Advice: Is he cheating on me?

Last updated 05:00 18/10/2012

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They've had their ups and downs over the years but now he's acting weirdly. Is her husband having an affair?

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My husband and I have been together for many years. We've had our ups and downs over that time, but mostly we've been very happy and contented. 
 
However, recently I noticed my husband started withdrawing from me and not including me or discussing matters with me that he normally would have. 

After a minor argument he moved into the spare bedroom, removing all his clothing and belongings from our bedroom. He then told me that he didn't want to be with me anymore, brought up my past mistakes and blamed me for anything and everything that had ever gone wrong in our relationship.

I suggested we go to couples' counselling, but he's not interested and says he wants to move out permanently but is trapped. I've tried to make things easy for him by offering to take on the financial responsibilities on my own if he wants to move out, but then he accuses me of not fighting for our marriage. I want him to be with me because he wants to be, not because he feels trapped.
 
He has started going out every weekend with his mates and coming home in the very early hours of the morning, where he didn't before. He's drinking more and taking more care with his looks than he did before and in moments of weakness, we have slept together a number of times since he moved into the spare room.

My gut instinct isn't that he's having an affair yet, but rather that he's looking at the greener grass on the other side of the fence and wants to sample it for himself.
 
He says he 'loves me sometimes' and sends mixed messages with giving me hugs and kisses, but then talks about his future plans being on his own.
 
I'm hopelessly lost and confused and have no idea what to do now. This has all come so fast and out of the blue that I feel like my world is spinning out of control. Please help.

Lost

What a difficult situation to be in. To stop the world spinning out of control you will need to find a way to support yourself to stop and decide what you are willing to put up with in this relationship.

You can't force him into counselling, or change his mind, but you can take charge of what you want and what you expect. It is very clear your husband is unhappy and making moves to distance himself from you, but it seems he hasn't yet made the decision to move out and make the separation formal. Perhaps he is still figuring out for himself if there is enough left in the relationship to hold on to, or he may be looking for a reason to blame you so he doesn't have to be the one to say it is over.  I would also wonder if he hasn't already met someone else, or if there is something else in his life or your relationship that has triggered these changes.

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I imagine at the moment you are hanging on to whatever crumbs of affection and connection are available, and in the turmoil it is easier to not take charge.

Can you ask yourself some hard questions? Are you willing to live together while you wait to see if the grass is greener for him elsewhere?  Are you willing to put up with a relationship where your partner doesn't want to work on repairing things and tells you about his future plans alone? And if you are, how long can you sustain that? As part of standing up for what you want and need, it will give your husband a clearer idea of whether he can be part of that future with you.

You don't mention if there are any children living at home. If you have children then you will need to also be thinking about the impact on them and what steps you will need to consider if you separate. There is a great free programme available called 'Parenting Through Separation" which will help you if that is the case.

There is a saying about love - it needs to be a verb, an action word. For your relationship to survive there needs to be two people willing to truthfully look at what is working, what isn't and what needs to change - and if you don't have that then you may need to get some support for yourself to face the ending of a relationship you have treasured.  You do deserve better than what you are living with currently.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

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