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Can someone help me find my backbone?

(14 Posts)
Backontheshelf Sun 17-Jul-11 21:49:06

Sorry for the long post. I am a long time Mumsnetter and have name changed for this post. Not that rare a story - I found out two weeks ago that my husband of 22 years has had a girlfriend at work for the last three years. There was even doubt whether her child was his and he had a DNA test to prove she was not. I found out by reading his texts and he did not deny it when I confronted him although after I found out he had his girlfriend and her child round to our house whilst I was out, cooked them lunch and introduced them to our youngest child who is 8 (I lost it a bit when I found out via the 8 year old letting it slip).

The thing is that I really don't know what to do now. My initial reaction was to say that I wanted him to stay and for us to carry on. We have three children and have always been good friends as well as husband and wife. He says he has finished with her but of course I don't know if that is true and he works with her so he has ample opportunity to just carry on as he has done.

I thought I could live with that and I accept that if we are to stay together I can't keep checking up on him. What I had not expected is that I feel such an utter loser. I despise myself for not finding out before, for not being good enough to keep him, for letting the weight pile on over the years, for being so weak that I can't bear to lose him. I don't really have any friends, only acquaintances, I am quite shy and really not good at connecting with people I don't know well. I find it unimaginable to think of separating and trying to go out with other men. Who on earth would want me?

All a bit weepy and pathetic and what I really need is a kick to remind me that whilst there are bound to be weak moments, I can handle this and there will be a time when I look back on this period as history. If anyone has any tips on building self-esteem, they will be gratefully welcomed! Thanks for reading.

ninah Sun 17-Jul-11 22:01:42

look, back, it's not your fault! stop blaming yourself. After only two weeks no wonder you feel raw, but what your h did wasn't because you failed in any way. I think you need to feel angry - he invited her to your home and introduced her to dd? shock
do you really want this man, or is it more that you are afraid of changing things?

buzzsore Sun 17-Jul-11 22:07:18

Dear god, after two weeks you can still be checking up on him and devastated and you don't need to accept a single thing.

What is he doing to show that he won't cheat on you again? Is he blaming you for his infidelity? He ought to be desperate to prove himself to you.

I suggest if you both want this to work seeing a relationship counsellor and he should look for another job. You might also want to see a counsellor on your own to help you build back your self-esteem. I'm so sorry he's done this to you sad.

Tanya28 Sun 17-Jul-11 22:42:15

I know how you feel. My self esteem was below the floor in Jan 2008, been with hubby 10 years, two children 8 and 7. Had terrible PND with forst son and had led to years on/off depression. I was unhappy, terrible relationship mental abuse, cruelty to me and kids. I went ot my GP one day about my anti-deps and he said only you can change things.
So I came off the pills in the space of a week, kicked out hubby had my interview to uni. I went to uni, I graduated last year, I have a great career met someone new engagaed and have a daughter together, the children are so so so much happier in every way (still see dad though). But all that aside I am me, the girl with a smile, the woman who kind of likes herself again and is not ashamed or frightened about things any more. Yes its hard and many times there was blame and tears from me and the children but so so worth it. The hubby ?? yes he is still with the woman he went to when we split up, always wondered who the married man was she was having a two year affair with? Funny how things work out. Always remember who you are and who you once were, and also who you want to be!! good luck xx

Backontheshelf Mon 18-Jul-11 06:46:38

Thanks for your replies ladies. Wow Tanya, great achievements, well done. I don't see separation as an issue at this point for a number of reasons, not least that he is a good dad and I don't want to break up the childrens' home over my ego. I think what I need to do is learn to stand alone and cultivate some new friends and maybe retrain for something new as Tanya did (have a degree and worked in a profession for years but absolutely hated it so when I was made redundant I decided I would never go back to that). I guess you are right Tanya that only I can make all that happen.

buzzsore Mon 18-Jul-11 08:37:27

Over your ego? shock

Katisha Mon 18-Jul-11 08:42:21

You also need to find a bit more self respect OP! THis is not a question of you having a inflated ego. Bloody hell - he has had a mistress.

Also - he is not a good dad I'm afraid. A good dad has resepct for the mother of his children and does not sneak another woman in to meet them when she is out.

You are right to be very very angry.

cjel Mon 18-Jul-11 09:05:56

OP,I would say get some counselling and that will help you to build the life you want, whether with him or not. I am one week in from finding dh had had a date with someone and veer from ecstacy that we are getting on better than we have for years to that tortured feeling because of what happened. I too want to make a go of it. I would urge you to seek what you want someone told me don't do anything in a hurry and do what you want.Take things slowly and if you are too fragile to ask him to get different job etc. don't. wait to do things at your own pace it is nothing to do with how strong or weak you are it is all to do with taking care of yourself and doing what you want. Obviously this has given you the kick you need to start changes but if you can do them at your pace they will be good. I have ordered a couple of books to read, I will pass on details if you want. Remember there is not a right or wrong way - if it is really best for you - it is ok. BUT get counselling so you will have someone to help decide what is good for you.xxxxxxxx

aftereight Mon 18-Jul-11 09:08:12

The title of your OP says that you know what you need to do.
You are still in shock, and thinking of your children rather than yourself. Think what sort of a role model your husband is for your children. And what sort of a role model you would like to be.
This isn't about your ego, it's about your idiot of a husband's ego, which has been stroked for 3 years by another woman.
Please take control. Start by booking a half hour free consultation with a solicitor to find out your legal and financial rights. Just knowing your options will make you stronger, even if you do decide to stay with him.

Hertfordshire Mon 18-Jul-11 10:54:00

The thing that stood out for me in your initial post was that your H brought this woman to your house after you had found out about his affair with her.

This shows utter contempt for you.

Build a life external to this man by all means - but really, the best way of developing a backbone and restoring your tattered esteem is the one thing you are talking yourself out of doing, which is asking him to leave.

This isn't ego either. You'll find out soon enough that it is self-preservation.

You really need to work on your mindset here. You have been treated appallingly and yet you are blaming yourself. Your husband wasn't good enough for you as it turns out - and until he can show you that he is, he has lost you.

Living this mantra will do more for your backbone than anything else.

enuffalready Mon 18-Jul-11 11:19:35

Back I wasn't going to post, but I really had to because I feel sick at what your H has done. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I just had to say, though: Whatever else is going on in your marriage how can you say your H is a good father when he has been telling your child to LIE to you?! After you found out what he had done.

I'm sorry, but that is beyond the pale. What else has he got your children to keep from you? What else are your poor children having to do to keep your H happy and you in the dark?

I genuinely don't know what I'd do if I found out my H was having an affair, but if he was involving our children in it, nothing would stop me ending things.

Really, really sorry this has happened to you.
Hugs.

Backontheshelf Mon 18-Jul-11 21:01:49

Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, enuff, he didn't ask our 8 year old to lie, I think he just rather naively thought he would not remember her name. Not great judgment I know! I know that things (not least my view of it all) may change over time and that there may come a point when I don't want to continue in this marriage, but I agree with cjel that I don't want to rush into anything. We have been together since we were both 20 - almost 30 years in total. I don't want to throw our relationship away over this even though I find it very hard to accept that he was with her for three years, a fling would be much easier to accept. He is very successful at work in a high powered and stressful profession and says that he compartmentalised his relationship with her, she made his work life more interesting and the children and I are his life outside work. I do strongly feel though that if I can hold it together we have a very good chance of going forward together even if it is different than before.

I really do accept though that things won't be the same and that I need to cultivate a new life for myself outside our relationship. I have already asked him to set money aside for the children and he has agreed. I have always run our finances and I am going to ask him to set up a quasi maintenance situation for me now so that we both know exactly where we stand going forward. I agree I need to take some legal advice (I am a lawyer but the wrong sort of law).

I am a bit iffy on counselling as I hate hashing things over and to an extent I think it makes things worse. Mumsnet is my counselling!. Has anyone had counselling in this situation and really found it helpful?

cjel Mon 18-Jul-11 21:31:39

I have had counselling and found it just helps to have a whole hour for myself with a non judgemental listener. It really does help to put the thoughts in order and whilst waffling suddenly find I know what I want!!!! I wouldn't have been without it. I would only advise person centred counselling as some of it can be directive and you don't need anyone elses opinionxxx

cjel Mon 18-Jul-11 21:36:12

Also wanted to say that I think perhaps the reason we've been with DHs so long (30) married for us, is because we haven't been so unable to adapt and change when there are problems. I see some people on here giving up after 3 or 4 years at the first sign of trouble. I think you only get what you put in and although not stupid enough to think I will be married till death whatever happens, I like my husband and would miss what we do have.

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