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My DH has had an emotional affair

(470 Posts)
bullinthesea Tue 18-Jun-13 14:52:29


I don't post very much, but I am a frequent lurker!

Sadly, I have discovered that my DH has been having an emotional affair with a woman at his work. I have met her a few times over the years, and have always liked her! (Not any more!).

He was supporting me through a nasty bout of depression, and she was also having problems with family illness etc, and it seems they got too close, whilst chatting. He has always been the type to help others out. I think perhaps his 'knight in shining armour' came out when he came across this 'damsel in distress'!

There were emails/Facebook messages/texts, (the texts were all deleted, but in plain sight on our joint itemised bill!).

I discovered the whole lot on Friday night, and confronted him on Saturday morning.

I told him to sit down and tell me the truth. He says that it was just a load of flirty e-mails, and that he knew it was wrong when he was doing it, that it had all fizzled out and that he regretted it. He was very remorseful, and asked whether I could ever forgive him. I told him it was about being able to trust him again.

I found comments such as

Him "I must have been on your mind, was this email meant for Mr X?"
Her "you're always on my mind"
Him "mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!"


Her "thank you for earlier, I feel a lot better now !!"
Him "yeah, me too, can meet up on Wednesday for a follow up if it helps smile"

Her "is there anything else I can do for you"
Him "there may be a couple of things that may rise up"

Him " look at you working on xyz"
Her "can never be too prepared?"
Him "I am always prepared!"

She also kept asking him about his knees, on one occasion, they were organising some work time, and he responded with:
Him "should be good"
Her " what do you mean, SHOULD......... Are your knees hurting?"
Him "no, they have recovered, it's my calf, I pulled it running this morning"

Another message went:
Her "how are your knees and feet now"
Him "well, no carpet burns! How are you, we,ve been thinking about you?"

Then there was the time about six months ago, when he was having some funny turns. He had to spend the day at hospital having tests. He had already phoned into work, to tell them that he wouldn't be in that day, and yet I discovered that he'd emailed her from the hospital, to tell her about the tests and said that it was scary, there were loads of exclamation marks at the end (and on lots of the other emails too). He then emailed her again later about the results, with the same message that he had texted to me a few minutes prior, but he'd added extra exclamation marks on hers.

A lot of the content of these emails (and some others that I haven't written about) suggests that things may have got physical.

He strongly denies that it got physical, and says that he doesn't even find her physically attractive. He has said that it was exciting, and that she had made him feel good, as it had felt like she wanted him. He also told me that she had tried to kiss him at an Xmas do a few years ago, but he didn't kiss back, and had thought it was odd.

I asked if he thought she might have a bit of a thing for him, and he paused and said, "yeah, probably".

I have told him that I am going to get tested for STIs, just in case, as I'm not sure I can believe what he's telling me, and want to be sure that I haven't caught anything.

We both cried a lot, and he buried his head in my lap and told me he was so sorry over and over.

I do love him very much, and feel that we became distant, (although things had been much better recently), that we need to focus on our marriage much more (he agreed) and do our best to recover the strong love that we always used to have.

Only thing is, if it did get physical, then I would have to end the relationship.

I am so confused, I can barely concentrate on anything, and I haven't a clue where I'd start if I suddenly found myself single - I'm a sahm, my son is 7, and I am not bringing in any income at the moment, so he supports us all financially.

I just don't know what to do next.....

bullinthesea Wed 07-Aug-13 10:37:45

Hi Tessa, the phone records I have viewed online, as we have a joint account on Vodafone. He doesn't use a credit card, but I have viewed his bank account statements online, as I am named on the account now too.
I asked to see emails, but he said they're all deleted long ago. The emails I saw, I took screenshots of them, so I have evidence of them. He admitted that they sent much more graphic/ explicit emails during the years.

He has told me that the sex stopped when I got ill (Feb 2011) but they did it one more time since (during my illness), which I find hard.

The counsellor seemed to be not that keen on me getting to the bottom of things, saying "would it make a difference?" well, er, yes it does to me!

She also suggested that we don't discuss the affair at all outside of the counselling room, and do all of our talking about it there. Not much use if I'm discouraged from talking about it when I am there, and not allowed to react to things when we do!

Ahhhh, sorry about the rambling rant.

Bull x

Thisisaeuphemism Wed 07-Aug-13 12:00:36

Your counsellor sounds like she belongs to the small section of society who thinks its acceptable for a man to have a SEXUAL and emotional affair for years behind his wife's back.

Is that how you think too, Bull? After his terrible lying and twitching and lying and cheating, over years and years, (they did it one more time since your illness?? - more crap) why on earth are you still with him? Really.

tessa6 Wed 07-Aug-13 12:08:29

I really feel for you bull. It sounds like the counselling is stymieing you and helping his agenda. Do you have ready and complete access to all his emails and texts if you ask for it now? (ps I would also strongly strongly doubt they are deleted, probably just stored somewhere else. But I know that's hard to prove. You could keep an eye on his internet history if you suspect something's going on and see if he goes to another separate email address online and logs in).

tessa6 Wed 07-Aug-13 12:09:57

This is Relate right? They are notorious for this. Really old-fashioned perspective and they see their role as anything to keep the marriage alive. So obviously downplaying an affair helps that agenda, but doesn't necessarily help both people in the situation.

bullinthesea Wed 07-Aug-13 13:20:07

Hi, yes it's relate.

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 07-Aug-13 14:16:24

I agree the counsellor must be old school and should be sacked.

Phone relate and tell them you want someone else, one with up to date fidelity training.

JaceyBee Wed 07-Aug-13 15:14:13

Yeah I'm a counsellor and have always found Relate to be shite. Find a good bacp/ukcp accredited integrative counsellor and start again. Or, just don't bother wasting time and money and LTB, you'll never trust him again and he's almost certainly still bullshitting you.

Apileofballyhoo Wed 07-Aug-13 15:30:53

The counsellor sounds terrible to me. You have absolutely no hope of fixing this if you don't know everything he knows. I'm sorry you're going through such a terrible time.

JaceyBee Wed 07-Aug-13 15:57:45

Sorry that sounded really harsh! Wasn't supposed to x

Reddwarflover Wed 07-Aug-13 17:24:14

Tbh I think your best bet is to get rid of the councillor and while your at it throw your husband out too! How you can even remain in the same house as that pitiful excuse for a man is beyond me! Why you even let him talk you when his lips just talk lies?? He maybe making the effort to stop you from throwing him out but he's certainly not making an effort to save your marriage when he still won't lay his cards on the table and tell you the truth and nothing but the truth! I would respect him more if he just stop damn well lying and was for once in his life honest by his own admission!
I am sorry op for what has happened to you and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy and I know what you are going through because my very own DF did it to my DM and funnily enough he is a teacher and the ow was a fellow teacher, thankfully my parents are divorced and happily so.
Please wake up and smell the coffee because my DM lived with it for years and could never stop watching her back and it was an awful way to live, absolutely destroyed her.

MadBusLady Wed 07-Aug-13 18:47:09

Oh goodness, Bull, I've been following this and had nothing to add to the other ladies' excellent advice, but this counsellor thing has me spitting mad! Please get rid, she sounds utterly deluded. There is way too much of this even-handed "there's two sides to everything" bullshit talked about relationships. Nope, sometimes one "side" really does dwarf the other.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 07-Aug-13 22:47:28

Hi OP. I haven't posted on your thread before, but I've read the whole way through and I feel sad for you that you are still reeling from his revelations which you seem still to be trying to believe are the truth, despite him having done nothing but lie since you first discovered the affair.

A few posters have described your H as a narc. He certainly seems to have that entitlement, obsession with his drama and his feelings, lack of empathy for others (or understanding of how others think) and ability to rewrite history so thoroughly that he even believes his own fabrication.

My experience of being married to a narc is that his version of reality often conflicted with mine. No matter - his was always right. His perspective was always more valid, more important than mine. Over time, my confidence, which was never that great, crumbled. I relied on him to provide my perspective because I couldn't trust my own. I was thoroughly confused and dependent on him.

Ignore me if I'm just projecting and I'm on the wrong track, but you seem to be clinging to the relationship in the same desperate sort of way. Instead of making time for yourself to think this all through, you turn to him so you can think it all through together. In true narc style, he is trashing your boundaries (You: "I need time to think this through." Him: "Tell me you love me!"). Are you accepting it because that is what you are conditioned to do?

bullinthesea Mon 19-Aug-13 20:23:04

Hi ladies, just a little update, the last poster asked if I had been conditioned to accept it and having given it some thought, I think that yes, probably I have. My dad is/was emotionally very distant when I was growing up, and very critical & controlling too. I was never allowed to get angry/frustrated or vent my annoyance about anything, Dad always knew best etc...he was also quite aggressive, had quite a temper.

So, last night, H asked if I'd told my parents about his affair.
I said that yes, I had.
He mumbled "oh, I didn't think you'd tell them" and rolled over in bed in a huff.
He has been pissed off and 'down' all day, and says he is 'struggling' with 'us'.

On the plus side, I have just been offered a part time job grin, which gives me hope, as if we can't make the relationship work, then at least I will be better able to bring some money in. I'm also thinking of taking in students to raise extra cash.

Thanks again, for listening, and for your posts wink

LozzaCro Mon 19-Aug-13 22:03:09

Bull, I have been an avid lurker and I must say I am very angry on your behalf that he has thrown a strop at your family knowing. Does he not think you should have support that isn't in the form of 'him and his view'?

His attitude to this has been very sweep it under the carpet and closed off when you are asking important questions that you NEED answers to. I worry that he is leading you along with how this is going to play out, when in fact he should be jumping through hoops for you!

LozzaCro Mon 19-Aug-13 22:04:06

Completely forgot to say congratulations on getting a job! This is excellent news, and a big boost for you. Massive well done xx

impatienttobemummy Tue 20-Aug-13 08:56:42

Congratulations on the job, hope you get rid of that counsellor sounds horrendous

Thisisaeuphemism Tue 20-Aug-13 09:12:07

Brilliant about the job! This sounds like the start of a new empowered bull!

So dh doesn't like it when you let others know what a twat he is, does he?! Fancy threatening you with the 'he is struggling' shit- he could not be more selfish. Please don't pander to him.

I hope you get rid of him too soon xx

tessa6 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:42:00

Bull, great news about the job, and thanks so much for updating, it takes some courage, knowing people may judge. 'Struggling' with 'us' sounds like a euphemism (hello above me!) for 'talking to the OW again'.

Please please keep seeing clearly that he is childishly sulking at the consequences of his own actions and denying you the support and truth you should expect. Tosser.

bullinthesea Tue 20-Aug-13 17:46:05

Thanks for the congrats about the new job, I start when DS returns to school. smile

We had another relate session today.
It seemed like she was basically saying to me "He's over it & saying its done with, so why are you still emotional about it? Do you always keep emotions running like this?"

Am I unusual because I'm not over it yet?

She also mentioned that she'll be handing her notice in October, so I said to H that I'd like to change to a different counsellor, as I don't like some of her sarky comments, and don't think she ought to be judgmental either.

Thanks again for being there ladies wink.

Bogeyface Tue 20-Aug-13 17:50:07

Is she jumping or is she being pushed?! I wouldnt wait until then, she is a terrible counsellor and is playing right into his hands.

Seriously, ask for a new counsellor now.

I am not over it 2 years down the line, you are not unusual at all.

Bogeyface Tue 20-Aug-13 17:50:34

Actually thinking about it, you never get over it, you just learn to live with the knowledge of what he did, or you split up.

bullinthesea Sun 01-Sep-13 01:02:40

Hi mumsnetters,

Just updating, it seems he's playing the 'should I stay or should I go' game rather a lot lately.
He's on antidepressants now, and if anything doesn't go his way, he starts getting really low, then saying things about having 'doubts about us'. He says that his counsellor suggested taking a break from the relationship to see how he felt about things, but he told me that the idea scared him.

Yesterday, he was in a really bad way, just before I left the house to go to the park with a friend. Then he was saying 'it's unfair to keep putting you through this'. As I drove off, I was wondering if he'd have packed his bags & gone by the time I returned.

He had another wobble today, after I told him that I'd no longer be doing his ironing (who wants to iron shirts that another woman has been unbuttoning??), he actually had the nerve to ask "why not?".

Then later today, he was making noises about going out for drinks with colleagues (despite him telling me that he'd no longer be going on any work dos) and when I said something, he got all funny again.

He says that he wants 'it all' to go away & that he wishes he could run away & hide. I think this is why he's so keen to emigrate to Australia. He keeps going on about a fresh start. I mentioned to him that he can't run away from himself...

When he's on an upswing in mood, he tells me that he's 100% committed to being with me & that he really wants our relationship to work. He is & always has been a very good father to our 7 year old son.

I've also discovered that he's done another terrible thing, which involves his elderly aunt, and a large sum of money (which should have paid for her care as she's in a home), which I'm sure will bite him on the bum sooner or later too. No doubt he'll try & shift the blame for that onto me too!

I'm torn. I loved him before all of this, and I can't just suddenly turn off the emotions, like a tap. However, there's the very real issue of trust (which has been smashed to pieces) and also, shouldn't he be jumping through hoops to keep me, instead of flip-flapping around trying to make up his mind?

Then there's also the issue that I still don't think he's told me everything, and I've been toying with the idea of speaking to the OW, (if they got their story straight a few weeks ago, her memory of the fabricated story may have faded by now) because I just want truth.

I never imagined a life without him, I hoped we'd grow old together. The idea of turfing out the father of my son/husband fills me with horror.

I'm hoping that in starting my new job on Tues, I'll muster up enough strength to do whatever needs to be done.
It's not that well paid, and there's no way it'd cover the bills (it's only 20hours per week) so I wouldn't be able to survive financially without him either, but at least it's a start, maybe I could start saving.

Lastly, he bought me an 'eternity ring' the other day, as he wanted to show me how much he loved me, apparently.
Now, I'm not materialistic by any means, but it turned out this so-called symbol of love had set him back £20, was made of sterling silver, and had fake diamonds in it (although at least he admitted those things when I questioned him). No need for that one to go on the household insurance then!!

Thanks for listening to my confused ramblings, I can't sleep tonight, so I've gone on a bit, sorry.


LilyBossom Sun 01-Sep-13 10:31:29

Regarding money - you would be entitled to Working Tax Credits - have you visited the EntitledTo website - worth putting your figures in there and it will tell you what you can claim.

I wouldn't talk to the OW to be honest - what would it achieve? And like you say she will have been told what to say, or told you are terrible or suchlike. He will probably have told her a pack of lies too.

inhibernation Sun 01-Sep-13 10:48:54

Of course you want to know the truth - stupid counsellor!

We did couples counselling with accredited counsellors (not Relate) and I really liked her. She was incisive and knew how to draw out salient issues. I think she used a humanist approach.

Doha Sun 01-Sep-13 10:55:55

You won't get anywhere with the OW l would forget trying to speak to her.
If his so called symbol of love was to show how much he loves you. £20 does that not tell you something.!!!!
I like your plan of saving some of your money but please don't think you could survive without him. Remember you can survive with tax credit and child support, it may be difficult but doable.
I just get the feeling that your DH is still pissed off that you found out and really only regrets that and not the actually affair.
Maybe it's time for you to seriously consider what you want. Ditch the current counsellor and see if any progress can be made with a new one, the focus should be on both of you, not just you and your innability to accept and move on.
Good luck on Tuesday, a new job, new outlook, building of self confidence, new opportunities who knows where that will lead

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