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Can I save my marriage?

(13 Posts)
siblingrevelry Tue 11-Mar-14 08:25:24

For the past few months my DH has been grumpy and snappy with me & the children-this coincided with changing his job so I put a lot of it down to pressure etc.

Three weeks ago he said he felt sad and depressed and was struggling, wanted us to show more love & attention to each other and be less snappy (3 children under 7 and busy lives). I thought maybe he had depression, but things haven't improved so last night I asked if there was anyone else.

He was honest with me and told me everything: in his previous job hd found himself having feelings for a colleague so did what he thought was best and left (they worked in same dept so couldn't just avoid her). He is a decent man who always tries to do the right thing, so I believe when he says nothing happened, that he knew he was developing feelings and didn't want to risk our family. He wants us to stay together, but I don't know where to go from here, knowing he had feelings for someone else.

Should I focus on the fact he hasn't had a physical affair, or is it worse because feelings were involved? And if anyone has been able to move on from a situation like this, how do you 'un-learn' what you know and not let it eat you up?


Melonbreath Tue 11-Mar-14 08:30:37

I suppose it hinges on WHY he developed feelings for someone else. Because if things aren't right between you he could do it again, and go further.
If he's staying with you because he still loves you I'd say work through your problems.
If he's staying with you for the sake of the family I'm sorry but I think it would be time to call it a day.
You need to have a frank and honest discussion with your DH.
it's very easy to say show love and affection, but after hearing what you've heard i imagine it would be very difficult doing that right now!
He needs to know why he strayed, and it's not up to you to fix it.

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Tue 11-Mar-14 08:38:37

I disagree with the above... He didn't stray. Yes, he started having feelings for someone else but he did the right thing, he acted to remove himself from the situation and work on your marriage.

But I do agree that you need to look at what prompted this to happen, there's probably some underlying emotions from you both that need to be addressed.

I absolutely believe that your marriage can be saved if it's what you both want and you're both prepared to uncover where the issues are and work on fixing them.

I'm not suggesting we get out the pom-poms and cheer him on for not having an affair, but there are many men out there that would have made all the usual excuses to themselves and jumped straight in.

Think about what you want now, and get him to do the same. Then work together to achieve it... Good luck OP.

AfricanExport Tue 11-Mar-14 09:07:49


I have to agree with TMNT. I don't think your marriage is under threat at all. I think your husband has done the right thing, putting you and your family first. I would think most Marriages go through ups and downs and if they survive those they are stronger for it. Personally I think this is a minor issue and I wouldn't lose sleep over it, however I understand others may not feel the same. The question is really do you love him enough and are you able to get over it? If not, it's going to be difficult. He had a choice and prioritised his family and you (many many men would not do what he has done) that must be a good thing.

Personally I don't think we have control over our hearts, married or not, and sometimes infatuation gets confused with love. However we do have control over whether we act on these fleeting emotions. That is were being faithful comes in.

siblingrevelry Tue 11-Mar-14 09:57:39

Thanks for the replies. This is what's great about mumsnet; it's easy to feel all is lost in the middle of the night, but it helps to get some perspective.

LavenderGreen14 Tue 11-Mar-14 10:02:07

You say you should save your marriage, but shouldn't it be him putting in the legwork after a potential emotional affair?

Would he attend counselling with you I wonder? Could you still trust him after this. What if he is minimising and something more actually did happen.

Sorry, but he may only have told you the bare minimum?

siblingrevelry Tue 11-Mar-14 10:10:09

It's always possible that he went further lavender, but my gut believes he is telling the truth.

The onus is on him to fix things, but if he's sorry and wanting to work out why it happened, surely it's up to me to meet him halfway?

LavenderGreen14 Tue 11-Mar-14 10:12:20

Yep fair point, but I would hope you aren't compromising your own worth and beliefs to keep the peace.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 11-Mar-14 10:46:52

Meeting someone halfway when he's just taken the wind out of your sails is quite tricky. You need a moment to get your breath back. You've been under the illusion that in spite of normal pressures of everyday life, you were working as a team. Yes you can save your marriage but it has to be a joint effort.

If he was so restrained as to resist entanglement, quit that job and work elsewhere, why tell you long after the event? He made a miserable atmosphere around the home for months, and let you worry for him, because he was feeling hard done by. You were competing with that female colleague, away from domestic cares and DCs, and didn't even know it.

Now he has told you in stages what he would like to see and to warn you he has been looking elsewhere, and to shape up.

If he is saying in effect some of the magic has gone, ie you aren't trying hard enough, how much effort does he put in?

siblingrevelry Tue 11-Mar-14 10:58:20

Some of the 'couple' magic has undoubtedly gone, just by virtue of the fact we've been together nearly 20 years and have three small children, so we're way past snogging in the sofa and ripping each others clothes off.

If I'm honest I'd have to say we've both taken each other for granted in the last year or so. We've started spending less time together (just being normal and watching a movie or having a drink), our conversations tend to just be about the children, I spend half the evening in the bath whilst he works etc. I thought it was just contentment and being comfortable with each other, but clearly he feels it more keenly. Not an excuse but possibly the reason he was able to have his head turned by someone childless & attractive.

I suppose I don't know how to get 'us' back, as a couple other than just parents. I show love and affection by cooking food he likes, buying little things for him and generally being thoughtful (as does he), but I suppose that's just what being married is and isn't necessarily enough.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 11-Mar-14 11:00:37

I think sparkle and spontaneity are tough to achieve with DCs around, the vital thing is to give each other a nudge now and again not bottle up resentment.

Jan45 Tue 11-Mar-14 11:42:12

Sorry but for him to develop feelings for someone else would make me think there was something seriously wrong in our relationship. If you're in a happy and fulfilling relationship with someone it's very unlikely you will develop feelings for someone else.

He needs to really open up to you and tell you what he was feeling and thinking about you two during this time he had this `infatuation` or whatever he calls it for someone else, it's a form of betrayal in my book.

Doesn't mean you can't fix things and make things good again but it's down to honest talking and yes of course you should meet him half way.

Lavenderhoney Tue 11-Mar-14 12:02:43

He could have done all this before the upheaval of changing jobs, what was the reason he told you at the time? You both could have done something about it instead of getting to this place. Changing jobs because you have a crush on someone is quite extreme- no one is making you do more than nod hello and not chat. I've had crushes before and I just keep professional and it goes away.

I think mixing the job change and his feelings for another woman - then telling you now he had feelings- seems quite odd. Why mention her? Its hardly going to help you is it? Because now you feel all pissed off he went off to work and had feelings for someone else. Its hard to be sexy with someone if you feel you are being compared and in a competition, even if he says he doesn't see or have any contact with her.

Ask him what he would like to do to make things better. And what would you like? More affection, more sex?

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