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Is this an Emotional Affair? Or something more?

(21 Posts)
gladiolus Tue 13-Nov-12 09:37:07

History: Last time I was here I started a thread about something very worrying that my dh did, which sparked me leaving him. I did leave him, it was going to be for good, and for ever, but he was very emotional and said that if he got some help for his anger issues, would I please reconsider. After a lot of thought I agreed, but I was still leaving, so since June we have been living in different houses but continuing our relationship, sort of like going back to dating.

Anyway, for the most part it's actually been working out quite well. Initially he was a bit clingy, calling me or facetiming me EVERY night, which wasn't what I wanted. But we got into a routine of seeing each other once or twice a week, which was okay for me.

But it hasn't been okay for him. He's been lonely. Which I understand. So, a few weeks ago I noticed something odd. He would be at my house, and he'd go off into the kitchen to take a cup in or something and he'd be in there just a minute or so longer than it takes to do whatever it was he was doing. That was all initially, but it piqued my curiosity, so I started tiptoeing up to the kitchen and every time I'd meet him coming out, like he heard me coming.

Then about a week ago he left my house and put the engine on in the car, but didn't drive away. He just sat there. I turned off the light and peeked out the window to see what he was doing. He was texting someone. After a couple of minutes he drove away.

On Saturday just gone he did the kitchen thing again. This time I actually caught him texting someone and quickly putting the phone away when he saw me coming. So at this point I'm thinking, "He's texting someone AND HE DOESN'T WANT ME TO KNOW."

Huge red flag.

Also, the same night he was flicking through some pics on his phone he was showing me and he very quickly flicked by a picture of a woman. When I asked him who it was he said it was the wife of some guy he works with. Apparently they had been discussing their wives and this guy had sent him a picture of his, and he had shown him a picture of me. Didn't believe it for a second.

So, that night I decided to confront him. Didn't have a lot to go on, but it was aberrant behaviour and I couldn't explain it, and he'd never done it before. He gets texts all the time, but he deals with them in front of me, he tells me who they're from, so the secrecy was a new thing.

Anyway, he admitted that he has been texting a woman, a female friend who he met a few weeks ago on a job he was doing. Apparently they hit it off and she gave him her number. He says that all they do is chat, that she knows about me and our situation and she gives him a balanced view about things. His family loathe me for leaving him so he can't talk to them. But she provides a bit of 'virtual' company on those long lonely evenings (bless).

Oh, and yes, the picture was of her - I found that out last night. It was clothed. But I don't know why she was sending him a picture to begin with.

He swears up and down that it is nothing more than friendship. I want to believe him. I have male friends and he's had female friends and there was never a problem. But I knew about them, I'd met them. This one is different. And he was keeping it a secret, so as not to hurt me, he says.

But maybe it just is time to call time on this relationship. We had only been married two years in the summer, so not long. In fact last night we went out to celebrate four years since our first date. He told me some of this on Saturday and a bit more of it last night.

We talk a lot about our relationship and why we had the problems we had and what we can do to sort them. I used an analogy the other night that I felt our marriage was like a terminally ill old relative. You look at them and see them suffering and know it's all going to come to an end one day, but you still love them and you just can't bring yourself to pull the plug, to be the murderer.

I can't see us ever living together again - I have zero desire to live with anyone ever again actually.

Is it time to just let us both move on?

ThePinkNinja Tue 13-Nov-12 10:28:24

In short, yes.

Save you both the longer term emotional hassle and call it a day.

You don't want him fully, but you aren't ready for him to text with some other random woman? Not healthy or happy for either of you.

Good luck x

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 13-Nov-12 10:35:58


You don't want him.
(that, and his "anger issues" and sneaking around texting other women.)

Sounds like time to call it a day.

Steel yourself for him to possibly kick up a fuss, though. The "anger issues" type usually don't like being left.

izzyizin Tue 13-Nov-12 11:05:55

Is it time to just let us both move on? You've already moved on, honey, and it as sounds as if he's making overtures to an ow this would be a fortuitous time to end the farce and petition for divorce.

If you don't have dc with your h and/or considerable joint assets to divide, there's no reason why you shouldn't divorce online for very little cost. If you should need any help completing the forms, post on the Legal matters board.

gladiolus Thu 15-Nov-12 22:11:27

It seems very cut and dried written down doesn't it? We talked for a long time the other night. I told him I was being selfish, keeping him on a string, only seeing him when it was convenient for me. I had everything just the way I wanted it, and he was sat all by himself waiting for me to call.

(Which is pretty much what he's been telling me)

I likened it to having a puppy but keeping it in a dark room, never letting it out to play and only going in to see it when I wanted to.

So I told him I was prepared to let him go, if that's what he wanted. I cried when I was saying it as, weird as it sounds, I do actually still love him. I love the nice him that he can be, and mostly has been since we've been apart.

If he had said at that point, that he wanted out, I would have done it.

But he didn't. He says he wants to keep things as they are.

The thought of losing him totally is difficult.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 09:53:56

"Things as they are" is the old having your cake and eating it situation. Why settle for one woman when you can have two? I think you said the right things but maybe you don't quite mean it yet. So you have to back up your words with actions and that's going to mean stopping with the dating and the other half-way house stuff. Never mind what he wants... take some time to work out what you want and then follow through.

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 16-Nov-12 10:08:00

Where is this going, in your head?

I think the future you envision is the important thing here. It's clear that he is struggling with the lack of contact, the living apart, with being lonely. He may very well just be texting the OW to keep him company.

But from what you've said here, there is no real future. You like him, and you don't want anyone else to have him, but you want to live on your own and lead your own life, with him around a few nights a week and when you need him. It can't really go on like that.

You have to be in a relationship or out of it, and this awkward middle ground has just blurred the boundaries. It sounds pretty over to me - I can't imagine a relationship this broken could be put back together easily, it'd take a lot of effort, and it isn't what you want.

He doesn't want to keep things as they are. He clearly loves you to have put up with this crazy idea, and he doesn't want to lose you. So he'll cope like this, but I bet he'd move back in and make it how it was in a heartbeat.

So I guess the question is whether the jealousy you are feeling is a sign of love, and wanting to give it another try, or if it's just you not wanting him but not wanting anyone else to have him either. I think, if you can live like this and contemplate letting him go after just two years, it's probably the latter. You are treating him like a puppy.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 10:12:27

"I bet he'd move back in and make it how it was in a heartbeat"

'How it was' ... was a very worrying incident that involves anger. A lot of DV victims find it difficult to let go of abusive men.

gladiolus Fri 16-Nov-12 11:48:34

^This is what worries me. If we did move back in together I have absolutely no reason to think things would be any different. There would probably be a honeymoon period where were both trying hard, but I think it would lapse into the way it was. We have both been to the GP and got referrals to the mental health unit, me for my Asperger's and him for his anger issues, which was my condition for not leaving him totally last summer - that he get help. But the NHS mental health unit being totally sh!te what it is, neither of us has had any appointments yet.

If I thought we could have a happy marriage I'd be back with him in a second. I do love him, I really do. I just can't live with him the way it was. And all I can see is more of the same.

I guess I feel the same as he does. I don't want to lose him altogether and this is better than nothing.

God I feel so pathetic, not being able to make a decision. It seems easier to let things drift on, at least we see each other a bit and it's mostly good.

Funnily enough, it was our marriage counsellor who suggested this crazy idea the current arrangement!

I do have a tiny element of doubt about the OW - there is a small part of me that wonders if he is lying. But I guess I have to trust him, for my own sanity. If I ever found out it was more than just texting it would definitely be over. And I couldn't really blame him for looking for something more fulfilling.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 12:05:28

"this is better than nothing."

Really? Better than having an honest, fulfilling relationship with someone that returns your affection, is faithful, and doesn't resort to anger and violence? Why do you have to trust him, exactly? Why aren't you allowed to be (rightly) suspicious? I know your self-esteem has taken a knock but do you really think this is the best you can do?

Please don't waste your life or compromise your standards for the sake of a vain hope.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 12:06:51

"I guess I feel the same as he does."

You do not know how he feels. Abusive 'angry' types have quite different motivations to normal people. They like to be in control, they are contemptuous of others' affections, they are #1 in their universe and everyone else is a poor second.... You cannot change him. You can only change yourself.

BerylStreep Fri 16-Nov-12 12:49:48

Glad, I know it's bad form to bring up other threads, but I have spent the morning reading your previous thread. (yep, instead of doing all the chores I was supposed to do)

I almost wept with relief when I read that you were leaving him. I think you should thank your lucky stars that he has found someone else, and you should call it a day.

Can I ask, how have the DC been since you moved out? Are they happier? Do you feel things are calmer generally? How do they feel about your H being around so much still?

gladiolus Fri 16-Nov-12 13:31:00

In a crazy way, I was almost relieved when I thought he had found someone else. I begged him to be truthful with me, even if he was cheating. He asked me how I would react if he had found someone else.

I told him that naturally I would be upset, that it would be over between us, but that I wouldn't kick up a fuss, as I realised that I had left him very much alone and it was only natural that he would be looking for company. I told him that I would try to be happy if he had found a pleasant girl who could make him happy. It would be different if we were still properly together, though. I think I would have made more of a fuss.

Inside I was dying, but I tried so hard to present an understanding and reasonable front. I think he was impressed. He said later that if our circumstances had been reversed and I was secretly texting some man I'd met, he would not have been quite so understanding.

But if he had found someone else and he'd told me at that point, then it would be a relief only because then I wouldn't have to make the decision. It would have been made for me, by his actions.

Now, yes he could be lying. Having got the answers he wanted, he then could have made the decision that maybe he wasn't ready to lose me, and if he admitted an affair, he knew he would. So he gave me the answer he thought I wanted to hear.

Or maybe he was telling the truth and it was nothing more than texting. Or maybe it was in the early stages and he had been thinking about taking it further. I don't know.

As for the kids, of course we have all been happier since we left. That was the whole point of leaving. Home is calmer, yes.

But when he comes round and he is nice, we all have quite a good time. My eldest feels very much like I do, that she likes him when he is nice, but not when he is not. Of course she doesn't have the handicap of being in love with him. I wish I didn't, either.

One thing that did occur to me though, is that even if HE doesn't want anything, SHE might. I mean, why would you, a single woman, give your mobile number to a man you've just met, and listen to him pour out all his marital woes, if you didn't have some ideas about 'rescuing' him from the horrible unreasonable wife? He's a good-looking man, charming, gentlemanly, personable, all the reasons I fell madly in love with him in the first place. I told him that as well.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 13:38:24

"even if HE doesn't want anything, SHE might"

Don't even go there. You are already obsessing about his behaviour, his motivations, his feelings, whether he's lying to you or not (and yes he is) ... and they are no longer your concern. This is why you need to part ways properly. This half-way house just gives him more opportunities to manipulate you.... the nice behaviour that you know is fake and won't last, for example.

Stop him coming round. If he wants to meet the children let him do it off-site. Get him out of your hair and you'll find the 'in love' blinkers fall away that much easier and you start to see him in his true colours.

He said later that if our circumstances had been reversed and I was secretly texting some man I'd met, he would not have been quite so understanding.

And what would have been the consequences of that I wonder.

This is toxic. Time to rip off the band aid, establish the friendly parenting relationship and move on.

And of course you don't want to live with another man, because you are using this one as a reference point for relationships.

Take care of yourself x

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Fri 16-Nov-12 14:03:56

You need to end this.

gladiolus Fri 16-Nov-12 14:28:08

I know. Knowing it doesn't make it easy though. It was easier to make the decision to leave back then, than to make the decision to kill it now.

gladiolus Wed 06-Mar-13 22:10:27

Sorry to resurrect a thread from last November, but just to let you all know, this wasn't an emotional affair, it was an actual affair.

I found out today - because I discovered the woman's email address and some receipts for dinners for two by 'accidentally' going through some papers and credit card receipts in his office - that he hadn't just been texting her.

Of course not. He had been meeting her. They even had sex once. She told me that. He gazed into my eyes and swore he hadn't - that was this afternoon!! This afternoon he only admitted that they had been out a few times - because that was all I could prove, right? I had the receipts so he had to admit that.

Anyway, once I got her reply, I confronted him with it.She said they met on a dating site. He told her that we were properly separated pending a divorce. He even met her kids!!

He caved and admitted it was all true. Even the sex, although I had to push him on that point.

She dumped him just before Christmas. So even after I confronted him in November, he STILL carried on seeing her.

My instincts had been right on the money this whole time, but I so wanted to believe that it wasn't true, I wanted to believe what he was telling me.

So, finally, and not before time, we are getting divorced. At least I've already moved out and I don't have to deal with that. I can just hide and lick my wounds for a while.

He even said the classic "can we still be friends?".

It's actually a relief, although I'm in shock. But now I know that I wasn't going crazy all this time, ignoring my instincts and believing the lies he fed me.

He said "You understand why I didn't tell you, don't you." Um, yeah. You didn't tell me for the same reason that no cheating man tells his wife - because then she'll divorce his sorry ass.

AnyFucker Thu 07-Mar-13 07:37:57

Sorry to hear this

Yet another scenario where women would really be best to trust their instincts, it seems.

elly67jo Thu 07-Mar-13 09:16:39

So sorry to hear that but you are well shot. Good luck.

gladiolus Thu 07-Mar-13 10:08:47

Humph - I just found out I can't divorce him for adultery as we had already stopped living together. However, I can divorce him for unreasonable behaviour, and cite the adultery as one of the reasons.

2. That it isn’t adultery if you have already separated from your spouse. If your spouse has sexual intercourse with another while married to you, it is adultery. But in order to petition for divorce, you have to establish not only that adultery has taken place, but also that you find it intolerable to live with your spouse. If you have already separated the first part is correct, but the second is not.

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