Dear All, thanks for listening. I am new here, and wish I didn't have to be here but appreciate the brilliant support of people that I have never (knowingly) met.
I have known my husband for 23 years and we have been married for 18. I always thought it was a perfect marriage. I adore my husband. We have irregular sex but neither of us have ever really had enormous sex drive so we are both happy with that. He does have female friends, and has dinner with them or drinks. I know and like them all, often we know them as a couple or they predate my meeting my husband. I have no problem with that. I was always considered a catch for my husband: In fact his work colleagues are constantly amazed that he managed to persuade me to marry him. I love his character, he is a fabulous husband and father, he always treated me as the centre of his world and I always thought that he would be faithful and we would grow old and happy together.
I noticed in June that my husband (52 year old senior hospital doctor) was spending much more time with his juniors, taking them out for drinks on a weekly basis. He also wanted to join facebook, started losing weight and listening to more trendy music. I was a bit suspicious that he was having a mid life crisis and often he was more distant than usual but still very very involved with our young children (8-12). He was certainly less affectionate with me but we have had periods like that when we have both been very busy. In September of this year he got in a panic and wanted my phone as he had sent me a text by mistake. I pretended that I didn't know where it was, but would find it when I had finished what I was doing. I actually had my phone on me and had a look, before pretending to find it and giving it to him. The text was not incriminating at all but was to a woman I had not heard of (28 y old co-worker, junior to him and with her career in his hands). I was a little suspicious and a few weeks later looked at his telephone and discovered that he had been texting her on a daily basis about non work related issues even when we were on holiday. Not sexual at all but very affectionate and caring and asking her to please come out for a drink with him, he needed to get to know her better etc. I confronted him and he reassured me and said that it was nothing but that he would stop. He asked if he wanted me to cancel a work trip a few days later when he was going with her away for 10 days. It felt ridiculous to ask him to cancel, so I let it go ahead but it really upset me. I don't think his feelings are reciprocated to the same extent. She certainly likes him, and sent him a birthday card just before they went away " Dearest X, Happy Belated Birthday. Looking forward to having fun in ..........' (I discovered this whilst snooping in his brief case together with some CDs she had leant him). She is attractive and has a lot of friends and an exotic life style and I think he has a crush on her and really wants to spend time with her. After I told him that I found the texts and thought they were inappropriate he said that he would stop and he certainly does not text her in the same way. They text about work but not as affectionate. They work together and will do for the next few years. He doesn't know that I know but he has taken her out alone for a drink and sent her a text the next day saying what a nice evening, and great dress and could he take her someone really nice next time. (This was after I confronted him) He then planned dinner with her at a very nice restaurant but that was cancelled at the last minute, perhaps because he and I had a long talk where I told him I was really upset and had lost 10% of my body weight with worry and lack of sleep. I didn't claim to know that he was planning to take her out to dinner alone the next evening (claiming he had a work get together), but I explained to him that I was not happy about his relationship with her; I felt that it was inappropriate and his explanation that it was nothing was not reassuring as it had seemed a big deal from the texts and he was not the same person when it came to relating to me. He says that he is exactly the same and it is the way that I am treating him that is different. (This could be true...it is hard to remember how often he gave spontaneous hugs etc).I am not sure who cancelled the dinner the following day. If she did, or if he did as a result of our discussion. He then chose to take the whole group out for a drink a few days later as a team outing, and was very clear that he wanted them all to come. I have checked on his phone although I have told him that I don't and I know that he deletes texts..including the ones that I read to get the information about drinks and dinner.
Throughout all this I assumed that he was having a Mid Life Crisis and that it would all blow over. I have been making a monumental effort at home and he and I text several times a day with affectionate texts. We also have more sex but it is not very affectionate. I am sure that he doesn't look me in the eye which I think is new, but it demonstrates my lack of attention to our marriage before hand that I can't really remember!! One thing this has done is made me realise that you have to work at a marriage. But I also realise that this is not all about me. I am a very affectionate, hard working, caring wife and mother. I often get invited out by men at work but have my own very clear boundaries. I know that even wonderful solid marriages can come a croper!
My husband is making a real effort now which I think comes after I explained to him that you can have an affair without having sex. I also pointed out that he could be in trouble for sexual harrasment although I think she actually likes him a lot and he is useful for her career.
I just need some advice on whether to just leave it to settle down on it's own....or to confront him, tell him that we need absolute honesty, that I have been checking his phone despite saying that I wasn't and I know that he has planned dinner dates and drinks with her, albeit he has not seen her alone since our latest frank discussion. I just wondered if my discussion with him about Emotional Affairs has sunk in and he wants to move on. I don't want to labour it if it is a passing crush that he has now got over. In order to move on we have to work out if he really can continue to work with her. This all just seems a bit drastic if it was just a crush. I don't think it would go further. He is not a woman magnet, and I really don't think is interested in having a physical affair. I think they really like each other's company, and part of me thinks that this should be OK. I have really mixed feelings about it. Ideally, I imagine that if they continue working together that they may go for drinks and dinner but that it should be run past me first, that I should meet her and that she should pay her way. The thought of my husband treating her to dinners and ****tails at the financial expense of our family hurts me almost as much as the emotional cost- which does not reflect well on me !!
I should say that I think I have good intuition and that I thought something was wrong before but I feel much much happier now. I also know that the best of men can lie and can be duplicitous. I can't check his phone as he has started deleting texts, and I don't feel comfortable doing this anyway. He always tells me when he is out and he has not been out recently. Should I just wait and see if things seem 'wrong' again or should I get it all out in the open now and lay down some ground rules. I am not frightened to do this but I wonder if it is better to preserve some of his dignity. I don't think he thought he was doing anything wrong before until I pointed it out to him and I really think he has changed and is aware of the effect of his actions.
Firstly, welcome to the forum, im sorry you find yourself in this section, but trust me when I say, you have come to the right place. The advice and personal experience of the people who take time to post in this section can make a world of difference to a person dealing with difficult situations. Some of the advice you will get may be tough to hear, but try to be objective when reading it and it may serve you well.
The general sense that I get when reading through your story is that your husband is acting very inappropriately and if you want to prevent a full on physical affair from developing you have to make some major changes in the way you think about this situation. It can be difficult to see, but to an outside observer, your story is full of red flags. A healthy marriage needs to have 100% transparency, that includes a spouses phone. The fact that your husband deletes texts is a huge red flag and should not be tolerated. You say you are uncomfortable or opposed to reading through his texts, is that because you are afraid of what you might find, or because you think it is a violation of his privacy? In either case, you must be willing to check up on him and gather proof. I would highly recommend that you look up a service called mobile-spy (mobile-spy.com I think) it is a program/service that will allow you to see every text incoming and outgoing on any cell that it is installed on. It will track pictures, emails, GPS locations, phone numbers and contacts, basically everything that happens on a cell. You get an on-line account that you can log in to and check all that data. Having full access to the cell will let you know for sure if anything inappropriate is going on. I would do this before confronting him, so you then have a way to check up on his honesty.
With regards to "just letting it blow over," in my opinion that is he equivalent of sticking your head in the sand and hoping for the best. You mention that you now realize that a marriage should be worked on, well setting healthy boundaries, talking openly about the things that are bothering you, and helping your spouse modify his behavior to make the relationship better, are all part of "working" on it. If you allow him to continue acting inappropriately, there is a high chance that things will escalate to the physical level. It may not be with this particular co-worker, but with someone else later down the line. Very few people start out with the intention of cheating, but a whole bunch of them end up doing it anyway.
I don't think you should be comfortable with your husband having drinks and dinners with single people of the opposite sex without you being there. You are right to question his "its nothing, don't worry about it" attitude and responses when it comes to questions raised about his relationship with female co-workers. You should also stop using the "midlife crisis" as an excuse to allow him to get away with acting inappropriately.
You may also consider purchasing a voice activated recorder (VAR) and using some velcro to secure it under the drivers seat of his car. If you bu two VARs, you can use the second, while reviewing the recordings on the first. Many times, inappropriate conversations occur in the car, because a person feels safe and secure while driving. This may be an unnecessary step in your case, but more data and proof is always better then less. Even if it only serves to solidify your belief that he isn't doing anything wrong.
The only other thing I would suggest is looking for and begging to attend some good couples counseling sessions. Going together once a week can do wonders for your communication skills and may help you address issues like him not looking you in the eyes during sex (a red flag in my book BTW, stinks of guilt to me). Best of luck to you, and keep us posted.
The suggestion for a VAR in his car is a good one and something your should consider doing. Most cheaters fell safe in their privacy in the car and will happily call the AP when driving to chat.
Your husband was pursuing this woman for an affair , clear and simple. The question is how far did he succeed, and how will you know.
One thing your husband needs to do is be transparent with you. He's not at all and it enables him to do things like text her while on vacation behind your back.
As for texting her. Your husband also has to start living a life where work is work and home is everything else outside of work. What I mean is he shouldn't be texting coworkers or going out regularly with a bunch of singles for drinks.
Thank you Palladin and Shaggy: I really appreciate your advice and it helps to know that both of you are rather suspicious. I have found it hard to be rational on what is acceptable or not here.
I would have to really challenge my own boundaries and moral compass to start to spy on him. That is really why I wrote this post. Is this really the only way forward.......?? I am also nervous about the practicalities of such an approach rather than what I would find.
I will need to think about this but thank you. If anyone else has had to go down this route it would be good to hear from you
Your hesitation to snoop and spy is understandable, and under normal circumstances, in a marriage with rock solid, healthy boundaries and full transparency, it might not be necessary, but in your case it really is the onl way forward. A cheater is almost always in an affair fog during the early stages of their emotional or physical affair, they compartmentalize and manipulate in order to satisfy the need to feel the rush of the affair. You can not operate from a position of honesty, communication, and trust, with a person who is in an affair fog. They simply do not think like you do, and will use your openness against you. He will try to convince you, like he already has attempted to, that you are mistaken, and nothing is going on. Like a drug addict, he will try and feed you whatever lines he thinks will work for you to turn a blind eye and allow him to continue his unacceptable behavior.
Tell him no more "dates" alone with females no matter what the excuse is. Tell him that you are uneasy about him doing this.
And by all means, if something is bothering you tell him. Yes, he should cancel the trip out of town if the other woman will be there.
Ditto ditto ditto! -- So far everything you've written in textbook. Please do pick up "Not Just Friends" and see if your husband will read it with you. You are most certainly onto something. And he should not take that trip --- that's why he asked you. If you "let him go" then he'll say "but you had no problem with it". He knows he shouldn't go, that's why in obtuse manner he put it on you.
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this, but glad you are seeing the signs and getting involved. It's the wake-up call none of us wanted. Posted via Mobile Device