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After the affair...

(11 Posts)
RunawayBrit Sun 07-Sep-08 15:29:49

Hi all, I'm new to mumsnet but really need some help here.

I've lived in Italy with my partner for the last 15 years and we have 2 great kids. In Feb I discovered he'd had a 6 month affair with a woman we both know. I was, and am, devastated. I've always been a strong kinda gal but this has knocked me for six.

I gave up my life in the UK for him and, even though I'm close to my big family and it has always been hard to be far away, I've built myself a life over there and been quite happy with it.

Over the last months we've tried to keep things going and had some counselling, which has helped. I'm still really low,though... self-esteem on the floor, trouble sleeping, etc.

Crunch time came when he came over to England to see me (I always spend August over here with the kids). I was really concerned that he might find it hard to be here, as my family know what went on (he didn't want me to tell any of our friends in Italy as he said it may get back to the kids) and found myself checking he was OK all the time. At the same time he just acted with me and everyone as if nothing had happened. I've tried to explain that, at this time, I need more TLC than usual, my self-confidence needs building up and, to be bloomin' honest, I need to see he's a bit grateful for being given another chance...but he ain't doing it.

By the time he went home I was lower than I've ever been. The thought of going back to Italy, where I have no support (his parents are the only ones there who we have told about the affair and his mother has not spoken to me since!) quite literally terrifies me right now. I realised last week I just couldn't do it and made a decision to stay in England for a while and found school places for our 2 children (11 and 8). I so need to have my family and friends around me right now. I don't see this as a permanent thing and I DO want us to try and carry on after this nightmare, but I just can't be over there on my own at the moment. I've tried to explain this to him and he accuses me of being underhanded, selfish, cowardly (I didn't discuss this with him as I knew he'd never have agreed to it)and a terrible mother. Am I?

Please help

turquoise Sun 07-Sep-08 15:47:30

I don't think you are any of those things. You are doing what you have to do to move forward.

I suppose it seems to him as if you are leaving him in stages - to put the children into english schools looks quite drastic and I can imagine he finds it hard to believe that it's not permanent on that basis, and because you haven't discussed it with him.

Can you write him a letter explaining how you feel? Do you have any friends that you would feel close enough to confide in in Italy (regardless of his desire to keep it secret - you need support if you are to get through this), or can any of your english friends or family come out to stay with you for a while?

It sounds as though he doesn't comprehend at all how slow the road to recovery is after such a betrayal - can you continue with the counselling? Why is his mother behaving so strangely, is she ashamed do you think? Has he shown much remorse? I know what you mean about you needing to see it, gratitude for being given another chance etc - it really doesn't sound as though he is listening to you at all.

HappyWoman Sun 07-Sep-08 15:50:19

you poor thing

Just do what is right for you at the moment.
This has been a huge shock and he should be doing everthing in his power to make you feel better.

My h had an affair and i think you need to be strong for you now - going back to italy will only make you resent giving up your needs for his again.

The marriage can still work if you both want it too and if he is willing to do his bit too.

Remember this is only come about because of his actions not yours - you have done nothing wrong - and if you need support now make sure you get it.

His behaviour is classic post affair - letting you take some of the blame and making sure his mistakes are not on show to others.

Be strong - you do not need him now - even if your marriage is to survive you have to believe that. You now have the choice whether you WANT him in your life - but you do not NEED him.

Good luck and hope you get some good advice.
It can work but it is bloody hard work.

Anna8888 Sun 07-Sep-08 15:52:22

Poor you sad. I quite, quite understand why you have decided to stay in England where you have lots of love and support. Are you staying with your parents?

I would hold out for a while in England and try to put some distance between you and your husband while you think more about why he felt the desire to have an affair, whether your marriage is salvageable, what your alternatives are etc.

HappyWoman Sun 07-Sep-08 15:52:36

My mil was the same - and now we only talk when we have to - affairs have such devestating effects on so many people and i just wish we could educate people as to that before they set out on one - 'well these things happen' is just not a good enough excuse for me.

HappyWoman Sun 07-Sep-08 15:55:39

also get some good legal advice - this is not a negative step but it will help you feel less helpless and see that you do have some control over these matters.

Your h - if he follows the usual pattern will only want to return to you fully if he sees you as moving on and being the strong person you were before all this. Whist he can he will hedge his bets in both camps - sorry this is sad but true.

My mil is so sorry for her actions now but unfortunately it is too late now and she has missed out on so much of the childrens lives.

deepinlaundry Sun 07-Sep-08 16:09:41

I agree with happy women (been there too). Get some legal advice- it will empower you at a time when you feel you have little control over your life.It doesn't mean the marriage is definately over- it is something you need to have.
My MIL the same- they are unbelievable aren't they!

stillsuchamess Sun 07-Sep-08 16:23:16

'underhand, selfish and cowardly', sounds like he's describing himself rather than you.

take some time for you, you CAN strengthen yourself and rebuild your confidence & it sounds as though you have managed to get yourself into a position where you have support to do it.

think HW distinction between wanting and needing him is a good one. well done for finding the confidence to make decisions so far & good luck.

RunawayBrit Sun 07-Sep-08 16:46:50

Oh My God! I didn't expect such support so soon. I'm here crying buckets in front of the PC! It's just such a relief to hear other mums understanding how I feel.

Yes, I have had some legal advice and yes, it did empower me. As he would never marry me (another story!!) and my kids have British passports it seems he can't come and take them back to Italy.

This all happened last Monday. It's been the most exhausting week fo my life but I already feel a bit better. I'm seeing my GP who is excellent and has reassured me i don't need Class A drugs and a room in a maximum security establishment, but has given me some relaxation techniques to do to at least get me sleeping better.

The kids have been amazing. I told them simply that I hadn't been happy in Italy for some time and needed some time with my family. If anything, I think they were relieved. I feel very bad about taking them away from their dad but I honestly feel that they either get a fully functioning Mum over here right now or a hopeless, depressed, zombie-like one over there.

Thank you so much, folks. Oh... and as for the MiLs... I have some AMAZING Italian mil stories that I promise to share when I'm feeling a bit more upbeat!!

HappyWoman Sun 07-Sep-08 17:01:27

You sound as if you are doing so well - and it is good to know you are not alone.
Take all the help you can - you are not taking them away from their dad but his actions have already taken him away from them.
Glad you have got the legal advice - it still helps me.

Whatever the outcome you will be a stronger person than before - and i honestly think that often scares these men off - twats.

Dont let him 'bully' you into doing anything now that does not feel 100% comfortable with you - you have done nothing wrong and it sounds as if you are doing the best thing for the children now.

Also dont worry about taking any drugs - if you need them they will work but there are some good relaxation techniques too - make sure you look after yourself now.

RunawayBrit Sun 07-Sep-08 21:49:50

Thank you so much, HW. You're right, it is good to know you're not alone and when your confidence is on the floor you end up questioning yourself about everything so great to have some reassurance.

I am SURE I'll come out of this stronger... no one is gonna get me that down again ... not even Johnny Depp or George Clooney (but there again...wink!)

Once again, thanks for the wise words.

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