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.
Unfaithful husband, separating but struggling mightily with it...(105 Posts)
After repeated episodes of infidelity I decided to separate from husband of 30 years. Despite all the bad stuff, we had repaired over the years and had a deep bond (well his a bit more shallow than mine obviously!). We have three children 6th form and beyond, so it's not a bad time to be doing this - and it's not acrimonious so no nasty stuff going on really.
I've been reading Mumsnet threads for a while now, and been quite shocked at how many people this happens to at this stage in marriage (when you'd think it'd be the home run down to retirement etc). So anyway I realised the rollercoaster of emotions was pretty normal, calm strong crumbling suicidal etc - and that this is a kind of bereavement so have just tried carrying on through it. It's kind of bleak though.
At heart I want my life back but I can't backtrack and then have to go through the affair bombshell all over again. We're a couple of months down the line with the practical stuff - he's moved out though don't think anything is happening with 'her'.
Anyway - all of a sudden I can't cope with it anymore, am freshly devastated, crying morning till night, wanting to simply die - and almost at the point of saying 'come home'. What's going on?? I want my bottle back! He would come home I think - and it's so tempting to make all this pain go away. I've managed up to this point and am so frustrated with myself about my feelings. I know I love him too much, despite his behaviour. My friends and family would be appalled if I backtracked - but am really struggling now.
Just keep going, love. This too shall pass.
You know you can't go back.
feckit this is very, very early on in the process.
It is more common that people think that long marriages crumble just when it looks like a new chapter is beginning. Mind did too. I felt like my whole future had been stolen from under my feet and it was devastating. I felt like you. Other's here will tell you a similar story, I'm sure. What is 'different' about those marriages which feature infidelity is that the length of the marriage becomes kind of incidental - truly, whether you'd been married 3 or 30 years infidelity is a deal breaker, right?
I hope you have RL support, people who you can turn to day and night (and if not, there is always someone here who will talk to you). How are your DC's?
What you owe to yourself is time to process what's happened and to act upon it to protect yourself from future hurt. It's possible to do these things whilst coming to terms with the reality. But it does take time.
If you feel it's possible (given your DC's are older) it might be better to go no contact with your H as rather than being able to stop the pain you are in now he will add to it - because he caused it in the first place.
There will be a lot of support for you here. Lots of really well thought out advice and insights for you to think about and act upon.
I'm just over 2 years down the line. I did it and you can too.
All part if it my friend. It's grief and you must go through it to heal properly.
Can you try to get through it by being as busy as possible and not being alone much.
I found by doing that and making exciting plans for the future (India with the kids) it helped me move through that most difficult time.
Your mind will keep reminding you of the good times, its up to you to remind yourself of the bad ones that will be no more.
Oh that was quick!
Any: 'you know you can't go back' - you're right, I know, it helps to see it in black and white...
Aka: Yes it does feel as the future has been stolen - but also my past.
I don't know about infidelity being a dealbreaker - it's a big mistake to make but sometimes it can give a relationship a kick up the arse; but repeated infidelity I think is different.
Yes I have lots of support (but sense a weariness, I must be so boring!) Children are ok with it somehow.
Tried no contact at the start because his presence was upsetting, but seems whatever way things are it's upsetting.
Thanks for support - glad you are ok 2 years on.
Led: Yes being busy, doing all the right things I think. And I remind myself of the bad times all the time - I know he's a complete shit, I know I don't want more of the same, but logic and sense are getting shoved out of the way by my attachment to him just now. How was India?
I have no valuable advice to give you, but will hold your hand if you like? Wishing you all the strength in the world (even the negative,sad emotions must be better than just feeling numb and putting up with it?)
Oh, and these are for you
Very healing. It gave me time to think and making such an epic journey alone with dc have me massive confidence that u could do anything.
I went from strength to strength to be honest.
I found it refreshing to live without doubt and deceit.
I do remember feeling so sad it was over and remembering the good times and not the bad.
So come on. What are your plans for the next month?
Yes I felt robbed of my past and my memories.
I've made new ones now though and still remember the old ones fondly.
Don't feel robbed of your future though cos it would have been more of the same.
What you are going through is part of the grieving process, but you will get through this.
Have been in a similar position and once the fog clears you will see clearly how truly awful living a lie with someone who is repeatedly unfaithful is. It groung me down so much I had lots of minor illnesses and early onset arthritis which miraculously resolved about a year after my split.
My H also fished around coming back a couple of months after my split - but I knew in my heart nothing would change and that my love for him had been killed off by his repeated infidelity. Just think how you would feel dealing with all that shit again and again as you get older. Once the scales fall from your eyes there is no going back.
Am 5 yrs on, and pushing 50 have built a new life with new partner and am very happy.
You can do it too
I think you must act as vessel with morals and standards.
Your old life died and your new life is only a newborn. You don't not the shape it is going to take on yet, although you can govern that to an extent.
I think you must stop thinking what feelings you would like to have and be a vessel, into which feelings rise, pass and move on into the whole ness of life. Don't try and choose, just let the, come, pass, and go.
Hold onto your standards tho. No shouting at people. Self harming etc.
I think you a very brave but its ok to cry and want to lie on the floor until it gets dark. Give yourself permission to do what you want to or feel to do. X
I think you are very brave, but you are grieving for many things at the same time
The marriage you thought you had
The man you thought you knew and thought loved you enough
The family you had
The effort you put into your marriage over and over again
The stage of child dependent family life
The you are grieving for
The future life you wanted together
If you are solvent, I think you can do no better than to give yourself a year of indulgence. Look after you. Get fit, or fitter. Buy lovely new clothes. Have your hair done. Study for something new. Go on some dates (some will be awful, but they are recovery dates so not to be taken seriously), book some fun weekends with girlfriends, as ledkr suggested a holiday of a lifetime, consider a new career. Even spend money n some good counselling or or a life coach type person (so you save your friends for fun).
All much easier with £ I realise.
If you are broke, I can try to think of alternatives, but I found these things very life affirming. Oh and buy a fuck off swanky watch, so every time You look at it, you can smile and think of all the good times to come.
So many different ideas... I chuckled at 'saving friends for fun' it must be so grim to have a miserable friend like a broken record going on about how they can't imagine life without him blah blah. And then after all that they go back to him (trying not to honest)
Thanks all for these suggestions, and for support. I wish I understood a bit more about what goes on in your head when you bond with someone - and what happens when you separate. It's just completely bewildering to go from feeling feisty and strong, to just plain desperate. I want so much to be strong, to hang in there and make a life on my own. The desolation is overwhelming at times. Why do I feel this way about someone who's hurt me so badly (so often!).
Q's... how many times had he been unfaithful? How long had you known about them?
I think it feels so awful, because you use the person you love as a pivotal point. Quite rightly. When they show themselves to be unworthy, everything becomes off kilter.
You have to adjust your centre if everything. But you do.
Hard going, mind x
Wish could work out what's going on, why I'm going backwards after all these weeks - haven't been brilliant exactly but coped, whereas this is debilitating. Waking up all night and being hit with it like a steamroller, then having to get up and be human, get through the day - can't run away because of various commitments. And it all starts again tomorrow. So worn down with his crap over the years, and yet hoped this would be a relief, fresh start - and no more crap. Can't bear it
Cro: couldn't be sure exactly how many times, but 3+. Started some years ago, knew and forgave except for this time.
Itcould: Yes that is true about the pivotal point; the fact that I have not been his pivotal point is what I need to wake up to. Trying to balance the £ with indulgence by the way - not quite sure what way things will be financially yet but trying to do nice things to keep me going.
Elast: well done for sticking out for you. I hope I can too.
Some: you sound very chilled and calm, and no haven't been shouting.
Led: Plans for next month? I want to run away just thinking about this, future very scary. But a friend and I may take a trip, she may regret this after the first 24 hours
Appreciate everyone's comments, thank you
In a similar situation.
Have found counseling hugely beneficial - you realize it is all normal how you are feeling, and part of a process.
You need to try disengage from him as much as possible - I struggled with this ranging from e-mails basically begging him to try again as I am so devastated at the loss of my family (my kids are young), and hateful SMS's.
Now he gets nothing from me but facts and things about kids.
I stress he is going to persue a relationship with OW. He swore it was a one time thing but, franky, I don't believe him.
But I can't control it.... that is the hard part, not having control.
And if you give him any emotion you lose more control.
It is a process and takes time, I am only 5 weeks in but have lost 5kgs which is fab. I feel sick all the time and want to hide and cry too.
I so know how you feel.... just talk talk talk talk to everyone you can
also maybe ask your GP for something to help you through - an anti anxiety medication or something
The old battles had a weary familiarity, now you falter at the edge of new territory. He had children with you, had multiple affairs and may be the adult who knows you best in the world. After struggling with that combination you must find the future tame not bleak. Your friends may be sorrowful on your behalf or have compassion fatigue. Now it's time for a new chapter or new friends to tell it to.
You can limit contact with H as you don't need to facilitate contact with your children at their age. Meet somewhere neutral if it is unavoidable. Is he grieving, pining for domestic bliss? He scorned that, years' ago. Anniversaries and birthdays will be triggering milestones so plan ahead, organise distractions.
If your children are grown up then you could feel a double whammy: H gone, DCs flying the nest. I like the idea of a sort of bucket list except you aren't preparing for your death. Phoenix-like you'll rise from the ashes of broken promises. Put yourself first for once.
I am sorry you are in so much pain. I am separated from my exh too. Nearly thirty years married, and now nearly eleven weeks down the line. I am functioning,just, I can't say I feel any joy in anything at present but am hoping that will come eventually. I keep hearing 'fake it till you make it', and that is good advice, force yourself to do things, be kind to yourself and once again, talk to whoever you want to! At one point I was telling the window cleaner and the lady in the changing rooms at bhs! Everything you have described sounds normal, I have had melt downs everywhere I have been!
According to my counsellor everything you have described sounds totally normal. I ache and pine for my exh constantly but the only way I can get through it is by thinking about all the damage he has done to me and my girls, and then I get angry.
I hope I will stop loving him, after all how can we love someone who has treated us so badly? That is my way of thinking.
Am also on sleeping tabs, anti d's and diazepam! I am rattling when I walk!
querty I'm sorry, it must be difficult with young children - you're always on duty so staying below the quilt not always possible. Yes am talking talking talking, and holding out for counselling but not sure if it'll be the lifeline I need. Ultimately you have to find the strength from within, just when you're at your weakest - so unfair!
donkeys Yes think he's pining for domestic bliss, but suspect this is only because it may not have worked out with the woman. Perhaps his availability made him less enticing to her. And yes I am faltering - the new territory is scaring me shitless, and how are you meant to embark on a new life when at your lowest ebb. And I like the bucket list idea - and the 'me first' (not in my nature but will try...)
mrsmc I have been reading your thread, and posted a couple of times. I'm glad your counsellor thinks we're normal! Your thread made me realise that. It's been a complete bombshell for you hasn't it? I'd had a bit of practice at it, and didn't want another one (but went back for more). It's bewildering when the person you thought you knew best becomes a stranger, and is no longer there to comfort you now you're bereft. I hope it starts to feel better for you soon.
I think my problem is that I'm at a bit of a crossroads - I could make my misery go away (for now) by reconciling, or keep on this road and hope I get over it eventually. The fact that I may (?) have this choice is perhaps what's making things so acute, and it's like the grieving starts afresh all the time as I bat back and forth between the options - am so full of doubts and fears, scared of being alone (am in my 50s) but scared of feeling like such a stupid tiny person for being so weak and considering allowing this to happen all over again. Boy I feel pathetic.
The trouble is if you go back to him now feckit history shows you that you'll be right back where you are now in weeks or months time? He will cheat on you again. Surely better to think to yourself, 'I'm dealing with this hurt for the last time' than 'I'm putting off this hurt until later'?
I'm so sorry you are going through this. My mum was widowed at about your stage in life and she still grieves years later at times...most of the time though she loves her new life...give yourself time and don't deny yourself the time to hurt...you have good reason to.
I ended up reconciling with my stbxh when it all got too much. Don't get to that point! This time round I have a counsellor, who really keeps me together. Still going through the pain, but in a less terrifying way. If you can afford it at all, book an appointment with one in the morning - I don't often see mine, she doesn't cost as much as I expected, but she is there for me whenever I want to pay her and that is such a massive support.
Sleep- my doctor has given me sleeping pills for when it is really bad, and recommended Piriton for night wakings (it works). Everything is better if you have slept well, sure you know that. Maybe get to the doctors too?
Don't forget the pain of his repeated betrayal. And believe in a bright future, whatever that means to you xx
He knew he was pushing his luck, thought you would tolerate it as long as he paid the Missus the compliment of coming back to you. That's what he expects you to do, lump it. Possibly he minimised it - flings, mistakes, moment(s) of madness. Or kept it quiet, out of 'respect' for you or even 'consideration'.
You can carve out a rich new life - 50+ isn't over the hill! - and he'll be still seeking new thrills from new women. Only he'll cut a more ridiculous figure. Last time you lived under the same roof, did you never catch him smirking at his reflection in a mirror?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.