Ask Andrew – I need to know everything about my husbands affair but he’s holding back important details
We are in the early stages of my discovery of my husbands four year affair which took place for two years in the UK whilst he was living there for work and continued online via Skype and phone for a further two years.
Up until two weeks ago I had my suspicions about another woman because she befriended my daughter and my brother in law on Facebook. She then went a step further and invited my daughter to stay with her as my daughter posted that she needed a home after she split up with her boyfriend. Initially I felt this woman was a friend but over a very short period of time I realised things didn’t add, I could tell my husband was lying to me about his relationship with her, he maintained he had met her through a work colleague and she had asked him to do some building work on her house and house sit for her.
Ordinarily I quite a confrontational person but for a number of reasons I made the decision not to insist on a showdown. Since finding out we have actually rekindled our passion and our sex life has resumed it’s old pleasures so out of the negative there is some positive.
Last week his lover decided to send me facebook message telling me that since she was an alcoholic in recovery she had to set matters straight and advise that they had had a four year affair and that up until our daughter moved in with her she had no idea that my husband and I weren’t separated.
Obviously this left me with no alternative other than to have the confrontation. As you can imagine after 23 years and raising three children together I am nothing short of being utterly devastated, sick to the stomach and am in shock over the extent of his deception, his disrespect towards me and our daughter and how he continued this relationship without any compunction sharing private and personal details of our lives with this woman after leaving the UK. The pain, humiliation and hurt I feel is excruciating and I cannot pass a day without analysing and going over and over the past.
I now feel that I am scrutinising and questioning him and he still contradicts and lies about the facts. He is agreeable to counselling but I feel he is doing this to please me rather than because he thinks he needs it. We will be starting next week.
I don’t feel he is totally to blame also for a variety of reasons. Our marriage had been under huge financial stress before he left for the UK and also worsened on his return. During that time my overwhelming depression was to withdraw from him emotionally and sexually and be unkind.
Ultimately I do not love him any the less because I hold myself partially responsible, but I do feel violated and wonder if I am convincing myself that I love him because of my fears to of being alone and because our financial situation is still so serious. He can’ afford to pay for two homes, I don’t have a job and although I am looking my wage wouldn’t be enough to survive on.
When he returned from the UK we lost our home due to the recession and then our eldest son went off the rails big time. These two factors pulled us apart rather than together although we haven’t argued about it or reproached one another the effect has been huge on both of us.
His inability to be honest with his lover and discuss the in’s and out’s of these two issues knowing how much I am a private person and would not want him discussing this with anyone let alone a lover whom he says was just there for sex defies my comprehension.
She also was the second woman he slept with the first one lasted a few weeks, he says he used condoms at first but not thereafter and he says he had a full check for diseases only a year ago which was long after we had had sex many times.
The first women he met in a pub and says she picked him up and the second he met after joining an internet dating service, she contacted him and took him home to her house.
I can’t say I have a specific question we do want our marriage to work and I do think he loves me, but there are so many issues and questions to address as I don’t think he is being honest or understands the enormity of it all, he say’s it’s done, it’s over and we have to move on. I agree except feel I have to know everything in order to move on and understand his motives and for him to as well to avoid repetition.
We have told our two daughters but not our son’s. Our youngest still lives at home and I am sure has sensed the disharmony because we were not happy before this bombshell was dropped. Do we tell our son after his exams. My husband doesn’t like the fact that we have told our daughters because he feels they are just making me feel worse by siding with me. He apologised to our youngest daughter but again I feel he isn’t genuine because he then said well, ‘she was helped out with a roof over her head” to which I replied do you think she would have wanted it or taken it if you had told her the truth! I don’t think he understands how insidious he was by allowing this woman to take our daughter into her home. I also feel disgusted that this woman questioned our daughter about our marriage and about me and in her naivety she answered because she thought she was a friend. This woman referred to herself on my daughters facebook page as her surrogate mother and also invited me to stay when I went to UK to visit my daughters not long ago! she was also invited to stay with us when I had no idea of the affair. My husband said and did nothing. He would have allowed me to go and stay in her house!
Please answer whatever bit you choose it’s too complex for me make a list of priorities. I apologise for the lengthy letter there is loads more but I just feel I have to write it down and try to have someone help me make sense because reading your book and others then speaking to my husband about it just won’t work. I sound like I am counselling him and we both need an impartial experienced counsellor help us both.
Thanks for your letter as you don’t really ask a particular question, I’ll give you an opinion (and a warning).
Firstly, you wonder if you love your husband or just don’t like the idea of living alone. Trust me women who hate their husbands write letters a quarter of the size of yours. Next, the feelings you are going through are perfectly natural – look at my book and other letters – and you’ll hear the same story over and over again (with small changes).
Don’t worry about why he’s going into counselling – most men come to appease their wives – and grab the opportunity with both hands. He will learn stuff about himself, you and to communicate better (so when he’s not happy, he speaks up rather than goes behind your back!)
Finally, a warning. Trying to find out EVERYTHING is a difficult task, it can make healing harder and sometimes destroy a marriage. Why? I can’t tell you how much detail some women want – like the profiles of every woman their husband sent messages to on an infidelity web site and what they said. Not only do their husbands not remember but they are so ashamed that they don’t give all the gory details (shame is the most toxic human emotion and we’ll do everything to avoid it) and so they dissemble, which makes the women suspicious and push for more and more and more.
So why do you need to know EVERYTHING? Think carefully because this is important. Are you trying to torture yourself? Punish him? Make him hurt like you hurt?
Instead, I would focus on ENOUGH. Enough will help you understand what is needed to fix your relationship. Everything keeps you fixed in the past and discussing which restaurant they went to, when and whether they had the basked alaska pudding.
Decide on a story that makes sense for you, whether he agrees or not and focus on changing your marriage, improving your communication (See ‘Resolve your differences’ and ‘Help your partner says yes’) and using the new energy in your sex life after the discovery to make last changes in that department (See Make love like a prairie vole).