Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Men & affairs - what is the script?

(29 Posts)
imaginethat Wed 12-Dec-12 09:14:32

A lovely friend of mine has just had her husband announce he is leaving her & their 2 young children. Right after this announcement, infront of the children, she answered the phone to her MIL, explained why she was upset, and the MIL told her she thought he had been having an affair. MIL and the DH work together and apparently it is common knowledge that he is seeing a colleague and has been for 4yrs.

He has threatened to leave her many times before and she has suspected for some time that he is cheating (stays out all night twice a week) but then he has been nice again and they've just carried on. She has always said that she will never leave, that her mother left and she would not do that to her children.

This time is different as the MIL has dropped the bombshell. My friend asked her DH about the affair and he denied it. She asked him to leave asap and to keep supporting her financially until she finds a job, gets on her feet. He said ok.

She is understandably upset but seemingly devoid of anger or bitterness. I asked her how she felt about the thought he was seeing someone else and she said she could not be bothered "even going there", that she just wants to get on with her life and take the opportunity to start again.

He seems to be slightly put out by her sensible response and is now talking reconciliation. She has told him this can only happen if trust is rebuilt and he has agreed but is still denying the affair.

She does not have a wide circle of friends and does not find it easy to confide in others. SHe has led a relatively sheltered life leaving her parents' home to move in with her DH, and she devotes herself to family life.

Can someone tell me the script of the cheating husband? I have no experience of this. I gather that they lie and deny. What should she expect next?

It is great to see her gaining confidence to the point of seeing a future without this man who treats her so badly. How can I best help her?

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 12:00:31

MIDLIFE for Dummies

Welcome to the wonderful world of Mid Life Crisis!! You are about to embark on one of the most perilous journeys you have ever taken. A journey fraught with intrigue and guaranteed to turn you inside out! This book is designed to help you make sure you get the most emotional bang for your buck.

In these pages are the "how to" answers to the questions you have been asking yourself about damaging as many people as you can along the way. Come on and dig in, it's time to get this roller coaster rolling on down the tracks!!

Chapter 1 - Choosing the Correct Speech

There are 4 basic speeches for you to choose from. They are:

a) I love you but I don't know if I'm in love with you.

b) I've never loved you, and we should never have gotten married.

c) We got married too young. I never knew anything besides you.

d) You tricked me into marrying you, I would never have done it otherwise.

Once you have decided on which speech to give, you need to cause as much anxiety in your spouse as you can before you actually give it. Continue to the next chapter for Lessons in building anxiety.

Chapter 2 - Lessons in Building Anxiety

You will find these lessons to be helpful in causing anxiety in your spouse and others (depending on the level of pain and damage you want to cause), not just prior to giving the speech, but throughout your MLC.

Lesson 1 - Monstrification of Your Spouse

This is easy to accomplish. Simply think of only the "bad" things that your spouse has done throughout your entire relationship. Have one of those "angel" spouses? No problem, just remember how bad she always makes you feel. DO NOT under any circumstances remember fondly your spouse, or anything they have done for you. Remember, they are going to be the cause of all of your problems, so it is imperative that you convince your self of this first.

Lesson 2 - Emotional Detachment

This will be very easy to do after accomplishing lesson 1. All you have to do is start reminding yourself that you don't care about them, what they feel, what they want, or if they hurt. Simple! Every time you remind yourself of this, you will get further and further away from your relationship emotionally. Now, that wasn't too hard was it? On to lesson 3

Lesson 3 - Mass Confusion and Indecision

This lesson requires a little more thought and attention. You must constantly practice saying "I don't know" to ANY and ALL questions. That is imperative!! Your spouse (and others) must never know precisely what is going on in-side your head. Also, never let them know where you are going, where you have been, who you were with (this will go hand in hand with the lesson on the Other Person, or OP), or whether or not they can expect you to return home.

Lesson 4 - Lies and Deceit

To get the most damage, and cause the most pain, you must lie and decieve at every opportunity. And to really achieve hall of fame status, you should be very inept at it, so that everyone knows that you are lying, or suspects, but can't prove it initially. This works very well for the following chapters, OP and Cake Eating.

Chapter 3 - The Other Woman (or OW)

Now it is time for you to succumb to temptation. You KNOW all of those other women want you! They have been coming on to you for years!! It is time for you to give them their chance at having some of you. Make sure that you leave a very confusing trail for your spouse to follow. One that lets them suspect, but have to dig and sneak (to make them feel worse about themselves) to find the information they need to prove it. Hold out admitting the affair as long as you can, and don't admit it ever, if you can get away with it.

Chapter 4 - Cake Eating

This chapter is designed to string your spouse along in uncertainty as long as possible, because as long as they have hope, they won't be able to go out and find their own lives and be fulfilled. Why should they get to do that, while you are so miserable? They shouldn't!! So, make sure that you are affectionate occasionally (not too often, as this will raise anxiety levels), that you drag your feet about making a decision on the marriage, and that you leave and come back several times (as many as you can get away with).

Chapter 5 - History Revision

It is very important that you revise the life you have lead with your spouse. You must use words like: Always, Ever, Never and All of the Time. Always precede the statement with the terms: you, I, and we. As in "you always nag me" "I never ever (double bonus here) get to do what I want" and "We have to do what you want all of the time". This will help to make your spouse feel like the way you are behaving is all their fault, and can cause them to feel even worse about themselves than they already did!!

Chapter 6 - It's All About You!!

Remember this is all about you! What you want and need, RIGHT NOW! You shouldn't have to wait until you can afford something, just go on out and get it! You deserve a new haircut, new clothes, and some new toys. You've worked for it. You would probably look great in that new Convertible, or on that new Harley!! So don't hesitate! You live in the here and now! So why wait until tomorrow!!

Remember, the word is CRISIS and if you are in one, EVERYONE else should have to ride the Roller coaster with you! It's no fun taking a ride alone, and you know what they say about misery loving company! Go on out there and get started, so much pain and damage, and so little time!

Chapter 7 - Avoid, Ignore, and Run Away

This chapter is to help you deal with the problems that your spouse will try to cause. We don't want you to have to "deal" with anything, now do we? You shouldn't have to "think" about any "issues" right now, except those that concern you "feeling good". The best way to handle this, is to Avoid, Ignore, and Run Away. Any time someone tries to make you see a more "reasonable" stance on a subject, simply Avoid making a reply...stare out into space, as if you are thinking about something important, and they will become uncomfortable and leave you alone.

If there are responsibilities that need your attention, simply ignore them. You don't have to do anything you don't feel like doing. And the best for last is Run Away! This can be accomplished in many different ways. OP's can help you Run Away from all of these "problems" as well as Alcohol, Drugs, New Sports Cars....etc the list is endless. Of course, you can always just leave...but remember not to let them know where you are going, and if you'll be back!!

Chapter 8 - MC and Therapists

Your spouse may ask you to go to counseling with her. This is only useful to make them feel better. It cannot possibly have anything to you so there is no reason for you to follow-up with anything suggested--it doesn't matter to you. The only thing you should look for is more reasons (excuses) for avoiding, running and ignoring (see previous chapter).

Chapter 9 - I Don't Have To if I Don't Want To and You Can't Make Me!

Remember that this is about YOU, and what YOU want and how YOU feel!! No one else is important, so don't let them make you feel as if you have to listen to anything they say. Your spouse will try to help you of course, because they love you. Don't let them get away with giving you unwanted advice. Let them know in the teenage vernacular, that they can't make you do anything.

This is important, you must be as childish as possible!! Any truly adult behavior on your part will only convince them that you are listening to what they are saying, and you will have to start back at the beginning. Of course, this technique can be used knowingly to cause more confusion and chaos, just beware of the danger, you don't actually want to start acting like an adult!!

Chapter 10 - How To Threaten and/or How To Move Out

You threaten to move out for weeks or months but you don't. (*)You tell your spouse that you got too much on your plate right now to look for a flat but that you will do so in 2 weeks time. After 2 weeks, repeat from (*).

If your wife wants to come too close to you, like entering your bedroom to talk to you, tell her to stay away or you will move out. When she replies that you will move out anyway tell her that you will move out faster if she comes any closer

Chapter 11 - Art of Clinging

The Art of Clinging to the End of the Mattress without falling off the matrimonial bed while still sharing it with your spouse.

Chapter 12 - Advanced Lessons

This is usually reserved for those in more difficult situations, where the LBS has responded not by tossing you out, threatening to leave, or filing for divorce, but instead persists in not only OFFERING to cooperate, but actually MAKING THE CHANGES you said you needed.

"I am tired of living like this/I don't want to live like this anymore/I am not going to live my life like this?" often is coupled with another advanced tactic, "It's not you, it's me".

This line is most effective AFTER the LBS has jumped through hoops and bent over backwards. It basically confirms that no matter what changes the LBS is willing to make, the incompatibility lies within the MLCer, who has no intention of, or implied desire or ability to, compromise.



1. When confronted by the evidence of an EA or PA, become very indignant. Stress that the LBS is obviously just a jealous sob/bi*ch, and you are entitled to "buddies" of the opposite sex.

2. Never, ever answer the question, "Are you okay? Is there something wrong?" with a direct answer that might actually lead to a discussion that might help the marriage. Continue to never talk to spouse, never give her/him a personal compliment or touch of affection and by all means work on the "cling to the edge of the mattress to avoid touching" manoeuvre that is so successful in making your spouse crazy.

3. Always bear in mind that your spouse will expect you to want to at least give them the chance to "fix" the marriage. Since you have already checked out emotionally (of course NEVER tell them that!), you are under no obligation to actually listen to anything they say or acknowledge anything they do. This tactic is also extremely beneficial when they employ the MLC diet. When they lose a massive amount of weight and you are in ear shot of someone who mentions to spouse about the weight loss, say "Are you losing weight? Why don't you ever tell me things?"

4. Of course one of the most successful ways to drive them crazy may only be used when you have earned the MLC Black Belt. Go to marriage counselling for months, let them pour out their soul to you and the counsellor and let them believe they are actually accomplishing something. Then arrange things so the spouse finds you in your own home with OW. This will accomplish two things: a. She will finally have to understand how lucky you are to have found your "soul mate" and b. She will be doubly betrayed because she thought you were actually working on the marriage.


1. Make negative comments about OW or the chances that the relationship with OW will succeed. HOWEVER, under no circumstances, make any commitment to end the relationship with OW.

2. Make veiled hints about suicide or excessive drinking or drug use. Be erratic and hard to contact.

3. Do random acts of kindness such as garden work or something. That will keep your spouse confused and hopeful.

4. Make vague comments hinting that things might work out between you and your spouse IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER, under no circumstances take any actions to work anything out.

CUSTODY - Using the Kids To Your Advantage

If you have children, they can be extremely useful for inducing fear and panic in your spouse. Recommended phrases include, "You're poisoning my kids against me", "You put that idea into their heads", and "You need to do [insert pertinent action here] for the sake of the kids'." Remember, your spouse, being a responsible and loving person, is not only trying to cope with his/her own feelings, but trying to protect the children, and you can use that to your advantage.

Don't forget to use the fact that if you spend any time with your kids, you should get Extra Credit Bonus Good Parent points from your spouse. It doesn't matter if you feed them ice cream for breakfast and have them watch "Hellboy" when they asked for "Veggie Tales", you Just Wanted To Make Them Happy, and since YOU are the best judge of Happiness, that makes you Super Parent.

You can use this opportunity to trash talk your spouse ("Isn't this more fun than what Mommy/Daddy would let you do?" "Mom/Dad doesn't know how to relax.") which of course, will be repeated back to your spouse so you get the benefit of destroying their self-esteem second hand.

Highly advanced MLCers may want to start casually using the word Custody, but be very, very careful. While useful for sending your spouse into a state of panic, you certainly do not want to be responsible for a bunch of kids who will seriously cut into your personal fun time. The word Custody should only be used in a casual tone of voice for the most devastating effect.


You (the mlcer) know a lot about your spouse. You know what pushes their buttons to get them both upset and/or happy. You have the power, you can do it! So using the kids to upset them is fair game (see section on how to use "custody" to upset them but not take on the "custody"). And if that ever stops working, find something else. Suggestions might include pets, valuables in the home, their appearance, family, career. Nothing is out of your reach since you have put in so many years getting to know your spouse--use what you know.


By now, you should be aware that all of this MUST be your spouse's fault, however, your spouse may not understand this completely yet, so you need to start planting the seeds.

There are several ingenious ways to put the blame on your spouse, and we will be exploring them all.

Method 1: The Non-Blame Statement

I'm trying not to blame YOU

This statement implies that you are "not putting the blame on them" but on closer look (which your spouse is guaranteed to be doing) The words actually put all of the blame on the spouse (where of course we know it belongs).

Method 2: The Passive Blame Statement

I don't think that I can live with you.
My opinion never mattered to you.
I can't live like this.
We rarely have fun anymore.
I don't want to live this way anymore.

These are passive statements that don't actually assign blame to your spouse, but your spouse will definitely get the idea if you use them. They can't help but see that it MUST be them that makes you feel this way.

Method 3: The Direct Blame Statement

You never listen to me.
You never put creases in my pants.
You use bagged salad.
You never keep the house clean.
You are going to do it your way.

All of these are direct statements of blame. You should mix actual faults with things that don't really matter to make it more confusing, and make your spouse feel as bad as possible about themselves.

Your spouse has probably already started doing the hard work to look inside his/herself (Yuck, what an awful thought!) and will take on all of the faults you list to try and correct them. This will keep them occupied for awhile, and you can avoid any serious relationship talks while they apologize for and try to fix all of their own faults.

Make sure that you don't actually accept the apology, that way you can continue to bring the fault up which will slow down their self improvement process. Remember, they are working on becoming better human beings, and you wouldn't want that to happen to fast, as that would interfere with your ability to string them along.


Let's not forget "We're just incompatible - we always were."

Also, when the LBS starts to make changes, make SURE you find fault with these changes, or point out how it's "too little, too late", or wasn't what you meant AT ALL. If all else fails, put the LBS down for being so willing to change herself for your needs. Also, when the LBS starts to make changes, make SURE you find fault with these changes, or point out how it's "too little, too late", or wasn't what you meant AT ALL."

How to keep you spouse mean one minute threatening divorce, etc then next day be kind and sweet almost the way your spouse remembers you..rinse repeat....


1. Even though by now you, dear MLCer, have done everything human possibly to convince your spouse that you do not love him/her and want out, when the time comes to actually file, DON"T DO IT! This is the coup de gras of MLC. Absolutely DO NOT TAKE THE INITIATIVE. This is a most vital and awesome crazy-maker. Holding out will force your by now totally devastated spouse to finally throw up his/her hands and seek legal counsel.

2. Once the LBS has had enough and decides that divorce is in their best interest, you have won HUGE points here. Refusing to be the one to file now puts YOU in the role of victim, bringing you all the attention and pity necessary to allow you to again regain your image of the abused one in all this. Now you can, with absolutely NO guilt, tell everyone the divorce was your LBS's idea (which of COURSE it was!) and they will assume that:

a. the LBS lost all that weight and obviously has been involved in an affair, and

b. the marriage ended because your LBS spouse is going through a - YES! THE PINNACLE OF CRAZINESS! - Midlife Crisis!!

Copyright The Midlife Club

maleview70 Wed 12-Dec-12 12:25:21

And despite all that so many wronged wives are happy to take them back!

Who is the stupid one?

Minstrelsaremarvellous Wed 12-Dec-12 12:34:46

Abitwobbly you are a genius writer!

arthriticfingers Wed 12-Dec-12 12:41:06

And this from Slambang
To summarise many many MN threads, the steps are ...

Faced with suspicions "of course I'm not having an affair. I love you."
Faced with evidence. "I'm not having an affair. Shut up."
Faced with incontrovertible proof. "I'm not having an affair. You're mad."
Faced with being kicked out. "Yes there is another OW but we haven't done anything. It's all emotional. I'm so confused"
Faced with not being allowed back home. "Actually, she's the love of my life and I never loved you."
Faced with divorce. "I'm madly in love with her. You are an evil bitch."

6 months to 2 years later. "I made a terrible mistake. I love you.Can I come back?"

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 12:54:02

Maleview: unlike them, we recognise our obligations to others (namely, children, the wider family) and have accepted that our whims desires and trantrums aren't the centre of the universe.

Translation: we suck up a LOT of shit.

We aren't martyrs, we don't enjoy our humiliation, and we are not stupid. We suck it up it for a greater good - and it hurts.
But then, on the other hand, when we do decide that we would rather be divorced than disrespected, you are probably found in the band deciding we are money grubbers...

When are you going to look at yourselves? Instead of telling us we are stupid, why aren't you thinking about the damage done?

maleview70 Wed 12-Dec-12 13:03:17

I was on your side of the fence so you are attacking the wrong person. My wife cheated on me.

Difference is I left, got on with life and worked bloody hard to maintain a relationship with my son.

You don't always have to suck up a lot of shit and kids can cope if you do split up.

I think half the time people stay for financial reasons rather than divorce and become "money grabbers" as you put it.

I think some women believe in fairy tales and happy ever after a bit too

imaginethat Wed 12-Dec-12 18:25:33

Wow! Thanks ABWN, that is amazing.

Obviously I don't know all the details but a theme has been the staying out all night, telling her she is fat (she is v slim and attractive, a lot better looking than him) and other put downs, with occasional patches of niceness.

She wavers between wanting to work it out, driven mostly by fear about money and the effect on the children, and wanting to separate and create a better life for herself. She is also know seeing the impact of his behaviour on the children, the 9 yo worried about being fat etc

ISayHolmes Wed 12-Dec-12 18:35:06

I wouldn't want him anywhere near me if his put downs were making my daughter think they were fat.

What a horrible thing for his child to learn from him: "Women have to be nice and slim for their men". Cunt. I hope she never gets back with him.

ISayHolmes Wed 12-Dec-12 18:35:52

Sorry, visceral reaction there. Not exactly useful advice blush

imaginethat Wed 12-Dec-12 18:45:08

Me too ISay
Obviously her self confidence is v poor else she would never have married the twat.

Nomorepain Wed 12-Dec-12 19:24:06

Omg I cannot believe how accurate your midlife piece is A Bit! Scary!! And horrible to see that so many people go through such horrific treatment. There must be some serious fires burning in hell ready for these rats!!

Pochemuchka Wed 12-Dec-12 20:01:59

ABWN - that is a brilliant description! Hope you don't mind I've copied it and pasted it into my phone so I can reread it and remind myself it's not me who's crazy! smile

AppearingDignified Wed 12-Dec-12 20:05:18

Should I send this on to a friend whose husband is in the middle of a MLC while she remains resolute in helping him through?

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 20:39:43

Loved your reply Maleview!

I think that is the only solution: to get on with it. I am going to C&P your reply xxx

izzyizin Wed 12-Dec-12 20:59:16

The Midlife Club Forum is well worth a visit and in particular Learning to love yourself is essential reading for all who've come to grief on the rocks of a relationship.

imaginethat Wed 12-Dec-12 23:14:31

Hey thank you everyone. ABWN I feel that thank you is not sufficient, you are truly amazing.

To everyone who has been cheated on, love & strength to you xx

Abitwobblynow Thu 13-Dec-12 08:06:14

I didn't write it! It is copyright The Midlife Forum.

There is also a fantastic Craigslist letter from an agnry wife's point of view [marriage is hard work. Heck, life is hard work. take some responsibility instead of having a temper tantrum like a two year old. she is having a f g riot cleaning cool aid of the floor and cleaning out the lint trap on the dryer] but I can't find it!

For those of us who have had long marriages 15+ years and are in our 40s, the types of affairs our Hs have (midlife crisis) are usually split self affairs, or exit affairs.

We have to look at the message (Emily Brown) the affair is giving us.

LetsCancelChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 09:01:56

So, I think I'm in chapter 4 at the moment - "I love her I'm sorry" leave, stay with her, text me at 5 in the morning declaring love, come back, say everything I ever wanted to hear about our relationship and future, lets try for a baby, make an effort for a week, run me baths, cook me dinners, hold me close, suck the life out of me when I discover (because I am a mistrusting and despicable human being) still in contact with her telling her of course can be together will just take time, is confusing etc *repeat, repeat REPEAT

Was quite convinced was descending into madness - probably actually am, but cried whilst laughing reading this at least, rather than simply sobbing and regretting every one of my extensive faults.


Abitwobblynow Fri 14-Dec-12 15:10:12

Christmas - DO NOT let him do this. It will hurt you more than you know.

THROW him into OW's open, loving arms and open, loving legs. Let her deal with the drama, let her witness his agony and depression and missing you and being confused. Do not yourself give it any energy.

There is nothing like living the reality of the fantasy to wear the shine off her twat it, and there is nothing like LOSS to concentrate the mind.

He must lose you. You must continue 'as though' he is never coming back. Act as though he is in a coma - NOT in your life.

Go no contact. Block his number if you have to. You must reject him (in a non-abusive way) utterly: sight, sound, speech, home, everything.

Please believe me on this one. Go to the midfie forum, they give good advice on this.

superstarheartbreaker Fri 14-Dec-12 17:00:39

MThreads like this makes me wonder why I and so many women long to have a boyfriend..are blokes really all that? I do think that they exploit the relative vulnerability of women.

Abitwobblynow Sun 16-Dec-12 22:09:04

I think superstar we make the mistake of overlooking their faults and thinking we can change them.

And, sadly, if they remind us of our past, it is all rather 'normal'...

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 17-Dec-12 08:46:30

Your friend has done the right things and I don't think you need to bother her too much with talk of 'the script'. He's on the back foot at the moment because he's been made to go at a time not of his choosing. Unusual for the MIL to dob in her own DS but, unless she's very malicious and has ulterior motives, it has to be taken on face value. He's trying to regain control with offers of reconciliation. All your friend has to do is stay strong. Good luck to her.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 17-Dec-12 14:15:11

ABWN, Thank you! I just came across this thread and what you've written is absolutely spot on. I am going to c&p this so I can read it again and again and again, any time I'm feeling low about throwing XOH out. Just brilliant.

imaginethat, your friend is lucky to have you, hopefully you'll be able to help her see just who it is she's really with. I think a few of my friends thought that about my X but didn't tell me; I wish they had.

Imaginethat Tue 18-Dec-12 08:55:53

cogito her mil is not malicious or a bitch. My friend gets on well with her and often comments what's a wonderful grandmother she is.The mil has expressed her sadness about the situation and assured my friend she and fil would like to help in any way they can.

My friend is now saying she would really like proof of the affair because he is denying it and she isn't sure what to believe. I said maybe have a look at his phone but she looked shocked and couldn't imagine doing that. And tbh if you're at the point of snooping, the trust has gone and the relationship is over, right?

itsokay I am sorry for what you have been through and glad that you found something helpful in this thread. What a horrible thing to go through.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: