I don’t even know where to begin. Apologies if this seems disjointed and rambly. I'm operating from inside a deep deep fog.
My husband has cheated on me (EAs) repeatedly with the same woman (OW2) over many years.
He knew her before we met in 1999 and had sex with her while she was already in a relationship. So right off the bat she has no morals.
Fast forward to 2009 (we’ve been married 9 years) – I saw a conversation on Twitter that was a bit flirty with someone that lived close by. He was grooming her to “catch up for coffee”. I got a bit sus and looked at an old phone bill. I kept this info to myself.
Didn’t see her number, but I found a phone number I didn’t recognise. Long calls that were always made when I was at work. I figured out who it was. It went on for months. (OW1). He also spoke to this OW1 for hours during the day while I was at work on messenger and on the phone. He would call her while I was on my way to pick him up after work and hang up as I approached. I kept this info to myself.
I looked further back at old phone bills. And found another number (OW2). Months and months of calls and texts dating back to the middle of 2009. And my world crashed down around my ears and my life has never been the same since.
182 text messages to OW2 on one night alone (I figured out I was at the hairdresser at the time). Hundreds of texts to her mobile and hours of calls to her home phone number, always when I wasn’t home. It went on for months. And then petered out. But the damage was done.
I looked at his email. Particularly the trash. Amongst other things, I found that he’d joined a fetish website. Looked at his profile and found that he’d declared that he was “into everything” to do with a woman that worked at his work (OW3). Under erotic naked photos of her he’d just written the word “perfect”. I cannot begin to describe how I felt at that point in time. I have never felt so low, so absolutely crushed. I tried to keep this to myself.
I told him all I knew. He told me I was overreacting and nothing was going on. Refused to talk about it. Etc. It was brushed under the carpet. I carrie on. Very confused and living in a fog. I have not trusted him since this time.
Fast forward to last November. All of a sudden he puts his own pic on his Twitter profile (had NEVER done that before – he’s a very private person), never leaves his phone around, takes it everywhere with him etc etc. My spidey senses tingled. I knew something was going on, I just didn’t know with who.
I looked through his computer. Found pictures of a woman I didn’t recognise, in various stages of undress etc. They were recent. I kept it to myself over the next few days. I checked the folder where the images were kept and each day new photos would appear. He would spend hours in front of the TV staring at the tiny screen on his phone instead of using his laptop. He’d smile occasionally at his screen.
Fast forward to Christmas Day. We have a nice day with the family (we have older kids – mine from my first marriage). Christmas night we are relaxing on the couch watching TV and he says he has a stomach ache and disappears to the toilet… for 2 hours. I have a phobia about vomiting and he sends me a text from the bathroom to say I shouldn’t come in because he’s vomiting. I ask if he needs anything (I am genuinely concerned) and he says no.
The next day I check the directory again and there are 2 new videos. One of her masturbating and another one of her masturbating and calling his name as she climaxes. She’d made them and sent them to him while he was in the toilet the night before. While he was “vomiting.” On Christmas Day. There are also new photos from Christmas Eve (my birthday).
I am so angry I cannot stand, speak, think straight. My head is literally spinning. My legs are shaking and I feel like I’m going to throw up.
I wait a few days and think about my course of action. Further investigations on my part mean I find out that it is OW2 from the phone bills years prior back on the scene. She has been married and divorced during this time (there’s a shock) and now figures my husband is fair game. I find hours of text conversations where they discuss my husband leaving me and how he’s pleased that her mother approves of him. He talks about how he loves buying her things and how I got well ****** the other night because of the pictures she sent him of herself in a corset. My heart physically aches reading this one. It is pounding in my ears. I feel sick.
I know that I cannot speak to him without breaking down and completely losing the plot, so I write an email that just says that I know all about her and that he needs to make a decision, it’s either me or her because I’m not going through this again.
He says he chooses me and is very remorseful etc. Promises NC. That was January 14.
I question him about what has gone on and ask for honest answers. I find out he calls her from work so the numbers don’t show up on our bill. He NEVER calls me from work. He texts with imessage turned on because it uses the data plan and doesn’t show up on our bill. He tells her not to follow him on Twitter because it will raise suspicion. The level of deception is incredible.
I know from texts that he bought her something. I ask what (even though I really don’t want to know the answer). He bought her earrings as a Christmas present (paid cash of course) and walked to the post office and packaged it all up and sent it to her. This hurt. This really really REALLY hurt. He has NEVER gone to those lengths for me.
Things are ok for a while but I still don’t trust him. I buy him an ipad for his birthday later in January and write a heartfelt card pouring my heart out. He cries and says he loves me. I think he is genuinely remorseful.
Things are ok for a while, though I still don’t trust him.
May 8 – I am still checking his devices occasionally. I check his texts and find he’s at it again with her, and sending pics of himself to her (always when I’m not home) FROM THE IPAD I BOUGHT HIM FOR HIS BIRTHDAY. Text likes “I’ll be alone tonight after 7, you might get a nice surprise” etc. She talks about how no boys want her. He says “you’re mine”. My heart falls through the floor. That stung, possibly more than any of the physical stuff I’ve read and seen. I am gutted. It’s happening again, and I’m still not over the last time, or the time before that. I am a shell.
I confront him that same morning. I throw my wedding and engagement rings at him and tell him we’re done. He begs and pleads and tells me “he’s not coping”. His sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months previously and he’s in a stressful job at work. I honestly don’t see how they’re related to sending pictures of your **** to people, but cut him some slack because he has been under a lot of pressure (and I’m a big softie). Again I get the remorse story. He says he will never cheat on me again. He promises NC. I send OW2 a text telling her to f*** off and leave my husband alone. I also send her an email that I had written the last time which I never sent on the off chance she would have a shred of common decency. (She doesn’t). That was May 9. He wipes his ipad that day to get rid of any traces of their conversations. He assures me he will go to counselling and get help. I wait and wait. Counselling never happens and life goes on. I am numb but carry on.
I keep checking devices for the next couple of months. During this time his sister passes away after a very tough battle with cancer that ravaged her whole body. She passes away 2 weeks after her 40th birthday. I support him through this (as any decent human being would – it was an incredibly sad time and hard for his family). We have some time off to spend with his family, making sure they are taken to where they need to be and things are done. It’s a rough few weeks. We go back to work after some time off and things are ok.
September 1st. I check his devices. I hadn’t for a while. And there they are. Imessage texts on his ipad again (he had turned off spotlight logging for messages – what he didn’t realise is that even if you say don’t log messages, they still do, they just don’t show up in Spotlight search. Recheck ‘log messages’ and there they all are). So they’re at it again. I am calmer this time. I knew it would happen again. This time I am just numb. I sit on this info. I write a very pointed angry email to both of them, telling him I am done and telling her she’s won and she’s welcome to him.
I pick my moment. Ever since the videos etc in December I have had nightmares that result in me crying and waking in the night. They always revolve around him leaving me for her. I have told him the contents of the recurring nightmares and he wakes me when I start crying in my sleep.
Lying in bed that night I mention my recurring nightmares and innocently ask if he’s had any contact with her since I told her to **** off last time. He says no. I know this is 100% a lie because of what I’ve read over the last couple of days.
I can’t sleep that night. It is literally eating away at me and making me physically sick. I get up in the middle of the night and come back to bed and he asks me if I’m ok. I matter-of-factly ask him when he’s going to stop lying to me about OW2. I feel him start to physically shake and sweat in bed while he tries to cuddle me and deny anything is going on. I have proof.
There are no tears this time, not then anyway. I am numb, I am indifferent. I’m cold and guarded. I am matter of fact. I ask for honest answers. He tells me they’ve spoken once or twice. He rings her from work. She has sent him pics of her but he deletes them after looking at them. I ask who initiated contact this time. He tells me she did. I ask why he didn’t tell her no and to go away. He has no answer. I want to scream and hit him.
And that leads us to the current moment. I am very very unstable. I swing wildly between being incredibly angry and a teary mess. I am incredibly and utterly profoundly sad.
I am not wearing my wedding rings any more. He doesn’t deserve it. I have not told him I love him since he admitted he had been in contact with her again. I am guarded and cool towards him. My defences are up.
Apart from his cheating, we have a great marriage. But I cannot get past this cheating. The lack of respect for me. He keeps telling me he loves me. I cannot reciprocate. They are just words. If you love someone, you do not cheat on them, not once, let alone repeatedly.
When I ask why he keeps cheating on me with her, he says “because I’m stupid”. Cowardly answer and one I don’t believe. I ask him what is missing from our marriage that makes him keep returning to her. He says nothing and that it’s not me. I’m not buying it for a second.
I cannot keep going on like this.
I need help.
I am so desperately, soul-destroyingly sad. I want to see a counsellor but I cannot even pick up the phone to make the call at the moment without sobbing hysterically. Even typing this sentence about calling a counsellor has made me cry. I also am too ashamed to confide in anyone about it. I cannot speak to anyone about it. I just can’t.
At what point do I say enough? And actually leave? The thing is I don’t want to have to leave. Our marriage is great apart from his serial cheating. I’d almost prefer if it was with different people – the fact he keeps going back to this one woman makes it ten times worse. There is obviously an emotional connection (although he swears there’s not).
But for my own sanity (I am not sure what a nervous breakdown feels like, but I think I’m pretty close to one), I cannot continue waiting for the next cheating episode. I am now living with the expectation of a next time. And he does nothing to reassure me that it’s not going to happen again.
It’s now at the point that I avoid leaving him alone at home, because I just don’t know what he’s going to get up to while I’m gone.
I am lost. And I don’t see any way to make things better. It’s the 4th time I’ve caught him now in the last 8 months. Each time he says he’s sorry for hurting me, and within months they’re at it again. Each time I ask him how long it would have gone on for had I not caught him and he says “not long”, or “it wouldn’t”.
I need to leave. But at the moment, I’m just not strong enough or angry enough to go. I just don’t have the strength. I am too desperately and profoundly broken.
Since writing this post (which I wrote and sat on because I wasn’t sure I was ready to post it) – I sent OW a very pointed text saying “which part of keep the **** away from my husband did you not understand?”.
Within 10 minutes she responded with “maybe take some advice I should have taken. Don’t stay with someone who obviously loves someone else”.
I showed WH and of course he denies that he loves her and says he loves me and he wants it to work and he is happy to go to MC. I’ve heard this before. I think he needs to have some IC before I contemplate MC together.
Anyway, I just don’t know what to do any more. I am just broken.
I have 2 daughters. If they had been treated as appallingly as I have by a partner I would have told them to kick him to the kerb the FIRST time. So why am I still here?
Because I’m weak. And so very very broken.