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Is hope a moot point?

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Reality posted 4/25/2013 10:22 AM

DD #2 came a couple weeks ago on March 28, 2013.

DD#1 came last year on March 13, 2012.

Both instances involved multiple women. Both were very involved emotional affairs; texting/emails all day, all hours of the day and night. The first time, it involved an ex-girlfriend and a coworker. This time, it involved three women who were involved in the same on line community he became heavily involved in.

In both instances, he kept me and our children a secret; none of the women knew he was married with children. In both instances, I contacted the other women as I discovered what was going on and had/have a good level of communication with them. They were all very nice women who had been lied to just as much as I had been. Once they discovered how badly they had been deceived, all of them immediately stopped contacting my husband and apologized to me. Like I said, nice women.

The first time I found out, I was completely in shock. I told my husband at the end of last year that it had been the worst year of my life. The level of pain was unrelenting and brutal. It was a year of arguing, of trying to explain how the affairs had affected me, how wrong they were. He would seem to be remorseful, but would be twitchy about full transparency or frustrated when I brought up the subject at all. I had no idea at that point that heíd already started a new batch of women on his circuit of lying and misrepresenting himself. I see now that it was a false reconciliation and smacked of rug sweeping.

Then, red flags started to spring back up around the turn of the year. He started spending even more time ďstudyingĒ for classes, glued to his computer. Heíd stay on his computer no matter what was happening with the family. Heíd ignore the kids. Heíd stay on his computer in our bed, with me cuddled up against him and trying to get his attention. Heíd apologize that he just didnít have time to spend with me because his class load demanded so much studying and attention.

Then I found the first text to his phone. One of his on line relationships had missed connecting with him and had text his phone. I saw it on the phone bill. I made an excuse to look at his phone later that night while he was on his computer. He cautiously handed it over, not realizing I was pulling up his email. There were dozens and dozens of saved chats. Once he realized what I was looking at, he pulled open his email on his laptop and started deleting them as I was looking. I only saw a half dozen before he caught on. I saw enough to get her email address and the feel of how utterly emotionally intimate they were and how incredibly frequent.

I think I died. I think part of me went completely dark.

I remember saying regretfully, ďOh, (husband), youíre cheating on me again.Ē He panicked as I got out of bed, insisting that wasnít the case, demanded that I stay there and talk. Tried to hold the bedroom door closed so I couldnít leave. But I got out of the room and contacted my parents, who knew about the previous time, and came over to talk with us.

He refused to acknowledge the truth of what was going on. Made the normal excuses: insisted I was misreading the information, tried to lie that they were classmates working on a group project. He was in such a fog that he just flat out shut down on the three of us.

The next morning, I emailed the woman who had text him and explained the truth of what was going on. She told me there were actually two of her friends also involved. That he spent his time with the three of them. That heíd even bought gifts for them. Once she realized what was going on, she asked my permission to tell the other women, who contacted me. And I answered questions and emailed with them through that weekend and the following week. Really nice women; truly horrified.

In fact, though I asked him to not contact them, he continued to and it was because they knew what was going on that they all told him off and said to stop contacting them. After they helped shred the fog he was in, even after three days of confrontation, he went no contact and started to talk to me without denying everything.

Itís been three weeks now. Heís been staying in my parentsí spare bedroom as things unfold. The kids see him every day. Heís been completely transparent and frantic to talk since those first three days.

I have no idea what to do.

We have counseling scheduled for right after finals next week. I keep trying to itemize the good and bad points. A major good point: though incredibly intensive and emotionally intimate he was with them, there is not a shred of evidence it was sexual in nature, any of the times. A major bad point: both times this has happened; me and the kids cease to exist in the reality he pursues.

Heís not arguing with me this time. Heís owning up to all of it. Heís been more present and focused and open than Iíve ever seen him. The way heís been the past few weeks would have made me blissful at any other time.
But he just got caught. Again. I donít have any way of knowing how much of this is desperation. I know there isnít any way to know yet. I know actions speak louder than words. I know it takes time to show real changes in behavior.

Iíve been researching, buying books for us to read, trying to understand why this is repeating. Finding this place. In fact, Iím afraid Iíve been helping him too much. Itís just that so much depends on this. Not just me. Not just him. I know his father and brother have acted out almost exactly the same ways. I know their behavior has hurt my husband, and yet, here he is.

He says the books have really helped, been revelatory. Especially the books about addiction; that he can see himself in them so clearly. That he finally feels like he knows whatís going on. That none of this had anything to do with me, any deficiency in me, and all of it was ďinsanityĒ resting solely in him.

But Iím three weeks out from a second DD. Iím so burnt out. Iím so afraid to hope.
Does this really get better? Or is it just different shapes and sizes of explosions as time goes on and we just either give up or become adept at bomb control?

NeverAgain2013 posted 4/25/2013 10:36 AM

Being truthful, I didn't stick around and give him another chance once I found out the full scope of what he'd been up to.

You gave your husband a chance to redeem himself and put yourself through hell trying to reconcile with what he'd done a year ago, and your 'thanks' for that was another kick in the face.

Don't you feel you deserve better, Reality? Do you honestly believe that the rest of your life should just be a series of being kicked over and over, again?

Take care of yourself, Reality. And be good to yourself, ok?

Reality posted 4/25/2013 11:01 AM

I do think I deserve better. Of course, I do.

And yes, he did take advantage, or disregard, a year of pain for me. I think about that every day.

I also think of the kids climbing all over him every chance they get. I also think of how he's the favorite uncle for our hoard of nieces and nephews.

I think about how often he rejected me/us in favor of that fantasy world both times.

I told him if it was just about me, I'd be done. But it isn't. Hence, my limbo.

After last time, I swore to him I'd never go through that again for him, for anyone. But, here, again. I'm not being a martyr. I'm not being blind. I'm just trying to cause less damage to everyone involved, which is why I'm watching and measuring and taking steps carefully.

Does that make sense?

Skan posted 4/25/2013 13:59 PM

Only you can decide when hope is useless any more. That's completely up to you. And lord knows, there have been plenty of people here with multiple DDays who have kept trying. There have also been people here who were done after one EA.

It's up to you.

Given his family history of this abandonment, I would hope that you can get him into counciling to try to figure this out because otherwise, it seems likely that the next time he needs a fix, he'll go trolling for one. (((hugs)))

Reality posted 4/25/2013 15:41 PM

Thank you both for your replies.

Yes, there's some systemic badness going on in his family. He is very removed from them because his childhood was so painful, so I'm not entirely aware of all the pieces in play on the game board.

I hate lack of information in crisis.

I agree his only real hope is counseling. He even is anxious to get started on it. He knows something is "wrong" with his perceptions of reality, but has no answers beyond that.

I know I can't help him with this. I've tried and it's solved nothing. I can follow logic. I can follow reason. I can't follow risking everything for something so... fake. It makes zero sense to me.

The cognitive dissonance of carrying on relationships like that while being in the same room, the same bed as me, while being able to say, "You're so beautiful" to me while spending all that time with other women is staggering.

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