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^^ thats me right now (username)(5 Posts)
Been happily married for 30+ years. Have two teenagers (15 & 16). Good jobs, nice house, friends.
2 years ago DH started working with a new team. He got friendly with one of the new women - lets call her Jane - and started, very subtley, to change. Decided to become a vegetarian - nothing wrong with that, he wanted to be more healthy and lose weight, which he has. Started to enjoy his job more which can only be good. started to buy new clothes and change his appearance - still all good. He is a great dad and spends a lot of time with the boys. He is very domesticated and does more than his fair share round the house. Sexually we are very compatible and have never had any problems in bed. He has always worked in a predominantly female environment and has had female friends. I have never minded, questioned his judgement or wanted to be part of those friendships particularly - they are just work colleagues. We have hobbies that we do apart, we are not joined at the hip. But we have always had mutual respect, trust and affection.
Its all good right? WTF do I have to worry about?
Well alongside all those good things he has also been neglecting me. He is too tired for conversation in the evenings. We dont really go out as a couple much anymore, I cant remember the last time we had a laugh together. He lies about when he spends time with this woman, both at work and socially. He drinks way more than he ever did because she - and the team - celebrate every event with a massive drinking binge. He accuses me of being paranoid because I keep questioning him about her and their relationship. Gradually over the two years he has become more and more secretive about his working life and especially anything involving Jane. I can tell when he is lying to me hence the questioning. They aren't big lies, just little things like when he has had lunch with her, if they are booked on a course together, if he gives her a lift to and from places. Things that, if they were above board wouldn't warrant lying about.
He tells me there is nothing going on and its in my head, and that he lies because he is worried about my reaction whenever this woman is mentioned. I tell him that my reaction is down to the fact that he lies about her and is secretive about anything she is involved in with him.
For what its worth I don't think he is having an affair. She is on my fb friends and we chat and get along fine although I have never met her in person. He doesn't come home later than normal, he doesn't go out more than normal except for these planned events, the phone bill shows the odd short call to her mobile, but nothing more than I would expect from other friends.
But I don't trust him anymore where she is concerned. Because if there was nothing to worry about there would be no need to lie would there? We have talked and talked about this and every time I think we are back on track he goes and lies again. Tonight he told me on the phone that he was at work but it transpired (after some questioning) that they had worked together at her home and not in the office (which is only a few minutes away). Her husband was there also apparently. So why lie about it? again?
I don't know how to get out of this vicious circle we have become embedded in. I do think he has an emotional connection to her which is why he lies and he does like a quiet life which might account for the lies if he thinks I am going to kick off about him spending time with her. He says (quite rightly) that he has had lots of female colleagues, been away on business with them, worked alongside them in and out of the office so nothing is different. But it feels different. I feel scared and threatened by their friendship and I cant put my finger on why.
You're right to mistrust someone who lies. The problem with the 'I lie about it because if I told you the truth, you'd be annoyed' argument is that it is self-perpetuating. If he knows you feel uncomfortable when he spends time with this woman, he should be more careful to tell the truth not less, and appear more trustworthy. Going on the defensive is completely the wrong strategy.
There's a slight 'chicken and egg' feel from your post. Are you attributing everything to the Jane factor because your relationship changed when he started this new job? Or did the relationship change for some other reason that has got buried with Jane appearing on the scene?
I think the tack I would take is to talk to him about the state of play. Not Jane but the part you mentioned about not laughing any more, feeling neglected, not going out as a couple etc. Tell him that you miss the close relationship you used to have and it's making you so unhappy that you are fearing the worst..... which is the truth. 'Where do you see this relationship going?'... etc.
It's just a side point but how old is he and what are the relative ages of the new team? They sound like a much younger, trendier, harder drinking bunch .... and if he's fifty-odd (married 30+ years), his change in appearance/behaviour etc may be that he's simply trying to be one of the gang. Nevertheless, you have to be clear that the lying has to stop.
shut up, put up, hope you can see this marriage through to the end of your lives.
probe. find out (perhaps) that he's with this woman. maybe he's been with others while you've been trusting him.
either way, make plan b. be ready if you have to plan a future without him. just in case.
Trust your gut instincts. Something is going on here. The lying, defensiveness and distant behaviour are all red flags.
Read this link
If you put aside your concerns about 'Jane' (for a moment) can you take a look at your relationship. Too tired for conversation, don't go out as a couple, haven't had a laugh for ages.
Does an exciting work-life make your relationship feel a bit flat? Does a dull patch in your relationship make work feel fun and exciting? Are there things that you can both do together to re-invest in your relationship? Can you have a fun day out shopping together for new clothes for you both (and for your sons), can you try out a new vegetarian restaurant, can you each cook a meal using a brand new ingredient, can you start a joint project together? is there any part of each other's hobbies that you can share?
I hope those don't sound like trite approaches, and it's not your sole responsibility to reinvigorate your life together, but there are times in relationships when things do go through the doldrums and at such times other parts of life can feel more worthwhile investing in, and it's important that what is happening at the moment doesn't drive a wedge between you.
But, the lying is unacceptable. You say you keep questioning him over her 'and their relationship' - can you agree that you will talk about all the facts of your lives - where you both went, who you were with, without asking about any underlying motives or intentions?
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