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Stuck in relationship Limbo

(19 Posts)
DoingtheLimbo Sat 25-Jul-09 22:41:48

Am a regular but namechanging for ... well, I'm not altogether sure. I just feel the need to pour my heart out on a page and MN seems the kindest and most appropriate place for that.

Potted history - been with DH 10 years, 2 dcs. Tempestuous relationship to put it mildly involving elopement, a termination, estrangement from families, trips to police stations to deal with false allegations, solicitors, social workers the lot. When things calmed down somewhat, we decided to have first DC who was four months old when I discovered DH had been exchanging texts with an OW. We bumbled on for another year (I forgave him obviously) when I discovered he had done it for a short period again with the same OW. She had no idea he was married he said, just texts blah blah blah.

In the years after I found various other things which made me suspicious - a ripped empty condom packet in a suit which hadn't been worn for a while, various phone numbers in his wallet, even a flirty text sent to a client last year. No concrete evidence of cheating and I always brought it up with him straight away and he'd always have an explanation - except for the flirty text, he 'fessed up that it was stupid and swore it was a one-off.

Now I'm on maternity leave with DC2 and to say I'm struggling would be putting it mildly. I've turned into a raving lunatic frankly - mostly due to lack of sleep but, when it comes to him, I see red at the first sniff of any trouble. For example, I blame him because he gave the new neighbour a lift home the other day and she has since blanked me twice when I said hello. He recently (because of my persuasion) used my hairdresser and now she's being all weird and of course, I blame him. Other things are setting me off - he disappears for an hour at a time without any notice although he's always contactable by phone and it's never long enough to do anything iyswim.

Things came to a head a couple of months ago when I found his old mobile phone bill and realised that not only had he been texted this OW but ringing her quite frequently (sometimes before he'd spoken to me). After copious nagging from me, he gave me full details of what went on with this OW four years ago. It was, by his account, just nasty talk. He admits it was wrong, apologises over and over again, is understanding when I go all mental and paranoid, although he does sometimes hit the roof first and accuse me of being controlling. He is being supportive of my current bonkers state - taking the kids when I need a break, making meals, helping when I ask him....

So fast forward to today - he gave me his old mobile 'cos mine packed up. Message came up "inbox full" so I duly went ahead to delete messages. I found this from two years ago "[name] can u phone me plz mising u" and then another from the same number three weeks later "I wil cal u later".

I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Even though it's two years ago - how stupid is that. I called the number but got the unrecognisable recorded message so presumably that person changed their phone number. There is another message sent about a week after just saying "hello" from a different number but sent again an hour later. I tried that number and it was a woman - I hung up immediately, stupid fat old mare that I am sad

So my dear MNers, I am officially gutted. It seems that the options are thus:

1. He never actually broke off text rship with OW from four/five years ago. It carried on and, for all I know, could well be carrying on now.

2. He got it on with a different woman entirely. Could be short-term or not.

3. Could be a friend/colleague/mad obsessed stalker...<clutches straws>

Crucially, I haven't told him I found it. This is so different from normal - I would ordinarily screech like a harpee, we'd argue and then we sit and discuss it. But I'm so wary of doing that this time. Partly because it was two years ago and we're really really trying hard to make a go of things. Partly because inevitably I will be accused of "digging for gold" and effectively policing his every move. Partly because he'll come up with some faintly ridiculous but partially plausible explanation which I will then feel obliged to swallow.

I don't know what to do sad I feel sick, I feel shaky - par for the course these days except this time it's not all in my head it seems. I'm so angry with myself and I'm so angry with him - why can't he just leave me be if he doesn't want me. It's not enough to feel fat, ugly and socially inept - apparently I need to be kicked in the guts on a regular basis with things like this which make me feel utterly bereft and strangely numb.

Can I salvage this? Is there any point bringing it up with him? Shall I just mark another notch on his bedpost and secretly plan my escape? Should I hire a freaking private detective to follow my darling husband's every move when he's barely out of my sight??

FFS - am irritating myself here. Will post this nauseating pile of drivel and hope I'm not flamed! Hopefully there's a friendly ear....

DoingtheLimbo Sat 25-Jul-09 23:24:49

Forgive me - I'm just going to shamelessly bump myself once due to speed of active convos and then I'll let this disappear off into the ether I think...

anothermum92 Sat 25-Jul-09 23:31:11

Message withdrawn

DoingtheLimbo Sat 25-Jul-09 23:37:03

Thanks anothermum - you've made me all sniffy again (in a good, being listened to kind of way!).

The thing is, I'm not exactly sure what I want. He always swears blind how much he loves me. He knows I don't trust him and tries hard (I think) to try to overcome that by reassuring me when I get panicky.

He never defined what he did as cheating - I definitely did and made it clear to him. Recently, he saw me in my most down depressed state ever - which is saying something considering all the things we've been through - and it brought him to tears (not a frequent thing). He said he never meant to hurt me and he just wanted me to feel loved sad sad sad

God, I feel like such a sap. On the one hand, he feels like my soulmate and on the other like a total stranger.

anothermum92 Sat 25-Jul-09 23:47:12

Message withdrawn

DoingtheLimbo Sat 25-Jul-09 23:53:32

Thanks anothermum - I've just noticed the time and I'm shock

My gut instinct is that he's not involved in anything untoward right now. He works from home so we're together practically 24/7 (perhaps part of the problem). He's also making a humungous effort in our relationship - I feel like I'm sabotaging it with my every move right now. To bring up what seems like an ancient transgression seems unfair to him in some way...not quite sure why.

Sorry to hear your troubles with your ex. I do often wonder about life without H and I'm sure I'd be absolutely fine so it's not fear of the unknown. I guess I'm worried that I'm seeing too much into this and I'm going to ruin a perfectly good marriage by getting hung up on the past. I thought about counselling but have put it on hold until I return to work. I might feel better when I'm not fixated on things 24 hours a day.

Thanks for all your lovely words - it's really helpful venting to someone who knows what I'm talking about smile

SwannMum Sun 26-Jul-09 00:23:26

What is wrong with them all? Is there some kind of spontaneous epidemic of male hedonism where they sabotage their relationships to chase other women? They just don't seem able to help themselves do they? I reckon it starts in their late twenties and just carries on. I think they are unable to grow up and are searching for the elusive fountain of youth. I really do. They like the idea of being in a committed relationship becasue it it what's 'expected' and it's safe etc etc. But then the dull mundane of bill paying and ... well life creeps in, so they go thrill seeking. I read an academic paper on it actually when I was in the depths of depression about the father of my child fucking off to get pissed at every given opportunity. They enjoy it at the time but ultimately they are "like Hogarth's rake, doomed to a life of social failure". That cheered me up when I read that.

Basically it is Peter Pan Syndrome.

Women don't seem to have the same problem... or do they?

When I was pregnant I discovered the father of my child had been texting two ex girlfriends. He accepted that he was at fault (to put it mildly) and becasue I was pregnant, I just sort of buried my head in the sand. However, it eats you up and let's face it, they never change. If I was you I would cut your losses. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life checking his texts and emails?

I vote no to Peter Pans!! You can sleep with them but you will never change them. They will ALWAYS be monstrous twit twats

HappyWoman Sun 26-Jul-09 08:40:59

only just read this
Please dont beat yourself up that it was a long time ago.

He really needs to do all he can to repair the damage he has done. But also you need to let yourself get over it and forgive him and then move on.

But you also need to set boundaries for yourself and let him know them - if you are not happy about the lift with the neibour he should not make you feel bad about it - after all he will need to earn your trust back.

I would suggest getting some counselling so you will know you will be able to have a good life without him - and then you can choose to live with him if you still want to. You will feel so empowered knowing you dont need him but that you want to be with him - there is a world of difference between the two and you will feel better once you sort that out.

Good luck.

HappyWoman Sun 26-Jul-09 08:42:23

also you need to take control back - he had a choice to do what he did and tell you at the time - now you have the luxury of what you want to do - dont rush it and you dont owe him anything until you sort your own emotions out.

DoingtheLimbo Sun 26-Jul-09 10:33:31

I am officially an idiot blush

Last night I checked through his contacts on his new phone (which are saved to his sim rather than his phone) and noticed that the number corresponded with a guy he worked with about two and a half years ago. the first "mising u" message was sent the week after he left that job.

Ordinarily I'd be a bit hmm that it was a guy but I actually met him a few weeks later and he was this cloying and affectionate, even to the point of saying some rather inappropriate things to me. I remember DH saying that he was a bit of a stalker and us having a laugh about it blush He had a very poor grasp of English and often said quite odd and entirely inappropriate things. Before anyone jumps on me, we only laughed at him because he insisted on correcting DH's (near perfect) English.

Oh Christ, thank God I didn't speak to that poor woman who only sent a "hello" text - I would have looked like a total nutter! I still have said absolutely nothing to him and don't intend to. I feel strangely pleased that I've managed to deal with this myself (with the help of MN of course).

I think this whole episode has shown me that I have to take responsibility for my own feelings and make an informed choice as to whether or not I want to be with someone I clearly don't trust. Wise words Happy Woman thank you so much - I need to regain control over my own life and not let his behaviour rule my emotions.

Swannmum - your post did made me chuckle wink I'm sorry your exP has been such a total arse. Are you properly rid of him then? You sound immensely strong and you should be proud of yourself although I don't agree that I should cut my losses at the moment without working on my own issues and seeing if that makes any difference. Thanks so much ladies - I'm so relieved that I was able to get this all out here and not with DH, it definitely makes me feel like I'm taking some control back for me smile

HappyWoman Sun 26-Jul-09 11:04:30

I am glad - you will feel so much happier knowing that his actions are his and although you may be hurt by them they are not going to rule your life.

I know i have lost a lot of trust in my h after his affair and i am not sure i will ever trust him or anyone in the same way again sad. But i do trust myself to never be treated the way i was - I have drawn a line in the sand and whilst i cant change what happened i can make sure h has no doubt that if he ever treats me with such little respect again i will be off and will be ok (eventually).

Just knowing that has given me such strength that many areas of my life have improved.

Take the time to work on yourself and treat yourself to a nice life - if he is in it thats great.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 26-Jul-09 11:22:24

I think that any partner who breaches monogamy more than once in a supposedly monogamous relationship is NOT MONOGAMOUS and never will be. So if you have a partner like this, you either accept that the person is going to have other sexual partners, and decide what terms you will accept this on (eg not in your home/not with mutual friends) or you get out of the relationship. Because trying to enforce monogamy on another person is an awfully damaging way to live your life. It's exhausting - all that worrying and constant checking up - and it's fundamentally impossible because you cannot control another person's behaviour against that person's wishes.

DoingtheLimbo Sun 26-Jul-09 11:45:16

You're right SGB - it is exhausting. That's exactly the word for how I feel right now. I hear you on the monogamy stuff but the problem is that I have said over and over to him that he can see as many women as he likes, just not me at the same time. I'm a one-on-one girl and nothing will change that.

The problem is he swears blind it's me he wants and really, over the years, only one situation has come to light which I would consider cheating - there's no fool like an old fool I guess! I guess my criteria for ending the relationship is if he repeats that or worse. I just don't feel that I can give up on our marriage just on the basis of what's happened although that would obviously be the opposite if he didn't seem so keen to work things through.

cheekysealion Sun 26-Jul-09 11:51:59

I dont have anything great to say

but admire your calmness this time...

I think counselling on your own would do wonders for you... it did for me after me and ex split up .. it will give you a third party who doesnt know you to talk things through with..

relate are great if you can afford it... or you may have a free counselling service where you live..

It short you can not continue to live your life wondering about this all the time
you deserve so much more happiness

SolidGoldBrass Mon 27-Jul-09 00:08:34

I would recommend the two classic books on monogamy free living - The Ethical Slut by Easton and Liszt and Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. I am not telling you to embrace polyamourous living, but these books describe how nice people do it. And reading them is a good way of sorting out in your own mind whether your particular non-monogamous partner is doing is actually kind and ethical, or basically selfish.

I am sorry you are having such a shitty time. But (and I am not condeming you or criticising you) you said he can see other women but not you, so he is interpreting this as he is allowed to go so far but no farther so he is messing about with the boundaries. Your boundaries matter too. You can't control his behaviour but you can control your own response to it - and if he is repeatedly pushing the limits and lying then he is showing that he thinks his wishes matter more than yours and he is not going to do what you want him to do.

DoingtheLimbo Mon 27-Jul-09 23:15:11

Thanks SGB - I'll look into getting one or both of those books so that I can try to get my head around his attitude.

Interesting that you make that distinction in what I said re: having other women but not me. I hadn't really thought of it that way so it's definitely food for thought. In any event, I clarified it with him somewhat today in saying that I couldn't go through this again and if anything further came up even slightly similar I would consider our relationship to be over. Hopefully that's clear enough for him to know where his boundaries lie. Only time will tell I guess...

DoingtheLimbo Mon 27-Jul-09 23:17:37

and thank you Cheekysealion for saying you admire my calmness. I still haven't told him what I found on Saturday and don't intend to. I thought I was being a bit up my own arse being proud of myself for not going off the deep end (and retaining a modicom of dignity!). I will definitely consider getting counselling for myself. It's amazing that until recently I hadn't really thought about what an impact this has had on my mental health - seems so obvious now blush

SwannMum Mon 27-Jul-09 23:23:47

Yay!! Glad the number turned out to be an innocent mistake.

Don't listen to me at the moment. I'm not the bearer of the most winning of advice currently. Am rapidly turning into Miss Havisham to be honest, shall be sat in Oxfam wedding dress with rotting wedding meal. Either that, or I'll be eaten by alsations like Bridget Jones.

Good luck anyway. I hope it all works out and he doesn't let you down.

DoingtheLimbo Mon 27-Jul-09 23:25:42

Oh bless you SwannMum you are making me larf grin

Will look at your thread on the morrow to see if I have any wise words of advice for you <doubtful>

Sleep well Miss Havisham wink

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