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Infidelity - please help!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi there, I would be so grateful for some open-minded and gentle opinions about my situation. Please listen to the good things I have to say about my husband as well as the bad! And I apologise in advance for the length of this post, please bear with me.

 

I am the mother of a soon-to-be 5 year old son (and, importantly for me, only child). My DH and I have been together almost 11 years, doing IVF for ages to have a second child, but yesterday I found out that he has been screwing around on me (his ***** kindly called to let me know). I am in total shock, not to mention devastation, and I just don't know what to do.

 

Here's the background and the bad stuff on DH - I am from Europe, he is from South America. We moved to South America from the US a year ago. We have been having relationship problems for a long time and have basically got to the point that we're just parenting together. I have been suffering from mild-moderate depression for a few years. Why? Well because in the 11 years we have been together my husband has not worked a day. I paid for his studies, helped his family financially, paid for everything in our life together. It has always been me that has carried the can - not just for working and earning, but for planning, making all significant decisions in our relationship, for guiding him, pushing him to do something with his life, to take responsibility. I know that works for some women but it doesn't work for me. I had a bit of a breakdown about 2 years ago and left my well-paying job so that we could come to his country and he finally get his act together. But we've been here a year now and he's only now just on the verge of setting up a business (financed from my savings). Who knows how it will go? So after so long of "wearing the pants" in the family (forgive the political incorrectness) I have just lost so much respect for him. Our sex life has been terrible - once a month, maybe, and ain't no spontaneous combustion going on during it, if you know what I mean.

 

That said, both of us (I think, well, I certainly did) very much hoped that once he got his business up and running, he could finally begin to provide for his family, develop as a person, and I would recover my respect and groove for him. I really imagined that we could (not would, but could) get over it. It is safe to say that there is quite a lot of love between us, even though I have not been able to say that out loud for quite a while (he has).

 

I never, ever, ever thought he would be unfaithful, despite the way infidelity is a way of life in South America. Why? Here's the good stuff about him - he is a very gentle and caring man. I have no doubt that he loves me deeply, and apart from his failure to provide (and set an example for our son in that regard), he is an outstanding father. Even though I have paid for everything for 11 years now, he has never been interested in material stuff, never gone out and spent my money stupidly or anything. He is helpful in the house, definitely does his fair share. I do not doubt that the coldness in our relationship pushed him to have this affair - sex is very important to him. While the woman says she has been trying to end it with him and he will not accept it, he says the exact opposite. It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that all men in these situations are liars, but I know Latin women (apologies to any of you out there), and a lot of them can be very mean and cynical in these kinds of situations. So I'm inclined to believe him (with lingering doubts). Of course he is in breakdown at the moment, and is extremely sorry for what he has done and says it will never happen again (though I think a lot of women have heard that one before). He says he doesn't want to lose us.

 

Here's some bad stuff about me: while would like to think that I am a basically good and generous person (I think my husband would support that), I have a very strong character, I can be overbearing and bossy, and I have emasculated my husband over the years. The only question is, has my bossiness and emasculation been the cause of his inaction, or is it the result? Of course I am me and I say it is the result (I feel like only the most submissive, inane women would not have nagged this man senseless), but this is deep stuff I know and either way it is not healthy.

 

This is so long, I am sorry, but here's the most important issue. I know my son would be absolutely devastated if we split. Not just by the split, but by the fact that we will probably be living on opposite sides of the world - I couldn't stay here. I love my son more than the air I breathe and I can't bear to do anything that will harm him for the long term. I read an article about how kids from "amicable divorces" do worse in the long term that those that come from low-conflict, intact homes: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Ri-2eUuFu_sJ:www.utexas.edu/features/2006/divorce/index.html+divorce+%22only+children&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&source=www.google.com. I would sacrifice my hopes for a happy and healthy marriage (with someone else) in a heartbeat to protect my son from lasting damage.  (Honestly I can't imagine when I will feel the slightest interest in any other man again anyway.)

 

So, I could decide to try and forgive him and make this work, give him a bit more time to set up his business and provide for us (I didn't want to go back to work), prove that he is trustworthy, and preserve the truly beautiful relationship my son has with him. (Of course I don't know yet if I can totally forgive him and never bring the subject up again, but I think we could not fight in front of my son and always put his interests first.) Or I could cut my losses after 11 years of carrying the can and then getting screwed around on to boot. I am of course terrified on a personal level about the second option. I haven't lived in my country of origin for 20 years. I love my family back home, but I am not so close to them, there are no cousins for my son or anything. He is totally on his own family-wise (here as well), apart from grandparents and one aunt who is good to him but doesn't really like kids. I do have good friends with kids though.

 

I am so scared and I would really appreciate your insights. I will try and get counselling here, but I don't know what it will be like in South America!

post #2 of 10
I'm sorry you are in such a stressful situation. From what you've written here, it seems like there have been so many issues that this new one isn't as devastating as it could be. You can probably forgive him for it, right? But can you forgive the rest of the problems? And can you repair your relationship enough to ensure that it, or worse, doesn't happen again?

I wouldn't recommend having another child with him. My marriage was shaky before I had my last child and, although I love my DD and would never give her up, it was a mistake to make our family larger given the marital problems.
post #3 of 10

For me (and this is JUST me), the refusal/inability to provide for one's family is a deal breaker. You make'em, you need to support'em. (Red flag #1)

 

Second, the infidelity is also a deal breaker for me (red flag #2).

 

Third, when you describe yourself as having "emmasculated" your husband, my alarm bells went off. Did this assessment come from you or him? I wonder...

 

One of things I have learned after being involved with an abuser which I also supported for several years, even while preggo, was the fact that we TEACH our partners how to treat us, sometimes by accepting the unacceptable. I understand your desire to provide a traditional family setting to your son, however, by remaining with his father who *continues* to be financially immature and will perhaps continue to be unfaithful, what are you teaching your son about human interaction?

 

Yes, the separation would be difficult for him, but IF your husband was dedicated to his child, he will make the necessary changes to his life to accommodate the situation, as will you. Perhaps it would help to look at the situation in a different light: your son deserves a happy and fulfilled mama.

 

I hope I didn't come off as too judgmental. This is strictly my opinion and nothing else.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Dear mimim and halfasian momma, I am so grateful to you for wading through my far-too-long post and giving me your opinions. I hear what you are saying and it weighs on me. I am having a lot of difficulty coming to terms with this situation. With the idea of staying and the idea of separation. I still don't know what to do. I just don't know how I can even face any of my friends and family, knowing this has happened, and my god, it is getting very difficult to hid my distress from my son. Even though the affair didn't go on long (about 5 weeks while DS and I were away) and I believe it was not important to him, my feelings about it are actually getting worse by the hour and I didn't expect that.

 

Did I emasculate him really? Yes, I think I did you know. I am not a patient woman and I can be a real bitch when I am feeling cornered. I would do things like switch off his music without asking (in my head - damn, why do I have to put up with this situation of supporting you for years AND have to listen to music that I can't stand, which you keep putting on even though you know I dont like it). My reactions to his screw-ups are much worse than in most normal relationships (though not in front of my son, NB), because each one of them came to underline his failure to get his act together. Like I would get completely hysterical, major argument, over him forgetting a recipe because I already explained it to him 7 times, you know? The only doubt in my mind is how much I could have avoided acting like this. Probably a woman with a less intense personality than me, more patient, would have done better, would have been able to nurture him and give him the energy to break out of his mental restraints instead of sending him into his shell (which I have no doubt I did). But I think she would still have had a hard time.

 

It's not a healthy picture, I know.

 

Here's the but - he is finally on the verge of being able to show whether he can step up or not. I imagine his business is less than a month away from opening. There is a chance that he can finally make it work for us. And given the devastating costs of leaving to take my son half way across the world, something in me  (could it be my needy part?) is telling me to stay and see if he can do it. The problem is whether I can get past what has happened. Right now I am in a really raw phase. I think I really believe that he will not do this again (apart from anything, the woman turned psycho on him, ha!), but that doesn't mean I can get over what he has already done.

 

Mimim - what you said about another child. I can hardly bear to think about it right now, but I decided long ago that I wanted another child despite all of our marriage problems because I don't want my son to grow up alone. I have a friend who has no family, relies on friends alone. She is a gorgeous but highly damaged person and even the best friends just cannot give you the sense of identity that family does - even if you don't even get on with your family very well. My son - we are talking no cousins, nothing. When we are gone, there is noone. I have so wanted a sibling for him (thank GOD he doesn't ask for one, I think I would die), and I know of course that a second child would be every bit as precious to me if it came. I could provide for it financially, even on my own. Please can you tell me a bit more about your experience given what I have said?

 

Mommas, I can't thank you enough for talking to me at this time. I will be away now for a few days (a family trip, can you believe it?! Should be interesting.), but I so look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.

 

A big hug. 

 

post #5 of 10

I have a lot to say about your situation as a lot of it is far too familiar to me...but I have hungry kiddos at the moment so I will come back later...

 

Quickly though I have to say that one thing just jumped out at me- you describe yourself as being intense and demanding (in terms of how you emasculated him).  I wonder if this is an expression of your ongoing resentment of him, of who he *isn't*, if that makes sense.  I know that feeling well.

 

The other thing is, as far as his infidelity goes, I am convinced that is borne from resentment as well.  If he feels emasculated and powerless, he would act out in some way that would give him back (in his mind at least) some control.  In his case it's sexual.  I'm convinced this is what happened in my situation.

 

I truly believe that resentment is the silent killer of any relationship, and that once it sets in, it's very, very difficult to shake.

 

I wish you well, please don't hesitate to PM me if you want to talk :)

 

Hugs, mama. 

post #6 of 10
Mama...i can't write much now because i'm on my phone sitting in the car while my DD naps...

I wanted to tell you this (and this comes from Al-Anon): do you love this man for who he is, right now, today, because that is the only person he is willing to be. Nothing you do or say cab change him or make him into the person you hope he will become. And loving someone for their *potential* is not a good foundation for a relationship at all.

I sincerely believe that some people by their nature bring out the ugliest in us. My XH was like that for me...with him, I lied, i yelled, i manipulated...i was the ugliest "me" that i had ever been. The alcoholism, the STDs and the abuse aside, our marriage lead me to believe I was a terrible impatient woman, unable to forgive. Once I was out, I realized that my self-image needed an overhaul. All this say...be kind to yourself. You have been supporting your partner for years, hoping and praying that he would step up...that is bound to yield some serious frustration.

I do hope you consider some kind of counselling for yourself. You need some support to get through this.

As for your friends and family...what they think of you is a) completely out of your hands and, b) none of your business.

Sending you hugs...
post #7 of 10


Thank you so much for saying this. It's exactly what I needed to read right now. I hope that the OP found it helpful as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post

Mama...i can't write much now because i'm on my phone sitting in the car while my DD naps...

I wanted to tell you this (and this comes from Al-Anon): do you love this man for who he is, right now, today, because that is the only person he is willing to be. Nothing you do or say cab change him or make him into the person you hope he will become. And loving someone for their *potential* is not a good foundation for a relationship at all.

I sincerely believe that some people by their nature bring out the ugliest in us. My XH was like that for me...with him, I lied, i yelled, i manipulated...i was the ugliest "me" that i had ever been. The alcoholism, the STDs and the abuse aside, our marriage lead me to believe I was a terrible impatient woman, unable to forgive. Once I was out, I realized that my self-image needed an overhaul. All this say...be kind to yourself. You have been supporting your partner for years, hoping and praying that he would step up...that is bound to yield some serious frustration.

I do hope you consider some kind of counselling for yourself. You need some support to get through this.

As for your friends and family...what they think of you is a) completely out of your hands and, b) none of your business.

Sending you hugs...


 

post #8 of 10

It almost sounds like you have an arranged marriage -- karmically arranged -- for the sake of having children together.  He's a good, dedicated dad.  You're the same.  The kids come first.  Since you've already had so much estrangement, and you own that you have been part of that (I'm not blaming you ... it seems like a natural outcome of his not stepping up) ... does the infidelity really matter?  (assuming safe sex was practice and you are not at risk ... very important).


Maybe this is unconventional, but for his and your family's sake, i might just stick it out to see if he can make it.  I'm not saying that you and he will be married forever.  But if you destabilize the situation right now, right as he is at the "verge" after so many years, it's to no one's benefit.  

 

I don't see you being happy long term.  But if both you and he find fulfillment in ways outside your marriage (him through work, perhaps other friendships ... and you through raising your son, work, and perhaps ... another relationship?) perhaps the family can stay together.  It seems that to you, from what you have written, that is paramount.  It may not be what I or someone else would chose, but it's one possible answer.

 

When your child (or children!) are older, after they get out of school, perhaps the marriage won't last.  But right now, perhaps there can be something that works in an unconventional way.

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post

Mama...i can't write much now because i'm on my phone sitting in the car while my DD naps...

I wanted to tell you this (and this comes from Al-Anon): do you love this man for who he is, right now, today, because that is the only person he is willing to be. Nothing you do or say cab change him or make him into the person you hope he will become. And loving someone for their *potential* is not a good foundation for a relationship at all.

I sincerely believe that some people by their nature bring out the ugliest in us. My XH was like that for me...with him, I lied, i yelled, i manipulated...i was the ugliest "me" that i had ever been. The alcoholism, the STDs and the abuse aside, our marriage lead me to believe I was a terrible impatient woman, unable to forgive. Once I was out, I realized that my self-image needed an overhaul. All this say...be kind to yourself. You have been supporting your partner for years, hoping and praying that he would step up...that is bound to yield some serious frustration.

I do hope you consider some kind of counselling for yourself. You need some support to get through this.

As for your friends and family...what they think of you is a) completely out of your hands and, b) none of your business.

Sending you hugs...



This was my thought. Almost like he was your project or you invested in him and you want to see if it's finally done.

 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subhuti View Post

It almost sounds like you have an arranged marriage -- karmically arranged -- for the sake of having children together.  He's a good, dedicated dad.  You're the same.  The kids come first.  Since you've already had so much estrangement, and you own that you have been part of that (I'm not blaming you ... it seems like a natural outcome of his not stepping up) ... does the infidelity really matter?  (assuming safe sex was practice and you are not at risk ... very important).


Maybe this is unconventional, but for his and your family's sake, i might just stick it out to see if he can make it.  I'm not saying that you and he will be married forever.  But if you destabilize the situation right now, right as he is at the "verge" after so many years, it's to no one's benefit.  

 

I don't see you being happy long term.  But if both you and he find fulfillment in ways outside your marriage (him through work, perhaps other friendships ... and you through raising your son, work, and perhaps ... another relationship?) perhaps the family can stay together.  It seems that to you, from what you have written, that is paramount.  It may not be what I or someone else would chose, but it's one possible answer.

 

When your child (or children!) are older, after they get out of school, perhaps the marriage won't last.  But right now, perhaps there can be something that works in an unconventional way.

 

 

 

 


 

I understand it's hard and you don't want to make rash decisions. If you stay please make a time frame (i.e., 3 or 6 months) to reevaluate things and stick to it.
 

 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

(SORRY this is so long again. I have verbal diahorrhea.)

 

Wow, I am so sorry I have been so quiet. I have had an awful week and have been trying to gather the strength to contact ExOfficio after her wonderful post; I didn't realise everyone else had chipped in as well. I am so grateful to you all.

 

Your posts make for sober reading and they hurt - that's cool, there is no point in anything other than honesty and the truth. I have to try and understand what has happened.

 

I am all over the place. I still want to get over this, and build a happy life for my family (all 3 of us). I still don't know if I can do it. I think I did have this initial reaction - "I'm angry, really angry, but I’m not so surprised, I understand where you were coming from and therefore I think I can forgive you soon". But now I'm less certain because the anger has built and built, and I have really taken on board that I, as a person, just did not deserve to be treated this way. NOTHING justified his failure to sit down and talk to me (well, apart from the fact that at the time I was on another continent, but you know what I mean!), however difficult it would have been. I just keep thinking about all the time he had to think about what it would do to us while he was going to buy those condoms, while he was driving to her house, while he was driving back from her house. (He says it was like a drug - he felt bad but had to go back for more. I can understand the drug reference, but is it really the same? I don't know.) But I suppose it’s not a steady build of anger. Day before yesterday I was feeling sort of okayish, listening to blood-pumping music, spoiling myself with spa stuff etc. But then yesterday, whole afternoon catatonic in bed. (Great mothering.) Today not good either.

 

On the other hand, my husband is suffering very very badly, as in broken man kind of thing. I am still unable to understand a lot of things, but what I don't doubt now after our frank discussions of the last week is that the affair was totally meaningless (she jumped him at a very vulnerable time, he ended it a couple of weeks before I got back in January, she continued to badger him until she went psycho and called me); even though it was meaningless he understands that there is no excuse for what he did, no ifs or buts; I think he has really taken on board what my frustrations have been, and why my sex drive has been so low and why I have been a complete bitch a good part of the time (it’s not like I never told him these things, he just didn’t take them fully on board); and I totally believe him when he says that this will never happen again while we are together. He is clearly terrified of losing us, has already been through major shit from me and knows he can expect a lot more depending on my ups and downs. I tried to get him to leave for a while and he couldn't do it - I wasn't so sure myself anyway.

 

Interestingly, he keeps telling me how he DOESN'T just want to stay together for our son, that he wants to grow old with me etc etc. I am the one who is really hung up on our son in that sense.

 

@ExOfficia, yes I really do want to talk. Thank you so much. I will PM you soon depending on catatonia and the like.

 

 

@ HalfAsianMomma

- do I love my husband for who he is, now? Well, you know, I don't want to kid myself, I really don't. But I feel like this is more complicated than you make it sound. If you are asking do I love my husband right now, broad brush, the answer is yes. I love that he is gentle and caring, and loving and sexy, and was attracted to me even when I had put on loads of weight, and - yes - that he is a great dad. I also feel like he really is trying to make things work for us. I felt that he was trying even before his massive screw-up – but I still felt frustrated because he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere despite his effort (this place is screwed up. Even the tiniest things are so difficult and time consuming). Soooo, yes, I love him. But that doesn’t mean I can carry on doing this if he doesn’t make this business work, SOON. I do think that he has had a problem with motivation (/depression?), to which I have possibly contributed (chicken or egg?). But I see a real possibility that will disappear once the place (it’s a small café) is up and running. I feel like he will be excited about it, and I hope I’m not wrong there.

 

Also @ HalfAsianMomma, thank you for reminding me to be kind to myself. I do NOT want to be a super-bitch and deny the mistakes I have made, and so actually it worries me a bit that I’m starting to put so much of the blame on him. But if I look at it coldly, there are NO EXCUSES. I am not a bad person.

 

@ Subhuti, thank you for seeing the gray in this situation. If you had asked me 6 years ago if a couple should stay together for their children, my reaction would have been very different. Now, what I know (perhaps more than when I wrote my first post) is that I could not sacrifice my own happiness completely to protect my son. I couldn’t be an effective mother, could I? Like I was unable to be yesterday. But the complication comes when you recognize that there are degrees of happiness, or lack thereof – miserable, or just satisfied to carry on, know what I mean? And while the just satisfied “option” is far from ideal for kids, I think that for most kids it can work better than the alternative. I sure as hell, though, know that infidelity is not something I am going to accept ever again, so that underlines the importance of us getting back to something that is much better than just satisfactory, even if it takes time.

@ZoeyZoe. Almost like he was your project or you invested in him and you want to see if it's finally done.” Ouch! It’s possible that you are right. I don’t think we can ever understand our own motivations sometimes, it could be a control thing, whatever. But one thing I really regret about myself is that I haven’t been MORE materialistic, that I have never judged people because of their background, their training, their finances. I was always just “hey you’re a beautiful person, let’s get together”, “you say you will support and protect me in every way and hey, I believe you, why not?!”. And now I see that I’m the only one of my wide circle that chose to be with someone from such a different status, such a different background (even though I still think he is a beautiful person, despite what he has done). And it makes me feel really stupid. Not a mistake I will make again if this marriage does not survive.

 

Also @ ZoeyZoe, you are too right about a time horizon. I can’t hang in here forever – it's not like I thought I could even before what he did. I am thinking about one year to see if he truly steps up.

 

Bottom line, I have to see if (1) I can get over what he has done to me and (2) I can recover my respect for him even if he does make a success of the business. ExOfficio, I hope to talk to you at length about the latter…

 

Thank you so much mommas, I am so grateful for this opportunity to sort things through in my mind. (Mimim, I still hope to hear from you about your experience in having another child…..a very tricky subject I know)

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