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He is trying to make it out like I’m overreacting, but why buy gifts for his female co-worker?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Cheating, Marriage problems, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (15 March 2019) 8 Answers - (Newest, 25 March 2019)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:


Looking for any advice on how to keep pushing forward and leave be okay with my decision.

Last week I found out my husband purchased flowers for a coworker. He states he was just being supportive because she hosted a networking influencer event and it turned out to be successful. The reason this really upset and hurt me is because we are tight on money and the week before he was on my case for buying toys for our 3 kids.

Also, this coworker has been very problematic. Last year, he hung out with her at her apartment till 10 pm after work and it was hurtful because he lied and said he was hanging out with his buddy and because my therapist had called him that day to discuss the severity of my post partum depression. You would think he would just stop and not speak to this person again which he promised he would do. But then a few months later there were issues where he bought her an expensive gift for her birthday behind my back and also another instance where he went to her place again to help her on her project and I only found out because my car got totaled. When we had to file a claim for insurance, I got the location where the accident took place which was near her house and not at the location he had previously told me he was at.

Anyways even through all that we were working on our marriage. I knew I wasn’t able to control him so I didn’t even forbid him from speaking to her since they work together. I just asked if he can please not spend money on this girl. Fast forward to now and he spent 100 bucks on sending flowers to her place. I’m crushed. I know at this point I have to just move on because he is not stopping this behavior. I’m at stay at home mom and working on my resume to get back to being independent. Any tips on how to move forward and stick to my guns with my decision? When all this went down, he refused to take any accountability and I found myself again telling him to stop doing this and stop speaking to her when in reality, I am not going to be able to trust him and I also felt like I was just mothering him. He has yet to apologize or bring me any sort of comfort to make me feel safe again. He was also upset because I had to tell my family and share what happened to my closest friends who are like sisters to me. I have been staying at my moms place with the kids and I feel like he is going to try to ease his way back and I’m scared to fall because I’m so tired of being hurt like this again. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am overreacting cause he always makes it seem like this is just an issue with me having a problem he has a friend that’s a girl, but this has never been an issue with any of his other female friendships. I feel like I’m going crazy and so scared to make any decisions. Any tips on letting go of this fear? Thank you!

View related questions: co-worker, crush, flowers, money, move on

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (25 March 2019):

This man who you are married to is a disgrace to fathers and husbands everywhere. He is going out of his way to cause you emotional and mental harm and even try to drive you to do self harm. Do not go down that path. Post partum depression is a very serious diagnosis, I know well as my mom battled it, but thankfully overcame the sickness. I would advise that you have professional counseling, but you are far from being crazy! Hubby is a repeat cheater, a serial liar, and a thief, robbing you of gifts and compliments plus fidelity, due a wife. He is robbing the children of dad and kid time plus fianances to care for and raise up healthy well adjusted kids. Hubby is not taking you or your words seriously. Hire a good divorce lawyer. I recommend a female divorce attorney, to best guard your and the kids interest! He will take her seriously and the family court he will most definately obey or be locked up! Take him for child support, allimony, and full custody of the kids because he is an unfit dad. Best of luck!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (16 March 2019):

Honeypie agony auntBy gas-lighting YOU (making you think you are crazy or overreacting) he has been successful in the past in shutting you up and shutting you down. SO he sticks to what has worked FOR him.

He knows what he is doing is SKEEVY and he CERTAINLY would want YOU (his partner) to do what HE is doing, however he knows FULL well that YOU have your hand full of 3! kids and working through postpartum too, YOU have your hands full.

He might pull up that:" OH they are just friends or co-workers" or "that he would never... blah blah".

Or he might go the :"I feel neglected at home" or the "YOU don't trust me" route which MIGHT make you want to show him HOW wrong he is. Again, effectively shutting you up or shutting you down.

You two NEED to have a talk about boundaries if you WANT to try and make this marriage work, and he will NEED to respect the boundaries you set.

WHY does he NEED to make friends with other women? I'm not saying that he can't or that men and women CAN'T have friend of the opposite sex when they are married or in a relationship (because I think it's possible). It just comes down to HOW you go about it.

Have you MET this female coworker? Has she ACTUALLY talked to you, seen the kids? Or is she SEPARATE from his family? Because I think (in general) that if a WOMAN (like her) MET you and the kids, the LIKELIHOOD that she would want to BE in an affair with your husband DROPS significantly. If he just talks (read, COMPLAIN) about you but she haven't actually met and talked to you... you are just a "complication" for THEIR happiness. And WHAT person doesn't INTRODUCE friends to their partner?

Instead of spending money on flowers for her, MAYBE he should have HIRED a baby sitter and taken YOU out to dinner instead, DOESN'T have to be expensive! And it MIGHT do YOU and the marriage good!

For whatever reason, YOU think the problem lies with you. That YOU need to "just" get over how you feel. I don't think that is realistic when he KEEPS doing things that really isn't OK in MOST relationship or marriages.

He shouldn't make life EXTRA hard on you while you are TRYING to get back on even keel.

WHAT are his priorities? Having this woman as a "friend" OR having his family?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 March 2019):

Buying an expensive bunch of flowers for a coworker is weird, and especially when money is tight at home. Staying out til 10pm at a female coworkers house, without any other coworkers present, is also very strange. Putting these things together it certainly sounds like he’s having an affair or wants to have one. You have given him multiple chances and he has let you down again and again. What is the likelihood he is ever going to change? If I were in your position I would not stand for that behaviour. You deserve better.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 March 2019):

On their own, the flowers would certainly be going a bit above and beyond, but a plausible explanation could be a congratulatory gesture for a work event. HOWEVER, coupled with his past behaviour of staying at her place till 10 pm, it raises major alarm bells. And it sounds like another whole set of incidents that he lied about.

I think these events were incredibly inappropriate- they should never have been hanging out alone like that late at night....I would say he likely has had an affair with her, and if not, come darn close.

No it is not just female friendship- and that should have limits once you are married anyway.

I think you definitely should leave him for your sanity.

OR, if you decide to stay for the kids, treat it as an open marriage and have your own affair. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 March 2019):

I had a daughter with my fiance, I left him which I was worried about how it would effect her. I didn't know then but her seeing me unhappy and not in a good relationship would of been really bad for her to grow up like that. Now I have a new fiance and he's amazing with the both of us and now knows how a man should treat a lady. I believe you're doing the right thing.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 March 2019):

He goes over to her place, buys her expensive gifts including $100 flowers (expensive!) and does not do the same for you. He disregards your feelings and requests time and time again. You're not as important to him as she is. Sorry, but it's game over.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (15 March 2019):

Well, if you feel yourself getting weakened by his pitiful pleas to come home, and you're missing your your post! Not too many times; because I don't want you to make yourself sick. My heart goes out to you and your kids.

Your post is difficult to read; while nothing really surprises me anymore.

He has bought his female co-worker gifts and flowers; and has been to her place on more than a couple of occasions. His behavior is so blatant and arrogant; it's as if he's hoping to really push you over the edge. He's very much aware of your clinical-diagnosis; and he seems to be brutally going for the jugular. As if he is purposely attempting to break you psychologically. He lies to your face, knowing you know the truth. He has definitely succeeded at breaking your spirit.

He's behaving like the classic narcissistic-personality; doing hurtful things right before your eyes, and denying them to your face. Unmercifully cheating in your face.

How could he possibly convince you that you're overreacting?

What more does he have to do before he considers what he does damaging to his marriage, and psychologically-traumatic to you in your present state of mental-health? It's known as "extreme cruelty" in legal terms. You really can't live with him under such circumstances; considering how it is affecting your health.

Continue on your therapy and treatment program for postpartum depression; and follow your doctor's orders to the letter. You've got three kids, and they need you.

Tell whomever you want! Let anyone and everyone close to you know what you're going through. "Shame the devil!" As they say! She's not just a friend that's a girl; he's treating her like a girlfriend, or mistress.

Don't let him make you believe you're crazy. You know what you've seen with your own eyes! He's quite blatant (or sloppy) about his behavior. As a married-man, he shouldn't have too many "female-friends." I highly doubt you're that naive. You know exactly what your husband is up to. You're pretending not to know, and looking the other-way; because you can't financially support yourself and your children.

I believe you're being emotionally-battered. You've been in-denial for so long; you don't know in from out, and up from down. You let him tell you what to think. It seems he's purposely doing these things to run you into the ground. You are financially-dependent on this man; which makes him feel he has complete godlike-control over your very existence.

Find yourself a divorce attorney, and take everything you can. Seek alimony, child-support, and legal fees. You can't change a man like that; and you've been dealing with this stuff for a long-time. Pretending it was all okay; and just playing dumb, while accepting whatever lie he told you. Just not to have to deal with it. Scared out of your wits, about what to do? Suffering under unimaginable mistreatment!

It's making you sick; so now it's time to take him to divorce court, and then to the cleaners! Get out of that hellhole!!!

He doesn't earn much money??? Well when you're done, he will have even less. She certainly won't let him move-in with her! Having three kids on child-support, and paying alimony! He'll be too broke to buy presents and flowers; let alone help pay her bills or share expenses.

You can't go back to that marriage. You're going from postpartum depression to PTSD!!!

I'm sure that's what everyone around you is telling you. Not sure why you came here, except to vent? We're not telling you anything your family and friends aren't telling you. You want to bury your head in the sand, and try to tolerate him; because you're not sure how you'll survive without his help. You will. We adapt to our situations; and do whatever necessity dictates to survive. You can't survive when someone is trying to drive you out of your mind.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (15 March 2019):

N91 agony auntTrust your gut instinct, you know something is up here. This isn’t normal behaviour, he’s lying! If he’s complaining at you for spending money and then going out buying people gifts, then something is smelling fishy to me. He’s trying to impress her! His story is garbage, he’s been caught buying her gifts more than once. I could understand the flowers if it was a one off for an event, but even then I’d feel a little uneasy about it. But buying an expensive gift for her birthday? For a work colleague? Now something’s definitely not right there!

Then add that to being caught in multiple lies about being at her house late night after work? Come on now, are you being naive or do you just not want to believe what evidence you’re being provided with?

I’d be extremely surprised if he’s not cheating on you, I’ll be honest. This has all the signs of someone who’s bored in their marriage and sick of the mundane family life and is looking outside their marriage for some excitement in their life. Where is your self respect at? As this man has no respect for you! You carried and gave birth to his children and this is how he repays you?

You know you don’t need to be together right just because you have children? Sure it makes life easier and it’s better for your kids if it’s a nice happy family. But that doesn’t mean let your husband run round doing whatever he pleases. You’ve asked him multiple times to stop and he hasn’t so where do you go from here? Let him keep doing it? Or put your foot down and leave? Only you can decide the answer to that one but if he won’t spare your feelings then you need to look out for them yourself.

He will try to sweet talk you if you leave, but you need to think about yourself and the kids. If he truly loved you would he be putting you through this? He’s rubbing your nose in all of this and he doesn’t care! You can’t even get an apology out of him because he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Now it’s over to you. Do you accept this treatment and let the stress continue to build? Or set yourself free?

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