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H has left. How do you deal with devastation.

(74 Posts)
Capslockshift Thu 15-Nov-12 07:20:20

Here is my situation. H has been displaying classic signs of MLC for past year.
He started going to gym, and eventually spending more and more time there. Became distant and emotionally unavailable. We have 4DC. I tried to get him to talk about what was wrong and how we could fix things. He explained that he had felt that we were in a bit of a rut and that we should try to do more things together: walks/ lunches etc, which we did. A few months ago he started spending more time at gym and becoming even more distant at home with me and the children. I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and asked him if he was seeing someone else. He said no. I asked if he had maybe met someone at gym. He said no. Alarm bells started deafening me when he out of the blue he decided on a new phone contract, and then would not let phone out of his sight. I asked him why he was being so careful with the phone and he went mad and said I was spying on him and that I was making our situation a million times worse with my behaviour. He said he found the atmosphere at home intolerable and that he needed space. I ended up apologising. When ever I tried to discuss the situation it would end up with me in tears, and him saying " I dont know what you want me to say". We decided that if he needed space that he should move out for a few weeks and have time to think, but yesterday I caught him out on a lie as to where he had been on Monday after work, and he finally came clean. He said: " I met someone at the gym and over time we have developed a friendship" It turns out she is younger than him and has a child. He has been meeting up with her regularly and contacts her using the phone hence the secrecy. I knew in my heart he was seeing someone. He says that it hasnt gone beyond friendship but he has a bond with this woman. I am absolutely devastated. We told our 4DC last night that my H was moving out. They are aged 9 to 16. They are so upset and we were all just crying for hours. He obviously doesnt love me anymore. I am far from family with only a part time job ( the same place my H works so I cant stay there) and we are living in a rented house. I need some practical advice please on what to do. It feels as if we are grieving for my H. He has gone to a bnb temporarily until he can rent somewhere for himself. He says he wants to come back regularly to see the children. I want to control how often that happens.
He has obviously been thinking about the outcome of this for a while and I am reeling with the end of our marriage.

IfYoureHappyAndYouKnowIt Thu 15-Nov-12 07:26:25

Hi Caps. Here for a hand hold. What a horrible situation. Have been there too with XH in similar situation, affair for around a year with general nastiness. It will get better but will take time.
Have you told family and friends. RL help will be good in addition to us.

IfYoureHappyAndYouKnowIt Thu 15-Nov-12 07:28:53

You are very right to control visits by the way. Your home is your castle and safe haven. In the end I stopped house visits from xh as it was an intrusion into my space.

Lueji Thu 15-Nov-12 07:29:48

Hugs. sad

It's not really a MLC, is it? He has bailed out on you and your family.
He could have restricted his visits to the gym, or moved gym.

Check out the benefits you are entitled to and start the ball rolling, including regarding maintenance.
Check with a solicitor if necessary.

I wouldn't try to "control" access to the children, but I'd certainly not allow him to stay in the house during access, unless I was away and he behaved. He can take them somewhere else.

You will probably need to change the tenancy agreement to include your name only.

And why should you move job? He's the one who messed up.

MrsTomHardy Thu 15-Nov-12 07:30:59

So sorry for your situation.

The first thing that jumps out at me is when you say 'he wants to visit the children regularly'.....its good he wants to see the DC but he takes them out or has them for the weekends etc.....don't let him control the situation on this.

Its very early days but be strong.....good luck!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 15-Nov-12 07:42:19

On a very practical note having been through this not so long ago you keep getting up every morning and doing all the normal stuff and after while it gets a little less hard.
I have never bad mouthed ExH to anyone - just state the facts. I discovered yesterday that this has been meet with enormous respect by everyone around me so that when his OW implied that I had turned everyone against she and ExH got a tongue lashing of two mutual friends comparing how they had behaved and how I had behaved. I feel there is a lot to be said for being dignified and polite.

AnyFucker Thu 15-Nov-12 07:42:55

I am very sorry

What a nob. Classic dickhead.

Make him see the children away from your house

You do realise it is, or has been, sexual with this "friend" of his, don't you ?

Take care and don't let him walk all over you x

mummytime Thu 15-Nov-12 07:44:05

Don't let him come back in the house for contact it will just confuse the kids. He has to take them out, even if its just MacDonalds.
It is also crucial for you to build your boundaries.

Talk to people in RL, even just Mums at school. You need to start talking about it (not being a bore, but just telling people). Accept any help offered which is helpful.
Try to keep eating (if you really can't drink protein shakes), and getting sleep.

Go and see a solicitor ASAP, and keep copies of all financial info (if he is coming into the house, then try to get copies to someone safe).

notnagging Thu 15-Nov-12 07:44:43

Once you get over he betrayal you will realise that you deserve better hen a man that will lie & deceive you. It will be easier for you to claim benefits as you are in rented & work part time. The best revenge is to show him you don't need him. You cried and asked him for the truth & he in return disrespected you. That is not a good person op.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 15-Nov-12 07:47:17

I'm sorry this has happened to you. I think your instincts are correct about wanting to control the situation as much as possible. It is a grieving process when you lose your partner this way and there are no easy answers how to make it better.... but asserting yourself and focusing on what is best for you and your DCs isn't a bad start. For emotional support, do call on friends and family. Talking about it, making it 'real' is both painful but also cathartic and they'll be able to offer practical help if they know the story. A good solicitor is then your next stop... even if you're not quite ready to think about divorce yet, knowing the score is vital. Controlling access to the DCs is important because you don't want him swanning in and out on a whim - better to agree to a structure that works for you. Finances can be a worry in these circumstances so, if you only work part-time, start looking into any state help available as well as making sure your husband continues to contribute.

Very best of luck

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Thu 15-Nov-12 07:53:24

Go to your local CAB to ask about possible benefits and sorting out a formal agreement re. contact. You'll probably need to see a family solicitor but some bureaux can make appointments direct - they can at least give you a list of local ones.
Sorry you're going through this.

Whatnowffs Thu 15-Nov-12 07:53:44

What a vile vile man - to do that to his children, i hope that he feels deep shame sad You and your children deserve better than this. No advice, just support x

Capslockshift Thu 15-Nov-12 08:13:55

Thank you all so much for your messages of support and advice. I really appreciate it. I am going to find out what benefits I may be entitled to.
Im not sure I am strong enough to work in the same place as him anymore. I wouldnt be able to avoid seeing him. I am pretty sure that his relationship with OW has gone beyond friendship too. He wants to come to family home on Friday and stay over to see the kids. I have told him that he can visit but that he cant stay. Two of my DCs have birthdays next week and my eldest has mock exams. The timing isnt good but it would never be a good time.
Thankyou for the encouraging words. I have to just keep going on with the normal stuff and look after the DCs as best I can. I have to accept the end of the marriage and the horrible realisation that he checked out a long time ago.
When he left last night he was crying because of the state the kids were in and he asked if he could give me a hug. I said yes, and he said Im so sorry, and I held him for the longest time and it was heartbreaking. The truth is that I love him, but I have to stop, and thats going to take some time. I am not going to be an ankle grabber. I need to get into practical mode. On a lighter note I never realised my eyes could ever look that puffy. Visualise a couple of pink marshmallows! Thanks again. Im going to see a few of the mums at school and ask for advice from those who have been in similar situations.

olgaga Thu 15-Nov-12 08:20:43

Hi OP, sorry to hear your situation. You may find this helpful:

Relationship Breakdown and Divorce – Advice and Links (V4 Nov 2012)

It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.


The welfare, needs and interests of children are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be “fairly” divided between separating parents.

A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (“Statement of Arrangements for Children”). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - “Residence and Contact” regarding children, “Financial Order” or “Ancillary Relief” in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.

Always see a specialist family lawyer!

Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who don’t know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation – there’s a lot of knowledge and support out there!

Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Don’t just stick with the first lawyer you find – shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor you’re happy with.

If you can’t find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
If you take legal action to protect yourself or your family from domestic violence, you may qualify for legal aid without having to meet the normal financial conditions. The income of an abusive partner will not be taken into account when deciding whether you qualify for legal aid.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
Or search in your area for Community Legal Advisors:
Here is the guide to divorce which includes a link to CAB advice at the foot of the first page:

Rights of Women have a helpline on 020 7251 6577 and helpful advice on their website.

Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:

You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:

and here:

Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients – Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.


You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.

If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so it’s important to have that first.

You can find a Mediator here:

Married or Living Together?

This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.

Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here: advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:

Issues around contact are further explored here:

I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read – there are others of course:


Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements – savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?
There is a useful divorce and separation calculator here:

If you cannot access financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. Again you will be encouraged to go to mediation (link as above).

If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway.
If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order.
During this process, parties have to declare financial information going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.

If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):

1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.

CSA maintenance calculator:

Handy tax credits calculator:

Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:

CAB Benefits Check:

Parenting issues:

Other Support – Children, Housing, Domestic Violence and - Helpline 0808 2000 247 - Helpline 0844 8044 999 - Helpline 0808 802 0925
(Note that on many advice websites there is usually an appropriate link for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ).
Sometimes links change or break – if there is a problem or any of the above needs updating, please let me know.

akaemmafrost Thu 15-Nov-12 08:21:05

Can't post lengthily as getting ready for school.

Wow he just ticks every cliche doesn't he? How ridiculous.

Time to make this reality for him. He doesn't get to come and go as he pleases now. He doesn't enter the house again. He has another home now doesn't he? The best advice I have ever seen on here is show him how it's going to be and be ruthless about doing so. I wouldn't even let him in to use the toilet angry. No haranguing or crying in front of him now. Just cool, calm and collected. This is what he chose after all. So hard to do but you'll be so glad you did later I promise you.

Your poor dc sad and poor you sad. But you'll be ok and you should know that his relationship with his dc will never be the same, he has sacrificed that. They may forgive him but they'll never forget how he broke their family up, the selfish way he did it.

SushiPaws Thu 15-Nov-12 08:27:24

Caps I'm so sorry, I couldn't read this post without offering a bit of hand holding.

Some amazing advice posted already, so sad that so many woman have been though similar situations.

Be strong.

Capslockshift Thu 15-Nov-12 08:28:47

Thank you so much for all the links Olgaga.
Ill work my way through them.
Thanks akaemmafrost. Thanks to you all. I wanted to post last night.
It is so nice to have a group of women I have never met all rallying round and giving support and advice. Big hugs to you all.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 15-Nov-12 08:31:27

No more hugs either btw..... That's for when you're ready to forgive and I don't think you're anywhere near that yet.

mummytime Thu 15-Nov-12 08:42:33

Do also tell the schools ASAP. It won't be anything new, but they can cut some slack, and offer a listening ear to your children.

WaitingForMe Thu 15-Nov-12 08:46:41

I think the advice that you insist on contact outside your home is good. DH never really went back in his house after his ex and he split and I think that made things clearer for the kids. If he'd come and gone I'm sure it would have been more unsettling (quite apart from his ex's right to feel secure).

Bossybritches22 Thu 15-Nov-12 08:48:59

More handholding here too.

Just breathe, take each day as it comes, baby steps etc . All cliches but it is true, time passes and the sun still rises and you WILL get through this because you have your children ( and a strength you don't know you posess yet )and you will put them first even if he can't/won't.

I agree with not allowing him to have access at the family home. It will confuse the children as all children initially hope that mum & dad will get back together and while that is great if it happens it is rare.

He has to get somewhere to have the children overnight on a long term basis, and till then he can take them somewhere else.

Just be warned too even the most accomodating of exes seem to turn nasty when it gets down to the finances. Clear any joint debts out of joint accounts and then get your own accounts/ credit cards while you still can. Technically it is all jointly your debts and assets but many a STBEx has cleared out the money from a family account to pay for impressing the totty.

Make sure the house is well stocked with food and the kids all have new shoes/coats, sounds silly but these will all make life easier in months to come.

Don't be brave -if anyone offers help, tea dates for the kids,wine for you,take it, all helps.

Keep posting here, its a great place to offload & have a rant!

Walkacrossthesand Thu 15-Nov-12 08:50:25

You sound amazing, Caps, you are thinking so clearly when your life has just collapsed around you! No question of him staying over of course - if my (long-ago but did the same thing) ex is anything to go by, he'll be thinking much more about the sparkly new love than about what he's giving up, so he has to be 'barred' from his old life with you - contact with children but no hugs/chats with you, and no more than doorstep/ hallway-like-a-visitor access to what is now 'your' home not his.

Plomino Thu 15-Nov-12 08:56:58

Oh Caps I am sorry . No wonder you're reeling .

I agree with emmafrost entirely . It's very very difficult to do , but cool and calm is the way forward . No more coming and going as he pleases . He chose to do this, he must know what the consequences would be . At the moment he's trading on your shock to suit him .

Well bollocks to that . There are many many women here who can give you advice much more eloquently than me , but I just wanted to post to let you know that you are not alone . You are stronger than you realise , and you and yours will get through this.

SugaricePlumFairy Thu 15-Nov-12 08:58:12

I can't offer any advice but just wanted to offer support.

Take care and make sure you eat, don't neglect yourself.

Capslockshift Thu 15-Nov-12 09:31:12

Thanks. I have stood firm. He asked this morning if he could come home on Friday and stay the weekend so that he can speak to the kids. I said no. He is staying at a bnb at the moment but is trying to sort out a rental. He says he has nowhere to go at weekend, no rooms anywhere. I told him he can pick up his stuff and speak to kids on Friday but that he cant stay. When I hugged him last night I was saying goodbye. I keep bursting into tears, and telling the school/s was difficult. We are having a day of blubbing and eating ( if we can face eating) then tomorrow its back to real life and trying to be as normal as we can and slowly adjust to a life without a man that has been my H for 18 years. Thanks again everyone.

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