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Please help, just found out DH having an affair, don't know what to do

(233 Posts)
knickyknocks Tue 17-Sep-13 09:36:33

My DH didn't log off from the family computer last night properly and have found emails in his sent box to someone (who looks like is also married). They are all of a sexual nature and he definitely looks like he's been having an affair for at least the past 3 months. He has been using 'going to the gym' as an excuse. It's making me feel sick.

He's due to go the gym this afternoon after work. I don't know what to do - we have a 5 month old and a 3 year old. Please help me. Do I ring him? confront him?

kiriwawa Thu 19-Sep-13 18:04:04

Familyscapegoat - that post (about not being lucky) deserves to go up there with Reality's one on what a good relationship looks like.

I really do think MN women should write a book on what to do post-affair.

knicky - I also think you need to take things really slowly. I think you need to find your rage before you even think of moving forward.

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 17:55:47

Thanks for clearing that up. I'm not here very often and I often come across threads with deleted posts and never know if I'm putting my foot in it or not!!

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 19-Sep-13 17:52:43

I triple posted, sorry- that's why the deleted posts!

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 17:42:41

I'm so sorry to rain on your parade, but if I'd read the E mails between my husband and the OW, I wouldn't have known any sexual contact had taken place either. There was a reason for that, because they were both married and knew that E mails were indelible records, so were both careful not to include any actual proof of adultery. Whereas the OW knew that texts were fair game, as once deleted couldn't be retrieved. I think it's safer to assume that some sort of sex or physical contact happened, even if it wasn't penis in vagina sex. Some people regard only that as 'sex' after all, but of course it isn't.

? On the deleted posts. Thank you Wobbly and I'm very sorry for your pain.

Wellwobbly Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:26

Ahem! Ahem! An announcement:

"I wasn't lucky that he read it or that he made fundamental changes to his ways of operating, not just as a husband but as a person. He was the lucky one who got his marriage back, but only on condition that he changed. That's not to be snippy, but to me this is central. I wasn't lucky. I got the husband and co-parent I should have always had. I would have been short-changing myself massively if I'd have settled for anything less after what happened. If he hadn't been willing to even read a book, he would have been long gone. Of course, he did much, much more than that in reality and I wouldn't have settled for anything less."


<Wobbly looks at the fundamental mistake she made. But will never, ever make again>

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 19-Sep-13 16:22:49

Speaking for myself I just hope you don't feel rushed knicky, it seems only fair you get to set the pace.

He said he wanted the attention. That is probably true. It may have felt gloriously simple and uncomplicated, pure indulgence, all for him, however transitory. When someone says, it could have been anyone - no abiding personal attachment perhaps but hardly reassuring.

Having wanted that attention, having scoped for it and having granted himself at the very least a stimulating part of it, I'm wondering if he can put that genie back in the bottle.

knickyknocks Thu 19-Sep-13 16:16:49

Yes that's right I read all the emails and it wad clear that they hadn't had sex. There was talk of meeting, kissing and touching. I think if they had done the do they would have written about it. All that said, it's still infidelity.

He's still at MIL, I think you're all right when you say I'm still absorbing the shock - and for me one of the questions is would he have ended up having sex with her if I hadn't seen the emails?

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 19-Sep-13 16:04:51

Omg sorry!

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 19-Sep-13 16:04:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 19-Sep-13 16:03:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

leylandii Thu 19-Sep-13 15:56:55

Agree familyscapegoat.

And you only have his word for it that they didn't have sex. It is the last thing men want to admit.

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 15:55:11

and I'm so sorry to say this, but if he actually met up with anyone in a car park, sex or physical contact of some sort has happened. This was a physical affair.

leylandii Thu 19-Sep-13 15:53:26

Oh dear Knicky, it looks like he is talking you round, far far too soon.

Please sit back and really absorb all that has happened.

Stay on your own for a while, see how life is panning out before you make any effort to repair the damage.

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 15:52:29

Yes but was he 'unhappy'? With you at least?

I remember saying to my husband 'but why didn't you talk to me about being unhappy in our relationship?' and he looked at me in astonishment and said 'because I wasn't!' What he did say was that he had felt too proud to admit that he wasn't coping with something at work and that the affair had been an escape from that, but not from our relationship.

It feels easy to apportion the blame on yourself for two reasons, I think. One is because everyone assumes for some reason that people only do this when they are unhappy at home and two because it's comforting to think you could have stopped this happening if you'd put your mind to it - and could therefore stop it happening again. It must be worse too if a husband is actually doing that blaming the marriage thing, so I hope he isn't.

knickyknocks Thu 19-Sep-13 15:40:55

Wise counsel from all. I think I have to give myself a jolt and say that this was his doing not feels so easy to apportion some of the blame to me.

He should have bloody spoken to me if he was unhappy not have met up with this woman in a car park and did God knows what. He says he's been an idiot, and inexcusable for what he did. he said he wanted the attention. To me it feels like he's saying all the right things but it feels far too soon to move on in any way. I need to get over the hurt first. And I'm still so angry.

Thanks for the tip off about relate. Won't be using them.

MadBusLady Thu 19-Sep-13 15:20:43

knicky please be careful that you are not rushing to absorb this betrayal into a narrative that makes it less painful and more like a shared problem - "it could have been anyone", "I can take my share of the blame for the relationship problems".

You haven't even got to counselling stage and you're already trying to work out "reasons" why he did this to your little family, in a context he is helping you create because you're still talking to him.

It is (obviously) hugely in his interests to help you build this narrative as fast as he can make you. Don't do it too quickly and regret stuffing all your responses back in their box later.

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 15:15:46

I'd be very wary about Relate too. They've got a hopeless reputation for dealing with infidelity of any kind and that reputation is richly deserved. After a friend's experience with them, we wouldn't have touched them with a bargepole.

In our case, the affair caused the most significant problems in our relationship and so once that was over, we had enough skills and a foundation strong enough to create a new relationship. We had separate counselling because we realised we were individuals first and foremost and that we needed different things from therapy. We both chose properly qualified and trained therapists on recommendation and after quite rigorous screening. Don't go too soon either and definitely not when you are both in shock. Couples counselling really isn't always appropriate for this but if you're going to go for that instead of or as well as individual therapy, think about someone other than Relate.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 19-Sep-13 15:11:32

As Cluffyflump said on Tuesday, you don't have to be perfect to deserve a non-cheating spouse.

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 15:00:20

No relationship is perfect and there isn't a marriage in the world that doesn't have the occasional slump or point when it's just ticking along, neither wildly happily nor desperately unhappily. This might sound strange, but can I ask you why you are talking about the state of your relationship? Why does it have to have anything to do with that? Is he saying that he wouldn't have done this if he'd been happy with you then?

Be careful about two things here. One, believing completely that there was no physical involvement with any woman at any time and two, that your relationship caused this. It's one of most naive (but understandable) beliefs that making him happy again would stop him straying, because it just won't. Only he can make himself happy again, investing so heavily in his relationship that it would be suicide to jeopardise what he has worked so hard to attain.

You need to read that book too. It dispels a lot of myths. Just make sure he has his own copy and reads it too.

knickyknocks Thu 19-Sep-13 14:36:54

Agree thisisaeuphromism this was about him getting his sexual kicks and I also,agree that I think it could have been with just about anyone who gave him the opportunity.

We have spoken, and he has offered all sorts, tracker on his phone (I don't want to track his phone, I want to trust him!), going to relate, making far more effort in our marriage.

If I'm completely honest, I too can take some of the blame for our relationship going downhill, though would never have been unfaithful - even if that didn't involve him having sex. Sharing sexual fantasies and kissing/touching a woman who's not your wife is infidelity, pure and simple.

Interesting about the book. I'm thinking this is a book for DH to read primarily?

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 13:58:24

Yes it was the Shirley Glass book, but no I wasn't lucky that he read it or that he made fundamental changes to his ways of operating, not just as a husband but as a person. He was the lucky one who got his marriage back, but only on condition that he changed. That's not to be snippy, but to me this is central. I wasn't lucky. I got the husband and co-parent I should have always had. I would have been short-changing myself massively if I'd have settled for anything less after what happened. If he hadn't been willing to even read a book, he would have been long gone. Of course, he did much, much more than that in reality and I wouldn't have settled for anything less.

Wellwobbly Thu 19-Sep-13 13:43:51

Family are you talking about Not Just Friends?

Your husband's reaction is interesting - and the fact that you are reconciling.

He said that it was excruciatingly hard to read - and he kept on reading it. Kudos to him.

My husband got as far as the doors and windows analogy, and decided that was all he needed to know. He did not carry on reading the book.

He got diagnosed as a narcissist, sadly, and I had had to file. You cannot fix a marriage on your own.

Lucky you, for having an H who had the courage to continue to go into areas that were strange and difficult for him. Please tell him he has my respect.

Would you say it has helped him? Has he changed at all, become more thoughtful?

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 19-Sep-13 13:36:31

Agree that selfishness is the common thread.

Also agree that reading Not Just Friends is to be recommended - its not an easy book to read for the cheater because its like looking into a mirror.

familyscapegoat Thu 19-Sep-13 13:30:56

No the common thread is not a lack of communication. Communication isn't only verbal in any case and even silence is a communication. The common thread in affairs is selfishness.

That book that's been recommended was great for us, although we found we'd been doing all that was recommended, fairly instinctively. It would have been great to have known about it at the time of discovery, especially as it was a fairly new publication then.

It was by far the most difficult book for my husband to read though and I noticed after joining Mumsnet that the people who disliked it most were the people who'd been unfaithful themselves and tellingly, had never actually read it properly. My husband's approach was to recognise that reading something that was uncomfortable would probably provide the most learning and he would now unhesitatingly recommend it as the best book for an unfaithful person to read. I do think you have to be very self-aware to get the most out of it and to be prepared to ditch lots of justifications and delusions about your own character and why you behaved so badly to people you were meant to love (including oneself).

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 19-Sep-13 09:53:28

I don't believe lack of communication to be a common thread.

The common thread would probably be one partner deciding to put their wants and desires above the partnership. (for whatever reason)

Hope you are ok, op. I would struggle with this especially because the two suggests such intention- he did not slip into a relationship with someone he liked- instead he seemed to have actively looked for sexual kicks with anyone available. I hope you are getting lots of support. I think he needs to really explore what made him so entitled and faithless.

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