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Partner and younger man. Long but need help, please.

(86 Posts)
Jack50517 Fri 06-Oct-17 03:59:17

Hello everyone!

I have lurked on here for a long time and my time has come to ask politely for a woman's perspective, please.

I am male and 44 my partner is coming up to 43. When she turned 40, she and I changed gyms. She got on really well and went to classes regulary, often asking someone to look after our toddlers in order to make specific ones; a friend joined her and it got regular and competitve.

I was reallly happy as she was, like many people, feeling older and now her self esteem looked to be on the up. She started talking about the instructors that she is getting on with and having "banter" with and...here we go...one name starts cropping up!

"Do you fancy him?" Friend asks.
"No. He is spotty, a bit tubby. He's like a cuddly bear."
GUY IS 21! : "I'm old enough to be his Mum"! She protests.

His name then starts cropping up in conversation with me and she's taking him baby clothes in, etc.

Bear in mind that these guys are instructed to chat to the women, who then go to classes, who then may book personal trainers sessions. It's a targeted environment.

I leave it. She's happy. I'm happy. Busy with kids and work. I literally work five days across weekend and look after kids for two days during week. It's 2014 and they are 1 and 4. Personally I don't see her much, it's a strain, but kids are being parented really well. Money's OK, we're "happy".

September 2015. We're in bed on holiday, I pick up tablet, she's on Facebook. Looking at his profile photos.

"The guy from the gym?"
"OH Yeah. It's nothing. Just fiddling."

I took fiddling in the context of masturbation. Which is more likely was That is her word for it. Not great. Massively good, busy holiday. We're not getting on great, but kids being looked after and family is

2016 Holiday comes when guy is leaving gym. Bad holiday. She's irritable and wants to go home. Her Mum keeps talking about "younger men" and how I am looking older. When Mum goes home, she's ringing her obsessively. Partner in constant contact with gym friend and home which actually gets annoying.

Still the occasional profile stalking but he's left and who cares.

2017 just before holiday she is happy because she's seen him back at the gym. Tells her friend who says "Ooh you got your fix, you naughty minx!"

Then goes back to the gym same time committing what she always called the offence of "make up at the gym!". Then starts downloading loads of ubeat music from our account. All of which seems themed around being in love and getting a man. "I Want That Man!" but Debbie Harry gets a big play.

The Facebook searching then goes into overdrive over the guys wife?!, brother and him.

Starts feeling really odd to me and now the kids are both going to be in school full time and I've changed jobs we might be a lot happier. We have a gorgeous holiday and admit that we're falling back in love, but I am becoming paranoid.

She let's me use her phone to send some photos and (I know) I have a look at a few messages.

In 2016 there were messages to a friend about how a crush felt "inapprpriate at her age". It had the usual "Don't worry, it's fine" tones. Got the feeling that she was enjoying talking about it in that way you do when you've got a thing for someone.

I also found that she has initiated messenger contact with him, and off and on had been trying to initate banter with him and finding excuses to message him. How many kids' clothes can she offer him?

Thankfully you can see he isn't interested in the slightest, but I she doesn't actually know him that well, so I find it a bit odd. He's married with two young kids as well.

Before we start making plans for a weddding, etc. We were talking and I brought this guy up. Jokingly I asked if she had a thing for him, and she denied it and nigh on gas lighted me about the age difference makind it ridiculous, etc.

A bit annoyed at what was coming across as a lie, I pressed her on the messages etc, and the trickle truths have started to come throught. She felt low about herself, it meant nothing, just a crush, it's my problem because I am insecure about my age and my pride is wounded, etc.

She said it was so insignificant that she hadn't told anyone - she had, I find out from her Mum that they had had talks about it where here Mum had advised her to be careful. You don't do that over nothing.

Thanks for reading so far. My gut instinct now is that she has fell in love with this guy. Obsessed over him and whenever she sees him is literally on cloud nine.

I feel for three years, I have been a mere provider who has played a secondary role and been a mere annoyance that I'm not him. Gut instinct tells me that she thinks about him when we sleep together or that she has been looking at his photos before we did it sometimes.

Basically, is this normal? What should I do please?

Kittymum03 Fri 06-Oct-17 06:27:29

Hi OP I'm not sure what to make of it to be honest, part of me thinks if it's just a friendship kind of thing they have going on, then does it really matter? I mean as far as you know he is happily married, she is handing over baby clothes, he is friendly as it's part of his job, maybe her mum just said 'be careful' as a general, you know, don't fall for him kind of way (it doesn't mean she was) & is she just happy to be taking care of herself (fitness wise I mean)
But if you really feel like she hasn't wanted you for years, then that isn't good.

Im not sure about you reading back through the last couple of years worth of messages, that's a bit weird to me. I thought yoy were going to say you read maybe the last month or so.
Seems a little bit like you are obsessed with this man & are using him as an excuse maybe? I mean, if things aren't right with you, like on the holiday, you tell yourself 'Well it's not my fault, it's because of 'gym man' (sorry if I've got that wrong)

The other part that made me feel a bit uneasy is, you asked her about him, she said she hadn't spoken to her mum, then you went behind her back & asked her mum if she had? I don't think that's right or kind.

Sorry I don't think my post is any help at all just a bit of a ramble grin
It may bump the post for you though so somebody with more wisdom posts.

Changedname3456 Fri 06-Oct-17 07:03:18

There are plenty of the women that post on here that have done much more snooping than just going through a chunk of text messages, so I don't think you should be held too badly to account for that.

Whether you call it a crush or call it an EA, this guy is clearly taking your wife's attention and it's hitting your marriage. You are not at all wrong to feel unhappy/hurt by that, who wouldn't be (man or woman)?

What you do about it is the trickier thing to advise on. I guess I'd ask whether, now you've flagged it to her, has her behaviour changed? Probably unlikely if she's minimising it, but is she making any kind of effort to refocus on you as a couple?

Are there things you can do to try and work on your relationship? Will her Mum babysit so you can hit the gym together, or go out for a long walk every week, or a meal. Something you can try and reconnect over?

CoyoteCafe Fri 06-Oct-17 12:51:19

If a woman posted this about her man’s behavior, she would be told to LTB.

op, I honestly don’t know what you should do. To me, it sounds like she acting very inappropriately and making a bit of an idiot of herself. May be change gyms for a start, and tell her this kind of nonsense has to stop.

Mama234 Fri 06-Oct-17 12:57:28

Do you love her? Do you think she loves you?

minipie Fri 06-Oct-17 12:59:56

When was the conversation about whether she had a thing for him? Recently or a while ago?

I think the key question is how she behaves after she knows it is making you unhappy. If she stops contact with him and focuses on you more then that's good and shows you are actually her priority at the end of the day. I think perhaps you could get over her previous crush if she is now trying to stop and distance herself from it.

But if she carries on stalking him etc despite what you've said, that's not good.

Zoenichole158 Fri 06-Oct-17 13:30:33

If this was a woman posting about her husband the responses would have been “it’s classed as cheating, leave him etc” now there has been no evidence of actual cheating? And he isn’t interested in her? However, she obviously feels like she’s missing out or something, perhaps finding a hobby together? Might bring you closer? It’s an awkward one really coz it obviously makes you feel like shit about yourself, tell her how you feel about yourself and say that her behaviour isn’t helping! I know what it’s like to feel like you’re not enough, I do feel for you!x

NotTheFordType Fri 06-Oct-17 13:48:03

I can't over the fact that you asked her why she was looking at the guy's profile photos and she told you she was rubbing one out over him. How did you not say anything then?

Kittymum03 Fri 06-Oct-17 14:07:15

NotTheFord I thought OP was saying that he took it to mean masterbation, because she uses the same word, not that she actually admitted to masterbation to him (but I might have that wrong)

My response would be the same if it was male or female. It isn't nice how OP is feeling, nobody ever wants to feel like their partner/wife or whoever would prefer to be with somebody else.

springydaffs Fri 06-Oct-17 14:27:58

Gut instinct tells me that she thinks about him when we sleep together or that she has been looking at his photos before we did it sometimes.

Woa, hold on. That's paranoia talking right there. It's bad enough without you adding details like that..

Josuk Fri 06-Oct-17 15:01:24

OP - she had a crush. Clearly.
And she understood that it was silly and didn’t act on it.
Also - she was clearly not feeling great about it - and hence didn’t volunteer.

Up to you what you do from now on.
If you decide to stay and work on your relationship - you need to stop obsessing and feeling insecure.
You do come out a little that way.

She would also need to make an effort. I am not saying she is blameless.

tygr Fri 06-Oct-17 16:16:46

In fairness, if my partner had a crush on someone else for years I’d feel insecure about it!

If this was a bloke acting that way, I think the cries would be to kick him out.

I’m sorry OP. Only you know how you feel about her and can decide what you want. If you love her and want to be with her then you’ll need to talk probably and work out how to get your relationship back on track.

MissConductUS Fri 06-Oct-17 16:29:32

Before we start making plans for a weddding, etc. We were talking and I brought this guy up.

I assume from this that you have not gotten married yet. Don't. If she cannot focus all of her emotional and sexual energy on you she's not ready for a long term relationship with you.

Are the two kids you mention yours together or from prior relationships? Regardless you should sort this out in couples counseling. If she won't go with you, go on your own.

Honestly, I don't see this ending well without the couples counseling.

Gemini69 Fri 06-Oct-17 23:13:46

Drop her like a STONE OP flowers

beesandknees Sat 07-Oct-17 03:31:31

She has a crush on him. It's likely she's fantasised about him sexually. Those are both normal things for people to do, btw. They aren't a sign of doom. Some people don't ever get crushes etc - but many, probably most, do.

If you're the kind of guy who wants a wife who does not get crushes, then you should think about moving on. There are women who will have a very high degree of mental fidelity (if that makes sense) - just understand that they're also usually the ones with low sex drives.

Jack50517 Sat 07-Oct-17 05:22:11

Thank you very much for your replies. All of this is just coming out now, so if you can imagine, I have three years' worth of feeling a tit and buring my head in the sand to get through.

NotTheFordType With regard to rubbing one out. Shock and not wanting to cause an argument on a holiday with two little ones probably. Can't deny it hurt, but she gaslights me a lot on things and the frustration is often easier to avoid.

minipie It went on for about two years, and clearly re-ignitred this July when she saw him again. So three years in total.

MissConductUs Both our own. DD 4 and 7.

beesandknees You are absolutely right. The age difference as knocked me into a different orbit, though. No matter what you were when you were 22 - at 44 you aren't that now. I've looked after myself and I am a good, pleasant man, but nothing makes more ugly, awkward and unwanted than this.

Everyone. I can't help but think that is she just thought the guy was half about, then she could have kept a lid on it and I would never have know. My overriding feeling is that she has maybe fallen in love with him - and probably allowed herself to. To be fair to me, I have never been without attention, and as we all know, in groups of parents there's always someone unhappy, stressed, whatever, who you could probably hit if off with to make life a little more exciting.

However, going to a gym and letting yourself fall for a 22 year old, my guy instinct - and bear in mind I've given it three years to die off, is that this goes much deeper into her psyche and that of our relationship.

Jack50517 Sat 07-Oct-17 05:27:24

Sorry forgot to add. Of late I have really tried to show her I love her, but I can't help but feel - and as women you might be able to help me on this - that she is enjoying it, but is able to know at the back of my mind that I'm trying desperately to love her back from something that has rocked her world.

If this was nothing, I don't think I'd feel this awful.

Mustang27 Sat 07-Oct-17 05:52:25

3yrs is a long time for a crush. I think it’s normal to have relatively fleeting feelings for others whilst in a relationship though this does seem a bit deeper from the way you explain it.

Ok so iv had my fair share of identity issues and it’s really hard to see what’s potentially good for you when you are struggling to remember/find what makes you tick so it could be simply that she needs an outlet for this. It’s hard sometimes as a mum to look at your life and think is this my lot?? I don’t mean your kids aren’t enough it’s just that sometimes life isn’t fulfilling. I’m not saying you haven’t felt this either it is common.

You just have to be honest, calm discussion admit you have noticed you have both drifted since the kids have come along you have given her space but feel that your relationship has taken a back step to everything else and ask her how she feels and then how you both go about fixing it as a couple.

You have no concrete proof that this is anything but an infatuation so I wouldn’t just bull in. I know it’s said a lot but you should probably try relate to get to the bottom of how you both feel and go from there.

Jack50517 Sat 07-Oct-17 06:04:38

Cheers.

Mustang27 I'm not after any kind of proof. Does it look as though if her was interested that she wouldn't have done anything? If he was interested I'm pretty confident - assuming it all came out - that all our lives would be different. In this case, anything happening is irrelevant.

The three years thing is really sticking with me.

Jack50517 Sat 07-Oct-17 06:07:12

The thing that really worries me, is that all in all the guy used to be chatting to all the woment who was in the gym. I train there and - at the time I didn't know the depth of her feelings- used to think that if she could see him doing that she'd be under no illusions.

ferrier Sat 07-Oct-17 06:07:41

Fwiw I would never use the word fiddling for masturbation. It would just be messing around looking people up. That's not to minimise what she's been doing though.
On the other hand, after a few years bringing up children, a bit of banter with a young man is an ego boost and just a bit of harmless fun - yes I've done it too but with no physical attraction whatsoever.
How is the rest of your relationship? Does she seek to do things with you? Initiate sex or at least actively join in?

Jack50517 Sat 07-Oct-17 06:17:02

ferrier

I'm more on the side of masturbation. She had often taken her phone off to bed to look at his photos alone.

Relationship? Yeah we did thing together, but rarely got time. Sex at worst has always been good. Can't help but think about how of late it was at its best when she'd come back from the gym. Seriously.

Dsmummy Sat 07-Oct-17 06:22:19

Mate. You have the patience and understanding of a saint. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean never being tempted, it’s about what you do about it. If it was me I’d be expecting her to cut contact now and focus on our relationship.
Yes your mind is wandering but that’s understandable because you’ve been made to feel insecure. She’s out of line. You need to work out what fix it and not settle for less

Jack50517 Sat 07-Oct-17 06:31:33

Dsmummy Thanks, When it all started back up in June, she started looking at Facebook images of his wife. When I asked she said "OH I really know her well. She's a friend of my best mate as well." Just waffling really.

PostNotInHaste Sat 07-Oct-17 06:40:14

I couldn't cope with that and I think she is being hugely disrespectful. Yes people have crushes whilst in relationships, yes she might be having an identity crisis . But most people keep it in their heads and don't let it bleed into their relationship, especially not for so long.

Really feel for you and I think you need to think very seriously about where you go from here.

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