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Having panicky attacks about my marriage

(63 Posts)
Charlie1972 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:02:26

Advance Warning: Male poster alert!

Feeling kinda scared about posting up on a) an internet forum and b) as a male poster on a female board but i'm past that now. Deep breath.

Me, 40, Been married 5yrs, gorgeous daughter nearly 3. DW, 35

I found out last Thursday that my world has been turned upside down with revelations about my marriage which has yet to truly subside.

Had a phone call on Thursday from my parents who asked me to come over after work. Thought that someone had died, so arrived already in a state of apprehension and when I found my rather solid parents on the verge of tears, to hear from them that my wife had blurted out earlier on that afternoon that our marriage was in tatters and all sorts of things were 'wrong' that I just couldnt contain myself. Burst into tears and couldnt stop. Easily the most embarassing, emotionally humiliating and disturbing 1-2-1 i've ever had with my folks in my life.

Went home later that evening and had a frank chat with DW, and if it couldn't get any worse, I found that she's slept with a male friend down the street and I totally lost it. Never felt so angry, betrayed, hurt and just dead inside. I was just screaming my face off into a pillow. I think if I'd just heard that my parents had died or something, I'd have reacted less than that. DW seemed unphased with telling me and apparantly because ive been neglectful of our relationship - which I refute - and that she has low self esteem and that new 'friend' made her feel special – A bloke who I actually quite liked TBH, nice enough, a mans man man IYKWIM.

I knew that DW was flirting with another local male friend over the last three months via text/phone but apparently came to nothing but saucy photos and innuendo and I believe that story and before we were married, I knew of a 'kissing' relationship with one of her work colleagues which I just put down to a bit of silly pre-marital flirting.

The more recent emotional flirt has got me down over the last few months and I' decided to keep schtum to keep a marriage and family going, turning a blind eye hoping it'd blow over, which I think it did, but the sex relationship has utterly floored me and the mental images of them at it just won't leave my head days and days later. I'm not sleeping, feel like a volcano all the time, and I can t really focus on work properly.

I'm trying to play happy families and I want us to work on the issues that involve me that do have merit - household stuff - but they're driven by the fact i've been harbouring knowledge of whats been going on. Its circular. But nothing's that 'bad' that warrants this event whatsoever.

I'm rambling sorry.

I dont want a divorce and having to go through all the crap that entails, we've got a daughter who deserves two committed parents and I dont think I can cope with a split, especially with the raw deal Dad's get from the justice system ;-(. The dark thoughts i've had in the middle of night awake in bed about all of that scare me utterly witless and i'm sure its classed as a panic attack.

All through this, DW seems completely unphased, and remarkably calm. Maybe masking emotions too, or maybe further down the line of the siutation than me - I just dont know.

I don't even know where I'm going with this post now, I'm lost

Thank you for listening, reading. Its cathartic to have written that.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:07:07

Sorry Charlie, that's awful, really terrible. Your wife must take full responsibility here regardless of her feeling neglected, having an affair is never an answer in fixing anything, it just makes it more likely that you will end up splitting. What does your wife want to do, is she really sorry, has it ended, does she want to fully commit to making things work with you, cos you can't do it alone, she has to want the same. I don't think you can think clearly and no wonder, the shock is probably still with you. Maybe in a few days when you come to accept fully what has happened you can then focus on finding out why and working out a way to stay together, you may feel there is no and end up separating, I know you don't want this for your daughter but there's no point if the future is not looking very bright.

NotYoMomma Tue 30-Jul-13 13:09:57

my bil was in the same situation. his wife had bipolar and he moved heaven and earth for her, and she cheated on him twice.

he very much had your attitude even though we thought she was constantly taking him for a mug, and then turning it around and then blaming him.

sadly she still left him, cheated with another man and then claimed bil had neglected her! a bloke who did most of the stuff in the house as well as worked and was even made redundant partly due to being one of the more unreliable people in the office having to deal with her constant demands and her issues sad

it broke him, it really did it was horrible to see.

he ended up with 50/50 childcare for a long time though (just changed recently his own choice due to schools etc)

Sounds awful

KittyVonCatsworth Tue 30-Jul-13 13:11:53

My goodness, I'm so sorry. You must feel as if the rugs been pulled from under you.

I don't know what's happened in the past, but you mention she has self esteem issues. Has she been specific as to what and the root of these issues are? Has she communicated to you how you can help? I also think that a kiss / EA before you were married was an indicator.

Maybe she wants to 'test' your love for her, maybe thinks that you're too good for her and giving you an out?

I don't know what to advise, but I do think that this is a reoccurring theme and unless her self esteem issues are dealt with, it has the potential to happen again. Do you have the strength, love and will to be there, if so, good luck xxx

AgathaF Tue 30-Jul-13 13:16:01

I'm so sorry you've had to go through this.

You say that you wan to stay with her and that your child deserves two committed parents. That's the crux of the matter though. Your wife isn't committed to you or your family unit. She appears to be showing no remorse for the devastating thing she has done. She needs to accept that she has done wrong and genuinely want to commit to your relationship for it to survive. Unless and until she does that, you are just limping along sticking plasters over it.

maleview70 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:18:05

Your daughter can still have two committed parents who don't live together anymore.

Splitting isn't always as bad as you think it is going to be.

I did it and have a much better life with someone who doesn't cheat on me like my first wife did.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Jul-13 13:20:55

Sorry you've had such a nasty shock. It's going to take some time to sink in and for the misery you're experiencing to turn to anger at the humiliation and cruelty. Who on earth is so cowardly as to tell your parents to tell you your marriage is on the rocks? That's got to be the bridge-burning moment to end all bridge-burning moments...

So take your time, get some good legal/practical advice (about where fathers stand post-divorce aside from anything else) and ask her to leave while you look after DD and sort out how you feel.

Good luck

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Jul-13 13:28:16

"maybe further down the line of the siutation than me"

This is a racing certainty. She's had weeks or months to decide what's happening, how she feels, justifying her affair and making bizarre plans like offloading all the crap on your parents to give you the bad news hmm. You've had five minutes to get your head round it.

There is no good way for a relationship to end but there are plenty of nasty and cruel ways. She's in the latter category...

Charlie1972 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:29:29

Thank you posters so far for the replies. Love you.

CogitoErgoSometimes You hit a nail on the head. I'm not known for picking up on subtle hints in life. I'm a typical bloke I guess, if its not written in 6 inch big letters, I don't see it coming type, so the hints that things are going wrong domestially have probably not regitstered and I'll admit that over the last few months, with the knowledge of stuff going on that I wasnt supposed to know about hasnt helped, I've been a bit reticent to do stuff.

My folks recanted what they were told and I got a grilling. They were not to know any different given the evidence by the prosecution. Overblown blame shifting i think is the modern phrase uses.

bestsonever Tue 30-Jul-13 13:31:01

There's been a fair bit of burying your head in the sand about your DW - before and since married it seems the misdemeanors have continued. Can't help feeling that what you have is a woman with a very poor attitude and shows no sign of loyalty to you or her child. I wonder if time can improve her behaviour as it could all be a part of her ingrained attitude which would be hard and unlikely to change.
Take time out to think if you could live like this and go through similar in future. Time away gives perspective and also may help to hit home to her the enormity of what she has done - ie make herself potentially a single parent. Somehow I doubt the 'man's man' will interested in her as a package with a 3year old, so you have time to contemplate your options.
Also, how shit is that to tell your parents before you? Seems she has communication issues of her own.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Jul-13 13:38:17

Don't blame yourself for not picking up on hints. Ask anyone in your position whether they had an inkling there was something wrong and nine times out of ten, they've missed the signs because they weren't looking for them. The sexting and pre-marital flirting were, in retrospect, something you should have paid more attention to, and I suppose the life lesson from this is how quickly something that seems innocent and carpet-brushable one minute, can develop the next.

For all we know you could be the DH from hell, of course .... but, even if you were, the 'right' or mature way to approach this would have been something much more open and honest. Your DW sounds like a sly piece of work

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Jul-13 13:39:20

.... and have you told her to leave?

ImperialBlether Tue 30-Jul-13 13:45:48

I'm so sorry; you've had one of the worst experiences in life.

She is a piece of work, isn't she? Blithely going about her life after throwing a bomb into your life. And what the hell was she doing telling your parents? Was she blaming you? Did she tell them she'd been sleeping with someone else?

When I first found out my ex had been unfaithful I felt like I was in shock for a long time. It was as though I'd been knocked over by a bus. Don't expect to feel OK for quite a while.

If you feel you are having a panic attack, try to breathe in for a count of four (count while you're doing it) and out for a count of four. I think that was the only way I got through them. At first it seems impossible to breathe but try to focus on it and eventually your body will respond.

Charlie1972 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:48:42

ImperialBlether (like that name! LOL) No, she didnt mention the affairs to my folks. I dropped that into proceedings which devastated my mother when I said it. Not sure I should have told them but I was emotionally wide open at the time.

CogitoErgoSometimes No..i've not. PM'd you

ImperialBlether Tue 30-Jul-13 13:54:45

Of course you should have told them. Your wife involved your parents in your marriage but left out a very important detail. You have every right to set them straight.

Charlie1972 Tue 30-Jul-13 13:58:10

Guess youre right ImperialBlether just that I didn't like being a crybaby in front of my folks, im supposed to be a 40 year old man, not a emotional teenager. blush

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Jul-13 13:59:18

You're never too old to need emotional support.

Vivacia Tue 30-Jul-13 14:07:13

What does your wife want to happen? Either way I think the standard advice is to ask the partner to leave and live elsewhere for a few days so that you have time and space to come to terms with the news and consider what you want to happen.

Charlie1972 Tue 30-Jul-13 14:13:27

Vivacia I think she wants me to make changes in my life to show some time commitment (!!), but I'm not 100% sure that this is the entire problem. Dunno, male intuition (!!!).

Maybe i'm a pessimist, and seeing the bad side first but maybe she's just stalling for time before getting her world in order and leaving. We discussed relate briefly but there was too much emotion in the discussion for that to progress as a definate route.

Maybe....I need to revisit the conversation with a clearer head to find out how we're progressing??

Charlie1972 Tue 30-Jul-13 14:18:23

The fun will begin when she picks up on this post tonight.

Fireworks ahoy.

...she's a MNetter too. Sorry.

ImperialBlether Tue 30-Jul-13 14:18:35

I have a son who is 21 and I like to think that if he ever needed my support he could come to me and I would help him. If he cried, I would be terribly upset but I certainly wouldn't judge him. God, just the thought of that is awful. Think of your daughter when she's an adult; if she was upset over her marriage, would you call her a crybaby?

This is the third person that your wife has been emotionally involved in, then? Something is very wrong, isn't it? She isn't exactly trying to save the marriage now, is she? I think you need to steel yourself for quite a rocky ride in the next few months.

Does your wife work? Is she the main carer?

ImperialBlether Tue 30-Jul-13 14:19:07

Oh great - don't you think you could have said she was a Mumsnetter at the beginning?

ImperialBlether Tue 30-Jul-13 14:19:44

I think the last time that happened here, OP, it didn't work out too well for the man making the original post. Just saying.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 30-Jul-13 14:20:09

Completely agree why not tell your parents her exploits after all she gave them her (edited) version. God knows how she will have dressed it up for your mutual friends or in-laws.

Marriages do fail but a decent person normally settles things so everyone knows how things stand before jumping into bed with a random person. Is she claiming she'd tried telling you there were problems? This was a cruel if effective way of getting your full attention as the big announcement post-bonk was surely meant as a stick of dynamite to make sure there was absolutely no going back. Presumably that is why she is so calm, "mission accomplished"

I am sorry if in spite of all you still love her but please wait for the shock and humiliation to wear off before attempting to talk your wife into staying in this relationship. She doesn't have any respect for you and you will be eaten up worrying what she gets up to behind your back and apparently, in plain view.

Get legal advice see what kind of arrangements you can make for DD's care. Her mother might jump at 50/50 shared parenting.

Vivacia Tue 30-Jul-13 14:20:19

She is the one who has betrayed you and your marriage vows. She's lied to you and even dragged your parents in to it. I think the onus is on her to make some changes.

If your instincts are saying that she's lining her pockets, trust your instincts.

How about asking her to move out for a few days? If it were me, I'd be giving my partner 20 minutes and a bin bag.

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