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DH's "ultimatum"; - AIBU?

(42 Posts)
MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:17:41

I could really do with some perspective on this one – will try to be as brief as possible without drip-feeding.

Backstory in a nutshell – married 13 years, 2 young DCs, we both work full-time but 95% of domestic and child-related stuff ends up falling to me. H is a workaholic who is prone to selfish and entitled behaviour – frequently prioritises his own needs at the expense of mine, tends to respond to requests for more domestic input with EA behaviour (albeit relatively mild). Relationship has gradually deteriorated since DCs – I’m not happy about manchild behaviour and lack of partnership, he’s not happy that I nag him to contribute more.

About 2 years ago, he began to get more irritable and moody. I confronted him, he admitted that he was unhappy but refused to tell me why – but also expected me to work it out (had the “If you really loved me you would know what was wrong” speech). After about 6 months of this he finally confessed that he had developed an infatuation with a much younger work colleague.

Although for various reasons I am quite sure that there was no physical or even reciprocated emotional affair, the infatuation had been going on for 2 years and was apparently preoccupying him to the point of interfering with his work. He only told me about it because he had finally told the woman herself about his “romantic feelings” (under the guise of explaining to her why they could no longer work together), she made a formal complaint at work and he was worried that I would hear about it from someone else.

At first he seemed genuinely contrite, took responsibility, talked about wanting to save the marriage, took me out for a meal for the first time in years so that we could talk. However quite soon this moved on to minimising behaviour – complaining about being badly treated by work colleagues who expressed disapproval of his actions, telling me that because it wasn’t an actual affair I shouldn’t be upset by it, that I hadn’t seemed that bothered when he told me about it.

He also seemed to want me to take a significant share of responsibility for the situation – saying that I had changed in my feelings for him, that I wasn’t showing him enough affection or doing enough to show him I wanted to save the marriage. He had a few sessions of individual counselling but gave up when he realised that it wasn’t going to provide a quick fix. He has increased his input into family life and clearly thinks he has made a big concession – but in actuality the changes made are small.

I have offered to go to couples counselling with him (I realise it isn’t generally recommended if there is EA behaviour but I am willing to at least try it), and have suggested that he arrange it. He has now announced that he refuses to arrange counselling and has decided that I have to do it, because he needs proof from me that I am committed to saving our marriage.

Now I am by no means perfect, but under the circumstances I don’t think it should be down to me to “prove” anything. He was the one obsessing about an OW for 2 years, disappearing in the middle of the night for hours to go on long walks or drives to “clear his head”, writing poetry about her for months after telling me “as part of the recovery process”. He should be doing the proving.

I should probably be the bigger person and just arrange it myself. But I don’t want to. I am sick of being the bigger person, the only functioning adult in this relationship. Plus I suspect this is another way of shifting blame and responsibility onto me.


Trooperslane Mon 12-May-14 14:19:58

God. Yanbu.

No advice from me but that sounds shit.


SecretSpy Mon 12-May-14 14:20:10

I think your last sentence sums it up perfectly sad
he does seem to be expecting you to fix everything.
Do you think you should stay in the marriage?

Trooperslane Mon 12-May-14 14:22:26

Realised that might not be so helpful.

My DH is amazing but he's totally useless at organising stuff.

I think I'd be telling him that since he had the ea, he should be stepping up and organising the counselling.

On the other hand, if you can accept that you're (and I) likely to be the organiser for ever, would that help you be the bigger person?

So sorry op x

MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:25:32

<Don't know where the extra semi-colon in the title came from. confused>

Thanks for replying.

Yes, I think he does want me to fix everything. Hey, why not - I do all the mental and most of the physical work of running our lives so why not this?

I'm pretty sure I shouldn't stay in the marriage but I'm a coward. For financial reasons leaving would mean awful upheaval for DCs (moving house, moving schools). Also, frankly, I'm scared of managing on a lot less money because I've never had to.

Fairylea Mon 12-May-14 14:25:57

I'm struggling to process the fact he's carried on like this for 2 years....!! What?!!

I don't think I could come back from this. To be honest even before all the teenagery love twattery he sounds like a bit of an idiot. It sounds like you're the only one who's been putting the effort in for the whole of the relationship, in the relationship and around the home.

Maybe the grass would be greener for you without him?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-May-14 14:27:54

So much for the 'mild EA' then, eh? He smashes up the relationship with a two year emotional absence but you're now to blame and it's up to you to prove you're committed?.... hmm I think you're now in the situation where he is so resentful that his big romance failed that he is lashing out at everything in sight and therefore nothing you do will be right. You're quite right in that, whatever you do now, you will always be in the wrong.

Personally, I wouldn't waste any more time and I certainly wouldn't stick around to be his Aunt Sally. Hope you find a resolution.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-May-14 14:31:06

Finances are important and of course no-one ever wants to contemplate lower living standards, smaller houses or inferior schools. But you might want to run it all past a solicitor and see what the score would really be. You may find the difference between 'Cash plus Twat plus more headfuckery' and 'Twat's Cash minus Twat plus total freedom' is not as alarming as you think.

MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:34:54

He smashes up the relationship with a two year emotional absence but you're now to blame and it's up to you to prove you're committed?

In a nutshell.

I have pointed out to him that for 2 years he expended large amounts of emotional energy on someone other than his wife and children, but apparently this isn't something he deserves to be censured for.

Jan45 Mon 12-May-14 14:35:25

Honestly really is he worth all this upset. He clearly constantly has one foot out the door, is that really enough for you?

Sorry but financial or not, this man is not committed to you or his family in any way possible, he took you out for a meal and that was a massive thing he done, no it wasn't, that's actually quite sad.

Sorry but I'd be moving on, he'll do it again, he's not into your relationship and hasn't been for a long time, don't accept this shit.

PurplePunkPrincess Mon 12-May-14 14:38:29

LTB xxx

MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:40:01

I have detached emotionally, a lot, since his great revelation. He is currently away on business and it is like being able to take a deep breath at last.

Think solicitor is the next step, really. Just have to grow a pair.

Lweji Mon 12-May-14 14:41:08

You could tell him that he arranges counselling himself, or he'll have to arrange for his own solicitor.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-May-14 14:42:25

Whether you ultimately leave or stay, I think it never hurts to get better informed.

Hickorydickory12 Mon 12-May-14 14:42:59

And what happens when he does this again?
If the ow had reciprocated it would have been a full blown physical affair.
You are his fall back option and deserve so much more.

expatinscotland Mon 12-May-14 14:45:12

See a solicitor. This person is far from mildly emotionally abusive.

ribbityribbit Mon 12-May-14 14:45:49

“If you really loved me you would know what was wrong” - I'm sure you already know this, but I just wanted to point out how ridiculous this is. Is there anything he does that isn't your fault somehow?

I totally see why you don't want to arrange counselling - I wouldn't! But that would be because I don't think I would be able to love someone who behaved in this way so there would be no relationship to save. It doesn't sound like he brings much that is positive to your life (but a whole load of stress and unhappiness).

What do you want? How might this relationship look in a year or so in the best-case scenario? It is difficult to see how you might salvage this, based on what you've written here, or why you might want to.

MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:46:09

Lweji it is tempting. However I know how that narrative will be rewritten into "She wouldn't even go to counselling, just told me it was over and to get a solicitor". But I have to ask myself - do I actually care if that's how he wants to rewrite history?

The stupid thing is I'm 99.9% sure that counselling won't work anyway. He is so sure that he is in the right.

Miggsie Mon 12-May-14 14:49:00

Stop caring what he does or thinks and start looking after yourself and the kids.

He is not going to change and thinks everyone should do what he wants and he can blame them for his life. What an emotional coward he is - no wonder you are so drained.

And see a solicitor pronto!

CheerfulYank Mon 12-May-14 14:49:18

I'd tell him to get to fuck.

He is completely in the wrong here and behaving like a spoiled, dramatic teen girl.

MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:49:30

Deep down, I think I am past the point of wanting to salvage this. I did love him (the pre-DC version of him was actually lovable, hard though that may be to believe). However this infatuation is just the last, and worst, in a long line of actions that continue to show me that I am last on his priority list - and that has basically killed any affection.

MrBusterIPresume Mon 12-May-14 14:51:37

Oh, and it is good to know that IANBU. I didn't really think I was , but it helps to see it in black and white from total strangers on the internet.

Jan45 Mon 12-May-14 14:58:08

Also OP, I'd be dubious it was just an infatuation esp if it was for 2 years, doesn't sound right at all.

Tbh you're only there for the kids I bet.

eddielizzard Mon 12-May-14 14:59:03

i can't see a resolution to this because he won't take responsibility.

i think you have to take care of your dc's and yourself now.

Kundry Mon 12-May-14 15:02:08

If you go to counselling and it is clearly going nowhere, he will re-write history in to you 'giving up on the counselling that could have helped us'.

If fact, whatever you do, he is going to rewrite history so it is your fault. He's doing it now so his two year imaginary affair well done to the woman who reported him for the perv he is is your fault.

The question is how many times do you want to try so you can feel you have done enough? Are there a few more tries or can you just cut to the chase? As he is not going to change.

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