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Please help, kicked me when I'm down and now wants to make up, can't cope

(180 Posts)
aefondkisses Sat 24-Nov-12 08:57:53

Found out on Monday that H slept with someone four times while on two-week work trip abroad. Didn't use protection. He says he'd decided, without informing me, that we needed to get a divorce so was therefore single and not doing anything wrong (his very words). We'd had an argument the day before he'd left and he said I'd gone too far (again, didn't say that at the time). I'm in such a state I can't explain this properly.

The argument was nasty it's true. But I wasn't the only one, and he was pretty harsh, even threatening at one point. Now, he says he's not sure and is blaming what happened on the things I said. It came about because, as usual, he didn't take into account the fact that I have physical problems that make everything seem harder. It was DS's birthday and I wanted it to be great. He decided to invite his family and friends to dinner the same night, followed by six of his ex-colleagues the following evening. So I'd been cooking all weekend and preparing stuff for the kiddie party on Friday too. He hardly helped and wants a medal for what he did do. When he said in the middle of it that he was going out for a swim, leaving me with my DS and step-DS and all the cleaning, I lost it and we had the argument. I have a slipped disc (third in four years) and have been struggling with hormonal imbalance that started when I got chronic fatigue 10 years ago. It goes in cycles and my life is hugely better but I'm nowhere near to normal energy levels. Was getting back to proper weight but after this I've shrunk again, can only drink tea. The painkillers are the only things keeping me sane as one of them also treats anxiety. I'm gutted for DS too as I just can't see how we can get back from this as H says he will never feel remorse but is willing to start afresh (wtf?!).

What's worse is that I struggle to believe his version and feel he wanted to hurt me, as punishment for argument. I have no proof of that, just my gut. If he'd really decided to leave, would he have needed to tell me about OW? When he came home, we put little one to bed then he said he'd decided to leave. He burst into tears and was so distraught I softened (I'd been mad he'd not asked about DS by mail over the two weeks he was gone). That was when he told me about OW. This is the second time he's dealt with a dispute in this way, though the first time it was 'just a snog'. I'll never know, but he's such a child I believed him. Now I'm lost. Have managed to keep a brave face for DS but it's going to be hard to keep it up. H wants us to have counselling but my instinct says he wants to hurt me again by discussing it in front of someone else, humiliating others is a family trait, at least on of MIL's.

He didn't just have sex with OW, they spent time around people who know us both and to whom he probably told his version of events, that makes it ten times worse. It's horrible.
Please help, what are the baby steps to not lose it?

ThereGoesTheYear Mon 10-Dec-12 23:52:32

Hi aefond how are things?

Corygal Mon 03-Dec-12 14:52:48

Get him out.

AThingInYourLife Mon 03-Dec-12 14:49:48

"but I didn't love you any more after everything you said"

If he can stop loving you instaneously and completely after one row to the point where he decides your marriage is over and gets himself a new girlfriend, he can do it again.

That is both a warning to you that his "love" is meaningless.

And an argument to him for why the break up is a good idea and he will cope with it just fine.

blackcurrants Mon 03-Dec-12 12:24:44

Lueji beat me to it.

Of course he can handle it. He just doesn't want to, and isn't going to.

This could be the LAST time you have this dilemma. This could be the LAST anguish you carry over this man. He's not going to change, but you could change the situation so he can't hurt you any more.

Close your eyes and imagine not having to do all the work of these feelings and worries, ever again. They sound exhausting. Imagine them being gone, for good.

Does that feel tempting?

Lueji Mon 03-Dec-12 12:01:30

I totally understand your position.

It was only when ex verbabally threatened my life and DS's that something clicked in my head and I trully decided that it was over for good.

Nothing he could say after that could possibly make me go back on my decision.

He still can't handle it that his behaviour hurts me and makes me angry. Even as he was trying to persuade me last night that we should stay together, he had to bring out his "but I didn't love you any more after everything you said" line because he couldn't handle it that I was sticking to my guns about the line being crossed.

He can handle it, of course, he can. He just doesn't care.

You have to decide either way and then it won't matter what he says.

And what experience says is that people don't really change.
He'll do the same again when you have another argument, or you'll be afraid of having another argument in case he strays again.

aefondkisses Mon 03-Dec-12 10:15:21

cake and AF, to combine your posts, that's what my parents did: stay together for the kids out of fear. And it didn't do us any favours at all, proof being this nightmare.

I am frightened to break free, it's true, but also of making a mistake. I know in my head that I'm not responsible for this (other than for not respecting myself much earlier on in the relationship, which is quite a big piece of the problem) but don't feel it properly yet. Self-doubt is the problem.

This voice keeps saying give him a chance, you haven't tried counselling yet. But mostly I feel in my heart that there's no hope, and the inner conflict is a killer.

Thanks for the support, this place is a haven.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Mon 03-Dec-12 09:56:36

This can be your last "dilemma"

Be strong. This man will continue to be one "dilemma" after another. Nothing he is saying would convince me otherwise. You are not convinced either, but are frightened to break free and change your life.

Should you stay in a relationship out of fear ?

cakehappy Mon 03-Dec-12 09:52:02

Hi, been lurking and here to handhold. You have alot of people supporting you here, you deserve so much to be out of this situation. This can be your last dilema if you allow it to be. You have been downtrodden for so long, its hard for you to see clearly how awful this man has been to you and I guarantee your children are better off in a happy, healthy single parent home with a strong mummy. My parents stayed together far longer than they should have and I saw alot of things I wish I hadnt. Trust me they didnt do us any favours, and while they " stayed together for the children", they messed us up while they were at it. Dont let this happen to your kids aswell. Totally behind you 100%, take care of yourself.

aefondkisses Mon 03-Dec-12 09:30:18

thanks olgaga, that's very helpful and will give me something to lean on when I'm strong enough to make a move.

theregoes it does feel like it's too much to process, thanks for identifying that. It's a very hard lesson and I'm struggling not to sink into regrets. When he was away for a few days it was infinitely easier to think straight, so you're right about distance. I actually had an inkling that I might be able to go it alone during those two days and felt energetic for the first time in ages.

So now he's back and is begging for a second chance and I'm all over the place again.

hope and lueji I know you're both right I truly do. MC put me onto the codependency thing and I've been studying the parent-adult-child system so I do see very clearly where I've been going wrong and how I couldn't express my boundaries without cracking up or crying, which didn't get the message across at all.

Seeing that clearly though it's been hard for me to sort out the responsibility thing.

Also, I think we grew apart because I thought I was trying really hard to work out my share (reading up on it, seeing a therapist for three years) when in fact I was still carrying the load for both of us and buying into his idea that it was somehow my fault. Still mothering him as Cailin would say.

He still can't handle it that his behaviour hurts me and makes me angry. Even as he was trying to persuade me last night that we should stay together, he had to bring out his "but I didn't love you any more after everything you said" line because he couldn't handle it that I was sticking to my guns about the line being crossed.

So I said I couldn't believe him about the second chance thing because how could there still be all this love when he could hurt me again by rubbing my face in what happened and try and make me responsible for it?

I've read other threads where people are trying to recover from an affair that happend years ago and are still suffering. I can't face that prospect.

I know it's not about what he wants, it's about what I want. It's just so bloody hard to focus on that when the idea of breaking up the family is so awful. Despite knowing that it's most likely better for DS and DSS anyway. Our whole relationship has been built on dilemmas in fact. I'd love to think this is the last one I'll face, I really would.

Lueji Sat 01-Dec-12 16:05:30

Stop thinking of him as a child.
You are not responsible for his behaviour, you can't fix it.

If you treat him as a child you enable the "childish" behaviour.
A child wouldn't get away with such thoughtless behaviour, not in my house.
He should not too.

If he is emotionally a child, then your marriage vows are null because he couldn't consent.

He is an adult and should face his responsibilities to you as an adult.
Why would you want to share your life with a child anyway?

hopespringy Sat 01-Dec-12 15:54:19

sorry, posted before I was ready. He is an abuser and you are codependent imo, which is why you are drawn to one another like magnets.

Looking at codependency is challenging stuff on the one hand - but on the other it is a huge relief to recognise characteristics that don't work. It's not a 12-step group for nothing, codependence is an addiction.

I also think your ill-health is directly linked to your relationship. I'd put money on it that it'll clear up when you get out.

hopespringy Sat 01-Dec-12 15:42:04

How do you leave (abandon) someone you know is a damaged child, however adult in age?

You find a CoDA meeting. You will recognise yourself there.

ladyWordy Fri 30-Nov-12 23:36:59

Olgaga, you are a gem. smile
Aefond, bravo to you for not letting him impose his views on you. Another step forward.
Hope you will get as much rest as you can. We are here if you need us.

Leverette Fri 30-Nov-12 22:48:34

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

madeiracake Fri 30-Nov-12 21:34:07

take your time aefond. and good luck xx

olgaga Fri 30-Nov-12 11:48:27

PS I have reported the incomplete post and asked for it to be deleted.

olgaga Fri 30-Nov-12 11:47:51


If you are living together (cohabiting) you don’t have the above protection when a relationship breaks down - however you may be able to secure housing for yourself and your children. If you are not married or in a civil partnership with each other and you have helped pay for the home, the other parent may not be able to sell it or prevent you living in it without a court order. But you must get legal advice and will need to give as much evidence as possible to support your case.

If you have not helped pay for the home you may not be able to stay, even if you are the parent with the main day-to-day care of the child.

If you are not married to each other and the home is in your name alone, you can apply to the court for an order to exclude the other parent. (You can’t do this if you are married to each other or civil partners, unless there has been domestic violence against you by the person who is to be excluded). Read this and talk to a housing adviser to find out your rights and discuss your options (telephone contact for Shelter in the linked leaflet and also below).

OTHER SUPPORT – Domestic Violence and Housing

If you are in immediate danger of domestic violence always call 999.

Otherwise, call The National Centre for Domestic Violence on their 24 hour helpline 0844 8044 999, or text NCDV to 60777 and they will call you.

Women?s Aid and Refuge have a 24 hour freephone helpline, 0808 2000 247.

Shelter also has a freephone helpline 0808 800 4444 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm Saturday and Sunday.

For Local Authority Housing advice look at your LA website. If you have problems getting help with emergency housing from your local Council this can sometimes be resolved by taking the matter up with your local MP.

NB some of the above websites will have different advice and contacts for England, Scotland and Wales where the law or services may differ. If so they will provide the correct link for you on the website.

Please let me know if there are any broken or out of date links.

olgaga Fri 30-Nov-12 11:47:45

Hi - first airing of my updated advice and links post. Unfortunately it doesn't now fit as one post so I've had to split it into two. Ignore the above incomplete post which was a mistake!


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 between you 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. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.

You can also read about issues relating to child contact and get advice from, Rights of Women, Maypole, and publications Cafcass publications.

Parenting advice also be found at Family Lives and The Parent Connection. The Gingerbread single parent freephone helpline is 0808 802 0925 Monday 10am- 6pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - 10am to 4pm, Wednesday 10am-1pm and 5pm-7pm.

The Government has recently updated its information on all aspects of divorce, separation and child maintenance, here. Download the Sorting out Separation web app or go straight to Tools and Leaflets.


Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school or nursery, 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. See below for further links in relation to DV.

Whether or not you case involves DV, you can find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345, and search in your area for Community Legal Advisors.

See also the Govt guide to divorce and access CAB advice.

Rights of Women have lots of helpful advice on their website, or you can telephone their Family Law helpline on 020 7251 6577 (Mondays between 11am-1pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm, Thursdays between 7pm-9pm and Fridays between 12noon-2pm).

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. Take a look at the recent Mumsnet Q&A with Christina Blacklaws, their Director of Family Law.

Resolution is an organisation of 5500 family lawyers in England and Wales who are committed to resolving divorce and separation disputes constructively. Through their website you can search for a Resolution Lawyer in your area.

DivorceAid is another useful website with lots of advice and a search facility for specialist family lawyers.

Take a look at Wikivorce, a Government sponsored charity which has a very informative website. However, be always be wary of “DIY low cost divorce”, but few divorces are amicable and straightforward enough for this to work. Good legal advice may seem costly but it is usually a worthwhile investment.

I found these family law firm guides informative and easy to read – Terry and Woolley & Co. There are others of course.

Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients – Google solicitors by name to see if they publish recommendations or feedback.


You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by facilitating 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, mediation is unlikely to be appropriate or useful – so make sure your solicitor knows your concern. Often solicitors will be able to recommend a Family Mediator in your area who they have worked with in the past.

Always get legal advice, and make a note of what you want from the process, 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 Family Mediator through National Family Mediation or the MoJ Family Mediation Helpline.


Before your appointment with 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?

This is the useful Divorce and Separation calculator.
You can calculate Child maintenance using this calculator, and Tax Credits here.
MoneySavingExpert has a handy 5 minute benefits and tax calculator, so does the CAB.


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

You can find useful guides to the differences in legal issues here in the CAB Advice Guide and also at [[ Advice Now]]. This page on the Child Maintenance Options website also refers.


When it isn’t possible to 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 and need to discuss this with a solicitor.

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.

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.

(cont below)

olgaga Fri 30-Nov-12 11:36:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThereGoesTheYear Fri 30-Nov-12 10:59:50

aefond you're processing so much information, even in the best of health you'd be exhausted.

For years you've minimised and mentally discarded the information about your H that doesn't square with your opinion of him (ie that he's an OK husband, can be very charming and fun, and worth holding onto). Now you're starting to reevaluate his behaviour seeing that he's abusive, and cruel, and your brain can't hold the two contradictory views at the same time. You may find that you're revisiting past actions, stuff you thought you'd forgotten about, and seeing it for what it is. This is all pretty draining stuff, but its good for you to find out what your opinions on his behaviour and what's acceptable in a relationship.

It's great that he's not around right now as he's pushing the 'nice guy' lie, but his texts and calls are still intruding. Your therapist sounds switched on. Distance is your friend. How would you feel if you had zero contact from him for a couple of weeks? It's the very least you could demand at this stage after what he's done and I think that you would get a lot stronger if he left you to gather your thoughts.

Apologies of I've missed it but is he still inviting guests to stay this weekend? This is a ridiculous idea. That he could even consider this is yet more proof that his strategy is to act as if his version is the only thing that counts and if he steamrolls ahead you will have to go along with it.

aefondkisses Fri 30-Nov-12 10:42:14

"good things to you all, you've helped so much"

mince brain, sorry blush

aefondkisses Fri 30-Nov-12 10:39:48

Just wanted to say thanks for looking out for me. I'm not doing too good tbh, though H being away makes it slightly easier. DS is in school so I've time to think. Working from home has been a blessing as it means I can rest a lot. Am still waiting for surgeon to get back to me so that's another source of worry as don't know whether I'll need to go to the hospital or not.

The therapist agrees with everyone here that he shouldn't come back (she gave me an extra session yesterday because I was in such a mess) but I just can't see what the next steps are to do it. I'm trying not to feel like a failure for that but it's hard. He's so confident we just need "a breather" it's like we've been on different plains forever, as MC pointed out.

Had a wee talk with DS yesterday and he was surprisingly relaxed about it all. Having a step brother probably helps, he sees that his parents are still "friends", and that they both adore DSS. I worry though that he's not letting on that he's worried as he's been waking up very early when I normally have to wake him for school. I'll bring it up again later as there is just no way I'll let him become like me hiding his emotions to protect his parents, no way.

What I do know is that I'm not playing along anymore, largely thanks to the advice I've had here. His actions also helped shut the door, though I've found that I sometimes forget (in which case immediately come back on here, even if just to re-read this thread). Yesterday he kept trying, by text, to impose his view on me (that it's not over etc.) but it didn't work and he just stopped replying, one small victory I suppose.

This is a bit long, but it's because I can't stay on long. Even typing this feels tiring. We're due to talk later on the phone so I'm going to go and write out my position properly so I don't get overwhelmed by the big illusion yet again.

Will be back when I can, huge thanks and good things to all that have helped x

Owlfright Fri 30-Nov-12 09:49:47

Thinking of you AEfond.

ladyWordy Thu 29-Nov-12 19:43:39

Take care aefond. Hope you feel better soon. brew

AThingInYourLife Thu 29-Nov-12 08:27:48

Look after yourself. We'll be here when you need to come back smile

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