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.
I Think I destroyed my marriage.(112 Posts)
I have namechanged for this.
Early in our relationship my DH and I drew up a bucket list of things that we would do, or consider doing together. One of the things on that list was that I was curious about experimenting with another woman. We were both a little unsure if this was a good idea and we never followed it up together. I however ended up having an affair with another woman a while after this. I never spoke of the affair afterwards.
Move forward another 12 years and DH found the list in a drawer and we were looking through it together and having a few drinks. DH points to the part of the list that mentions another woman and asks if I remember that one. In my drunken stupidity I blurted out that I didn't need to think about that one as I had already done that. DH looks shocked and asks when exactly I had done anything with another woman and it all came out about the affair. DH is gutted and says he will never be able to look at me the same again, and that I have destroyed any and all trust we had. I have tried to talk to him and apologize but he is just so angry with me. He says that if I had wanted to go with someone else I should have just left him then before we had children. I tried to reason with him and explain that it was different and just experimenting, but he says that I'm still a cheat and he wont forgive that. He also said that he feels I robbed him of being able to experience that as a couple together and also robbed him of our marriage.
I need help to fix this because I just don't know what to say to him now. He is still the love of my life and the only one I want to be with. But I have hurt him so badly and don't want to lose him.
YY, SoMuch, your husband has just found out that ALL of those 12 years together were founded on a lie. How do you think he feels??
Yes, I imagine he does need some time to lick his wounds without you telling him what to think or feel. Respect his pain, at least, and let him have some space.
I urgently recommend you read Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. The gender of your affair partner is immaterial. When H is ready to talk, invite him to read it too.
Get the book, start reading, keep posting.
the best way to see if something you have done is unreasonable is to turn it on its head.
If your dh had admitted an affair 12 years ago - would you be gutted?
The way you've tried to depersonalise your affair partner as "just an experiment" is coming across as very unpleasant. It makes me feel the way I feel when a man says he "only" went with prostitutes so it wasn't cheating. Your husband probably doesn't feel that great about being married to a woman who sees another human as a shagpiece! I tend to think you need some time to reflect, as well. Will you be able to get any time away from DC over the holiday? If you can, take it. Use it to look back at your actions & attitudes with clarity.
It's fairly typical of adulterers to seek to minimise what they have done ("only experimenting") and to think that a prolonged period of non-discovery makes everything that happened during that period 'counts' in their favour.
It doesn't. His timeline started at moment of discovery, and the 12 years are years of deception. It's ground zero for him, and he's doing exactly the right thing for him by finding time and space to be away from OP and with RL support.
OP can only stand a chance of convincing him she is worth a chance at reconciliation if she stops minimising and deflecting, and truly owns up.
As well as the various bits of recommended reading linked on this thread, it might help her comprehend the devastating effect this has on the faithful partner by looking at the Relationships board where there are all too many accounts from the perspective of the betrayed partner. Trust, once gone, is hard to restore and may take a lifetime. And not that many betrayed partners ever feel strong enough to give reconciliations a chance (it is the harder decision to make and live up to).
The marriage as it was, OP, is irretrievably gone. Whether anything can be built between you again isn't going to be your choice.
No one knows if your marriage will overcome this; only time will tell. You can't make it got the way you want, but you can take some steps to help your case - even with the knowledge that there are no guarantees.
Research suggests that men find it much harder to forgive infidelity than women. However, in most cases that will be with another man than another woman of course. It's not a scientific study, but among my social circle most men have said they'd find it easier to forgive a same-sex affair because it doesn't question their masculinity in the same sense. I guess that's the perspective you're coming from - that it doesn't feel quite the same.
However, you have to give your DH time to reach that conclusion for himself (if he ever does, as some will not). The biggest favour you do yourself (and him) is to give him the time to do that without pressurising him. Make absolutely no excuses, and take full responsibility. Just keep apologising for the hurt you've caused.
Right now, he's reeling. Once he's had time to absorb things, you'll have a much better idea. At least he's spared the usual pain of having to undergo STD tests, wondering if the affair is 'really' over, whether you still love him, etc. You have 12 years post the affair to demonstrate all that already, and it will help even if right now to him it all feels like 12 years of acting on your part.
You can't do anything other than wait patiently.
I went back home this morning to pick up some things. DH was there and I told him that I would like us to come through this. And that I would do whatever he needed me to do.
He told me that there was no us from the moment I cheated, but it took him 12 years to know that. And all he wants me to do is leave. He has stated that he will never trust me or want me again, and that the only thing we have in common is the DC's. He has said that he won't try and stop me from sharing custody of the children for their sakes but we are done.
Hope you are ok OP. Where are you staying? Didn't he take the children to his mother's?
Oh dear... :-( I'm very very sorry to hear that OP. Remember that right now he is devastated and feeling very angry. It may not always be so clear cut. For now, all you can do is be honest when he has questions, be open, apologise and accept responsibility.
If I discovered that my DP had had sex / a relationship with a man (or a woman) during the time we had been together - it would negate EVERYTHING we have done and been to one another since then. ALL of that love and sex and planning and closeness would have been built on a lie, Every memory would be tainted, disgusting to me. Do you understand this ? Really understand what it means ?
Then give him the space , do as he asks. Make plans as to how you think you can mange apart, respect him. Show by your actions you are sorry. Words are meaningless. Be honest and brave.
I wish you luck. Its a high price to pay for a stupid admission. But you know, don't you that the price you are paying s for the affair.. not the discovery ?
The DC's are at his mums over the weekend I think he came home to do something. I am staying with my sister for the time being. I'm far from alright but there is very little I can do right now. I just wish I could turn back the clock by just over 12 years.
I do feel for you. Its devastating to face the consequences of your actions so far down the line
So the affair has cost you the real price of deception?
I cant say as I'm surprised by his reactions as I think I would be reacting in a similar way. You have destroyed the foundations of something he held dear and that hurts.
I wish you the best but I don't feel sorry for you. I do however feel very sorry for your DH and your children.
He's right, your wrong. You should sound sorry for your marriage, not yourself.
Unless you've been on the 'receiving' end of adultery, you cannot even begin to understand how it feels. Get the Linda McDonald and Shirley Glass books referred to upthread and read them from cover to cover. When you truly understand what you've done, you might have a chance of making an attempt at helping your husband.
At the moment you sound clueless.
Althought it's true that some people just know that they would never forgive this, I suspect this is mostly shock talking on his part. I think because you minimised it so much at the start, he wants to give you a bit of a proverbial bloody nose to shock you into taking this seriously and cutting the crap.
I don't agree that the past 12 years have been 'a lie' or any years that preceded this affair. Although I accept that people who are on the receiving end of affairs might think that, it isn't a very logical deduction. I can see how the period an affair is ongoing makes the spouse's life a lie, but if he's been happy with you before and since that does count for quite a lot.
Hopefully he'll see that in time, but you're going to have to work your butt off to convince him that he is all you want and that you're truly sorry for his pain. I don't think there's much point saying right now that you're sorry for the affair itself, because that would seem unconvincing given that you evidently haven't been full of regret and self-recrimination for the past 12 years and he knows that from your initial minimising reaction. Be truthful to yourself as well as him. You're sorry right now that he knows and that he's in pain. In time you might be sorry for what you did.
Respect his need for space and to lick his wounds. Encourage him to discuss this with someone who can help him heal, accepting that you're just not the right person to fill that role right now.
Take heart. I know a few couples who've survived an affair and they are stronger than ever now, but the key to this in all of their stories has been that the ones who cheated sorted out their shit and took full responsibility for it. They also saw their infidelity in the bigger context of their core selfishness and went about changing that behaviour.
And even then, with all that sorryness and good work done, it's not always possible for the cheated on person to move past it, no matter how very much they might want to do that.
Have to say, in your DP's shoes, I would react in the exact same way. And I wouldn't take you back, no matter what.
You really really really went about it the wrong way.
Minimusing a mistake is just digging a bigger hole - it means you're focused on yourself and not on the hurt you've inflicted in another.
Whats done is done now. He deserves space, and you to let him take the lead.
However, I will add a caveat to that: there is a difference between a hurt party workibg through their feelings and expecting the perpetrator to take responsibility for their actions and a hurt party doing whatever the fuck they like to get back at the person who has done wrong. The comment about the children made me feel a little uneasy. There are limits to exactly how "sorry" you should be.
Did you expect him to be less bothered because you betrayed him with a woman and not a man?
Betrayal is betrayal.
Lies are lies.
All he knows is that for 12 years you have looked him in the eye, day after day, knowing what you did. And then you spill it out in some casual way like it's no big deal cos no cock was involved. You miss the point.
I think the very least you owe him at this point is to respect his feelings and his wishes now.
And stop talking/thinking/acting like he is 'throwing 12 good years away'. That's really offensive to him. He isn't throwing 12 years away. Your actions led to this.
Feeling that even the conception of your children was done during a period of deception is a cry of pain, not an expression of feelings about the children.
And, OP, you will need to start thinking about how you will live if separated.
Auntiestella - I was specifically referencing the comment anout him not trying to stop her having 50/50 custody for the children's sake....
Its early days, he's beyond raw and rightly so...but, having witnessed what can happen when a hurt paety takes their retribution way too far and taking advantahe of the perpertrator's willingness to do anything to please the hurt party, I feel its only prudent to say that there are, indeed, limits to making amends. Allowing children to be used as weapons is way beyond making amends.
Right now, he's in shock, reeling...his life for the past 12 years has been a complete lie and to adf insult to injury the person he loves, adores, trusted with all of his heart, doesnt think its that big of a deal and is basically laying blame at his dorf for what amounts, in her mind, to him overreactibg: the OP does truly and entirely miss the point....
Hiwever, once the dust has settled and his path and her path become clearer its worth ponting out that revenge is not ok.
I think you need a big dose of get over yourself.
Let's be very clear here. You shagged outside your marriage. How much sympathy do you think that will garner?
Not only that, you drunkenly blurted it out and then tried to say it wasn't 'really' cheating because it was a woman.
I'm sure your dh is more interested in the fact that you were sleeping with someone else and then lying about it, than the gender of the person you cheated with.
Maybe he'll forgive you. But you probably don't deserve him to. Until you take responsibility for what you did, you shouldn't even have the audacity to ask him to come through it.
I'm going to go against the grain and send you a virtual hug op! You are the one posting on here not DH & you need some support. Yes you did something very wrong & it is your fault but your life has been turned upside down. I don't think there's much you can do but respect his wishes now. Sadly the truth always outs eventually. X
But she is getting support. She's not being told to eff off, she's being given solid and practical advice.
OP - seriously, get those books.
I want to send you some support too. People make mistakes and I can tell how devastated you are. I hope you have some real life support to get through this, whatever your husband decides. Take care.
Join the discussion
Please login first.