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What would you do, knowledge of an affair

(31 Posts)
thepastismyself Wed 05-Aug-09 21:55:46

OK, have changed name for this and a few details just to be on the safe side.

Last night my DH told me he found out that his dad is having an affair. He said he found out 'ages ago', can't remember exactly when but guesses around a year, bit less maybe.

Apparently dh was suspicious because his dad was always fiddling with his phone, hiding it away etc (can't say I noticed this really) and he looked at his dads messages. He can't remember exactly what they said but he is sure that they couldn't be taken any other way. The OW is a friend of his dads, they have been friends for over 5 years, his mum knows her and she goes to the house as a 'friend' to see FIL and he meets her socially in a group (or so MIL and everyone else is lead to believe I suppose). MIL has told me about her, just calling her a friend of his, I never really thought anything about it tbh and I guess she hasn't either

Anyway after finding these messages, he has checked up a couple more times, latest being over the weekend when we were visiting. There are still messages there so its obviously still going on, not sure what prompted DH to tell me this time, but I guess he is getting sick of keeping it to himself. FIL doesn't know DH knows.

Now I know it kind of makes sense, I am not particularly shocked. It explains FILs behaviour sometimes and a few weird 'incidents' that have happened. One example is when MIL gave me a pair of knickers she had found down the back of their bed (we use their room when we stay so we have space for the DC's in with us). I told her they weren't mine, maybe they were dh's dsis'. She says deff not (SIL is still living at home) and we gave each other hmm looks. MIl then said they must have been from when SIL had a party and a load of friends were over, as she was suspicious some of 'that kind of thing' had happened. I never thought anymore of it, but when DH told me it now makes sense

Basically DH and I now don't know what to do. DH says every time he speaks to FIL he feels angry, he really hates him for this and what he is doing, but is nervous of doing anything. I can understand because I guess he holds the key to breaking up his family. I have told him its not him who has caused this but FIL being a arsehole, but its still on his shoulders whether or not it gets out and he is torn. Would they all be happier just not knowing? I am not so sure, MIL isn't exactly happy with their relationship I know.

I just feel so sorry for MIL, he often treats her badly, little respect etc etc, I wouldn't stand for it personally but I always keep schtum about my opinion as its not really my place to say anything. Now I know this though I just want her to leave him, I hate that she washes his pants and cooks his tea every day while he swans about with the OW she just thinks is a friend. They have been together since Uni way back when though, and tbh I even if she knows I have a feeling she wouldn't leave him. Then there will be loads of tension where she knows we know that she knows etc etc. Its so complicated and sad for everyone

There is always the possibility that she already knows I guess, if even DH was suspicious surely she would be too? But the OW comes into the house and acts like a friend and MIL talks and jokes with her, no tension (from MIL anyway). I met her in PIL house and thought she seemed edgey, I just figured that was her, now obviously makes sense. MIL was her normal self though and I guess she wouldn't be if she knew.

So I don't know what to advise DH to do and thought I would get the MN opinion. Does he confront FIL? FIL will undoubtedly deny and poss they destroy evidence before MIL finds out. Go straight to MIL and tell her to check phone herself? Or not say anything and keep it to ourselves forever? DH is going mad with this info eating him up for ages now, I have a feeling him telling me makes it all 'real' for him and he might be ready to let it out in the open.

DH is terrified of destroying his family and 'ruining everything' we all have. Any words of wisdom for him? If this were my family I think I would tell my mum, but she is very different to MIL and so is the family dynamic so its really hard to compare. Sorry this is so long! Would really appreciate some insight.

CarGirl Wed 05-Aug-09 21:58:23

I guess I would get dh to tell FIL that he either tells his Mum or he will.

HolyGuacamole Wed 05-Aug-09 22:15:44

If it was my dad, I'd confront him, let him know what I knew and ask him what he going to do about it. Hellish situation for your DH sad

I suppose a lot of people would say don't mention anything, it is not your business and I'd generally agree. However, I couldn't watch a close member of my family or a close friend being blatantly cheated on, I just couldn't.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 05-Aug-09 22:18:40

It looks as though DH is going to speak to his dad anyway, doesn't it? Perhaps the two of you could rehearse how he does that?

anothermum92 Wed 05-Aug-09 22:30:21

Message withdrawn

womenfirst Wed 05-Aug-09 22:42:55

Sorry, this isn't much help but it may be an important lesson for DH: don't snoop if you don't want to have to deal with the consequences? I do understand the need to know though. You could try thinking about the situation as if he didn't know for sure. What would he do then?
You could maybe ask him to think about his mum, if he was her how would he like to find out about this, if at all?
How difficult for both of you, its a hard situation. xxx

Doha Wed 05-Aug-09 22:47:47

Now that DH has told you it looks like he has decided that he cannot keep this to himself any longer.
I go with the above posts. Let your DH confront his dad and give him a week to tell MIL before he does

BitOfFun Wed 05-Aug-09 22:51:05

I would say leave it tbh. Neither of you know what the marriage is really like, I suppose. What if they have an arrangement? Or a don't ask, don't tell policy? At the end of the day it isn't anybody else's business really. I know that's hard to hear though, and that many people would disagree, but I really think that unless you suspect violence in a family member's relationship, it should be a case of keep yer beak out really.

RumourOfAHurricane Wed 05-Aug-09 22:58:01

Message withdrawn

thepastismyself Wed 05-Aug-09 23:00:53

I agree re the snooping btw. I am still not totally sure what prompted him to look in the first place but its been done now.

What if FIL denies it all to DH, gets rid of 'evidence' and DH tells MIL who doesn't believe him? I guess that DH would have done all he could and that was up to her though. But then she might be annoyed with DH, see it as interfering- I think he is scared of losing his relationship with her. I am too really, she is a wonderful MIL and Grandma and we would all be lost without her.

RumourOfAHurricane Wed 05-Aug-09 23:03:26

Message withdrawn

womenfirst Wed 05-Aug-09 23:05:31

Yes, I agree the penalty for snooping is having to deal with the knowing.

thepastismyself Wed 05-Aug-09 23:06:03

BOF that was my initial feeling too, but DH said he felt it was his business as it was his mum being fucked over. He is also becoming more and more angry with his dad which in time is going to cause problems and it may all come out in an uncontrolled way. Will try saying that to him again though.

beanieb Wed 05-Aug-09 23:09:54

Coud your DH speak to the other woman? let her know he knows?

anothermum92 Thu 06-Aug-09 00:02:22

Message withdrawn

abedelia Thu 06-Aug-09 11:51:09

Well, personally I believe that the longer these things go on the more damage is done - not least to your H's mental state.

If I were him I would pinch the phone and download the texts / woman's number so it can't be denied. Imho / experience, the fact that your FIL is treating his wife like crap is a classic symptom of the guilt of an affair. It happened to me.

They feel guilty about cheating on you so try and dehumanise you by being snappy / distancing themselves emotionally and so minimising the amount of contact you want to have with them. Then they can tell themselves that the relationship has broken down so what they are doing is justified. Very screwed up, but what isn't in that situation? Again, personally I think your H needs to confront this at least to stop him having to see his mum being treated in such an awful way. I couldn't stand by and watch a member of my family being hurt, even if another family member was doing it.

RubberDuck Thu 06-Aug-09 12:50:52

I think you also have to factor in what the fallout will be if MIL finds out by herself then realises you and your dh knew before she did. Surely the betrayal will be much higher for her.

I don't think you can really win either way, but I think the best way forward would be to tell her and help her through the consequences as best as you can

muddleduck Thu 06-Aug-09 12:56:25

I agree with RubberDuck
Your MIL should come first in all this - you need to do what you think is best for her, which IMO is to give FIL a deadline by which to tell her. Your MIL is going to need your DH's support and he can only give this if he has done everything he can to protect her.

MorrisZapp Thu 06-Aug-09 12:58:55

Important to bear in mind that nobody will ever thank you for telling them their partner is a cheat. At worst, they might even blame you for bringing the bad news to their door, I've seen this happen many times.

At the very least, stay well out of it yourself. Let your DH be the one to make these ultimate decisions and don't go with him if he has a plan to speak to one or both of them.

Lots of people would genuinely prefer to live in ignorant bliss - this is a huge can of worms and I'd be very very cautious about getting involved.

SueMunch Thu 06-Aug-09 13:44:24

This is a horrible situation to be in for you, your DH and your MIL.

But I would urge you to stay out of it. I can see why the knowledge of the affair is hard to deal with but ultimately it is not your problem or your DHs.

I would let it run it's natural course. You can still support your MIL when the truth emerges.

If she accuses you of not revealing the truth then she is being unfair - it's a burden for you both but neither you or your DH instigated this affair!

MorrisZapp Thu 06-Aug-09 13:56:24

Think I've mentioned this before but I still dislike the woman who walked into my office on 9/11 and told us what was happening.

Makes no sense but some part of me blames her, as if somehow if she hadn't come in and told me about it it wouldn't have happened.

I tend to avoid her now as I associate her with bad news. Bonkers, but that's how many people react when told things they don't want to hear.

hambler Fri 07-Aug-09 04:44:01

Keep well out of it.

stuffitlllama Fri 07-Aug-09 05:26:52

I'm with the ones who say don't say anything to the MIL. Imagine the humiliation she will feel and it could damage relations all round.

Saying something to the Dad is something else. I would be inclined to do that.

Is there another way you can show that you/he know about and disapprove of his relationship with the woman? And make life extremely uncomfortable for them?

branflake81 Fri 07-Aug-09 06:26:59

I can't believe people are saying keep out of it. Fine, if it's "just" a friend bút I personally could not stand by and watch my own mother be fucked over.

And, if the tables were turned, and my parents knew my DP was cheating, I would want and expect them to tell me.

Your DH is in a horrible situation and I do not envy him. Yes, his mum will probably be upset he has known for a while and not said anything but I think that would be the least of her worries.

If it were me I would talk to FIL, tell him what you know and say that if he does not tell MIL, you will.

Ineedmorechocolatenow Fri 07-Aug-09 08:44:37

Unfortunately I have experience of this.

My sister found emails between my dad and another woman about 2 and a half years ago. She kept it to herself and severed contact with dad without telling him why (they were lift sharing to work at the time - not sure what excuses she gave as to why she wasn't doing it anymore). Anyway, she didn't tell mum and felt awful about it, hated dad and actually ended up avoiding mum as she felt so awful.

It all came to a head when mum found out anyway (she also found emails). She didn't blame my sister for not telling her, but was upset with dad for allowing her to find out like that.

Only 2 and a half years later are my sister and my dad getting on. Mum and dad worked through it, and now they're stronger than ever.

I would say to your DH to confront his dad and tell him to tell MIL, or DH will.

It almost destroyed my sister's relationship with both mum and dad and she regrets not confronting dad as it ate her up.

Good luck.

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