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AffairAgain posted 9/11/2013 15:35 PM

I've been married 21 years, no kids. 29 days ago, my husband let me use his computer to send an urgent email, and instead of it letting me log in to my email it automatically logged into his, and there was her name. I recognized it because she was who he had an affair with 6 years ago. He is a professor and she was his graduate student at the time. So not only was his moral compass off in terms of choosing to have an extramarital affair, but it was off in terms of who he chose to have it with. We only went through a few months of couples’ therapy at the time because we were moving to another country and couldn't find a therapist there. When we came back a year later, it seemed like we were in a different place, a better place with each other, and it felt like it would be rocking the boat to go back to therapy. Still, I felt so insecure. The trust was not back entirely but enough to let us continue with all the positive things we have in the relationship. It has been a sexless marriage for a long time (there was emotional abuse a long time ago and I decided not to risk bringing a child into this marriage until things changed. It never did. The emotional abuse is not as intense as it used to be but I do walk on eggshells). In the last one year though, my feelings for him took a dramatic left turn and I started to become scared of him at night. He was touching me inappropriately when he thought I was asleep. I felt really violated, creeped out by him, and scared. Whatever basic trust I had in him as a human being who would respect my physical rights, went out the door). My sleep suffered and my sense of safety and well-being. When I confronted him (a very, very difficult thing to do – it took months) he initially apologized, then said he had been dreaming at the time, and then finally denied any knowledge of it. It has happened again but he is not honest about it. When I discovered these recent emails that suggested that he had started up the affair with this woman again (they met at a conference in summer), he told me he didn’t think I deserved any explanation and that if we were going to talk about anything, it was going to be about our marriage which led him to it. I had to explain to him that he made the choice to have an affair. He finally understood that after several days. I asked him if he loved her and he said he had strong feelings but not love. He said he was confused and didn’t know what he wanted. Yet an email from her ends with “I love you” and this morning when I finally had the guts to read through the emails more carefully, I saw a reference to the fact that they had just spent a week (the week prior to my discovery) telling each other every day that they loved each other but that this should end. She was confused by the fact that he had told her that he loved me and wasn’t sure what he wanted. As you all can imagine we’ve had a lot of conversations in the last one month, expressing anger (me), sadness (both), hurt feelings (me), deep insecurity about the future (me more than him – I gave up my job foolishly thinking that more time with him will mean a better relationship). Each of us has been to see therapists individually and are looking for a couples counselor. However, in between appointments, he is my counselor which I feel is not a good situation. He has spent the last month lying to me (in the guise of being a new honest man) and me finding out the truth only after asking him several times, when he has lost track of his lies. He did write her an email 2 weeks ago breaking it off (I asked to see if AFTER he sent it, not before, because I wanted to see what he would write not assuming I would ever see it). He told her that he had made his choice and that I was his life and he would be nothing without me. I am at a point where I cannot believe or trust anything. He says he loves me but has not told me that in years. Even as I write this, I wonder if he wrote that email partly for my benefit - that's how messed up I am. I have since told him that that single email wasn’t enough for me because this is a woman he has gone back to. I don’t know if I want reconciliation or that it is possible now. I don’t want to be the kind of person who is scared of my husband and cannot believe a single word he utters. My world view is already changing – I have already gotten into fights with 2 people with the idea that they were out to rip me off. That’s not me AT ALL. I am usually a peacemaker and all my friends and family know me as someone who brings people together and is generally a constructive force. I have functioned all these years with hope in my heart but for the first time it is gone. My husband says that he has hope for the both of us but I don’t believe it, coming from someone who has been so negative all these years. He is being super nice but I feel like I am being manipulated and I told him he was going to burn out at this rate. Where do I go with all this? I asked for some space from him last week but I got less than the time I wanted or needed – he hinted that he was being inconvenienced. When he came back, we decided not to talk about this until we could get a mediator and we had a peaceful 3 days. But at the end I exploded with anger. I feel like I am turning bipolar or something. For a few weeks I had no fear of him at night because this issue made him behave himself, but that fear has come back and I am not sleeping well. Please tell me what I should do. He is out of town until tomorrow night but I am functioning on 2 hrs of sleep here.

[This message edited by AffairAgain at 3:44 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

AffairAgain posted 9/11/2013 15:58 PM

This is me again, continuing.The back story is that we had had a troubled marriage right from Day 1 with him allowing his emotionally abusive parents have at me/us for years on end and letting them hack away at the roots of our relationship before it could even blossom into anything resembling a marriage. They were so abusive that at one point I had to remind them that I was somebody's child. My husband’s response was to cower, basically, and he became a different man – he went from being a laid-back egalitarian type person to being pretty autocratic towards me. I felt so betrayed that he would allow his parents to cross boundaries like this, to treat me as their punching bag, and not respect the sovereignty of our marriage. My husband had stopped communicating with me and it was as if he ceased to exist and instead it was a group of 3 people I was married to. I made a unilateral decision that until things changed between him and me, I was not going to risk bringing a child into this family, a child who would have a weak father and dysfunctional grandparents and I very possibly, would end up a single mother. In case you are wondering, I am a first-generation immigrant (came here for graduate school) and he is second-gen. His parents are from the same country as me which is why they felt they could treat me like I might have been treated 70-80 years ago back in the old country.

My husband has deep personality issues. He is someone who in the past has harmed himself, either cutting or burning. He is someone who does not communicate at all. He is a very quiet person socially, has NO personal friends whatsoever (just work colleagues). He keeps his life very compartmentalized. I have felt neglected by my husband all the years that we have been married. He looks after me when my disability acts up, and I am really grateful for that, but I do not feel loved. I feel like I am being tolerated. We have positive things in the relationship, or else I wouldn't have stuck around for 21 years. But now I wonder if I created an illusion for myself. He told me 6 years ago that his affair with his student is over. It had gone on for a year, though I am not convinced... I think emotionally it was close to 2 or more. She left the country and they had no professional contact. He published a book recently that was 8 years in the making, and acknowledged and thanked many people who had helped, including her. Notably, he did not acknowledge me. I was very hurt because I had been very excited about the book coming out. I never mentioned my hurt feelings until now. He says he excluded me because he did not feel supported by me. I pointed out to him that I had given up my career for him and that it was he who has been so negative. He understood. Coincidentally his first royalty check arrived last week and he purposely put it in our joint account saying that I could use it for whatever I wanted. I felt cheap.
The other woman is now apparently back in the US, living and working in another state. Despite what my husband is saying to me, I actually don’t know what he wants out of that relationship. I know that there can be no reconciliation with her hanging over our heads.

[This message edited by AffairAgain at 4:03 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

Skan posted 9/11/2013 17:22 PM

Welcome. I'm sorry that you had the reason to come here and find us, but I am glad that you DID find us so that you can get some much needed support.

If you have not already done so, please look at the upper left corner of your screen, in the yellow box, and click on The Healing Library. Read it. Read any post in this forum that has a bulls-eye target next to it. These are all articles that have been written by people who have been there and done that. We have all walked a similar path to the one that you have.

I'll be really frank here. From what you have told us, you sound like you've been one of the more emotionally abused people that I've seen come to us. You have a WH that betrayed you, it was rugswept, he emotionally abuses you, you have a sexless marriage except for the times that he fondles you in your sleep, your in-laws abuse you. Hell woman, is there no one in your life that stands up for you? I want to make it perfectly clear that my anger is NOT pointed at you. I'm angry FOR you.

Please. Find yourself a IC (individual councilor) who is experienced in helping people who have been abused, and see that person multiple times a week if possible. You need to get yourself some help from an outside source that has no one but YOU as their primary concern. I would hope that your WH would do the same, but I think that its far more important that you get this help IRL (in real life). In your situation, I would be more than exploding with anger. I'd probably run amuck with a table leg.

Please come back often for support. We have your back. (((hugs)))

heartache101 posted 9/11/2013 17:30 PM

Skan is so correct.
I pray you find the strength to leave.

selkiescot posted 9/11/2013 18:56 PM

I want to come and get you out of that house. I am so angry at your husband and his family.
Sweetie please take care of yourself. If he is fondling you in your sleep his is violating you trust. This is ABUSE. It could be rape.
See an IC and get yourself some power back. You are strong!

AffairAgain posted 9/11/2013 20:15 PM

Thank you, Skan, Heartache101 & Selkiescot for your prompt and empathetic replies. Skan, your reply has a lot for me to digest. The mirror you hold up to me is not easy to look at. Heartache101, I am not in any position to make a decision one way or another now. I don’t have the same support systems that most people in this society have. Yes, my American friends would be supportive but they’re distant. Among my family and other friends who are spread out around the world, they love me to bits but divorce is uncommon and I would need to get a proper handle on this situation and on all my options before I can even hint that there is something wrong. I'd need to assure them that my life will be fine and that I am holding my head up. They just wouldn’t know how to respond otherwise and I can’t risk losing them on top of not having a job, no kids, no husband, and very little savings. My mother was my main support in my first year of marriage and I remember her giving me good advice and telling me to just refuse to talk to my in-laws and focus on my husband because it was he I’d married, not them. That was huge coming from her; in her society, a marriage is between two families but she’s always been comparatively progressive. In our second year, I actually left him and went back to live with my parents (I was just out of grad school – no job, no money) but she made it very clear that she would not support me emotionally. Part of it was because of where she was in life at that time. My husband and I ended up reconciling in part because he realized he had taken the wrong tack with me by following his parents’ lead and we really did see potential in our relationship at that time. I had also had a one-year break from my in-laws by then. Anyway, I can only make a decision when I feel empowered to go in one direction or the other. Right now I am not. I am still in the information-gathering stage and the "trying to get a grip" stage.

I have been going to a therapist, the same one who was our couples’ therapist 6 years ago, but she is on the verge of retirement and is kind of phoning it in now. She was upfront about that at the start, that she is on her way out and is less invested, but I needed someone so desperately then that I thought it best to go talk to her. At my request two days ago, she sent a couple of references for continuing my personal counseling with someone else (I figure now is the time to switch) and for couples therapy too. My husband has been acting contrite enough that I insisted that if he wants couples therapy then he needs to initiate it. It’s been slow going though—wrong phone numbers, people not taking new clients, etc. That’s why I turned to you today. You’re right, I do need someone I can see at least twice a week. Once a week is not enough. He is seeing a psychologist, the same one he saw for individual therapy 6 years ago and it seems like it is constructive. But I think a couples therapist is who can help us sort out our mutual issues and help us figure out, in light of all of that, as long and complicated as our history is, what path to take.

I just had a long phone conversation with my husband. Although he is being very, very contrite and responsible, I told him that it is not in his place to try and make me feel better, but my own with the help of a psychologist. We need to have a conversation in the presence of a psychologist about why all this has been happening. He doesn't acknowledge the full impact of his parents' abusiveness (and his) and I told him that I need a full acknowledgement and apology in order to move forward.

[This message edited by AffairAgain at 8:22 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

AffairAgain posted 9/11/2013 20:31 PM

Thank you again. I feel supported and it means a lot to me!

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