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Emotional Affair(16 Posts)
It’s been almost a year since I discovered that my husband had an emotional affair. I’ve ‘forgiven’ but deep down I probably haven’t and I just can’t forget. I’d really appreciate your advice.
So some background info- we’ve been together 10 years, have 2 kids under 6. We’ve got a comfortable life and always had a great relationship.
At the end of 2018 he suffered a bereavement. The death was sudden and overnight he became a shell of the man I knew. I sought a bereavement therapist, information on how to support him but to no avail. He wouldn’t engage. It was heartbreaking.
Fast forward to April 2019. There were subtleties that I began picking up on. He was with us but he wasn’t really. He was on his phone a lot. If I sent him a text on WA, he’d already be ‘online’. Then a couple of times he signed off texts in a different way. I thought it strange at the time but didn’t think more of it. By July he seemed to be doing well in regards to the bereavement but our relationship was suffering and I felt he just didn’t see me. He seemed preoccupied. He was home every night but just seemed vacant. He was on WA a lot, as by this point I would go on to see if he was ‘online’. I had suspicions something was up but didn’t have any evidence.
Fast forward to the end of July. I asked him to leave work early to meet me at the children’s school as they were putting on an end of term show and party. He was irritable and cross. He clearly didn’t want to be there. He wasn’t the same. That night he popped out to pick up food. I checked his work laptop. I saw the emails.
He swears nothing physical happened and I believe him. He cut all contact. He’s turned himself around. Our relationship is back on track. We’ve actually embraced the time during lockdown and we’ve all benefited from the time together. FWIW, I would have upped and left had this happened before marriage and children.
However, I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can’t shift. He was texting another woman behind my back. They met for lunch. He was texting her while I was upstairs with the kids. I bring it up probably once every 6-8 weeks. Usually at AF time. I can’t shake it off and I know in the long run if I don’t forget it and put it to one side this will finish what we have.
AIBU, do I just need to move on? But how??
It’s a hard one OP, if my DH had an EA I think I’d be more hurt than just sex, it almost seems more invested and maybe that’s what hurts you more?
I can’t say accurately without being in the situation, but pErsonally I believe I couldn’t ever live like that, I’d had to leave because the trust had gone. You’ll be torturing yourself.
It doesn't matter whether he would do it again/ if he was shagging around. He cheated he betrayed you and the relationship. That rejection of you and the family unit has left a mark, one that changed your knowledge of who he is.
He is not the reliable person. He is the cheat. Not who you thought you married. So if course if you can't be comfortable with his real self you should move on.
This is really hard but you are right, if you can't put it to one side and forgive his mistake, it will destroy the relationship anyway.
Did you ever sit down and properly talk about it? Do you understand how he was feeling and why he did it? To go for an EA there was likely something missing in your relationship. Something he had to get elsewhere. Understanding this may help you to address it and rebuild your trust if you want to get on with things forgive him.
@summerfruitssquash Thank you for replying. If I was advising someone else, I’d probably say the same. I do love him and I feel guilty for my children. We both come from stable families. Our sets of parents are still together and I, in particular, had a lovely childhood. I don’t want to break us all up. Is does make me wonder though if times are hard in the future, will he do it again?
@Swimmingwiththebees we did talk about it. Not to the extent I would have liked. I wanted to know everything. I didn’t get all the details. It stemmed from the Bereavement. It was suicide. She had lost someone to suicide and could relate. I hadn’t so obviously I couldn’t support him.
@Mustique I think that would go through my mind as me and my DH are the same, that said, he didn’t care about that when he was messaging another woman around you and your children and I think that’s what would make me have to leave, the fact that he’s so brazenly abused your trust and actually that’s not made ok just because of a bereavement.
Just remember, this is HIS fault, not yours. A year on or not, he is at fault for ruining the trust you have, and it’s likely if you did break it off he would say that you’re breaking up the family but it would never need to be a discussion if his actions didn’t provoke it, so please remember that too.
If you do decide to stay, then all I could recommend would be counselling perhaps, but personally I don’t think I could get passed him leaning on someone else whilst I was breaking my back trying to help him like you were for your DH.
@Mustique And do you believe that was all that it was he was looking for? Was there any cause for concern in your relationship before then?
It sounds like he's gone through a lot and people can make mistakes/act out of character after a bereavement. You either need to choose to believe his explanation and move on with the relationship, or don't and split up. I don't mean to be harsh but it sounds like he has tried very hard since to rebuild your trust and get your relationship back on track and if you continue forever expecting him to let you down again and bring it up in every argument you have, your relationship will just fail.
I know most people's advice will be to leave him but I having somehow ended up in an EA before myself I can see how it can get out of hand. There is often a very thin line between friendship and an EA which you often don't know you've crossed until it's too late.
Grief does terrible things to a person. Sometimes you find yourself reevaluating your life, it's a revelation and you become a new and stronger person.
Other times you withdraw and reach out to someone who isn't affected by the death or your grief so you can just redirect your mind to something more positive.
grief brings you closer or pushes you away from family.
What he did was wrong but understanding why might help you both accept his past decision making and move forward.
@summerfruitssquash I’ve considered getting a therapist. I’ve bottled it up. I haven’t told anyone until today.
@swimmingwiththebees you’re not being harsh. I do believe him. You’re right in that he’s tried hard to put things right. People do make mistakes. I feel it will be me who will ruin this with my incessant need to bring it up. That’s where a therapist might help.
He snuck behind your back for at least 4 months. Prob much longer and he did not confess it, you found it out and spoke up. And... You say he end up meeting this OW for lunch.
Maybe your gut is telling you that surely this relationship was more then just emotional.
And yes people make mistakes. Just generally not 4 months in a row, daily. That would be too heartbreaking for me to deal with. The fact that he chose to be physically and mentally close with someone else. Behind my back. For months... it would tear up all the trust that was ever there. And will not something that my mind would and could every truly forget.
I think you need to speak to him and tell him that you haven't processed it properly and therefore you haven't got closure.
Counselling would probably help. Would he agree to couples counselling do you think? You might get some answers as to why he did what he did and how you can move forward together if you choose to.
He knows I haven’t dealt with it. When I bring it up he looks so uncomfortable. He clearly hates dredging it up and he’s desperate to put it behind us. But it’s easier for him though isn’t it? He knows every detail about what did and did not happen. I on the other hand lay awake at night wondering.
He did agree to couples therapy but if I’m honest I didn’t pursue it due to the high cost and with two young children and nursery fees/wrap around care costs I couldn’t justify the expense. There always seems something else to spend the money on. Although, I appreciate in the long run it could be money well spent.
I think he needs to accept that he needs to feel uncomfortable for a bit while you process it properly. Like you say, he knows exactly what happened and you don't. If you can't justify spending money on couple counselling then he needs to realise that no matter how it makes him feel, YOU need to talk about it. Otherwise it could very well destroy your relationship anyway.
OP I'm sorry you're going through this!
I wanted to just give my 2 cents on it, my ex dh had an emotional affair when we were engaged, it was a difficult time for us both (he was at the end of a professional sporting career and I'd gone into a deep depression because of other circumstances). He used to travel abroad a lot for his job (weeks at a time) and this woman was based there and friends with family he had there, I could never ever let go of the fact I believed more went on than the emotional side of things, although he has always sworn otherwise. At the time I messaged the woman and she had said something along the lines of me not being a good support for him in a time of need, which was quite hurtful. I loved him so much and tried to put it aside and work through it, but I knew deep down I felt off about it, I couldn't trust him, fast forward to being married and one baby I found some emails between him and our (young attractive) estate agent we were using which were not about house buying! Overly flirtatious really, and although actually nothing pointing towards anything going on, I just couldn't trust him. Fast forward to 2 young children, it all just got too much, I'd had therapy, we had couples counselling, and I couldn't work through it properly, and it was making me miserable, we ended up separating a year and half ago and are currently in the middle of a divorce. It's incredibly tough with two young children, but generally in myself I am better off.
I guess what I want to say is do all you can to try and work through the issues, if you love him and love your life and he fulfils your life and makes it better, is a great father and you can see your whole future with him, when the children are older and have left, do you love the thought of your life with just him, if you can, try and work through the betrayal. I couldn't see a future with my ex h and had to leave, but it does kill me because with two young children we both adore it's painful. (Id like to add also that we had other issues surface around the time we split and in the time since which means I'd have never gone back despite how difficult it is)
Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sorry to hear what you went through.
We do really enjoy each other’s company. On the rare occasions the grandparents have the children we go on The odd spa weekend and meal out. It’s hard with two young children and when I wrack my brain to ascertain what on Earth he was thinking, I can only muster the idea that it was escapism from the monotony of what life with a young family is like. However, despite the fact that it can sometimes be boring with two young kids I would never do what he did. It’s selfish and narcissistic.
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