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I found out yesterday, he's had an affair. Sympathetic advice needed.

(130 Posts)
NotAVictim Thu 20-Dec-12 04:16:58

Well I guess the title explains the thread. You'll have to excuse my clumsiness, I'm new here. Been reading and hovering for a while,but now am after some help, advice and support and no idea where to turn.

About 4 weeks ago I became suspicious that my husband was cheating on me. I had no proof, but my gut instincts were that something wasn't right, when he deleted a whole load of texts/call history from his phone before handing it to me as I wanted to look on it for a particular app. I also found a condom in his wallet about that time (he told me it had been in there for ages, since before we were trying to conceive our son, I'm not convinced it had been).... Two days ago, his phone bill came. Hundreds of pounds(!) of calls all to one mobile number. So I did the obvious and called it. My world is now shattered. He assures me that it's never been physical, that he's never met the OW. They met in a chat room, and exchanged details and its only been a month.

I am struggling to get my head around this. He has apologized and said he wants to be with me. He has deleted her details from his phone. I have said I am not leaving, and I have said that if he really does love me and want to still be with me I will try to work past this with him. We have a 3 year old son. We have been together 17 years and have been married for 8... i don't want to walk away from all that without a damn good fight for the future that we planned before he f****d it all up.

I am so angry, hurt..... devastated.

I would love some advice. He has agreed to go to Relate, and I was fortunate to get an appointment for tonight, so there's no backing out of that now.

I really would ask that people who wish to post "I should walk away and leave" refrain from adding those messages to the reply. I have made the decision to stay and try (not to say that it will end that way, but I feel I owe it to my son, if it all ends to be able to honestly say that I did everything I could to save my marriage)

I want advice on how to stop myself screaming at him every time I see him. I am so so hurt. I want to know know how to figure out where I start from. I want to know how other people in a similar situation have worked past this, and how to deal with the families. My family are refusing to speak to him as he lied to me 4 weeks ago when I asked him if was cheating then (and I defined cheating to him, and told him I felt that texts/calls and hiding things was as much cheating as a physical encounter). My in-laws have phoned him to say "they are on his side".... I feel like screaming at my family that "It's my decision to stay and that refusing to talk to my husband now, only impacts on my state of mind and my son" and screaming at my in-laws that "there shouldn't be sides!"

Sorry it's such a long post, I appreciate the time it would take to read.

Ellie x (Not my real name, but I felt like I needed to sign out)

FellatioNelson Thu 20-Dec-12 04:33:17

I don' think you do need to refrain from screaming at him. I think under the circumstances he should expect it, and just suck it up.

Are you sure he has not met her? I would be ringing the number again and trying to find out a bit more, to be honest. I also feel that it was perhaps a mistake to get both sides of the family involved at this early stage, but nothing can be done about that now. I agree that your family should support you in your decision to try to get things back on track. That is your choice and they should respect it. I am pretty disgusted in his parents attitude though, and I would find it hard to not hold a grudge over that.

I understand why you want to stay. But I think you need to do a great deal more digging/watching before you accept this version of events as the whole truth. I think there may be more to come out of the woodwork yet. sad Even if it has been a full blown physical affair it does not mean there is no hope for the marriage, but it will be very tough indeed, and the lack of trust and the feelings of betrayal will have repercussions for years to come.

MammaTJ Thu 20-Dec-12 04:38:09

You are in for a long haul if you are going to recover from this.

I would make sure he knows that the only way to get through this is with total transparency and honesty on his part.

YY to relate!! Keep the families out of it. Whatever were you both thinking telling them at this stage?

FellatioNelson Thu 20-Dec-12 04:38:15

Can you get access to his previous phone bills? Do you know which cant room he met her in and where she lives? Has he been away from home for any reason recently? Has he done any of the classic things like changing his clothes or hairstyle, or suddenly taking more care in his appearance or getting a new hobby/obsession that involves being separate from you for periods of time?

Has he given you any reasons for why he felt the need to get involved in this supposed text relationship?

mamakoula Thu 20-Dec-12 04:47:35

I am not too good for advice on this but I wanted to send you a hug and brew

Take your time, let the dust settle a bit and then beging to make decisions and plans.

Learn as much as you can so that you will be able to make an informed decision and to understand what you both have to work with.

Even though you fully intend to stay, I would personally still go seek legal help so that all of my bases are covered (and I would probably be doing the same as you are).

Take care and be ready to ask for time and space to deal with this trauma. Ask family to help with children if you need some time to yourselves.

Ameybee Thu 20-Dec-12 04:47:39

Firstly massive sympathy. Totally understandable that you want to make it work especially for child's sake.
I think you do need to scream shout & let it out - if you keep it in it will only breed resentment in any case.
Explain to family what you have said here & tell them if they love you they will support everything you do whilst you give it a try.
If there's more to it - say it has been physical would it change your decision ie would you tell him to leave? Maybe worth more digging like others have said.
Relationship counselling is an excellent idea.
Massive sympathy, I would too be devastated. Xxx

MakeItALarge Thu 20-Dec-12 04:48:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HoFlippinHo Thu 20-Dec-12 05:21:23

I'm sure lots of people will offer lots of advice OP but I did just want to add one thing. In these situations the cheating partner will only admit to the bare minimum. He's had to admit to the calls but I suspect that's only the tip of the iceberg and you need to prepare yourself for the very real possibility that the affair was/is physical. Wishing you the best of luck.

NeverMindOhWell Thu 20-Dec-12 05:23:54

Ellie, I really feel for you. Reading your post took me back to around this time last year when my whole world fell apart. I know exactly that sick feeling you are experiencing now, you can't eat, you don't sleep, the only thing that keeps you going is your DCs. My DH of 8 years had been acting "off" towards me, saying we didn't get on anymore (which was news to me!), that he kept wondering what it might like to be single again. All very odd and completely out of character. He also kept taking his phone everywhere, to the toilet, EVERYWHERE! I confronted him and he denied any affair, but speaking to friends they kept saying it sounds like an affair. I suppose deep down I knew it all along but didn't want to face it.

I have his email password (he is not very techie, so I set up his email account for him) and I have never checked it before. A did consider doing do when he began acting strangely but I remember worrying a out what I would find, until one day I couldn't take it any longer. I found emails to a work colleague, stuff like "morning gorgeous, you're looking looking so hot today". And it was at that moment my world fell apart.

I rang him at work, told him to come home and pack his bags immediately and that I would be filing for divorce. At that point I was on auto pilot. He didn't deny, but said it has never been physical and begged me not to kick him out. I stood my ground, then hung up and emailed this colleague saying I knew what had happened and that she was welcome to him, we were finished. She replied saying it was never physical, she wasn't interested and it was he who had done all the chasing (not sure if this was meant to make me feel better?!!).

Anyway, he came home, begged me not to divorce. I said we needed counselling which he agreed to. Went to a session that week but TBH it was all too raw and I was unable to take anything in. It was too soon (as I suspect it may be for you) but I would suggest you have counselling on your own to start off, to get your feelings out.

After a week I couldn't bear the sight of him, every time I looked at him I felt so betrayed. So I kicked him out for a short time and it was the best thing I ever did. DH is a teacher so I got him to stay with a friend for half term (1 week), I wish I had made it longer though.

Whilst he was away he rang every day to speak to DD (then 2.5) and I refused to get into any conversation with him. I also went out to see friends as often as possible in the evenings, if your family are local I'm sure they would babysit (esp as they are so angry with him, as mine were). I know it really got to him that when he rang in a Saturday night I was the one out enjoying myself while he was the one sitting at home watching X Factor. I should add here I am tee total so would always drive home and be able to cope with DD the next day!).

He came back a week later, didn't seem to be that different, I told him to go and stay at his Mum's with DD for a few days (MIL was on my side). She seemed to talk sense into him, he came back, we went to counseling every week for about 2 months but had to stop when it became too expensive (£80 p/w).

So that was all a year ago. Since then I have shown up at EVERY school function (school is a private school so there are plenty of functions) and always been outgoing, chatted to everyone so that OW knows I have every right to be there and SHE is the one who should feel uncomfortable in that situation, not me.

DH has returned to being the loving, devoted man I married. I do think there is something to be said for mid-life crises which is not an excuse, but I feel this was a MLC in part at least. The trouble is, what we had was broken and will never be the same. That is what you have to ask yourself if you can live with.

I still think about what he did to us on a daily basis, every time his phone beeps I am suspicious. He has offered to look for a new job, but the thing is, if it hadn't been this woman it would've been someone else. As someone else on here has said before, affairs are addiction and it is the attention, excitement and taboo that he craves. And that is what stops me moving on completely, I can never offer him all those things in the way someone new would.

DH is OTT caring, loving and considerate now, he absolutely dotes in our DD and anyone would think we are back to "normal" again. I think we are as close to being back to normal as we'll ever get but the sacrifice is that I know things will never be 100% the same again and I don't trust him 109% anymore. I haven't gone down the route of checking his phone or emails since as I don't want his mistake to turn into my problem.

He knows that if anything remotely similar ever happened again there's be no questions asked, he'd be out the door. I am quite a string person and even if it would break my heart, I would follow through with this ("fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me").

Once the shock has subsided (and I really do recommend you get him to move out whilst you process this), you need to consider whether you can cope with feeling betrayed for a long time afterwards (it's been a year and for me it still hurts almost as much as it did when I first found out). I know I feel angry when I consider that both of them got away scot-free with what they did (if I had reported them they would've both been out of a job), whilst I appear to be the only one who has suffered/is still suffering and I'm the innocent party!

I know I will never trust DH 100% again. He didn't go to his Christmas party, as it happens she also avoids school functions which are not compulsory. She is not married, so I never had any scope for turning her life upside down as she did mine. But I did inform her in my email that we had lost friends over what they had done, that my 2-y-o DD had (temporarily at least) lost her Daddy, and our families were devastated. I was civil in my email and only ever sent the 1 message, I think it's better to retain some dignity (if only to avoid confirming I am the mad old battle axe that DH has no doubt made me out to be!).

So in my experience things have improved. But I have had to accept things will never be the same, I will never 100% trust him again and the pain may never go away. Ask yourself if this were true for you also, would you be able to live like that? I'll be honest there are days when I feel I can't. Thankfully in your case the OW lives too far for them to meet up so you don't have that worry.

Once you feel able, make some changes in your life. Go out more, see your friends once a week (and let him deal with DCs). Take up a new hobby, join the gym, it's cliched but not only will it give you something else to focus on, it will show him you are a confident, self-sufficient woman who has plenty to offer (if not him, then to those around you). And if the worst ever did happen again, you know you'd have a life for yourself outside the marriage which would make it easier to walk away.

Sorry for the long post, I wish you all the best, I know where you are right now and wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. xx

MadameCastafiore Thu 20-Dec-12 05:29:03

Do have a good scream, shout and throw things. Keeping it all bottled up for the sake of decorum is really not a good idea and you should let the bastard know how much he has hurt you.

Also something to bear in mind, they always admit to the least thing and have always done more. I don't think there is one case on here where that has not been the case.

A bloke with a conform in his pocket has not just spoken to someone on the phone and for the sake of your health I'd have you both at the GU Clinic for the all clear.

Sorry that doesn't sound sympathetic but they never ever immediately admit to shagging someone else to their wife until they really have to.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 20-Dec-12 06:22:48

"I want advice on how to stop myself screaming at him every time I see him. I am so so hurt."

Don't do that for a start. You are fully entitled to be as angry as hell at the betrayal and hurt he has caused. You are going to feel resentful, bitter & insulted to your core. You will feel the last however many years have been a waste of time or a lie. You will have a LOT of questions that need answering and agree with the PP that people who are just chatting don't routinely need condoms for that.... Suppress your feelings, leave the questions unanswered. feel it's your responsibility to 'save' your family unit and you'll end up making yourself ill or self-medicating with alcohol, food or something else. I know how it feels to want to 'put up a fight' but, when you're talking about emotions as easily shattered as love and trust, fighting isn't necessarily effective.

How come your families know all your private business? You may not want to hear 'leave him' from this forum but I suspect you'll come under a ton of pressure from them to do one thing or another since it's all out in the open. That's extra input you probably don't need.

NotAVictim Thu 20-Dec-12 07:07:40

My families know because I don't have many friends. I had no one to turn to. My best friend has been amazing, but I really just didnt know what to do, so I did what I always do when I need support and called my mum. My mum knew about the problems 4 weeks ago and told me I was being silly (I have had mental health problems in the past, and confided in my mum 4weeks ago because I needed to determine if the problems were in my head, as I suffer a lot with depression and ruminating thoughts - I get an idea in my head and become overly focused on it. I have been well for 3 years, and off all medications, but it comes back. And I wasn't sure if it was my illness or if it was something real) well it was real! Bastard also made me think I was ill and say with me on the sofa reassuring me that he'd support me whilst I got my medications sorted again. My best fried was the only one who said "Ellie, if you don't feel that it's your illness, it's probably not"
We're still in the same house, he has more of the child care duties than I do, so it would be me that would have to move out. I'm the main earner. I don't want to disrupt my son so close to Christmas.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 20-Dec-12 07:17:49

So, knowing your medical history, he tried to convince you that your legitimate fears were a mental health problem? That's pretty low, even for a liar. You may not want to disrupt Christmas for your son but it's going to be a pretty shitty time for you anyway, whatever you do. I'd ask your husband to start showing you some respect, give you some space and take any opportunity you can to think how you want things to go once you get past Tuesday.

It would be best if he wasn't under the same roof, of course... would allow you genuine thinking time without undue influence... but I can understand why you are so anxious for things not to change. All I'd say is, consider all options fully rather than thinking you are obliged to go down a particular route. Life with someone who has cheated on you, no matter how apologetic they are, is an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Thu 20-Dec-12 07:34:56

Cogito is right, I think. As usual.

The fact that he was prepared to hide behind your illness makes this feel much more sinister and calculated.

I also suggest he is following "the script" and is telling you what he thinks he can get away with.

NotAVictim Thu 20-Dec-12 07:36:05

Thank you for your replies. I am just so confused right now. There were problems in our marriage before all this, but that does not excuse his behaviour in the slightest. He moved jobs in April and his new colleagues are much younger with less responsibilities a d I think perhaps he was trying to have that too, he's a bit young for a mid life crisis, but I wonder if that's what has prompted this. I still think in the back of my mind there is more to this than texts and calls. I just can't get him to admit it to me. I'm sure he's still lying. I know it's not what will happen, but I'm hoping mediation will wave a wand and he'll realise he has to be honest, no matter how scared he is of losing everything, which is ultimately what I think is how he feels. I cant seem to scream enough at him that if he's honest now, and if he tells me he has slept with this woman (or other women) that, I am still prepared to try. It's just if it is only texts, and the condom had been there all this time, and this is the truth, how can I learn to trust him again. I got home last night and told him he had to go out until I had bathed our son, put him to bed and had chance to think. He came home at ten thirty, by which point I had cried myself to sleep. He's alread left for work this morning and I'm (oh shit! Gonna be late!) taking our son to nursery whilst I go to work. I'm staying at my mums tonight as she is babysitting for us and I think it may be too much after counselling to come home here with him, but its only one night and mum has her husbands family staying for Christmas from Friday..... Such a mess! In-laws have pretty much said that husband cannot stay there as they don't have room. I'm trying so hard to keep everything as normal as possible for my son, who has already witnessed one row that I'm ashamed that he saw.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Thu 20-Dec-12 07:37:42

You might find this interesting.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 20-Dec-12 07:39:53

"he has more of the child care duties than I do, so it would be me that would have to move out"

I don't think this assumption is correct btw. If the fear of being parted from your son is shaping your thoughts and actions, it's certainly worth checking out the legal precedents. I know you intend to work past this problem and feel obliged to forgive and forget, but it never hurts to have all the knowledge at your disposal rather than feel hampered by assumptions.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 20-Dec-12 07:46:06

"he's a bit young for a mid life crisis, but I wonder if that's what has prompted this."

What you're feeling is normal. You're looking to rationalise this & take this away from being a conscious/deliberate decision on his part and more a temporary 'rush of blood to the head', a 'crisis', acting out of character. Truth is you may never find out what prompted this and you may never find out the extent. A man that was willing to mop your brow and allow you to believe that you were mentally ill will say/do pretty much anything that gets him off the hook. Apologies are easy

Why not spend the weekend at mum's? You've had a shock and I think you need some real TLC.

ledkr Thu 20-Dec-12 07:50:42

I won't tell you to leave.
I will tell you however that I tried to stay and experienced all the things and feelings that nevermind did and that you are.
I did in the end decide It would be easier to try to get over him than to carry on living the painful uncertain life that I was.
I was very right.
Ten years later I still catch myself feeling do glad that I did.
My life has been amazing since I did.
I am confident, happy, fulfilled and secure. All the things I wasn't when I tried to stay married to a cheat.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 20-Dec-12 08:16:18

So sorry.

Being the betrayed party and discovering that the past several months has been a farce full of lies and deceit is enough of a head fuck - doing this to someone with your MH history deserves contempt and disgust.

99% of cheaters minimise - so be prepared for more revelations sad

You can't make a long term decision until you have processed your thoughts and emotions so don;t make any promises.

Get some space and time to yourself and put yourself first - be kind to yourself, grab all opportunities to do things that will give you a lift.

When you feel ready, you may want to read Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends

NotAVictim Thu 20-Dec-12 08:51:43

I'm 99% certain. That there's more to come, I'm 100% sure I cannot cope with this all right now. In the entire time of our relationship, I have never had an at home Christmas, either working it, or being at a family members house, or my worst Christmas ever, being in a mental health unit on Christmas Day, with my 6 month old baby taken out for the day with my husband and his family. This year I was so excited, it is to be the three of us, at home, with no one else. So all these plans made and now what? My son knows that Christmas is almost here, we've talked over and over what will happen in that day... I almost feel like the bastard owes me one f***ing proper family Christmas. But I know that it will all be a front. I guess I'm not thinking straight yet. I hope relate this evening can help me come to terms with some things. From reading on here, I have to accept that things will never be the same, and that is the hardest thing. It's the total "turned my whole everything upside down" How can I hate him and love him so much?

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 20-Dec-12 08:57:07

I would make an appointment with your GP and do everything you can to protect your MH even if it means fucking up Christmas as your DC needs you to be healthy.

Relate won't help you come to terms with this, sorry - it might be an opportunity to rant and rave but at this very early stage, going to counselling won't achieve much so please do not expect much from relate.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 20-Dec-12 09:01:45

And please do not let blame you for the affair.

It was HIS choice. He gave himself permission to check out of the marriage and cheat on you.

If there were relationship issues, then he could have talked to you, suggested counselling etc, instead of choosing to resolve these by cheating.

I also wonder if these issues were there because he had checked out and detached himself - cheaters do this before starting and during an affair as a way of justifying their very selfish choices.

It wouldn't surprise me if he has been selfish for some time....

Distrustinggirlnow Thu 20-Dec-12 09:08:39

Dear Ellie
I'm so sorry to read your post, I was in a similar situation last April. Yes there was a backstory, but it was still wrong.
He will delete and deny, they all do..... He will also only admit to the bare minimum, so be prepared for further revelations.
If you've not already, check his emails, check deleted and sent mailboxes too.
Check bank statements and credit card statements.
Has he been away, for any reason, recently?
Has he worked extra hours, either end of the working day?
Does he come to bed after you. Do you wake in the night and he's not there next to you?
It's good that you've got the relate appt.
Try and find out which chat room or whatever he used and then log onto it. You may find a link in his emails...?
Could be yahoo, paltalk, meetyourmessenger, theadulthub are places to start.
It is unlikely that he went into a random chat room one night, chatted to some woman and then it escalated into this.
My bet is that he actually knows her in RL or he is a frequent user of chat rooms, web cams etc.
It's difficult to make a decision about your future until you are armed with all the facts. You may decide to stay, I have, but it isn't an easy journey.
Also, make sure you ask open questions and if there's a silence, do not fill it. Keep quiet. He will eventually talk.
You should be able to tell from the messages if they've met, phrases like, 'can't wait to see you again', want to be in that place again, you make me feel so special etc.
It took my DH five months to tell me everything. Of course I don't know if I know everything, but to be honest it couldn't be any worse so I've decided to go with it.
It is extremely painful and there is no magic wand. I used to reread the messages and seemed to continually open the wounds.
I no longer do that.
My DH is now totally transparent and our marriage will be stronger.
I've put my wedding ring back on for the first time this week.
PM me if you'd like to. I'm more than happy to chat to you as I truly know how you feel.
It's a pity you've involved your families tbh. I have never told another living soul about our situation. This is something that I needed to work through myself.
If he wants you to stay together then he needs to realise that it can take as long as two years for you to come to terms with his betrayal.
Sorry if this is long and not very fluent sad but I've just brain dumped a bit as I need to go out!
Am thinking of you


NotAVictim Thu 20-Dec-12 09:09:39

Thanks for the honesty there. More than anything I just want this to be undone! Sat in my car outside work, bawling my eyes out..... For people who stayed with their partners to work this out, do you feel you can trust your partner? Do you sit and panic when they phone to say they'll be late home? Or do you reach a point where you can trust again? I don't know what to do about this situation as he's sworn that it was all calls and texts, I can't demand he gives me his phone all the time, as all that will do is make him delete everything he doesn't want me to see, surely?

So confused.


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