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How can I move on?

(70 Posts)
Pinktulip Tue 09-Feb-21 10:01:42

Hoping some wise gransnetters can help me as I feel like I’m in a hole i just cant climb out of.

My husband of 32 years (together for 41) had an affair for over a year with a work colleague who was also a mutual friend.

She expected him to keep the affair secret but he told me and it has devastated me.

He and i agreed to try to stay together. She left his workplace and never contacted him again. H and I had counselling (individual and couples). He says he's still with me and we should just get on with the future.

It is nearly 2 years since the affair came out and I try, i really try, to be over it but I am not.
I have improved so i can go for long stretches without mentioning it, but i think about it every day.

My h and I both still work and his job means he is often away during the week. If he then doesn't phone me every night I start to spiral down in to ‘affair madness’. When he was carrying on and was away for work sometimes he was actually with her and I cant forget that. Its like everything triggers me.

Has anyone managed to get over something like this and have a happy marriage?

I feel like my whole future has been taken away. I am 62 years old and i feel too scared to be alone. My friends all have grandchildren and their own lives. Our child lives in Australia and has no children. My family are all dead unfortunately. My husband was my best friend I thought.

Can i start a new life alone at 62?

BlueBelle Tue 09-Feb-21 10:12:21

Well my answer is yes 62 is still young and you can start a new life if that’s what you want or need for peace and happiness

The betrayal you felt hasn’t gone anywhere has it ? even with counselling and I can understand that I too would imagine everything if he was away from me I think it’s totally understandable to go into worry mode but that’s not living is it?

I think you have to weigh up wether your love for each other is strong enough to get over this huge slap in the teeth Did he tell you about his affair to clear his soul, to get rid of her, or to dump his guilt or did he really feel contrite and wish it hadn’t happened?
Maybe a long talk with him and tell him how close you are to leaving to gain some peace and hopefully happiness explain how uncomfortable and insecure you are when he goes away

Really he should be doing everything he can to make you feel secure he can’t just dump his business on you and expect you to forget it ever happened because he didn’t deny it

NellG Tue 09-Feb-21 10:23:35

What an awful, awful betrayal - I am so sorry you're having to go through this.

If your husband says he's still with you, (inferring that is enough to reassure you that he's seen the error of his ways), is sorry and wants to try again then I'm sorry, but I wouldn't believe him. He was with you when he chose to have the affair. If he isn't working to make this right and attend to your feelings then he probably needs considerably more counselling and a kick up the jacksy!

Since the counselling has he made nay moves to change his behaviour to reassure you? Is he willing to listen when you need to talk about it? In short is he sorry, as in true remorse, not the kind of half arsed sorry that lets him off the hook.

It is possible to get past something like this, but you almost have to start a new relationship, on new terms. You can't just pick up the old one as if nothing has happened. Neither should anyone expect you to.

However, he is who he is and if you love him and want to stay there may be some things you have to accept about his character. This is often hard to do, but possible.

You've already asked yourself the question, Can I start an new life at 62? Yes. Another is, if I had a support network outside of this marriage would I leave? The answer might help you clarify your feelings about what you really want.

Support networks can be built, just as much as marriages can be re-made but you need to decide where not put your energies and take a chance on which one will bring you the most contentment.

best wishes x

Dee1012 Tue 09-Feb-21 10:25:11

Pinktulip My marriage wasn't as long as yours but I too discovered my partner was having an affair with a work colleague.
I actually saw them together one day sad. It had been going on for about 6/7 months at that time. She wasn't a friend of mine but did know me...which for me, made it worse in many ways.
I can remember talking about it with someone who told me at the time "it's okay if you can forgive but can you forget?", in all honesty I couldn't.
We did try to work through it although to be honest, we did have other issues within the relationship. I simply couldn't get past it and ended everything.
I was younger then and I do think that can make a difference but outside of my boys, I really had no other family.
I think you can find a life for yourself at any age....if that's what you want.

Pythagorus Tue 09-Feb-21 10:29:48


I’m sorry that you have had this upset in your life. At such times it’s so difficult to see a road ahead. But believe me there is always a new chapter no matter how old you are. Many women of your age lose their husbands either to other women or because of bereavement. In both cases there is a need to grieve before one is able to move on.

In any situation there are only ever three choices. Accept the status quo, negotiate change or leave the situation. So it seems to me you can accept that your husband has had an affair but it’s over, forgive him and move on. Or you could also walk away from the marriage, if you feel it’s impossible for you to forgive him and move on from this affair. As far as negotiating change is concerned you could sit down with your husband and explain how you feel and together come up with a way forward that you’re both comfortable with.

It seems to me you have to decide which one of these three choices you want to make.

You ask if you can begin a new life at 62 - of course you can you can begin a new life at any age.

My own husband and life partner left me for another when I was 60. Initially I did online dating and felt I needed to find a new partner but after a while I realised I didn’t really want one. I have started a new life, made new friends, found new interests. I love my home, I love my garden and I love my life! But these things take time to evolve. Before you move forward you have to really think about what you want. Don’t let fear hold you back. Sometimes you have to jump and grow your wings on the way down!

Grandmabatty Tue 09-Feb-21 10:44:49

You've had lots of very good advice here. My husband had an affair and we split, however we were younger. I'm now the same age as you, I don't want a partner or husband and I'm perfectly happy. What scares you about being alone? Can you break it down into specifics? Then take each one and identify how you could deal with it. I did take him back briefly but he had no intention of giving up the other woman and he left three months later after a great deal of upset. You don't need to move on at the same pace as him because he says so. You are entitled to your feelings. I'm afraid I don't see a happy ever after if he doesn't want to work hard at regaining your trust.

Pinktulip Tue 09-Feb-21 11:16:59

Thank you all for the advice. I really do appreciate it. I think what I was asking is 'am I too old to start again?' Sort of asking if anyone has a 'map' they have used for starting again or getting over an affair which worked for them.

Usually I am quite a brave go-ahead person I think. I have made big decisions and changed my life in the past. But this seems to have completely knocked me for six. It was such a shock. My H and I had a really good life I thought - and I really thought that now we can start to relax, think of retiring, travel perhaps. I was happy. He never seemed to give other women a second glance.

I wasn't jealous of him at work, I never checked up on him. I totally trusted him. And the OW was a friend. She and her husband have stayed with us. She was always very friendly towards me.

Some things have really hurt me. The fact that he told me about it because he thought she was leaving him and he was upset because they were in love (!). Apparently he just needed to confide in me.

Also, during their affair I was diagnosed with a serious illness and had to have surgery. H told me he had discussed my illness with OW and they had both concluded I would get over it fine so no need to disrupt their relationship. While I was in hospital she took the opportunity to stay overnight at my house with him without fear of being discovered. This I just can't get over. This is the man who had previously supported me during every crisis in my life for 40 years.

I think I feel so blindsided I just don't think I can carry on with him or without him.

It's hard to talk to him about it because he says I have been so outrageously upset that he is now afraid to talk to me. He acts either like a victim or as if nothing has happened. It didn't help that the couples counsellor was awful imo - said I had to love my husband as a "good adulterer" whatever that means!

Pinktulip Tue 09-Feb-21 11:32:36

Reading all this I guess it means I can't get over the betrayal and I should be planning a future without H. I thought I'd be better after 2 years!

Thanks all. It's very encouraging to hear how you dealt with being alone and were happy again.

Peasblossom Tue 09-Feb-21 11:33:34

Those things you’ve just told us are really hurtful. For me, it wouldn’t be about forgiving as such, just that my feelings would have changed irrevocably towards someone that would treat me with such contempt.

I was a couple of years younger than you when I started my new single life and I have been very happy making my own decisions, doing what I wanted and not having to make compromises to suit another person. It has been an adventure and a pleasure so please don’t think 62 is too old to start again.

Actually I’m starting a new life again now with a new partner. And that’s an adventure too. We shouldn’t be afraid of change when what we have makes us unhappy.

I don’t think your present life sounds happy. It’s so difficult with COVID or I would suggest a long trip to Australia. 🙂

BlueBelle Tue 09-Feb-21 11:49:34

Oh well now you have added stuff in your second post I feel angry for you How dare he have her in your bed while you were so ill in hospital that’s is totally unforgivable... they discussed it and decided as you would get over your illness so they could carry on. How dare they ! how cold hearted and arrogant is this man
By the way your counsellor sounds like they need to go back to counselling school they should not be giving advise but allowing you space to work your own ideas and conclusions out and to tell you to ‘love him’ anyway is atrocious I d
sack him/her immediately and find someone else if you feel the need
I would say run for the hills being alone will be blissful after all of this I will completely change my advice after reading your follow up post and say don’t even try talking to him make arrangements to get out and NEVER look back

eazybee Tue 09-Feb-21 12:31:03

You have suffered a double betrayal, your husband and your friend, and they have sullied your home. Your husband doesn't seem overly contrite, telling you many hurtful details that you didn't need to know, which have added to your anxiety. He appears to think that the fact he is still with you is sufficient.
It clearly isn't.
You need to do the usual things: take legal advice, see how you stand financially and what sort of life you can make alone. You seem dependent on your husband for companionship, and although now is the worst time for making new friends and a new life it won't last forever.

Think long and hard about what you want for your future, and don't make any decisions that are not to your benefit. After covid, could you go on a long trip to see your daughter in Australia, without the husband? Try very hard not to bring up the affair and remain pleasant but distant from your husband, while considering what will make you happy.

Nicegranny Tue 09-Feb-21 12:33:17

I’m so sorry that you have been treated in such a way and had insult added to injury.
If l was in your shoes l would not discuss with him any plans that you might have and get my finances in order then speak with a divorce lawyer about where you stand.
It’s clear that the affair would have carried on if they had not hit a problem in their relationship. In my experience men often move on without a second thought but this sounds to me he’s with you because she probably ended the affair.
You are second best. I’m sorry that this sounds harsh but it’s just my opinion especially more so because you are unable to move on even though you went through counselling with him.
I have a close friend whose husband had an affair when they were in their 40’s and I persuaded her not to leave because l felt that they would be able to get through it and had a young son. They are 70 + now and are happy together but this is a different story.
If you feel that you have tried and given it your best effort to forgive and forget and still can’t move on after two years of trying then move on.
There is life after divorce and you will be happy again after healing but it can be a very painful process.
You deserve to be happy and you may find it’s not necessary to have a relationship with a man to make you happy.
Take the emotion out of the situation and try to keep a wise head , take what is yours from your marriage financially and make a new life.
If you can’t face doing this because you are afraid of the loneliness and pain then stay, but you could still be lonely and in pain by staying in this situation with your husband.
I decided at 50 to never have a man in my life ever again and it took time. lm 64 now and lm happy but you are not me and everyone is different like every situation is different.
Either way you will decide what is right for you but don’t be afraid of your future if you decide to move on without your husband. He won’t cope as well as you will but you must except that he will not be your problem and you are not an agony aunt. X

Gather other opinions because I am a bit of a man hater ☠️

sodapop Tue 09-Feb-21 13:05:39

Sounds like your husband is expecting you to do all the work repairing your relationship Pinktulip it's enough for him to just remain in the marriage.
A trip to Australia would have given you some breathing space but of course that's not possible at present. I don't think you will get past this but its difficult to make changes at the moment. I would start talking seriously about separation and get your ducks in a row regarding finances etc. Living alone is preferable to being unhappy with another person.
I wish you well.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 09-Feb-21 13:12:53

You can start a new life at any age. Whether it will be easy or difficult depends on your financial circumstances.

Reading your post, I get the feeling that although you and your husband agreed to stay together, you are doing all the hard work, emotionally speaking, to make this possible. Has he done anything at all in the past two years to make you feel you can trust him? That he is truly sorry for his lapse? That he won't do it again?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, I think you should find out exactly how you will be placed if you divorce him. Not until you know what kind of life you can make without him, can you really decide whether to stay or go.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 09-Feb-21 13:16:39

Sorry, this may not be the answer you were looking for.

If you meant how can you move on past your husband's infidelity and trust him again, I am afraid I cannot advise you.

If my husband ever behaves as yours has, he won't see my heels for dust. We agreed when we got engaged that neither of us would condone infidelity.

Pinktulip Tue 09-Feb-21 13:16:40

Thank you! I am grateful for your confirmation that it really is a huge betrayal and anyone would be upset! My husband says I'm totally unreasonable and only say I'm upset to punish him.

Also, you have made me see that spending evenings agonising about what my H is doing on his 'work trips' is not a normal or happy way to live. I haven't really acknowledged before that I am so unhappy.

I had thought of retiring and moving either to France where my closest living relative is (but that's problematic because if I move abroad my pension would be frozen), or back to where I came from in the UK. My 2 closest oldest friends live there. Will have to wait until Covid is over though.

My H has plenty of money. I'm sure he'll find someone else to spend it on if OW remains elusive. The awful couples therapist told me I was H's most important female influence and that's why he told me about the affair so I could help him. Wife and carer obviously.

I agree nicegranny that H won't cope at first so that's why I'm sure he'll find another woman to take him on.

EllanVannin Tue 09-Feb-21 13:19:33

What a disrespectful oaf. I'd kick him into touch---out of the front door, pronto.

Sparklefizz Tue 09-Feb-21 13:24:27

PinkTulip Some things have really hurt me. The fact that he told me about it because he thought she was leaving him and he was upset because they were in love (!). Apparently he just needed to confide in me.

Also, during their affair I was diagnosed with a serious illness and had to have surgery. H told me he had discussed my illness with OW and they had both concluded I would get over it fine so no need to disrupt their relationship. While I was in hospital she took the opportunity to stay overnight at my house with him without fear of being discovered. This I just can't get over. This is the man who had previously supported me during every crisis in my life for 40 years.

It's hard to talk to him about it because he says I have been so outrageously upset that he is now afraid to talk to me. He acts either like a victim or as if nothing has happened. It didn't help that the couples counsellor was awful imo - said I had to love my husband as a "good adulterer" whatever that means!

PinkTulip I am deeply sorry for what you are going through. I completely understand because I have suffered similar.

Your comments which I have shown above are shocking. He told you because he needed to confide in you - whaaaaat? The selfish $***%$!

And he discussed your illness with the OW and they decided, in their wisdom, that you would get over it fine!!!!! How dare they???? How very convenient for them. I feel so angry angry on your behalf!!

And now it's your fault that he can't talk to you! Well! I am speechless.

I think your couples counsellor was the same person my ex husband and I saw - she told him I was just being "ultra sensitive" when he lied and spent Christmas with another woman.

It took me a long time to get over all the hurts and betrayals, and two years is nothing. Sorry to say this but he is a rat, and you will never be able to trust him again. Is that what you want for the rest of your life? Or would you prefer to have peace of mind?

I send you all my very best wishes for this dreadful situation you find yourself in. My heart goes out to you. You can send me a PM if you want to.

Sparklefizz Tue 09-Feb-21 13:26:22

My husband says I'm totally unreasonable and only say I'm upset to punish him.

Aaarrgh! This is even worse Pink Tulip

muse Tue 09-Feb-21 13:26:29

There is no map pinktulip. I truly wish there was. We are all individuals and you may find solace and even guidance in reading how others have coped with the starting again.

Don't give up on counselling help. My daughter went to Relate by herself and they gave her the extra help and encouragement to move on and let the past be the past. Best thing she did.

sodapop offered great advice. Go for it Pinktulip and enjoy your life.

NellG Tue 09-Feb-21 13:27:08

pinktulip - Pack a bag, and run don't walk! I've just caught up and what these people have put you through is unconscionable.

See a solicitor, take everything you can to support your future. Oh and sue that bloody therapist whilst you're at it! or at least report them to whichever organisation they work for.

As for punishing him...well, this would get deleted if I said what I really thought.

You deserve so much better than this - be your own best friend and build a life no one can take from you. x

Jaxjacky Tue 09-Feb-21 14:38:24

I agree with much that others have said, I couldn’t live the rest of my life with someone I don’t trust, do you still want to be where you are in one or two years time? You said your two oldest friends live away, you don’t sound as though you have told them your situation, I would, so you have a supportive ear from people who care for and respect you. Yes, you can move on, I would imagine your self confidence is pretty low, as you start to take control, this will slowly come back. It won’t be easy, make your decision, list the things you need to do, stay strong and be kind to yourself. On a practical note, let your work know the bare bones to preempt any bad days or time off you may need. Good luck x

Nonogran Tue 09-Feb-21 15:02:05

Get the financial paperwork copied, talk to a solicitor, find out what's possible & "go for it".
It's going to be very hard, leaving everything you know behind but it's worth it. Believe me I know! There's no rush especially given C19 restrictions and as your H is working away you have uninterrupted time to fish out what paperwork you need.
Setting up a new home is fun & planning a trip to Australia will give you something joyful to focus on.
"Feel the fear and do it anyway!"

gt66 Tue 09-Feb-21 15:18:06

I'm really sorry that you've been put in this position, by someone who should've been loyal to you, but instead has spoilt both your futures with his selfish behaviour.

62 definitely isn't too old to start again. I knew someone who did it despite ill health and never regretted it. Her DH wanted to split, then changed his mind, but it was too late, and with the help of family, found a lovely property and never missed him.

I would suggest you start looking at what you can afford, in an area you'd like to move to; to give you an incentive to go for it. You can't live with this hanging over you for the next 20 years, as you will never have peace of mind.

I think your husband has treated you appallingly; bringing the OW back to your house while you were in hospital is the lowest of the the low in my opinion, and for me, that would be the one thing I could not get over. It's one thing to have an affair, possibly because of temptation and weakness, but to do that was calculating and deliberate.

Tangerine Tue 09-Feb-21 15:26:36

I am inclined to agree with most of the advice given to you.

However, I would like to ask you something. Until the affair, had he treated you well? If the answer is not that he treated you well, I'd definitely leave him.

If he has been mainly good to you, I suppose you've more to lose.

It depends a great deal on how you feel you would cope alone. I realise, if he died, you'd have to cope alone but this is a different thing. You know yourself better than we do.

Good luck whatever you choose.