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Prepared for a flaming - but need advice. Sorry. Long.

(37 Posts)
suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 20:36:27

NC for this. Obvs. I'm in such a mess. We're in such a mess.

Married to DH for 8 years. 2 DDs 6 and just 4.

Marriage difficult from the get-go. Met DH while both involved with a very full-on church. So didn't have sex beforehand, and only had a 4 month relationship before getting engaged (during which point I lost my Dad to cancer - we got engaged 2 months after that – make of it what you will) and just a 4 month engagement before getting married, (mostly his idea).

Has always been a difficult relationship. Sex dreadful, but apparently very effective - despite using birth control I found out i was pregnant on our foirts wedding anniversary. DH has been, for much of our marriage very controlling.

I had catastrophic PND after DD1, coupled with PTSD and significant physical damage (problems during pregnancy, horrible horrible brutal foreceps delivery). So while I had never been bothered about having sex with DH and did so mostly to avoid arguments, I now couldn't bear the thought. Almost suicidal for a while with the PNDS. DH genuinely baffled by the whole thing, I think. Not very helpful during it, and frustrated and angry by my lack of libido. And also my lack of faith (which disappeared with the PND, frankly, if not before with the death of my Dad)

But he became very critical and then very absorbed in work and mostly not at home or attached to his laptop. DD2 came along after maybe only having sex three times after DD1 was born.

I went back to work again after DD2 then quit my job and set up my own business. Started getting myself back, after many years of feeling like someone I didn't recognise. Business flourished (but going through a tough time just now.). Marriage disintegrated. lots of arguments

Unsurprisingly then I met someone through work, and we fell headlong for each other. He is also married, although has an open marriage (this I know because she and I had lunch).

DH found out about the affair. Forgave me. Accepted responsibility for his part. Is working hard to be a better husband and father – I'd say he's succeeding more with the latter than the former

I tried to break it off with the other man. Several times. I've failed to do this. I love him. The sex is amazing. He's not offering me anything other than OW status – but I'm actually not looking for another husband. I'm not sure I'm suited to marriage, frankly.

I see OM now only about once every 3-4 months. We email a lot. Speak on the phone maybe once/twice a week. He says I am the love of his life. But he won't leave his wife, largely for fear of being his dad who did exactly that, and other reasons. And he has no need – his wife knows about me and accepts the situation.

DH is trying monumentally hard, but is still controlling and emotionally manipulative.

I honestly don't know what to do. I think all the time of how I could leave him and be free. But then I think about the devastation for our children.

I feel like I can't stay in the marriage, and yet I can't leave the marriage. I am terrified by either prospect.

I am deeply unhappy in my marriage, but then i think "What the hell does that matter, you selfish bitch. Think of your children. They love their Dad, what gives you the right to wreck their home because you're 'unhappy'."

I can't bear the thought of leaving the OM. I love him, and want him. It feels like he's the only thing keeping me going, actually.

But I can't go on like this. I am unsuited to subterfuge and a terrible liar. I think the tension is making me ill. But I don't know what to do. I feel terrified and desperate, frankly.

Go on, then do you worst. I need to hear it all, I think.

And thank you for bothering to read this far. I'm not going to try and reread and edit, so apologies of this is a bit of a mess. I didn't want to drip feed, but I didn't want to bore you all rigid either.


Hissy Sun 23-Mar-14 20:41:24

Please just end your marriage. The rest of your life will sort itself out.

End the affair too, you know that's not what you want, it's a catalyst.

Don't live like this.

Dededum Sun 23-Mar-14 20:43:12

As Hissy says end the marriage. You are stronger than you think.

foxinsocks Sun 23-Mar-14 20:43:15

I think one of the problems is that you feel as though you have nothing but in fact you have everything.

You have your dcs with you, your dh helping out with them and the OM on call.

You have to start thinking what the reality might be with none of that. So without the help of your dh, without ever having OM as he's made it clear he won't leave his wife.

You need to think about why you are so frightened to be on your own.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 23-Mar-14 20:44:43

You can't have the OM, he's married and if his marriage is 'open'' then there's almost zero chance of him leaving it for you. Why would he? Is he in love with you?

Why can't you leave your marriage if you're unhappy in it? The children are really a red herring. If your marriage is very unhappy then they will know this and they really shouldn't. Split up, make fair provisions for each other and be decent following the break up. I realise it is frightening but what's the alternative? You can only afford to muck about in a miserable marriage if you don't affect other people. You and your husband are doing just this and you need to end it if you can't fix it. He will be a good father anyway from what you post so set him free to pursue a new love. What you're doing is horribly dishonest and you've already done it once - and been forgiven. I'm not usually very vocal about affairs but I think what you're doing is somehow even more underhand.

If subterfuge isn't 'you' then you must stop the affair. It doesn't sound as if you have a very tight grip on your emotions and I think the person most likely to get hurt is you. Your husband knows about your first affair and he probably knows about this one too; if you don't want him anymore then make the break, it can't be worse than this.

mammadiggingdeep Sun 23-Mar-14 20:48:17

End your marriage. You can't stay in it just for the children. They won't thank you.

suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 20:53:22

foxinsocks- i know I have 'everything' I really do know that. Which is why it seems stupid to risk everything because I'm unhappy in my marriage. I think I should just try and pull myself together, but I can't seem to.

I'm not frightened of being on my own, in many ways being on my own would be bliss. I'm happy in my own company, genuinely. Lived alone for seven years pre marriage, quite contentedly.

I am frightened of the effect both materially and emotionally on our children, and can't bear the thought that I'm putting my happiness before theirs.

Lyingwitch - it's the same affair - I tried to end it, several times and have failed. And yes, OM says he's in love with me. I believe that, actually, unlikely as it may seem.

DH and I have been seeing a counsellor, but don't seem to be getting anywhere. He pushes and pushes, and I retreat and retreat.

But my fear is that, much as singleness seems like a preferable situation the reality of it is likely to be very different.

Thanks for responding and not just calling me a bitch though. I was prepared for that...

Dahlen Sun 23-Mar-14 20:53:48

I'm not going to flame you. You made an unwise decision to get married during a time when you weren't functioning with full clarity. You were very vulnerable. Your H capitalised on that and has taken full advantage of it everyday since. I bet his 'forgiveness' has been used as a metaphorical stick to beat you with and to demonstrate how wonderful he is for giving you another chance every day since he found out.

You are actually a victim. But you don't have to be. You can take control and build a far better life for you and your DC independent of both these men who are both simply taking what they want from you without any thoughts for your best interests. If the OM really loved you he wouldn't be contributing to this intolerable situation for you (though it's possible he's damaged himself and so unable to see that).

If your H is that controlling, why do you think your DC would be devastated by the split? IMO while children may cling to the familiar, it doesn't mean it's good for them. I bet they'd flourish away from that poisonous atmosphere. Also, don't mistake the bond between father and DC for genuine love. When someone is abusive and hyper-controlling/critical, children slip into appeasing mode which can give the appearance of a very strong bond but which is actually based on high levels of anxiety.

Are you able to access some independent counselling? I think it would be hugely beneficial for you. flowers

suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 21:03:56

Dahlen: 'I bet his 'forgiveness' has been used as a metaphorical stick to beat you with and to demonstrate how wonderful he is for giving you another chance every day since he found out.'

God yes. He's a fucking paragon. It makes me feel physically violent, actually (although I'm not, BTW...). But then I feel that I am hardly in a position to be angry at HIM. And I didn't have to marry him...

He's good with the DCs though. Now. he wasn't always, but he's genuinely improved massively in this regard.

Considering going to see our marriage counsellor on my own, maybe. DH does all the talking (despite counsellors best attempts to get him to stop) when we're there. But I like him, actually, and think he's pretty good. I had counselling for the PND which was about as much use as a chocolate teapot, actually.

A split would mean a huge material change for our DCs at the very least. And I worry about being able to provide for them...

OM offered to buy me my house. He could. But I wouldn't allow this. I'm not about to go from being dependent on one man to being dependent on another, even if he says 'no strings'.

And yes, OM definitely has his demons. An absent father, for one, which he is desperate not to become.

ageofgrandillusion Sun 23-Mar-14 21:08:10

Sounds like you have terrible taste in men.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 23-Mar-14 21:09:00

suchabloodymess... This is going to sound very hard-hitting but you need to wake up. If you really believed that your OM loved you, you wouldn't be posting here because he would have left his wife, you would have left your husband and you'd be setting up home together. I know what it's like and I know how you feel. Your initial post made me think that you were almost 'thrashing around' looking for an outcome but there's only really one outcome that you want, ie. your OM to be with you and just you.

In a way, yes you are putting your happiness above your childrens' but, what happiness could they have if you're miserable. You need to make things right in your own world first. If you accept that then you must also accept that inertia is not an option for you or for your children - or your husband come to that.

If I were in your current position, this is what I would do (and in this order), unpopular as the view will be here:

1. A heart to heart with the OM. Tell him how it is, that you want the two of you to be together and that's the only way forward. Then be quiet and listen to what he tells you very, very c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. If he says he can't leave his marriage (for whatever reason) then believe him and this time, you must end the affair. You don't 'try' to end an affair, you actually do it. For your sanity, sucha you will have to act on what the OM tells you. If your OM loves you as you say he does, he will leave you the hell alone - for good - and that's how it needs to be.

2. Decide whether you want your marriage or not. If you do, then you undertake to make things right with your husband - whether you tell him about the affair (again) or not. By this time, the affair is over anyway, you will be grieving for a while perhaps but you will have a direction to travel in, ie. commitment to your marriage.

3. Get some counselling, just for you, to make sense of what you've decided. I think you really will need some help here, to keep you on track and also keep you well away from the OM, plus any other temptation that might come your way. You might also want to consider whether it would be a good idea for your to have some time away from your husband, to consider how life would be if you did split up. In that time, you could both carry out the normal parenting to give it a 'trial' whilst apart.

4. Permanent decision to split or rebuild your marriage. Maybe couples therapy at that time but get 1, 2 and 3 out of the way first.

You are NOT a bitch, suchas, you're obviously hurting. If you can just get past 1. - OM 'all in' or 'all out' then you have a starting point. I'm sorry for your pain, please take whatever steps you need to get this awful situation resolved asap.

EverythingCounts Sun 23-Mar-14 21:12:35

Agree completely with LyingWitch's excellent post above.

SomewhereBeyondTheSea Sun 23-Mar-14 21:19:13

Get some individual counselling and end your marriage.
Put the OM on the back burner for a few months while you sort the rest of your life out.

Karoleann Sun 23-Mar-14 21:23:16

I completely disagree, I think you owe it to your children and your husband to break it off with the OM and give it another go. From your post you seen to know that.

You then need to sit down with your husband and explain that you are unhappy (mention controlling behaviour - don't mention sex) and suggest ways that you can improve your marriage. Tell him you really want it to work and try and find a way forward.

You must have had something in common before the marriage - can you re-kindle that and turn it into something? Sex can be worked on too.

Fairylea Sun 23-Mar-14 21:32:22

Seeing someone once every 3-4 months is nowhere near enough to know whether you love them or not. It's all lust at this stage. And if he has an open relationship with his wife none of it is going anywhere.

I think you should end things with your husband and re - find yourself. Then you'll meet someone who is willing to put you first rather than themselves.

Ending a marriage is always bloody awful for a period, I won't lie. I'm now in my third marriage - yes third- and the previous two ended for various reasons. But I don't regret ending them. You only have one life. My dd from my first marriage is now nearly a teenager and is very well adjusted. It doesn't have to affect the kids badly if you remain strong and let them know you're their rock.

You deserve happiness as much as anyone else.

suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 21:38:11

Lying witch - I'm honestly not sure I want a full time, live-in relationship at all, full stop. I meant it when i said i'm not sure it's what I'm suited to, I'm quite solitary by nature. So in a way, a part-time relationship with someone who loves me, with full consent from his wife, might be suit me better than a more traditional set up. So I'm not sure where that leaves me.

Putting OM on back burner while i try and get my head straight is probably the thing to do. I just need to have the willpower to get the headspace I need. I honestly don't feel equipped, right now to make a rational decision about anything. OM would leave me alone if I asked him to. He's promised that before,and kept to it. I'm the one who felt like my world had ended and backtracked.

Karoleann - it's hard to know what I felt for DH before we got married. I didn't know him very well, actually. Trying to look back i can't see very much but a fog of grief for my Dad, battling to prop up my Mum who was having a breakdown blaming me for everything and a huge black mess surrounding everything. I honestly can't remember or see clearly what I felt for DH. there was so much else going on. He kind of swept in and took over – and if I'm honest I was very grateful for that at the time, because everything else was such a mess.

I sometimes think if I had some halcyon days to look back on, some "but we were so in love back then" memories, it would give us/me something to work on. But I don't.

So I don't know what we have to build on...

suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 21:42:01

Fairylea - at the start of the affair we saw each other a lot. Once a week at least, sometimes more. We spoke every day. And yes, there's lust. I've never had sex like it. But we've also gone through long periods of not having sex, deliberately, and precisely to make sure we got on outside of the bedroom. We do. I could let go of the sex, actually. Not without regret, but I could. The loss of the friendship would be worse.

suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 21:44:28

And I'm not sure I 'deserve' happiness if it come at the expense of my children's happiness. I keep asking myself if there is anything I wouldn't do for them, and if the answer is no, then why can't I seem to just suck it up and get on with it, keep their family together, and put them first. It's just that I feel like I'll go mad.

AcrossthePond55 Sun 23-Mar-14 21:47:47

I think you're pulling yourself between 2 men, neither of whom are really worth the anguish you're going through & neither of whom are offering you a healthy relationship.

I think you need to leave your marriage and also break it off with the OM. You need to be on your own (w/DCs of course) to regroup and learn who YOU are and what YOU want for yourself.

bumbumsmummy Sun 23-Mar-14 21:53:38

Sounds like you were most definitely a victim when you got married and suffering from grief.

However you are an adult and it sounds like, I'm being frank here you are using these "relationships" to keep you as one.

You always have a choice even if its hard its time to decide what do you want ?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 23-Mar-14 21:56:35

Then you have two options, OP:

1. Tell your husband you want an open marriage also - and carry on seeing the OM.
2. End your marriage and carry on seeing the OM.

Either way, you still get your OM, you don't have the subterfuge to deal with and you are still a parent with your husband, whether you live together or not.

Your posts are a bit incongruous because if you really couldn't cope with the subterfuge, you wouldn't have reignited the affair.

Make a decision now about what you are prepared to lose, rather than what you want - and perhaps get some professional help to make that decision, sooner rather than later, because if you carry on as you are, you will do untold damage to your husband, your children - and yourself in the process.

LEMmingaround Sun 23-Mar-14 21:57:38

You NEED to end the affair - he has you as his booty call, please please please, you are worth so much more than this - love of his life, my arse! Of course the sex is amazing, its illicit - naughty, if you will, it will be better. You and your DH do not sound compatible at all and it is a shame you rushed into marriage, but you did, both of you - he sounds awful to be honst.

Your children deserve to be happy, you are so right about that, do you think they are happy if their parents aren't?

You have to end it with the OM because i promise you, if you end your marriage you wont see his arse for dust, as a married woman, you are safe, the minute you aren't married you become a liablity and threaten his little life, fuck that - you are worth more.

You sound like you have really low self esteem, i bet you are scared you will be alone - on your own is better than taking second best and this is what you are doing, with your DH and with the OM, the only thing is, with the OM YOU are second best.

If you leave your DH and learn to like yourself, everything else will come - you can manage without a partner and in time, when you are comfortable with yourself, you will meet someone who will make you the centre of his world - neither of these men are doing this now.

tribpot Sun 23-Mar-14 22:08:45

Open marriages tend to be about sex outside the relationship, not love, don't they? Is him being in love with you really inside the boundaries of his relationship? And if it is, would you want a relationship with this man where he could do the same to you?

At some point you're likely to get caught again. Are you hoping that happens and your H makes the choice to end the marriage? The net result will be the same, why not try and do one thing honestly?

You got trapped into a bad situation through grief and guilt. Now you're playing with fire.

suchabloodymess Sun 23-Mar-14 22:24:33

Lyingwitch - you're right. 1 is not a go-er, not least because of DHs religious views. 2 is probably what I have to do, but I'm scared. Less for me, more for the children. Regarding subterfuge, I meant simply that I'm not someone who could do that sort of things indefinitely. There are those, i suspect, who could. By which to say the status quo cannot continue.

LEMminaround - a lot of what you say makes sense. Possibly I see OM through rose tinted specs. I'm trying not to be stupid in that regard. He seems comfortable with the idea that I might leave DH, and happy at the prospect that we might get more time together. He is not pushing me to leave, but realises that what is happening now cannot continue.

But I do think about being second best to his wife, yes, and I don't know how I feel about that. Genuinely.

Tribpot. Yes, historically that has been the case for im. And his falling in love with me, and telling his wife that, has caused some issues on his side fo the fence. But they've been together since they were sixteen, (now mid-forties) and she knows him and seems to accept that this is what has happened and is prepared to accept it. We've met, but I'm not sure I understand her motives.

Would he do the same to me? Logically I suppose yes. But I feel this not to be the case. Stupidly?

I'm scared to leave my marriage is what it boils down to, I guess. Everything else aside.

50pchair Sun 23-Mar-14 22:30:03

Leave your husband. You cannot be as lonely on your own as you have been trying to coparent, deal with your PND etc without the full support of your supposed partner. It might also help see what OM is made of. You being married ATM could be rather convenient as he has his cake & eats it, no commitment etc, so could freak out at you being a free agent. On the other hand, that would leave you free to meet someone else which might make him realise that's not what he wants and he needs to sort it out too.

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