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Mid Life or Over?(129 Posts)
My husband of 15 years has closed down over the last 8 months - we have had moments of happiness, have been intimate (although this stopped a month ago) have tried to keep talking, he just says he is evaluating his life and everything in it. We have 2 lovely children, a nice life, nothing too fancy.. just a nice life, with good friends and close family. We have always been a very sociable couple and he has tried to keep this going although it is getting harder and harder for me to be with him around friends as I miss the closeness we shared. I have felt the distance growing and now a couple of weeks ago he told me that he thinks he wants to move on, says he can start to see how it might be without me, starting over with somebody else (he has promised me there isnt anybody else and I do believe him). He says we both deserve happiness which of course we do, but I am devastated as I have tried to support him over the last 8 months by just being there and I feel he hasn't given our marraige a fair chance. When he told me, I suggested two options, either we talk seriously about what he's going to do and how we are going to split up, or I asked him to reconsider and just see if there was any possibility of second chances. He knows how much I love him, feels guilty at the pain he is causing. Despite these words, he is still here. He said he knows he needs to make the decision, but he is now talking to me about things we are doing in May and June, still kissing me goodbye albeit briefly in the morning, still giving me the odd cuddle in bed. I am so, so confused. Is this him trying to see if he can give it a chance still, or is it him trying to make me feel less sad by just being nice whilst he is here? I know you will say I have to talk to him, but I'm scared to push him and that talking further will just mean the end. For the sake of our relationship and our family, if this is just a MLC I am of course prepared to wait longer. If he is thinking about leaving still, then I know he needs to go and I need to be strong. Interested in what people think, perhaps people that have been there - thank you so much in advance x
Yes and in all conscience I will say that I have never known this strategy to work in the long term. This is about human nature. It is almost impossible to respect someone who allows you to choose in a competition between two people, or who will put up with disrespect and inconsiderate treatment without the incurrence of loss. The power dynamics completely change in the relationship but more grievously, the loss of self-respect damages the individual so much. So this strategy irrepairably damages the relationship that the 'waiter' was determined to save, but worse still it damages the person more profoundly than could ever have been envisaged.
Mine has a couple of close female friends, one I trust implicitly and who is lovely and the other who I don't trust at all and who is vulnerable and needy herself. I know she makes him feel all wanted and special and he's drawn to her. He told me this weekend he has opened up to her about how he is feeling and I feel terribly betrayed. What happened to our husbands being "our" friends? Sadly if he moves out, I fear its only a matter of time before they become an item.. if they aren't already. i know what you mean about the marriage and then the friendship.
Squibb, you would really cling to a man like this?. He doesn't want to save his relationship with the Op. He doesn't want do counselling (and even if he attends it will be a waste of time because he has already checked out).... he is actively seeking intimacy outside his marriage.
And because he is doing it in plain view of his wife, he justifies it to himself. There is no "helping" a man like this. The only assistance you should be offering is to your own self and removing him from your (romantic) life.
Yes - it seems so obvious to objective observers that this man is having an affair with the friend and it is this that has precipitated the current crisis. Instead he is presenting it as the crisis coming first and the unburdening to the 'friend' happening as a consequence of that.
The chronology is, IMO undoubtedly reversed.
And no amount of stroking this man's fragile ego will change that, unfortunately
Squibb, you are the vulture here, if anyone is. Preying on women who are posting at a point in their lives where they are beginning to realise that enough is enough.
Here they mostly find support and advice from people who read the OP and respond honestly.
If anyone has an agenda, it's you. All this 'blindly stand by your man regardless of your own pain' bullshit. The OP has obviously invested a great deal of love and support to her H already, to her own detriment.
Loyalty and commitment are essential in relationships - but there are limits. The OP has reached hers, understandably. And where is her H's loyalty and commitment?
Try to put down your agenda and read threads with an open mind.
(Sorry for thread hijack OP, Squibb had been similarly undermining on another thread today).
Crikey! It's all gone off while I've been absent from here hasn't it!
secretjewel: "When you see him all withdrawn and sad, does it look like grief, or does he seem like he's thinking of someone else?" It looks like grief and feeling really really confused... it doesn't look like he's thinking about somebody else he looks absolutely broken at times"
I do think he's developed feelings for her and its confusing him even further. I still have a small amount of belief in him as a person though, although I know there are some out there that will think I'm crazy. I genuinely don't think he wants to set up a life with her as she has her own set of problems but I think that his head being turned has confused him. I do think that he is seeing everything very negatively, the good times we have shared of which there have been plenty seem to be forgotten at the moment because it's easier for him not to remember them. I think he has emotionally shut down, because its easier not to feel than to feel the pain from his grief, but the pain from his confusion also. It may just be that I have to face the fact that he has actually fallen out of love with me and that by not talking to me about his problems he has actually left it too late to turn back.
One of our children is quite young and this is breaking DH heart. Its also breaking mine to think of me having to pick up the pieces.
It does depend very much on how long I can give him. I have turned a corner this week although not sure how long it will last. I have started to feel like I can move forward. I'm sad, but not paralysed. I think a small piece of me died last week when we talked. I stayed with a friend this week and expected to cry all the way there and then when she hugged me when i arrived. But I didn't.. and we managed to laugh together and I even sang along to "Against All Odds" without a tear! Perhaps I am getting stronger!
Absolutely Lost: Thank you for your post - "I don't know if I was weak or strong but I didn't feel ready to give up, even though he apparently had. He has since admitted he had been trying to push me away, to ask him to leave but I always felt it was a decision he had to make openly for himself, rather than blaming me for forcing him to go".
This is very close to home for me. I don't feel ready to give up and I do think he has been trying to push me to make the decision for him. I think it's a lot to do with self-worth as well, thinking you're not good enough and pushing those you love away to confirm it.
I'm glad you are on the road to recovery and that you had support from people here to help you. I wish you all the best with your onward journey..
Squibb: Thank you for your posts too - I have thought for a while it has been a MLC and the books I've read say they can last a few years! We are talking and that's good although of late our talking does deteriorate but we talk very well and compassionately until I mention his "friend" and then he gets defensive. He keeps telling me that I've got to get it out of my head its a me vs her thing, and accept that she's just a friend - he even said that he was sorry and that he knew it was wrong to have such an emotional friendship but that he had dug his heels in because he knew I didn't like it and now he is closer to her. I know, I know, where's the respect in that.. but if IT IS just a friendship, I could be doing more damage than good by keep going on about it. The trouble is, the OW option seems to make sense, the MLC isn't that easy to touch if you know what I mean.
The way I see it with her now is that if it's going to happen or if it's already happened, there's not much I can do about it.. at the end of the day it is his choice. If he makes a bad choice because he is in some sort of darkness at the moment there is little I can do. That having been said, i do believe that if I forced his hand and asked him to leave, it would lead him to her (as a friend) and it WOULD develop eventually .. its inevitable.
So, rather than thinking he is biding his time here.. I am looking on it that I am biding mine.. we are still living together, still doing things as a family, still sleeping in the same bed (albeit no sexual relationship), but we are close. He is still trying to be considerate and reassuring and we are at a point where if I feel he is distant I tell him and he nearly always comes back with that's not how he is meaning to be, it's just work, or traffic, or something else. And so, I move forward slowly, think about myself, my children and my friends and hope that if I am supporting him in the best way I can, without making myself a doormat. I am trying to stop thinking about what I'm not getting from him, and starting to focus on what he is doing that makes things feel better albeit in a small way.
Phew... doesn't it help getting it off of your chest!
I don't mean to be unkind OP but FGS wake up and smell the coffee here.
Your husband is having an affair with this woman right under your nose and you're enabling it.
Just because someone tells you they've got a 'special woman friend' doesn't make it right.
You're making far too many excuses for him and making life far too comfortable while he gets his jollies on the side, with his benign wife mopping his brow through his entirely fake confusion.
Do you think either of these traitors respect you for acting like you are?
He's not depressed, he's not confused and he's not ill. He's just unfaithful.
Lord knows why you're not angry about that, or why you can't see what's going on right under your nose.
I feel very sad for you kitty
What is this man ? Some kind of Higher Being deserving of all judgement to be suspended ?
No one is worth compromising yourself so much. He must think you came down in a shower, whilst progressively diminishing you in his eyes for every day you tolerate his ridiculous self entitlement
As for not wanting to be with an OW with her own set of problems, haven't you heard about men who are attracted to damsels in distress? The bigger the set of problems that the knight in shining armour can fix, the greater the sexual thrill/ego boost. Just as she's pretending to be the all-listening ear when he drones on about his 'sadness'.
Mark my words, they wouldn't be rescuing or listening to someone they didn't find attractive or whose 'friendship' wasn't a massive ego boost.
I'd put a good sum of money on all your alleged problems starting when this 'friendship' kicked off. Midlife crisis my arse
Why do you keep talking about supporting him?! You should be angry with him. That would be more normal!
Healthy. Healthy is a better word than normal.
'He's not depressed, he's not confused and he's not ill. He's just unfaithful.'
He's manipulating you so much, OP. Insisting you shut up about his involvement with the OW or it'll get worse, and you'll only have yourself to blame!
There's a sort of bright, forced cheeriness to your last post. It doesn't sound as if you've got it all off your chest really. There is great tension there. Understandably
It must be horrible going through what you are going through with your H. I understand you are probably desperate to make everything ok, for you, for your family. You truly have my sympathies.
But please, don't become a surrendered wife in this. He's behaving abominably.
OP's last post actually makes her sound like one of those stiff puppets with a broom up the arse and wires moving the mouth
Really bloody terrifying < shudder >
OP, are you speaking with tongues because you are scaring the shit out of me
oh waken up OP
He is having his cake and eating..your head is firmly stuck in the sand here.
Time to grow a pair of balls and chuck him out.
Oh dear, he has you right where he wants you - the obliging enabling wife bending backwards while he is having this emotional affair.
The only way to burst this fantasy fuelled bubble is to tell him that you have had enough of being treated like this and that he has to go.
LOSS is the only thing that motivates cheaters and its your only chance of saving the marriage and I really do hope you find the courage to do this.
You may find this link useful.
How much do you actually know about the OW, Kitty?
Have you met her? Does he talk about her much? Did he used to talk about her, and then kind of stopped mentioning her?
Has she got a family of her own?
Is there any evidence of an actual affair at all, or do you think maybe he's got the feelings but hasn't acted on them (yet?)
He is obviously very mixed up about lots of things, but I think if I was you I would be looking to get answers to some of these questions before I could start getting anything straight in my mind.
Oh . Reading your update makes it plainer. I think he is biding his time, waiting to see how it all plays out, all the while keeping up appearances at home.
Take great care of yourself Kitty, I know you want to keep some kind of control, but it sounds like it is all going off right under your nose.
OP -don't wait around for him to make up his mind.
You deserve better.
Get space now. Maybe it will work out but don't wait any longer for him to make a decision.
I can hear you all loud and clear.. Not too happy about the puppet comment. I do have a family to look after and a job to hold down and therefore creating havoc here is not as easy as just telling him to sling his hook. I am not laying down in front of him being a doormat. I am getting on with my life and looking after my family.
Secret Jewel: I know her.. we have been friends for a few years, often the four of us meeting up with our children. He has always been her friend as they share an interest together (I can't go into detail, I am almost laying my life out in public if anybody knows me..)
There isn't evidence of an affair - she doesn't live anywhere near us and he isn't a man that goes out/missing. I have asked lots of questions and he does answer them but he gets defensive. He has put her above me in all of this, friendship or affair and I have got very angry about it. But we have never been husband and wife who live in each others pockets and we both have friendships with members of the opposite sex - obviously my gut instincts have been rattled with her because he has closed down emotionally with me but he does keep saying to me its not about me vs her. I know he cares about her, I know he finds her attractive but that doesn't = 100% affair. We hae lots of female friends who he thinks this about as do I with male friends.
He keeps getting angry with me because there's so much going on for him in his head not just with me, work, family, grief, all sorts of things and I am a part of the problem, not the whole problem.. at least that's what he says. She has just happened to try and support him at a time when i really needed him to avoid turning to somebody else, particularly another woman. That's why I'm mad and I am mad for those who don't think I am.
I have to go and have my hair done now, so post later!
Kitty, it was an affair as soon as he started to disengage with you, in favour of her. Even though he may not be sleeping with her.
I think if you wait this out, he may well stay in the marriage - it's the easy, convenient thing to do. But what you need to consider is how you will feel about this, long term. At the moment you are choosing the least disruptive course of action as a kind of damage limitation, in the hope that it will all blow over and life will go back to normal. But that is impossible now - it will never be what it was, because he has betrayed you and shown you that you are not the most important person to him. If the dust settles and he is still 'with you', it won't be because he has actively chosen you, because he has woken up to the reality of life without you and he will never fear the possibility that you might not choose him - he will have been allowed to behave in this appalling way and experience no consequences.
He won't respect you. Eventually I think you will find this very unsatisfactory.
No, no - as another poster said, you've probably got the chronology all wrong on this.
I think you'll find that something started with her first and then he started getting distant and withdrawn from you. You say this started 8 months ago. She was in your lives then but I promise you, something happened between them just before you started noticing changed behaviour in him.
Have you seen his phone bills from 8 months ago?
You do know too that people take days off work to have affairs, or worse, claim they are just going to their shared interest thing again, when really they are heading for a travelodge?
Stop thinking the confusion came first, followed by this deepening 'friendship'.
This all happened because he started an affair with her, over 8 months ago.
In plain fucking sight of you and her partner
Karma -you could have written that to me
OP read her post clearly. I'm six month post discovery to someone who would 'never do this to me' 'just friends' 'no time so so busy with work'
Kitty - so many of us have been there, and believe me it is always the same. They tell you there is no one else, then it comes out there is but she is 'just a friend'. Someone who has been kind and supportive in their hour of need . Then further down the line it comes out that ok they might have kissed, he can't really remember, but eventually, after lying through their teeth they admit actually it is a full blown affair.... It is soul destroying, and the lies are in my mind a worse betrayal than the sex. Once someone starts lying to you it makes a mockery of everything.
Where you go from here is up to you. Me, I got on with my life, filed for divorce, and was actually very happy in myself. Ironically, we then made it through, after hours of talking, and we're despite everything happy. The dynamic has changed though, I'm no longer the besotted wife who'd do anything for my DH,. I have a tough shell, I have my independent spirit back, and my attitude is he is bl**dy lucky to have me. He's changed too. For the better. If he changes back I'll be out of here, like a shot.
Put yourself first and if he wants to go let him. There is nothing as unattractive as a clingy partner. Once you become the unattainable option his true feelings will out.
I think he would like to move to be with new lurve but can't face the fall out of hurting you OP and the DCs. Plus what is he taking on, more DCs?
He would need to be sure of a very strong relationship with OW to withstand all that angst.
What about you try making an appt with relate or counsellor or even GP to try to get some advice. Or better still an appt for him to speak to someone.That would be much better for him than opening up to OW. Could you perhaps book 3 appointments for him over a week or two and ask him to go. He sounds very confused and would have nothing to lose.
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