I'm feeling at a crossroads in my heart, and while I know no one else can just straight up tell me what to do, any advice, experiences, or words of wisdom you have to share would be appreciated. I'm so very much in need of advice. I realize this post may be long, so if you want to know some back story about my relationship, read the whole post. If you don't want to read so much (cause I know it's long, I'm sorry), I'll make a bulleted list of summary points at the end, and you're welcome to offer advice based on that list alone.
I don't know a lot of the abbreviations very well yet, so bear with me as I type everything out like a newbie!
I'm the betrayed partner. My fiance and I have been together about a year and a half. The discovery happened in July. The nature of his betrayal was that he was all over the internet having cybersex with people, creating and posting pictures/videos of himself, interacting with people on those kinds of websites. There were people he interacted with on a regular basis but it was all sexual, not emotional, and while he teased those people about getting together in person he says it never happened. I found it by accident while borrowing his computer, he was in the room with me. It was a total shock. We have such an amazing relationship, and he's such a good person and an amazing partner, I would never expect betrayal like that from him. It shook me to my core.
When discovery happened, he broke down and said he thought he might be addicted to porn/cybersex. He says, has always said since discovery, that the cheating happened only online. I have no way to know if he's telling the truth, and have no way to find out. So for the time being, I've chosen to believe him about it all being online. But, the thought that there could have been more frightens me. He went to one counseling session with me, and a couple SA meetings, and then told me that the addiction was a manifestation of something he lacked in himself many years ago, and although he has matured up out of that lacking, for some reason the "bad habit" of the online behavior stuck around. So ultimately he felt all he had to do was walk away from the bad behavior cold turkey, and it was out of his life. He doesn't feel he needs any additional counseling or support meetings. He said he didn't have much in common with the other addicts at SA.
It would have broken us up, for sure, except that immediately after that discovery (like, within days), I had a major medical emergency and he helped me through it. My medical crisis and recovery in total took up about 10-12 weeks worth of time. (I'm totally ok now, physically and all.) I have never had someone be as supportive of me as he was during that time. I was so grateful for his help and support, which was definitely needed. I don't know how I would have made it through all that without him, he was solid as a rock and supported me like no one else could have. After all that was over, I didn't have the heart to leave him, so I cautiously decided to stay for the time being. We agreed to at least try to talk about things and see if we could work them out. He begged me to stay with him, actually, and I reluctantly agreed.
He has expressed loads of remorse and has said all the words a person in my position would want to hear, not that it always falls on receptive ears. It's hard for me to believe anything he says. I've been through a lot of emotions since discovery. First I was numb and cold, for quite a long time. Then many other things, sad, hurt, angry as hell, irritable over every little thing. I'm haunted by doubt and fear. He has been a picture of total patience, love, gentleness, support, through anything I've experienced. But, it's not always easy for me to be comforted by him, no matter how he tries, since he is the one who caused the pain in the first place.
The biggest struggle of all this isn't the sexual side, but the issue of trust. For a long time I've kept saying "I don't know if I can forgive what you did." But recently, I have come to realize I CAN forgive the sexual interaction with other people. What I'm not sure about, is all the deceit. The web of lies, there were SO MANY lies and I have discovered them over time. Every time a new one comes out, it brings all the hurt back again. We did have that "tell everything" talk many months ago, but he couldn't remember every lie he had told me because there had been so many. So when new ones come out, he says it's not that he meant to exclude that from the "tell everything" talk, but simply that he had forgotten telling me that particular lie. Consistently finding new lies means consistent blows to my spirit, and sometimes I wonder how much more I can take.
Walking away from the relationship would be a no-brainer for me, if it were any relationship other than this one. He is such a great partner to me, we have that relationship everyone is jealous of. We make each other so happy just by being ourselves. He's my best friend. All of my family loves him (and they are HARD to please), all my friends love him, and his family and friends love me as well. We fit together so well, it's uncanny. I would never have believed there was such a well suited match for me as this guy, before I met him. Needless to say, if I separate the rest of the relationship from the cheating, this is the best relationship of my life by miles and miles. But I can't pretend the cheating didn't happen, and it's put such a damper on my spirit that for months I haven't felt like myself. Lately, though, over the past few weeks, I've been feeling a tiny bit of hope that maybe the life we planned together really could happen. I've been thinking maybe we can move past this, maybe I can forgive. I've been looking at wedding dresses again. I've been feeling like a girl again, you know? Feeling that way, even for a little while, is a huge step for me.
Then Friday night, we were on the phone, and I asked him a question, and he lied to me. It was a tiny, trivial thing. I brought up something I had asked him to do, and he quickly told me he'd been working on it even though I knew for a fact he hadn't. I was actually bringing it up to tell him it was ok he hadn't done it yet, and I would do it instead!!! But before I got the words out, he lied to me about it. When I called him on it, he refused to acknowledge the lie, kept saying he really had done it, kept saying he wasn't trying to mislead me even though I knew for a fact he was. Finally, he admitted he hadn't done what he said he did. But somehow persisted in saying he wasn't trying to mislead me. Which makes NO sense. We argued about it for two hours! It was so strange, and so upsetting.
I told him I needed the weekend alone to think. I don't think he really "gets" how upset I am, and he might be surprised if he knew I'm thinking of walking away. But back when everything happened, we discussed honesty. The agreement was total transparency. And now he has lied to me, and the fact that it was tiny and trivial doesn't make it less a lie.
He texted me and apologized, profusely, and Saturday he left a flower outside my office door. Other than that, he hasn't made contact, because he's respecting the fact that I wanted the weekend alone to think. But now, I'm going to see him tonight, and I'm feeling the pressure to make a decision. Do I walk away over this? I love this man. I thought we had a future together. But everything else being perfect, how can I stay with him if I can't trust him to tell me the truth??
Please, any advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. I'm feeling so lost. I don't know how to tell if this is a sign I need to cut and run.
Here's a summary of my situation:
-DDay was in July of 2012, his cheating took place online in the form of lots of cybersex
-We have such an amazing relationship, I was completely shocked by the betrayal, and decided to stay long enough to figure out if the relationship is salvageable.
-He walked away from the bad behavior cold turkey. He went to one counseling session and a couple SA meetings before deciding he didn't have an online sex addiction after all, although he may have been "addicted" several years ago, he doesn't think he is now. He has made every effort to avoid temptation that I can see, and online sex is no longer a part of his life.
-He is, by far, the best partner I have ever had. That's the only reason I've stayed. To me, whether or not the relationship will work out is unsure. But I love him.
-Friday, he lied to me about something trivial, and by pure luck I caught him in it. It took two hours to get him to admit the lie!
-We've been apart all weekend (by my request), but I'm seeing him tonight. I don't know whether I should break up with him or not, based on this NEW lie.
-Does this NEW lie mean he is going to be someone who lies to me forever? Does it mean I should break up with him? Does it mean he hasn't changed as much as I thought, or that he is simply untrustworthy as a person?
-Am I just signing myself up for years of misery if I stay at this point, given that he has lied to me again?
What was your experience like, with the lying? Did they stop lying to you completely all at once, or did they have to learn not to lie over time? If you stayed with a liar, was it worth it? Did they learn? If you stayed with a liar, did it result in further heartache?
For any wayward individual who is recovered now, and healthy - did you behave this way with your significant other at first? Did you lie about trivial things? What do you think it means?
Anything anyone wants to share is welcome. And thanks so much for reading my (long) first post on this site.
I hate to tell BF/BS to run away from a relationship, but that is what I am going to tell you to do. Until he figures out what is really broken in him he will continue to lie and hurt you, the relationship, and himself. You do not want to marry someone like that and have to live with this the rest of your life. I wished to God I had never married WH#2 and at the time he had not cheated on me as far as I knew. Had I known he was a cheater and a liar I would have never married him (we were both BS's in our first marriages). You know he is a cheater and a liar. I think there is actually more that went on than he is admitting to. (((HUGS)))
I just wanted to clarify that this is the first lie I've caught him in since DDay. All the other lies I learned about were from before, from while he was still cheating on me.
His behavior has been SO GOOD all these many months (from what I can tell), and he has been such a constant support in my life ... it's hard to imagine that this one lie, over this one stupid unimportant little thing could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
I hate having to make this decision, being in this position. He is truly the love of my life. And I thought we were making progress. Does this one lie erase everything he has done these past several months? I just don't know. I don't think I'll be able to make this decision today... it'll probably take more time.
Is asking him to give me a week to myself, no contact, unreasonable?
If I am understanding this right, you have been in a committed relationship with this man for 18 months. 11 months ago you found out he was being unfaithful to you with (at least) online encounters. In other words, 7 months into your relationship was your D-day, and he had been involved in that behavior for an unspecified period of time. Here's my questionówas he EVER faithful to you in your relationship? It certainly sounds like he was potentially involved in his online activities since before you even began your relationship and if that's the case, he has NEVER been faithful to you.
He is lying to you about trivial things. He is hiding a huge part of himself from you.
He is such a great partner to me, we have that relationship everyone is jealous of. We make each other so happy just by being ourselves.
The thing is, he IS being himself. The lies and the cheating are part of who he is. How many people would be jealous of a relationship in which one person is lying and cheating?
All of my family loves him (and they are HARD to please), all my friends love him, and his family and friends love me as well.
Would your family and friends still adore him if they knew what he was doing and how much it has hurt you?
Are you two living together? Do you have unlimited access to his computer and cell phone? Do you have all of his passwords? Are you able to look at all of his phone records? There is a lot he could be hiding.
It's not unreasonable to take time off for yourself. Take as long as you need to make a decision.
He walked away from the bad behavior cold turkey. He went to one counseling session and a couple SA meetings before deciding he didn't have an online sex addiction after all, although he may have been "addicted" several years ago, he doesn't think he is now. He has made every effort to avoid temptation that I can see, and online sex is no longer a part of his life.
This isn't possible. You don't have an addiction problem and then magically, don't have one. My exws is an alcoholic who quit drinking before we married. He didn't seek counseling. He just did it. What I didn't know is that an addict can't just turn it off. If they don't have one thing, they'll turn to another if they haven't done the work to deal with their issues. In his case, he substituted gambling/sex/drugs for the alcohol, but I didn't know it until much later.
Your fiance may be "behaving" now, but it won't last. Don't let him convince you otherwise.
Allusions - you are correct on the timing. To answer your questions: No, at the beginning of our relationship, unbeknownst to me he was NOT being faithful at all, because on a regular basis he was continuing this "bad habit" he had had for several years, of seeking these random cybersex encounters online, or watching people's live video feeds, etc. Really the whole online sex scene baffles me, but he used it as a stress relief and thought "it's normal, all guys look at porn online and this is the same thing." This behavior was something that he used as a coping mechanism for stress I guess, and he never saw it as unfaithful behavior. Of course, after being found out, after reading a couple books and going to a therapy session, he sees NOW that it was unfaithful and he had deluded himself in thinking otherwise, and he's very remorseful. He says it kills him to know he was doing that to me. To the best of my knowledge he's been faithful to me for the past 11 months after discovery, and I've definitely had plenty of times when I've checked up on him. We don't live together, but he does leave his email open and signed in on my laptop so I can see anything I want anytime. He gives me access to his computer and phone anytime I ask him, immediately when I do, and I have asked plenty and randomly so he wasn't expecting it. I realize that no matter what I do, there is a lot he could still be hiding from me. I feel pretty silly admitting to this, but I've thought about asking him to take a polygraph. That way I could get firm answers to whether anything besides online stuff happened before discovery, and whether or not he's been 100% faithful since that time - on those two points, it's hard to know whether or not to believe his words even though he's consistently reassured me about them.
He told me he wanted me to tell anyone I wanted, if it meant I had a support system to help me heal. The only person I've told is my best friend from college. She's a big fan of him, and she was just as shocked as I was. She still likes him, and has not advised me to leave him, but she has definitely advised me to be careful. She and I are both wary, but she's supportive of reconciliation if that's what I want. She's a great friend and I know she's on my side no matter what. I haven't told her of this most recent lie (the only new lie I know of in 11 months), because she's away on a trip. I don't know what she'll say about it.
Lieshurt - you are absolutely right that that is the general way of addicts, and a huge source of concern for me. My guy says that he developed this "bad habit" as a coping mechanism, much like an addiction, at a time when he wasn't really healthy in his life and he used it as a crutch. With alcohol or drugs, the reality is "once an addict, always an addict." You can be a recovering alcoholic but you never stop being one. By contrast people don't seem to view porn addiction the same way. I guess because it's not a physical, chemical addiction. It's more immaturity, personality driven - something lacking in you that makes you turn to something as a crutch, almost pathologically, but it is possible for that person to overcome it and no longer be addicted. Or at least, so say the pop psychology books I've been reading, and so says my guy. I have NO idea if this is really the case or not, and it scares me. I don't want him just replacing porn with something else.
Looking back over this thread and everything I've shared with you guys, I can see how it might seem black and white, so obvious I should leave him. Especially given the short period of time we've been together. Relationships are complicated and three dimensional, and no matter how much I try to separate myself from it and just look at it logically, I can't be totally objective. To me it's all pretty multi faceted. Our relationship definitely moved fast - I've never clicked with someone the way I did when I met him, except when I met my best friend from college. It was an instant connection and not a day went by without seeing each other once we met (until after discovery - I've asked for some days alone since then, and he always gives them to me). I've always been slow to progress in relationships before; my last relationship lasted 4 years and we never even got engaged, and ultimately of course we parted ways. But with my current SO, the connection was so strong, and so obvious to us and everyone in our lives that we were perfect for each other, and we started talking about getting married 6 months into our relationship. A month later on DDay, it was a rude awakening and I would have left, basically had already told him our relationship was over. But then I had a medical crisis and he was there by my side through all of it. Seeing how he handled that, the way he supported me, so strong and steady during a major crisis, so faithfully by my side when a lot of guys would run, made me fall in love with him all over again, and after I had recovered, I felt I had a more complex decision to make than I ever anticipated, and for me the situation needed time.
I guess there's a part of me hoping that this little lie was a unique event, just a moment of weakness of him being a guy and trying to cover his a$$ when he forgot to do something I'd asked him to do. And then there's another part of me thinking, it could be part of a bigger pattern, and if it is and he's lying to me consistently, I know I need to get out of here. It'll just be so, so hard because I love him so much and on a day-to-day basis he is the perfect partner to me. I just don't know how to figure it out - was it a momentary slip, or was it part of a pattern of deceit? I don't know how to discern that, and I wish I knew.
I'm just hoping and praying that I can come to a conclusion where I feel confident in the decision I make. Thank you guys again for giving me your input and being a part of my journey in that.
Before there is a child in the picture do yourself a favor and find someone who thinks you are to good to cheat on and thinks about you more than themselves.
For 20 years it never made sense to me why he would feel the need to to that in a new relationship with awesome sex. But he was 19, that was 20 years ago and I knew nothing about SA at the time.
So we get married, I got pregnant, we got a computer and the cybersex started, it lasted for about 3 or 4 years, with all of the usual lies, denial, me threatening to leave, etc, etc.
Flash forward a few years, I had made my own online anti cyber cheating group and we both healed from that. I forgave him and trusted him until last summer.
All of these years he hid his obsession with porn from me. I knew he watched it, but had no clue to what extent he was watching it and how many times a day he was jerking off to it, well our sex life got less and less, which was not normal.This went on for a couple of years, me clueless and him giving excuse after excuse, well last August I find a list of escort numbers and of course he lied. Well, last Dec. I got him to admit to doing it once, since then , even as early as last Sat night, he has been lying about the extent of what he did. He now says it wasn't just 4 whores, but 7. I am not meaning to t/j here but to give you the real life history of someone who has lived this nightmare for 20 years and didn't even know most of it.
I am 100% certain there is still much more I don't know. It isn't the cheating that will break my marriage up, but the damage the lies have caused.
Do yourself a favor NOW and find out exactly what he has done and how much you are willing to put up with.
My SAWS is in a recovery program,meetings and IC and is still lying, so I don't have much positive to say about a SA at this point and it sounds like he may be one.
Find out all you can now before you invest any more of your heart or time in this man. I am so sorry you find yourself here and feel free to PM if you would like to talk.
By contrast people don't seem to view porn addiction the same way. I guess because it's not a physical, chemical addiction.
Actually, there is a chemical addiction there. There is a "high" they get from the release of brain chemicals when porn is viewed, they masturbate or engage in illicit sexual activities.
He still lies, and is only since February (I think) trying to stop lying and is going through counselling b/c he doesn't know why he lies.
If I had it to do over, I'd rather have never met him, or kicked him out on d-day. I was just way too much in love at the time. But he was never able to be the man I thought he was, truthful and self supportive ha ha.
If you are able to leave him and move on, that would be my advice.
But if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't marry him. I knew he was a liar when we got married. We were together for 6 years before marrying and he lied to me a handful of times. Nothing major. But that's when I should have known. If he can lie about the bullshit little things like a pillow, he'll lie about anything like having an affair with a coworker.
Run. You'll find someone better.
I'm not what I ought to be. I'm not what I want to be. I'm not what I hope to be. But thank God, I'm not what I used to be.
At this point it doesn't really matter but I can tell you that he used the "relieving stress and anxiety" excuse all the time. I've noticed he cycles. Sometimes it will be 10 months between the cycling and when he is ramping up I feel it. I know to keep my guard up and my eyes open. This is seriously no way to live and I'm in the process of finally getting out.
We are that couple who are perfect for one another. Everything else (almost) is perfect. And then there is the cheating, SA and dishonesty. I know what you are feeling. If you give up now you might have missed that one true perfect love. I stayed for exactly that reason and now I am trying to untangle the web of complications so that I can move out and move on.
In hindsight I wish I had insisted on intensive work to get through this. I wish I had watched his actions instead of listening to his words (oh, they were very pretty words). I wish I had done a polygraph. I wish I had stopped trying to figure out how he got that way (sad childhood etc.) and I wish I had loved myself more than I did him so that I could put me first. Protect myself and my heart instead of trying to help him through this tough time. Sadly, these last years have worn me out. I have never regained trust. I have been afraid to travel alone because I wouldn't trust him to be faithful. I have watched phone logs and computer history. I pay attention to every little thing then go into full out investigation mode when something doesn't add up. In the process I've lost me and my self-esteem is in the toilet. Hindsight is 20/20 and if you decide to give him another chance I hope you will let him know that anything less than 100% will not be good enough.
Hugs to you and Welcome to SI.
When I finally faced the fact that my husband was a sex addict, I thought it was "just porn". It wasn't. Turns out I've fallen so far down the rabbit hole of sexual addiction, I may never be able to fully climb out. I've learned of things I didn't even know were sex things. I never would have thought I'd married a man who was into young girls. I never would have thought I'd married a man who was into urophilia. I never would have thought I'd married a man who was into genital mutilation & bondage. I never would have thought I'd married a man who preferred prostitutes, online cheating dating websites, and drug dealers. I never would have thought the father of my children would masturbate at the computer while actually holding them in his arms.
But that's what happened.
I wish I'd walked away back when it was "just porn". Oh God, I wish I had.
She is very fun-loving and has a very magnetic personality and most people do not catch her in her lies, or they just look past it because she is so much fun to be around. I never noticed so much as I did after d-day. In fact, it was one of the things that lead to her admitting to one particular A. I personally witnessed her lying to just about everyone we know.
If I could go back in time, I wish our paths had never crossed. The longer I was with her, the more difficult for me it becomes to walk away. But, the one thing that I wanted more than an exclusive sexual relationship was honesty. Its the one thing that I am not sure she will ever be able to give.
I don't know when to know when to walk away because I have seemingly failed miserably at arriving to that conclusion. But I can tell you that the absence of truth never got any easier to accept. In fact if anything it has been the one single thing that may prevent us from ever having a close relationship ever again. Quite frankly it doesn't even really matter why she lies, its the feeling that it will never end. I have been reduced to her provider in my own heart because I cannot re-attach.
Only you know if you can deal with this malfunction in your relationship.
I wish you peace in whatever you decide.
[This message edited by joeboo at 11:09 PM, June 3rd (Monday)]
I did end up having a conversation with him last night. Overall, it left me with more questions than answers. He's going to an SA meeting tomorrow at my request, and I hope he gets the help he needs, but I don't know where I stand with him.
I have a lot to think about. I'm considering talking to a counselor as well. I'm so glad I found this community since before I did, I didn't even realize things like this existed for someone in my shoes.
The *best case* scenario is that you are dealing with an addiction that will require ALOT of therapy and group work. My H now attends individual therapy once per week, a SA meeting weekly, and we go to marital counseling 1-2 times per month. Oh and I have an individual counselor and need one after what this has put our family through. I am pretty confident that for the rest of our lives we will be having at least 2 therapy sessions/meetings of some kind per month to try to keep the H in recovery and to repair our marriage, if that is possible. And even with that you are living under a black cloud of risk of relapse -- relapse you cannot control. And that has the potential to do tremendous damage and impose lasting shame for your future kids. My biggest nightmare is not that my H does some bizarre sex act with a prostitute, it is that someone sees him coming out of a meeting or counseling, figures out he is a sex addict, word spreads, and my kids get teased at school about it.
FWIW to my knowledge my H is mostly porn and visiting strip bars - - but he was progressively escalating as most SAs do. And what I describe above is now our life . . .
[This message edited by cds22 at 9:04 PM, June 4th (Tuesday)]