I have no evidence that my husband has ever had a physical affair, but I have caught him sexting with other women multiple times. The first few times were over 10 years ago, and were just very flirtatious text messages with women he worked with. There was also some facebook flirting with women he knew from high school. I flipped out, and he denied he'd done anything wrong and insisted it was no big deal, that he was just "having fun". Then in 2008, I discovered he had developed a sort of EA with a neighbor who was getting a divorce. She had sent him provocative photos of herself, and he texted her CONSTANTLY for about a month. I later discovered he was actually texting her while sitting at the table with me having a romantic date night, and once had her in our house with our kids while I was at work. I also learned he had taken her out on one occasion (telling me he was going out with friends), but he insisted nothing physical ever happened. It took weeks of research and hysterics for me to get all the info out of him, and it was devastating. He eventually apologized, admitted how wrong he was, and agreed to never do it again. He cut off contact with the woman and she moved away.
I gradually gained trust back, and after a few years felt like our marriage was fantastic - and he agreed. I never even thought about looking at his phone anymore, or at his cell bill. Then, 5 months ago, my world fell apart again. His phone received a text while he was sleeping, and it kept giving little alert beeps because no one had acknowledged it. So I picked up the phone and pushed the button - and up popped a photo of one of his coworkers, topless and in a very sexual pose. There were no other messages from her on the phone (he had deleted them, but she sent this one after he had fallen asleep) so he initially tried to tell me she must have sent it to him by accident. But then I looked up his cell usage records and printed out the log of their texts messages. Just the log of their text usage alone for the previous 3 weeks filled 25 printed pages.
I was devastated. Again, he insisted nothing physical had ever happened, it was just flirting for fun, she was nothing to him, he never intended to take it any further. I discovered he had cancelled plans with our son one day because he was hoping to make plans with her. He insisted it was platonic, nothing sexual intended. He apologized, begged and pleaded, freaked out and panicked, said he couldn't lose me over something so stupid. He texted her and told her I knew and he didn't want to lose his marriage. But then the cell records revealed that he called her the next day (which he deleted off his phone history) and didn't tell me about it. He said he only called to explain why he wouldn't be able to talk to her anymore - but he already had, so WTF?
But as far as I can tell, he never texted her or called her since. He has been very loving and attentive, sex has been great, and I thought it was just a stupid mistake that we were putting behind us.
Then Sunday morning, I was up getting his Father's Day presents ready while everyone else was asleep. The previous week he had mentioned to me that a different girl at work had broken up with her boyfriend and had been sleeping around since - I actually asked him if she had been flirting with him at all, and he totally denied it... I saw his phone sitting there and thought I would just reassure myself. There was a few innocent seeming text messages from her, but nothing inappropriate. Then I looked at the history section, and found that he had deleted a LOT of messages from one day a few weeks prior. It only displayed the first line or so of the messages, but it was enough - VERY explicit and graphic sexting messages. I could also see from the log that she had sent numerous picture messages, and from their messages I could figure out what the pictures were of. They planned that he would sneak over to her house after I went to work, and he was telling her what he wanted to do to her. (He later sent another message saying he wouldn't be able to come over after all.)
I am just over it. He is apologetic, says he did it because he was "BORED". Says it is nothing to do with me, and he doesn't know what is wrong with him. He says I am beautiful and sexy and he loves me and can't lose me. I told him I don't want him in my bed anymore, so he said he will sleep in the basement. He says he is going to go to counseling to fix whatever is wrong with him.
I feel like I am at a crossroads here. I really really love this man. Aside from this, he is really a wonderful husband - I have been blind-sided by this crap every single time, because he is always so loving and attentive. But at this point, I feel like there is no hope that this is going to stop happening. Do I divorce him, and throw my children's father out of our house? Or do I stay married to him and just try to accept that this is the type of man he is and try to ignore it??
Sorry this got so long. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.
So sorry that you are dealing with this again.
((gently))Your husband is a serial cheater. He has had many EA and I am hard pressed from what you have written to believe there has never been anything physical.
Aside from this, he is really a wonderful husband
That is your co-dependency talking. That is like an abused woman saying "he's really great when he's not beating me"
HE IS NOT A GREAT HUSBAND.
Great husbands do not seek attention from OW outside their marriage. Great husbands do not put their own selfish needs before their wives and family. He is selfish and arrogant.
He has repeatedly disrespected you.
do I stay married to him and just try to accept that this is the type of man he is and try to ignore it??
Do you really want to live your life this way? No, you don't have to accept it.
You get to choose how you will live your life. You choose what is acceptable and what is not. If he can't comply then that is HIS decision.
Look up the 180. This stops only when you say it stops. He has continued with his horrible choices because there have been no consequences if he doesn't.
Now is the time for you to take back some power.
He needs IC and you need IC to help you figure out how you navigate through this storm.
Either way, you can do it. You will make it through and come out the other side okay.
Be strong and don't play into his sorry bs. Sorry doesn't cover this.
You know, I know men like your husband. Always on the make, always looking for a cheap thrill, and always sleazing it up behind their wive's backs.
I hate to say it, but there's just no way your husband hasn't taken advantage of every opportunity that's been thrown in his lap. I don't believe for one second that all his sexually explicit conversations with coworkers over the years did NOT eventually lead to hookups outside work.
Unfortunately, these liars will ONLY admit to what they absolutely HAVE to. Over the years, all you've found are his sexually explicit texts to different women - but never a 'smoking gun.' If texts and pics are all you've ever found, then that's ALL he's ever going to admit to. Had you been lucky enough to find one of the texts that discussed plans for meeting - or talked about how hot their meeting 2 nights ago WAS - then he would have only admitted to that one night you found evidence for.
They'll only admit to what you FIND. Keep that in mind.
I think my first order of business would be to make him get a full STD screening - and that would be non negotiable. He can scream 'innocent' all he wants, but I don't think you've been given the whole truth.
I guess my best advice would be to proceed with extreme caution until you're able to find out what he's really been doing all these years. Ugh - I was married to a man like this and left him.
Sorry you find yourself here.
They are adults..not junior high school kids..they are flirting and sending naked pics to each other. The next "logical" step is sex. Why would you think he has NOT had sex with her? Because he says so? but he is a liar and a cheater..you can't believe him.
Put spyware on his phone and a keylogger on his computer...and a VAR in the car. Dont say another word to him...I'd bet within 48 hours of placing the VAR in his car,you will hear the two of them either talking about having sex,or having sex.
..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.
You've let him slide on it for so long that he just keeps doing it. He has no reason to stop because you keep staying and being right there waiting for him. Life at home is unpleasant for a few weeks, but then you "trust" him and he can go right back to getting his rocks off with coworkers.
Please don't let this go on.
Pull up your Bitch Boots, they are waiting in the closet for you.
Make an appt with an attorney to find out your rights.
Open an account in your name and fund it WELL.
Kick him to the curb until he can tell you the truth.
Contact the other BS, and tell him. (Do not tell your wh you are contacting him until after you do it.)
It only stops when you say it does.
Always, tell the other BS! Always!
"It's hard to be in love when you can't tell lies"!
Time to put your bitch boots on.
This sounds like minimalizing, to toss in a vocab word, but when I learned it, I could go read about it and it helped with my own fog.
Perv will only grudgingly admit if I ask something (and I have to stomp sometimes) and there is no forthcoming information.
I think you have also not discovered what your deal breakers are or what your threshold is for the things WH is doing and your level of pain tolerance.
One thing that helped me towards D, though I kicked and screamed to do it, was the lifting of fog on my own self-respect. He tried to take that away from me and I-we-don't have to let them.
I think the VAR is a good idea and getting more evidence will be in your favor. Perv slept with his phone under his pillow-and worse-so there was never a chance to grab it like you've had, but his behavior changes were a clue.
And FWIW, one thing that pushed my threshold was the lies and the sneaking, not just the A itself-the lies and sneaking your WH are doing are very disrespectful to you and I hate to have it happen to someone else.
I'm sorry for your hard time and hope you can make some decisions.
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.
I could have written this post in 2006, with my 1st husband. I "caught" him in so many inappropriate situations with MANY OW. I hated his phone!
He was my 1st and only and I THOUGHT WE WERE HAPPY. Turns out it was just what I thought.
All I can say is that where there is smoke, there is fire!
Don't let him dragging you through this again. Stand firm because he is definitely a serial offender.
I agree with the advice you are getting, except I don't believe that you have to prove a PA. Isn't his lying and sexting that you have proof of betrayal enough? He knows how it has devastated you in the past. I agree he probably has taken it there, but the known betrayal is bad enough, IMO.
I think that if there is any chance of his "owning his shit" you need to kick him out and start divorce proceedings. He is disrespecting you and taking advantage of your forgiveness. Perhaps there is no changing for him but it will take more than what you have done in the past.
Best of luck. I'm so sorry for your pain.
He keeps doing it because you keep letting him get away with it.
The fact is this: Your husband has betrayed you--because he WANTS to. He is not doing it because of your response or non-response. He is cheating BECAUSE HE WANTS TO. It's a choice he is making, and it speaks to his deficiencies, not yours.
Yes, how we respond is important---but not because it drives the behavior of others. We can control only our OWN thoughts, feelings, and actions. Likewise, your husband is fully responsible for his own.
Your response is important, because it influences how you feel about yourself. Fact is, you could do everything "right" (many of us have done so, or darn close), and still find yourself with a cheating spouse.
So please--do NOT internalize any, "He does it because you let him" messages. It's hard enough to get past infidelity without self-blame.
Accept that your husband has chosen to cheat. Consider that you only have uncovered the very tip of the iceberg---but that you may never know the real extent of what he's done. He's got a years-long pattern of very inappropriate behavior at best; the compulsive nature of it suggests that it likely has escalated over time. When others say, "He's fucking her," they're probably right.
You wonder where to go from here. The good news is that you don't have to make any decisions today. Or tomorrow. You can plan and prepare and do things the way that work "best" for you in a situation that is about as far from "best" as can be.
If I were doing it again, I'd set aside the interrogation, the intel-gathering, and so on. You already have amassed massive amounts of information. You know he's cheating. If you're like me, you want to know the extent---but from HIM. And he has shown an uncanny ability to hide and lie and sneak; he's not apt to tell you a thing, unless he is VERY motivated to do so.
So, my focus--in your shoes--would be to provide that motivation. What I wish I'd done was an IMMEDIATE hard 180. This detachment does a couple of things. Most importantly, it gives you strength and distance to make wise choices for yourself. This is critical---especially when near-immobilized by pain. Secondly (but often not at all--so don't hang your hat on this one), the distance and detachment can nudge an on-the-fence WS, who suddenly sees what s/he stands to lose, to get OFF the fence and do what is right.
The latter is really not the intent of the 180 (which is located in the Healing Library under the FAQs for BSs; it is #11). Often, the WS is so self- and -affair-absorbed that s/he does not see the BS's detachment. Sometimes, the WS sees it, and views it negatively; my husband did this---he cited my detachment as further rationale for his bad behavior. (Hence my emphatic insistence that no, your husband is NOT cheating "because you keep letting him get away with it;" cheaters cheat because they CHOOSE to cheat, WANT to cheat, DECIDE to cheat---not because their BSs do or do not do something.)
Use the 180 to gain some breathing room and to gain a little perspective. If you want, as you work to detach using the 180, you can also gather a bit more intel with a voice activated recorder or private investigator. Or, you can work to accept that you will never really know the extent of the infidelity, and go from there. Only you can decide how much more information you need, given what you already know.
Keep in mind that most decisions you make are not irrevocable. There's room for error. If you decide to stay, you can change your mind. If you decide to hold off on filing, you can file later. If you go ahead and file, you can halt the process. The one thing you CAN'T do is un-see evidence or unlearn details. Think hard before you ask for them (from your husband, by gathering electronic intel, or by using a PI). I'm not discouraging you from doing so; I was one who needed as much info as possible--but had to accept that once I had the information, I had to find a way to live with it. Though painful, this was easier for me than the unknown.
Thing is, even though I decided I wanted/needed details, that did not guarantee I'd get them! If you decide you want details, prepare yourself for the possibility that you will never get them. It's very frustrating; as you make decisions for yourself, determinations of what you need to best heal, you may find that your husband's intentions do not match. This is what happened for me; I have never been told anything more than I discovered on my own. Making peace with this is something many BSs must do.
Good luck, MP--come here often; there's tons of support.
I completely realize that it seems ridiculous to believe anything he says, and it seems obvious that he MUST have messed around physically with someone in all this. But deep down I really question it - not because I think he's incapable of doing such a thing or whatever, but because I don't think sexual gratification is the reason he does this. I think it's much more about getting his ego stroked, which doesn't require any physical contact and allows him to keep telling himself that since he didn't actually touch any of these women then he's done nothing wrong. That being said, I admit that there is every possibility that I am wrong, and it certainly seems likely that if he hasn't slept with anyone else yet that it seems to be escalating in that direction.
Luckily, there has never been an OBS in any of these scenarios that I know about. He seems to have a distinct type: young, petite brunettes who are very fresh out of bad marriages and are very desperate for attention. This most recent girl had actually had a ONS with my husband's best friend (who is single) just a week before the sexting incident with my husband.
I don't know what I am going to do quite yet. I don't feel hysterical like I have the other times - it almost feels like an emotional callous is developing on my heart or something. But for the timebeing, I am going to stick with not allowing him in my bed, and I will try the 180 thing. That is so hard, because he is my very best friend. I can't believe this is happening.
I might look into the VAR and keyloggers - I'm not sure how all that works, but I assume that if I google it I can figure it out. I agree that I don't think he would ever in a thousand years admit to a PA unless I had hard evidence of it.
Thanks again for all your suggestions and support.
[This message edited by MylarPineapples at 8:02 PM, June 17th (Monday)]
You are dealing with a LIAR and a CHEATER; and I assure you: He's had physical, sexual affairs with these women -and he constantly LIES to you about his sexual involvment.
It's really your call: You can ignore his cheating and continue to live this way - or you can decide ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and demand that he STOP, seek therapy and CHANGE....or kick his butt to the curb and divorce his cheating ass.
He can STOP...and he can CHANGE. But he must STOP THE LIES - admit he "needs to stop and change."
I'm sincerely sorry for the continuous pain you are going through.
I can understand being alone; but I hate being with someone and feeling lonely.
Not one damn thing.
HE needs to spring into action and show you he is fighting for you and the marriage.
Your job is to dig for evidence and to watch him. If he is being honest,you will find out. If he is lying,well,you'll find that out too. Watch him. It is not your job to save this marriage right now. You don't have to do anything.
And,honey,most WS will tell you they did it for an ego stroke. Mine did. Read over on the wayward forum. We have some wonderful,remorseful,healed former waywards...the majority of them will tell you they did it for validation and an ego stroke. Please do not base you reason for thinking nothing was physical because you think he wasn't doing it for sexual gratification. The truth is,you don't know his "why" any more than he does. He needs to go to IC and figure that out.
Are you taking care of yourself?
About the ego stroking rationale for sexting, for a moment. Yes, you're right. Infidelity does occur, quite often, as a quest for the ego stroke. But think about how a junkie functions: first, s/he uses just a little bit, and gets the expected high. Then, a little more is needed to get the same high. Eventually, life centers on finding the high, and the need for drug, in higher amounts and strengths, increases. The drug may---and often does--change, in the quest for that high.
It's VERY likely that after 10 years of sexting, your husband is using it not to gain the high of the ego stroke, but to set up the event that will provide the REAL high. It's very likely that he has escalated out of the texting realm.
I'm sorry. I wish this were not true. But it's very uncommon for a person with poor boundaries to draw a decade-long firm boundary around physical infidelity. If he's made the graphic texting okay in his mind, it's not a huge leap to make other things okay in his mind. I truly hope I am wrong, but because the stakes are high, it's important to consider the possibility.
I can't begin to count how many of us have spouses who "only texted," or "only flirted," or "just called 900 numbers," or even "just watched porn" (which is not always problematic, but for a subset does replace emotional and/or physical intimacy and cause real problems for them, and in their relationships).
I can't tell you how many of those spouses, the ones who "just" watched, or "just" listened, or "just" <fill in the blank>, have, in fact, escalated to have physical affairs. Frighteningly, they often escalate to have high-risk sex with high-risk partners.
We don't want you to learn this about your husband. We especially don't want you to learn it the way some of us have: with the diagnosis of an STD.
It's for that reason that I recommend that you take measures to protect yourself. At this point, you do not know the extent of your husband's behaviors. Because of that, you must assume he is like any stranger you'd meet. Would you have unprotected sex with a new man in your life? No.
Well, right now, the man you live with is a stranger. As heart-wrenching as it is, the truth of the matter is that you know no more about his sexual history than you'd know about any random guy you'd meet in bar. (I am so sorry for typing this---literally, I have tears in my eyes; the hardest thing for me to assimilate, post-d-day was that I did not know my husband. I truly, truly hope you discover that you DO know the truth, and can move forward from there. But for now, you cannot make that assumption. The risk is too high.)
You must be tested for STDs. In your shoes, I would not have sex with him until he, too, was tested and the first round of tests came back clear. Then, until the recommended re-tests (which might be spread over 24 months, depending on your doctor's recommendations) are completed, I'd use a condom for every sex act, including oral sex. (I will spare you details of the STD I contracted; suffice it to say it was in my oropharynx, and was next to impossible to diagnose and treat---and caused me over a year of real suffering. I will say this: oral sex without condom is not safe, if your partner has been with others whose sexual histories you do not know.)
Only then, and ONLY if, by that time, you are convinced that NOTHING NEW -- no sexting, no anything--- has taken place, would I resume unprotected sex. I would resign myself to the possibility that, in this marriage with this man, you will never achieve that certainty. He's remorseless, and he's continued the same bad behavior for which he VERY recently expressed "remorse" and offered hollow promises. He's in DEEP, and he's making no real gestures to stop.
I am so, so sorry to belabor these points. I do so only so that you stay safe as you work to heal from this. I genuinely hope that you are able to move forward in the way you'd like to, and that there are no other discoveries to be made.
Know that, if there are, you WILL get through it. You have lots of support, and lots of strength.