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Can we recover from this?

(88 Posts)
ItAllHappensAtOnce Wed 20-Jul-11 15:44:24

I first found out about my OH's infidelity when I was a few months pregnant. That was a year ago. He was contrite, distraught, and broke off with her immediately. (It was purely sexual). Then he had an affair with an old friend of his - I kept discovering texts and emails, he would swear every time that he would break up with her, that I was his first priority etc. Finally, he stopped it, and swore on our baby's life that he would not see her again. It finally stopped.

Now I find he has been planning an affair again. It didn't get anywhere because I discoverered it in the early stages, and I called the woman and explained that I had given him an ultimatum. She praised me for my dignity (oh the satisfaction of making that call!) and he managed to talk me out of walking out, with the baby. I was ready to leave and he now understands that I will go if it ever happens again.

Of course it will happen again.

What can I do to prevent it?

He is adamant that I am the one he wants to be with. He simply doesn't seem to be able to resist taking an easy opportunity when it arises. I have suggested that if I am not enough for him, why does he want to be in a relationship with me? He says his life will be over without me.

I have had a bit of counselling which has helped me to be more robust in myself and to devise some ways to rebuild my self-esteem. Very helpful.

Is it possible for a relationship to recover after this much broken trust?

I want our DD to have a sibling. He is and will be an exceptional father. I told him I will stay with him for DD's sake and he must try to earn my trust.

Is it possible to have a decent relationship without trust? I am seriously considering that it must be possible. We get on so well, we complement each other's strengths, we have good emotional intimacy and physical intimacy.

I am experiencing the extreme raw emotions of anger and hurt, also loneliness and failure, as you would expect. I really want to rebuild this, and he says he does too. But I have heard it before from him, and he has deceived me consistently.

I don't want to be told to leave him. I would like advice on how to make it work, and what to do to encourage him to take some responsibility for making me trust him again. Thanks for your help and gentleness.

JosieRosie Wed 20-Jul-11 15:50:33

I'm so very sorry for you OP - what a horrendous time you have been through. Good for you for seeing a counsellor and I'm glad it's helpful. So, you're taking responsibility for fixing things - is he taking any responsibility? I would suggest couples counselling would help you to explore the reasons why he has been unfaithful in the past. That's not to suggest for a second that you are to blame for any of it, but this is not something that can be swept under the carpet. He has done a truly dreadful thing, more than once, and if he really wants to be with you, I think you have to absolutely insist that he faces up to it. Good luck x

4merlyknownasSHD Wed 20-Jul-11 15:51:15

You say that YOU have had counselling, have you BOTH had counselling TOGETHER?

mumsamilitant Wed 20-Jul-11 15:54:37

Hi honey, I suppose you can yes. A few people i know chose to stay with their partners after multiple cheating. A lot of women do. Depends why you want to stay with him. Examples of this are Tom Jones (his wife accepted his fillandering). Most of our upper class have trillions of skeletons in their cupboards. For the French, it seems a MUST! lol... Not wishing to make light of the situation. I do think you probably have to look at it as him never really changing and whether you can really live like that.... good luck x

MajorB Wed 20-Jul-11 16:05:46

In answer to your question "is it possible to have a decent relationship without trust?" I have to say no. I understand that you've decided you want to stay with this man, and that elements of your relationship are good, but if the trust is gone...

Do any of your family and friends in RL know about his infidelities? If not, I would be tempted to (with your OH's agreement) get the support of those around you to work through this. Get him to explain his actions to them, and the reason for it, in the explanation itself he should start to understand how awful his behaviour is, and then (I'm assuming) your family and friends will give him a bit of a kick up the butt as well.

Also, if you are truly determined to stick with him, and if his excuse really is "well these opportunities keep coming my way" perhaps he needs some kind of intervention group working for him? I.e. When the next bit of hot stuff throws herself at him (because there will be a next time, as it seems he's irresistible to women!) he can call a family member/mutual friend and say "this super-babe is forcing herself upon me, what should I do?" and they can come to his rescue?!

I apologise for being a bit flippant when you've asked for gentleness, but I do think if your RL world knew what was happening in your life, you could get the support you need now as a couple, and in the future when you find out about his next infidelity - 3 times is not a mistake, it's a pattern.

So sorry that you're going through this, but please put yourself first - you deserve so much better than this, someone that you can trust for a start.

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 20-Jul-11 16:12:01

Did your H take responsibility for his previous affairs? By this I mean stopping all contact, going to counselling to learn what character flaws/issues etc that compel him to do those things, being transparent (i,e allowing you full access to mobile, email etc), putting up barriers and setting boundaries etc. Remember that actions speak louder than words - don;t listen but watch what he does.

Tbh I would seriously consider detaching yourself from him and the marriage until he has done everything in his power to prevent another affair and to consider if you really want someone like him as your H.

motherinferior Wed 20-Jul-11 16:12:26

'He is adamant that I am the one he wants to be with. He simply doesn't seem to be able to resist taking an easy opportunity when it arises. '

Er...no, he is taking the opportunity.

I have to say I don't think he sounds very nice. Especially if he's blaming these other women for flinging themselves upon him.

motherinferior Wed 20-Jul-11 16:15:05

The thing is, you appear from your post to want - ideally - a monogamous relationship. He doesn't seem to be up for that. And isn't that bothered about hurting your feelings, really.

And now you are in the position of being the Shag Police. Which sounds, frankly, wearing.

tranquilitygardens Wed 20-Jul-11 16:16:47

I think he needs to look at himself to work through his issues, as affairs will not hold the answers for him. I am so sorry for your situation, well done for having the counselling, you are important too.

tallwivglasses Wed 20-Jul-11 16:22:20

I'm so sorry you've repeatedly had to go through so much pain, ItAll.

From what I've read here, it's not uncommon for the cheating partner to swear on their baby's life...

You ask what you can do to prevent it happening again. The answer Im afraid is nothing - and I think you know that. So if you don't want to split up you'll just have to put up with it and the continual eroding of your self-esteem.

I do hope you can manage to hide it from your DD or she'll grow up thinking women deserve to be hurt by their partners.

So sad for you and angry at him for thinking so little of you. sad

ENormaSnob Wed 20-Jul-11 16:22:49

Why bother?

You will be subjected to a lifetime of misery and infedility.

Not a great example to your dc.

I hope you eventually realise your self worth and lose the lying fucker.

oldwomaninashoe Wed 20-Jul-11 16:29:20

Erm, he will do it again I'm sure. He is addicted to the thrill of the chase, he likes having his ego stroked by another womens attention. Yes he loves you I'm sure, but he has little respect for you and your values.

Once can be forgiven as a "mistake" twice and three times is a habit, he will not break.

If you feel you should, once again give him the benifit of the doubt (yet again) but for your own self respect do not forgive him a fourth time!

Dh and I know a couple who have been married for 30+ years throughout their marriage he has constantly cheated, had affairs, left for short periods, returned etc. He is now divorcing her, she is a woman who has given him and her children the best years of her life and is now facing her later years full of bitterness. It is horrible to see, please dont become like her.

RealityAlt0174 Wed 20-Jul-11 16:34:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TherapeuticVino Wed 20-Jul-11 17:04:24

You have a very big decision to make. I know that you say you don't want to be told to leave him, but that obviously is one of your options.

He will do this again. He's done it 3 times and honestly, what's the point of him trying to win your trust again - you know deep down that you will never be able to trust him whatever he says (he swore on your baby's life !!!) He also knows that when you give him an ultimatum that you're going to leave or else, he can talk you round and carry on as before.....

SO are you prepared to stay with him and turn a blind eye to this? He may be a great father but he's not such a great husband. And from someone whose parents stayed together "for the sake of the children" I can tell you that's NO fun at all, however much they think they're covering up.

I'm so sorry you're in this situation xx

ItAllHappensAtOnce Wed 20-Jul-11 17:04:57

Oh Bugger!

There are many many true words from you all here. I will think on't. After teatime and bedtime, I will bury myself in my piles of Relate books and let you know my thoughts.

tranquilitygardens Wed 20-Jul-11 17:11:20

I would just like to add, that being a single parent has it's good and bad points also, and at the end of the day, you may have to do it 24/7, as your ex once single may not want to be a father anymore to your child, he may mess you around and try and control you when you are apart, or help pay towards your child.

On the other hand your dh if you decide to split may also be a perfect gentleman who puts his kids needs first and be a consistant regular father with contact and maintenance.

I just want you to know that either way now that you are linked through marriage and parenthood to this man, your ife is not going to be easy, being a single parent with a man who could turn out to be a selfish father or choosing to live with a man who needs more than one woman are not easy choices to make!

This man is not monogamous, end of. Ask yourself this, OP, can you accept that your relationship with him is never going to be exclusive? Never mind the mainstream obsession with monogamy, think about you and your feelings and your particular situation. Some people find that a partner's good qualities matter more than said partner's desire for freedom to see sex elsewhere - do you think that could be the case for you?
ONe factor is: other than his dislike for monogamy, do you think he cares about you, respects you, listens to you? Do you think that if you said to him 'I know you are not monogamous, I accept that you are going to have sex with other women but I would like you to stick to these ground rules' that he would listen, and agree to stick to ground rules? Or would he just carry on promising never to do it again while doing it again and again?
Because with a partner you love who is also a nice person but not into monogamy, there is something immensely liberating in just not minding about that person's other sexual partners, and in making the relationship honestly open. You could have other partners too, if you have mutually agreed ground rules.

Of course, for some people who profess monogamy but don't practice it, an honestly open relationship would be no fun at all: the thrill for this type of person is in the deceit or indeed in the sense of power it gives to be repeatedly forgiven. What type of person do you think your partner is?

motherinferior Wed 20-Jul-11 17:24:22

I do agree with SGB. But it has to be your choice. Not just 'putting up with' his other partners if you do, in fact, mind about them.

That's why I asked the OP to think about it - she's forgiven him three times already which suggests that it's not actually the complete end of the world for her so maybe a change in the way she looks at it might help. Or, thinking about it, she might realise that he considers her a mug and decide she can do just fine without him as a partner.

motherinferior Wed 20-Jul-11 19:09:26

Ask him what he'd do if you had an affair with someone else. That might give you some kind of insight into how he sees the monogamy/non-monogamy thing. It has to work both ways. Not you Standing By Your Man while he dallies occasionally with these women flinging off their clothes.

pink4ever Wed 20-Jul-11 19:13:12

"exceptional father" are you having a laugh? thats not my idea of a good father or husband and if it is yours then I suggest you need serious help for your self esteem issues.
Fool me once,shame on you,fool me twice,shame on me. Says it all.

ButWhyIsTheGinGone Wed 20-Jul-11 19:20:42

These kinds of posts anger me so much.
"He's an exceptional father." Um no... an exceptional father treats his wife with love and respect so as to set a good example to his children.

OP, this guy has PLANNED his affairs. Not that I could excuse "one-offs" but planning is just taking it 5 steps too far.

When push comes to shove, OP, can you spend the rest of your life NEVER EVER EVER feeling 100% secure and that you could be fucked over at any time? I couldn't. You need to realise that you are worth more than that.

Husband is a selfish twat, but he's being allowed to get away with it.

ButWhyIsTheGinGone Wed 20-Jul-11 19:23:48

OP, Im sorry but you don;t want to face things, do you?
"I;m going to bury myself in my Relate books."
You will just look for bits of encouragement to justify your already made decision to stay.
What possible reason could you have for imagining that all of a magical sudden he will decide never tyo do this again?
You are setting yourself up for immense pain, but good luck.

CalamityKate Wed 20-Jul-11 19:24:10

Sorry, but you're never going to trust him again because you KNOW he will just keep doing it and doing it.

The only thing that might change is that he'll get better at hiding it.

SingOut Wed 20-Jul-11 19:28:36

It's not broken trust that's your problem - it's him. He is who he is. He'll never change. He'll keep doing this and just get better at lying. If you're okay with that, stay with him. If not, best get out.

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