Hello all, I'm English , have been reading for weeks and plucking up courage to post
I'm 15 years married with 2 sons , 12 and 10 . Im 46, he's 43. Both work (and hard)
Hubby and I were separated for year after a failed reconciliation following his affair (and some casual sex with other partners) 5y ago. It failed because he was still in contact with the other woman and because I accepted far too much of the blame.
3m into the separation, hubby began the groundwork to start again, moving from a shared house into a flat alone nearby, no women and good parenting arrangements. He would have come back straight away but I wanted plenty of time to see how he would change and whether it was what I wanted. Still loved him to bits and those feelings never went away and eventually we agreed to live together again.
To give us a fresh start in 2010 we moved house but in the same month we were signing for the new house and starting our reconciliation (much bigger mortgage as the area has better schools -v important in UK) hubby lost his job of 20+ years. He started working for a small firm at 17 eventually becoming its MD until the owner decided to close it during the recession. He was devastated but negotiated a payout and started his own company in the same field and we took the house. I have always worked, reducing to part time after the boys were born. The pressure of starting a business mid recession was huge and, rightly or wrongly, I gave him a lot of rope to do what he needed to get it off the ground. He worked long hours and spent long hours socialising with new contacts, accepting invitations and did very well really - creating a viable business in a hard sector mid recession. BUT I was left with house and kids and my own job 100% and we never really started work on the marriage side.
After a year sex dwindled and I began to doubt him again - the late nights became too frequent and he started blaming me hugely saying I was complaining too much and too miserable to come home to (partly true ). Hard to explain but that year had passed in a blur of very hard work.
Again I didn't really tackle it because his father was diagnosed with cancer and it affected the family badly for nearly a year.
This takes us to 3m ago when it became clear that he wasn't just drowning his sorrows on the late nights. Coming home early hours turned into not until 9am or later and eventually he stopped denying that there was sex involved.
I did not know who , how long or how many and we had huge explosive rows as I tried to find out what was going on. Eventually I asked him to move out and he has found a flat (ludicrously expensive but thats another issue) but put off moving there as he didn't want to leave. He has admitted to another 2-3m relationship (supposedly ended) and 2 more casual encounters in last 12m. I forced him to start using the flat a few days ago but he still hasn't taken his stuff. I have packed and put it in garage
After his very first night there he came back to me saying how ashamed he was of the person he has become and offering everything to start again - counselling (always rejected), stop drinking (always dismissed as not a problem before), to give up any friends or places I am not comfortable with (always refused any concessions before) and an open phone (always glued to his backside as long as I've known him) and to start dating me and taking me away to work on us. None of this is prompted by me. That is his own offer.
Right now, most of me thinks there is too much for me to ever get over now. But a little bit of me doesn't want to give up. I think this is mainly because of my sons ( I married for life and only ever wanted a nuclear 2 parent family life) and the dire financial implications of building separate lives for us ( won't bother with details but it would be drastic) and which would again affect the boys. And I still love him (which seems insane to me)
Rational brain = he's damaged beyond repair and so is the marriage
Emotional brain = still a glimmer of hope for happy ever after for all 4 of us
There's loads more - there always is
But my question is would anyone even bother to think about trying again ?
I know there are some 'extremists' here and some polar opposite views but the black and white of theory is nothing compared to the 'grey' of experience.
So sorry you have to be here, but you have come to the right place to sort it all out.
The question you might want to ask yourself is what is most important to YOU. The financial security? (Which also includes the disrespect). Having a two-parent household (While turning a blind-eye to your WS?) No matter how you toss the dice, your children will be effected by either a downgrade in their living quarters, or watching their father disrespect their mother, because kids actually do notice. You are their role model.
The first thing you will find here is that HE doesn't get to set the conditions - YOU do. As a BS (Betrayed Spouse), he owes you the courtesy of setting the conditions by which YOU will forgive him, not the other way around.
As to your question whether I would forgive him? Certainly not. The "third time" is NOT "the charm". He has learned nothing from the first two times, and has the nerve to tell you under what condition he will return. I would say "See ya!". Here in the USA, we get child support and sometimes even spousal support, which addresses the difference in income and levels the field, so to speak. I assume things are similar in the UK. I would suggest that you consider those options in order to raise your children in a comfortable manner.
You have much support and great advise here from many who have or are living your pain. Weight it all as from the voice of experience. And be kind to yourself. At this time you should be your prime concern and not him. Seems to me that this will continue to be an issue, and the question to you is whether you can live with it or not. Your being here suggests that you are unsure. You are weighing your options to find out what best suits you. I wish the best of luck to you and hope that others weigh in so that can make an informed decision.
I've reread my post and apologise for its length but given the speedy responses I must have made a certain amount of sense so will leave it if thats OK
To be clear he has said he will do whatever I want and the 'terms' were in response to me asking what he would offer to start with.
I feel like I'm living in a horror story and because I swept the last lot of unfaithfulness under the carpet its now come back as well to bite me on the bum !
Its sounds bizarre but our life aside from his ****head infidelity has been pretty good. We have worked hard for a good standard of living, had good holidays, lovely children. We all enjoy each other's company and get huge pleasure out of simple things just being a family - you know, a walk together, family, pets. Just this week we all got up at 5am to watch the Olympic Torch go past and still got that feelgood buzz of a shared memory despite everything else going on
I KNOW that I have been abused and badly but my children haven't and now it seems whatever we do they will be too
Once bitten, twice shy, third time - more fool you for being around
No matter what your husband says or does he will always be open to yet another affair.
If you should choose to remain with him there have to be some heavy boundaries in place. He never has contact with members of the opposite sex, if he claims he has to for work , tough - your marriage is more important.
As a protection to you see a lawyer and have your husband legally gift to you your house or something equally substantial.
You have two parallel tasks, make the cost of having an affair prohibitive, and secondly he does everything to evidence he is committed to and loves you. For a start he can sit with you and tell his parents and siblings of his adultery owning up to everything. Hand write NC letters to the OW's, these steps are but a few to help you and force him into a set of consequences. The NC letters should be posted "recorded mail" to the OW's.
Your not punishing your husband you are protecting yourself, your children and marriage.
When we make big mistakes in life, we usually learn from them. It seems to me that he isn't someone who learns from a mistake so huge that it had the potential to blow his family apart, because he went on to make the mistake again and, yet, again.
It really is a matter of what you feel you can and will tolerate from your H. Many, myself included, would prefer to rear children in a one parent family, than stay with a cheating spouse, allowing the children to experience the negative sort of behaviour your H is inflicting on his family. And make no mistake - your children will know...
I'm sorry you're going through this, and wish you well in whatever you decide to do.
Being cheated on once by a spouseis having to walk through the Gates of Hell and somehow you were able to survive and to forgive them and move on. The Second Time you have to again walk through the Gates of Hell but they attach a bungi cord to you and pull you back everytime they have an issue. The third time is when you decide to take up residency in hell because it is easier for the other reasons.
It seems that working a lot has taken a serious toll on your marriage. It is something featured up front and center in your first post.
Just so you know, respected marriage experts (such as Dr. Harley of the His Needs / Her Needs and Love Busters books) believe that to just stay afloat, a good marriage requires at a bare minimum 10 hours a week of one-on-one individual quality time ALONE with your spouse, while FIFTEEN HOURS is ideal. A marriage on the rocks needs 20 hours.
I am NOT faulting the fact that you were working hard through these tough times, or trying to put your children's education at a high priority, etc., or in any way blaming you for his stupid selfish choices. Lots of people work longer and harder and somehow they managed to remain loyal and faithful and loving.
These are the conditions under which I would try again, if I were you:
1. Being willing to spend at least 15 to 20 hours a week alone "dating" my husband and working on the marriage, to be scaled back to 15 only after things are in a good place.
2. That he would give up all drinking as you both see this as a problem. He is in some way self-medicating to handle the stress. It is likely affecting his choices and judgment. He probably needs to quit entirely and attend counseling for this alone.
3. He attends individual counseling.
4. You verify he isn't in contact with anyone and maintaining an affair, and you attend marriage counseling with someone who is pro-marriage and well-trained in the issues surrounding infidelity.
I almost typed up what Count said, a simple "no," because that is what would be 100% true in my own case. But what I see in your story is VAST quantities of rug-sweeping, MANY MANY issues that have never been dealt with head-on via counseling.
Serial cheaters are very recalcitrant so you have to know that going in. If he wasn't willing to put so many things on the table that were off before, I'd say kick him to the curb. BUT HOLD HIM TO HIS LIST. Write it down now on a poster and put it up in his apartment so he can look at it daily.
Cheating is an escapist outlet that he turns to when times are tough. Life = tough--do you expect you'll never have any more tough times? That seems like a slim reed on which to stand.