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am I being a total mug? sorry, a bit long but I need to share!

(53 Posts)
blondiemum123 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:09:17

I've been with my husband for 25 years, married for 15 and we've never had any issues with trust until now.
He's friends with a girl 13 years younger than him at work and in the last few months she's started telling him all her problems, and she's got loads, going back years and it's caused serious mental health issues. Right at the start I advised him not to get involved in her problems as it might drag him down. That was too late, he'd already got involved and was secretly texting her.
I had my suspicions and when there was a name that kept flashing up on his phone (I never actually checked his messages) I asked him outright if he'd been secretly texting her. He admitted it and said he didn't want to tell me coz I'd told him not to get involved. He said there was nothing going on other than being a supportive friend and I totally believe him.
Now it's in the open he's texting her more. He keeps setting rules like 'not after 8.30' then breaking them to he extent that he never comes to bed with me any more, he spends ages in the bathroom and I know it's so he can text her without me seeing as I tell him when I think he's been doing it too much (which he said I could).
Now it's taken another step - she's really upset coz something happened yesterday which set her off and she told him loads of stuff about her past which he says he wishes she hadn't as it's so nasty. When I told him I was cross with her for doing that as it's burdened him, he said I shouldn't be cross with her and he's going round her house after work tonight for an hour or so to talk to her about it. He said he'd never go to her house so there's another rule broken.
He did ask me if it was OK and when I said I didn't feel comfortable with it he got all snappy and accused me of not trusting him. So I had to say yes as he said that if he didn't then the stuff she told him would weigh heavily on him. When I moved towards a no he sighed and snapped at me. It's not that I don't trust him, it's that I resent the amount of his time that she's taking up. When we're at home he's always texting her and if I ask him not to I'm 'nagging'.
I'm feeling ignored and lonely and that she's getting the best of him but have no idea what to do about it. Whenever I bring up the subject he makes me feel like I'm being unreasonable and as we've got children I really don't want to be rowing about it at home so I just keep quiet and unhappy.
Am I being stupid? He's told me he's not the slightest bit attracted to her and that he loves me and wouldn't leave me but all my instincts are screaming that this can only lead to trouble...
Advice very welcome... thanks x

DeanParrish Wed 08-Jul-15 17:14:24

Oh oh.......

He is having an emotional affair at the very least. He is giving headspace to another, regardless of whether there is any sexual connection.
What are your limits? What does he need to do to make you content? What will you do if he doesn't agree?

Whichseason Wed 08-Jul-15 17:16:27

I don't automatically think it is the start of an affair but her over reliance on him will make her think it is a relationship and is not good for her. The way he is treating you is not acceptable.

The question is what will you do about it?

blondiemum123 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:18:35

I'm actually relieved to see those words as it's validated the way I'm feeling...
My limits? We keep setting rules that he can't seem to keep to so I'm all over the place. I'm not prepared to end the relationship over this, we've both invested far too much and both love each other.
I'll take some time to think of realistic limits and see what he thinks but if he doesn't stick to them I have no idea what I'll do so is it even worth setting them?
What a mess...

Jan45 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:19:20

I wouldn't care if nothing was going on (it probably is though), its the fact he is showing you blatant disrespect, disgusting actually that he thinks what he is doing is A ok with you, of course it isn't, it wouldn't be with anyone.

Jan45 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:20:08

It's up to him OP, if he cant put you first you don't really have a good relationship at all, he is showing you that over and over again.

Whichseason Wed 08-Jul-15 17:21:23

Probably a silly question but have you taken time to fully explain to DH how this makes you and the family feel and how thus is affecting your relationship?

Jan45 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:22:41

I also think everything he is telling you is probably the opposite, in other words, he does indeed find her attractive, why else would he be fucking up his relationship for her.

LazyLouLou Wed 08-Jul-15 17:23:41

OK. So you can't tell him not to. But it is really obvious he needs to pull back.

Do you think they may be too involved? Or is he just being too friendly, concerned... which he most certainly is!

Can you ask him to sit and think about how long he spends communicating with her over any one time period. Then ask him if he thinks that is healthy for either of you, or her?

You will need to stop even the slightest hint of jealousy or you will undermine yourself and set his back up - none of us like our good deeds to be questioned like that (and most cynically, if he is starting an affair you would get better 'evidence' if you give him enough rope...).

When he comes back tomorrow ask him how he feels (not her), if he feels he can help her or if this is all becoming too much for him. Point out that he seems to be upset by her revelations, she has dumped her problems on him and he isn't best placed to help. Ask him to signpost her to the professionals. Help him find local help for her....

And as he gets angry (which he will because he will feel 'got at') tell him how it makes you feel: worried for him, his stress levels. Sidelined and ignored... that's where him having evaluated his time communicating with her will be useful...

I hope your worst fears are misplaced xx

coffeeisnectar Wed 08-Jul-15 17:23:43

I would not be happy with this either. Why all the hiding in the bathroom and visits to her house? He sounds far too involved in her life.

heyheyheygoodbye Wed 08-Jul-15 17:25:33

As your relationship is suffering due to his involvement with her I feel that this qualifies as an EA. Also...I really don't mean to catastrophise but my friend went through something very similar - much younger colleague, DH saying she needed a lot of emotional support, etc - and she did believe him until one day her DH upped and left and went to live with the colleague, leaving my friend and their two tiny children sad

If I were you I would tell him that this isn't about you not trusting HIM, it's about him not reserving his emotional energy for YOU. I mean, not coming to bed so he can text her from the toilet? Come on. That is so not ok. You're his wife and you should be his priority. If he can't show you that you are then you have some serious thinking to do flowers

Jan45 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:27:04

Who cares if he can help her, does she not have friends, family she can turn to, he's hiding in the bathroom and visiting her home, fgs, I wouldn't give a damn if he thought I was acting `jealous`.

There are doing a good deed and there is sneaking about, do you really think he is doing this cos he is saint, nah.

blondiemum123 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:28:17

He is disrespecting me isn't he? Wow, it's amazing when you hear someone else say something that you've been thinking a while, thank you for validating my feelings.
The question is what do I do about it?
Whenever I bring it up with him he makes me promises which he doesn't keep and I'm sick of arguing about it as it gives her more of our time and she's taken up enough already...
She's got her own husband who she needs to talk to about these things, why does she need mine too?
ARGH! I just don't know how to do this without sounding like I'm accusing him or being jealous. I definitely believe that nothing physical is going on and I've warned him that if he's being so supportive when her husband isn't she may well fall in love with him. He's full of platitudes at the time but then she goes changing the rules by cutting herself or coming out with terrible stories about her childhood and I feel guilty if I stop him helping her.
Honestly? I just want her to get sectioned and leave him alone...

NaiceNickname Wed 08-Jul-15 17:30:12

Proper little hero, isn't he hmm

Except you should be his priority. He is already putting her feelings and needs above yours. You aren't happy... He instantly thinks of the effects that will have on her. Not you. It's not a healthy situation for anyone, and to be honest she probably isn't as broken as she is making out. I can just picture her now rubbing her troubled little hands with glee that she has managed to lure him to her den, I bet she will need a comforting hug too. No OP, I'd be very unhappy if I was watching this unfold.

I'd probably tell him to start putting some of his time and energy into you and your marriage again or piss off and play Harry Hero with her permanently.

LastOneDancing Wed 08-Jul-15 17:31:42

'There's a good deed and there's sneaking about' - spot on.

He's being a shit for making you feel guilty that he's investing more time in this troubled colleague than his wife. Texting in the toilet? You have every right to be pissed off.

And she's not respecting his family time by ignoring the boundaries he (allegedly) has tried to set. Smells fishy to me.

I'd be going off my rocker (and im quite a calm, trusting person).

LastOneDancing Wed 08-Jul-15 17:34:29

She needs professional help.

Is your DH a MH specialist?

If not I'd assume (and happy to be corrected) that he could do more harm than good.

blondiemum123 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:35:29

Thanks everyone for validating my feelings and for the support - especially LazyLouLou, your words rang very true with me.

I'm going to have to bite the bullet and talk to him again, but I'll do my best to make it non confrontational, and make sure he understands I'm worried for his mental wellbeing, which is also what I said right from the start when I warned him not to get involved...

This doesn't have to be the beginning of the end, I'm looking forward to the situation being over but know it's changed our relationship forever, which makes me sad...

Jan45 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:37:51

Is he like this with his friends, his family, is he known for trying to save people or sort out their problems..........the Hero that everyone applauds?

If not, you have your answer.

blondiemum123 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:38:20

LastOneDancing - she's getting professional help, and her therapist has told her to stop relying on him. He told me that yesterday yet still went to her today. I brought up that he'd said that she shouldn't go to him for help but he said 'this was different'

I'm putting my foot down now - we NEED to set limits and he NEEDS to stick to them. I can't keep playing second fiddle to her.

Jan45 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:41:48

What the hell does her husband make of all this, it just sounds weird as.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 08-Jul-15 17:42:11

Mmm... so the question is whether your dh is being a 'supportive friend' to his much younger female colleague or whether he's looking to get his leg over with her?

The quickest way to find out is to wait until his next bathroom session has taken place and ask him to show you his phone so you can take a look at the text messages he's been sending and receiving.

Whatever way you look at it, he's playing with fire by allowing/encouraging this colleague to unburden herself as it could sour his relations with others in the workplace and, if she has got serious mental health issues, his 'amateur counselling' may do more harm than good.

LazyLouLou Wed 08-Jul-15 17:42:23

Whenever I bring it up with him he makes me promises which he doesn't keep and I'm sick of arguing about it as it gives her more of our time and she's taken up enough already

See, you don't want him to promise you anything. You need him to see he is being unreasonable. He shouldn't be placating you, he should be prioritising you. You need to ask him different questions, get him to evaluate what he is doing from a less involved perspective. As it is he is being a local hero and you are being an uncaring cow! That needs to change and, as he currently wont you will have to change your tack... which is what I posted earlier, I hope!

She's got her own husband who she needs to talk to about these things, why does she need mine too?

Hmmm! Has your Dh spoken to hers? OK, I know the answer to that. Maybe that is another 'not jealous' avenue you could explore. Ask him to chat to her DH to see if there is anything he thinks your DH could do to help her/them. As you are older (sorry) could you suggest all 4 of you meeting somewhere neutral and discuss 'familial' support? Your DHs reaction to that would be educational!

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Wed 08-Jul-15 17:44:15

This is not on. You need to spell this out to him that he needs to stop contact with this woman because otherwise there will be an affair, if there's not already.

circleskirt Wed 08-Jul-15 17:45:18

He's obsessed with her, I don't see how he could say otherwise.

goddess makes a good suggestion about his phone, if he won't show it to you, there's your answer.

itwillgetbettersoon Wed 08-Jul-15 18:08:15

If he is such good friends with her get him to invite her and husband round for a meal or drinks. I'm sure her husband would be very interested to find out how friend his wife is with your husband. It isn't on. Initially I thought she was on her own but she has a husband who she should be talking to. This needs to end. Otherwise her H will be occusing your H of being the other man!!!

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