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H admits a "blurred friendship" with another woman - we're at a real crossroads, I don't know which way to go - any advice appreciated

(56 Posts)
tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 10:09:51

This is such a long story so I'll try and keep it short - H and I have 2 small dc's, and moved away from our old town when dc1 was tiny. I had a good job and a big circle of friends, and was sorry to leave that, but thought it would mean a lovely new life in the countryside with our new little family.

It was fine for about 6 months until H got a great job offer where we used to live, which gave us the opportunity to clear our mortgage in a few years. It meant him working away but we decided to go for it as it was such a great chance for him, and ultimately for all of us.

Fast forward a couple of years and dc2 arrived, H was still working away more than ever and I was feeling more and more isolated and unhappy, despite making lots of friends in our new area. The job opportunities for me just aren't here and my family and oldest friends are a very long way away. DC1 also had some health issues, which have been very hard to deal with alone. I tried to tell H how I was feeling but nothing seemed to change and I became so exhausted it was hard to see a way out.

Last weekend I had a call from the husband of H's work colleague, a woman who I knew he'd been friends with for a long time. He basically told me an affair had been going on for some weeks, and sent me transcripts of texts to back it up. I knew this woman had cheated on her H previously, as my H had told me about it some time ago. I'd always had a healthy suspicion of her, but H had always said they were just friends. I've never had any reason to disbelieve him before.

The texts, although not sexual, are very affectionate, and refer to a night which she spent in his hotel room (after lying to her H about where she was) when they were apparently talking about the problems in her marriage. H swears blind to me (and his mother!) that there has been no physical relationship, and he's never been known to lie to me before, but fully admits that he knew I would not have been happy with anyone visiting his room, and that he should have told me. He also admits that the line has been crossed in terms of sending affectionate texts.

Where the hell do we go from here? My reaction on finding this out was to leave immediately with the dc's and stay at a friends. This shocked H to the core, as I've never done anything like this before. I couldn't speak to him for 24 hours but then he came to see me, and there actually felt like there may be a way back. I'm now back at home, but have told him I consider us separated. There is lots of talking to do.

What do I do now? He's already spoken to the woman to clear the air and I'm certain he's not planning on leaving for her - he's certainly had the chance. He's also agreed that we need to move house, but hasn't really given me as much reassurance as I feel I need to carry on our marriage. Am so very confused. I still love him, but feel he's really neglected us for the past couple of years and with this on top I'm not sure if we can get past it.

prettyfly1 Fri 31-Jul-09 10:58:55

I think you are very much at a big cross roads. Lets be honest - if he keeps working away, leaving you effectively a lone parent you are eventualy going to resent it so much your marriage will end. Will he leave his job?

DandyLioness Fri 31-Jul-09 11:09:56

Message withdrawn

randomtask Fri 31-Jul-09 11:16:29

I think you should work out what you need to feel happy and to have faith in your H and your marriage.

I'd definitely tell him you want to move 'home' and that you do not want him going anywhere with this woman, unless it's business and if he has to go away on business, you'd have to decide if you trust him.

I'd also make sure you have access to all of his mobile phone bills and that you can know where he is. If you want it to work he needs to rebuild your trust.

He needs to change his priorities and remember that he has a family he's responsible for and not just financially.

Also, maybe going to Relate would help you find more solutions and get a few answers.

Fingers crossed for you.

Nancy66 Fri 31-Jul-09 11:19:10

I think you have to accept they probably DID have sex - it's very unlikely that she spent the night in his hotel room and nothing happened.

I'm actually NOT one of those people that thinks being unfaithful is an instant marriage ender. I've known couples that have come back from affairs and made the marriage work. Sometimes it's a way of dredging up issues and forcing confessions and conversations - albeit a very drastic method!

You need to decide how you feel and if the marriage is worth fighting for. But a cooling off period won't do any harm in the meantime.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 31-Jul-09 11:22:42

I think you should follow your heart.

BadgersArse Fri 31-Jul-09 11:24:51

Id ask him to leave for a while and DO NOTHING>
really, just get your head around it, dont promise, dont dicuss with his parents, your mates( other than one or two) dont plan, just give yourself time.

HTH

twoclimbingboys Fri 31-Jul-09 11:35:11

Sorry to hear that - it sounds very difficult and upsetting.

Even if I could get past the affair (emotional/sexual) - the neglect of me and the dc's (whilst he has been having an emotional affair) would be the most difficult thing to deal with or get beyond.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Fri 31-Jul-09 11:38:23

OP - I think it's likely that he did have a full relationship with this woman. Very often in this situation, people will admit to only what their spouses can prove. Her DH has forced his hand, and he cannot now deny that nothing was going on, but to be honest, it's extremely unlikely that this was all there was to it.

You can move on, but only when you've got the full story. In your position, I would start to seek external sources of fact - his laptop, phone, OW's H and (with caution) the woman herself.

So sorry you're going through this. Do realise you are in shock too. Shock is a vastly underestimated state and no decisoons should be made while in it.

Get some outside help to look after the DCs while you work your way through this. No need to tell others why you need it at this point. But you need lots of time now for long conversations.

But in your position, I would be doing everything in my power to test the veracity of what he was saying.

countingto10 Fri 31-Jul-09 13:00:03

Sorry to hear you are in this awful position - only a couple of months down the line from a similar situation.

Don't do anything rash at this stage, there are a lot of things to consider.

Do you still love him, do you want to save the marriage? Is he willing to go to Relate eg to work out where things have gone wrong and take full responsibility for the affair (if that is what is what)? Remember if he would not be prepared to do these things in front of you eg texting her then he is cheating and also someone with nothing to hide, hides nothing.

Me and my DH have been going to Relate for a number of weeks now, working on all of our issues. I felt I needed to go down this route so that in years to come I could look my 4 DC in the eyes and say I explored every avenue to save the marriage because I still loved my DH despite what he had done. I am also beginning to understand how the affair came about because of the state of our marriage and other circumstances but obviously there is no excuse for looking outside your marriage to solve problems in it.

Good luck.

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 13:44:24

Thanks so much all of you. I do tend to believe there has been no sexual relationship, for a few reasons, one of which is that he's let himself go a bit recently, put on weight, let hair grow on his shoulders which used to bother him (tmi sorry!) As the OW is attractive, and her XH was fit and toned, I can't help thinking he'd have made some changes if a physical relationship was on the cards. H is definitely good at lying by omission, but not directly, if that makes sense. He may well have kissed her, I need to determine that for my own peace of mind. I really don't know how I'd feel then.

Given that the texts were from the OW's perspective (H's texts were forwarded by her to her own mother with comment, how warped is that?!) I do believe she feels there's something in it. I've met her but don't feel there's anything to be gained talking to her now, her moral code is obviously dodgy as she's been in this situation before. Her H (they are just separated) believes there is something in it, but would accept that there has possibly been no physical relationship. I've spoken to him a few times and he's been lovely, although I'm aware that I really don't know him.

There have definitely been issues in our relationship, I have been extremely focussed on the dc's due to their ages and the health issues, and I can see how a close friendship with someone else could turn into more given the stresses of separation we've had. I'm just not sure if I cam move forward right now as my head's all over the place.

I think you are all so right about me needing time too. This time last week I would have hit him (and I'm not violent in the slightest!!) and was ready to see the solicitor asap. I went through a day of wanting to contact the OW, H's boss, and family. Unfortunately I did contact the family so a few of them know including H's parents, who have been great. I've always had a very good relationship with them all and they're helping to give us time together by taking the dc's out. I think this weekend will be the start of talking, I definitely want to go to Relate as I feel we need an independent person to help with this. What a mess, am so sorry for anyone else who's had this, it's gut wrenching.

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 13:46:40

And to answer the question about his job, I don't think he will leave as it's a massive job for him and would be difficult to find an equivalent. The idea would be we would move to be nearer the job instead, which would also give me far more options to go back to work.

Tortington Fri 31-Jul-09 13:53:36

i think relate is a great idea. i also think mosting back to your support circle is a great idea. I think you are doing the absolute best you can

WhenwillIfeelnormal Fri 31-Jul-09 13:57:14

Get on to Amazon now and order a book called "Not Just Friends" by Dr. Shirley Glass. It will really help you in the coming weeks.

FWIW, my DH was massively overweight and took no extra care of his appearance whatsoever during his affair. Those clues weren't there. I found that almost everything I'd previously believed about affairs were turned on their head by my experience.

I understand totally your need to believe him, but your recovery will be greatly hampered if new details emerge later down the line. My view on this was that I would listen to what my DH said, but needed to verify it, since he had already lied massively and it was in his character to go into self-preservation mode and deny what he thought I couldn't prove.

I didn't uncover massive lies, but had I not had access to his phone bills, I would never have been able to get him to admit to the amount of contact, when it all started etc. etc. For example, I discovered that he had texted OW 73 times in an 8 hour period on one occasion. HIS memory was of 5-6 texts a day!

My DH now says that my efforts to find out the story actually helped him in his denial. He is very shamefaced now about how many lies of omission he told.

countingto10 Fri 31-Jul-09 14:20:06

Second one here whose DH was/is massively overweight so I would take appearance as anything to go by - sorry. They tell these ow what they want to hear and both massage each other's ego IYSWIM.

My DH is slowly admitting to me what actually went on, also a lot of lies by ommission (being economical with the truth etc). He has been in the denial phase and is now realising what he has done, how badly he has behaved, the impact on all the family, what he could have lost, how awful the OW really is/was etc.

It doesn't matter that you have told anyone, I found out who my real friends were, who were non-judgemental etc, other friends admitting they had been through similar experiences. My DH's family were very supportive of me and disgusted with him.

Take things slowly - this is the worse possible time after discovery. I did actually pummell my DH when he left as I was so angry (I didn't even know an OW was involved at that stage - that's how good a liar he was and how naive I was/am).

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 14:23:29

Thankyou whenwillI - I've just ordered that book, and you are so right, I've said to him I want all the details now, as I certainly won't be as understanding if new details emerge later on. I've told him that he is free to go and be with her if that is what he wants - now is the time to go. He says that's not what he wants and that she knows that (he met her this week, with my full knowledge and encouragement)

I think the next stage is to get him to explain everything to me. I also need him to tell me something I don't already know, as so far it is all things which have been discovered.

Re phone bills, it's a work phone so they never come here. It's tricky as so far he hasn't lied to me, to my knowledge, it's all been the omission stuff which has now been admitted. He always used to tell me if he was meeting her for dinner (naively, I was fine with this as he'd known her for ages and we've always had friends of the opposite sex), he even once phoned me from the restaurant while she was there. I'd have no way of finding this out otherwise, so he has been fairly open to a point. I think it crossed the line in recent weeks, (but need to know how if it wasn't physical - can't get my head round that)

WhenwillI, how long did it take you to recover from this? Sounds like it worked out for the best. I feel strangely numb and exhausted at the moment, I think the worst outcome would be to go back to how things were, as I was so miserable anyway.

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 14:27:24

countingto10, I have been so lucky as friends have absolutely rallied round to be supportive. H's family are great, I had been confiding in a brother in law for some months (they'd picked up that something was wrong and kept asking me about it) so they weren't at all surprised.

I actually realised that I had lots of people who I could have phoned last week for help, and feel very blessed. H doesn't have the same deep friendships and I think the OW tapped into some need he must have had for some sort of meaningful friendship. I just wish it could have been with me!!

countingto10 Fri 31-Jul-09 14:32:05

There's a saying that I keep in mind when I tie myself in knots thinking about how and why etc (and you will be doing a lot of that in the coming weeks) it's

You can't make sense of nonsense.

and it is all really nonsense and your H will realise that in due course (hopefully).

Do you think he will be willing to go to counselling ?

Jux Fri 31-Jul-09 14:40:47

Put your house up for rent. Find somewhere near his work which you can rent immediately and move in. Then organise Relate sessions and insist he goes and cooperates.

Don't waste time trying to sell your house and find another one to buy or anything. You need to move fast on this if you want to stop the rot.

If he's not prepared to take a bit of time off to get this organised and sorted with you, then dump him, because are just going to go downhill fast.

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 14:44:00

I think he will go although he is very wary and would find it uncomfortable even without recent events. I have already had a few sessions alone so know how useful it can be. He is very bright and articulate and has a way of talking his way out of situations, so I would love someone to be there to keep him on course.

There are lots of issues surrounding the way he has never dealt with dc1's issues too, he had a total head in sand approach while I ran round trying to get help. Dc1 is so much better now, but after a lot of hard work on my part.

We have been having issues for the past year so I wondered if H would use this opportunity to leave. Neither of us have really said what we want to do yet, it's very early days and he's barely back from working away. I also wanted him to talk to OW before I showed my hand - I need to know he isn't sussing out the situation with me before he falls back to her. He's moved into the spare room and we know we need to talk lots, but he's done things like fill up the freezer with food last week, so I believe he feels he's staying for the time being at least!

My family know nothing of all this - they wouldn't be able to get past it, so I don't want to say anything until I know the score.

And you're right, it is all nonsense. I wish he could see her from my perspective but she's played the abused wife card and he seems to feel some misplaced protective instinct towards her.

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 14:48:04

Jux, that would be great but we have business interests where we now live which are going to take some time to extricate ourselves from. That's why we've stayed living so far away this long. H has agreed to put the wheels in motion to sell our share, but needs to be nearby (he works from here 1-2 days a week) until that happens. Plus the bloody housing market is dire where we are, even for rentals. Would be prepared to sell at a loss, just to get out.

countingto10 Fri 31-Jul-09 14:55:00

You/he will need a good therapist who is not afraid to tell it as it is. Me and my DH seem to get a tongue lashing every week but she has made my DH face up to things (and me as well).

My DH has never grown up and has acted like a 5 yr old all his life, never taking responsibility or dealing with things etc (due to a very dysfunctional childhood) and my childhood wasn't brilliant and apparently two damaged people tend to find each other and then you just wait for the volcano to errupt one way or another. Together with difficult life situations (we have 4 DC, 2 with ASD) so our married life has not been a bowl of cherries, financial problems as well.

If you could start talking without either one of you becoming defensive or accusing (which will be very difficult) it would help.

My DH can be manipulative and is also very clever (an accountant) but our therapist won't let him get away with anything grin

Jux Fri 31-Jul-09 15:02:54

So he can work away from home when it's 5 days a week, but can't work away for 1-2? Sorry, does not add up.

It will be hard to arrange counselling where you are because he's away most of the time, and you can't arrange it where he is because you're not there.

You need to get things moving or this is going to drift and drift and then your marriage will be so far gone it'll be pointless doing anything.

BadgersArse Fri 31-Jul-09 15:04:05

yes everyone I know hwo has been to relate has found them head tiltingly ineffective,

tiredofthisrain Fri 31-Jul-09 15:04:13

Counting, no childhood traumas for either of us, but a couple of other details are spot on for us too! I sometimes wonder if H actually has some very mild ASD traits as he seems to struggle to form meaningful bonds with people outside work, where relationships and status can be more easily defined.

I don't think he's ever taken appropriate responsibility for the dc's either, he treats them as a fond uncle would, or as if we are already separated. His major contribution to the family is financial, he doesn't seem to recognise that we need physical and emotional support too. I just don't know if I can get him to change this and that has always come up when I've had counselling. I think joint counselling is definitely what we need.

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