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DH and e-mail from work colleague

(133 Posts)
Canthpfeelinglikethis Sun 05-Jan-14 02:28:26

Hi looking for others take on this.

Married 6 years together 20 years. Very happy with two DC. DH very outgoing, the type that gets on well with everyone, very well liked by everyone and a bit flirty by nature.

A couple of years ago he became friendly with a work colleague. I was not fully aware of their friendship at the time. He did speak about her a bit as she had broken up with her bf and was internet dating so he would tell me about this and I would ask how she was getting on etc etc. After a while I started to get a little bit wary of their relationship - not sure why just instinct I suppose. Then one evening I was on his emails (he was fully aware of this) looking for something and came across an email from her to him that didn't sit right with me. It was from her saying "where will we go for lunch sexy". His reply suggested "get something and have it in his office or go to the usual cafe". Then her reply "yes your office as have no money. We can lock the door of your office right!!!!" Then him - "cop on you tart" then followed by lunch arrangements. Now at the time I found the e-mail I was very hurt as I felt very betrayed that he would think that this was ok. I confronted him and he said absolutely nothing going on, just friends, office banter and that was just her personality and how she was with other people. I told him I thought this was completely inappropriate and was not how I thought a married man should act. I asked for full access to his e-mails, phone records etc which he gave me and I looked back over all their e-mails and other than this mail there was very little else. I do have a suspicion that he may have called her once on a night out when he was drunk but found no evidence of this. It didn't stop me from being very upset and I told him to tell her how I felt and to tell her to stop this "banter" with him. He said he never viewed it the way I did but he could see how it looks to me. He did (after he spoke to her) suggest I meet her but I didn't want this as my take is that she owed me nothing and it was him that I was in a relationship with. After a lot of tears and talking I was satisfied that it was just a bit of flirting. Since this we have had another DC and are as happy as ever.

My issue - Since this happened I have to be honest that I find it hard to trust DH. 99% of the time everything is great but there is always something in the back of my mind and I feel like I am always on high alert. Reason being that I had no idea of their friendship. When this happened it turned out that they had regularly gone for lunch but he would never have told me. Every day we would ask each other what did you do for lunch but he never once told me that he had lunch with her. I found this very odd. We bumped into her and her new bf recently and since then it has brought back everything that happened a few years ago. She introduced me to the bf and said DH had already met him. DH never mentioned this. They still work together but he never mentions her and I never ask. I have no reason to doubt him at all. He is a great father and DH. We don't go out separately very often and I have no reason to think anything but I just wonder because I never knew the last time either as everything was happening during work hours.

My question is will the doubt ever go away?? Sometimes I think I am being totally irrational but I can't help how I feel. I have been reading here about EA and how most people are repeat offenders and it has just got me thinking. I hate feeling like this and wish that I could have that feeling of complete trust back again.

Thanks for reading and all comments welcome.

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Sun 05-Jan-14 02:32:53

so has he given you any reason not to trust him in the past?

Canthpfeelinglikethis Sun 05-Jan-14 02:41:06

No. Have no other reason not to trust him.

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Sun 05-Jan-14 02:48:33

do you think this is more about your feelings of self worth and confidence then?

Canthpfeelinglikethis Sun 05-Jan-14 02:59:03

I really don't think so. Would not consider myself the jealous type or to be lacking in confidence. I would consider myself quite a loyal person and expect the same in return. I cannot abide lies and think they are a terrible trait in a person. I suppose I feel I have been lied to and it's the unknown that is eating away at me

debtherat Sun 05-Jan-14 06:03:59

Hi have been in your situation - no dodgy emails that I have seen - but my discovery of my DH's coffee and lunch dates all resulted from his blowing our marriage apart by "falling in love" with a work colleague .Upsetting in the extreme and not life enhancing. What I discovered as I went into desperate detective mode for a short while was that his EA was one thing but that there was a background of female work friendships - coffee dates, lunch dates - "just work talk with good friends" which were never mentioned to me....over a decade - the decade of babies, small children, two working parents! And that the talk with friends was not all work - it was aspirations, hobbies, gossip - all the stuff that we didn't have the time to talk about and when we did, he was all talked out. He knows these friendships are wrong, I am not cool about them so beware... And don't be afraid to reset the rules for how you expect your DH to be behave with other women in work settings, on social media etc.'s about respecting you and your marriage as the slippery slope beckons. Google "just good friends". I will never regain 100% trust - have lost my innocence there - not fixable but hopefully you can nip in the bud. Good luck - don't buy into the cool wife scenario.

FolkGirl Sun 05-Jan-14 07:35:46

After I kicked my stbxh out for something else, I discovered that he had been exchanging flirty emails with a work colleague with whom he was sharing lunch and coffee (nothing had happened he promised, they were just friends) and about whom I knew nothing. I felt like I had discovered his 'affair'.

She is now his girlfriend (was the OW..?) and they are moving in together in the New Year.

Timetoask Sun 05-Jan-14 07:56:56

I think your DH has been very open with you and you probably have nothing to worry about, however, there is probably a little platonic thing with this woman?

I really think you need to be very honest with him and tell him how you feel. Not in a dramatic way, but I think you need to rebuild that 1% trust that is missing there.

It sounds like your DH really cares about you and will understand how you feel. Hopefully he can think of what to do to remedy the situation. (The only thing I can think of is changing jobs but that seems extreme)

MissScatterbrain Sun 05-Jan-14 09:22:21

Often that nagging feeling of distrust is because your instincts are telling you there is more to this so called "banter".

Also I am suspicious about the the fact that you found that one "sexy" email conversation and nothing else suggests that he deleted the rest. No one jumps from mundane chat straight to sexy talk - there must have been steps taken to get to that stage.

There has been a lot of secrecy and deceit and this takes time to get over - what is he doing to be open, honest and transparent?

MissScatterbrain Sun 05-Jan-14 09:23:52

This is a good link that may help you think about how he should be addressing his own boundaries.

qazxc Sun 05-Jan-14 09:37:50

Well it did sound like he shot her down on the email (saying to "cop on you tart"), and doesn't particularly sound like he has been having an EA to me.
I understand that reading the email wasn'r particularly nice but as you say you have no other reason to suspect him, maybe you might try and put this behind you (easier said than done i know).
Maybe if you and him spent some quality time together (doesn't have to be loads, sometimes me and DP book into a cheap B&B) might bring you closer.
Is there any other reasons that would make you feel uneasy about DP or unsure/not as confident about yourself?

DrNick Sun 05-Jan-14 09:49:38

i have a couple of male work colleagues who are married but are big mates of mine. We text, we go out etc.

However I would never suggest we locked an office door if we had lunch ( and we do) together. Thats weird

Canthpfeelinglikethis Sun 05-Jan-14 11:04:34

Hi, thanks for all the replys.

Debtherat- thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear this has happened to you. Will google just good friends later when I get a chance as suggested. I understand completely when you say you went into "desperate detective mode". Me too but you know I don't want to have to be like this. Interesting that you say you could never 100% trust him again.

Folkgirl - sorry to her your story. That really scares me!

Timetoask - yes maybe there is a platonic thing going on but I just couldn't understand why you would act like this with a "friend". I think this is totally overstepping the mark. On the changing jobs - he did suggest this at the time but I didn't think this would solve anything. I think it would only get rid of her from the picture but obviously it is him that is at fault so not really addressing the issue. I don't blame her at all. I blame DH as it is him that needs to be loyal. I think I do need to talk to him again but have absolutely no idea how the 1% trust could be regained.

Miss ScatterBrain - I may not have explained properly in my original post. There were other e-mails but nothing flirty just normal stuff. What he is doing to be open and transparent - I am not sure. I asked him to stop the "banter" and he said he did. Unfortunately I have absolutely no way of knowing if they communicate other than there being no "evidence". Although I am not actively looking - only now and then like now when I feel a bit funny about it again. I don't want to be that crazy wife searching for evidence - it's just not me. I just want the trust back. Thanks for the link. Maybe I should ask him to answer those questions!

qazxc - yes I agree that he didn't partake in the banter and shot her down. He should have told her to stop though! Quality time would definitely be good. With 2 young DC we don't always make enough time for us. I have no other reasons to feel uneasy about DH. That's what makes me feel a bit silly feeling like this.

DrNick - that's exactly how I felt. Absolutely inappropriate and the main reason that I felt so uneasy about it.

Maybe I will have a chat again about it and tell him how I feel. I just don't want to be causing a fuss over nothing but as my username suggests I can't help feeling like this.

Thanks again

FloraSpreadableMacDonald Sun 05-Jan-14 11:16:55

This happened to me. I saw a couple of emails with flurtiness frim my DPs work colleague. All about fancying him as well. His relies were polite but nit reciprocating. However, he did say thinhs about his home lie i wasnt happy with. I stupidly emailed her and told her to back off. I immediately regretted it and told my DP. He was angry but at least it sorted things out. Ive since seen her irl and i have no worries. She is definitely not my DPs type and she has now sorted things with her husband.
Im sure your husband is just enjoying the attention and flirting. Now she has a bf i wouldnt worry too much.

FloraSpreadableMacDonald Sun 05-Jan-14 11:17:37

Sorry about typos. On my phone.

Amateurish Sun 05-Jan-14 11:21:10

The banter from her did overstep the mark, but his response was to clearly shut that down, and you say you never saw anything else inappropriate. It sounds like he was very open with you after that. From what you've said, he was pretty understanding about your concerns, and to work out the issue together.

It's not surprising he didn't mention her to you any more after your showdown.

Be careful bringing it up again, especially if there have been no further developments. It may do more harm than good.

MissScatterbrain Sun 05-Jan-14 11:39:08

By being open and transparent, is he telling you about lunches/coffees with female colleagues, leaving his phone around, emails accessible etc. He also needs to reassure you that there is nothing to worry about - by inviting you to join

You are right in saying that she isn't the problem - it is HIM who is the one you need to deal with, he crossed a few lines with these secret meetings and the banter. It is so easy for people working together to fall down the slippery slope into a full blown affair.

Amateurish - communication is key and not talking about it again is not to be recommended - we all need reminding of our own boundaries and often secrecy is the fuel that can flame these things into an affair.

Amateurish Sun 05-Jan-14 11:49:33

I agree about open communication, but on the other hand being asked to allow full access to phone, open emails, and report on all meetings with female colleagues can be seen as controlling. I certainly wouldn't agree to it.

MissScatterbrain Sun 05-Jan-14 11:58:59

He should be doing all he can to reassure OP and this means being transparent and honest. No secret passwords/codes. Why shouldn't he tell Op about his social meetings with female colleagues? I tell my DH about my meet ups with male friends and colleagues because I have nothing to hide and because I like sharing these things with him when discussing how our day has been.

rek999 Sun 05-Jan-14 12:15:43

Men don't tend to share absolutely everything in my experience. He might have bumped into her new partner, but wouldn't necessarily immediately think to share that information. In fact he might think that bringing her up would rock the boat and cause uneasiness so it's better to just leave it.

Tonandfeather Sun 05-Jan-14 12:20:00

Rewind back to before he met this co-worker. Were you the sort of person who was instantly suspicious of other women he came into contact with? If so, was he aware of that?

Because you said he discussed her with you at the start - in some detail it appears if you knew she was dating after her relationship ending - but then stopped that level of detail and omitted to tell you they'd got so close that they were lunch buddies.

Why, if you weren't an unreasonably jealous person and didn't react badly to discussing her personal life with him in the early days, would he then stop telling you about her?

The "you'd go mad/be jealous/get the wrong idea" defence wouldn't wash would it, seeing as you'd behaved normally up till then.

One possible reason is that he actually had an affair with her and was careless about deleting ALL of the messages between them. I don't think co-workers seek locked offices in which to eat a sandwich, do you?

My interpretation of this is that he ended whatever it was after you found out and there's still a bit of resenment about that on her part. Which is why she made a point of telling you that he'd already met her new man. She realised she'd drop him in it and that you would be bothered by it.

I just bet he doesn't discuss her any more. That's a can of worms he doesn't want to be questioned on too closely, in case he slips up and forgets what he said last time.

MissScatterbrain Sun 05-Jan-14 12:40:34

Ton - your post would explain why OP isn't fully convinced that she can trust him, at some level she knows there is more to this.

Its so easy for one email/text to slip through the net after plenty of careful deleting - this is how so many affairs get found out.

OP, in your shoes, given he broke your trust, I would do some digging around - checking mobile bills, deleted email folders, doing a search on his computer/laptop for her name/email address and so on. If you find nothing, then you may have to accept that you will never know what really happened.

Tonandfeather Sun 05-Jan-14 12:48:05

I'd guess the poster knows deep down that something happened back then and from what she's written, the husband never had a convincing explanation for his secrecy and omissions. Sounds like a strange dance has been going on with the husband not mentioning the co-worker or what happened before and the poster being too scared too in case she looked paranoid.

Whereas if this had been as described and the couple had really worked on the issue, it wouldn't be a banned subject at all. Being more open and transparent with no sacred cows and elephants that can't be mentioned, would be the more natural outcome if all was well.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 05-Jan-14 12:49:11

Hello op. I can understand why yay didn't like reading that email exchange sad

Can I just say one thing though? And I will temper it with the caveat that I do love the relationship board. It gives out tremendous advice and support when people really need it. It is a lifeline and a fabulous resource

But, reading it can somewhat skew your mood I find. When I was I a. Low place I was reading it voraciously and I really did find that it was making me feel very jaded about men. Reading about all these cheating lying scumbags on here was actually really depressing and was really making me think that "all men are". When of course they aren't.

Ty and remember that the men portrayed on these boards are not a. your DH or b. representative of all men

That doesn't mean to say you shouldn't feel suspicious. Just to say that it is not a given that your DH is up to no good either.

Good luck

Canthpfeelinglikethis Sun 05-Jan-14 13:13:48

FloraSpreadableMacDonald - thanks for sharing your story. Maybe I should go back to forgetting about it and move on.

Amateurish - there is no secrecy on passwords, emails, phone etc I know all passwords as he does mine and he regularly leaves phone lying around. I agree that there is a fine line between sharing information with me and total over the top controlling behavior.

Missscatterbrain - I agree with you on it being normal conversation about who you meet for lunch. I have absolutely no desire to be controlling, but I do expect him to share who he goes to lunch with - not because I NEED to know but because it's normal chit chat. I regularly go to lunch with a male colleague and would never not tell DH. I think I will follow your advice in the last post and just be watchful for a while.

If nothing turns up I will just have to let it go and may never fully know what went on.

Rek999 - totally agree that men in general don't do detail!! I think women like to know all the ins and outs and sometimes men just don't need that level of detail.

Tonandfeather - before this I had no reason to doubt him and would not be the jealous type. He has lots of female friends and I have no issue with this at all so long as there is no secretive behavior. He didn't just stop talking to me about her. She would sometimes come up in conversation re dating etc. it wasn't like he suddenly stopped telling me things. Completely agree that the locked door comment was strange.

Thanks for sharing - it's good to get different views.

I wish I could be a fly on a wall for a day!!

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