Worried about my marriage of 20 years

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Worried about my marriage of 20 years

Postby Macca » Tue May 09, 2017 12:17 am

Please can I ask for a little bit advice? A few months ago I felt uncomfortable at the sudden appearance of passwords and passcodes on my husbands iPhone and ipad. It follows years of ups and downs in our marriage mainly because I had been diagnosed with cancer and although everything turned out well in the end it undoubtedly changed me. It has been a rocky road to say the least, but plenty of ups aswell as downs.
Then at Christmas my husband and his friend announced they were going to a 'huge' 'school reunion'. I was a bit annoyed as I had been asking him to arrange a night out with me, my husband, his friend and his friend's wife. I had tried to arrange it with his wife but the men's work shifts and commitments meant we ended up leaving it to them. It was never arranged but they were quick to free their diaries for the school reunion. But I didn't say anything and stayed at home with the kids. It seemed so suspicious as not one picture appeared on Facebook from anywhere or anyone from such a huge event (so odd this day and age!) and he came home at 4.30am when there isn't anywhere open at that time in the town I live in! It was after this night that suddenly all the passcodes appeared on his iPhone and iPad and hiding his phone when he tried to put the codes in. I didn't say anything as I thought it was in my head but then a couple of months later three pop up notification messages appeared one after the other on his locked phone, from an estate agent saying the booking to view a house was confirmed. I signed into Rightmove and he had been searching for rental properties for himself. I obviously became very worried at this point and checked his Facebook messenger and found dozens and dozens of flirty messages between the four from the 'school reunion' and a photo of the four of them looking very cosy ... but more heartbreaking than any of the other things was a message between just my husband and one of the women explaining he wasn't happy, he was moving out, a house he had viewed had fallen through and that he was only hanging around for the kids. He kept saying how great it was to have someone to talk to, she was also in a similar situation and although she has never met me didn't hold back on giving her opinions about me. This has devastated me and I can't get it out of my head. I confronted him and he said the estate agent was from a mailing list he joined years ago when he was considering moving out and that he had told me this at the time (news to me!) but I called his bluff when I reminded him the number he received the texts on was a number he had only had for a few
months. I told him I had read the Facebook messenger threads so the next day he changed all his passwords and the phones and iPad remain locked. Am I right to be upset? He is reluctant to apologise to me and hasn't made any effort to make amends or discuss the situation. All he has said is he is just carrying on with me and the kids but I have no idea whether that means staying with me forever or just for a couple more months. I can't live like this!!! It's always me that brings up the situation and ultimately me that ends of in tears. I know it isn't a physical betrayal (that I know of) but it feels a betrayal all the same. I really do not want to separate or divorce and am desperate to try and start again - if I can just get over this massive stumbling block! Please can anyone out there help me?
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Re: Worried about my marriage of 20 years

Postby Tarantula » Wed May 10, 2017 1:57 pm

Hello, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.

I feel that during such a massively long relationship, there will be so many factors and situations and threads that led to this point, so whatever I say can only be very surface level, but I'll try to make sense anyway.

Firstly, yes he has completely betrayed your trust and is no longer engaged in the relationship. He wants out. He's made that crystal clear. And the more you try to cling to him, I sense, the more he will pull away.

I'm sure he has his reasons, too, for things to have ended up like this - but it alarms me that it's gotten so bad that he hasn't even bothered to discuss with you, the issues from his point of view, or try to resolve. Or maybe he has tried, many times, and you never listen? Only you really know what's been going on. He's also obviously lied about the estate agent mailing list, so has no qualms about lying to you when that was the perfect opportunity to come clean about what's on his mind.

I think it's very possible that something physical has happened, but either way, your relationship is basically in its dying days. You've been confronting and crying and it really sounds like he no longer cares at all.

So, you're gonna have to get real used to the idea of building yourself up by yourself, of having some kind of self-care, some kind of defence in response to the breakup that seems almost inevitable at this point. You can't make someone stay if they don't want to stay.

All you can do now, at this point in the day, is have an honest, thoughtful discussion with him about what to do next, in a way that doesn't make him responsible for your feelings. If he feels guilty/responsible for your feelings, however much he may deserve to, he will tune out and any chance of a constructive, helpful conversation ends there. So, hard as it is, you need to reign in your emotions for long enough to find out exactly what has caused all of this. You need to ask him to help you to understand, and then you need to listen, non-defensively, to what he has to say.

Of course, I am assuming that you have not already done this.

If he wants to divorce then your best possible response is: Okay. Acceptance. Because acceptance shows self-worth and value; that you are not going to cling to someone who wants to be somewhere else. And self-value, if anything, is the ONLY thing that might make him think twice about what he's giving up. If things get heated or emotional, he's out the door and he'll be RELIEVED about it. By accusing him of things or making him guilty, all you'll be doing is reinforcing his decision to leave in the first place.

Of course, I am assuming that he is even worth all this effort to hold on to. By telling you ways to change his mind about leaving, I'm assuming that you've perhaps given him reasons to drift away, that you also shoulder 50% the blame, and that you're able to change your behaviour as well. But if he is just a cheating toe rag then I'm sorry for your loss, move on, it doesn't matter what he thinks or does.

Which means that either way - whatever the situation - your best possible approach, if he is sure about leaving, is to accept it and let him leave with your head held high.

All of this probably feels so abstract for you right now, after twenty whole years - nearly my entire lifetime! I believe, that the formulas don't change no matter how long it's been. If you were a 20 year old asking about a boy you'd been with for a few months who is now giving you the silent treatment, I'd say the same thing: if they wanna go, let them go... because the more graciously you can let them go, the more likely they will realise they made a mistake, and the more likely YOU will suddenly be the one deciding whether YOU still want THEM.

Of course, there's so much more to this, to do with how he's become totally accustomed to your behaviour, and how that predictability is doubtlessly part of why he wants out to begin with, and how if you want to change things then you have to break that mould... but I really need to understand more about your situation before I can say more.
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Re: Worried about my marriage of 20 years

Postby David020549 » Wed May 10, 2017 8:25 pm

It sounds like you have competition, another woman is trying to steal your husband, the easy way out is to tell him to leave and make the best of what is left. If you are going to try to keep him it is much harder, take the initiative, tell him you love him, he is the only man for you and divorce is out, take no notice of the love lies, he has made promises to the other woman and will be pulled in two directions.
You have the advantage in the fight, you know him, they are his kids, do everything you can to win him back, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, with the kids, the other woman is using the same tactics against you. Most affairs run their course over a few months, however attractive she seems initially the realities of what he is doing will hit him after a while. In the meantime don't challenge or nag him, be as pleasant and attractive as you can.
I do realise it will be hard but if you challenge and nag him it will drive him into her arms for sure.

I was rather surprised that Tarantula did not mention "Love" because you could not live with another person for most of your adult life without being in love. A single 25 yr old that is very attractive ( I have seen the video) articulate and intelligent can discard a boyfriend and find another whenever she wants, a smile and men will flock to her, it is totally different for a woman of 40 that has 2 kids and a marriage that has lasted 20 years.
Without her man she will be tied to the kids even more, maybe short of cash, maybe moving to smaller housing and is unlikely to find another relationship easily. It is clear that Macca still loves her husband, if she is willing to fight for him the outcome could be much better than divorce
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Re: Worried about my marriage of 20 years

Postby Tarantula » Thu May 11, 2017 12:14 pm

Nonsense David :D - a lid for every pot, I say - and if the husband is already at a point of lying and messing about with someone else then it's way past the point of 'fighting' for him. What you're essentially saying is that she should just accept whatever crumbs she can salvage from this because she's past a certain age - I say, every person deserves to at least be respected in a relationship.
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Re: Worried about my marriage of 20 years

Postby Country Joe » Thu May 11, 2017 6:35 pm

I think Tarantula has covered it all for you...wise words and you would be wise to follow them! Retain your dignity and self respect and let this chapter of your life come to an end! You can't be with someone who doesn't want to be with you! There is life on the other side of 20 years of marriage. My marriage lasted 24 years but should have ended half way through and I so wish it had! We could have both had another 10/15 years of happiness with someone more compatible or even so on our own.
See it as a chance and an opportunity to embrace a new life and all the wonderful things it could bring you and let some love back in to your life!
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Re: Worried about my marriage of 20 years

Postby Macca » Sat May 13, 2017 1:08 am

Thanks everyone for your advice. Lots of food for thought. i think he realises how much he has hurt me with his secrets and lies and has asked for forgiveness recently and expressed how sorry he is. At the moment my future is very uncertain, I feel like I'm on the verge of losing everything. I think it's right to admit the marriage is over and that is something I am going to have to come to terms with. It feels like he is holding all the cards and I hate it, I've spent the last 20 years doing everything for my family and I'm now left as a 40 something, kids all grown up, no career path, no family support network close by (mine are far and wide, his are on the doorstep) and no financial security. I honestly appreciate every word you've typed it helps put things into perspective and somehow I'll have to work out a route to get me out of this mess. Heartbroken doesn't even cover it! Thanks again. Will probably post more to this thread as time goes on xx
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