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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.....

AnyFucker Wed 19-Jun-13 18:22:26

I've said it before and I'll say it again

The "swear on a life" shtick is the hallmark of a consummate liar

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 19-Jun-13 18:46:09

Up until the Saturday mystery text it could be arguably 'just' an emotional affair; stretching over so long a time it's gone beyond banter.

I think that moment of panic gave him away.

So sorry OP.

MrsZoidberg Wed 19-Jun-13 18:54:05

To all the posters recommending ringing OW, do you think she will actually tell the truth?

The only scenario I can see that working in, is if ow wants the OP to throw the lying bastard out, so she can have him.

tessa6 Wed 19-Jun-13 21:31:32

I don't think she will tell the truth, but I expect they won't have exactly matching stories, which may be revealing especially if specific questions are asked like 'what did he text you the other day?' And OP should insist he speak to her whilst she's present, say what he wants to do. And then show all further communication.

lottieandmia Wed 19-Jun-13 22:49:02

I would think that he will have told her to keep quiet about this. Surely the reason men lie and lie and lie when they've had an affair is that they don't want to be out of the family house on their own and with all the consequences that brings.

OTOH, if you texted her and she didn't reply that would be telling imo.

MrsMelons Thu 20-Jun-13 09:10:20

I would not believe about the 'swearing on a life' thing as it is meaningless and if someone did lie what would actually happen?!

I am so sorry you are going through this but I have to agree with the majority, it really doesn't sound just flirty - for the the knees/carpet burns comments would be the deal breakers here. None of the messages are 'flirty' they are much more 'sexual'. This is not like an EA at all, for me an EA involves feelings, this is all about sex.

You need to decide if you can move on from this and the most important thing is whether you believe him or not, if it will be niggling at you as to whether it was physical or not then you will never be able to move on. You have to believe him completely for this to work IMO.

FWIW - regardless of whether this was physical or not it would be a deal breaker for me and I am sure DH would feel the same.

DonutForMyself Thu 20-Jun-13 09:20:20

Agree with Mrs Melons, an EA implies feelings of friendship blurring into love, the emotional element of a relationship without getting sexual or physical. What these two are doing is not emotional, just a bit sleazy. Its either a full-blown sexual affair or at the very least an inappropriate flirtation that has got out of hand. Either way it is not something that a man in a committed relationship should be indulging in.

ClairityVerity Thu 20-Jun-13 11:07:25

It does sound as though he's having/ had an affair with her. sad

Just a question that occurred to me on reading your OP - you say you were suffering a nasty bout of depression at the time (I do hope you've managed to come through it ok). Have you had depression for a long time? From experience I'm willing to bet (not in ANY way to justify your OH's behaviour; just presenting context) that he will have gone through a lot of stress and distress supporting you through your bout of depression - this is a massive deal for anyone who's been in that position. What he should have done (and I'm assuming that he didn't) is to seek proper counselling and support for himself as the partner of someone with depression. It sounds as though he may possibly have started an affair as a dangerous and inadequate alternative.

As an outsider who knows very little about you both, I'd say that you should both go for individual and/ or couples counselling to help you work through the problems you've been through this past few years.

JustinBsMum Thu 20-Jun-13 11:59:50

It could be that your bout of depression lead him to look for support elsewhere but on the other hand it could be that his uncaring, unsupportive behaviour contributed to it in the first place.

bullinthesea Fri 21-Jun-13 12:12:25

It's been an emotional few days - yesterday I was driving along, and suddenly found myself in floods of tears, sobbing really hard. I think I had been holding it together reasonably well until that point.

I found the idea of 'assuming the worst' very useful. Instead of spending the whole day questioning it, I've realised that it probably was physical, and that, like others have mentioned, he is likely to be only admitting to that which he has to.

He is behaving like someone who is feeling very guilty at the moment - I wouldn't expect this much guilt & remorse from someone that has 'just sent a few flirty texts'.
He keeps telling me that he can't believe how stupid he's been 'just to make himself feel good'.
He says he wants to keep it just between us, that he'd feel awful if people knew. I told him that I need to be able to talk to my close friends, but that I'm not exactly going to be going round telling all our friends & family.

I also went for my STI checks this morning, have to wait 2-3 weeks for the results.

Re the comments regarding my depression, yes, it was sudden & severe, a big shock for us all. He was a fantastic support and I know that it was hugely draining mentally & physically for him too. It is entirely possible that this was his coping mechanism, and yes, it's also possible that his attitude prior to my becoming ill, contributed to my illness.
I was given medication, and am also having therapy, and have been doing much better lately.

Thanks again to everyone for your support during this time.

Umlauf Fri 21-Jun-13 12:18:50

I'm so pleased to hear how better you've been doing in therapy bull and that you're feeling stronger. Please don't blame your illness for any infidelity though, of course illness is hard on partners but by no stretch of the imagination could he to twist it as your illness driving him into the arms of another woman.

You must feel like you are in limbo at the moment, and you need to know everything so that you can make the right decisión for what you want to happen next. I hope he can respect you enough to give you that.

Thinking of you.

tessa6 Fri 21-Jun-13 12:24:37

Please don't discount the fact that the affair may have been a contributor to the depression and may have begun long before he admits. When a partner withdraws affection and belief in a relationship, you can sense it subconsciously and often people self-blame or self-medicate through it because they don't have the full story.

It sounds like you are right and he is minimising and admitting only to you what you can prove. The regret and sorror exist as a result of him being caught, don't forget. He didn't even admit which would have been a better sign of his intentions and respect for you.

The idea that his social embarrassment and risk of being seen as a villain are more important to him than what you need and the support friends and family could offer you are signs of the same narcissism and selfishness that bring about an affair.

It sounds like you're avoiding the details because you don't think he will tell you and maybe because you know if you knew you would find it painful. Please don't let this be swept under the rug. It must be faced and resolved either way.

It is scandalous that he should try and influence who you tell and why. The best thing for an adulterer is to have it held up to the light so the bubble of lies and other lifeness can be seen for what it really is and all realities can blend. He needs judgement and consequences right now. or he will learn that when he cheats, he is believed, forgiven and still liked. And he would do it again.

Umlauf Fri 21-Jun-13 12:28:00

He says he wants to keep it just between us, that he'd feel awful if people knew

This is just horrid. I missed that before.

He has seen what he has done to you.

How does he think YOU feel now that YOU know?

He is worried about feeling a bit embarrased?!?!

Fucking Prick.

So sorry OP x

lovesfastcars Fri 21-Jun-13 12:53:48

Please consider asking him to leave and respect your need for space and distance. I know it is a personal thing, and totally up to you, but I really believe that it can be so helpful both to you, and completely essential that he sees there are consequences to his actions.
It could only be as little as a few days, but it really helps to help get your head a bit straighter, and gather your strength.
I also think that it is perfectly ok to tell him that you don't believe he has told you the whole truth, his actions and version of events don't add up, and that he needs to be 100% honest because you won't even consider engaging with him until he does.
There is no way he would be behaving like this unless there is more to discover. Further lies and minimising will only damage your ability to begin to get over this (regardless of if you stay together, or go your separate ways)
There really is a script for this, and he is following it to the letter.
Don't accept this BS. Get real, get strong and assertive and you will feel much more in control.
All the best x

AThingInYourLife Fri 21-Jun-13 13:17:52

Wow, well now you have your proof that his tears are all for himself.

His main concern is keeping it quiet?

What a total fucking shit he is to you.

Despite all his boo-hooing about "what he's putting you through", he doesn't give a fuck about making it easier for you to feel better.

He's still lying and he wants to deny you support.

captainmummy Fri 21-Jun-13 13:37:20

So what is he actually doing to help you through this?
Has he stopped seeing/texting her?
Do you have full access to his phone, computer etc?
Is he willing to go to counselling?

I think also that you don't know the full story yet.


Bogeyface Fri 21-Jun-13 13:40:15

Of course he doesnt want anyone to know! He knows what people will think of him and he doesnt want that.

It is very clear that their relationship was physical, what you have to decide is whether or not you can live with that and give it another go. Personally I couldnt.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Fri 21-Jun-13 14:01:46

Plus, if people know, people may come out of the woodwork to admit 'I knew XZY/saw XZY but didn't want to interefere with your marriage...'

He's not only denying you support, he's trying to keep his self preservation to how much he has admitted to you and how much actually happened.

Plus, if word got around, could he and OW get in trouble at work?

All about him.

tessa6 Fri 21-Jun-13 16:24:04

Yes this is VERY true, OP. Often people don't want it 'out there' because lots of people close to the couple know or have suspicions. He may also be afraid the full story will come out.

His actions have been just woeful. The opposite of what someone should do I'm afraid if there's hope for rebuilding and putting the other person first.

You will tell who the hell you like. It is the truth. He did this. Especially his family, OP. He is trying to protect his own reputation over your self-respect. He is trying to manipulate you into protecting his grubby little secret for him, even though it has blown your world apart.

I think there is much much more at the bottom of this I'm afraid and I would go snooping and outright asking people, OP. I know all your instinct will be going into denial and relationship protecting lock down but now is the only time you can really sort this out. If you agree to collude in repressing it, six months down the line when you find something else out he'll be all 'It was A LONG time ago' and you'll be too far in to rebuilding to be brave and it'll eat away at you.

lazarusb Fri 21-Jun-13 17:03:36

Agree with everyone else. Tell who you like, this isn't your shame. He wants it kept quiet and swept under the rug. That way he can restart the affair at a more convenient time when you've been placated. He isn't acting to reassure you, he's trying to save himself.

2712 Fri 21-Jun-13 17:35:35

I wouldn't trust him ever again i'm afraid. And I would tell him to hand over his phone so you can see what messages are coming along. Don't just ask to look at it occasionally, keep it on hand at all times. If he refuses then he obviously doesn't really want to make things better.

Wellwobbly Fri 21-Jun-13 19:52:31

Please do what I did not do, and talk to people and reach out to them. Tell them the truth, and show them the texts.

The support I have had is huge. The disapproval he has had is huge. It reduces their power.

I am so sorry, he is lying to you. They have been having sex and he is doing damage limitation (it is called cake eating).

Throw him out and TELL PEOPLE.

MysteriousHamster Fri 21-Jun-13 20:22:28

He might well be crying because he's missing her. What an awful pig.

They clearly did sleep together.

I'm so sorry, OP. You need to start telling people so you have some RL support.

Lavenderhoney Fri 21-Jun-13 20:44:53

My dp before my dh did the whole " I'm so sorry, don't tell anyone " thing. Even when the ow turned up after being kicked out by her dh he was still worried about how he would look, and still denying it was physical in front of her!! Ill not forget the look she gave him! No dc involved thank goodness.

I went along with it until he gave me a huge sum of money representative of the time and money I had invested in the relationship, then I went to the local pub, had a few drinks and let slip the whole sorry tale of the 5 years he had spent having an affair. Rather sadly it appeared some close mutual friends already knew, and had been asked to keep quiet.

Op, do what's best for you. You don't have to decide quickly. I wouldn't bother asking the OW myself, she will only answer as it suits her. Don't blame yourself at all.

Thisisaeuphemism Sat 22-Jun-13 08:08:09

With him behaving like this - lying, minimising, crying and begging, you've got no chance of moving forwards.

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