Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Please help. Husband leaving after 26 years

(355 Posts)
tartanbuggy Sat 30-Jan-16 21:19:13

I am starting a new thread with a post that I posted within another (very helpful) thread. Just looking for some hand holding please. So very sad.

This happened to me last night. Married 26 years, 3 kids (20 and 17 year old twins). DH and I had not been close or happy with each other for a long time and had grown apart, but I still didn't see it coming. He has got together with somebody at work (he is 54 and the boss), she is 28. He said that they had been attracted to each other for a long time but had not acted upon it until he realised that our marriage was dead. He wants to move out and has said I can stay in the house with the children, but he wants to change our joint account to a single account and then he will continue to pay the bills and arrange to pay an allowance to me for the kids and any necessities. This will be paid into my separate bank account. He earns a lot, I don't. I was SAHM for many years and then spend two years up and down to help my parents who lived at the other end of the country and have since died. I am working p/t time at the moment, but it is term-time only and I earn very little.

I feel like I'm in a dream. I keep "forgetting" and then remembering. I feel numb but with a weird churning sensation in my stomach. I haven't been happy in the marriage either - DH can, in my opinion, be quite difficult to live with and I gradually withdrew and stuck my head in the sand. It then all went round in circles. He said he had been unhappy for a number of years, and that if we had been happy together then the other woman "would not have existed".

The kids don't know yet. They will be told and I am absolutely dreading their reaction. I don't think I can bear it. Oldest DD is mentally very fragile and has been struggling with depression, culminating in an overdose a few weeks ago. Physically she is fine, but I am so worried about her.

I feel sick. Really, really sick and humiliated and terrified about the future and how we will manage. Please, MNers, let me know this can be got through. I am so scared.

Parrish Sat 30-Jan-16 21:30:39

I think you need legal advice. It can't all be on his terms.

whatevva Sat 30-Jan-16 21:43:36

Yes - get lawyered up and get as much financial stuff together as you can.

It is not your fault. If there were problems in your marriage it was his choice to solve it by having an affair. There were other ways.

But is this is the end, make sure you are getting what you need, and not compromising it away to be nice.

brew wine chocolate

mummytime Sat 30-Jan-16 21:47:24

You need a SHL (shit hot lawyer). He may offer a lot now, but will almost certainly backtrack once he feels less guilty and/or the kids become "independent". You are entitled to a lot (including 1/2 his pension) as your years as a SAHM enabled his career.

Keep eating, drinking and get sleep.

MoominPie22 Sat 30-Jan-16 21:47:47

I´m so sorry you´re world´s been turned upside down. No wonder you´re in turmoil! sad

This is soo bloody cliched it´s ridiculous, like something out of Love Actually! Jesus wept!! shock Do you think she´s flirted, made some advances, he´s having a mid-life crisis and was flattered by the attention, she knows he´s loaded cos he´s the boss, she wants to better herself with someone old enough to be her father! God, how awful. And how pat?!

Well I don´t have any real experience in this or helpful advice but there´ll be plenty of others who do. I just think he´s a shit head and he could have handled this a lot better. Your priorities are telling and taking care of your kids ( at least, being adults, they´ll have more concept of what´s happening and be able to decide how they feel about it ) and to look after yourself. This must have come like a bolt out of the blue!

flowers Once you´ve got over the shock and dealt with the practicalities, try and look at this as the next chapter in your life. There will be a point in the future that you feel some optimism, this is just a shitty phase that has to be dealt with. Take strength from your kids and your friends just now. Best wishes.

WellWhoKnew Sat 30-Jan-16 21:59:27

Tartan delighted you've started your own thread. I'm posting so I can keep an eye out for you.

However you reason this (and we all spend an inordinate amount of time doing so), there's no escaping the fact it is a horrific life experience. I promise you: everyone survives it. But no one knows quite how. In all honestly, I'm not sure I know how I got this far either. I just know that I'm still here, doing my thing, cracking on with life. I do laugh frequently, I still cry on occasion. It's not yet been two years since this hell happened to me.


After 24 hours, you're merely bewildered. You're going to be energetic for a while, but the shock will hit at some point. The worst stage by far, occurs around 6 months after the fact, when everyone around you has 'adjusted' to the new situation, whereas it's only just starting to become your reality.

At that point please, get counselling, see a doctor, do whatever it takes to pull you through that period including coming on MN. MN really is a life-saver - make no mistake. Six months after the shock is the hardest part. It might last months. But I implore you to not suffer it in silence.

I promise you: it really does get easier.

MNetters promised me that. MNetters don't get much wrong (beyond marrying total wankers).

Take care.

tartanbuggy Sat 30-Jan-16 22:41:59

Thank you, thank you, thank you all so much. It really helps to get the perspective of independent, kind, caring people like you lovely MNetters. I have been beating myself up, blaming myself because I knew we had not made each other happy. I had withdrawn emotionally and physically over the years and, I admit, was grumpy and moody and not always sure why.

On the other thread I said that I feel nervous round him and always as if I have to tread on eggshells. He tends to project anger outwards, eg, if he comes in after a bad day at work he will get angry about something lying on the floor or the kitchen bin overflowing. He rushes to clean it up, but will stay angry for ages. He can be vicious when he has a drink - and he drinks a fair amount - not physically, but verbally. I usually cringe, cry or flop like a big jelly and it just seems to annoy him. He did say that if he was such a horrible person why did I want him around. I really don't think he seems himself as I see him - he turns it round and says it's my issue and that he's not like that and that I'm just making him out to be something he's not.

I really hate conflict and my default position is to "submit", apologise (even if I don't feel I have done anything to apologise for), and then just stick my head in the sand and hope it all blows over.

Of course, he does have good points - as does everybody. But I can't deny that I found him very hard to live with. That's why I find it hard to understand why I am so upset and hurt at what's happened.

MoominPie you made me laugh! He said that she chased him, he didn't chase her. He also said she is a really lovely person. I think your analysis is spot-on. He is the big boss and, at work, has a very charismatic, decisive and dynamic persona and dresses very sharply. She is, I believe, pretty highly qualified but in a more junior role and looks up to him. Boss- employee syndrome? Monica and Bill?

Hello WhoKnewWho - glad you're here for me. Since mum and dad died I've often felt that there wasn't anybody who really cared about me, unreservedly. Well, I do have some fantastic RL friends who care and, now, some internet friends whom I never met, who also care.

Kirk123 Sun 31-Jan-16 00:33:49

Tartan , sending you strength , you deserve so much better , single life is ok, I am living it after 31 years with my soon be philandering 50 yr old ex !!!

SongBird16 Sun 31-Jan-16 01:02:48

I couldn't ignore this, I could have written it.

You really do need to see a lawyer, I think you will be pleased at what you can expect to receive financially.

Then get strong, even if you're faking it, don't let him see you cry ever again, don't behave like the little submissive mouse he expects you to be.

Yes your future now looks very different, but I promise you it will be good. You may end up living in a smaller home, but you won't be walking on eggshells in it, and where do you think your children's sympathies will lie?

He is an absolute joke, a mid life crisis caricature, and a laughing stock to work colleagues, family and friends. I expect the reality of living with his mistress will be quite different to the fantasy, and that's if she doesn't get bored of living with an older man first. He has no idea of the many ways his life is about to change. But you don't need to think about that, take care of yourself, be dignified, show him what he's lost and surprise him, make your children proud.

timelytess Sun 31-Jan-16 01:17:24

See a solicitor right away and get your future secured.
He isn't your husband now, he's a man with other demands on his time, money and interests. Salvage what you can and start some kind of life of your own.
I'm sorry. But be practical and even harsh.

Ohfourfoxache Sun 31-Jan-16 01:31:46

Right. You CAN do this and you WILL do this <gentle squeeze>

Get as much paperwork together as you can - bank statements, mortgage statements, anything relating to savings/assets/shares/anything financial at all. Get your certificates and passports together. Utility bills, mobile phone records, absolutely everything. Insurance policy details.

Get it all together and keep it safe. You may need it in the future but, even if you don't, it will give you something solid to focus on. You can never, ever have too much information.

As PPs have said, you need a SHL. Do some searching, ask for recommendations.

Tell people in RL. You need as much support as you can get.

Make sure you eat - again, this is something solid to focus on.

The man is a walking bloody cliché angry Songbird is right - what a fucking joke he is angry

Veterinari Sun 31-Jan-16 01:39:04

Tartan do NOT switch your joint account over to him. In fact think about squirrelling some of it away and get proof of his income etc on paper. See a solicitor ASAP.

On an emotional level: be kind to yourself, this is a huge blow. You are a strong woman and will come through this, your marriage isn't a happy one and you may well find yourself happier and more free. But give yourself time x

tartanbuggy Sun 31-Jan-16 08:09:22

Thank you for all the wonderful posts since my last message. I have read them all very carefully and I will definitely take the advice on board. I have been thinking about the financial situation and I am getting a bit worried. He said that he had no intention of disadvantaging us financially and that he would take his responsibilities seriously. I know that he is decent in that respect and would never see the kids go without; he does care about them. He stated that the kids and I could have the house (he will continue to pay the mortgage - my monthly earnings don't even cover it) and that he will retain his pension (my pension history has gaps due to being SAHM and low earner, etc; I'd probably be entitled to 24p a year!) I asked what would happen if he remarried and had another family. He stated categorically that he does not want any more children. Don't know if he has relayed that to the 28-year old. hmm

I do think a bit of legal advice will not go amiss. I have absolutely no intention of fleecing him or "revenge demanding" him; I want to be able to act with pride intact and total integrity on that account. As SongBird said: be dignified. But, I think it would do no harm to know what the law says and what my rights are. He denies it, but he has on a few occasions in the past felt the need to remind me who earns the money - usually when I was querying the purchase of yet another motorbike. That's a whole different story, but I often felt that it indicated deep down resentment that he was the sole earner even though he fully supported our decision that I should be a SAHM to the 3 kids. I was on maternity leave with DD1 when we relocated to where he was working - it saved on his travel expenses and meant that we had help from his firm in relocation costs. I know he felt the weight of responsibility of having to stay in a high-powered, stressful and very demanding job to support us all, but I never made any financial demands and tried to get back into work (albeit P/T low-paid) as soon as possible. I was always there to pick up the kids, cover INSET days, be there when they were sick etc and he was able to work, travel with work, work late, partake of his hobbies, go on his road trips and race days, etc, without ever having to worry about childcare.

Big long waffle there! Sorry. I think I'm still trying to convince myself that I am not making any unreasonable demands and that I did not force him into a terrible situation that caused him to snap.

DS started a new p/t weekend job last night to fit in around college. I took him there (he was so nervous) and picked him up later that evening. He was absolutely buzzing! The work had been hectic but he had coped well, was put on the till, made mistakes but sorted them out, cleaned the entire floor without being asked and got brownie points from the supervisor. He chatted to the team about playing football and was invited to join the 5-aside team. He was so happy and excited and planning what he might do with his wages and said they might offer extra responsibility because his first shift showed such promise. I know he was keen to tell his dad, but DH had been out all evening. I don't know where, but I could guess... The kids were asking where he was and I just said that something had come up at work and he had to go in and do some work on a last-minute presentation. That sort of thing is quite plausible and they accepted it.

But, oh, how my heart is breaking at the thought of what they are going to have to hear and feel and go through. The younger two are happy, loving, open teenagers and their lives are going to be changed forever. A lot of their friends have been through parents divorcing and I know that it's a great fear for them. If DH and I have ever argued, they have asked "You're not getting divorced are you?" I have, gladly, gladly, made sacrifices for the kids' sake: gave up work; moved to a new city when DD was 4 months old; two house moves in the first 6 months after DTs born; my figure has gone to ratshit; started a uni course (FT) but stopped half-way through because my stress and travel, finance, etc was having a huge negative impact on everybody else. I was sad about it, but did it willingly and with no resentment.

Anyway, apologies for the length of this post. It helps to off-load and typing it out makes it seem more reasonable IYSWIM. Thank you all for being here for me. The kindness of strangers ...

bb888 Sun 31-Jan-16 08:35:30

So sorry that you are going through this. Hopefully he will be able to work with you to minimise the distress and uncertainty for your children.
You may find that they are happier once they know what is happening and the questions about divorce maybe indicate that they were picking up on tensions?
Be kind to yourself and focus on managing one bit at time, and one day at a time. Try to eat regularly. I would expect that in the long run you will feel glad to get this man out of your life, especially when you have adjusted to him not being there, and the freedom that you will now have.

lighteningirl Sun 31-Jan-16 08:47:07

It's not about fleecing him or revenge demanding it's about a fair and equitable split. Frame it like a business contract get independent advice based on your still joint financial situation. Do not agree to anything until you've discussed it with a lawyer. By taking you off the joint account and giving you an allowance he is trying to dictate terms and you don't want that. Let go of the ow business you acknowledge the marriage was unhappy so this is actually a golden opportunity to get happy wave goodbye to him but separate the finances from any emotion and only a lawyer can do that. I would also go minimum contact you don't need to discuss child access and until you get to mediation you don't need to see him so try not to. He is used to a lot of power in your relationship every day you need to remind yourself he has none, zip, zero, nada over you now.

mummytime Sun 31-Jan-16 09:51:42

No one is suggesting "financial revenge" which a court would not enforce, but a fair and equitable settlement. Which is based on money and assets now, not ideally on "an allowance".

Also for children (even teens and older) it is the transition which can be the worst bit. As long as Dad still sees them and is involved it should work out okay. Their lives will not be blighted.
I would tell them ASAP. A bit like tearing a plaster off, both of you together if possible.

Inertia Sun 31-Jan-16 10:40:28

Do not trust him to do the right thing financially

He has proved that he is willing to wreck your life and the lives of the children.

OW is his only priority.

He has already demonstrated how financially resentful he is, and how little he values your contributions to the family.

He has already demanded that you be cut out of the joint account.

His behaviour within the marriage could be described as emotionally abusive.

He is telling you that he intends to keep his pension. You have a claim on that.

You need a lawyer and copies of household financial paperwork, and you need to get a watertight financial settlement quickly. He will not be decent about money.

summerwinterton Sun 31-Jan-16 10:43:24

I agree you must not agree to anything. And he doesn't get to decide whether he keeps his pension or what he will deign to pay you atm. You need SHL pronto.

Has he left yet?

SfaOkaySuperFurryAnimals Sun 31-Jan-16 10:44:43

Didn't want to read and run, you sound a lovely person, I have a 21 year old & twins who are 9, I am the lower earner, was the SAHP its bloody hard going, especially when they have high power/stress/wage jobs. Never fails to amaze me how they forget the wonderful woman who enables their career.... Stick with wellwhoknew, she is very well informed and please be on no doubt, he is going to end up alone/washed up/miserable and she will end up being controlled /belittled /miserable, good for them. You have your beautiful children, its you and them against the world. You will watch his car crash unravel before your eyes, so warm your seat

Finola1step Sun 31-Jan-16 10:53:59

Lots of very good advice on this thread. Do not trust him to do the right thing financially. He has already proved that he wants life on his own terms. See a SHL as soon as you can.

But I've just had a little thought. There will come a day when you can wake up free of this man. When you don't have to worry about him and his moods. You won't have to lie to your children about his whereabouts.

And for him, there will come a day when he meets her friends socially. And her friends partners. I hope they are all young, trendy, six pack types. Because if they are, he will start to feel rather old in comparison. grin

Finola1step Sun 31-Jan-16 10:55:36

Oh and don't forget for one minute how your hard work at home for so many years enabled him to get to where he is in the workplace.

FredaMayor Sun 31-Jan-16 11:02:07

OP, I too could have written most of what you have ten or so years ago. I was poleaxed by what was being said to me, having carried on unaware for the sake of family unity. I also very much second those who are saying do not trust H going forward, he will be saying what he thinks he needs to to keep you compliant but when you are faced with the actualities on paper of what he hopes to get away with in settlement it will be another story, I am very willing to bet.

H's agenda is to set himself and OW up to the best of his ability since he will be driven by the need to keep her. He has deceived you massively on a matter of the utmost importance to you and the man you thought you knew is gone. Also remember there are no rewards for 'being the better person' and 'rising above it'. Make your own decisions (with the help of SHL which you definitely need) and do what's right for you. H's opinion is now irrelevant.

If I could speak to myself 10 years ago I would say just what PPs are saying, it will get better, much better, and you may well be very glad to have the opportunities that will now open to you.

Hushabyemountain98 Sun 31-Jan-16 11:13:00

Good Morning tartanbuggy. I am glad to see that you have started your own post.
As you have already seen everyone on here is so helpful and supportive.
I have been helped so much on here.
Just keep posting whenever you feel like it.
Do go and get some legal advice just to protect yourself and your children.
Just try and eat and sleep if you can. I know that is difficult because I am only a few weeks further on than you and I am finding it so hard.
Thinking of you. Take Care xx

tartanbuggy Sun 31-Jan-16 11:20:32

Have just seen all the latest replies and will read and respond later today. Have to pop out soon. We've just had "a conversation" - it didn't go too well. Basically, he wants to tell the kids individually and on his own. He said that I had mentioned that I had said the thought of the ow had humiliated me and asked if I would rather he told the kids that the split was what was agreed between mum and dad and to leave mention of the ow out of it. He also stressed, that he is not leaving me for her, but that she is a by-product of our unhappy marriage. He said all he is trying to do is to make it as painless as possible for everybody and that I was doing my usual by having "that tone" in my voice and talking down to him and treating him like an idiot. He was angry because he felt he was trying to be considerate towards me and my feelings and I was, basically, throwing it back at him and talking down to him.

I mentioned maybe taking advice about finance. That didn't go down well. I said I wasn't sure that it was possible to change a joint account to a single one. He said he would do the talking to the bank and that it would be straightforward. It is his money that goes into that account and he wants it to be in his name just like my wages are paid into my bank account. I have to get together a pack of all the household expenses, etc, (I tend to look after these and see things are paid) so that he knows what is what. He will pay the mortgage, bills, and make an additional allowance of what is required for kids, etc. He said he is honest and decent and would go 50:50 and, moreover, that's what a court of law would say. He said that we have to all get used to the fact that dad is no longer a bottomless pit of money and that he will have to pay out for renting a flat and we all have to start living in the real world and make sacrifices. He is sick of having to carry everybody. If the kids are wanting to go to uni then he said they will have to get with the real world and start putting savings by from their pt jobs. One DD is still looking for a job.

I had also mentioned that I thought it might be an idea if I contact the college tutors that the kids have and say there were issues (maybe not in huge detail) and to let them know that the kids may (or may not, who knows) be affected and for this to be taken into account if required. I guess that was the wrong thing to say because he hit the roof. He said I was making a drama out of it all and that it was completely wrong for me to go running round colleges claiming that the kids were all going to be traumatised by what had happened. He feels that they are all nearly adults and that they will cope with things much better than I am making out. I have no right, he said, to assume how they will react to things and that it will be as bad as he said. And, again, I was in the wrong.

Why, why, why is he getting so angry with me? I was deliberately trying not to be offensive or unreasonable (failed there obviously). I did explain that my mind was all over the place and kept flitting between big issues and trivia. That I was hurting. Asked for a bit of leeway on that. But, no. He kept getting up and down all angry and with what I call "the stare".
He instigated the split - although he says it should have happened years ago and that he doesn't want to visit the past and talk about blame or faults - but, surely, to God I don't deserve him to be angry at me about it?

Back later. I really welcome all replies, helps me get things in perspective.

AnyFucker Sun 31-Jan-16 11:25:24

Please let me repeat again what many have already said. It is imperative you take this advice.

See a solicitor ASAP

Do not agree anything to do with the house, his pension or bank accounts until you have seen a solicitor.

If you make yourself reliant on him supporting you financially and on his good will to continue doing so you are a fool.

When his guilt wears off and his cock-led "happiness" with a possibly mercenary OW leads to him starting another family with her you will be thrown on the scrap heap

Start the divorce immediately, citing his adultery. You only have 6 months to do this. Make it clear you want a "clean break" financially. His pension will be taken into account and you are deserving of that.

Get strong, get angry. Do not let him steamroller you into submission like he has done for the entirety if your marriage. You don't have to stand up to him yourself....the professionals will do it for you. Pay for the best you can and the fees can be taken out of your settlement. Good luck flowers

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now