A Reader Writes…
My husband and I have been married for 26 years, together for 30+ years, yes childhood sweethearts I suppose.
We have two wonderful kids, obviously all grown up now. I had the ILYB speech last year. He said it was down to trust issues, the fact that I had been keeping things from him about the kids. Nothing major, I have lent them money to help them out and not told him and the relationship between him and our son was at the time was very strained. I used to be piggy in the middle between them and it was painful to see and hear.
My husband basically wanted me to report back to him every time our son did something wrong, the atmosphere was awful. I though trying to smooth things over between them would help their relationship, obviously not.
Anyway back to the ILYB, he suggested we take it one day at a time and see where it takes us. We carried on as normal, going out with friends etc etc, but the physical side to our relationship seemed to be less and less.
In July last year my husbands brother died suddenly (48) it was a massive shock to everyone. He seemed to take everything on, looking after his brothers wife and kids, being there for his sister and his parents. But as he was doing this he became more and more distant from me and our family. I understand him being there for everyone but he didn’t seem to be grieving or opening up to anyone. He’s never been one for showing his emotions, a typical mans man as they say, but I’m used to that.
We took our holiday as planned in August and it was fine. Still no physical stuff though but I was prepared to wait and not force the issue. On returning he became even more distant from me and began confiding in his sister. To cut a long story short, the decision was made to end our marriage. It was very one sided, I was willing to fight tooth and nail to save it but he was adamant it was over. He said he had tried for 18 months to work out the issues about what I had done and he couldn’t trust me any more, no marriage guidance nothing, it was done…
I was and still am devastated. I tried not to be negative around him, I tried to carry on a normal as we had agreed to stay together in the house until it had been sold and it would remain amicable between us.
As time went on he became like a stranger to me, just me, anyone else saw the same person. His resentment ground me down so much that I am now having counselling as I feel like failure.
In the back of my mind I always thought there was something not quite right. I recently discovered, by ways of his mobile account, that he had been in regular contact with a close friend of mine. I backed his bills up to July 2010 and yes they were texting then. It was constant morning noon and night.
This is the friend that we had socialised with, her husband too, been on holiday with, even the last one, and I had confided so much with. Last month alone there were 1707 texts just to her number, not to mention numerous calls. Since September last year, we have led pretty much separate lives, how convenient. I even work with her.
I challenged him and he denied being in contact with her. He continued to blame me for the failure of our marriage, I didn’t admit to seeing the bills straight away but eventually I couldn’t take it any more and showed him what I had seen. He still denied it even though it was there in black and white. I can’t believe how anyone could be so cruel and devious.
I researched on the internet and found information on emotional affairs and it ticks all the boxes. How stupid have I been, I caught them texting before and they both said nothing was going on and they would stop.
She has now split from her husband, divorced in April, and the story is that my husband and her have been out on a few occasions and have kissed, that’s all, he said he couldn’t take it any further whilst we were still under the same roof, he wouldn’t do that to me. Our kids both hate the situation and say they will never accept them as a couple as do hers.
I have confronted my husband and he denied constant contact with her, and he still adamantly blames me for the failure of our marriage. I have even shown him what I discovered, to which he replied they were just friends.
This is how sick it gets, I’m in the spare room as i am typing this and my husband is in what was our room and he’s texting her. Every opportunity when he’s on his own. He now says they have been seeing each other since May. Been out on a few occasions and kissed. I’m devastated. I still love him……
I suppose what I’ve got to think about is, I love the man I married, I despise the person he is at the moment. She won’t be getting the person I was with all of those years, she will be getting a liar, a cheat and a hypocrite.
I work with her too, we have shared so much. I have been calm and dignified in her presence but I can’t help feeling she is having a good laugh behind my back.
I haven’t purchased one of your books yet, is it too late for me to read the ILYB edition?
It’s never too late to understand about relationships and get the best out of a horrible situation.
The problem is that we have a lot of long-term problems that have not been properly attended to over many years. On their own, each one of these is not too bad—in fact every couple deals with them—but the cumulative effect is like rowing from land’s end to New York and being just a degree off course and ending up in Canada.
So what’s going on? Before I start, let me tell you where I stand. Your husband’s behaviour is appalling. If he was so unhappy, he should have said something and you could have sorted it out together. So although, I have a lot to say to him, he thinks he’s found the answer to his prayers (in this other woman) and he’s not listening.
Meanwhile, you’re typing in the spare room and I have you undivided attention. So although, I am going to ask you to change—I believe that problems are 50/50.
So how did it start to go wrong? I wonder if you’ve put so much energy into raising your children that you lost site of each other. So although, he should have spoken up, he might have tried (but you were too busy) or felt you would not have listened any way – like with giving the money to your son.
The next problem is that you have not confronted problems but allowed yourself to be piggy in the middle. If you can talk, it’s amazing what you can sort out. I explain about how to be assertive (you have the right to ask to give your son money and he has the right to say no) in Resolve Your Differences.
When everything is out in the open, you can then negotiate and compromise etc. Unfortunately, neither of you have been assertive. Not only did your husband not speak up but you spoke up to someone else. Instead of telling your husband about the problems in your marriage, you’ve spoken to this ‘friend’.
What does that change beyond feeling better for a moment—and I bet betraying him by telling initiate secrets to a third party (who he would meet socially)? Sadly, it’s a situation I get over and over again. Not only did your marriage stay off course but you handed this snake the keys to your husband’s heart!
Into this delightful mix, we have bereavement and when you read ILYB you’ll discover this is a key element which makes people decide that life is too short to be unhappy (and along with hitting forty generates most of these cases).
Unfortunately, when life is bleak we reach for an instant solution and someone telling us we’re wonderful is like nectar to bees. Before too long, your husband has ‘feelings’ for the other woman and you know the rest. The lovers plough on regardless of the devastation all around them. It’s easy to criticise but that will get you nowhere – far better to understand. So I’d like you read How Can I Ever Trust You Again? – as this will explain why people have affairs and your options.
Finally, we come back to what do you do next? You love him, he wants nothing more to do with you and is blinded by his new love. You have two options, to try to heal and move on (I have a book on this subject) or withdraw, bide your time and try to win him back (once he’s realised she is not the answer). Fortunately, the first step in both these strategies are the same: understanding how you got into this hole.
So start reading, put yourself in his shoes (because although he seems mad and bad from where you stand, it all makes perfect sense to him) and although it might be tempting to have the children on YOUR side – do not discuss your private relationship with him – because he will see it as ‘turning the children against me’ and that will be the final nail in the coffin.
So I would start with ILYB, follow it up with HCIETYA, Resolve Your Differences and Help Your Partner Say Yes. Also, I know this sounds strange but My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More covers a lot of the fight-back strategies that you will need.