sorry - I know this may not be that helpful but wanted you to know that I don't think he was having an affair and he definitely knows how you feel about his behaviour so if he does something like this again he knows he will have crossed a line.
BTW I have, in the past, received flirty texts from someone I considered a friend and rather than telling him to f* off I dismissed it by sending a laughing emoticon which could be interpreted completely wrong. I just wanted to end the text exchange.
Calling someone 'You tart' as a joke indicates a pretty high degree of intimacy. You have to know they'll take what's quite a personal comment as a joke- otherwise it's really rude. It's a sexual reference- only to be 'enjoyed' as a joke if there's already a degree of sexual banter to put it in the right context- ie a flattering context. If it was said with you there and she was an old joint friend-different; but at work in this context as a response to her equally inappropriate suggestion? No.
Soooo - if this is an example of the kind of 'flirty nature' that your DH has- well, I think that changing it sounds an excellent idea, because it sounds the very kind of flirtiness which crosses the boundaries you comment upon. I've no idea if he has had an affair. But he's certainly struck up an inappropriate relationship at work and I'd feel pretty fucking angry and humiliated if my DH was 'flirting' like this - ie giving a verbal tongue hanging out on the floor impression. There's flirting and there's flirting. Best case scenario here is that your DH's mode of flirting is disrespectful, boundary-crossing and bloody embarrassing. Worst case is that he's slept with her. Maybe the fact that you now think that from this little exchange will make him see just how fucking awful behaving like this is.
OP, it looks like you have no further proof from your dh. The "heart beating outside his chest" also makes me think he has something to hide, he got away with it and terrified you might have found new evidence to suggest otherwise hence you are re-visiting the issue.
What is the worst case scenario? If you feel you can live with a past affair (in the worst case) and prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that it is not continuing in the present, then I think what you have done is sufficient. You have shown you are not prepared to let this go that easily and it is a warning shot across the bow if he entertains the throught of straying.
He knows you are not a 'close-one-eye' wife. Hopefully, he gets the message that that there will be dire consequences should you be proven wrong.
I agree that he should rein in the flirty behaviour. It is disrespectful to you and your marriage.
Years ago when I was about 21 I worked for a guy who was very outgoing and flirty with all of his female staff. We had a crap job selling advertising space and the laugh and jokes in the office made it more bearable. I used to send emails and receive emails like the one to your DH and there was nothing in it at all. I was single then but this guy was married with a young baby, really would have never ever dreamed of doing anything wrong - would have been shocked if his wife had seen the emails and got jealous.
However years later, I am 37 with 2 young babies and happily married too I can understand how you feel - but I am sure there is nothing in it. But do chat to your DH and perhaps he can tone the banter down a bit.
Tonandfeather - he is completely transparent in who he meets for lunch etc so to be fair to him I am happy with how he communicates now. I don't feel there is any secrecy. He definitely is crystal clear on what I think is acceptable behavior and I do think (in so much as I can) he is acting appropriately. The making him feel good etc - when I was trying to understand why he would feel the need to enter into this banter etc he said he didn't really know and that maybe it made him feel good. I do sort of understand that - I don't like it but understand it. He didn't think of it that way but in trying to understand it this is what he thought. I haven't explained that very well so sorry if you don't get what I mean. There is always going to be a bit of guessing in this because I am not there to see for myself so I can only go on what he says and how I feel. I don't see any way around this.
I get what you are saying about the mail v verbal - time to think and all that.
Fatherjake - thanks for your perspective on this. I am fully aware that people are giving their opinions probably based on there own experiences etc. I am the only one that knows my DH here so I will definitely be making my own decision on this but I have got some very good insight and thoughts from other people so I feel it has helped me. Although I have to say I am in some ways relieved when I get a post like yours that doesn't think there is anything to it.
Slightlyterrified - sorry to hear about your situation. It's hard to just forget but most of the time I do. It's just now and then that something brings it back and starts you thinking about it. Like you,we have a really great relationship and a great life together and are really happy so it's hard when these feelings come back.
What I would really like to do is completely forget and move on 100%. The main issue was so long ago now I really need to. I just hope DH realises how his behaviour has affected me and is being 100% honest with me now, I have no reason to think otherwise.
TalkativeJim - that was exactly how I felt at the time, angry and humiliated and he knows this. I do think that this has given him a big wake up call as to what is and isn't appropriate.
Blueshoes - the worst case scenario is that he cheated cause that would end everything we have. I don't know if I would want to try to mend things if this was the case.
Inadreamworld - I might think a little (not a lot though) differently if she was a young 20 something year old but she is the same age as me and DH - in our 30's so I think at that age everyone should have a fair idea of right and wrong. Obviously DH didn't but I think he does now.
Slightlyterrified - I hope you get what you are looking for and get closure once and for all. You mention that it was a long time ago. It just shows how hard it actually is to "just move on".
I'm normally reluctant to post to tell a woman that she shouldn't trust her own feelings about things like this.
But as you say it makes you feel better I'll just weigh in to say that there is nothing in anything you have written that has my spidey senses tingling.
I can see what people mean about the "cop on you tart" being intimate, but it just doesn't seem that way to me. I read it as dismissive and blowing her off.
The only thing is that he may have hidden the extent of his lunches with her, but I think it's plausible that it wasn't deliberate.
I normally get called a man-hater on here and accused of delighting in telling women to leave their marriages, but on this one I'm seeing nothing much out of the ordinary.
He crossed a boundary (I'm not sure it would be one for me, but it was for you and you were there so I think you were picking up on something that you can't bring across in text) and he's really sorry, you've made your position clear.
Someone said earlier that they thought this woman might have been trying to get a rise out of you by making a point of your DH having met her boyfriend before, and there might be something to that.
I think it's good that you raised it and probably also good if you can put it to bed.
It will never not have happened, and you have both (it seems) learned from it.
So if you're going to stay with him (and it sounds like you love him a lot) then probably best to presume the best in the absence of any evidence of the worst and put it behind you.
Joinyourplayfellows - thanks for your reassuring post. I do actually think that she may have had more invested in the "banter" than him but I kinda hate saying that because it is like I am blaming her and I really am not. She is not my partner he is and she can only be responsible for her own actions not his. Yes I do love him a lot and want all this to be behind us. I almost feel a bit silly having to bring it up again - like he will feel like I will never let it go but her comment about the bf gave me a really bad feeling. Can't describe it fully but it got to me. Then when I re-read her email I start thinking again. It's a bit of a viscous circle really. I do want to believe him though - more than anything.
It was me who said the co-worker was probably looking to unsettle you and I'm trying to think how she even managed to get it into the conversation that your husband had already met her boyfriend? Did your husband asked to be introduced and she said "you've already met"?
I don't think this is just about being open with you about things you can't prove one way or the other, it's how much his behaviour when you're NOT there has changed around women. You say he's still flirty and I think that's a big risk.
The really stupid thing here is that it's possible SOMETHING happened - just as possible as a proper affair or nothing happening at all. On the balance of probability I think something at least went down. But him insisting he didn't see her that way and she didn't fancy him either just doesn't have the ring of truth to it. If there was an isolated necking session or a thwarted affair, it would be so much better if he came clean because however horrible that might be, it's not as bad as perhaps you've been imagining. I'm one of those people who prefers dealing with the truth rather than uncertainty though and if I have doubts about something, I can't force myself not to feel them.
May seem odd but I said to DH if he ever cheated I would almost be as hurt at him laughing at me for getting away with it than I would for the cheating. Don't take me for a fool when you have trampled all over my heart.
My point for saying this to you is you are never going to find out what has gone on unless there is more to tell and he spills or there is more to tell and she tells you.
Can you live with this living with trust eroded because you can't believe him 100% and knowing he might still have cheated?
I've been in almost the exact same situation with my now XH and it was only after we split that he admitted he had had a ONS with the particular work colleague. Not what you want to hear but knowing what I know now I'd dig a little deeper
What worries me is when you said that he stopped mentioning her. I was an OW in similar circumstances and when I first started the job the MM used to talk about me to his wife all the time, this new person, blah blah, shared interests etc. Once we got together he stopped mentioning me all together to the point where he once jokingly told me that his wife had asked him if i'd left. He would have stopped mentioning her to stop any suspicion imo.
The rest of the story sounds very similar, lunches just us two, flirty emails/banter, fast track to full blown affair and destruction of life on all sides. Sorry - it just sounds so familiar.
Shirley Glass says the same thing in "Not Just Friends". Mentionitis is a big warning sign - the potentially errant partner is just so fascinated by the potential affair partner, they can't help relating everything back to something s/he said or did. They've got a crush, basically, but can't see it because they imagine everyone - partner included - must find this person as enchanting as they do. I could often tell when the ex-husbands were about to get serious with someone: on top of the mentionitis, they'd start using words the OW used, which didn't sound natural coming from the H, and/or recommending things the OW liked (XH1 gave me some very nice jewellery from her favourite shop!)
If the mentionitis stops suddenly, the crush has turned into something more solid. It's now a shared secret between them, and you are excluded.
Couples with decent awareness of how affairs happen - quite possibly from reading the book - catch this at the 'mentioning' stage. Then, you'd notice the potential other still crops up in conversation, but not all the time; without the puppy-like adoration, and with a lot more pragmatic detail about why they were in the pub together, who else was there, etc.
Of course practised cheaters are super-careful about this from the outset. But if you're with one of those, there's not much you can do about it anyway.
Tonandfeather - we met on our way into a building. Both waiting for the doors to be opened. She introduced bf to me just this is X, I said hello and then she was introducing DH and made the comment. DH really doesn't have any recollection of meeting him before. He said unless it was in passing at the office but he really doesn't remember.
I had another really good talk this evening. We rehashed a lot of the stuff we talked about before and I now remember why I believed him the last time. I asked him to explain in detail their relationship again, how it got to the stage it did. He said that when I was so upset when I found the email he realised how completely inappropriate it was. Seeing me being so upset made him completely aware how terrible his behavior was. He spoke to her about it but basically to say they wouldn't be friends anymore because what they were doing was juvenile and so inappropriate. That he was not willing to hurt me like this ever again and that it was going to stop. I asked why he felt he had to cut all ties rather than just cut out the inappropriate conversations he said that it just wasn't worth having her as a friend when it upset me so much. He didn't want me to be upset or anxious every time her name came up. Their friendship just wasn't worth that. The only person that mattered was me. I asked how she took this and he said he didn't discuss this with her rather he told her this was how it was going to be. Since then he does not have this banter with anyone. He is still friendly etc but nothing that is beyond the boundaries. I know a lot have commented on the fact that I refer to him as flirty in nature. When I say this I don't mean in an inappropriate way at all but more a friendly way like he would always have a bit of banter with the people and is a bit of a messer. Also on the lunches he said that mostly a group of them lunched together and it wasn't like they were sneaking off every day or even every week to go for lunch. They just went to lunch as friends both together and with others. Just a point - he also never told me when a group of them met for lunch which they did quite regularly - I do know this from other mails at that time.
To talk about it again was actually very useful for me as I got to ask a lot of things that I didn't ask at the time or that I had forgotten.
So after all that I do believe there was nothing physical or even emotional between them. He said he is very sad that I feel like this again. He said that when we got through it the last time that he felt like we had got over a huge hurdle as he knew how wrong he had been and how hurt I was. He said he feels a bit frustrated that he has no way that he can prove to me that nothing ever happened but more importantly that he never wanted anything to happen. Obviously I know that this isn't possible for him to do. I do know that he does love me and I him.
Thanks everyone who has posted over the last few days. It really has helped me so much.
What a positive update! Well done . How are you feeling about this now?
Your update sounds positive and I hope it puts your mind at rest.
I do know how you feel and GarlicReturns thread above is spot on.
I have been with DP for years and we work in the same place (but in different bits of the building and seperate departments). I knew DP got on with his immediate colleagues well. But like Garlic said "mentionitis" started with a girl he worked with. She is exactly his type, (I am the opposite!)
Anyway after snooping I discovered that they were always on their fag breaks together, always, they were texting quite often and always went for coffee breaks together, infact there is gossip in the building about them!
Its just the fact that is was all so hidden i genuinely didnt have a clue that any of this was going on (I was on maternity leave - nice) and only realised all this was going on just before I got back to work.
He was getting close to her and keeping me in the dark about it.
Of course a series of massive rows have happened and to be fair to DP he has cut the amount of contact he has with her and has promised me that he doesnt fancy her (i still dont believe that bit).
I was also pissed off when he was talking about my birthday with her and didnt know what to get me so she suggested to get me some jewlerry (it was not something I would normally wear or was interested in) and they looked it up on the net and he got me one. He didnt tell me any of this but she slipped up and said something to me so I asked him.
Things have got back to normalish but I am still hyper alert for any mention of her.
He doesnt really mention her at all anymore so I am now wondering if it is because contatct has decreased or because of what happened.
As DP was hiding all his contact with this girl he must of known i wasnt happy about it or maybe it was the thrill in hiding it from me?
GarlicReturns - I feel so much better having spoken about it again. I absolutely know he is ashamed and so sorry that he ever put me in the position of feeling like this. And I do believe that he has not engaged in anything like this since.
I think it was a real wake up call for him at the time. It made him realise how stupid and improper he was being and how so disrespectful that it was to me as his wife. I do genuinely think now that he didn't see anything in it at the time and that he never had any feelings for her other than as a friend.
I know that he will always have acted like that and nothing can ever change that but the fact that I believe that there was no malice or intent in it makes me feel better. He is very very sad that he ever disrespected me like this so that also helps.
I think from here on if I ever get feelings like this again I will just talk to him about it straight away rather than trying to work it out in my own head. All he wants is for me to trust him 100% and he is willing to do anything to regain that trust. I now recognize that he has already done everything in his power to do this by changing how he acts and speaks to others. I do love him and I hope that this in some way can have a positive impact on our relationship.
Thanks again for all the help. It is good to get others views.
That's a great update. It does sound like he is drawing his boundaries much more clearly and nothing did happen.
BadlyShavedYetti - sorry to hear you are having a hard time. The point about her being his type. We actually spoke about this last night. I actually think that my DH and his work colleague have very similar personalities. He agreed. They both had same sense of humor etc. Like you I feel myself and DH have quite different personalities. I would be a lot more shy than him. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing though. I hope you can get closure on this as I know how it can eat away at you. My advice from all that I have been through is to talk to him about it. Even if it means going over it all again as this is the only way you will work it out. He needs to prove to you in so far as is possible that there was nothing going on. I was a little "afraid" about bringing it all up again because I sort of felt a little silly. Like why would we need to go over it again but my DH was happy that we discussed it and answered all my questions again (very honestly I feel). You know your DH best so hopefully you can understand where he is coming from.
Take care and best of luck
The good thing about this is that it's got you talking about behaviour and expectations.
I'm a bit cynical I admit about him needing to see your reaction back then to realise his behaviour was inappropriate. It doesn't suddenly make it inappropriate just because you found out about it. Plus if this really was just flirting, his Hair Shirt and "we must have nothing to do with eachother from now on" stance with this co-worker seems a bit over the top to me. Not if something more had happened, obviously. If this was just office banter as some correspondents are suggesting, wouldn't his co-worker have thought he was a bit of a loon who needed to get over himself?
Bottom line though is that you seem happy with the outcome and even if you're never sure about what happened, at least this has been a shot across the bows and a reminder about respectful behaviour both in a marriage and at work with co-workers.
"It doesn't suddenly make it inappropriate just because you found out about it."
But that's not what he said, he said that he didn't REALISE it was inappropriate until he saw it through the OP's eyes.
Which is not remotely surprising or hard to believe if you've ever met any humans.
Once he saw the e-mail as she was seeing it he realised he was being a dick.
"Plus if this really was just flirting, his Hair Shirt and "we must have nothing to do with each other from now on" stance with this co-worker seems a bit over the top to me."
It seems to me that you want this both ways.
He's simultaneously NOT SORRY ENOUGH and WAY TOO SORRY.
Given that his wife almost left him over this woman, his unwillingness to remain friends with her makes sense to me.
"If this was just office banter as some correspondents are suggesting, wouldn't his co-worker have thought he was a bit of a loon who needed to get over himself?"
But he said himself that he didn't care what she thought about his decision and she got no input on it.
So what difference does it make?
I've met loads of humans thanks and as i've said before, no co-worker I've met would ever need someone else to tell him or her that suggesting office doors were locked and replying 'cop on you tart' was inappropriate behaviour, either at work or when in a marriage.
I wonder whether so many excuses would be made for the co-worker who is a woman? That she needed the poster's husband to point out to her that this behaviour was over the line before she realised it was? I do find too many excuses being made for men that don't seem to be made for women in exactly the same position.
What I CAN see for what this is worth is that he knew darned well it was inappropropriate but it took seeing his wife's reaction to it to see the hurt he'd caused. Maybe too at that point he mused that if she'd been doing that with her own co-worker he wouldn't have liked it either.
But I don't buy this dumbass men excuse, no.
Tonandfeather - I really now think that it never crossed his mind until it came up because there was nothing to it. He never saw her in any way other than a friend nor did he ever want anything to happen between them. It was only when pointed out to him that he realised how utterly childish he was being carrying on like he was still at school. It's hard to explain and put into words what I mean but I do get it.
I did ask about the "having nothing to do with her thing" - and I do get his explanation for this. Maybe his reasons for choosing this route is backed up by what I am going through now. If her name was coming up in conversation all the time or even occasionally he felt that this would be like "rubbing my nose in it" and a constant reminder of how utterly stupid he had been carrying on. It was not worth continuing their friendship because it just wasn't worth that to him. He didn't think their friendship was important enough to continue if there was any risk that it might make me feel uneasy. I do also get this too. I am glad that he doesn't still meet with her to be honest. Even though at the time this is not what I asked him to do. I only asked to cut out the "banter". She did ask at the time and say "but why sure there was nothing ever going on" but this is what he wanted to do for me. She appears to have respected his wishes in this regard but I suppose she also doesn't have a choice. I think this was also part of him doing something to regain my trust.
She may think I am a little unhinged to have felt so strongly about it but do you know what I don't care what she thinks and neither did DH. He just made the decision to break all contact to save any potential uneasiness I might feel in the future - probably like exactly what I have been going through now. So maybe he was right to cut all contact to save me feeling this way.
I think he was right to cut contact. I think you are both right not to care what she thinks. I do kinda hope that he didn't say it was just because of your reaction though and said it was because HE thought it was inappropriate. You shouldn't have come into this at all.
Why do some people feel the need to specify they went for lunch "as friends." Surely if you are married it should hopefully be a given you aren't going as lovers!
"no co-worker I've met would ever need someone else to tell him or her that suggesting office doors were locked and replying 'cop on you tart' was inappropriate behaviour, either at work or when in a marriage."
I don't find the description of what happened to be particularly remarkable. I can well imagine that conversation taking place and being entirely jovial and with no lines being crossed at all.
The only reason I think there was anything to worry about is because the OP felt there was and she knows her own husband.
I work with plenty of people who would make jokes such as those and mean nothing at all by them and I don't work in a place where affairs are rife.
They'd write this in an e mail would they?
JoinYourPlayfellows - you have it exactly as I tried to explain on all three of Tonandfeathers questions. I just may not have put it across as straightforward as you.
Tonandfeather - I appreciate you sharing how you view this. But you know we don't all see things the same way all the time. Proof is in how people here viewed the email exchange. Some people thought just banter some thought definitely something more. Some thought DH response was dismissive others thought the opposite. I myself thought it was dismissive but when others pointed out how they saw it it made me see it differently. I think this is how he also came to see it was not right.
I am by no means making excuses for him but do see his point.
Tonandfeather - no he definitely didn't cut contact because of my reaction (that only helped him realize what he was doing was wrong) but because he realised he was wrong and completely inappropriate.
ToffeeOwnsthesausage - I would never say "I went out with X today as friends" but if someone said " why are you two going off to lunch today" or inferred that there might be more to it thats when I think you would say you just went as friends.
JoinYourPlayfellows - it's back to people's boundaries and what is acceptable really. What's ok for you might be horrifying for me so I suppose that's why in a marriage communication is so important. Knowing what is acceptable to one another is key and as I have said before myself and DH are VERY clear on this since this first happened.
I worked in a male dominated office and had friendships with men where I chatted over email about stuff. They were definitely platonic. What I wouldn't have done is go for lunch with any of them on my own. I would see that as not quite right. Others might disagree. If I went for lunch with any of them there were always others there too. I certinaly would never have written ""where will we go for lunch sexy" or " We can lock the door of your office right!!!!" That is overstepping the boundary IMO.
I think his mistake was to go for lunch with her alone and not to tell her to stop flirting. He was probably enjoying the attention, but that doesn't make him unfaithful. So I think you are right to give him the benefit of the doubt as long as he knows where he went wrong and doesn't repeat it. I think she probably fancied him based on what she said, but not really seen any evidence that he would have ever done anything with her.
Just my take on it
I could have written your post about your DH's explanation and what he did with regards to cutting contact. My DH did exactly the same, his reason is that he would never want to hurt me and although there was nothing to it I mean more to him than a friendship that I am uncomfortable with. I questioned him as to why he needed to do that if there was nothing going on and he said because he never wanted to lose me over something as silly as this and that it wasn't worth it if I was upset in anyway. He said he understood how I felt about it and why, deep down I do believe him.
The reason I think about it periodically is because I suffer from insecurities, I was bulimic and found pregnancy hard (and being bigger after giving birth etc) so it just brings out all my bad feelings when I have bad days.
Nah, still wouldn't feel the need too.
OpalQuartz - I quiet often go out with a male work colleague for lunch just the two of us. I would never think that I shouldn't. Actually, it would never cross my mind. I very very rarely go to lunch with anyone else from the office other that this person unless it was for someone leaving etc but this would be in a group setting. Like your relationship with your colleagues this is 100% platonic. People view things differently don't they.
I definitely think he knows where he went wrong and would not repeat it. I do believe that now. He said he never once got the impression that she was interested in him in any other way other than a friend. She never tried to come on to him, suggested anything or made any kind of advances. So I am not sure whether she did fancy him or not but that doesn't really matter I suppose. So long as he didn't fancy her and I now believe that he didn't see her like that.
SlightlyTerrified - I think it sounds like your DH cut contact for exactly the same reasons that I think mine did. Not because he couldn't cope with me being jealous of her or worse because it was too hard for him to just maintain a non-banter friendship but because I meant more to him than that and he cared too much to let anything compromise us. With regards thinking about it again, I think now, that this is always going to be the case as no matter what you can't erase it from your mind. DH said this to me last night. He said that he knows that I will never forget this - I might forgive but won't forget. He finds that very hard that he can't make it right but he can't so I have to get on with it. He is right because it's not possible to forget it.
Next time it comes up for me I will speak to my DH straight away as in all of this he is the only one that can give me the answers I need. That's not to say that a forum like this is not helpful because it actually has been very helpful for me.
I hope your feelings of insecurity subsides. Maybe try speaking with your DH as it sounds to me like he cares for you an awful lot. I hope you get to work this out xx
"He said he never once got the impression that she was interested in him in any other way other than a friend. She never tried to come on to him, suggested anything or made any kind of advances."
You see, this doesn't ring entirely true for me.
HE was the one who interpreted her suggestion that they lock the office door as being sexual - "cop on, you tart".
As I read your first post I was wondering why she was suggesting the door be locked. There are plenty of things two friends could do in a locked room that are not shagging - bitching about the boss, drinking, sleeping, watching a movie.
Also, she called him "sexy" (didn't she?), which certainly indicates AT LEAST that her pretending to have designs on him was part of their banter.
So while it is plausible that he thought there was no serious intent behind the things she was saying, it is not plausible that he didn't notice them because he was responding to them.
ToffeeOwnsTheSausage - I think I get what you mean. You would just say "we are going to lunch that's all" as opposed to "we are just friends". Why would you even mention being friends cause that's kind of obvious.
JoinYourPlayfellows - yes she did call him sexy. My comment wasn't meant to read that he wast aware it was happening. He was absolutely aware but never saw any intent from either himself or her (like you say). My main point in that sentence was that he never felt like she ever wanted anything more, hence he didn't think she fancied him.
I was in a very similar position to you, op, a few years ago. Emails were not quite so blatant thought! It was however coupled with dh becoming withdrawn and moody at home, and short tempered with me.
We nearly split up tbh. I'm quite an insecure person anyway and we went through a really rough time. He lied to me several times.
He now works in a different place and the colleague it concerned it married with a baby. I am still not 100 per cent sure what happened between them (he swears blind nothing physical) but as a result I live my life with one eye permanently open. I always ensure that if the worst happens I have a plan b, and sadly the 1% trust hasn't returned for me.
I have no reason to doubt him now btw, he is very loving and attentive, lets me check his phone whenever I ask, etc. but I am not as blindly 'in love' as I was before. Or trusting.
I don't think that's a bad thing though. We do have a good relationship now but there are different rules with regards to transparency etc than there were. But in my experience that grain of - wariness I suppose - will always be there.
ToffeeOwnsTheSausage - yes I would agree with that. You might not be talking here about my situation at all , maybe you are just talking in general but I do think that my scenario was different. I wasn't asking why they went for lunch. My original question was "are ye having an affair" so in this context the answer "we are just friends" is I think appropriate when trying to explain the relationship. I think it depends on the question asked really but I am not sure either why anyone would say "I went to lunch with x as a friend".
Cat98 - Sorry to hear your story but it sounds like ye now have a good relationship. The trust thing is the hardest part. I now can see that I need to believe that he never ever wanted anything to happen and if I can believe that then that is going a long way to rebuilding the trust. I do believe that now.
I suppose it has really taught me that you can never be complacent in a marriage whether or not you have a reason. I do wonder if there is such a thing as 100% trust though - is there not always a bit of us that holds back a bit sort of like a coping mechanism just in case. I have only just thought of this so maybe that sounds barmy!
I also find it outrageous that certain posters are still trying to put doubt in your mind. OP - they're definitely not helping you!
How the hell do they know what he did or didn't do? To keep banging on now, after you've said you've talked to your husband twice, is just plain rude.
Yes, your husband was inappropriate. That's about it from what I can see and from what you've explained. It's probably time to accept what he says. I trust that you've made your position very clear on wha would happen if he gets carried away like this again.
I'd step away from the thread now if I were you and away from the poster who seems insistent on telling you your husband had an affair. That's not her call to make
Thanks Cant this thread has actually really helped me too. I feel a bit more confident about moving on from it all. I hope it all goes well for you too.
Piperchapman - I do know that some posters will still think that he has just "convinced me" again but i am confident of my decision so that is ok. I don't expect people to just suddenly agree with me iykwim. Nothing that has been asked here since I have spoken to him has made me rethink how I feel. I do believe him so I am not "troubled" by any posts. Only I fully know our conversations etc as although you can say a lot in a post it is sometimes hard to put into words. Thanks for your post.
Tbh, Cant, I don't think 100% trust is very grown-up. It smacks of complacency - either that, or you consider your partner so boring & undesirable that he'd never get it together to cheat!
We can never control the world around us, only our interactions with it. Couples need to discuss this on a regular basis
What I wouldn't have done is go for lunch with any of them on my own. I would see that as not quite right
That's a very good example of where people's views differ. I see absolutely no difference between going for lunch or for a drink with a male or female friend - they are a mate, I go out with them & their sex (and sexual orientation) is irrelevant.
Suggesting that someone can't be good friends with a member of the opposite sex without there being "something going on" is rather sad in this day and age, why shouldn't I get on well with a man on a platonic basis? Would there be the same assumption if someone went out with a person of the same sex who was gay - that there must be fancying going on by at least one party maybe both?
Tonandfeather - thanks for your good wishes
GarlicReturns - that is the conclusion that I have come to too.
Allergictoironing - I agree. I said it in an earlier post that I don't see anything wrong with going for lunch with a member of the same sex. I also think you are right when you say it shows how peoples views differ. I can't see any reason why you couldn't be friends with someone on a platonic basis no matter who or what they are. I now think that the key to this is each partner in the relationship knowing boundaries and what is acceptable to both parties. If everyone stays within these limits then there should never be an issue.
Sorry, My post should read "I don't see anything wrong with going for lunch with a member of the opposite sex not same sex as posted.
Suggesting that someone can't be good friends with a member of the opposite sex without there being "something going on" is rather sad in this day and age, why shouldn't I get on well with a man on a platonic basis?
As I mentioned in my post I have had very good platonic friendships with men myself, so I wasn't suggesting that someone can't be good friends with a member of the opposite sex without there being "something going on"
I thought my post was quite supportive of the OP. I tried to reassure her that there was no evidence that her husband had done anything wrong, so I'm surprised that my post seems to have been interpreted as saying otherwise and of being "sad."
Sorry, that should read "no evidence that her husband had been unfaithful"
OpalQuartz - I did not see your post as being "sad" and it definitely was supportive.
I don't want to speak for the other poster but I think when she says it's "sad" she is referring to the fact that you said you wouldnt feel right going to lunch alone with your mail colleagues. I think if they are the boundaries you are not comfortable with then that is fine. It's proof that everyone has their own limits and thoughts on what is acceptable.
Yes Canthpfeelinglikethis has summed up what I meant exactly. The sad reference wasn't to you personally, more that the fact it still isn't socially acceptable by some people to have as close a friendship with a member of the opposite sex as with the same sex and I think it should be acceptable.
Yes but that's not quite the same as "Suggesting that someone can't be good friends with a member of the opposite sex without there being "something going on" and that it's not possible to "get on well with a man on a platonic basis" which I never actually said and indeed mentioned platonic friendships of my own.
Well I look on going out to lunch, or even drinks after work, as something I do with friends (of either sex), so wouldn't see there being anything not quite right with that just because it was a male friend. But as I said earlier - everyone has their own view on where boundaries lie, so I'll get off the subject so we don't derail the thread.
I hadn't read your 14.23 reply when I added my 14.30 one
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