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Is it normal for my wife to be so secretive with her mobile phone

(62 Posts)
Jon1970 Sat 28-Oct-17 14:17:31

Hi, I am a bloke gatecrashing mumsnet to see if my reactions are normal (or controlling, as my wife puts it) or maybe somewhere in between?

My wife had a nine month affair coming up to 3 years ago. It was all conducted in our house, in our bedroom, which has made it bloody hard to bear. She has had mental health issues for the past ten years, up and down in a roughly 3 year cycle, although never actually diagnosed as bi-polar. Personality disorder has been mentioned but never diagnosed. Anti-depressants have never made any real difference and I actually think at times made things worse. I could go into pages and pages of stuff that has happened over the years but will try to keep on subject. She hasn't worked since 2003.

After the affair came to light, she had a breakdown and within 4 months had been sectioned. Social services wanted her out of the house after coming out of hospital so she lived with her parents for a while and I looked after our two girls with the help of a nanny and work were very understanding. We had other nannies perviously in the other 'down' cycles, it has been the only way to hold onto my job and career over the past ten years.

There is acres of detail I could go into, and I can see now that my post has turned into a much broader post than the subject title, but getting back on point the thing that is bugging me right now is whether or not she is having another affair. The latest obsession (last 12 months) has been going to the gym every day, she is usually there at least 3-4 hours a day. SHe went to a spin class at 10am this morning and 4 hours later is still not back. She is currently on a 'high' phase, very confident. She has told me during an argument that she "is not short of offers".

Clealry I'm still sensitive about the affair, I don't think I had any time to process it properly as at the time I was in survival mode, keeping things afloat at work and at home. I know as I'm writing this I probably sound like a complete mug and that I should grow some balls not start posting on mumsnet, and have almost filed for divorce twice. The biggest thing holding me back I think is how the hell I would deal with looking after the girls permanantly as given her history I would want (and have been advised that I would get) the majority of custody. Not to mention I have been told by a solicitor that she would get more than half of our assets, which would be about £1M all up. People have said dont worry about the money just think about your happiness but I have slogged my guts out for 20 years and it really doesn't feel fair that she would get more than half. Also, I am worried about the girls relying on her if custody was split more evenly as she can be very self-obsessed, not cooking decent meals etc, not making dinner until 9pm on a school night etc.

Anyway, going back to the subject header, this is my question: if you had had an affair and then your husband, 3 years down the line, wanted to be able to look at your text messages now and again, would you see that as ok, or as "controlling". If I so much as go near her phone, she snatches it away. A year ago she wasnt bothered at all. Something has changed, or is she just being unreasonable.

Put more other 'normal' married couples keep their mobile password secret from their other halves? (I don't). Opinions?

Thanks for reading, I know this turned out to be a bit of a rambling post....but quite therapeutic and a lot cheaper than a therapist...

BifsWif Sat 28-Oct-17 14:22:27

Why are you with her?

She should be doing everything she can to reassure you that the affair is over and that she wants to be with you. You deserve better than this.

Efferlunt Sat 28-Oct-17 14:23:49

I don’t have access to DH’s the phone and nor does he has access to mine we are both individuals with our own lives. Then again we don’t have your history.

I understand the affair was hurtful but from what you’ve posted it seems very tied up with her mental health and I think you’ve got bigger problems you need to focus on. Is your relationship working on any level at the moment?

whirlyswirly Sat 28-Oct-17 14:27:12

If you have the girls permanently you'll need another nanny or au pair. It's doable. I manage my career around an xh who works abroad.

It sounds a toxic situation to put up with. Nobody should feel the need to ever check anyone's phone.

TammyswansonTwo Sat 28-Oct-17 15:26:13

To answer your basic question: my husband and I don't have access to each other's phones. I've never asked to look, I've never tried to look or been tempted to look, and vice versa. I know he's not up to anything. He knows I'm not up to anything. If he insisted on looking at my messages because he didn't trust me I would tell him to fuck off because that's insulting and controllIng. If he showed genuine concern and worry that something was going on I'd gladly show him anything in my phone. I have nothing to hide but would be angry and defensive if accused since it would be a massive insult to me.

However, I haven't had a significantly long affair. That changes things significantly I guess. My husband and I had an affair with each other (neither of us were married), but we've been together a decade and neither of us have cheated on each other.

Frankly I think the phone is the least of your issues.

If you divorced why would she get more than half, especially if you had main custody? That seems unlikely but perhaps I'm missing something. Clearly she's unwell and that's extremely sad - if you can't stay with your spouse to support them through a life altering illness like this then I think ensuring they're able to manage financially is the right thing to do (without a formal diagnosis she would struggle to get assistance from the state). Just because she's sick doesn't mean you have to accept abuse, but at the same time you did marry each other and promise to support each other - if I were in your position I'd be ensuring she's able to take care of herself as I couldn't leave my husband to fend for himself with a serious mental illness. Even if I had to leave him I'd have to make sure he's okay - he's the father of my children for a start.

nauticant Sat 28-Oct-17 15:39:28

OP, if you look at many other threads of posters in the Relationships topic, you'll see it repeated time and time again that if someone's partner has had an affair, then it is completely reasonable for them to have access to their partner's phone on their request on a long road of trying to rebuild trust. This is typically the advice given to women with cheating husbands and there's no reason why it shouldn't apply in your case.

But to be honest, I'm not sure whether it will help. If you find evidence of another affair, what would you do? And why couldn't you do that now in any case without this evidence? If you don't find evidence of another affair it sounds like things will just limp on miserably until something else happens.

Unfortunately, your problems are much bigger than access to the phone of a cheating partner.

NotTheFordType Sat 28-Oct-17 15:40:14

People have said dont worry about the money just think about your happiness but I have slogged my guts out for 20 years and it really doesn't feel fair that she would get more than half.

But she's already got more than half now, hasn't she? You're looking at this the wrong way. What are you going to do otherwise, wait until she dies?

You clearly want out of the marriage and I don't blame you. Don't shackle yourself to this woman (who is definitely having another affair, BTW) for the rest of your life because you're consumed by the sunk costs fallacy.

DarthMaiden Sat 28-Oct-17 15:40:44

DH and I both have access to each other’s phones - when I got mine I got him to scan his fingerprint in case he ever needed to borrow it. He did the same for me with his.

I’ve got nothing to hide from him.

I’d find it very odd if he suddenly started hiding his phone or stopped me using it.

Overall I’m surprised why you are still in this marriage. I’d have been at the divorce courses 3 years previously.

IJoinedJustToPostThis Sat 28-Oct-17 15:45:51

No, it's not normal to 'check' each others' text messages - as though some one having an affair wouldn't delete them anyway.

It's an interesting quirk of human psychology that, given a choice, we often prefer punish to others than reward ourselves. (See Henri Tajfel's work on intergroup relations).

Staying in a marriage that is clearly so very unpleasant for you because you can't bear the thought of your wife getting money - although it doesn't exactly sound like you would be forced into poverty either - is irrational.

What would you (realistically) like your life to look like in five years? Start working towards that.

lookatyourwatchnow Sat 28-Oct-17 15:46:49

She sounds like a selfish, immature dickhead who will make your life a misery until you leave her

MyBrilliantDisguise Sat 28-Oct-17 15:47:52

You need to get out of this marriage. She may well have a mental health problem but that is having a bigger effect on you than on her. Get a lawyer to do what he/she can regarding the money - it sounds as though she'd blow it all anyway tbh.

As far as the children are concerned if you don't trust her to care for them properly then I'd go for them living with you and I'd get a live in au pair or nanny if your working hours mean you just can't be there for drop off and pick up etc. It would be much cheaper to buy in help.

As for the poster who said that marriage is "in sickness and in health", well, what about his health? Why are his needs so far below hers?

grannysmiff Sat 28-Oct-17 15:49:04

Shes taking the piss. So she:

Lives off your money

Doesnt look after the children

Has an affair

Shes taking the piss and you need to get rid.

MH is not an excuse to act like a twat.

TheNaze73 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:51:16

Bin her off.

Gemini69 Sat 28-Oct-17 15:56:00

I agree with the others OP.... you'd be better off without this Train Crash in you and your kids lives.... flowers

Percephone Sat 28-Oct-17 16:20:26

If she's been sectioned in the past but didn't come out with a formal diagnosis of bipolar, then it's unlikely this is the problem. She is taking advantage of you. If it was me I'd be prepared to give her half just to get rid. It's only money.

MuseumOfCurry Sat 28-Oct-17 16:25:38

My husband and I kind of have access to each others phones (I tell him my pin when he needs to use it, and he forgets it because it's 6 digits - his pin is now a drawing on a blackberry that I can't master).

She's gotta go. Is there some pretext of her exercising for 4 hours at a time, or does she claim to be working out, then showering, then having a coffee or what?

Mookatron Sat 28-Oct-17 16:28:13

The phone isn't really the issue is it.

Having had a mentally ill parent I can tell you I'm learning all sorts of things about the way I conduct myself in a relationship that I learned from my mum and dad's marriage. They stayed together for us kids. You would be teaching them better lessons about self esteem and what to accept in a relationship if you left. They are going to have to deal with their mum either way.

HernameisYoshimi Sat 28-Oct-17 16:32:08

Are there any positive reasons stopping you leaving? I mean, do you still have feelings for your wife?

Because if you still have something you want to work on it seems to me that if your assets are worth 2 million and you have been slogging your guts out for 20 years perhaps it's worth considering slowing down. You have children whose mother has been very ill for a long time.
If you have stayed because you think there is something worth saving in your family then there are perhaps changes you could make to benefit you all.

On the flip side if things continue to be as bad as they sound - and it does sound like you have had enough - are you maybe in a fortunate financial position to put the career on hold a bit and do something compatible with being a single parent? Your friends are right about your happiness/money. But even more important is your children's happiness. I say this as a family living on a fraction of the income we had before separation.

I think it is wrong to want to check her phone. I can't imagine that makes for a happy relationship for either of you. I understand you wanting to but it is surely a sign that you need to leave or address the affair properly, you are understandably still hurt and mistrustful.

Re splitting your assets with your wife, I have a great deal of reason to be hurt about the end of my marriage. But it is still important to me that my ex is happy healthy and has a home. Not least because he is the father of my children.

Have you had any counselling? Sounds like you could do with help to try and focus on the future for you and your DC.

Rainbowglow Sat 28-Oct-17 16:47:25

Hello Jon. I think wanting to check her phone demonstrates that you are feeling very insecure and understandably dont trust her. If you need to chek phones personally I dont think it is healthy. Going to the gym every day for 4 hours smells fishy. I do a 2 hour slot on a Saturday morning - 4 hours no way. And spin is 45 mins - so even with travel time and a shower she should have been back in 2 hours. Trust your instincts - if you think something is wrong it probably is. Support her to get the help she needs. Continue a good dad but you need your own life and need to focus on that and yourself.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 28-Oct-17 16:51:23

You deserve much better than this. Get rid and move on.

holdthewine Sat 28-Oct-17 17:29:50

I know my husband’s password as it’s the same as mine! I haven’t looked though as I have no reason for suspicion. For me trust is essential in a relationship and I don’t know how you go forward without.

jeaux90 Sat 28-Oct-17 17:36:12

Oh god you need to bin her off.

I'm a single mum with a heavy career, get yourself a live in nanny and focus on your career and kids.

Your wife sounds bloody awful, you don't trust her. I'm sorry she has mental health issues but it doesn't mean she gets to behave like an asshole.

Life is way too short. Buy her out of the house if you can afford to.

GinandGingerBeer Sat 28-Oct-17 18:07:46

If you were to be the resident parent post split, then why would she be entitled to over half the assets! Who told you that?

Intercom Sat 28-Oct-17 18:09:13

You mentioned some conditions which were not diagnosed and medication which didn’t work. Has she had a diagnosis, or tried other medications? If not, then what is being done for her mental health at the moment? It sounds like she needs further help.

Wherearemymarbles Sat 28-Oct-17 18:16:19

Time to get ducks in a row.

It possible your solicitors view was that due to mh your wife is unemployable and you will have to financially support her for the rest of her life.

But you can make more money. You cant regain your youth. If she is suddenly hiding her phone she is likely up to no good.

You get nothing out of this relationship, she gets someone to pick up the pieces.

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