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I only want to do what's best for my family!

(73 Posts)
confusedhusband Fri 15-Aug-14 14:21:00

Sorry for the long post!

We've been married slightly over 10 years years and have three beautiful children under the age of 10.

Due to some changes a few years ago job opportunities for me changed dramatically. After lengthy discussions with my OH we decided I would take a job abroad as there was nothing in the UK. Because of the location it wasn't really an option for us to move out as a family and we didn't want to disrupt the children's education or my OH to give up her job. I could make good money and get back regularly. It was hard but was the only option at the time other than having a major lifestyle change. We contacted each other every day. Skype became our main means of communication and I was still able to be involved with homework and listening to the children read. In addition I sent gifts and flowers, brought gifts back every time I came home tried to spend as much quality time as I could with them. The money meant we cleared everything we owed apart from the mortgage. It wasn't easy for anyone but we had the support of friends and family back home.

I then had a year off looking after family, doing school runs, etc, covering all costs with the money we'd saved while I was working abroad and so giving something back to my OH who had had a difficult time with me not being there. She was, however distant and didn't really want to do anything as a couple or spend any quality time together. I felt she was pushing me away. I put this down to readjusting to being back together full time.

During the year off I applied for over 50 jobs and got nowhere. I was either over qualified for the roles were already sorted before the advert went out. Then a role came up abroad again. I didn't want to take it but, as I couldn't find anything else, we decided that there was no option and that it would be easier to find something else if already employed. The location also meant we could see each other much more regularly and the family could visit. Again, we agreed that, as it was only for a year, we didn't want to disrupt the family by moving everyone to another country. Personally I think we could have all benefited from a much better quality of life and the time could have been right in terms of the children's education.

I'm not perfect. I'm not the best communicator in our relationship but I love my wife and children very much. Everything I have ever done has been for them. Contrary to what my OH might believe, I do not enjoy working away - I would much rather be with her and my children. She has said I am a good provider but a rubbish husband - I can't win. I had no choice but to work abroad. She didn't want to downsize or move the family abroad. What was I supposed to do? For the year off I tried to find something without putting any additional burden on her - she works part time. I didn't ask for any extra financial contributions. She was having problems with her job and provided as much support as I could. This year she would not take a year out to join me, although she has visited. It has not been easy for anyone but I firmly believe in my wedding vows.

I have, however, now discovered that my OH is having an affair. It appears to have started when I went abroad again to work (which might explain why she was so keen for me to go) and seems to have got much more serious recently. He is a friend from way back that got back in touch a little over a year ago. His marriage ended after an affair and he's had several relationships since and is currently in one. She's also been spending time with him with our kids and his OH so that they are getting to know him when I'm not there. Apparently he's prepared to take our kids on! At the moment she's distancing herself from me and meaningful communication has all but stopped.

I really don't know what to do. I have the opportunity of extending my contract where I am and am still applying for things in the UK but getting nowhere. I'm trying to do what is best for my family but she doesn't seem to accept (or want) that.

Quitelikely Fri 15-Aug-14 14:24:29

I'm sorry this has happened. Does your wife know that you know? If not how do you know about it?

hellsbellsmelons Fri 15-Aug-14 14:29:15

Well it sounds like she is moving on with OM!
The only thing you can do is to let her.
She doesn't want you anymore.
You need to now do what is best for you and the DC.
If you can help support them better from working abroad then extend your contract.
Make sure you keep regular contact with your DC and suppor them through this as much as possible.
Make sure they understand that you are there for them.

I'm sorry this has happened to you.
You've done your best and it's been thrown back in your face.

Do NOT do the 'pick me' dance.
Decide what you think is fair maintenance for your DC and what access should be and get on with your life now.

Joysmum Fri 15-Aug-14 14:39:06

I'm so this has happened too.

I'm just having a moan on my own thread about how fitting in around my husband has compromised who I am.

We'd rather have him than money. My DD has said how lucky a friend of hers is for having both parents at home all the time (they are on benefits as not currently employed).

You can't have a conversation with somebody who doesn't want to talk. Have you thought about writing a letter? Suggesting you come home and retrain or look in other industries? If you want to make you marriage work after her affair that is? Either way, I know you know being an absent parent isn't ideal. If there's not the work in your current skill set, time for a rethink.

Tbh, the last time I job hunted (many years ago) 50 jobs wasn't that many to apply for. My mum keeps bouncing from temporary contract to temporary contract and she's in her 60's and in a specialist area of construction so has to look at more general jobs.

LineRunner Fri 15-Aug-14 14:48:12

Does her Other Man's partner know? Does your partner know that you know?

I'm sorry, it sounds grim.

arsenaltilidie Fri 15-Aug-14 15:40:36

That's one of the occupational hazards of working away.

She cheated and seems to be getting serious with the other man.
There is nothing you can do other than let go of her.
If you are a decent man with a good job, you will not have a problem.
Just prioritise your children for now.

confusedhusband Fri 15-Aug-14 19:17:39

Thanks for your comments.

LineRunner and Quitelikely - no-one knows yet. I'm letting myself calm down before I decide what to do. It's never good to take decision based on raw emotion - enough people are going to get hurt as it is. I at least want to try and maintain my dignity smile

hellsbellsmelons and arsenaltillidie - I can't believe it's all over yet. I want to try and understand what's gone wrong to see if it can be fixed. I can't accept that someone would just throw away 10 years. I could, of course, just be hoping......

Joysmum - agree totally. I've got qualifications coming out of my ears. Unfortunately I'm massively overqualified for most of the lower paid jobs I've seen and the jobs at my level are relatively few and far between. Also, all my experience is in the public sector and that seems to be like a black spot when it comes to applying to the private sector. Still, I've applied for another 5 jobs tonight so we'll see what happens. If it's a choice between family and job, then family comes first.

confusedhusband Fri 15-Aug-14 19:19:30

* "black spot" is a reference to Treasure Island!

RunOutOfNamesAgain Fri 15-Aug-14 20:08:28

Op I can give another perspective, one from a child's point if view of your situation....I really can't stress how hard it was having my DF away for most of my growing up. Even now he is still away and now missing my DC's grow up. I sometimes feel like I hardly know him. He talks in the same way as you about missing us, yet says there is no alternative. I honestly don't believe that.

They things he provides with the money earnt are empty gestures to me. What I wanted and still to this day do, is him in my life. Skype and the odd call don't cover that. He admits that if he lived a different lifestyle then he wouldn't need to do it. Your situation sounds the same, to blame your wife entirely for the descion not to, is a tad unfair, you have gone along with this too.

If you want to try and save your marriage go home. (For those wanting to flame me for not worrying about paying the bills) you could get a job, just look outside your normal area. Stack shelves if you have to as a stop gap anything that means you can be a family.

Even if you don't manage to save the marriage, your DC will need you more than ever. Because right now money is about to become the reason you all drift away from each other and you may not hold on the relationship you want with your DC. Please don't do what my DF did, you have time to change the effect distance has had already.

WildflowerMarmalade Fri 15-Aug-14 20:42:27

How horrible for you. I'm so sorry this has happened. You sound very calm and controlled in your posts but something like this usually comes as a huge shock. The shock is real and you end up running on adrenalin.

Please try to look after yourself; eat, do some exercise if that is something you like, see a friend even if you don't tell them everything, don't have too much caffeine or alcohol.

You seem to hope to save your marriage. Your wife is in her little infidelity bubble and she says she wants to end the marriage. Burst her bubble and maintain your dignity.

You sound like a decent man who has been a good husband and father and wants to continue as such. But you can't do those things if your wife is not keeping up her end. It's like a tug-of-war where she has let go of her end of the rope, leaving you flat on your a***.

Tell your wife that you are committed to your marriage but that if she isn't and she wants to continue the relationship with OM then you will have to accept that and you will both now have to work out what is the best way to end the marriage and also what is best for the children.

Don't allow her to believe there is some easy outcome for her in which you trundle off overseas and keep sending the cash home while she starts a new life in the family home with the OM.

Start thinking very seriously about your options if the marriage ends. Look at your finances. Let your wife know that you are considering taking a low paid job here so that you can have regular contact with the children if the marriage ends. (If it comes to it then you might choose differently but that is irrelevant just now.)

You want to create the cold water pouring down the back of the neck effect in your wife. She needs to be faced up with reality, rather than living in the dreamworld of the affair.

confusedhusband Fri 15-Aug-14 20:44:54

Thanks - I can really identify with this. It was not my intention to blame my wife, if that's how it came across - it was a joint decision that made sense at the time. Working abroad was going to be short term until I got something in the UK. There is a fine balance between providing for your family and the sacrifices you need to make to do that. I have to say the time between jobs that I spent at home was great!

RunOutOfNamesAgain Fri 15-Aug-14 20:49:12

I am sorry that you have been dealt this blow. Your world must be turning right now. I do hope it works out for the best.

kaykayblue Sat 16-Aug-14 09:30:07

I would burst her bubble by having divorce papers served, citing infidelity as the cause, and putting a place mark in for 50/50 custody of the children.

At the moment this woman is trying to have her cake and eat it too - having the distant husband paying all the bills, and having her lover keeping her company at home.

Long distance relationships are hard. Really hard. My own partner and I were in different countries for the first three years of our relationship (which I know is different to being married but still).

If one person is having problems, then you talk it through. You don't just start spreading your legs for someone else.

Sorry, but your wife sounds like a bitch.

toyoungtodie Sat 16-Aug-14 19:35:25

From your post it looks as though your OH has finished with you. At the moment it may well seem to her that she has found a more exciting option and she will never want you ever again. However, things can change and this chap she is infatuated with may not materialise into anything permanent. She may then be looking to get you back. It happens!
First of all I would make sure that I knew my legal options , Then you can think about what YOU really want.
If you want to hang on and see what happens, the problem is how to do it whilst retaining some dignity. You could consider giving her some space by not seeing her and not contacting her. Your children could be handed over for contact time by an intermediary. Money to support your children can be paid by DD. A total blackout of all news and first hand contact with you might make her realise the reality of a future without you and what she is doing. You could give this a time limit of say three months. I like this option
If she then wants you to come back, then this will be the time to bargain. Ie I will come back get counselling etc. (If you still want her of course and think you can forgive her)

If you can, you must try and refrain from pleading and grovelling. If she is infatuated, what you think and feel is of no interest to her , at the moment. You will just make yourself look ridiculous and unattractive.

If you decide ultimately that you don't want a relationship then you have the legal stuff in place, to go ahead.

Your DC will survive a divorce conducted by two adult responsible people. They will ultimately forgive you if you are as honest as possible and don't use them as pawns or slag your OH off to them, or ask them to take sides.

I feel very sorry for you as you must be suffering terribly.

thicketofstars Sat 16-Aug-14 22:55:21

What a nightmare. Your wife has really, really let herself down. It doesn't sound like you and she are in a place to move on from this at all. If I were you, I'd be looking at the mess she was creating in her life, and be glad to get well out of it. Except, of course, you want her back and it hurts like hell.

Reading your account of events, it does seem very unfair that you were 'replaced' while you were trying to do the best that you could do for your family at home, especially if your wife was on the same page as you re: the decision to work away from home. I don't know what you should do, it has to be up to you and up to a point, no one here can help you much. However, if you want lots of women to reassure you that you didn't deserve this, you certainly posted in the right place!

In your position, I'd want to hang onto a professional career as a focal point through all this. However, your children clearly need you. If you keep your job abroad and you and your wife go on to separate, I can't help feeling you'll be supporting your children with money only, at a time when they probably need you. You'll also be supporting your ex wife to enjoy a good lifestyle as she goes on with her new relationship, which would be irritating and seems good only for her. Isn't there something - anything - you could do to be near the children at the moment, sharing custody? I really don't think you should slip into divorced dad mode here. You may have lost your wife but you don't need to have lost your family. I suspect your children would rather live on beans and have you close to them. Hanging around someone else's dad all the time must be rubbish. In terms of your marriage, it might also be better for you to get a low paying job at home for a while. You explain that you can't maintain a marriage while she's committed to her affair, while also letting her experience sharing the children and the reality of receiving maintenance from a much lower income. You tell her you hope she chooses her marriage and you'll be happy to talk on the terms you've set out. She gets to see that the new life is hard, that you care about your kids and that you won't be walked over.

confusedhusband Sun 17-Aug-14 08:27:22

Thank you for your comments. I am trying to remain calm - things are very raw at the moment and I don't want to rush into any decisions in the heat of the moment. I go from wanting to contact the other man's partner to let her know what's happening, to all out confrontation with both of them, to speaking to mine and my wife's parents, and to a (relatively) calm and sensible discussion with my wife.

I've booked a session with a counsellor so that I can explore what I want at the end of this and will look into legal implications so at least I can begin to prepare for what might lie ahead. At least if I prepare for the worst anything different will be a positive in this mess.

Fingers crossed I get one of the jobs I've applied for at home! I have no intention of becoming "divorced dad"!

hellsbellsmelons Mon 18-Aug-14 12:23:13

You are doing all the right things.
Knowledge is power.

Definitely DON'T contact OM's partner.
You want to lash out but it's not OM who has betrayed you and your wedding vows. That was 100% your wife!

I think a calm discussion is the best way forward.

You sound like you could do this so arrange for that.

Hopefully your weekend was OK in the circumstances.

WildflowerMarmalade Mon 18-Aug-14 16:10:25

People on here always seem to say not to contact the OM / OW's partner. I've never found the reasoning very convincing.

If you want to contact OM's partner then do it. Just make sure to do it in a dignified way and understand that you cannot predict or control their reaction.

If you feel that it is the right thing to do then just go for it. Limit what you expect to get out of telling. Treat the OM's partner as you would hope to be treated in their shoes. Once you've told then don't get dragged into any fall out/ confrontations with OM or OM's partner.

Your wife and OM have been in charge of the narrative up to now. By lying about their relationship they took away your agency and made you powerless - you were in the dark so what could you do. Now that you do know the truth you can take whatever action you need to in order to regain some control over your own life.

It is horrible to feel that someone else - the OM/ OW - has trespassed in your relationship. For some people outing the affair partner is a way to establish a boundary after having their boundaries severely disrespected by both their partner and the affair partner.

badbaldingballerina123 Mon 18-Aug-14 16:30:22

I would expose the affair to om partner and also parents. I've done this myself and I've no regrets about it. There's no way this scumbag would be hanging around my kids. When people expose the affair it often becomes apparent the third party doesn't want a full relationship. Many people unwittingly become complicit in supporting their spouses affair by colluding with the deception. You might find it helpful to read all you can about infidelity before doing anything drastic. Unfortunately it's all very stereotypical and nearly all play out in the same way. I've sent you some links to sites that you might find helpful.

badbaldingballerina123 Mon 18-Aug-14 16:35:04

How did you discover this affair Op ? Have you been home since you found out ?

confusedhusband Mon 18-Aug-14 23:24:37

Saw an email and (I'm not proud to say) read it along with some others.

Am at home and had the conversation today. I didn't get a yes or no. When I revealed how I knew the conversation turned to the disgust that I had read her emails and how she didn't trust me any more.

At least the conversation has started...

WildflowerMarmalade Tue 19-Aug-14 08:14:36

Honestly. The self-righteousness if it. She cheats on you but has the cheek to say you have betrayed her trust by reading her sordid cheating emails. Pah!

This sort of blame shifting and refusal to accept responsibility is very typical of cheaters, unfortunately. Insist on sticking to item one on the agenda; her affair.

If your wife fails to own up and admit that what she has done is wrong, (i.e. to take responsibility for her actions) then it will be impossible to repair the marriage properly. Tell her that. Tell her that if she is feeling bad now perhaps that is because she has behaved very badly.

You are handling this very well confused. Well done for confronting her, that can't have been easy. It's great that you have a counsellor lined up, that should provide you with some sound support and give you a chance to think about what you want in all this mess.

The usual advice on here to betrayed wives is to kick the cheating husband out of the family home to allow the wife time to gather her thoughts. The idea is also that being away from home will wake the cheater up to the possible consequences of their affair - i.e. finding somewhere new to live. It helps burst the affair bubble.

Asking your wife to leave for a while might not be possible if she is the one looking after your DCs. Could you ask her to get out over the weekend? Leave the children with you if that is what you want.

You are doing really well. One way or another you will get through this.

kaykayblue Tue 19-Aug-14 08:43:08


How did you even not openly laugh in her face at that?

I don't remember a wedding vow that says "I promise you to total privacy in all your correspondence forever until the day I die".

I do kind of remember one about not fucking other people though.

I always find it bizarre how people can try and turn guilt around on others in situations like this - I mean let's face it. Between reading an e-mail (when there was clearly cause for suspicion) and committing adultery, I don't think anyone would say that the latter is a lesser crime.

To be honest OP, I think it would be better for you to take back some control, rather than trying to get decisions from her.

If you ask her "what do you want - to work on our marriage or continue your sordid affair"? Then you are still giving her all the power.

If you turn to her and say "I can't stay married to such a faithless hussy. I want a divorce and 50 custody" - well that takes the wind out of her sails. All of a sudden she is only left with one option - the OM - which all of a sudden might seem less appealing.

And even if it still does, at least YOU are the one who have made the decision. It gives you some power back.

Maybe a few years down the line you two might reconcile, but for now, you have to look out for your own interests.

Oh, and I would tell the OM's partner. But I would do it in a calm and respectful way. I would want someone to tell me, so I would do the same for others.

weatherall Tue 19-Aug-14 09:11:13

Oh I'd love to hear her side in this!

You abandoned her.

If the situation was reversed the woman would be vilified for going abroad and leaving her family.

It's over. Move on and keep things amicable for the sake of the DCs.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 19-Aug-14 09:28:48

Abandoned? Really?
I don't see it like that.
They looked at options TOGETHER.
The best option in the circumstances was for him to work abroad and they BOTH agreed that this would be OK as a short term solution.
So OP is away from his family and friends, working his ass off to keep his family afloat and SHE cheats on him. And that's OK???
Blimey - nice victim blaming going on there.
So reverse it. The woman has had to work abroad to look after her family.
While she's away he cheats with OW. Is that OK then?

Honestly OP, you've done nothing wrong other than try to do your best.

Your wife is now following the 'cheaters script'
Shifting blame - she can't trust YOU!
It's all YOUR fault.

Please don't do the PICK ME dance.
Kick her out for a while and get yourself some head space to decide what YOU want now.
Yes YOU!! What do YOU want?

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