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lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 12:26 PM

I am so sad, lost, and heartbroken. My husband of four years, with whom I have a three year old son, told me he felt done with our marriage.

Prior to this last month, he had been very loving, devoted, showering me with love letters, even a CD of love songs. We've spent time together almost every day. Our relationship has had circular, unproductive fighting in it and both of us have trouble communicating in a way that we hear each other.

Still, when my husband expressed that he had "hit his limit", it felt sudden and out of the blue. He had never expressed a single doubt in the relationship, never seemed the slightest bit interested in giving up, and had never told me he was feeling negatively about us in general. When he said he felt this way, he became totally cold, withdrawn, cruel - a person I didn't know.

It wasn't the frustration he expressed with the relationship that I couldn't understand - it was how absolutely certain he seemed to be that there wasn't hope. At first he said he needed space, and so I wrote him one heartfelt love letter and then bowed out - spent the weekend minding my own business and trying to be as perfect a spouse as possible. At the end of the weekend, he still had made no progress in being ready to talk, so I left to take our son to visit my parents. In the week I was gone, he went from needing space, to saying he had no motivation to work on the relationship, to saying it was doomed, to actually signing a lease for a new apartment.

I was stunned by the haste and immediacy in needing to separate himself from me and could not for the life of me understand it. All the while I'd been pushing for couples counseling and he'd been agreeing to go. It happened so fast.

I rushed home to try to figure out finances (he signed a lease we couldn't afford without even discussing with me where I would live, my son would live, etc) and salvage the marriage. He insisted irritably a half dozen times throughout the course of this that there was no one else. But of course I found her.

Here is what happened:

Early on in the relationship - six months in perhaps - we talked about our boundaries with others. I expressed that I didn't feel comfortable with the maintaining of relationships with people who are old flames and with whom we don't have an active platonic friendship. He said this made sense to him, although I do recall some initial indignance at the concept. Eventually (and without a demand from me) he deleted a few exes from his Facebook, who I guess fit the bill. He told me about it later, but I didn't explicitly ask him to do so.

Cut to 4 years or so later, I notice that he has added one of his exes back on facebook. facebook lovingly informed me on my sidebar. I felt a little strange about it, but didn't say anything for several days. My husband seemed emotionally more distant and more irritable with me. I didn't necessarily connect the two things at the time, but I continued to feel nagging, so I VERY gently initiated a conversation with him about it. I said I'd noticed and was wondering why that happened, reminding him of our past talk about boundaries. He assured me that she had added him, he thought it was no big deal, and really didn't think much of it. He agreed he should have remembered that boundary. It felt like a nice, respectful conversation. It ended at that. I never told him to delete her; it felt good to talk about my feelings without it becoming an argument and my husband seemed to truly understand.

It was only 1-2 weeks later that he checked out.

Finally my son brought me a "receipt" from the floor of the room my husband has been sleeping in. On it was an obsessive sounding love note meant for another woman. I cried about it on the phone to my mom and good friend. They encouraged me to find proof. I took a shot in the dark at his facebook password (it was the same as a shared password of ours). It worked. As I was just getting on there, up pops a message from the same ex he had re-added (and re-deleted) last month.

I copy/pasted their entire correspondence to a document on my computer. Here is just a small bit of how it began (almost INSTANTLY upon the OW adding him on facebook - and initiated by HIM! Names changed by me of course) :

Oops. How are you? What have you been up to the last few years? Hope all is well in your world.

Hey James,
I'm living in **** again and working at *****. I wasn't sure why you unfriended me, but I thought I'd give it a shot and re-friend request you. How's everything going?


I'm doing alright. A lot to relay by means of a Facebook message. I have a son ****. He just turned three and is indescribable. I met his mother *** four years ago and she became pregnant three months later. It was very intense and scary but we decided to make a go of it. We got married when baby was 6 months old. I fully committed myself to our relationship and I'm sad to say it's not the healthiest. We recognized some compatibility issues early on that we still struggle with in one way or another. I started seeing a therapist once a month when I realized I was going to be a father because everything was moving so fast. I encouraged my wife to as well but she was not interested. I unfriended you (and one other previous girlfriend) at her general request that I delete old flames. It hurt to delete you but I thought that was all the more reason I should do it. My wife has yet to unfriend her ex-husband, although I have no problem with that because he's a decent guy.
I went into this an optimist and I never fully determined what my limits are. My wife has many wonderful qualities and at the same time seems to communicate that unless I do things a certain way she will never be happy. It's both a mind f*** and an exercise in empathy and giving. For a long time I've thought all this would help me grow and be a better parent but just a few months ago after almost four years of seeing my therapist he recommended I call it quits. Things are complicated by my desire for my son to have a secure home life and not wanting to be apart from him. In the aftermath of a negative feeling my wife has suggested break-up/divorce hundreds of times. This happened just yesterday when she also said she didn't love me. She took it all back by the end of the night but obviously it leaves me feeling…a little hopeless. I take responsibility for my share of our differences but I've never said those words to her. I've agreed three times that we should split and each time things got much nastier very quickly and then eventually sort of blew over. Deep breath...
I realize opening up to you like this may not be the most appropriate thing in the world but it feels good to be open and honest. I haven't talked about this much to anyone and I hope you're not too uncomfortable hearing it. I'm just in an awkward place right now.

So how about you? Have you shared your heart with anyone in the last few years? What are you doing with ** these days? What were you doing and what was that like? You must be a popular girl in **** these days. I don't remember many beautiful unattached women sticking around after college.

I was happy to see your request. Against my better judgement I'm sending you a song I wrote shortly after the last time we saw each other. No one has ever heard it before. I'll warn you it's a little sappy. Hope you and all you love are happy and healthy.

(here he attached a love song he had written her apparently long ago)


Then came lots of flirting, followed by pretty much "my wife doesn't want me to talk to you. while i find you hot/a million compliments and flirty statements, I need to focus on saving my marriage" . Which of course inspired more flirting and the whole "Oh, I don't want to be the other woman! Giggle giggle" vibe.

He did stop talking to her for a few days at a time but they continued to find excuses to check in over the next week or two, of course leading up to him checking out on me.

He then initiated a consistent correspondence as soon as he chose an apartment and planned to sign a lease. Since then they've written almost ten messages a day back and forth. He further bashes me, tells her he wants to divorce me, tells her he wants to see her and even that she would make an "amazing mother". He tells her about his adventures with our son, forgetting to include that I was there. He tells her tidbits we joked about or talked about that day or evening. I once suggested a personality test in hopes of finding a way to communicate to him. I was pleased when he went and took the test and came to tell me his personality type. Less pleased when I saw that the same night he asked her what HER type was and talked about how interesting the test was.

I confronted him about it. He denied denied denied until I told him exactly what I saw. Then came irrational yelling, telling me I was "sick" for logging into his facebook. He demanded to see the love note. I told him I was keeping it and he lunged at me to take it. When I refused he said "F*** you" during a time when our son was in the room. He lunged at me again, this time making physical contact and when I told him he could not have the love note back, he balled his fists up at me as if threatening to punch me. He has never, ever been violent. I wasn't threatened. But the person I've loved, who has written me the sweetest love letters and most beautiful love songs for years, the last one being days before he started to talking to the other woman, that person is gone. I don't recognize the person I see and my heart is just broken.

*One more note: obviously I don't need to defend myself against the way he described our marriage to the other woman, but I wanted to acknowledge that while there is some truth in things he said about our fights and problems, it's HEAVILY exaggerated and a few parts he straight out made up. As for his therapist suggesting he call it quits, he never ever came to me with any suggestions, talking, communicating or asking for counseling . No therapist would make that suggestion without suggesting lots of other things first so that is probably a lie too.
It's crazy that his talk with her didn't even have a build-up. They had maybe three lines of communication and then he dumped all of that flirting, love songs, and extreme attacking of the marriage to her... like out of the blue. It's so bizarre and so sad.

[This message edited by lamplighter at 4:30 PM, July 11th (Thursday)]

lieshurt posted 7/10/2013 12:49 PM

Welcome Lamplighter!

What your husband is doing is actually very typical for a cheater. The lies to make you and your marriage look bad are just to gain her sympathy and to get her to stroke his ego. They all do it. I know that isn't too comforting, but at least you know that we know he is full of crap.

Check out the healing library. There is a lot of great information there that will help.

Also, as difficult as it may be, now is the time for you to stand strong. He will try to cake eat. He'll think he can have the "single" life, but also have you on the side to play happy family with. Don't let him. If he wants to leave, then he gets to deal with the consequences...which means no hanging out at your place, no having dinners over, no sleeping over when he feels like it, etc....He needs to feel the loss.

Take care you of. Try to eat, drink plenty of water, excercise, etc....and post here. We'll do as much as we can to help you.


wanttogoforward posted 7/10/2013 13:03 PM

Welcome... we are here to support you through this hard time....

Yes, he is clearly having an EA, maybe more, and you should believe there is more..... if it hasn't turned physical it will soon. He is doing what a typical cheater does... he is rewriting the M events, and selectively giving information to the ow to make himself look good and as if he is the good guy trying to hold a M together in the face of a horrible wife... I have seen these types of emails before... those in my own Marriage when my H had his last EA... they are very painful to see and read.... In our case he told her our M "issues went back many years".... that was news to me and he was in deep... he still won't admit it but he was.....
It's time to 180... see information on that in the healing library... read all you can to make sure you do not make the mistakes so many of us here did... take care of you and that small one of yours....
Let him go... I did with my H's second 'episode'... don't communicate unless it has to do with the child.... let him get into that fantasy he so badly wants... it is likely to wear thin really fast once reality hits... make sure he is paying the child support for your child- if that means filing then do it! It sometimes wakes them up... plus it gives them less money for living out the fantasy!

I admit that when I saw the emails between my H and OW I was floored at how he flirted so much and did things to make her happy and was all into spending most of his day communicating with her, and not me! I still struggle with the words he used to talk to her and make me seem to be that bad guy and like there were so many issues in our M... when the reality was there were VERY FEW... we were very compatible in 99% of areas.... and yet, he did this anyway... I'm sorry you are also going through this.
My advice?
180 HARD!
Demand / file for child support
Communicate only about the child
Do not take phone calls/ emails/ etc. that are sappy and loving to you until he wakes up!
Throw him hard into reality... don't make it easy for him to have his cake and eat it too....
get accounts in your name only... take him off everything you can....
Start getting your life/ ducks in order to move forward without him... just in case....
Change the locks in the house...
Pack his shit and tell him to come get it...
Do this for you... you can always stop a divorce and put things back together if you want too...
Oh- and get IC.... for you!

lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 13:35 PM

Thank you for the thoughtful responses.

I am in the process of scheduling IC.

I have already made him sign a written contract between now and the time a divorce is finalized (no papers have been filed) that orders him to turn over half the money he makes in every pay check to me. I am still a stay-at-home mom.

I am starting to throw the net out for jobs.

I have taken half of our savings and started my own bank account.

I am signing a lease for a 2-bedroom apartment with a wonderful friend cosigning for me at the end of this week. I move in on August 1.

I am really trying to do the 180 and I have accepted that I need to just let him go. The problem right now for me isn't accepting that I'm going to be moving on and being alone. It's that I want answers and feel driven to express things or try to get him to see reality and blah blah. But I have really, really cut back on the communication attempts over the last weeks.

I do the best I can to be cheerful and distracted. Here and there I slip up.

I had been taking these steps before I found out about the EA, which was a set-back for me in remaining neutral. I couldn't help but confront him and we've had two talks about it since. I think I am done though, unless it's initiated by him or in a counselor's office.

[This message edited by lamplighter at 1:37 PM, July 10th (Wednesday)]

ajsmom posted 7/10/2013 14:09 PM

First, I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. It sounds from what he told his ex, he's been contemplating this for a long time. Hence his reluctance to even attempt to try to resolve things with you.

Gee, wouldn't it have been nice if he had discussed his feelings out in the open with you? So very typical, I'm afraid.

I have already made him sign a written contract between now and the time a divorce is finalized (no papers have been filed) that orders him to turn over half the money he makes in every pay check to me. I am still a stay-at-home mom.

You do know legally this means diddly squat, right? You would be much better off filing and getting a temporary legal agreement which would include not only child and spousal support but also support for maintenance.

Hang in there and keep posting.


lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 15:15 PM

I did a little research and talked to a lawyer over the phone before writing the contract up, and from my understanding it will probably hold up should he choose to try to change his mind about the terms on it.

I understand the wisest thing may be to file for divorce right now. Maybe it's my sticking point, considering the ways he has been able to reason that it has been my choice rather than his to separate (he even said I was the one who suggested he sign his apartment lease, when the only thing I suggested was for him to sleep at a friend's house for a while before we got in to see a counselor). I don't feel ready to be the one of the two of us who will be responsible for filing for divorce. That may change tomorrow, but right now I think the contract and arrangement we have agreed to will suit me better anyway.

lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 15:15 PM

Oh, and thank you, sincerely, for the feedback. It's much appreciated. :)

Reality posted 7/10/2013 15:31 PM

Wow, Lamp, I'm so sorry. It's like there's an universal SCUMBAG radio frequency they all tune into and just repeat the same songs over and over again. It's eerie and gross that they all say the same things/use the same excuses when they start being THAT GUY.

Can I just compliment you on moving forward with the planning and getting things signed in the works already? Really good job. You've seen how self serving they get when their heads are in that idiotic place. An important part of being aware of who they are choosing to be is recognizing that your well being and comfort are not on their priority list anymore.

In short, you can't rely on them to treat you fairly, let alone with compassion. That's why everyone pushes the 180 so hard; so that someone (even if it's just you) is protecting YOU.

You're already ahead of the game with getting lines drawn. Really well done.

lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 15:32 PM

I don't wish to torture myself, but I can't stop thinking about it. I am at least going to try to post here instead of expressing it in his presence. So I may be posting a lot.

He told me last night that he did not feel a strong deep attraction to me any longer. Yet he told the other woman after only one or two short messages that he has to admit he "will always feel a strong attraction" toward her, citing her "warmth" and how easy she is to talk to. It sucks. He dated her briefly, and he told me yesterday that in that brief time it seemed like the healthiest communication he'd had in a relationship. Obviously communication is what has been lacking between the two of us. But I remember when he did tell me about her early on in our relationship, he cited the exact opposite opinions. He talked about how she was "cold" and frigid and not communicative.

It hurts that he willingly makes her into a fantasy that is so clearly not reality, all the while tearing me down, after all we've been through together and after all the love we've experienced. He really was expressing to me that I was the love of his life only a month or two ago.

While on one level I know I'm better off and he's a little boy at heart, I can't help but feel like I'm living a nightmare and might wake up and have my husband and life back.

lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 15:34 PM

Thanks so much, Reality. That feels good to hear.

Reality posted 7/10/2013 15:56 PM

Lamp, you're so welcome.

Want a bit of a 2 x 4? The dichotomy in how he described her after the relationship was over the from back in the day versus now? Just like how you were the love of his life then suddenly you were that stranger he described to her in the messages?

As horrible as it is to recognize, he's not really in a relationship with her or YOU. What he's doing is trying to build an image of himself that he likes - everyone else is just an aid or a hindrance in that. Affairs are masturbatory; the other person is just a projection of a fantasy that person creates.

What's so awful about this, as you'll find in weird new ways every day, is that who you thought you were to him not only doesn't exist, it doesn't matter to him right now. At all. Right now all you are is a roadblock to this bright new reflection he's building. Not a reflection of a relationship or real future - but a reflection of himself.

We get changed from a loved wife/husband/SO into a card board cut out so fast.

It's bizarre and something we would never believe unless forced - like you're being forced to see him right now.

I'm so sorry, Lamp. Hugs.

lamplighter posted 7/10/2013 18:22 PM

Thank you. I am so glad to hear these things. Many are understood by a part of me, but another part needs to hear the truth over and over and over.

Today my husband had an individual counseling session, which he has mentioned he was looking forward to several times in the last week. He sees his therapist monthly, and he had not seen him since he started the EA and certainly not since he decided he was done.

It was sort of frustrating because he had told me he would bring up the EA to his therapist. I asked him how that went and he just said "He was very non-judgmental. He just said it seemed I hadn't felt loved in so long that I needed to seek it elsewhere. That was about all we talked about that."

It is a therapist's job to be non-judgmental. And it may be true that I wasn't showing him love in a way that resonated with him (not that he communicated that to me). But it really felt like he just felt more validated that it was okay to have the EA. Frustrating.

I didn't talk about it beyond what he chose to share, though. Baby steps for me.

lamplighter posted 7/11/2013 01:07 AM

I asked him to move out tonight. I told him that if he did not do it, I would - and the only viable place for me to go was back to my parents', who are out of the state. His only other option would be to stop all contact with OW and be transparent/able to prove it.

I let him sleep on it since it's late and I didn't want the conversation to drag on, but I feel very good about putting my foot down about this. His main reason for so far refusing to move out is our son and wanting to be around him as much as possible. So this choice he has to make finally shows him the consequences of choosing his affair over acting respectfully and decently. Deal with cutting off the EA for a few weeks (after which we'll both have our own apartments), or see his son a lot less. No-brainer to me, but obviously he needs to decide.

When I first discovered the EA, I ended the night by telling him to move out or stop talking to her. He said if he ever felt compelled to write her again he would let me know and "bow out" of the home. But of course I asked him directly if he's contacted her since, and he said yes. So if he chooses to stay and not talk to her, he's going to have to give me his password or access to computer or something.

[This message edited by lamplighter at 1:08 AM, July 11th (Thursday)]

myperfectlife posted 7/11/2013 01:16 AM

As horrible as it is to recognize, he's not really in a relationship with her or YOU. What he's doing is trying to build an image of himself that he likes - everyone else is just an aid or a hindrance in that. Affairs are masturbatory; the other person is just a projection of a fantasy that person creates.

Thank you Reality... I needed to hear that too.
Lamplighter, I feel for you. I am there and beyond.

wanttogoforward posted 7/11/2013 08:15 AM

I remember well when my H's EA was discovered... he denied, denied, denied..... and left me with the impression he would not email her again..... and he kept on doing it!

He escalated it over the next month until I found the evidence (he had refused to give me passwords... changed it so I couldn't see, etc...) again... and it was even worse... they clearly were not friends....
Friends DON'T:
hide a relationship with their spouse
email all hours of the day
complain about their marriage
send gifts
use emoticons like winking, etc
call each other hot and sexy and dateable
If it was only a friendship he would not have hidden this from you... please keep doing what you are.... and yes, it's good to force him to move out... you should not have to keep living with him while he gets everything he wants ie. seeing his son and HER while you suffer...
sometimes when the fantasy bubble bursts they wake up. If he doesn't then you are better off without a cheater who does not care about your feelings or want you to be first!

lamplighter posted 7/11/2013 10:35 AM

I've been feeling extremely low over the last few days and as such, it has taken more will power to control my feelings. I am doing okay, though.
I actually find that I have a depressive hormonal period each month, so I can reason with myself right now that it will pass as it always has and I can get back to not just PRETENDING to be upbeat, but feeling upbeat about the prospect of divorcing him.

Husband told me this morning when asked for his decision that he "had to go to work" but that he was choosing to stay. I was actually somewhat dismayed. I now actively want him gone. When he comes home from work I guess we'll see what he has to say about proving to me that he's not in contact with her. If he's not willing to hand over his computer and/or new facebook password, I'm going to insist he get the hell out.

It's crazy how someone who seems to have strong character, morals, and dignity can be such a weak-minded lying, self-justifying jerk just because it suits him. I just feel like I could never be this cruel and callous. I can't believe how blind my trust was and how many secrets and intimate things about myself I set into his lap, believing he was a safe, warm, magical place that could hold the most vulnerable parts of me. On one hand I have a million regrets about how I could have been more a better, more loving partner - more efforts, more love letters, more hugs, more sex, more thoughtful little gifts -

- and yet I know there is no excuse for this kind of cruelty and disregard for his SON! His big thing is a high and mighty attitude that he is a great dad, that he is in NO way disregarding his child's best interests, that his top priority is still our child. But so little time trying to communicate and save a marriage. So willing to not only ruin our son's chance to have a loving nuclear family, but to willingly cause so much pain and torment in the house while my son is around to soak it in, as children do no matter how well we mask our emotions.

Lalagirl posted 7/11/2013 11:42 AM

If it was only a friendship he would not have hidden this from you

This sums it up in plain and simple terms.

My FWH had 2 EAs - want to talk about foggy? I couldn't take it after OW #2 - you're welcome to read my profile - long, but worth the read as my FWH finally removed his head from his ass.

((((HUGS)))) I know how you feel - you just want him to be gone so you can have some peace...then you change your mind and want to try. I get it.

Reality posted 7/11/2013 12:43 PM

Hi, Lamp. He said he had to go to work, but that he was going to stay? Like you were interrupting his reasonable normal schedule with your pesky request? Am I reading that right or projecting? I hope the second possibility and not the first or seriously, FTG.

You're absolutely right that if he doesn't offer complete transparency when he gets home - and by "offer" I mean without a fight, without being sullen, or any other PA behaviors - then it's time to take the choice of whether he gets to stay out of his hands.

I know it's easy to get scared when we all start posting to take definitive steps to file for D or for making them leave. The reason people advocate taking those steps is that it puts control back into your hands and also shows visible and substantial consequence for the checked out WH/WW/SOs.

He can always move back in, should it prove the right thing. D filing can always be retracted. It's more that you're ready to deal with things unambiguously that's the important thing, and what it shows the WH/WW/SO.

I'm so sorry, Lamp, that instead of giving you information, he bolted for work. That reads as a jerk thing to do to me.

lamplighter posted 7/11/2013 14:30 PM

These are hard days. But I'm taking long walks around town with my son, instead of just to the nearby park. It's good to be active, keep my body in great shape, and not sitting in this house we just bought less than a year ago, staring at the memories of what I thought my life was.

For clarity's sake, him moving out refers only to the time between now and the start of August. In August we are BOTH moving out, but I was trying to let him hang around and help with our son in the interim, perhaps with a distant hope that we would reconnect.

Since discovering the EA, though, I know that doesn't feel right or healthy anymore. The real question is whether I can demand he move out. I can't force him to, and if he chooses not to, I have to figure out where to go in the meantime. I do have papers, my lease, and some bank stuff to take care of in town.

I can't wait to move.

MartlArts posted 7/11/2013 15:30 PM

(((Lamp))) Honestly, it sounds as if you are doing GREAT, considering the circumstances you unwillingly have been put into. You must be an awesome mom.

I hate to become an armchair psychologist, but your H sounds scarily like a BPD person that I was involved with many years ago. This guy would go from one relationship to another through a series of exit affairs. Each new relationship, he would be quickly convinced that THIS woman was the perfect one, the most loving, beautiful, smart, amazing... you get the idea. He put his partners on a pedastal, and I can tell you, it was NICE on that pedastal. Feeling so adored, hearing how wonderful you were. Then all of a sudden, for no discernable reason, you're off the pedastal and in pieces on the ground.

The guy rewrote relationship history, I truly believed all his previous partners had been awful until I became yesterday's news myself.

What you've told of your story sounds kind of similar. I really don't mean to tell you that this is the case for you because I haven't lived your life, but if you're in IC it might be worth mentioning to your IC and asking her/him if your spouse sounds like BPD to them.

Again, I really admire the purposeful way that you are working to move forward and take care of yourself and son.

Eta:edited for spelling

[This message edited by MartlArts at 3:35 PM, July 11th (Thursday)]

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