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Never thought I'd get my own affair thread!

(68 Posts)
LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 09:05:02

Found out last night that DP of six years cheated on me for the first year of our relationship.

No concrete proof of physical stuff, but lots and lots of very flirtatious and loaded messages. Also they arranged to meet up in secret at times when he told me he was elsewhere. She was an old ex girlfriend.

I'm not stupid. I know that they probably slept together. And I'm proceeding on the assumption that they did.

The beginning of our relationship was a bit weird. I met him within six months of his ex walking out on him so he was in a fragile place emotionally. He also had (still has!) a then two year old daughter.

So we took it really slowly. I'd never been with a man with children before, so I took his lead and let him set the pace. If it'd been up to me I'd have moved things along faster but was happy to give it proper time.

He was often distant. Treated me well, no drama or histrionics, but was never fully 'there' if you see what I mean?

I put it down to dealing with the break up of his family and dealing with being a single dad and taking time to heal. After a year or so, I started to get frustrated with this emotional distance and some things started not to fit right. Nothing I could put my finger on, but just general cageyness and the excuse of healing from his break up was starting to wear thin. Also I had an accidental pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage and he was very detached about it. Told me the day after it happened that he 'didn't love me the way I wanted him to'. Was quite callous actually.

For some reason I didn't do a runner at that point. And then not long after, things really improved. We moved in together, decided to try for a baby have been happy since and the rest is history.

I'm now pregnant with our second child.

I'm gutted and devastated. I don't know what to do. He's away with work this week so I'm on my own and freaking out. I feel like our whole relationship is based on a lie.

I confronted him straight away and he jumped on the defensive. Pulled out the classic script - minimising, denying, only admitting to what I definitely knew. Cunt.

He says it was only flirtation. 'She was always just a friend', it never went further, she asked him to be with her and he turned her down because he knew by then that I was 'the one'. Blah blah blah.

There are so many holes in that, I'm sure you can all see them for yourselves. Why wait until she propositioned him to call and end to the 'friendly flirtation' being one massive hole to start with.

My hunch is that she called things off and then he stuck with me by default.

This is longer than I intended. I just don't know what I should do next.

Openmindedmonkey Sun 05-Jun-16 09:19:49

Handholding & flowers to give you strength whilst you're on your own with all this whirling around your mind.
Irrespective of what happened (which you can do nothing about today, unfortunately) I suppose the key questions are - Do you love him? Do you want to raise your family together?
After that, it's a question of how you choose to tackle that previous relationship; I'm sure you will get lots of input on that.

Aramynta Sun 05-Jun-16 09:20:28

You need to get your finances in order. Get any paperwork you have for your kids (Birth Certs, Passports) and keep it all together. Get bank statements for any and all joint accounts, savings, bonds and anything else. Is the house in your name or his?

I know it all sounds very practical, but these are incredibly important things to do. He sounds like the kind of person who could get nasty so take as much control as you can initially.

As for emotional support, do you have family and friends nearby? Tell them. Ask for their help. thanks

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 09:23:25

Until yesterday evening I loved him utterly.

Now I don't even know if he's the person I thought he was.

I can't bear the thought of splitting up. But I also can't bear the thought of bravely soldiering on when there's no trust. Always wondering. Never knowing the full truth.

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 09:31:52

Everything is split 50:50 and sorted legally. I'm okay with that side of things.

I just cannot believe it. I'm reeling. I mean, I think I always knew on some level, but there were so many other plausible explanations to do with his split, etc, that it deflected from the real issue.

But now there are pennies dropping all over the place. It all makes so much more sense now.

One thing that especially hurts is that a few years ago a band that we both really like played a one-off concert in London and he took her to see it. Without mentioning it to me at all.

Until yesterday I'd no idea he'd ever seen this band live. It was quite a big deal at the time - in the local news and stuff. And he never, ever mentioned it.

He says that they were 'just friends' and because our relationship 'wasn't serious' back then (in his eyes. In my eyes, being together for a year = pretty serious), he didn't have to tell me his every move. Why can't he take a friend to a concert? Why did he have to tell me? Twat.

For some reason, out of all the other stuff, the fact that he took her hurts the most.

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 09:46:17

I don't know whether to tell anyone. If I do it makes it real.

I just don't know what to do next. I'm sat in my pyjamas crying and playing my little ponies with DD. I can't think further than making a cup of tea.

WTF do I do?

DorindaJ Sun 05-Jun-16 10:02:12

Sending a hug LLIMT. Don't feel you have a make any decision and act straight away. Definitely make sure that you have space and time to think. It's a lot to take in, a shock, and a big change to your future...Tell someone, make it real. Take care of yourself your daughter & bump. You did not deserve this, you and your children are innocent and free from any blame concerning how your partner has behaved. How he is behaving now tells you whether he cares about the relationship you have with him, or about himself. Has he any consideration of your feelings?

3amClub Sun 05-Jun-16 10:02:51

Had he just came clean & was remorseful I'd be inclined to say to ask yourself if the last 5 years (when he was faithful) were worth throwing away for something that happened when the relationship was relatively new.

However, his attitude seems to suggest he thinks he didn't do anything wrong...and I'd be worried if he has actually been faithful since then or what he'd be like in future.

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 10:58:57

He's coming across as wanting to justify himself and save his own skin tbh.

And he's throwing things I've done back in my face like it's as bad (it's not) or somehow means that what he's done is less worse.

BloodontheTracks Sun 05-Jun-16 11:05:07

I'm so sorry, Looks. It really weird and confusing when you discover an infidelity from long ago because it hurts just as much, there's the same humiliation and shock and rewriting but there's no immediate threat or explanation or obvious course of action, it's a really really horrible thing.

It's very immature of him to start making it about your flaws when it's obvious what the subject is.

I would suggest couples counselling , specially as this was in the past. I think if you have a generally good relationship and you love each other there is a good chance of saving this, if he can grow the f up and realise that what he needs to do right now is explain to you what happened early on and why he wanted to stay and make things work with you, and what he loves and values about your relationship now. And apologise for the poor decision making back then. He did, ultimately, want to be with you, and I'm assuming he treats you well in the present and you have no other reason to feel hugely hurt or suspicious.

A lot of people vacillate when changing partners and he obviously put you through some very difficult emotional times, he needs to see how you experienced them, even if that's hard and shameful for him, and then come out of that looking forward. If he can't do that, it will be harder. It depends somewhat on his character.

BloodontheTracks Sun 05-Jun-16 11:06:23

You should tell people you trust and are close to. Many people experience something like this. Yes it will make it real but that is an important part of actually dealing with it rather than pretending it didn't happen and festering in resentment for years.

Kittencatkins123 Sun 05-Jun-16 11:11:58

I know this must be hard and very hurtful. But I do think you have an additional five years and two lovely children beyond this one year whatever it was. Regardless of whether it was his choice to end the affair or not, that is not someone settling - that is a real relationship that requires work/commitment.

Is he still in touch with this woman? Hamas there been any contact since?

I think he owes it to you to be honest and what happened then, and certainly whether she is any way a part of his life now. But I don't think you should necessarily let confusion at the beginning of a relationship wreck what you have. But he does need to open up/be honest for you to move past it.


LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 11:16:37

They've been in touch since but it's just like wishing each other happy new year and asking how the kids are. The tone of their messages definitely changed from heavy flirtation to generic friendship around the time our relationship switched up a gear.

But I will never ever be satisfied that it was him that ended things with her and not the other way round.

If she ended things with him then that means he just settled for me by default. And that's spectacularly hurtful to think of.

DorindaJ Sun 05-Jun-16 11:29:26

Couples counselling is not a realistic option if the man in question doesn't feel that he has done anything wrong.

BloodontheTracks Sun 05-Jun-16 11:40:08

Two questions

1. Is there a way of discovering how it ended? Including, presumably, asking him?

2. Is he the sort of person you can imagine making a decision by default. i.e. choosing to stay with you but forcing her into the position of having to walk away? I suppose what i'm saying is, is he conflict-averse and emotionally cowardly? Because often that sort of person destroys a relationship passively and that could well have happened with her. Not that that helps much or makes him a great catch, I'm just saying when adult relationships end it's often more complicated than, 'so and so broke up with so and so'.

Kittencatkins123 Sun 05-Jun-16 11:44:59

You did say though that he was coming out of another relationship at the time - it's possible there was a lot of confusion with feelings about his ex, you and this other person.

I don't want to downplay his dishonesty or your feelings at just discovering this now because I can completely understand how hurtful that would be. He also doesn't sound like he has handled it well, sensitively or honestly. He owes it to you to be honest and also think about your feelings and talk it through with you, not minimise/downplay/lie.

But five more years and two lovely children is so much more important than some confused fling that didn't go anywhere, regardless of who ended it. You have a serious committed loving relationship together. And the fact that their messages have gone from flirty to platonic/how are the kids shows that this wasn't a big epic love story but just something that didn't work out.

I think reading any messages from a partner to someone else is very hard to deal with. But they are completely out of time context - you are different people now, parents together in a committed relationship five years on.

Aside from discovering these messages, were things okay in your relationship?

Sending hugs x

If you hadn't discovered those message

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 12:08:42

Lately, especially since I got pregnant, things had been almost as good as they'd ever been. I was so, so happy.

This has put a bomb under everything. I'm so upset. Whatever happens now, even if we stay together, it's spoiled now.

Puff42 Sun 05-Jun-16 12:28:56

I'm so sorry. I have no great words of wisdom but just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you.

Kittencatkins123 Sun 05-Jun-16 12:56:44

I really really think you need to hold onto that - ie what's happening now, how happy you have been - and not focus on this (admittedly horrible) thing from the past.

But to do that you need to be able to have an honest, open conversation about it. Do you communicate well or not really?

I really don't think - even if she ended it - it's as simple as him 'settling' for you. He could have split up with you, pursued the OW, tried to meet someone else... There are so many other options he didn't settle - he chose to be with you and have two children.

We all have pasts and past partners, and our lives could have taken different turns, but a five years and two kids means a lot. That's what he has chosen. Not all relationships have a clean/completely cut and dried beginning. It doesn't make what they become any less valid or special.

He does though need to open up and be honest with you about it, acknowledge that what he did was wrong/hurtful and let you know that it's long dead and buried and you were and are the most important person in his life.

Good luck flowers

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 13:09:28

I don't know what to do next. He's away for a week anyway. But do I tell him to stay away? Do I see him to talk?

What if his next move isn't good enough? What would be a good enough next move from him?

I'm so floored. I literally need step by step instructions to keep breathing and blinking right now.

Kittencatkins123 Sun 05-Jun-16 13:27:00

I don't think you should tell him to stay away. You need to talk this through with him.

Take the week to think about what this is throwing up for you and why, so you know what you need to talk and work through. Is it the dishonesty at the time? Or about someone who he has continued to stay in touch with? Why does their fling and how it ended seem to have such a bearing on your much more important, committed relationship? It sounds like the two of you are in a good place, so it might be the initial shock plus the horrible unpleasantness of reading your DP's (long gone) feelings for someone else. Once you get past that, is there really anything to worry about? It sounds like you can and do trust him and he has been faithful to you since you got serious at the 1 year stage.

Try to think about men you've had passionate feelings for in the past that you now think 'what the hell - what was that all about?' Some things that seem important at the time are completely meaningless a few months later!

Try not to get caught up in what ifs what might have beens and focus on five happy years together, what you have now and your DC and DC on the way.

flowers xxx

LooksLikeItsMyTurn Sun 05-Jun-16 13:40:00

Thank you. This is really helping.

I think the thing that I'm finding hardest is that I knew at the time he wasn't treating me as well as he should. And that any self-respecting person would've called it a day. Especially after he was so cold about the miscarriage.

But in order to allow myself to stay, I did a lot of mental gymnastics. 'Oh he's grieving for his broken up family. He and his DD have been through a big upheaval and it's not about me right now, it should be about them, he needs time to heal...', etc.

When really it was more mundane and much less noble than that. He was trying to get in someone else's pants.

I compromised my own dignity and self respect for a lie. That's what pisses me off the most.

I wasn't true to myself. I put up with shitty, emotionally distant treatment because I thought there was a good reason. And there wasn't.

McBassyPants Sun 05-Jun-16 13:46:33

First of all (and most importantly) THIS IS IN NO WAY YOUR FAULT

McBassyPants Sun 05-Jun-16 13:49:16

May be irrelevant but how did you find out? I suppose the major question is, can you forgive him for something that happened at the start of the relationship? (NOT excusing him in any way, he's still a twat for it) but given that you have had 5 good years and (soon to be) 2 lovely children with him, is that enough for you to try and rebuild? Or has that bridge completely burned?

BloodontheTracks Sun 05-Jun-16 14:05:56

That's really astute of you, looks, You know exactly why you are so hurt by this and it's because of all the effort and explanation you put into justifying his behaviour when now you think he was deceiving you and so you feel both hurt again and vulnerable but also humiliated. The fact you know what hurts you so much is a really really good sign.

Step by step, firstly HE needs to step up and ask what HE has to do now. If he is away, should he not perhaps offer to come back? If this is impossible, he needs to book you both into counselling for his return. If he does not want to do this, then you should research couples counselling, but on the understanding that this is yet another effort YOU are having to be making after a shock, a blow and in a vulnerable state.

You seem very very articulate and reasonable about the cause of and reasons for your pain. He needs to hear all this and face it. There is a good chance you can both get through things if he can be as honest and perceptive as you are being here. The fact that you look back and KNEW you were being treated badly is actually a really good sign, your radar is sharp, not blunt as you fear. You knew it wasn't quite right he way he was being, but you gave him the benefit of the doubt. That's what love is. You were being a good partner. Now it's time for him to step up and be that more.

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