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.