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Worried and suspicious(46 Posts)
I'll try to be brief. I am 71 and DP 73 (been together over 40 years) He has had affairs in the past and made overtures to friends, but not for man years. To me it was all in the past and I never have it a thought.
However the past has re-emerged for me and causing me a great deal of distress. DP is a member of a rambling club and in August went on a walking holiday with 2 women from the club. I wasn't happy as it reminded me of the past when he had been on walking holidays with the OW.
Over the past few months one of the women J has been suffering from anxiety and asked DP if he would go over (it's not far) to help her sort her finances out but when he got there, she'd already sorted things out but didn't tell him. We had a row because I was being reminding of the past and then I felt guilty so I said maybe he should go and see her as she was unwell and he jumped at the chance saying "I'll go tomorrow" but she was busy and suggested the following week, so he went over again. Then she contacted him to ask if he'd help her move some furniture and go on a short walk as she was feeling better. I was pissed off because she's been divorced for years so must have people to help her move furniture - she's definitely got a son-in-law who lives nearby. DP said he wasn't sure about the walk as I had an appointment so he moved the furniture and that wa that.
In his birthday card she wrote:
"Happy Birthday X
With warm wishes, love and thanks for all your care and support. It means a lot to me............J x
I thought it was a very intimate message and the care and support was DP helping her to plan a walk (they take it in turns to do this in the club) or at least that was the explanation. I don't know this woman, never seen her and I thought it insensitive to write something like this in a birthday card.
On Wed she is driving him to the Ramblers Christmas lunch. She offered to do this because he was due to have an op on his and so wouldn't have been able to drive, but the op has been postponed but she's still driving him so he can have a drink.
They e mail each other on a regular basis, and last night we have a big row and I demanded to see the e mails. He said they'd been deleted. In the end he showed me one from Aug (about 4 lines talking about tents!) He says he won't show me any more because of "what I'll read into them" and he refuses to be monitored. The comment about "What I'll read into them has given me the idea that there IS something he doesn't want me to see.
I know this might sound something and nothing but it's brought the pas back and I'm very distressed. I suffer from intermittent depression which is severe at times. DP has been very caring and supportive of me since this illness began 6 years ago.
What do you think?
It doesn't sound very kind of him to behave like this
I am sorry; have you considered what options you might have, as in whether to stay with him and so on?
I don't think her behaviour is appropriate, especially as she may very well know that you have been unwell: however, for whatever it's worth, I don't see any evidence your partner has done anything unfaithful.
He may legitimately feel that there is nothing going on from his side, but at the same time be aware that she sends messages that cross the line in terms of what's appropriate for communicating with a married man, hence having deleted them. He's not being overly sympathetic towards you, but I suspect it's typical male exasperation - and if you're not well, could there be a possibility that you would read something into messages that might not be there, especially if the woman is a bit silly, and also being rather inappropriate?
Also - though it's a soul-sapping illness to have, it's also very hard caring for someone with depression: you say he's been caring and supportive since you became ill - is he still as supportive? I'm just asking because it's also possible that he is seeing that as a bit of a fun flirtation to lift his spirits, and though not encouraging her, is also not being as firm as he could be in terms of discouraging her. I don't in any way mean to excuse him - but I am wondering whether, though he is supportive of you, he misses how you were before you became ill, in terms of flirty attention, and doesn't see how he's behaving at the moment as inappropriate.
Are you well enough yourself to join the rambling club? (I appreciate if you're suffering with depression, it may well be a battle just to get out of bed in the morning, but people are affected in different ways) If not - would you be up to having a small gathering at yours, including her and some of the others and mar your territory, as it were?
I honestly think what's been happening is that he has offloaded some of his worries about you to her, as partners do when someone is ill, and she has interpreted this as meaning something else. She is exploiting what she feels is their closeness, and he is being a silly odd sod and enjoying the attention. Unless you have another reason to suspect him, in terms of his behaviour? Did he brush you off in a similar way before, for example? If you do think he's behaving in the same way, then perhaps it's worth considering what steps to take next, and issuing an ultimatum.
I'm so sorry this is happening to you when you are already so unwell
Also - I don't know if you're up to driving at the moment, but if so, drive him on Wednesday!
I feel very sorry for you
How many decades have you been living with his infidelity ?
Hello op, did you post about dp away with this woman camping but you didn't know where they were? Your post seems to ring a bell. There is obviously a lack of trust due to his previous cheating. Is this man really worthy of you?
Thanks for the replies. Hefzi you're right, on bad days (which is nearly every day) it's a major effort to get out of bed, let alone walk 12 miles, which is what they do! Re the e mails he is adamant they are just about walking but won't show me because "I will read something into them" like I did with the message in the birthday card. I thought it was an inappropriate message to someone who she knew had a partner and we had never met.
She's not "silly" - quite the reverse - she's highly intelligent and has a doctorate and taught in a university for some years. She's now a home tutor. In terms of flirting I am 71 and DP is 73. OW is 63 I think.
I wouldn't be up to driving on Wed and they are doing a 10 mile walk before the lunch anyway. Thank you for your kind words.
Anyfucker Since we were late 20's so 6 decades on and off but not for about 20 years.
eliza Yes I did post about him camping with this woman in August but there was definitely another woman there as well - in fact DP gave her a lift. I was very upset then but now because J has been ill with anxiety, the friendship seems to be getting closer. DP insists he has a right to a friendship and I can't disagree but neither can I forget the past.
I remember your previous post about the camping situation.
Look - this man has been unfaithful to you throughout your marriage (? or are you unmarried?) or for at least a 20 year period - I see no reason why he would have stopped cheating 20 years ago, although he might have got a lot better at covering his tracks. If you were expecting him to change - I think you must understand that is not going to happen.
You have been giving him the message for 40 years that you don't require monogamy from him.
TBH I would be proceeding on the basis of "Is he breathing? Then he's almost certainly having an affair" never mind these far-too-close female friendships, cards, and emails which he refuses to show you with some ridiculous excuse.
This man will never be monogamous.
Does he bollocks have a right to a friendship! He's with you! He isn't available to be a 'friend' to this other woman, whoever she is. Her problems are not his problem.
You're not married? And you've let it go when he's been unfaithful in the past? You might have written the script for your declining years there, OP.
1 Put up and shut up, hope he gets bored with her eventually. But bear in mind there will always be another one along soon for this joker.
2 Sort out your assets and get your ass out of there.
3 Have WW3 in your house and let him know he toes the line in future - any rambling he does he can do with you.
The trouble with/joy of getting older (I'm 58) is that you can feel death is right behind you and will catch up with you soon, so the normal rules go out of the window. So the man trying it on is far too young? So what, the opportunity won't come again. So, the older man is married? So what, he's already unfaithful to his wife. Those are random examples but the other woman in your scenario might be suffering under a similar delusion.
My grandma had a deep hatred of any 'Judy The Second'. Judy was any woman who came along and took over a husband. Grandma's own brother moved his mistress into the house with his wife. Another man I heard of recently had two identical homes, one for his wife, one for his mistress. My uncle ran two families until his eldest son tracked him and discovered what he was up to. A complex arrangement might suit you.
You need to decide what you want. Then assess if its possible (ie loving and faithful relationship with your DP, might not be possible). Then, set about getting the best deal you can for yourself for the rest of your life.
If I seem a little irate, I was around in the seventies, and all rubbish we were fed then about 'not tying him down' and 'free love' - it was crap. Absolute crap. It breaks hearts, tears people apart, gets them full of disease - urgh!
Oh, worried sorry that you are feeling so lousy
She might not be "silly" in the sense of intellect, but that doesn't stop her being a silly cow! And that's definitely what she's being, I am afraid - she seems like she's trying to make trouble with that card, and I'm afraid your DP is encouraging her in that he hasn't laid on the line what is appropriate and what isn't, even if there's nothing else going on. At the same time, though, when you're so unwell, I expect the last thing you feel like is any kind of confrontation, aggro or nonsense - I agree with timelytess: you need to think out what you want, and what you want him to do.
He should be able to tell her bluntly to back off (and he shouldn't need you to tell him to do this, though that's a different matter!) but if he won't, you need to work out whether- and what - you can tolerate. The trouble is, things like this are awful enough to deal with when you're 100%, never mind when you are totally drained and beside yourself at the best of times: I guess all I can do is wish you the strength to be able to work out your options.
I'm sorry though, that you are suffering so: your DP is a fool, but I think worse than that is trying to sort out his idiocy when you are going through the destructive, painful, agonising torment that is depression.
Thank you all. I really appreciate your posts. I can't get it out of my head that he said last night he wouldn't show me the e mails because I would read "something into them" like I did the card. But I did think the wording in the card was inappropriate and insensitive. I have a male friend (ex colleague) and when his partner was alive I would never dream of writing something like that in a card. I think it's ok if it's a mutual friend but from someone I have never met....NO. She must have known I'd see the card.
Just thinking he said he'd deleted the e mails on his lap top since he got his smart phone a few weeks ago, but wouldn't they be on his phone? Do e mails sent from a laptop appear on a smart phone? I don't know whether she has a smart phone.
You describe the torment of depression so well Hefzi - I feel so upset and couldn't sleep last night. I do have to say DP has been incredibly supportive since I've been ill, both emotionally and practically.
Yes I remember it was with two women,I'm so sorry you are hurting again. He doesn't have the right to a friendship if it causes you,his partner so much anguish,and any decent man would act accordingly.
Re phone and email
They have probably gone from his phone if he deleted them.
But how tech is he?
They may well be in the 'deleted' email file.
What's his @email?
Gmail, Hotmail, yahoo etc?
We could perhaps help you snoop.
I'm of the tell him to get lost brigade though.
I honestly don't know why I stayed with him with all his indiscretions (for want of a better word) and feel a bit foolish now that I did. I don't think I could cope with the upheaval of selling the house and living on my own given my MH issues.
Unfortunately, Worried, some men do appear very supportive when their partner has depression - doesn't mean it's genuine. My ex was like that - in fact, it took me many years to see that my being depressed actually gave him (even) more power over me. Of course I was pathetically grateful for his apparent care and didn't notice that his "help" made me rely on him to the point when I believed I couldn't function without him.
It meant I was often at home alone when he was out and about, doing whatever he wanted. When I began to recover, and to make friends, all that support went out of the window and suddenly he didn't want to go out, didn't want to do things without me, wanted to stop me seeing my new friends.
It may all be innocent, but he has a bad record and I wouldn't trust him. Do you have anyone to confide in?
I'm almost the same age as you and my life is lovely now. You could have 20 good years ahead of you - what do you want to do with them?
Dung he uses an Apple Mac and I use a PC. I have no idea how an Apple Mac works and I've no idea how smart phones work, mind he guards that with his life. He's an untidy person and leaves stuff all over the place but never the phone! I asked why they weren't in the deleted file and he said with a Mac they went straight to trash and couldn't be retrieved. I don't know if that's true.
He said our son (who is a teccie) told him to delete then so they didn't build up.
I don't know his e mail - think it's Gmail - I can check his e mail address cus I have it on my laptop. Thing is I don't know any of his passwords and he types a number into his smart phone and obviously I don't know that.
What do you think of the message in the birthday card?
I confess to being a useless tech really but even more with macs
I suppose to me though, the emails ARE incriminating. No other way to interpret his lack of transparency. He probably has double deleted them. From the inbox and from the deleted file. That would be all the evidence I need. And the phone clutching too.
Note how he has an answer ready for everything though.
If he leaves his Mac on, it probably has cookies which remember where he has been. If you really are not at all tech, I wouldn't beat yourself up over this.
If you really need to snoop then go quiet. And watch for the code on the phone over his shoulder. Memorise it for a time he is showering or something.
Don't feel foolish, worried - you did what was the right thing for you at the time. And probably now is not the right time to make any hard and fast decisions about the future, either - splitting up (never mind after so many years) is always a huge effort and trauma, and when you're already unwell, it's in danger of becoming another thing to cope with, at a time when you're already struggling.
I'm sorry you couldn't sleep last night - I always find that that makes everything a million times worse, too: I'm afraid I'm not techy at all, so can't advise on the emails. But I think you would be well within your rights to tell him that you appreciate all his support, and you understand that he has also been affected by your suffering, but under the circumstances, you would be grateful if he could put some firm boundaries in place with this woman vis a vis her interactions with him.
Like I said, I do actually believe him (despite him having form), and that he deleted the emails because he knows that they are phrased inappropriately in whatever way and yet he has only tacitly encouraged this. And I do appreciate he needs his own outlet if he has been supporting you. But you're not asking him not to go walking, or be in contact with her etc - you are simply asking him to set your mind at rest, when it is a time when it is already so unsettled by everything from being ill, by clearly telling her that the tone of her messages makes him uncomfortable. I think this is a reasonable request, in all honesty, and if her messages became something you could both roll your eyes about and laugh over, both of you will be the better for it.
I hope you get a better night tonight.
Thanks hefzi - the thing is the tone of her messages don't make him uncomfortable! He didn't see anything wrong with the wording in the birthday card. I asked him if he would write something similar to a woman and he jus kept saying "I don't know" - to be honest it's that damn card that has upset me and made me suspicious. Then we have the Christmas card to look forward to.........although he might hide it.
Agree with you Dung about the e mails being incriminating.
I don't have much advice on the relationship front but I can help with the emails. The emails may still be in a deleted folder if he is using Sky or Gmail but a more probable option would be to look in his sent messages. Presumably the contact hasn't been one sided and he may not have had the forethought to delete those. Do you know his password or if his laptop autofills his password. I would be very tempted to take a look, I can't see any reason why he wouldn't show you if he is innocent.
Thanks JE no I don't know his password nor whether his laptop autofills his password. I don't even know how to access his e mails even if I knew the password. He makes sure everything is private. He sits on a small sofa with his laptop (2 seater) but the spare seat is full of books so I can't even sit by him and glance at what he's doing though he often comes and sits by me when I'm on the laptop and glances at the screen but is not particularly interested.
Sorry meant to say he has said the e mails aren't in a deleted file because with Apple Macs they go straight into the trash and can't be retrieved - does that sound right?
Depending on how much you want to pursue this, if at all, there is one thing you could do. If your name is on the Sky account (presuming you also have Sky tv, phone or broadband) then you can call and ask them to reset the password. I think you would need to really consider how important it is to see the emails. Would he respond to an ultimatum to allow you to see the emails or a less extreme promise not to overreact if they are innocent?
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