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Husband messaging another woman

(28 Posts)
FoolMeOnce80 Thu 14-Jan-21 19:30:08

A bit of background............been married 11 years, 1 child. No marriage issues, trust or otherwise.
2020 was a hard year for most, and we are no exception.
Stepdad passed away through terminal illness whilst mum was in hospital (they were divorced but she and I were looking after him). Two weeks later, MIL passed away alone in hospital with Covid. Three months later, mum's current partner unexpectedly has a stroke and hospitalised for several weeks. No improvement, just a steady decline. He was brought home on palliative care and lasted four days before passing away peacefully with mum and myself on the evening of my birthday.
In those months I dealt with three deaths, organised three funerals, cared for my mum, her current partner and my stepfather all whilst my husband had to work (keyworker) and homeschooling our child.
Fast forward to November............I notice H starts to get a bit distant. Spending lots more time on games console and speaking to his mates on there. I've never had an issue with this, he doesn't go out to the pub or shirk housework etc, the gaming is his downtime. During this time however, I'm spending more nights alone, in bed just watching mind numbing tv just to clear my head of all that's happened. H says the boys have joined the gym and asked him to go. No problem at all here, in fact, I see it as a good thing and maybe an outlet for grieving for his mum.
However, he's now spending more and more time on the gaming, late nights etc. He also tells me how a female work colleague hugs him when she came back to work. I notice he's showing active a lot on social media. I ask him who he's messaging and he says it's the boys' chat group to which I say about the hug and was it her. He laughs it off and says definitely not.
Over a few days, I become withdrawn and tell him how I feel and that things seem to he changing and I'm unnerved by it. He tells me he's just trying to feel better mentally but that he'll also try harder to make an effort with me too.
He's started taking his phone everywhere he goes...........things like this have never been an issue, we always leave them unattended and even use the same passwords and pin numbers, but I notice he's on it all the time.
Then I had a brainwave. The uneasy feeling took hold of me and I remembered he had upgraded his phone a couple of weeks ago, his old one was in the cupboard. So he leaves for work and I dig it out. He hadn't reset it so all his stuff was still on there. No sooner had I turned it on but all the messenger notifications came flooding through. My gut feeling was right. The person however I was wrong about. It was a work colleague but not one I knew of. He hadn't sent her any pictures of him but she had of her. Messages about what they wanted to do to one another, wanting to meet up (it was obvious they hadn't physically done anything) and another message where she asked to call him and he agreed. They talked of how they missed one another and how they felt they'd known eachother for years.
I actually fell down the stairs because my legs went to jelly. He hadn't started his shift but I could see she'd messaged him. I rang and and told him he had ten minutes to get home and that I knew. I contemplated taking ds to my mum's but after a few seconds counted that out as I knew if I'd done that she probably would have killed him and in all likelihood that would be the end of my marriage. I hadn't decided if that would be the outcome as yet. Everything flashed before me in those seconds. I made ds some food and he was over the moon that I'd allow him to eat it in his room whilst on his xbox lol........anything to keep him from the conversation that was about to happen. Anyway, H came home. I managed to refrain from physical violence (even if that would have given me just one moment's satisfaction!) and instead smoked several cigarettes - which we had both quit months before! The lesser of two evils at this point.
We sat, I couldn't look at him, I was filled with emotion but also numb in equal measure, not sure how that works but that was how I felt. I asked all the questions, quietly, I couldn't scream but I also couldn't shed a tear, I was just a broken shell at this point. He didn't try to play anything down, he told me the whole thing. After his mum had died she had messaged as a friend but in the last week it had gotten sexual. From her side. I had seen all the messages so I know this wasn't a lie. Regardless of who broached it, he still responded and played a 50/50 part so as much as I despise her for doing that I am by no means taking any heat off H as he could have stopped it.
We spent days going over it and talking about how to move forward. He's ashamed, embarrassed but most of all full of guilt for what this has done to me and our marriage. We want to move on. He immediately stopped all contact with her and blocked her on everything. He's full of remorse and is trying really hard to make me feel like a princess again. All this is great and if there is a positive, it's that we are enjoying each other's company again, the gaming is next to non existent and he is far more attentive to everything.
My only issue though right now is how do I mentally move on? Some people will say I'm ridiculous to stay but that's my decision. I am not checking his phone or checking up on him, if he does this again he knows the writing's on the wall. I won't be disrespected like that again. But what I need to work out is how I get past this myself? Like the random flashes of those messages in my brain that kick me in the gut regularly and just the general wanting to forget it ever happened??
Does anyone have any experience with this?

OP’s posts: |
Aimzxo Thu 14-Jan-21 19:38:05

What an awful year for your family, im so sorry this has happened to you. I've been with my husband 10 years, he did this when we first got together, in all honesty he's done this about 5 times that I know of, stupidly I've forgiven every time (stupid I know) I've always had massive confidence issues. Fast forward we now have a baby girl and that's give me the kick up the arse I need to not be such a pushover and I want to set a good example for her of what is acceptable behaviour and I genuinely mean it now that if I found these messages again I'd walk as I now know my worth. In my experience its very difficult to move on, its doable but difficult, I dont think you truly ever forget but its possible to move on. You both have to work together and if you quite rightly do have moments of paranoia then he has to work with you and reassure you and he has to genuinely believe that if he does this again then you'll walk, dont make the same mistakes as me, upside is we have our DD and wouldn't of if I had walked away but thats beside the point xx

Aimzxo Thu 14-Jan-21 19:39:21

As time goes on those flash backs and that horrendous feeling in your gut will pass xx

Guiltypleasures001 Thu 14-Jan-21 19:55:19

Op I'm normally of the ltb brigade, but life's not that simple in real life

My gut feeling it was an aberration on his part, totally out of character and grief driven

Grief is a bastard that can make you do weird and wonderful or not things
Seems he stepped in to a fantasy world outside of you and the family
Where he could ignore the real word and his grief.

It's not an excuse, but to er (sp) is human, and now he's given himself and you even more hurt to deal with.

Keep talking, ask where he thought it might have gone in reality, and is there anything else he needs you to know ?

Communication is key and total honesty is needed

Good luck op 💐

FoolMeOnce80 Thu 14-Jan-21 19:56:17

Thank you for replying. Yeah it's been a shocking year but hopefully things will start to improve.
He's definitely not under any illusions of what my actions would be should he do this again that's for sure. And in no way am I defending him but I'm not sure that the trauma of what had happened didn't play it's part in making him feel like sh*t. Although i went through everything with him and didn't do it so who knows?
@Aimzxo thank you! Have you experienced something similar?

OP’s posts: |
PebblesE Thu 14-Jan-21 19:57:23

I’m a year on from a very similar thing.
It’s been brutal I have to say. The biggest problem is trust. I’m not sure I can ever trust him with my feelings after he hid what was going on for weeks. He’s supposed to be my biggest support not the person who could make me hit rock bottom.
She’s no longer at the workplace but I’m sure their paths will cross again and I can’t bring myself to be ok with that.
I feel a bit trapped to be honest. We have two dcs, my Mum is dying and I’m on a waiting list for a hysterectomy so won’t be brilliant if I’m on my own.
A small part of me, still, despises him for what he could do to me.
The long term implications I find hard too. He’s no longer the great guy all my friends and family thought I was married to and it changes the dynamics in some social situations. Not that there have been many but even things like pitch side at the kids’ sports etc.
It’s a really tough one and time will tell how much your relationship has suffered because of it.

FoolMeOnce80 Thu 14-Jan-21 20:01:25

@Guiltypleasures001 thank you! I feel similar about it tbh. It is most definitely out of character for him and I'm inclined to think it's about the escape from the reality of what had happened.
We've spoken at length about it. He tells me that he doesn't feel that if they'd arranged to meet that he could have gone through with it. I don't disbelieve him but I'm also a person that thinks you can never say never - so this is a big one for me, the 'what if?'. Obviously nothing physical happened but that's part of what I'm struggling with right now - all the 'what ifs' had I not found out.

OP’s posts: |
FoolMeOnce80 Thu 14-Jan-21 20:08:10

@PebblesE OMG! I thought I'd had a terrible year! Sounds like we've been in similar situations. I'm so sorry for what you're going through with your mum xxx
I guess all we can do is try and see what happens.
Lots of love to you xxx

OP’s posts: |
Spin66 Thu 14-Jan-21 20:15:54

OP can I ask you whether if you had not asked him, do you think he would have ever come clean? If he says “yes it would have stopped” when/at what point would he have stopped this inappropriate contact?

As for the “how do I mentally move on”. Why should you? He needs to prove himself (if that’s what you need?) and as for not checking his phone, are you policing yourself not to? Given what’s happened, do you not think that’s a natural thing that you may want to do? Although if you do so, you need to be satisfied that he hasn’t deleted stuff?

Oh and if they work together, is it possible that he can ignore her totally.

I can offer an opinion, but I don’t live your life, so only offering questions you may wish to ask yourself.

FoolMeOnce80 Thu 14-Jan-21 20:28:05

@Spin66 good questions!
Yes I've asked where he saw it going etc. Like I said in a previous reply, he tells me he couldn't have gone through with anything physical. It's up to me I guess if I can believe that or not.
As for moving on mentally, I believe if I've chosen to forgive that we both have to move on, we can't continue to dwell on the past however I need a way to acknowledge it's happened and move forward.
He is proving himself I think to some extent. His phone is always available to me, I use it sometimes when my own is charging for example and he leaves it home a lot. But I can't live my life fearing this will happen again. If it does, I'll be better prepared (finances, house etc). I won't be fooled twice and he knows that.
The colleague used to be his boss but now works in a totally different department with no risk of a crossover. The night I found out I kind of sent her some, let's say 'unsavoury' messages so I'm in no doubt she'll want to rekindle anything. I also still have his old phone so at any point should I feel the need to check, I can.

OP’s posts: |
MrsWindass Thu 14-Jan-21 20:38:00

How can a phone with no SIM download recent messages ? I'm lost at that point .

BumbleBiscuit Thu 14-Jan-21 20:51:09

He's ashamed, embarrassed but most of all full of guilt for what this has done to me and our marriage

Not true. If you hadn’t discovered this he would be carrying on. He wasn’t that ashamed or embarrassed when he was telling her what he wanted to do to her when his wife was in the next room.

You’ll never trust him again. If it’s not over now it will be soon. Besides he’ll probably carry on, he’ll just cover his tracks better next time.

BornIn78 Thu 14-Jan-21 21:03:12

Can I ask - how do you know nothing physical happened between them?

It’s only been a matter of weeks since you found this out, why would you be getting past this already?

Apart from leaving his phone lying around now, what’s he doing to start to rebuild your trust and what is he doing to ensure this doesn’t happen again the next time he hits a rough patch in life?

Aquagirl19 Thu 14-Jan-21 21:11:37

I'm sorry he has done this to you, I was in a similar position 5 years ago when I found inappropriate messages between my husband and a young female work colleague. He played it down and used that lame excuse that it was just 'banter'. It was so out of character for him and I would never have expected him to have done something like that to me. I decided to stay with him. I have thought about it multiple times a day ever since. Sometimes I sit and calculate how many times I must have thought about it over the years. Sad I know. It does get easier but I personally will never forget it. Its definitely changed how I look at him which is a real shame because we had always had a seemingly good relationship before. I don't think it happened because he was unhappy with me, he did it because he was flattered, liked the new attention and enjoyed having a flirt. Sometimes I think if I'd had enough money I wouldnt have stayed. All I'll say is take things day by day because your feelings will no doubt change over the coming weeks/months/years and maybe for now you want to stay with him but later on you may feel you can't make it work. I act like I've moved on but I've never forgiven my husband and I certainly won't forget what he did.

FoolMeOnce80 Thu 14-Jan-21 21:58:46

I read ALL of the messages. It was clear it was a text thing and hadn't turned physical yet.

Messages were via messenger so online- no SIM required.

I'm confident at the moment that he's being genuine. He is far more attentive, we don't use our phones as much. If he gets a message etc I can ask to see it or who it's from and he's not at all secretive with his phone. Except from his work we literally spend most of the time together (lockdown has facilitated a lot!), to the point where even when I have a bath he will come and sit and talk with me. When he's working he calls me A LOT! He's not on social media now either. He's even changed his shifts like I've asked. So at this point I'm confident it was a one off. Obviously you can never be 100% sure. I was diagnosed with a disability a few years ago which will likely see me in a wheelchair in the next few years and fully deaf - I'd told him to cut his losses then and gave him the chance to not have to care for me when the time comes but he stuck by me knowing how it'll be. I haven't and won't excuse or forget what he's done and I'm not seeking advice of my choice merely how to move on from it.

OP’s posts: |
harknesswitch Thu 14-Jan-21 22:16:39

It took me 3 years to get over my dh emotional affair. However I left after those 3 years as I had lost all respect for him. That eroded any feelings I had and in the end I just didn't love him any longer. That was when I started to feel better. After I'd left.

Sorry OP he's treated you appallingly during a time when he should have been supporting you. Instead he chose to make himself feel better, which, if that meant anything else would be ok, but he chose to do something that he knew would crucify you. Unforgivable in my book.

MLM268 Fri 15-Jan-21 02:03:25

I never got over my partner's EA. Oh maybe I did, in that 2 years later I realised I didn't give a shit about the EA or him. I'm not saying that will be you and I can't tell you how long it'll take for you to move past this. This only happened to you in November, so what 2 months ago? I think you need to be gentle on yourself and realise what you're experiencing is grief. Time will obviously help with healing but you'll never forget it flowers.

Itstimetoquit Fri 15-Jan-21 02:29:43

Ive been there its an awful feeling,in my case i thought i could leave it in the past,but I was wrong it ate away at me and after 2 years I ended the relationship and kicked him out (after 10 years together),I hope you can put it behind you and be happy,but for me it destroyed all the trust x

Nicolastuffedone Fri 15-Jan-21 04:20:57

......and yet you went through the same trauma and didn’t feel the need to start sexting a work colleague. Wonder what would’ve happened if you hadn’t found out? Not that he would’ve ‘gone through’ with anything 🙄

AldiIsla Fri 15-Jan-21 04:47:26

My ex did something like this, during a very tough year of bereavement. Like you, I'd carried on, supported the family. I left as I knew I'd never forgive the fact that he saw me at my lowest and instead of sharing the burden he went elsewhere.

It's not always so straightforward, you'll know if you've got it in you to move on without him or to forgive. Both require strength and there's no right answer.

I will say I'm now married, happily, to a man who is always on my side, good times and bad.

violetbunny Fri 15-Jan-21 05:12:28

He's genuine that he feels remorseful, but it's likely that he's actually just feeling remorseful that he got caught. I would call it a day with him.

Sunflower1970 Fri 15-Jan-21 05:14:51

Good on you for giving him the benefit of the doubt on the physical thing. After the year you’ve had I would have expected him to be there for you to mop up your tears not philandering. Sorry - I think it’s a massive red flag that grief and stress have sent him off to have an emotional affair. People handle things in different ways but he is on his best behaviour because he was outed! If you hadn’t noticed the messages he would have continued and got physical. If he can do that in the toughest of times then he wouldn’t get another chance with me. Good on you for trying to forget, I couldn’t.

TattoedLady Sun 17-Jan-21 00:28:19

OP here's how I moved on from a betrayal. It actually took me a couple months to figure out what I really needed from him...but I realised I needed an apology, a full apology where he told me what he was sorry for and why. I told him that I needed to be allowed to discuss what had happened until such a time as I didn't, and that I expected him not to be defensive about it. I also told him that I might have difficulty trusting him for some time and that he'd need to accept that as a consequence of his behaviour. And then I gave it time. But the absolute best thing I did was learning how to drive because it gave me something other than 'her/him/it/us' to focus on and now I associate that time with a personal achievement more than anything else.

FoolMeOnce80 Sun 17-Jan-21 13:35:26

@TattoedLady this is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. I'm the one to judge my husband and make my own decision as to my future with him so those saying he'll do it again and to leave him aren't helpful. It's a massive risk for me to take, yes, but I'm working on my own confidence and making sure I'm not reliant on him (or anyone else for that matter!). I can live without him but as this is only one occasion in our entire time together I'm prepared to forgive, I will not forgive a second time. I'm a firm believer in people being accountable for their own actions but also that they learn from it. How do you know if you can't give a second chance? There will certainly be no third, forth etc.
Thank you for your insight, I think this may be something I need to do.

OP’s posts: |
litterbird Sun 17-Jan-21 19:49:02

Hi OP and what a dreadful year both yourself and your husband have had and I am so sorry for your diagnosis, this must make this situation so very difficult. However, I can see you have laid the law down and he is responding to that which is a good thing. I have 2 friends who went through almost identical situations with both husbands losing parents and starting up affairs then being caught out. They both did what you did, laid the law down and they settled back into marriage. Both husbands had further affairs but both of my friends have chosen to stay with them despite further indiscretions. They chose to stay as they have made peace with the fact they dont want to divorce their husbands as they love them and children are involved. Both sets of marriages appear to be ok and they just get on with it. Both wives have forgiven and seem to have moved on with it. So, you will never know if your husband will repeat this but it looks like he is sorry and doing everything he can to make it up to you. Some marriages can weather these storms even if they go though many storms and still remain together. It is not for me to judge them as they have both come to accept their husbands weaknesses and seem to have made it work. I hope you can work through your grief....and believe me it is very deep seated grief which will come in waves and your husband will have to support you through this. I wish you the best and hope you make it out the other side x

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