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Turns Out He Wasn't The Person I Thought He Was - now what do I do?

(24 Posts)
Forgottopackmyself Mon 01-Dec-14 03:05:16

I’m not sure what I’m looking for by posting .. maybe just to get my own thoughts in order – I just feel ‘detached’ from myself at the moment.

Brief background – been with DH for 12 years – we have one young DS.
DH was recently headhunted for a job abroad. We figured it was a good opportunity and so we’ve relocated lock, stock and barrel to another country. Things were going well.

Then the bombshell dropped …. I was looking for something on his iPad and ended up reading a text conversation between DH and an old mate from his old job .. it was basically my DH writing in the tone of ‘one of the lads’ that he’d been to a work evening reception and met a woman that they’d both had dealings with by e-mail in the past, as part of their job. My DH described how wonderful she looked (including come-to-bed eyes apparently!), how he thought the attraction was mutual and that the wife of the event host had noticed and kept intervening to move them apart but that they both kept gravitating back to each other.. blah blah blah … and that nothing had happened that night but “she’s back here again next week so who knows ….”. DH’s mate had replied with some laddish comments and added that he’d seen the messages my DH had sent to one of the girls in their old mutual office and he agreed with what DH had said that he’d give “ A N Other woman colleague” “one” too.

I was devastated; obviously confronted DH with it and asked him what it was all about. He said he was just being stupid, bigging himself up to his laddish mate and trying to show off that his new life was so good and that it was all pure fantasy – the woman does exist and was at the event but he didn’t think there was any attraction and he certainly didn’t meet up with her the following week.

Then it turned into one of those conversations that you wish you’d never started … I asked if he had been unfaithful to me in the time we’ve been together .. turns out the answer is no, technically .. but there had been one encounter on a business trip, shortly after DS was born, when a woman, who he didn’t know, but was in the group he was with, followed him to the gents, caught him by surprise, grabbed a handful and there was kissing, groping and then he came to his senses and stopped short of having sex in the toilet cubicle. Classy eh! He swears this was the one and only time.

We had a long conversation about the fact that my expectation of being married was that I wouldn’t embark on any conversations or actions, of any type, that I wouldn’t be happy for him to be included in (he already knew this).. he admitted that he’d not lived up to that standard … ie, he had had conversations with other women (from work) that he wouldn’t have been happy for me to hear or be included in.

All of a sudden, little things from the past that I’d brushed off take on new significance, my whole marriage seems to be a sham – I’m a fool for having thought that we were both on the same wavelength and assigned the same importance to our relationship – that we both placed each other far above any other in terms of importance and priority.

We both used to work for the same firm and at social events there were a group of married men who acted in a laddish and lewd way – they were the ones that I had no respect for, seeing what they got up to on a night out and then going home to their unsuspecting wives … now I realise I was one of those wives.

I feel utterly betrayed. Now I find myself miles away from home, having moved everything here, sold our house, gave up my job etc. I don’t want to rip DS’s life apart by moving home with him. My first marriage went down the pan due to us ending up wanting different things and having very different values and I swore to myself I wouldn’t put myself in that situation again … but now it turns out my DH has been paying lip service to my standards while pursuing his own agenda all along.

DH says he was stupid, that he knows he shouldn’t have done any of it and that he’s not doing anything he shouldn’t now .. that our move is a new start. Well, it’s not washing with me because he had carried on the ‘behaviour’ after arriving here – and 12 years is a long time to just brush under the carpet and say that it should be forgotten just because he’s changed now (supposedly!). He doesn’t seem to ‘get it’ that the only reason he’s decided to be respectful to me now is because I caught him out .. I don’t doubt that he would have carried on if I hadn’t. How do I even know that he isn’t carrying on regardless.

He is mooching about, walking on eggshells around me, with the expression on his face of a dog that I've kicked (not that I go around kicking dogs!) – it’s almost like he wants me to feel sorry for him.
All he can say for himself is that he knows it was wrong, that I was important, that he has been stupid and that he’s not doing anything he shouldn’t now.

I don’t know what I want him to say, or how I want him to act, but the above isn’t doing it for me. The only thing keeping me here is DS and what it would do to him if we split up. I know it could have been so much worse (assuming he is telling the truth) it’s not as if he was actually unfaithful … but he’s been making an idiot of me behind my back for goodness knows how long.

I don’t even know what my question is to be honest .. he’s dripping around as if I hold all the cards and he’s waiting for me to decide what to do .. maybe I wish he’d ‘man up’ and ..oh, I don’t know what! What could he do to fix it …. All I keep asking is why? Why do it, why even marry me if he wanted to live the life of a ‘lad’. All he keeps doing is looking mournful, shaking his head and saying he’s not doing anything like that anymore. Part of me wishes I’d never found out.

4amInsomniac Mon 01-Dec-14 04:30:54

What a horrible situation for you, I'm sorry.

You do hold all the cards! I would tell him what (in summary) you have said here; what he has said/ done about this so far isn't enough for you to be able to just move on as if nothing has happened. So, what is he going to do about it?

What would make you feel better; him deciding, himself, that he needs to have some sort of counselling to examine himself? Giving you passwords to everything? If he suggests something that feels to you like progress, give him a chance to prove that he can be different now. If you find that you can't think of anything he could do that would convince you to stay, that might be your answer!

Where are you? In the sense of, is it a country where he could stop you leaving with your son?

Hoggle246 Mon 01-Dec-14 04:42:12

I'm so sorry that's really awful.

Can he go somewhere for a few days to give you some headspace? I find the whole hangdog routine incredibly manipulative and it would be annoying the hell out of me too. It's almost as if 'look I'm sorry, therefore you have to forgive me and we need to forget all about it'. Sorry matey, it's not that simple.

I suppose a big question is whether you still love him. If yes then I'm sure you can get past this with time although I think joint relationship counselling would be good so that there is no hiding - for him - from what is expected going forward.

If you don't love him after these revelations about his behaviour then although I can understand you wanting to keep the family unit together for your ds, if you're going to be unhappy within that family unit, then in my opinion that is just as negative for your ds. You deserve to be happy and respected and your ds needs to see that.

The other question is this - if your dh doesn't pull himself together and start behaving like a respectful man rather than laddish man child, as your ds grows up he may well pick up on some of this behaviour. Your ds doesn't need that influence, he needs to see his mum treated with absolute love and respect.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this, especially so far from home. Just be strong and make sure you don't let dh minimise what you're feeling.

ChippingInAutumnLover Mon 01-Dec-14 04:53:10

I'm sorry you are going through this, especially so far from home and 'your life' sad

I really don't have anything to add to what the others have said.

Except to reiterate that the 'right thing' for DS is what makes you the happiest you can be. The most damage is done when their main home is an unhappy one. What is best for you, is best for DS.

The fact you have been married before is irrelevant, you can't let what others might say sway your thoughts about this NO ONE else has to live your life x

Forgottopackmyself Mon 01-Dec-14 05:08:34

Thank you for reading and replying ... 4amInsomniac - it's definitely feasible for me to simply book air tickets and fly home. But it's so far away from home that it wouldn't be possible to have frequent visits between DH and DS if DH stayed here.

I'm not sure how I feel about him at the moment - I just feel detached from the situation - like it's not really happening to me. I feel such an idiot knowing all the other people he was 'ladding about' with who I have met at social events who must have been laughing about me behind my back.

BOFster Mon 01-Dec-14 05:46:40

I really don't think anybody will have been laughing about you behind your back, but they may well have been contemptuous of your disrespectful prick of a husband. Which isn't much of an improvement I guess, huh?

I think I'd actually take that flight home for a few weeks at least and give him a chance to see how clever he feels having ballsed up his family life. You shouldn't have to be going through this without your support network around you. That might at least give you the chance to see whether he will actually move heaven and earth to repair this, or if the hangdog routine is just a tool to manipulate you into dropping your understandable disappointment in him.

I'm so sorry you have been let down so badly.

JuniorMumber Mon 01-Dec-14 05:58:34

Oh god, what a bloody idiot he is. My rather pessimistic view is that whatever men admit to in these situations, you usually have to magnify ten-fold to get to the reality. In this situation I think you just need to dig deep and ask yourself honestly - do you love him, and can you trust him moving forward? You will already know the answer to these questions, you just have to find the courage to face what answering them will mean for your family.

ishouldcocoa Mon 01-Dec-14 06:04:27

I'd be inclined to give yourself some headspace and come home. Do you have family support here?

It'll give him a chance to experience an empty house and make him realise what a twunt he's been.

FolkGirl Mon 01-Dec-14 06:20:34

I'd come home, too. I wouldn't tolerate this, it would be over. I ended my marriage with less 'evidence' than this and it turned out there was a lot more.

I've read a few threads over the years where a man who has no alternative but to confess to something will say that a strange woman followed them to the toilets and groped them. Really? That sounds about as believable as all the 5th form boys at school losing their virginity to a Spanish girl whose name they can't remember on holiday... In other words, it's a lie.

I also doubt the story that he was just being 'laddish' to impress the men at work. He's not a teenager. What kind of person impresses and is impressed by implied infidelity? Agreeing that someone is attractive is one thing, saying that nothing has happened yet, but you can't say that it won't in the future is hugely disrespectful.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Mon 01-Dec-14 06:28:37

I'm sorry but this screams the 10% rule - when caught, admit to 10% of the truth. His explanations sound like shit.

prettywhiteguitar Mon 01-Dec-14 06:36:35

This is an awful revelation, I really feel for you.

Your relation is key here, if you sweep it under the carpet it's basically giving him the green light to carry on. So unfortunately (such a horrid time of year to do it) I think I would temporarily separate and go home for a bit. If you don't he won't get the message you will not put up with this.

You can monitor his behaviour forever you need to be able to trust the lying shit bag. And right now I wouldn't

Rebecca2014 Mon 01-Dec-14 06:36:50

How old is your husband? they sound like a pathetic bunch of middle aged men, egging each other on to cheat on their families.

The problem you have is will he keep to his promise or will he just be even sneakier? I would go home, just to drive home the point how serious you really are and what he can stand to lose. Hope your ok!

prettywhiteguitar Mon 01-Dec-14 06:36:52

Sorry you can't monitor

prettywhiteguitar Mon 01-Dec-14 06:38:39

Honestly what do you stand to lose not being his wife ? Is he normally great ? I would really evaluate what you get from the relationship. Not what he has to lose, don't think about that this is about you

AuntieStella Mon 01-Dec-14 06:39:21

I suggest you ask him to start looking for another job.

Tell him you'd rather he got a reputation for moving post too readily than one as a selfish, unfaithful knobber. That he's utterly blown it in this post and, given confession of earlier incident, probably this whole line of work too.

When you decide where you are going to move to next, start job hunting yourself too.

diggerdigsdogs Mon 01-Dec-14 06:41:40

You don't have to say where you are but I do so hope it's not asia. My experience of living in China/Hong Kong/ Thailand/ Indonesia was that the very, very vast majority of men were at it like knives with their wives obliviously thinking it was everyone else's dh.

If it is these countries then I'm afraid there may be little hope of real change - too much opertunity, too easy, too much of a blokes club to protect him and keep you out.

Sadly, ask me how I know. sad

Very best wishes to you and strength in your decisions

Eeek Mon 01-Dec-14 06:50:25

I've recently found myself in a similar situation so I do feel for you. I'm reading the Relate book, After the Affair, available on kindle and finding it very useful. The first 2 chapters are crap but then it gets into why, what do you want to do etc and asks questions to help you work out what you want. Good luck!

Forgottopackmyself Mon 01-Dec-14 06:54:53

No, not Asia Digger.
The old firm in UK, that he left for this new firm here, had a definite 'old boys' culture - I worked there too, although in a different department - I knew everyone in his department and had professional interactions with many of the members of his team - so I'm pretty sure that anything he was getting up to was confined to his work trips away (about 1 night a fortnight, sometimes more) and by e-mails that I wouldn't have had access to.

The new firm is much more family oriented, one reason we were attracted to a more family friendly work/life balance. Additionally, a couple that we have made friends with both work with him - the wife works directly to him - so I don't think he would be initiating anything as I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to look like a shit in front of them. He's in a more senior role here and I think (hope) he's trying to create a good impression with the senior management.

If anything is carrying on now I would put my money on it being e-mails back to his laddish mate and the 'girls in the office' in his old firm in UK.

I do suspect that I don't know everything ... so I'm left guessing - which in my mind is worse than actually knowing.

Forgottopackmyself Mon 01-Dec-14 06:55:51

Thanks Eeek - will have a look for that on Amazon.

Hissy Mon 01-Dec-14 07:26:32

you do hold all the cards. and HE has to tell YOU what he's going to do to fix this, seeing as he's the prick that broke it.

as for 'I can't do this to DS'? what's that?

you haven't done anything, but IF you decided that you found H's clear lechery/disrespect of you/women unacceptable, surely these are things you'd want the man you are raising to know.

one of the reasons I left my (abusive) ex was precisely that I didn't want him growing up idolising a man like that.

there's little difference here, if your son sees a man treat his mother like this, and it's 'normal', then how do you think he'll grow up respecting you or any other woman.

I hate to say it, but I know far too well from posting on relationships threads that what a man admits to first conversation is an extremely sanitised version and bears practically NO resemblence with what actually happened.

I don't think he stopped himself. ever.

EverythingsRunningAway Mon 01-Dec-14 07:48:34

I think I'd actually take that flight home for a few weeks at least and give him a chance to see how clever he feels having ballsed up his family life. You shouldn't have to be going through this without your support network around you. That might at least give you the chance to see whether he will actually move heaven and earth to repair this, or if the hangdog routine is just a tool to manipulate you into dropping your understandable disappointment in him.

^ This advice from BOFster is very good - gives you time, space, and the support of friends to figure out what you do now that you realise you are married to a misogynist creep.

Part of your problem is that this isn't just stuff he shouldn't have done, it's stuff he shouldn't have wanted to do.

Like what's so great about being married to a man who has to restrain himself from acting like an embarrassing, sexist knob?

Can he change himself into an actually decent person who isn't a dick?

HumblePieMonster Mon 01-Dec-14 11:53:29

Pack up and go home. Take your son. Staying with the husband would be a horrible lie you had to live every day. Don't do it to yourself. Go home.

elastamum Mon 01-Dec-14 12:01:29

I feel for you and having been married to a serial cheat, expect there is more to this than you have seen. Even if you want to stay together - he needs to understand the personal cost of his behaviour if he is really going to change. So I would also advise packing up to go home for a while. Then maybe you can get some space to think about what you want.

Windywinston Mon 01-Dec-14 12:12:57

Go home with your DS, at least for a little while. Save yourself from having to deal with the hangdog routine and deal purely with processing your feelings. Get support from your family and friends.

I suspect there's more to this than a bit of "laddish banter" and one drunken fumble in a pub toilet. People don't talk about "giving her one" unless this is the sort of behaviour they openly indulge in. FWIW, people won't have been laughing at you, they'll have been thinking he's a prick.

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