Last September my wife of 17 years and 3 kids, informed me she had had an affair with the headmaster of our youngest daughter’s school. I had recognised my wife had been unhappy for some time and was asking her why, I had suggested that if it was me making her unhappy then we should end the relationship. When she said she did want to end the relationship, I asked her why she didn’t want to at least work on our problems, it was then she decided to tell me she had been having an affair.
Looking back it turned my world upside down and I didn’t react well. I made all the chump mistakes of trying to understand, trying to win her back, keeping it secret to protect the children. At the same time experiencing intense emotions and anger and venting at the only person who knew my wife the cheater. I read and read all the relationship advice sites, Ester Perel, I booked the marriage guidance appointments, I thought and booked days out etc.
Although she has said sorry, I never really got an explanation, she even stood in our kitchen and said to me whilst she was sorry she had hurt me, she was forever grateful to the headmaster for helping her out in a difficult period of her life!
Until this point I hadn’t appreciated how difficult her life was. She is a stay at home mum not because I wanted her or needed her to, our children are 11, 13 and 15, but because it was her choice I worked extra hours to support the family. Our finances were quite pressured, but in 13 years she hasn’t earned a penny, nor offered to.
I had the experience of the drip feed of information, it eventually came out that she would drop our daughters off at the local community hall, drive 500 meters up the road park in the entrance to a farmers field and have sex in the back of his car and maybe ours but she won’t admit that one, then as if butter wouldn’t melt return and pick our daughters up. Oh she also said it wasn’t about the sex, that’s just what adults do! She claimed no one knew, but I have since found out all the teachers and parents knew and had seen them flirting on the school gates. I had to watch my youngest star in the Christmas concert standing alongside the headmaster, that was tough! The humiliation of realising everyone knew, the knowing looks whilst I gamely tried to pretend all was well, still hurts.
After 6 months of little or no engagement from her and after a session in which even our sit-on-the-fence counsellor thought she wasn’t committed, we agreed to separate. She didn’t want to tell the children, although her mother lives in a big 6 bedroomed house 2 miles away she has refused to move out, I can’t afford to run 2 houses. So we are still in the same house with me paying all the bills. She has taken months to appoint a solicitor, refused to give me the wedding certificate to file for divorce. She refused to allow me to take my children away on holiday for 2 weeks, even though I am a hospital doctor and have worked all through the covid pandemic without a break and badly needed time off with my children. I am constantly criticised for my lack of communication or the way I communicate even though when I tried to sit down to discuss shared care of the children and how to split the finances she refuses to discuss and says she has to discuss with her solicitor.
I still, 6 months after agreeing to separate, 2 years after she started her affair have no idea what she wants. She says she needs time to sort herself out, as far as I’m aware she still has made no effort to get a job. I thought that after all that has gone on any normal person would at least try and help the other person move on. Surely anyone with self respect would want to make their own way in the world? Stand on their own 2 feet?
The legal process is very slow and expensive, sharing the same house whilst good for the children is really hard! I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up, but if I leave I won’t get to see my children and my wife will have total control of the house and children. I am no angel, I work long hours I know I must be hard to live with, I am so confused as she is so nice to everyone else, am I the one with behavioural problems?
Repeat after me: Fuck. What. She. Wants.
FUCK. WHAT. SHE. WANTS.
I still, 6 months after agreeing to separate, 2 years after she started her affair have no idea what she wants.
FUCK WHAT SHE WANTS!
I hope these loud shouty caps will serve as an antidote to 17 years of giving a shit. You seriously need to stop trying to achieve consensus with this freak.
You have no idea what she wants? She wants cake. All the fun of her affair, zero consequences, and you there paying the bills as steady Plan B. Maintain the shrine. Have no other gods before her. The usual.
Is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?
What does ChumpChamp want? There’s a radical thought.
She didn’t want to tell the children,
Tell the children. They’re teenagers. As the whole town knows about the headmaster, chances are they know too. You’re divorcing, it’s okay to say why.
although her mother lives in a big 6 bedroomed house 2 miles away she has refused to move out, I can’t afford to run 2 houses.
Divorced people live separately. The law has thing called a property settlement. She will have to figure out a way to adult. She doesn’t want to live with mom or find a job? Not. Your. Problem. (See also, “Fuck What She Wants”) I don’t know if alimony is a thing in the UK, might be, and you’ve got a few years of child support still — worth every cent to not be in living hell.
You’re a medical professional, you’ll be fine. She’s a fuckwit without life skills. Guess she should’ve thought of that before she was out rutting in a farmer’s field.
Is that unkind? You loved her with your whole heart, created three children with her, provided her a life of comfort, cared about her happiness, her unhappiness, her self-inflicted unemployment — and throughout all that you did MORE. You brought your A game. You invested totally. And she took those GIFTS and she shat on them.
So, really, I hope she can rustle up a living. Maybe headmaster needs someone to bang the erasers.
Anyway, CC, you take those precious gifts — your love, your time, your money — and go invest them in people WORTHY of you. She isn’t deserving.
So we are still in the same house with me paying all the bills.
Yeah, that has to end. See “property settlement.” No one can force you to stay married. Divorces are rarely agreed upon amiably.
It would be a real shame if your lawyer had to depose the headmaster. Or you had to talk to the school ethics board. See if that doesn’t get settlement talks moving.
She has taken months to appoint a solicitor,
Do you have a solicitor? Who cares if she has a solicitor? See how that works? ChumpChamp protects himself and doesn’t concern himself with the trifles of fuckwits.
If she doesn’t have a lawyer, you can STILL get divorced. Really! That’s a thing! In fact it might even work to your advantage. Pull no punches.
refused to give me the wedding certificate to file for divorce.
Public records office. Get it yourself. You don’t need her.
She refused to allow me to take my children away on holiday for 2 weeks, even though I am a hospital doctor and have worked all through the covid pandemic without a break and badly needed time off with my children.
Take your children on a holiday. Run it past your attorney first of course, and then if in the all clear, DO IT. Maybe you can’t go anywhere that requires a passport, but you could do something domestically.
Oh here’s the thing about not having a divorce decree and a custody schedule — you don’t have a divorce decree or a custody schedule. You don’t NEED HER PERMISSION. You don’t have a court order.
Would she like all the control of a court order? Oh hey, she needs to get on that DIVORCE thing, pronto.
Quit trying to achieve consensus. She enjoys the power of denying you. Just like she enjoyed the power of your pick me dance. And the power of fucking around on you behind your back. And the power of denying you a divorce.
TAKE BACK YOUR POWER!
I am constantly criticised for my lack of communication
I’m sorry, I can’t hear her out there in the farmer’s field. Pardon? I can’t make it out over the cow flatulence.
Gosh, CC, who cares about her opinion? You know who is tops at communication? Lawyers. They bill in 6 minute increments. Tell her to direct all her communication to hers.
or the way I communicate even though when I tried to sit down to discuss shared care of the children and how to split the finances she refuses to discuss and says she has to discuss with her solicitor.
Do you see a theme here? You keep trying to engage her and she keeps thwarting you. She doesn’t want a divorce, because divorce = consequences. Nor does she want to work on the marriage. And really all of this is beside the point, because FUCK WHAT SHE WANTS — is this relationship acceptable to you??? No? Then MOVE FORWARD.
She won’t like it. I guaran-fucking-tee it.
But you didn’t like standing next to headmaster at the Christmas concert. Or being humiliated. Or cheated on. Or lied to. Or gossiped about. Or had your children’s intact family life destroyed. Or your finances decimated. But there we are.
She says she needs time to sort herself out,
She can do that on her own time. No need to suck the life-force out of you.
Financial infidelity usually goes with the stalling. Protect yourself. Please run a credit report on her, or demand this in your divorce settlement. Freeze your credit.
as far as I’m aware she still has made no effort to get a job. I thought that after all that has gone on any normal person would at least try and help the other person move on.
She has ZERO incentive to get a job if you’re paying the bills. Would an ETHICAL person do this? Would an ethical person “help the other person move on”? Sure, but you’re not dealing with an ethical person, you’re dealing with Ms. Fucked My Daughter’s Headmaster.
Imagine me reaching across the interwebz to bitchslap you, CC. If you wait for her to do the Right Thing, you’ll be footing her bills, tethered to an ungrateful cheater the rest of your days. Getting out will cost you, but it is FINITE. Finite! Escape!!!
The legal process is very slow and expensive, sharing the same house whilst good for the children is really hard!
No, it is NOT good for the children. You’re modeling dysfunction. Ask a few bazillion chumps how they know.
You know what’s good for the children? Modeling sanity and resilience. Get a divorce. Maybe some day have a nice healthy relationship with a woman who appreciates you, who is a total adult who adults. (Oh look! It’s a line forming at CN — who wants to date the kind, chumpy doctor who sacrifices himself to help others during a pandemic? Oh look! the line is wrapping around the block…)
but if I leave I won’t get to see my children and my wife will have total control of the house and children.
That is your fear talking. Your children are at an age where the courts will probably allow them to decide where they live. You will most likely be sharing custody. And it’s painful and unfair, but half time with SANITY is far better than living together in painful fuckupedness. If she gets the house in the divorce, well, she’ll need a job to pay for it.
You can rebuild. You will be okay.
I am no angel, I work long hours I know I must be hard to live with
You did absolutely NOTHING to deserve being cheated on. NOTHING. We don’t compel others to abuse us.
I am so confused as she is so nice to everyone else, am I the one with behavioural problems?
She’s not nice. She’s selfish, destructive, and wasting your precious life.
Yes, you have a behavioral problem — you keep expecting reciprocity and adulting from someone demonstrably unwilling and incapable of it. Diagnosis: Chump. Prognosis: Utterly curable.
Tell your lawyer warp speed on the divorce. You TRIED to get consensus and failed. All the court cares is that you can show that you TRIED.
Get ‘er done.