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Wife is having an affair and doesn't love me anymore

(38 Posts)
alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 12:00:29

After being together for 18 years in England my wife and I plucked up the courage to move our family (3 children - 10, 8 and 5 at the time) to her native country 3 years ago this Summer.

Things went fine for the 1st year but I struggled with the language and because of that I became very isolated. My wife has always been a gregarious person (and I a loner) and as time progressed she became friendly with a number of people and although we still went out together she would spend more time talking to others than before (Not very surprising).

I don't really know why but during that 2nd year I started to lose the plot basically and would give her hassle when she spoke to other guys and resented the fact that the children and I didn't have her sole attention. (Writing this makes me feel very embarrassed) This continued for some time and getting progressively worse. I had become increasingly volatile.

Eventually things came to a head and I admitted that I needed a break to get my head together and I so I went for a break alone for a month in England. It was exactly what I needed. I was able to relax and get my head back into shape (I took some tablets which did me the world of good. I've always had depressive tendencies.). For the first few days I was there I wrote and received emails from my wife but as time went on she became more and more distant. Eventually the day before I was to leave England to go back to my family I received an email from her stating that she didn't love me, didn't want me back and that she had been completely faithful to me until this break of mine but had the slept with a guy on 3 occasions. I was devastated.

Obviously I wasn't going to give up on my wife (and children) that easily so I still went back the next day. The transformation in her was massive. She was very cold and distant and wore quite provocative clothing.

That was 5 months and although she isn't too cold and distant these days we have no life together. She goes out twice a week and only on 2 occasions have we gone together and each time she was miserable.

She has gone from being a sweet, cheerful person who put her family first to someone who is only happy when she is out or texting or on facebook. She admits that she finds it boring at home with us. She admitted, under questioning, that she is continuing with the affair.

My wife announced that when I got back from England that she had lost the job that she loved (she was on a 2 year contract that wasn't renewed) and hasn't had a proper one since. And I because I don't speak my wife's language have struggled to find permanent work and only teach individuals.

I just don't know what to do. I regret so much. I try so hard and read so much but nothing works. I know that she doesn't respect or love me and I'm trying to remedy it to a certain extent by looking intensively for work and have concluded that I would almost certainly have to move away from my wife and children in order to have a chance of a job and the thought scares me.

I feel so guilty and alone. I try to stay strong and positive but, at times, it is so hard (and at other times so, so easy). I love my wife but I don't like her most of the time. I prefer it when I am alone but then I miss her. I want her to go out at night enjoying herself but then I worry and fret and I struggle to sleep. I just wish I had a consistency of feeling.

Any comments would be grateful. I have left so much out otherwise it would be a novel.

DistanceCall Fri 11-Jan-13 21:32:48

All's fair in love and war, eh

No. It really isn't.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 19:58:42

Thanks for your comment.

No, not insane but certainly hurting and confused. Separating them was something I was thinking of a few months ago. My opinion, as my mind has become a little less hazy, has changed since then. (I'm not even sure I would've gone through with it even if the wife had agreed. I think that it was a just a way of getting at her. Childish, perhaps, but there you have it. All's fair in love and war, eh)

DistanceCall Fri 11-Jan-13 19:13:34

Split up your children? Are you insane? It's not your children fault that your marriage is over. Separating them would mean separating them more or less permanently in later life (as some of them would be "Dad's children" and some of them would be "Mum's children").

Your wife doesn't seem to want you, and this hasn't happened overnight. But whatever happens between you now, your children should come first and foremost. Don't mess them up just because you and your wife messed up.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:51:24

narked: Maybe it's tiredness but I don't understand what you mean by "then it's not 5 months". What's not 5 months?

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:41:22

juneau: I wish I could disagree with anything you wrote but I cannot. I think that you have written it perfectly. I think that what you wrote will have to be the way. Thank you.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:30:52

badinage: abusive does seem incredibly harsh but I suppose it should be used unfortunately. Maybe it's just the shame that puts me in denial.

You're wrong about the toxic environment. Certainly it has become worse in the last 5 months but it has never been toxic but you are entitled to your opinion.

I know she doesn't respect me. I will have to, over time, get that respect back. Without it we're definitely doomed. And I agree about being a doormat. I'm attempting to make amends. Things have to change.

I'm only sticking around because I have no means, at present, to go anywhere. Once I get a job I will almost certainly be forced to move away even if I didn't want to.

Thanks, once again, for your comment.

juneau Fri 11-Jan-13 18:22:41

Well I'm afraid I still think you're deluded for trying to save this marriage. Your wife isn't acting like someone who's in love with you, even if you're still in love with her - and it takes two people who are committed to one another to make a marriage work. However, I think the solution is the same, whether you manage to win her back in the end or not.

I'd move out to give you both some space (but stay close so you can be fully involved with your kids), I'd study like stink to get to grips with the native language, and I'd do whatever it took to get a proper job. I'd also expect the same of her with regard to employment as she is clearly the more employable of the two of you at present.

All of that will make you feel better about yourself and get your life in this new country on track. It will also, hopefully, make her respect you again. And it might, who knows, make her fall back in love with you. But you should do it for yourself, your sanity, your self respect, and your kids, and consider anything else a bonus.

badinage Fri 11-Jan-13 18:19:02

It's not really about being a mug, it's about the pair of you being selfish and co-dependant really.

It must have been a pretty toxic environment for your kids this past few years. A possessive, volatile father who left the country for a month and an unfaithful mum whose attention is elsewhere all the time. You've also said that it's a tense atmosphere at home all the time.

Ultimately, you're putting your relationship with her before your children and she's putting her affair before her children too.

She's told you she doesn't love you.

What you don't seem to have realised is that she doesn't respect you either.

Just like we say to women in your situation all the respects a doormat who sticks around while her husband gets his jollies elsewhere. This really is no different.

If you can't do it for your kids, at least realise that sticking around is the best way of sabotaging that relationship you so want to rescue.

Narked Fri 11-Jan-13 18:03:38

'I don't really know why but during that 2nd year I started to lose the plot basically and would give her hassle when she spoke to other guys and resented the fact that the children and I didn't have her sole attention. (Writing this makes me feel very embarrassed) This continued for some time and getting progressively worse. I had become increasingly volatile.'

If you were as you described then it's not 5 months. It's 5 months plus the month you left for England + however many months you were like this ^.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 17:57:55

badinage, thanks for your comments. I'm not sure I'm prepared to stop trying to save the relationship yet. It still seems too soon. 5 months, in the scheme of things, isn't a long time. Maybe I'm just a mug. I don't know.

awsangel, thank you for your lovely words. I don't want to love my wife but I do. If I stopped loving her then I would presumably give up on my goal of trying to win her back.
I don't know whether it's admirable or not. Sometimes I just feel as if I'm being foolish. Maybe I'm just too stubborn.
I will certainly try to buy the book you mentioned. (For some reason my bank card was refused. No idea why!!)

Narked Fri 11-Jan-13 17:49:03

A new job and home sounds like a good plan. Whatever has happened in the past, it sounds like she has moved on. You need to as well.

badinage Fri 11-Jan-13 17:23:40

Cross posted.

It sounds as though you have been an abusive husband in the past OP.

Your wife's response has been to abuse you back by having an affair and rubbing your nose in it.

Meanwhile your kids are in the middle of all this.

Stay close, live separately and get a job that means you can support yourself and your children. Your wife is best advised doing the same.

badinage Fri 11-Jan-13 17:18:11

Yes all of that is true. But I honestly don't think posters would advise a woman to leave her kids behind just because she was unhappy in her host country. More likely, she would be advised to bring the kids back home with her.

I think we've got to challenge this acceptance that it's okay for fathers to move 100s or 1000s of miles away from their children. Or that mothers by default should always get full residence with their kids.

The kids have had enough upheaval moving countries and settling in to new schools. The best thing for them would be for their parents to be happy either together or apart - but not thousands of miles apart.

Dottiespots Fri 11-Jan-13 17:13:14

Hi Alias.....please try and get that book. Its well worth reading for the situation you find yourself in nowand it helps you to see and understand why you are in this situation now. It also offers solutions that require a lot of work but as you might see from the forums, alot of people have turned their marriages around. It sounds that your wife doesnt really know what she wants or who she is at the moment. You are both in the middle of a difficult but not unusual situation and no one really knows the outcome yet. You could both come through this with an even better relationship and lessons learned but it will be a long process and maybe moving away at this point would not benefit your cause....which seems to win back your wife. Nothing is over till its over and it is admirable that you are still trying to sort through this.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 17:11:07

GBBB, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to learn the language. I can read a little, I can speak a little but, for whatever reason, understanding is a real bugger.
I've always got a lot more pleasure from helping than being helped (I'm finding this very difficult. It's very uncomfortable for me to ask for help). I've always done it for my wife and it's very difficult to stop now. I know I need to pull away and I do but it is so hard to be consistent. (Unfortunately I am not a great person. I've done things I'm thoroughly ashamed of.) I can't stop her having the affair. If she won't stop the affair but doesn't want to separate then I'd have to initiate the separation but I'm not able to at present.

juneau, I don't think that she knows what she wants. She's not consistent, at all, towards me. You could well be right about her messing me around. She could be sitting on the fence, having her cake and all. All I know is despite her assertions that she's "happier than she's ever been", she's thoroughly unhappy at home and admits that that wouldn't change even if I left. It's all very, very confusing.
Depression is something I've had to cope with my whole adult life. I don't think that I am depressed just very mixed up, confused and sad.
You get me wrong about her having a good time and being with another guy. The last thing I want is for her to be with another guy but if she wants to go down the pub for a few drinks with friends then that's not only ok with me but I would want it because of the tension that exists between us. (Which would probably exist anyway because of our employment situation.)
I absolutely agree about the positive course of action and that I'm drifting. I have plans for next weekend which'll enable me to chat to English speaking people. It's only a step. I just need to get out my slumber. (It's not so easy here with minus temperatures and snow on the ground!!)

Narked: She has said that she's given up the affair. Do I believe her? No, of course not. I don't trust her and she makes no attempt to get my trust.
What do I want to happen? In the long run I'd like her and I to be together in a monogamous and happy relationship. In the short term I have to be realistic and move on. I need a new job and a new home. Maybe I'm deluding myself. I just don't know.

Narked Fri 11-Jan-13 17:05:29

If she hasn't worked for 5 months and he left the country and his DC for a month before that, I doubt he'd be regarded as the main carer anymore. I think people were responding to the fact that the OP seems to have been deeply unhappy living in this country - 'I started to lose the plot basically and would give her hassle when she spoke to other guys and resented the fact that the children and I didn't have her sole attention.' And he can't speak the language after 3 years of trying, so has limited work opportunities.

badinage Fri 11-Jan-13 16:58:24

This situation is no different to a woman who's been the SAHP whose husband is having an affair, but doesn't want to lose his home comforts and move out. In those circumstances no-one would suggest that the woman abandoned her kids and left the country.

She would be advised to separate and live apart from her husband immediately and insist that he did his fair share of having the kids so that she could re-start her single life.

This is no different just because you're a man.

Stop trying to save the relationship and put your relationship with yourself and your kids first. They need you just as much as they need their mother and other siblings. Forget about moving back to England and separating the kids. It's a terrible idea.

Get some legal advice, separate from your wife and agree an arrangement where you can co-parent, live and work separately.

Narked Fri 11-Jan-13 16:39:52

So for five months she hasn't worked, you've worked but aren't earning a lot and you're living together whilst she carries on the affair.

What do you want to happen? Accepting that she doesn't want to stop sleeping with another man and doesn't want a relationship with you?

GregBishopsBottomBitch Fri 11-Jan-13 16:29:21

I agree about the depression, you seem to be more concerned with pleasing her and not you, im sure your a great person, you need to know where you stand, if she doesnt want to separate, then shes gotta stop the self gratifying affair.

juneau Fri 11-Jan-13 16:12:18

However, when I last asked her if she wanted to separate she said no.

Then you need to find out exactly what she does want/mean. She's messing you around rather at the moment - saying she doesn't want you to come back, having a (continuing), affair. You still sound depressed to me actually - the way you're being so passive about all this, knowing she's shagging another bloke, yet 'wanting her to go out and have a good time', even if it means she's with another man. Not normal, I'm afraid.

I do understand you desire to not throw away 20 years of your life, but you need to decide on a positive course of action. You're just drifting at the moment and she's messing you around.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Fri 11-Jan-13 16:05:07

Have you tried to learn the language, or found place that you can speak english, before taking the leap back to England, i would understand why you wouldnt leave your children, maybe explore, learning the language or finding english speaking employers. Work out what you can do first, you might find a good solution, you just need to find it.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 15:58:31

It's not even that easy! The only one I think would move with me would be my 10 year old but could I ask her to go with me and leave her siblings behind both of which she gets on really well. I'm not sure I could do that to her. She probably needs her Mum, brother and sister around her more than her Dad.

You are probably right about letting go. I just wish I had something to go to. If I could get a job and flat here and was able to see the children every other weekend it would be better than moving back to England, I think.

It's just so hard. I just wish I knew what to do for the best.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Fri 11-Jan-13 15:40:58

Alias Its a shame that they arent able to choose, they are old enough to know what they want, im sure both of your a good parents, but it should be the children who decide now they are older.

On the marriage side, i think you need to let it go, it sounds like she already has, i know its hard to let go after such a long time, but you cant give more than you already are.

alias71 Fri 11-Jan-13 15:26:28

juneau: You may be right. You probably are. My marriage probably is over. However, when I last asked her if she wanted to separate she said no. Perhaps she thinks that we haven't given it enough time. It's so confusing. It's hard to think straight.

G.B.B.B: I did that a while ago. The problem is that I would need their Mother's permission (something she would never give) otherwise I could be arrested for kidnapping!! The second problem is that the children can't decide. It's hard to them to decide between us. Neither of us are perfect parents but nor are we terrible.

badinage: You are right about me being the main carer. Because of their ages the loss would be less than perhaps a couple of years ago but it would still be significant. It is so hard to think of only seeing them every few months especially if there is a possible alternative.
The option of her moving out and for me being the primary carer is possible. I need a job for my mind let alone for the money and there aren't many jobs I'm able to do in this area. It's very dispiriting.

The "easiest" option would be to move back to England but that would surely mean the definite end of my marriage and I just don't want to give up on it quite yet. It's hard to give up 20 years of my life most of which has been very, very happy. The thought of it brings me to tears.

badinage Fri 11-Jan-13 14:28:06

Harsh as this is on you, if you want to be a good father to your children your best bet is to find work and accommodation near to the family home until your children are old enough to make their own decisions about where they want to live. I assume too that if your wife has been working, you have been their manin carer so if you up sticks and move countries, the loss to them will be enormous and significant.

Why though are you assuming a default of your wife having full residence? What is the default family law option in your host country?

As your wife's working opportunities sound greater than yours, why is it not possible for her to move out and for you to be the primary carer that she has to support?

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