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Reality posted 6/21/2013 09:48 AM

I've been having a hard time this week. Made a big post in Reconciliation. So I go home after work and think, "That's it. Quiet time." I close myself in my bedroom, with the kids and husband eating dinner and watching TV.

About 45 minutes in, my husband's phone beeps, where it's on his night stand. Battery low. I plug it in for him.

*Interjection. Both DDs happened because I found stuff going on through his phone. Wasn't checking up on him, just random picking up phone at wrong time or weird phone bill stuff. I f'ing should be checking up on him, but even the thought starts me shaking and my heart racing. He's done total transparency, but OUCH.*

Plugging it in, the screen brightens. I see he has a new Facebook notification. The night before, my oldest posted a short video of him and her brothers wigging out over one of the NBA final games. Some of her uncles and great uncles posted comments, in addition to my husband. It was cute.

I don't have a Facebook account. It's one more place some of the crazy people I have to deal with can track me down. But the interchange my daughter showed me was really nice. So I pulled down the notification to check, thinking there was something new.

Long story short, I found chats.

He's in law school. I completely understand group projects, etc. But this wasn't that. It was talking about exams interspersed with anecdotes about the kids and vague references to me. Of course to a female fellow student. A few, actually.

It looked like every chat I've ever seen from his EA, but with deliberate references to the kids this time. The basic hierarchy of his EA communications were all there:

- He was vulgar and swearing all over. Comments like "Oh, that probably sounded dirty."

- He mentioned his parents being very well off. He always does this with the female contacts. Like it's some power street cred. (Never mind these same parents have defaulted on payments for husband's health issues and stuck me with the bill for thousands.)

- The only mention of me was a "I prefer to be nocturnal, but wifey doesn't like it." Me asking that we keep our schedules synched, you know with LAW SCHOOL and WORK, but he has to make it seem I'm controlling. Once the other contacts found out about me (THROUGH ME), he made a point to tell them I was controlling. Yeah, I know: Infidelity 101. Never mind the whole "I stayed up all night talking to multiple other women" fundamental issue.

Here's the kicker: they happened SINCE DD#2 - over the last three months. The last chat went up until a couple weeks ago. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I felt/FEEL totally disassociated.

It was just like one of the other chats, but with deliberate mention of the kids and I. He didn't have to contact for school information or anything necessary. It was just making a connection. And OF COURSE, crossing every damn boundary we'd covered.

When I confronted him, he immediately minimized and was surprised I would read the chat as "inappropriate" or similar to ALL THE OTHERS. That I was welcome to check his phone anytime and that if he had been "acting out addictively he would have deleted it or been careful." I said, "You realize you just incriminated yourself for all the chats that happened 'accidentally' then? That you WERE aware of what they were?!"

He tried his normal defensive gaslighting and minimizing: "No, it's not the same. It wasn't like that." I had to pull open the conversation and point out to his face the exact lines I was referencing. When I did, he started to cry and apologize. That he could see NOW that it was wrong and that he hadn't meant it that way.

I said, "You NEVER mean it that way. If I thought for one moment you did any of this intentionally or maliciously, I never would have let you stay."

I told him, "I would NEVER do this to you. Can you imagine me EVER going to another man for attention like that?" He, of course, said no.

I made him leave - with him sobbing - and sleep on the couch. Then sat on my bed in dark, shaking and completely disconnected.

I didn't wake him up before I left for work at 5:45 this morning. I got a text from him just now saying he reread them all and can see they are inappropriate and that he's so sorry and it will never happen again.

Guys... what the hell is this? I know all the tired old tropes about addicts and "falling off the wagon." I understand that he is acting out identical behaviors he saw his dad and older brother do. I've SEEN him make connections about himself and give every appearance of being down to the cellular level remorseful for everything. I KNOW he has big broken, damaged sections from his family that he's been working like crazy on. But there's serious things going on. MC, yep! Reading books, yep! Talking lots, YEP. All the "How to Make Amends" items, he's been checking off. I get that we've been under tons of stress with my daughter's eating disorder, but I thought we were in it together, truly.

And now this. I'm... speechless.

2 x 4s welcome. ANYTHING is welcome.

[This message edited by Reality at 9:51 AM, June 21st (Friday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 6/21/2013 10:11 AM

(((Reality))) I am so sorry. There are bumps on the road to reconciliation. I really don't have any advice. Just wanted to give you a hug.

Reality posted 6/21/2013 10:40 AM

When I see him starting into one of those habitual patterns: being increasingly negative, emotionally withdrawn, obsessive over whatever interest has captured him: I say, "Honey, I'm seeing this, this, and this. Are you okay?"

He never believes me. He only can see it well into the pattern. His first response is to say I'm wrong, or that I'm misreading the signs, or that it was completely coincidental that a behavior/reaction looked the same as PREVIOUS HORRIBLY DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR.

We even had the MC last week say, "Well, guys, I think you're in a good spot. Shall we call it quits?"

Husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. Three months after serial EA addictions and we're good to go? What kind of a moron was the MC? My husband said, "No, I think there's lots more to do. We'll schedule another visit." Granted, the MC's way of dealing with this has been to talk to husband and say, "And how do you feel? Feeling like it's okay to be good? Yeah? Oh, good. Done." While I sit and listen silently. Me talking wigs the MC out. (Yes, finding a new one.)

I told him, "No one is telling you that you have to stay here. You don't HAVE to be married to me. If I don't mean anything to you, I wish you'd tell me BEFORE dragging me though another round of girlfriend hunting."

I know the kids saw that he slept on the couch. I know I'm going to be walking into all of them hackled up when I get home from work. I know they're going to look at him with those wary eyes again. They were starting to cuddle up to him again.

I hate this so much. Something so thoughtless and terribly habitual on his part and so much trauma as a result.

confused615 posted 6/21/2013 10:49 AM

Im wondering why you told him you don't think he does this stuff intentionally? As you said,you both have discussed boundaries,and he crossed them. So he knew what was expected of him,agreed to it,and turned around and did the opposite.

He was flirting...he was making comments,then trying to sound innocent by saying it probably sounded dirty(admitting he knew it was dirty)...he initiated the chats..all of this was purposeful and deliberate.

Why do you think this is unintentional?

Reality posted 6/21/2013 11:07 AM

It's been what his description of foggy behavior is. Just the normal stuff we've all heard from someone in an affair who says they weren't thinking of their spouse when it happened or that they weren't deliberately trying to hurt their spouse.

There's also an element of really bad childhood indoctrination. His whole childhood was watching his parents act out their own particular addictions and it being something they demanded the kids go along with. When he gets in a new situation or a stressful situation, his first fall back is to start going back to all that learned behavior. It made a lot more sense once we read several books on growing up in addictive families. He hates it, but defaults to it if he isn't being self-vigilant.

Part of his family life was a vicious squashing of emotion. If you showed emotion, except for negativity or scorn, everyone piled on that person and ripped them to shreds. I know one reason he was so drawn to my family was because he could be himself and emotional without the abuse. But we're going against decades of concentrated environmental indoctrination. He thinks of me as "safe" but doesn't trust it.

I'm NOT excusing it. I came from an abusive family and haven't repeated the cyclic crap. And no, I didn't know this when I married him. I saw a warm, intelligent, driven man who loved children and who said he wanted the same things I did.

But you're right. It was flirting. He was just using mention of me and the kids to facilitate plausible deniability. So now we've gone from being invisible to being tools for him to use in making contact.

[This message edited by Reality at 11:13 AM, June 21st (Friday)]

Getting to Happy posted 6/21/2013 11:47 AM

I know the kids saw that he slept on the couch. I know I'm going to be walking into all of them hackled up when I get home from work. I know they're going to look at him with those wary eyes again. They were starting to cuddle up to him again.

Shitty isn't it! That now you will look like the mean ol' mom while he gets love pats from the kids. GAH!!!

It's tough when you are trying to hold things together while he is actively pulling them asunder!!! Double GAH!!

Maybe there are wiser folks than me that can talk about using the kids as unwitting pawns in the "I'm such a fuck up feel sorry for me because Mom is a bitch" dance.

My kids actually said to me "Dad is so cool why are you so mean"??? Really??

I couldn't say to them that their Dad was using them as weapon against me while he was being a jerk. Manipulating them so he could hide behind them in his exquisite douchness...Right?

Feel better. Hopefully the your job will a distraction today and you can enter the house cool as a cucumber.

Reality posted 6/21/2013 12:00 PM

Thanks, Getting. The trouble is the kids know what he did this time around. They are furious with him. Things had been going well and they were starting to relax and not pile on me on the bed or couch and glare at him.

I posted about how my youngest girl has been dealing with her rage by diving into anorexia. The stability and apparent progress were helping her start to be able to address her illness. And of course, she's the one who wakes up to make sure she can kiss me before I leave for work and so saw him on the couch. Her face was very carefully blank when I left.

I almost wish the kids WOULD blame me; then I could DO something about it. I hate it that they feel they have to be on guard.

The chats aren't witty. The chats aren't some huge emotionally magic feeding frenzy. He doesn't look like some super exceptional version of him. He looks like a juvenile punk. I do NOT get what is so alluring that he can risk the tenuous progress made.

[This message edited by Reality at 12:00 PM, June 21st (Friday)]

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