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Crumbling marriage and suspected infidelity

(47 Posts)
pippy2013 Wed 28-Oct-15 08:56:10

Sorry I don't have any support and I need to share with someone....Been married/together 12 years (2 children in school) . My husband has only had one other partner before me (long term) - no history of cheating. We moved to the Netherlands from the UK over 2 years ago for my husbands' job - children are now bilingual and settled here. Although admittedly we have had some difficulties in our marriage I did expect him to be faithful. I've had suspicions for the last 8 months that he was getting close to someone at work - he travels abroad regularly and I first became suspicious when he went away twice with one particular female colleague (second trip was alone for a week with her.) Then on a weekend break away to Edinburgh with me a text message popped up while he was in the shower - from the same woman, the tone was very over-familiar - we'd been to see some comedy (she said something about "....Hope you save some humour for me"). I noticed later that day he had deleted the message. I confronted him about this and he completely denied any wrong doing and said she was a good work friend and had been asking about a 'work issue' and he deleted it as he felt it was inappropriate to discuss work while we were away. We had a huge row about it and he said the issue was more about us and we needed to sort out our marriage. I continued to have my suspicions as he now no longer talks to her at all by text, so I suspect he is chatting to her some other way (i.e. password protected laptop). He said he also had a word with her and told her I wasn't happy about him having 'work texts' at home. I have tried to get on with things as normal and hoped this was the end of it, but I just discovered a very personal message written on a piece of paper tucked in my husbands notebook - see image. Whichever way I look at it, this can only be from someone who is more than just a 'good friend'. I know it's from her as the 'tone' is the same as the text message. I can't believe he would jeopardise our marriage like this, he knows very well that I would divorce him if he was unfaithful. I don't know how far this has gone between them, it could just be a flirtation or something more - but I'm completely taken aback by it. the woman (10 yrs younger than my husband) only got married a year ago herself- her husband works at the same company and I'm now considering contacting him to see if he has any suspicions and to show him the message she wrote to my husband. If I confront my husband about the message - I think he will just deny it's anything more than just a flirtation perhaps. If he knew I contacted her husband he will be furious with me and I fear he could walk out on me. What should I do? It's my daughters birthday next week and I really don't want to cause any problems before then. I'm feeling very devastated right now - I live in a foreign country and have no family support (except for my MIL but I can't talk to her about it) and i haven't made any close friends here yet I can talk to.

BeeRayKay Wed 28-Oct-15 09:03:05

The first few questions looked like any normal facebook chain post. But then the bottom two look odd.....

You should ask him about it. x

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 28-Oct-15 09:04:26

This looks like something that does the rounds on social media and doesn't look like something intimate or flirtatious if I'm honest. It would not unduly concern me. Nor would the text. And I am a pretty insecure person! Hope your ok OP but I do think you need to widen your social network. Please don't contact her husband if these are the only two instances you have as "evidence" because it doesn't sound like anything to me. Just my opinion though.

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 28-Oct-15 09:12:05

Hi OP I am going to revise what I said a bit because I felt I was a bit dismissive in my last post about how you are feeling. I think you should ask him about the letter. You shouldn't be feeling insecure and your husband should be doing more to not make you feel like shit which you clearly do. I don't see this as evidence of him cheating as such but if he is going away with her on business trips and they enjoy each others company then I can see why you would feel uncomfortable. It is up to him as well to help you feel secure in your marriage.

HumboldtFog Wed 28-Oct-15 09:16:15

Who/what is Bertje?

Great posts, bearleft.

pippy2013 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:37:43

Thanks everyone - I hadn't even considered the message could be a chain type thing! My husband is in his 40's and it sounds a bit immature to me... He just went to China for a week and it looks like this was given to him by her before he went away - I guess I need to ask him about it. My husband hates clowns and dogs which is why I thought it sounded very personal ! I don't know what the reference to Bertje is - I think it's a Dutch cartoon character. And yes, the last question sounds odd to me too....People don't usually ask for a poem from a friend do they??

I have become very insecure recently, I haven't worked for 10 years and I think its knocked my confidence a lot, OH now loves his job, has a high flying career and works with many younger people. I'm struggling to slowly build a life up here, I'm getting to know lots of other expats but as they're all fairly new to me I don't have any close friendships yet. I complain a lot to him that it's much harder for me living here than him, but he doesn't seem to have much empathy for me - he seems to think I should decide what I want to do and just get on with it.
I'm starting to feel like he's just using the house as lodgings - he has so little time for me, his life is all about work and a small part is for the children. We have no intimacy anymore. Admittedly, I am partly responsible for pushing him away for several years, but this was due to his criticising behaviour towards me. I have tried to run a business from home but I don't seem to be able to manage it well with my other tasks of running a home and looking after the children. I'm considering seeking marriage counselling as I don't think I can continue feeling this way about our marriage.

bearleftmonkeyright Wed 28-Oct-15 12:56:34

I agree it sounds immature, like something teenagers forward to each other. From your last post I can see that he is not helping you in any way or being supportive. No wonder you feel so terrible. The childcare cannot all be left to you. If you want to work he is going to have to get his head out of his arse and support you.

LucySnow12 Wed 28-Oct-15 18:11:57

Your h doesn't sound very supportive or caring. I think I would get some counselling to decide where you want to go in your life. Can't you get some help in the home? I think working would be a boost to your confidence. Or sign up for some courses. That's what I did when I moved countries. Wish you well.

pippy2013 Wed 28-Oct-15 21:30:26

Thanks for your advice and empathy - I am starting to think things would be a lot better if I can find a job I enjoy. I have recently visited a career counsellor who is helping me look at some options - just need to see what happens with that once I start applying for jobs.

I've tried signing up for some free online courses but I don't seem to have the time to complete them! My husband has offered to pay for a cleaner which I should take him up on. I'm going to talk to him on Friday about the letter thing - he's still recovering from jet lag so don't want to push him at the moment.

pippy2013 Wed 28-Oct-15 21:32:11

LucySnow12 - when you did the courses were they free or paid courses? I'm wondering if a paid course would be more motivating? I have lots of interests too so I find it hard deciding what to focus on!

LucySnow12 Wed 28-Oct-15 21:53:07

I took a lot of art/craft classes at a local college and made some really nice friends. You can also think about volunteer opportunities.

ForChina Wed 28-Oct-15 22:03:27

I'm sorry but it doesn't look like a forwarded thing to me. It looks like some kind of cutesy thing between a couple. I expect Bertje is either a pet or perhaps a soft toy. She wants to get to know him better. She wants him to answer these questions and write her a poem, and prove his love for 'Bertje' because that's important to her. Are her initials KK?

Can you do some digging for more info so that he can't deny it and make you feel like you're going crazy? I'm sorry but to me this looks really bad.

ForChina Wed 28-Oct-15 22:04:34

Sorry, just realised it says 'XX' at the end not 'KK' so ignore that.

Kisses at the end just highlight how dodgy this is, though. Also - going away for a week together. sad

RomiiRoo Wed 28-Oct-15 22:10:11

I think the thing about the dog and the clown is personal, yes, or very coincidental. The last three questions also seem quite personal. It seems like something given as a way of thinking explicitly about the other person, albeit light-hearted.

Regardless of context, it crosses a line. But even without that, it sounds like there is a lot wrong in your marriage.

RomiiRoo Wed 28-Oct-15 22:11:01

Sorry if that sounded judgemental, it was not meant to - very tired!

lordStrange Wed 28-Oct-15 22:15:25

Of course it is personal, who would keep this shit and carry it around with them?

And the xx's are a come-on.

Sorry OP, really sorry. I too would dig around a little. Also I would not confront your husband (nor the other one) until you feel clear about what you want should your suspicions turn out to be true.

blueshoes Wed 28-Oct-15 22:37:46

Exactly, who carries this shit around.

niceupthedance Thu 29-Oct-15 06:05:48

Why does your husband think your marriage needs fixing?

And how old are your kids? Could they have written that? That sounds more likely to me.

BolshierAryaStark Thu 29-Oct-15 09:16:57

The text would've concerned be a bit but the note wouldn't.
You definitely need to have a frank discussion with your DH about your marriage & the fact he is so unsupportive of you-perhaps he needs to be reminded that it was his employment that has you in an unfamiliar environment with no family or friends.
I do think a job will boost your confidence.

ForChina Thu 29-Oct-15 10:01:13

That's not a note from a child/teen. It's also not a circular, it's specific.

I honestly think Bertje is your clue here. Find out if she has a pet or child with that name. Or maybe it's someone else again. If it were me, I'd be digging for answers now.

AnotherEmma Thu 29-Oct-15 10:13:08

The thing is, even if these messages are "innocent" (which I highly doubt) you've mentioned relationship difficulties, his "criticising behaviour" towards you, lack of intimacy, lack of support from him, and him prioritising work over family. With all that in mind, I really wouldn't be surprised if he was having an affair, but even if he isn't, he's not a great partner is he?

pippy2013 Mon 30-Nov-15 09:41:17

Thanks for all your messages - I missed the last few as I hadn't logged on in a while. Well a lot has happened since I posted this - I ended up confronting him about it as I was bottling up so much suspicion I just blurted everything out. He was denying anything was going on until I showed him the note which apparently he hadn't even seen in his notebook - he looked quite shocked when he read the contents and said it was wrong and agreed their 'friendship' had overstepped the mark. Apparently, the reference to 'Bertje' is someone at their workplace who my husband really doesn't like, so it was an in-joke between them. He admitted that their friendship had become a bit flirtatious, and that he found it fun and frivolous, that is the only thing he has said about it - he has denied anything else was going on. He said he also met her once last year for a drink together after work, apparently to talk about an issue she had with work and that their friendship had been developing over coffee they were having together 2-3 times a week at work. After I confronted him, he admitted it was wrong how far it had gone (though he maintains nothing physical has happened).

The next day, my husband said he had a meeting with her and told her that I had found the note and accused them of having an affair - apparently she was mortified and really embarrassed about it, and that they have stopped meeting each other. My worry however now is a) if they really have stopped meeting b)whether it has pushed them together more as it's been brought out in the open now.

This incident really made me think a lot about our marriage and after the initial anger I made a big change to get closer to him (I realised I pushed him away years ago and had to take some responsibility for this), we have slept together a few times now (more than we have in the last year!) and things have seemed a lot better, I think he was struggling with the lack of intimacy.

However, even though we have both made a concerted effort to be more together and even talked about trying marriage counselling - every few days I'm plagued with doubts, if this is all a cover up. This morning he left for work earlier than usual and I called/texted him when he should have got there but he didn't pick up or answer my messages for over an hour - and when he finally spoke to me I was really angry and accused him of meeting this woman.

I don't know how I can move forward when I know he is seeing her every day at work.... I have seriously thought about emailing her husband with my suspicions as he is in the same workplace but I don't want to make things really difficult at work for my husband, he said it's already awkward since all this has happened. My husband also was VERY against me mentioning it to the other man saying it could jeapordise his/her job. I can't stand the thought of being lied to though and I just don't trust my husband 100% to tell me the truth. I feel that if she is pursuing him, he wouldn't have the willpower to say no.

pippy2013 Mon 30-Nov-15 09:47:03

Just on another note - the woman has no children of her own. She's been with her husband for 14 years and married for only a year, and my husband reckons they are a good couple together and that they're quite popular at work with a big social circle. I noticed today though, her husband isn't on her FB friends list and she doesn't list herself as married (but it could be he doesn't use FB).
I hate feeling paranoid and like I have to watch my husband's every move. He went to a work meal last week and I insisted he call me straight after the meal and I also checked with a work partner I know if he was there!

Fratelli Mon 30-Nov-15 10:02:49

Sorry you're going through this. The fact is he could be minimising what's happened. Something physical could have happened, it could also be an emotional affair.

Him leaving early and not answering calls is extremely suspicious imo. Also, is there any proof of what he said to her? If he doesn't have the willpower to say no he shouldn't be married. Ultimately you need to decide if you can trust him again. flowers for you op. And have an unmumsnetty hug

MultishirkingAgain Mon 30-Nov-15 10:02:40

I haven't worked for 10 years and I think its knocked my confidence a lot, OH now loves his job, has a high flying career and works with many younger people

He really needs to step up to understanding what you've sacrificed here, and recognise & respect it. I've just seen a marriage of close friends go down the tubes after 25 years because the husband was increasingly arrogant about his career and dismissive of his wife's accommodations for his career. She kept working (thank goodness - we both regularly say thank goodness about that) but only part-time, and there's absolutely no question that her career suffered to support his. Like you, they moved to suit the husband's career, and she was increasingly expected to support his long commute by doing ALL the wifework and housework.

And then he started a new job working away during the week, and expecting to come home to a perfectly run household. The inevitable - he started up a dalliance with a younger woman at his place of work. She had made a beeline for him, and the relationship moved pretty fast once my friend called time on the marriage.

So your DH needs to recognise YOUR contribution, YOUR sacrifice, and take those seriously, and do what is needed to acknowledge and honour that. And you probably need to restart your career. Dependence is not good for anybody.

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