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long post re problems with my wife

(47 Posts)
rshipstuff Wed 28-Sep-11 14:11:15

Ok so here goes, advice sought re my wife and her emotional affairs, apologies in advance for length, probably far too much detail too.

Married 10 years ago aged 20 due to her as my girlfriend's unplanned pregnancy. She is a speaker of English as a second language.

Came back to England after son was born and had to strive to make money and she found it very isolated at first but got on with it. Gradually financial situation improved, she made friends mostly from her own country.

I am a computer programmer and not the most emotionally demonstrative/romantic type but she always gave me her love and showed her love and respect for me although there were times when we got stale, we were always reinvigorated when she returned from time in her home country.

I spent over the years a lot of time on the computer and we didn't really have much 'quality time' at home as I'm a bit of an internet addict/also quite often working on the computer. However I always pushed to go out with the kids on the weekend as its healthier out of the house away from the computer.

I used to work in the office but my work ended in 2008 and since then I've worked from home on the computer, which has given me more time to pick up the kids, take them to the park, etc. I make a lot of money from my business and we have several foreign holidays per year etc.

For about the last two years my wife's discovered Facebook which has grown to occupy all of her free time at home.

We had a second child before I left my job and as she's got older my wife has become more short-tempered, whereas I've probably got more chilled out as I've matured (I think also she's also become more Europeanized). Also we send our children to a private school and my wife doesn't really feel she fits in.

Anyway the last time she came back from her country, which was last year, we didn't really feel any spark as we had done before.

Subsequently she went to a birthday party of her friend from her country, in Frankfurt, late last year and while she was there she made a connection with a man there that she previously knew but was only friends. I wasn't aware of this at the time, but when she returned she was calling him daily and they were sending 'love chats' on facebook (not sexual, more romantic). I paid no regard to her facebook activities but on the night of our wedding anniversary after a meal at a very posh restaurant we went back to my parent's house briefly and she sat on a chair chatting on facebook on her iphone. We remarked on the way home that we were quite cold with each other but we got home late and she went straight to bed while I went to the toilet and took the laptop.

When I opened the laptop she'd left her facebook logged in from earlier in the day and there were all the chats that she had been making to one of her female friends basically revealing how she was having this emotional affair with this man.

I didn't say anything immediately but tried to gather more evidence before confronting her. After a day or two I did so and burst in on her in the middle of chatting on facebook with him, she tried to deny it all, so I showed her the print out of the chat with the friend. I insisted she broke it off but she said she wanted to stop it gently so as to avoid future bad feeling with him. I said that she must stop but about a week later she called him, her excuse was that she was trying to wind it down. This was bollocks, I later found out she had SMSed him immediately upon my finding out. Anyway we repeated this charade about three times in total.

Eventually I think the other man decided it wasn't a good idea or I'm not sure but anyway it came to an end. So we continued without any real spark of romance although we did make an effort to do some things together basically we spent all our time at home on our respective computers.

We went back to her country again recently and spent six weeks there. We basically spent our time apart from each other and were not really happy in each other's company as we both had plenty of other people to spend time with. However on leaving it was just going to be the four of us again. In the airport my wife made three calls to a name I didn't recognise at some expense, and also refused to spend the family time my daughter wanted, because she wanted to go onto the internet.

When we got back to the UK, I should at this point mention that after the emotional affair previously I ended up secretly installing spyware on the computer to track what she was doing (I don't know what the rights and wrongs of this are but I should add that I previously always trusted my wife 100% and she spent a lot of time with male friends, who I understood to be just that - friends, and when we had been apart I never had any doubt that she was faithful to me nor ever questioned her with regard to men prior to the episode on our wedding anniversary night). So when she came back I found out very quickly, thanks to the spyware, that she was doing the same kind of thing, conducting an emotional affair by phone/facebook, and I was able to put a real name to the fake name she had assigned to the number she had called from her phone.

She is not as computer adept as I, but obviously having returned and wanting to pursue this emotional affair she was now quite paranoid (having been repeatedly caught previously by me on the basis of phonebill entries etc. but in fact due to the spyware), so she changed all her passwords for facebook, email, etc. A few days after returning I confronted her and told her that because of her behaviour I knew she was up to the same things again. She tried playing the same game as before where she would not admit to anything unless I accused her of it directly. I told her I would not go through that again and that she should just leave because she was lying to me over and over and that there was no trust.

So at this point she came back at me with my faults and we said 'we have to change, you need to stop contacting this guy, I need to be more helpful in the house with the children/cleaning up'. But nothing really changed. I drove her to an event on the Sunday (we had this discussion on the Friday), I was driving home and she was playing with her phone and uploaded an old picture of him onto facebook. She thought I only knew that she was contacting someone, but didn't realise I knew the identity, but of course me seeing her doing this made me feel quite bitter.

The next day I went out to run some errands and pick up the kids from school. She was mowing the grass. When I came back she was on facebook exchanging smalltalk with the man. I was quite fed up with this and after she went to bed I called him (as well as several friends of his/ours as he was hanging up the phone and playing silly games) and told him to back off and leave her alone as she was a married woman.

She found out that I had done this in the morning and we didn't speak for several days but she agreed (by SMS) to go to a Relate session with me. We did this and went to the session and I detailed what I have said above and then she said that she didn't love me and hadn't done for some time and that she was fed up with me being at home, and basically the session was quite angry, but we said we wanted to try 'for the children'.

After this we went and talked for quite a while in a coffee shop, something we noted we'd failed to do previously, and this time things were more serious than the previous attempt. We went home, and my wife having just failed to get on a local college course, (to get her a career and some self-respect) partly because she was still chatting on facebook to the boyfriend when she was supposed to be preparing for her interview, we basically signed her up for a (very expensive) private course, which will keep her busy five days a week and is also quite fulfilling.

I'd said that I would try to be more considerate, wash the dishes, etc., that she would try to stop spending all her time on facebook, and that we would both speak to each other in softer more loving tones (rather than being brusque), that we would both correct each other's negative behaviours (rather than having us both reinforce each others laziness), and I think we tried this for about a week before I went away this weekend to visit friends.

So I came back from the trip and I come home and I'm thinking 'hmm I don't really miss my wife' (or have any feelings for her). I get home quite late she's already asleep, tired from her course, so I check what she's been up to while I've been away, and basically she's contacted the boyfriend on facebook several times and also spent an hour and a half on the phone to him (although she called to his friend's mobile in an effort to avoid detection by me). She's also making more effort to cover her tracks with 'Firefox private browsing' and also deleting history (she doesn't realise that this is completely futile due to the spyware).

So here I am having resolved to myself last week to try just a little bit harder and keep trying to love her, even if she rebuffs me or is a little short with me (which in the recent past we have both been, on a regular basis, with each other), but the continued contact with this guy is something I find hard to accept (btw she has always tried the line (with the previous man too) that she's only talking, she's not having sex with them, to which I've pointed out that she speaks to plenty of men but she doesn't send 'I love you' 'no I love you more' to these men).

So..... I can just keep going trying to rekindle things by whatever means possible and overlook this (I've no doubt it will continue in the short term at least), or I can ask her in accusing terms about the hour-and-a-half phone call to the best friend of the boyfriend which will of course only heighten her paranoia and bitterness.

In the ideal world she's a nice, attractive woman who is the mother of my two children and a third of my life so far, and we'd both love each other very much, having worked through the struggles to get to a position where we are extremely comfortable and should be very happy, with me having time + money to be a better husband/father than was possible when we were striving to get ahead. But of course the reality is there's no spark or affection between each other and while I tolerated a loveless sexless marriage for a long time, the unfaithfulness is a dealbreaker (but hopefully an incentive to resolve the lovelessness and sexlessness???).

forgetmenots Wed 28-Sep-11 14:25:14

If I can be blunt, if this was a woman writing we would be saying this isn't a marriage. You sound like a nice guy who has tried very hard but you can't make someone behave differently. I'm sorry but I would ask her whether she sees her future with you, and have that difficult conversation. Good luck x

DariusVassell Wed 28-Sep-11 14:27:26

C'mon mate, this is over, isn't it?

Looks like you've both been skirting around the real issue here which is that you don't love eachother anymore. You wouldn't have needed spyware if you'd ever thought you'd really resolved your problems and it sounds like you've both been putting your heads in the sand instead of doing the brave thing and going your seperate ways. This can't have been a good relationship to model to the kids and they should be at the forefront now.

Just end it as amicably as you can, for their sake.

rshipstuff Wed 28-Sep-11 14:43:19

I must admit it gets rather absurd at the sixth time of asking for her to stop cheating. Basically she doesn't have any respect for me, not just about this, but if I give her advice she doesn't take it, but she'll take it from random strangers.

Re the love thing, well where my wife comes from love comes from duty a lot of the time, I don't think there as big on the chemistry concept as we are here - you work at it because you are married.

I put the spyware on there because I don't trust her but still have no appetite for divorce, I've seen friends get divorced, spend weekends driving up and down motorways and it's not much fun, they end up leaving the kids behind and 'moving on'.

One of her friends reckoned she's having a sort of mid(or third)-life crisis cos she's just turned 30 and has spent her youth being a mother and she's no longer a fresh-faced teen; she did her time when she was away partying and smoking weed basically.

rshipstuff Wed 28-Sep-11 14:48:25

I actually booked flights to Florida a few months ago for Christmas and have been dithering about making the hotel/car/theme park bookings (longer I leave it, the worse the availability), not really sure who'll be going.

PopcornMouse Wed 28-Sep-11 16:02:10

Imho you have to ask yourself will you be ok with your situation being exactly the same in another ten years? Twenty? Thirty? Because you've asked her to change, and she's refused.

As I see it, the option is a) divorce, or b) remain married and allow her to have her affairs, because she has refused option c) fix things.

mynewpassion Thu 29-Sep-11 03:07:57

Your wife will one-day leave you, you gotta know that, right?  She just needs to find the right guy to want to leave you for.

You can wait for the shoe to drop or do something about it now because there seems to be a lack of willingness to really try to change the marriage for the better on both parts.   

mumsamilitant Thu 29-Sep-11 13:00:19

Going to be another blunt one here, sorry..... Stop flogging a dead horse.

You were young, you tried to do the right thing. To be honest it doesn't sound like it has ever been a love job.

Maybe at the beginning but it seems like you never really had any time for her and now she's had enough.

Not meaning to be nit picky here but what does becoming shouty have to do with becoming more westernised?

She refuses to "take your advice".

Recon you've seen her as possession rather than a mate.

Quintessentialist Thu 29-Sep-11 13:09:51

Sorry, it does not seem to me that she is very keen on being in this marriage. She knows you know about her affairs, she doesnt give a toss. I bet she is just waiting for you to end the charade. Or maybe she is from a culture or a class where affairs are par for the course?

rshipstuff Thu 29-Sep-11 21:53:59

mumsamilitant it is not the done thing in her culture to be confrontational or raise voices.

Anyway I just confronted her - a picture of the boyfriend popped up on my Facebook as it was a photo with some mutual friends, so I then went to block him and told her to do the same and asked her if she was still contacting him, which she denied (false, she had 'poked' him several times earlier).

I told her that she had a choice to either defriend and block this man or I would contact divorce lawyers in the morning. She tried to delay it but I told her she must do it now. She backed down to this but not before initially saying 'go ahead' to the divorce lawyer threat, but was very unhappy and said that I couldn't control her. I told her that I had never tried to control her or stop her spending time/talking to other men as other husbands might do, but that this man she has only known for six weeks, is 8 years younger and she has no reason to see him on her facebook at all.

She said we had been improving and why had I made her hate me again, and I said she had no right to dictate terms with me, that she had done this before with the previous man and I wasn't going to go through it again. After that she stomped off to bed.

Not sure where this goes but she's a stubborn one alright, if she's not able to do whatever she wants, she gets tetchy. But, she has no respect for me - I am just here to pay the bills and help with the childcare so I guess it's time to stop being a pushover.

mynewpassion Thu 29-Sep-11 22:04:59

Look, I know you want to stay married for the kids but this marriage dead. You guys spend more time on your computers in your virtual life than in real life.

Your "reconciliation" isn't going to work because you guys can't shut off the computers. If you really want to stay married, shut your computers off and talk to each other. I bet you guys barely even look each other in the face because as soon as the kids are in bed, you guys are in your separate rooms facebooking or working.

She's getting more attention from facebook then you give her. You probably get more happiness working than talking to her.

Casmama Thu 29-Sep-11 22:21:24

This marriage is making both of you miserable and from the sounds of it your children are probably aware of the lack of love and affection between you. I think if you were really puting your children first you would set each other free and try to find happiness with other people.
Do you really want to be this person? Does she?

UsingPredominantlyTeaspoons Thu 29-Sep-11 22:25:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rshipstuff Thu 29-Sep-11 22:37:32

The spying thing is a bit of a problem for me, not that I really have a problem with doing it, the problem is more that I feel that I have to because there is no trust at all and the lack of trust is quite painful for me really.

Anyway I have booked us on to The Marriage Course at the local church, will see how that goes, it's seven weeks, I don't really think I need to call in the lawyers in the morning just yet.

Petesmum Thu 29-Sep-11 22:42:49

Definitely time to be honest with yourself. Are you still with your wife because you love her or because you're too scared to have that final conversation?
Your wife doesn't respect you & you don't trust your wife. This doesn't sound like a recipe for happy ever after.
The rest of your life is a long time to live in this misery.

mumsamilitant Thu 29-Sep-11 22:47:18

Have you both agreed to go on the marriage course? Or have you just told her, I really do find you rather controlling in this western society.

The way I see it, you chose someone assuming she would be submissive due to her culture and guess what, it's backfired.

rshipstuff Thu 29-Sep-11 22:52:44

Yes the rest of our life is a long time petesmum but it's one day at a time wink

We went through this same business six months ago but nothing really changed and we just went back to the same ways. This time things are different whatever happens, either we end it or we sort it.

She expressed a desire to try and sort it first but she's already going back to playing the same games secretly.

Anyway. Bed time I think.

rshipstuff Thu 29-Sep-11 22:56:55

mumsamillitant, actually we got married because she was pregnant and we were both practically teenagers, don't think having a wife was really on my mind at the time.

Anyway she was keener (when I mentioned it last week) on the marriage course then Relate (which we already started) because she said she had respect for things from the Church.

Doha Thu 29-Sep-11 23:02:33

This seems to be a sham marriage. There is no trust at all.

It is quite clear you are flogging a dead horse and any type of marriage course is just going to delay what appears to be inevitable.

rshipstuff Thu 29-Sep-11 23:04:16

well it's only seven weeks out of 10 years but yeah the point is getting through. Bed time I think now though.....

mumsamilitant Thu 29-Sep-11 23:07:23

At the end of the day, really, let it be over. Even if say, you felt trapped at the beginning and feel like you did the right thing. To be reduced to spying etc. is not on. What are you becoming?

Eurostar Thu 29-Sep-11 23:50:53

Spying on her with spyware is ILLEGAL.

Blu Fri 30-Sep-11 00:05:29

It sounds as if you are both in love with your computers and other electronic toys as a way of not communicating closely.

If you want to make this work go to the marriage counsellling course together, and though you feel she has treated you very badly (she has, in her deceit) also listen very carefullly to what she has to say. And both commmit to not using your computers and phones except for necessary functions during the course of counselling.

It's hard to get tied down so very young and with children - but remember she was far from home, and you had your work.

You can only try, and do your best. If you can't rescue your marriage, you will at least know you did try.

DuelingFanjo Fri 30-Sep-11 00:12:21

Do you love her?

Does she love you?

Sorry if I have missed this but to me it seems pointless trying to rescue a marriage like this. She's been given chance after chance afer chance. If it were me I would tell her about the spyware and contact a solicitor.

garlicslutty Fri 30-Sep-11 00:59:07

This is so, so sad.

Of course spying on your partner is wrong - but so is deceiving your partner. Sometimes a person needs facts and snooping is the only way to get them. You've got yours, many times over. You must have been completely gutted, each time, and now you're just torturing yourself. You can't trust her - you know this; you have your proof. And, yes, it's extremely hard to face.

A great part of the devastation we feel when a marriage breaks down is really grief. The 'death' you face is the death of all you hoped for in the early years; the future you thought you had with your family; the lover you believed would be always by your side.

That is over. Allow yourself to grieve: you are suffering a breavement, and the sadness/anger/despair/guilt/jealousy/blankness that characterise grief have all got to happen if you are to heal. And you will heal, for yourself and your children and the new future you're going to build.

Try not to make any major decisions for six months - use the time to detach as rationally as possible from your marriage, to put things in place and take care of your children. They might want to go to Florida with you - don't force any choices on them, but perhaps let them know it's a possibility.

Good luck.

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