Signs of an affair
Sadly, there are plenty of women out there who suspect their partners of having an affair - you only need to glance at the Relationships Talk board to see how common a fear it is.
But what Mumsnetters' posts reveal is that the experience of a cheating partner is a very different proposition than it might have been before you had children. So before you jump to hasty conclusions, here are some key signs of an affair.
Five signs your partner might be having an affair
- His work habits change - he's out late a lot more than usual, he goes to work at odd times, or he puts in a lot more time than he used to at his job.
- He spends a lot more time than usual on his computer and/or mobile phone.
- He says he needs some time to be by himself, to "work things out".
- He seems to need a lot more privacy than previously - maybe he starts to use a password on the computer, or doesn't leave the mobile phone bill where you can see it.
- His behaviour just doesn't add up. There's missing time he can't account for, spending that can't be explained, little discrepancies about where he was and who he was with.
What should you do if you suspect an affair?
Until you have it out with your husband, you won't know what his intentions are. Maybe he will want to leave you and go to live with the Other Woman (OW); some men do.
But it's pretty clear that a fairly large proportion of men who cheat don't actually want their marriages to end - they just want to have their cake and eat it. When their wives call time, they're often keen (or they say they're keen, anyway) to put the marriage back together.
But what about you? The chances are your instinct in the past would have been to chuck him out of your life for sleeping with another woman, but the reality now is that a decision to end your relationship will have huge implications for your children.
Given that, many Mumsnetters make the decision to absorb the pain and to do all they can to try -assuming their partner is willing to play ball - to build on what they've got, and to get their relationship on track again.
If you've got clear-cut evidence, you can confront him - and however messy and unpleasant it is, he'll need to explain what's going on.
But if your suspicion is more in the realm of hunch than certainty, it's tricky. If you confront him, you run the risk of him just clamming up and claiming you're talking rubbish. And that might, in turn, leave you feeling foolish and uncertain about things, plus, of course, you'll have signalled that you no longer trust him.
You do need to talk, but you need to think through very carefully what you're going to say. If you have a close woman friend you can trust, talk it through with her first.
If you decide to talk, make sure you pick a time or place when you won't be overheard by children - an exchange like the one you are going to have could scar them for a long time if they witnessed it.
And if he is having an affair, Mumsnetter ChocHobNob has this sage advice: "Some marriages can be repaired and improved following an affair. Just because some people feel infidelity equals divorce, it doesn't mean everyone does."
For more wise words, head to Mumsnet Talk - having a cathartic rant and getting different perspectives will help you deal with your feelings of anger and confusion.