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.
Too much to ask?(20 Posts)
I split up with my partner of 12 years about 4 months ago and I'm still trying to come to terms with things.
I'm kind of thinking about what a "normal" relationship should be, and if my expectations were too high.
Basically the main reason we split was because he was "flirting" with another woman online, that he met in a club. I think to him it was just fantasy, and he insisted he would never touch another woman in RL, but as he'd done this before more than once, I ended things.
We still keep in touch on and off and I know at the moment he's struggling with depression. He's acted in a very selfish deceitful way with the online conversations, which is why I don't want to ever get back with him... but then there's another part of me that thinks should I have ended things? Now we are both miserable and I've walked away from someone who I know truly loves me.
I suppose you could say maybe he doesn't love me that much if he did what he did, but life isn't black and white.. as I've said he's been a selfish idiot and now he's suffering the consequences, yet I still feel sad for him, and for me.
My best mate's partner flirts with other women online, and he's caused her a lot of heartache, and I know many many more people that have dealt with the same thing.
I find it so depressing that it seems so normalised to me. Just wondering what other people think, is this sort of thing a dealbreaker to you?
I keep thinking what will happen if/when I move on and try starting another relationship, will this just happen again? Can most guys really be trusted not to do this? Is it normal?
Sorry about all of the questions, I'm just still trying to get my head around what's happened. I know it isn't just men that do this, but personally I know that I would never do it to someone that I loved, it really isn't that difficult to control yourself :/
Anyway thanks for reading I would appreciate everyone's thoughts.
People in happy relationships don't act upon impulse like that. I believe most people window shop (we're human after all) but, never buy or even haggle.
I'm sorry but he doesnt love or value you if he's doing that
If you take him back then he won't suffer any consequences at all
I'm not going to take him back, like I say just trying to get my head round it really.
I feel like such an idiot because he did it repeatedly throughout the first 6 years of our relationship, I found out about it all at once. I'm really upset with myself for not ending it then, I feel like I've wasted the next 6 years, but when he was in front of me crying and promising things would change I guess I wanted to believe it.
I'm going to find it difficult to ever trust anyone else, as he acted all loving towards me and then did that behind my back.
I'm turning 30 soon, have mental health problems and I just feel a bit bleak about the future.
I'm sorry you are going through this. It seems like part of what you are asking is what is normal, what do most people do.
I think that on-line or other digital communications are an issue for MANY married couples at some point. Part of what separates good relationships from not-good ones is what happens after a conflict.
My DH and I had an issue years ago that blew up into a HUGE fight. We agreed to boundaries and negotiated exactly where we, as couple felt the line should be. Since then, he has never crossed that line, to the best of my knowledge. For us, part of the problem was never having communicated what we both thought on the subject. We also did other work to make our own relationship more fun.
Meanwhile, one of my best friends ended a relationship because it just kept happening over and over. No matter what she said, no matter what he said, he just kept shopping on line for someone else.
Trust is a really big thing, and the reality is that some of this stuff is easy to hide. I don't think that my DH is up to anything on-line, but I can't know for sure. I do know that day to day my feelings are important to him, that he wants me to be happy, and that he clearly values our relationship. Based on all that, I chose to trust him.
Hi Coyote thanks for your message.
Yes I think you've articulated what I wanted to know better than me, what do other people do in these situations. What's normal.
You're right communication is key. In my situation he knew exactly where the line was as he'd crossed it before, and still chose to risk our relationship and do it again. He often wouldn't talk to me when things were bothering him.
I'm glad you and your DH managed to move past it, everyone's situation is different.
That's what it came down to for me, trust. He'd said he would never do it again more than once and did, so how could I ever trust him again. I think he really didn't see it as relationship-ending stuff, like it didn't mean anything to him so he just kept it as his dirty secret. So when I ended it he was pretty taken aback.
I know I deserve better, it's just easy to doubt yourself when you love someone. Doesn't help that my Mum was telling me that "no-ones perfect," I think she worries about me and the future as I struggle a lot with anxiety disorders.
Still, I can't help but feel it's better to be alone than with someone you can't trust, it's a bit of a sad life always having that doubt and paranoia.
It is much better to be on your own than to be with something you can't trust! My goodness, trying to live with someone you can't trust could give a person an anxiety disorder even if they didn't already have one.
I know that right now, 30 seems like a big number, but really, the adult part of your life has just started. The next 20 years are awesome. I'm 52 now, and still trying to decide what I think of the 50's, but 30's and 40's really are great. Do what you can to address your mental health challenges, but enjoy your life. Follow your dreams and see the beauty all around you and all that. Look at this as a chance to redefine what you want.
Besides thinking about "love," also think about what traits to look for in a man that will make building a life together a joy.
OP you are well rid.
What you're going through is akin to the denial stage of the grief cycle.
I think secretly all men do it. Even the ones you'd never suspect. Why? Because the internet is their oyster. It's super easy to get in touch with just anyone. Some are just not savy enough to erase all traces of sexting, flirty e-mails etc.
It's not too much to ask at all.
Quite simple, being with you wasn't enough for him. He has to deal with it.
He seemed taken aback, but would it have been fine with him if you did the same?...I can tell you it's very easy for a woman to find lots of men to get that kind of attention online.
Your mum just doesn't get it. You deserve an honest man.
I think you raise an interesting question Oemerald, about what has become normalised, and what is "acceptable", and I don't think there are easy answers sometimes. Ultimately you really have to follow your own values and trust your gut instincts.
But flirting with other women online that your OH met at a club, and doing this repeatedly would be unacceptable to me, at any stage in my life. Its just so immature and disrespectful. I can't believe he was not like that in other areas of your life together? Are you saying he was?
I think secretly all men do it.
This is a really sweeping statement.
If all men are doing it. Who are they doing it with? Perhaps every woman is doing it too then?
I saw a news story about a website that hired women to write back to men. The men thought they were talking to women who were interested in them/flirting with them, but really the women were employees. I don't think the site charged the men, but it sold advertising, and they couldn't keep their numbers high enough with predominantly male users, so they just invented women. It was all make believe.
As far as flirting with real women that a man met in a club, that is just a step away from cheating. It isn't normal. Its how lots of affairs start.
OP it's not normal for one person in a relationship to keep doing something that the other person is upset by and asks them not to do. If you had kids and your partner spent time with other people's kids and not so much with yours, your kids would be upset. He was giving his time and energy and intimacy to random women on the Internet. You were right to get out as you deserve better.
My mother would be all for staying in unhappy relationships too but she has her own issues.
^Turquoise he was a bit immature in some ways though I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. Didn't want to commit. Is very into his computers, I think he spent a lot of his teenage years on msn having sex chat with various girls. I know that he cheated on some of his early girlfriends too.
I think chatting to randoms online is, marginally not as bad(though still not acceptable), as they are unlikely to ever meet the woman. But with him it was people he knew.
I know that it's a problem with his behaviour and not my fault, but I found it upsetting because we seemed perfectly happy, we weren't going through a rough patch or anything like that.. and it still wasn't enough for him.
It's quite weird looking back at all the times he's done this, and how I rationalised it away by thinking he wouldn't do it again. I feel like a fool.
I think his family and people he knows would be quite surprised at him, as on the outside he just doesn't seem the type. I think that's why my Mum wasn't sure about me leaving at first, she didn't see the crappy stuff he did(he was also a bit short tempered).
I know I'm better off out of it, just find it hard sometimes.
He's more than an idiot OP, he's a serial cheat, in other words, was with you but behaved like a single man, and that's just the ones you caught him out with; just think about that humiliation and you said yourself you couldn't do such a thing to someone you love; he did, take good note of that; he's neither relationship material or good enough for you; you must know that deep down. Don't reminisce over someone who has treated you so appallingly.
He's not an idiot, well he is, but he's also a man that cannot be trusted.
I think this type of behaviour is ridiculous and shows a complete lack of respect for the relationship/partner. Of course every relationship is different and people may have different boundaries...but I'd be willing to bet that in most cases, if the partner doing the online flirting found out his or her OH was doing that, it wouldn't be ok. They'd be upset. It's such a double standard and I could not be with such an unfaithful, disrespectful of my feelings, hypocrite. I left my ex Husband primarily for this reason. He'd not speak to me for 3 days if he observed that a man initiated a conversation with me in a coffee shop, which I didn't even encourage)...but I found all kinds of his flirtations, webchats, making inappropriate comments online to women he knew in real life.
To be honest, going forward I don't even want to be with a man who thinks this ok, but only refrains from doing it to honour my feelings. If we don't have the same, boundaries/values...I'm not interested.
I think you did the right thing, he was never going to change and refused to acknowledge how it made you feel. He's an idiot and a liar.
I think that on-line relationships are like cheating many important ways. The person is putting their energy into a different person instead of using it to build their relationship with their spouse. It's a way of checking out of reality and living a fantasy life.
I think that on-line relationships with some one the person knows IRL sometimes lead to a full on affair. We know several marriages that ended this way -- a wife connecting with an old boy friend on facebook and then deciding he was really her soul mate and leaving, a husband joking around with a work colleague and it gradually turning into an emotional affair then a physical affair and then leaving.
I agree that there is often a double standard. Some one who knows that they are up to shit their partner doesn't know about tends to want to keep tight hold on their partner because they know how easy it to cheat!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.