I’ve heard all the excuses and all the explanations.
So, how do you know he’s planning to leave you? Here are some early warning signs…
- He starts taking an unusual interest in his clothes and overall appearance. You have nagged him for years about boring suits and stained ties. You have urged him to adopt a trendier hairstyle and told him that unwanted facial hair really isn’t a turn-on. Now he’s taking action on his own – and alarm bells are ringing.
- He takes out new credit cards in his name only and you never see the monthly bills. This is a sure sign that he’s spending money on things he doesn’t want you to know about.He’s probably going to try and put some of the expenses through his business, so he’ll be keeping the receipts somewhere.
- He suddenly starts spending nights away from home “on business”. He claims that his new position at work means that he has to travel more frequently. Don’t call him at the hotel as he will be with clients all night – he will call you when he’s free. Really he will!
- He takes an unusual amount of interest in your dietary regime and signs up at the local gym. After years when his only exercise was carrying his beer to an armchair in front of the football, he is now desperate to regain his youth.
- He starts to make snide and hurtful remarks about you and your views when in company. Feeling guilty about his affair, the only way he can justify his behaviour is to pretend to himself that you forced him into it by treating him badly. If his comments goad you into responding in kind, he can convince himself that it is all your fault.
- He begins to drop the name of a female colleague into everyday conversation. Subconsciously he’s comparing her with you. And it gives him a feeling of power: “I’m so clever/powerful that I can drop the name of my mistress into conversation and not get found out”.
- He begins intercepting the postman and says he’ll check the bank statements during a spare half hour at work. He’s read all about men who get caught out by their wives finding hotel receipts in suit pockets, so he’s paying for everything in cash. If he keeps the bank statements you won’t find out how frequently he visits the cash point.
- He trades in the family saloon for something more sporty. The trusty Ford/Vauxhall has always suited you in the past – but now that the children have grown up, he says it’s time to begin enjoying yourselves. James at work says the Porsche Boxster is such fun and so economical to run. Just try asking to borrow it for an evening…
- He suggests separate holidays. He’s so busy at work that he can’t take time off. But you and the kids should go; you can even take your parents and he’ll pay. While you’re away he won’t have to rush those illicit meetings with his lover.
- Sex is a definite no. Even he won’t try the headache routine; it’s not the kind of thing a ‘macho stud’ like him would say. However, he becomes incredibly understanding and is most sympathetic when he can tell that you are tired, have had a bad day or have an early start in the morning. Anything to avoid physical contact.
As a divorce lawyer, I’ve heard all the excuses and all the explanations. Given that we are all different as individuals, it is surprising how many of us tend to follow the same habitual patterns of behaviour.
And in the interests of sexual equality, I plan to write a follow-up post – to explain how husbands can tell if wives are being unfaithful.