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Can I get a gut check, please?

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gutfeeling posted 12/13/2013 19:43 PM

Hi Everyone - I'm new.

I need a little help. I keep fixating on this gut feeling and I can't tell if I am being dramatic or if there's something there.

Of course its a big long convoluted story.

I'll try to give you the basic idea:

H and I are newlyweds. We dated for about 2 years before getting married. We discussed our "numbers" and his is "over 100." He had a lot of one night stands when he was single. He told me (at my question - I'm nosey) that he cheated on one gf in grad school (so 5 years ago) after she had cheated on him and they were trying to stay together but doing long distance. He got black out drunk, woke up with someone, never told the gf but broke up with her a few weeks later. (Sorry you're getting anything I think is remotely important for advice)

We've hit a few bumps in the road:
We moved in together after getting engaged and I realized he was drinking WAY more than I knew. I also realized he was chewing (he hid it from me during our entire dating - made up lies to go for a drive when he needed a chew - like he needed to go check something at work, picked a fight or two to be alone to chew, etc). He quit chewing at my request and also because he wanted to/had tried before. He had chewed for 15 years and 2-3 cans a day so it was a lot.

In the meantime, I asked him to scale his drinking back to 2 drinks, most nights, with more on special occasions. He said yes but his drinking really didn't change. He was drinking 2-3 bottles of wine a night. When pressed he told me to back off because he was quitting chew, one thing at a time.

So a few months later, I find out that he has been chewing behind my back and lied to me about it. I was not happy - I cannot stand lying. I explained this, he was sorry, wanted to quit, felt guilty etc. He quit again - this time with me testing for contadine (nicotine by product whenever I wanted). I would not marry someone who was chewing - I didn't want to watch him die.

In the meantime, his work is stressful and he is up for a promotion. There is one female at work who recommends him for the job and starts coming up all the time (when he talks about work). Initially he told me she was in her 40s but I believe she is in her late 30s (H says now he thinks late 30s), we are in our early 30s. She would say things like "You look really nice today," "You need a haircut" to him and offered to take his watch in to be repaired? Just stuff that I found totally inappropriate for colleagues. He would tell me and sort of laugh at how weird she was. They interacted a LOT during this time. (6 mo or so) She also invited him (allegedly us) on vacation with her and her friends and her "ex bf" who apparently she still dated on and off and was "so excited to meet me" and he really thought we'd have a lot in common/like each other, etc. He says hes "not attracted to her at all" but also said she reminds him of his ex girl friend (when pressed he says its because he thinks she seems like she'd be a crazy b*tch in a relationship). I voice that I am not comfortable and he points out he only contacts her about work, does not hang out with her after work, tells me everything, doesn't want to go on vacation with her etc. I can't tell if I am just being overly paranoid or what?

The drinking was becoming more of an issue and we were fighting about it for about 6 mo. He got drunk one night when I was at my parents house sitting and said "let's call off the wedding, I don't deserve you." The next day, totally sorry. He was oscillating between good behavior and anger with me. In the meantime, we go from having sex 2-3 times a week (while not living together - so pretty much whenever we saw each other) to 1-2 times per week and only if I initiate. I am getting turned down a lot. He usually blames it on a stressful week or being tired or this or that but thinks we have "plenty" of sex - a "great!" sex life. When i indicate I'd like more, he says okay, will do and then maybe initiates once and never again.

I was checking his phone (see - am I crazy or is this normal?) because something felt off and noticed that he sometimes deleted text messages from her. (So I'd see that they texted on Nov. 24 on the 25 but then on the 26 the convo would only be up until the 20th - like he deleted some of the texts, including what I'd previously read). None of the texts that I read were unusual. I never said anything because I wasn't SURE I was remembering correctly. Did I see a text on the 24th? or was it the 20th?

One night after I'd been up at my parents (I house sat for 3 weeks on and off) and he had been VERY drunk - I checked his phone and he had deleted ALL of his text history with her. and no one else. Now that I knew I confronted him. He told me he didn't. Then that he was cleaning out his phone inbox. And then when I finally called BS, he said it was because he was embarrassed because he got very drunk and was texting her about work and called a girl that he doesn't like a C U next tuesday on the text - and that when he woke up it wasn't professional and he was embarrassed. I didn't love this explanation but I could also sort of see how it could be true. I just didn't know.

Then, he had a few issues like drinking at work one day during a stressful day and driving home intoxicated that made me really concerned. (And I found out he was chewing again! and he lied about it - until I made him take a test and he was caught. Then he said it was just one time, just one day, blah blah blah. He literally swore on his dead brother that he hadn't chewed when he had. This is why I'm giving you the whole history - I just really don't trust him not to lie (he's lied by omission, making stuff up to get out of the house and directly about chew, initially about the texting ("cleaning" out his inbox), and about the alcohol, I voiced my concern to my dad (a MD). That same weekend we were at my BFF's wedding (I was in it) and FI got insanely drunk and my parents had to take us back to his parents house early (we were staying there for the weekend). Everyone was concerned and I said - this is what its been like to his mom. The whole family stepped up and really supported FI but said unacceptable. He was really embarrassed and worried. I asked him for a proposal on how to move forward (I thought stop drinking!). He said he'd just been immature and he could drink and proposed no more than 2 drinks in 24 hours ever, and take 4 days a week off. So that is 6 potential drinks in a week.

We were supposed to get married 4 mo later and I wasn't sure if I should go through with it. But I gave him a chance and said ANY back track would mean postpone the wedding and be sober for 1 year before getting married. It went well. He stayed on plan. He was really learning how to have a healthy relationship with alcohol again and felt good. Said he never wanted to feel like that again. We went to MC (preM-C) rather, he went to an AA meeting with a friend who is in AA, and we had weekly meetings with his mom and my dad to be sure all was on track. (Might sound weird but I was very scared that he was an alcoholic and I appreciated the support). He did so well that the counselor said he was most likely abusing alcohol and on his way to becoming an alcoholic but not a true alcoholic (yet?).

We've had a lot of good times in the past year too.

In the meantime, a few weird issues with the girl from work - I have attended no less than 5 of his work events and she has been there but has always avoided me (I've met everyone else). This strikes me as very weird since they are in H's words "good friends" - he said this a year ago. However, H is always very good (showing me lots of love and affection at these events - very clear boundaries, when I am there).

So we got married, had a good few months and then bam - H is in a HORRIBLE mood, irritable, frustrated, and having anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. He has a complete break down one night (gets into the wine - breaks his plan for the first time in over 6months (lies to me on the phone that he has been drinking even when it is extremely obvious), is running around buck naked and says he wants to kill himself, also said he wants and divorce and he doesn't deserve me and I'm perfect and he's an asshole). I called his mom I was so freaked out. After he has calmed down but still while drunk and his mom is there - his mom and I are talking about his friend that named his new daughter after an ex girlfriend. I say to H, can you image if we named our kid "Ann" (his ex girfriend). He laughs and says "Ann and "Beth" are off the table." I was like EXCUSE ME? Beth is the girl from work, not an ex gf. He was too drunk to explain. He of course sobers up - didn't mean any of it (allegedly). I asked about the Beth comment and he says he just meant because I dont like her and I've said I don't trust her/have an issue with her that the name is tainted for us. As a result of the breakdown, he sees a doc and gets diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety (likely untreated anxiety that led to depression and using alcohol to self medicate). He is taking 30 days off alcohol to see if he can feel better and then wants to return to his plan (2 drinks up to 3 days per week).

So its been a rough month for us. He is very short with me and the dog (I'm "chewing" dinner too loudly or he loses his shit at the tiniest thing). Also, the medication has made him have 0 interest in sex. 0. Its been 3 weeks. He told me he asked the doctor about it and the doctor said it should get better, if not to let him know (H said this am that he was starting to feel more interested and we would DTD tonight - I won't hold my breath, his MO is to promise it and then not do it).

Finally all this just made me feel like I am an ostrich my gut feeling that says - something happened with these two. So I asked last night again and explained all the reasons why.

He swore nothing had. That he thinks she has a crush on him, is inappropriate, and hes tried to distance himself. That he used to delete her texts because she would call him "sweety" and when he asked her about it once she said "its a southern thing, everyone does it." but that he felt guilty about it. That he thinks she is jealous of me and has a crush on him and that's why she never introduces herself.

We have joint finances so I know that at least for a year nothing has been going on financially. I also have access to his phone, emails (work and yahoo), ipad, and he doesn't delete his ipad history even when he looks at porn. I know where he is - except when he is at work. He also has an internal messaging system through work that I do not have access too and could of course have other emails I don't know about.

He offered to get text transcripts if we could to show me the texts from her from that year or so ago. He lets me look at his phone (and knows I check every so often). Gives me all passwords etc. He is a GREAT guy - so nice and warm and loving - most of the time. I truly believe the alcohol abuse stems from anxiety and am hopeful that he can learn long term coping skills in CBT (currently in it) and at his request we went to a 3 hour class on depression and anxiety.

So all of his explanations are PLAUSIBLE but its more coincidence than I feel comfortable with. Am I being dramatic because we've had a bumpy start to our marriage or do you see some of the "usual" signs of an affair (because I sure do!). Help please. What should I do?

At this point I feel like I jsut have to assume hes not cheating or hasn't cheated, to work with him to try to get him better, and to keep snooping a bit? On the other hand, I don't feel great about it and I really didn't want to snoop on my husband (I didnt with my ex but did with the one before that - but that ex cheated and left me for his AP! so maybe my instincts are good!?) I just don't know.

Bless you for reading this far...

dameia posted 12/13/2013 21:29 PM

Welcome to SI gutfeeling.

There was a lot to the story, so I'm going to try to cover just what stuck out to me the most...

Yes, all this does sound awfully suspicious. Deleting the texts is a HUGE red flag. Also, naming her as an would seem he slipped up and let the truth out.

It's hard because right now you have no proof. You can only rely on what he says and clearly he is going to try to protect himself. I went through this with my WH. He lied for 6 years before finally coming clean.

I think right now you should keep snooping. Stay on high-alert. You may not want to snoop on your husband, but do you want a STD because you didn't snoop? (Sorry if that sounded harsh, I don't mean it to be. Just think about how you would feel if it did happen because snooping made you feel guilty).

I think you're in a really tough position right now. You said your H has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Honestly, it sounds like he may be bipolar. My father was and he sounds very much like your H, with the self-medicating, mood swings, etc.

I'm sorry I don't have any better advice. There are a lot of people on this site who will be along to give you amazing advice soon. I just want you to know you've been heard.

Gotmegood posted 12/13/2013 22:21 PM

I am rather new myself, but wanted to throw a hug out there for you. I'm always sorry when I hear that a beloved spouse is hurting their partner. My feeling after reading your story is that your H needs IC pronto. Alcohol being a depressant is the last thing he needs. Does he have the desire to stop these destructive behaviors? Chewing and drinking to excess? And actually some IC for you too...hope you have insurance to help with the cost. You will get good guidance there. I wish the best for you.

mrcpu posted 12/13/2013 23:11 PM

Obviously all I can go on is what I gathered from your post but my guess would be that he either had a physical or an emotional affair with "beth". Possibly it was only cross-the-line-flirtation but my guess is that it happened. Your gut is probably not wrong.

It also sounds like, except for actually telling you he cheated, he has done everything he can to try and make up for it in the last few months. I would guess that he believes that if he told you it would hurt you and you would end the marriage, so in his mind it is better to let it be in the past and move forward and try and be a better person.

I guess the question is, how badly do you want to dig the skeleton out of the closet? Are you prepared for the truth? It all depends on you and I'm not suggesting that you go either way.

Scenario A - You dig and dig and dig until you are satisfied that you have the truth that he cheated.

Scenario B - You did and dig but decide he didn't cheat.

Scenario C - You accept that he didn't cheat like he says

Scenario D - You decide that he must have cheated based on what evidence you have now.

In B and C you move forward, but are you willing to let your gut instincts go and trust him?

In A and D you have to decide if you are willing to stay in the relationship.

Maybe you need to work this problem backwards. Decide that IF he did cheat on you, what would you do? Would you forgive? Would you divorce? etc. Then based on that, if you would forgive, decide how much you really need to know or are you OK with assuming he did but you forgive him.

Anyway, these are your decisions and no one can tell you right or wrong. What I would say is that you should always listen to your gut... but you knew that already, didn't you?

gonnabe2016 posted 12/14/2013 00:16 AM

****I had to process this for a while***** but here's what I've come up with.

My knee-jerk, first response that comes to that you need to cut bait and run.

However. I know that isn't what you want to happen. So my Plan B is that you immerse yourself in Al-Anon type groups because what you need to learn is that you cannot *work* with him to try to get him better. *Getting better* <or not> is completely up to him. You NEED to STEP BACK. Your mindset right now is all caught up in getting him better and that is not going to do you any good. The problem with *addictive* type people is that they allow others to *take on* their problems and let others take the responsibility for solving those problems.....and that gives the *addicted* person the leeway to then blame YOU when things go to shit.

His short temper with you and your dog (the dog, really?) is indicative of a "white-knuckle" situation.

Unless your (most likely a)WH wakes up and realizes that he has some serious issues and begins to deal with are in for a lifetime of grief and heartache.

As far as "Beth" is concerned.....where there is smoke, there is fire. Maybe just an ember, maybe an inferno. No way to tell right now.

Always, always, always, always trust your gut. (btw, did I say ALWAYS? )

beenthere2? posted 12/14/2013 00:19 AM

Since you don't have "proof" and he won't come clean, I would say your problems right now are that he is an alcoholic and thinks he should be still be able to drink, he lies about chewing and is hiding things from you, and he seems to have poor boundries with girl from work.

#1 you need to go to al-anon and hopefully he will go to AA. He can't have a couple of drinks now and then because that isn't what he does.

#2 You can't force him to quit chewing. So you have to decide if it is a deal breaker for you.

#3 Can you check his cell bill and see if he is still deleting? Is it an iphone, I know they have other ways of texting on them. You could install a key logger on his phone

Finally, you need to get to MC ASAP.

I see so much of my WH in your WH and so much of me in you. WH drank too much, hid chewing, and had his A with a girl from work. Before the A, I tried to fix him, tried to force him to do what I wanted including quit drinking and chewing. He would for a while and then went right back to it. I couldn't control him and me pressuring him only worked for so long

After I found out about the A, I realized that the over drinking and lying about chewing we deal-breakers. I had stayed through the worst, the A, I wasn't going to continue in a marriage where he didn't care about my feelings. I put down my boundries and was ready to walk if he crossed them.
H drinks from time to time now, but he had to go 6-9 months of no alcohol at all for me to get anywhere near okay with him drinking.

This is my long winded way of saying, you can only control you. Decide what you can live with and what you can't. I'd keep checking up on him and find any and every way I could to check because I think there is something for you to find.

JerseyCowgirl posted 12/14/2013 07:40 AM

Oh sweetheart I feel so bad for you. What you have on your hands is a full blown alcoholic/poly drug user. I had a 15 year marriage like this and unfortunately alcoholism and infidelity go hand in hand. In addition to looking for signs of infidelity start looking to see if he is hiding alcohol/drugs in the house or car. Most spouses don't realize the addiction for about 8-9 years into the relationship. No Dr should have given him meds if they knew of his alcohol use. There is no returning to social drinking and you need to insist on total abstinence and a recovery program and counseling and All Anon for yourself immediately. Please Google Doug Thorn burn and get his 3 books and it will start to all make sense. You like me have a two-fold problem and it will only get worse unless you deliver him the ultimatum now...quit drinking or you're leaving. Don't wait a long time like I did hoping things will get better. He to needs to see the consequences of his actions

circe posted 12/14/2013 08:47 AM

Let me start by saying that you sound like an intelligent, loving, incredibly level headed and reasonable woman. You don't come across to me as a paranoid jealous histrionic person in the least. When someone like you has a gut feeling about something they don't want to be true, there IS A REASON. The reason is that you know your H's relationship with this woman is not only an affair (whether emotional or physical) but that he lacks any of the internal self control that it would take to keep your marriage safe.

Picture the affair, the drinking, the chewing and the lack of ability to keep any of his promises to you are all symptoms of what he's really got going inside of him. Your husband has been showing you what he's made of inside - a man who has a highly addictive personality, who looks for really destructive external things to mask his problems (the drinking and the affair), who can't control himself, who can't keep his promises unless it's under highly structured and controlled circumstances - and sometimes not even then - and who knows on some level that he's circling the bowl emotionally and lacks any internal control to stop.

I think you know that he's having an affair with this work woman. They aren't good friends. She doesn't have a tragic, unrequited crush on him just like she wasn't in her 40's and just like she wasn't actually dying to meet you and take you on vacation with all her friends and your husband. He's lied about all that and more.

But you'll get nowhere by taking each new "fire" that crops up in the landscape of your marriage and treating it like a completely disconnected event. There is an arsonist in the woods. There will be more fires, and more, and more.

Each time your H gives you more evidence, and you confront, he will come up with another excuse. Just like he promises more intimacy but doesn't deliver, or promises sobriety and doesn't deliver, or quitting chew and doesn't deliver - he's grown used to his words carrying weight with you when his actions show his words to be false. That's why your gut is telling you he's cheating (and has other very large problems besides that) - because his actions are showing you quite clearly that he's cheating. His words are increasingly weak weapons to fight the clarity that you have about his character.

In my opinion - he sounds desperately unhappy with himself and is in crisis. The affair and drinking are probably products of this, and like in the whack-a-mole game, if you squash down one or more opening for his crisis to manifest itself, it will pop up at the next (chewing and drinking, then chewing and affair, then drinking and affair, then just the affair, then catastrophic drinking, then all three...) He needs help - he really needs a good IC who will not prescribe anti-anxiety meds to someone abusing (or even using) alcohol without giving them a means to quit. White knuckling it through a prescribed drinking budget doesn't count.

Weirdly, I think in a way it's almost a positive that he seems to be unable to compartmentalize. His issues are not contained and subterranean and hidden - they are pouring out of him in all directions. Because of this you'll have a really good indication of his healing. Without knowing anything about him except what you related, you say there is a really good guy under the present breakdown - if that's the case, then do him and yourself the favor of not accepting his very lame, transparent excuses and see him for what he is right now. I know that you and his parents and your parents want him to be someone who is in control of himself but 'just experiencing a few life issues' - but his history shows otherwise, and he's not going to be able to actively repair your marriage and your relationship while he's falling apart in all directions.

As far as the affair goes, if that were an isolated issue my advice would be to stand firm in the truth that's apparent - his affair - and shut it down. He can't be "friends" with her. Heck, even if she was just a good friend who is jealous of his wife and unrequitedly in love with him and making his wife uncomfortable it would have to end, full stop. But it's not that, it's never that, it's much more - and that has to be stopped completely. So if this were happening in a vacuum I'd say that your boundaries within the marriage should dictate that he stop the charade of friendship, no more texting, no more "good friends", no more deleting messages. NO deleting.

However it's not happening in a vacuum, so I honestly believe that no matter what you did, said or demanded about the affair, no matter what he promised, it won't stop because there is something fueling this and his other issues. He's not a reliable narrator of his own experience. He's not telling you even half of the truth of what's going on. So I do think at the very least start with IC for him and Alanon for you - AA for him if he is willing. He can explain to them about his 4 drink a week plan and they can help him work through some of the deeper issues.

Chrysalis123 posted 12/14/2013 09:30 AM

However. I know that isn't what you want to happen. So my Plan B is that you immerse yourself in Al-Anon type groups because what you need to learn is that you cannot *work* with him to try to get him better. *Getting better* <or not> is completely up to him. You NEED to STEP BACK. Your mindset right now is all caught up in getting him better and that is not going to do you any good. The problem with *addictive* type people is that they allow others to *take on* their problems and let others take the responsibility for solving those problems.....and that gives the *addicted* person the leeway to then blame YOU when things go to shit.

Oh sweetheart I feel so bad for you. What you have on your hands is a full blown alcoholic/poly drug user. I had a 15 year marriage like this and unfortunately alcoholism and infidelity go hand in hand. In addition to looking for signs of infidelity start looking to see if he is hiding alcohol/drugs in the house or car. Most spouses don't realize the addiction for about 8-9 years into the relationship.

Gutfeeling, welcome to the best place you never want to be. Your marriage reminds me of mine. Except the binge drinker/pot smoker/cocaine overdid it and ended up loosing a limb in a DUI....luckily he did not kill someone. But, I and counselors referred to it as his suicide attempt. He even said the toxicology report was wrong and the lab made an error.

You know, one would think that would have been a wake-up call, but with his addictive personality it wasn't. But, it was the start of my wake-up call.

Our relationship had me in the parent role and him as the kid. he resented me and acted out like a 13 year old. He was a pathological liar, gaslighted me, blame-shifted, projected, guilt-tripped etc. etc. etc. I tried to "control" it, to keep us safe. That did not work out too well.

By the time I crawled into Alanon (due to the affair...and I thought an alcoholic looked like a skid row bum....which is another post) I was a mess and had trouble knowing what was real. Needed help and Alanon, IC, SI, and lots of reading helped me heal and get back on my feet emotionally.

And helped me make the decisions I needed to make and was too afraid to make.

Keep posting as there is a lot of wisdom here.

[This message edited by Chrysalis123 at 9:31 AM, December 14th (Saturday)]

headdesk posted 12/15/2013 01:34 AM

I think your gut is acting up for a reason.

That said, the stuff that scares me more is the addictions/other mess going on. All of this hot mess and the lying points to huge issues that are going to take a lot of time and patience to work on. The problem is this is all going to get worse until he hits a point where he decides that he wants to stop.

You cannot change this. You cannot help police his drinking or any of his other destructive behaviours. This is not within your control and you will drive yourself insane trying to do it.

The only thing you can do is to go get your own stuff in order (see IC if possible) and to place in firm boundaries.

Do reading. Go to AlAnon meetings if you feel that will help. Learn about what a 'dry drunk' is.

The meds do take a while to kick in and/or may not be the ones for him. It feels like that there was something pretty major for him in his past though that will need a lot of work to heal.

Hugs. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself and get your support system in place.

gutfeeling posted 12/15/2013 10:09 AM

Hi all - just wanted to say thanks. I have been reading and thinking.

Funny how my first response is defensiveness for H when you all aren't telling me anything I haven't already said to myself.

I'm sort of sad no one said - you're crazy, lady!

A few points of clarification: H wanted to quit chew and had tried before we met. He has been totally clean for 9 mo now. There was a one time (??) slip up 9mo ago. He quit a year ago (for the second time with me) and used the patch.

What gives me the most concern re the chew was all the lying that went on initially. I am 90% sure he has not chewed in 9 mo.

We went to counseling together and he is in ic.

He is on non addictive meds for depression. His doc knows about his history.

I don't know about the alcohol. I thought he was and alcoholic but our mc and his ic think he was abusing alcohol as a self medication for anxiety. He did the "plan" for 6 mo with no issues. However I don't think he knew how to deal with his anxiety and that lead to the breakdown ( and wine) 3 weeks ago. I've said that if he has anymore issues sticking to the plan then I will ask for total abstinence permanently which he has agreed to.

His ic is working with him to set boundaries at work. They decided he is a people pleaser with codependent tendencies. He is adopted and was caregiver for a sick brother - used to putting his needs last and receiving praise for putting brother first (appropriately) but now sets no boundaries at work and will give give give until he is about to snap.

I don't think the meds he is on are working. Neither does h. He is going to talk to his doc.

I am super transparent so h could tell something was up this weekend. I basically told him I don't feel secure in our marriage - that you'll tell the truth, that something didn't happen with Beth, that you're attracted to me etc. it was a tough convo with tears on both sides.

He apologized. Said he will do better. Said I am the love of his life, nothing happened - he will pull text records if I want, the rest is because he's just not feeling like himself. Says I am the best thing that ever happened to him. I want to believe so bad.

I think I will keep checking up but I'm not ready to consider leaving. I do want to give him time to sort out the depression and see what happens. Your points re not being his mom and not thinking I can cure him or keep us safe are well taken.

I'm hopeful ic can help him with boundaries and I will suggest we go back to mc.

Sorry so short/choppy. I'm on my iPhone.

gonnabe2016 posted 12/15/2013 10:49 AM

Being compassionate and supportive is a good quality. What you need to be careful of, though, is that you don't lose *you* in the meantime. In your posts, I'm kinda seeing you doing that - you are focusing on him and *losing* you.

The dynamic that is being set up in your marriage is not a good one. You are turning yourself into his mother. A better dynamic is for you to know your own mind and have your own boundaries.
"WH, if you <whatever>, then I will <xyz>" -- not "WH, if you <whatever>, then you will have to <xyz>"

He is an adult. You cannot make (or force him) to make good choices. What you CAN do, though, is know what you will do if he continually makes bad choices.

Something else that you should step back and look at is this *chewing* issue. You seem to have a very strong anti-chewing opinion:

I would not marry someone who was chewing - I didn't want to watch him die.

.....but you knew that he was a *chewer* before you married him and you married him anyway. You caught him lying to you about his *chewing* multiple times before you married him.....and you married the *chewer* anyway. IMO, you made the choice to marry a *chewer*, and you need to own that and stop with the drug testing and whatnot. This *chewing* issue can teach you a very good lesson -- do not listen to the words, watch the actions. He was *saying* that he would quit/wanted to quit....and yet he was continuing to *chew* behind your back.

Which leads to this......

Said I am the love of his life, nothing happened - he will pull text records if I want

Take him up on his offer -- Have him pull the text records for you.

Kelany posted 12/15/2013 10:59 AM

Sweetie, I'm fairly certain he's an alcoholic. This is coming from someone who is in early sobriety. He can't have a "plan" and be successful. He needs to abstain. However, he needs to be the one that comes to that realization himself. You can't do that for him.

The chewing? Well, it's another addiction, just like alcohol. You can't be his drug counselor, you're his wife, so stop testing him.

He may need an IC versed in addiction because it's clear his is not. Or he may be down playing it. OR he's only TELLING you that the counselor said he's not an alcoholic and he can drink a few times a week. Unless you heard it from the counselor yourself, he could be lying to you.

You may be the love of his life, but his friendship with Beth has GOT to end. I would make that non-negotiable. Don't pussy foot around this. You've asked many times, it's clear he doesn't care. Either she goes or you need to accept that you can either live with him having an EA (which will lead to more) or leave him.

Call his bluff, tell him to get the records. Notice he said "if you want him to". He's banking that you won't. Tell him you want them. Now. Check his facebook messages, e-mail, etc. for any communication those ways. Phone logs in addition to texts.

circe posted 12/15/2013 22:30 PM

I totally understand your defensiveness about your H. He's your H, your partner, you love him and you're a good wife to him so it's natural you're defending him. I think people here aren't demonizing his addictions, like to chew, but instead are trying to draw parallels between his behavior with other things and his behavior with this woman at work. It's a pattern.

I'm seeing your first post as more of your gut telling you what might be significant and you sharing it here to get it out of your head and see what it looked like. Your most recent post was a lot more about doubting your gut and thinking about reasons it could be wrong. Totally normal. I think we can all relate to that - not to speak for all of SI, but it's definitely part of the general shared experience here.

From your last post:

H wanted to quit chew and had tried before we met. He has been totally clean for 9 mo now. There was a one time (??) slip up 9mo ago. He quit a year ago (for the second time with me) and used the patch.

From your first post:

I found out he was chewing again! and he lied about it - until I made him take a test and he was caught. Then he said it was just one time, just one day, blah blah blah. He literally swore on his dead brother that he hadn't chewed when he had.

It's not the slip up. It's not that when under stress, he turned to a familiar if destructive crutch. It's that he lied to you about it and apparently continued to lie, even when your gut told you he was lying and you made him take the test, and even more than that - he swore on his dead brother that he was telling the truth. But he was lying. And you had to test him for medical proof before he came clean (and even then he minimized it to only the bare minimum he had to admit to to fit the evidence).

Now he says this, re: the affair at work:

He apologized. Said he will do better. Said I am the love of his life, nothing happened - he will pull text records if I want, the rest is because he's just not feeling like himself. Says I am the best thing that ever happened to him.

Is that pretty much what he said before you tested him and found out he was lying about the chew? Denial, bargaining, swearing on sacred things?

With his pattern of using really destructive crutches to deal with his emotions and lying to you about it, clinging to his lies until the evidence is in front of him and even then minimizing to the smallest admission he can get away with - how can you trust his reassurance?

If he's really serious about his innocence in the work affair, require him to cut off the 'friendship' cold turkey. No half measures, no negotiations for seeing her X times a week, just have him cut her loose. She's a crutch - like alcohol and chew, and he's not an accurate self-reporter about his crutches. He has a history of lying to you about them. You both know he has to get control of his anxiety or depression, so cutting out all unhealthy crutches that are damaging the healthy support system he has (YOU) is the only option for him.

gutfeeling posted 12/16/2013 10:52 AM

Thanks, Circe. That was really helpful for me to read.

They are not currently friends outside of work - they work together and I see her emails/texts and they are all business. Same with his. (Devils advocate - of course they could be communicating in some way I don't know of).

They actually never hung out outside of work - but were buddy buddy when he was applying for his job - always gossiping about other people etc.

I've asked him (a year or so ago) not to be buddy buddy/joke with her and he has (to my knowledge) respected it.

I don't know why this didn't throw me for a loop then, but is really throwing me for a loop now. I think the wack-a-mole game analogy is accurate. I was just re-acting to the chew/alcohol situation etc.

Now that I am really seeing all these issues not as separate small issues but one larger issue and that the lying has really added up - I am just very uncomfortable with what this means for our marriage.

Best case scenario - he has an addictive personality and is getting help for it, didn't cross the line with Beth and has depression and anxiety and has lied to me about his crutches for dealing with those (still not a great situation!)

Worst case scenario - He cheated, he lied and continues to lie and will continue to lie, has no boundaries, cannot get help because he does not recognize the full problem and we are a ticking time bomb because he feels no remorse and lies to me/has poor boundaries. (this is my fear).

What we are doing: He is making an appointment with psych for a medication change, has another appointment with the CBT, and I drew a line in the sand about lying - one more lie, no matter how small and its MC. I've asked him to consider his boundaries and try to rebuild the wall that is knocked down that allows him to lie (we discussed bricks - what each brick is - I love my wife. I dont want to be the type of person that lies. It is the morally wrong thing to do. Etc and I asked him to think of all his "bricks" to rebuild that wall and let me know.)

I do know that I am not feeling "good" about my relationship right now and that in itself is a huge issue for me. I'm willing to give him some time to see if he can repair some of these issues/get therapy, on the right meds, etc. Hopefully I can check in here in a month or so and get a repeat gut check on whether or not things are getting better.

Re the alcohol. I don't disagree with any of you that say hes an alcoholic. I'm honestly not sure whether he is an abuser or an alcoholic. I am going to let him try to stick to his plan though and see how it goes. Time will tell and I promise I will not just rug sweep if it continues to be an issue.

cancuncrushed posted 12/16/2013 11:33 AM

I agree. Hes an alcoholic. I was denying this myself for so long. Posters on this board pointed it out to me and I just didnt agree. I had no experience with a working professional alcoholic. ANd I grew up with extreme alcoholic parents!!!!!!! I still cant believe my denial. There are all levels. I didnt get that. My H also, chewed, smoked in spurts, had nervous breakdown, dr put him on anxiety meds. Very high pressure job. I now wonder how that coincided with their breakup? He denies everything about OW. H also stops drinking for a very short time, and convinces himself he must be fine. No shakes. I dont think he is aware of being emotionally dependent. SO he drinks again. A little at first, then more then repeat all the above. Alcohol is his emotional crutch. We have been married 30 yrs. Alcohol has been here on some level the whole time. It has been the constant fight, taking him places he shouldnt be. Statistics prove ALL alcoholics will and do have an affair. I was in pain and focused on the why, and the how of his actions. It was alcolhol driven. In my case, H traveled extensively. I didnt realize how much drinking was happening out of town, for along time. I couldnt see across the country. But had that gut feeling. Something was not right. Your H is telling you something. Listen. He knows his real actions.

gutfeeling posted 12/16/2013 11:37 AM

Cancun - can you please provide link to your statistic?

Thank you.

gutfeeling posted 12/16/2013 11:51 AM

I guess I want to add that the "he's an alcoholic" posts aren't really helping me.

I don't disagree with you.

I promise I am FULLY educated on all types of alcoholism - what it looks like/what it doesn't look like.

I'm not in denial. I'm not sugar coating or rug sweeping. It is and was a huge issue in our marriage. I've given him the opportunity to fix it and I am going to let him finish out his effort. If he can't - then, if anything, it will be support for HIM believing he has an issue.

We have no less than 1 MFT, 1 CBT, 2 doctors and 1 Psych addressing this issue (among his others). The armchair diagnosises are just making me feel frustrated (ALL alcoholics cheat! - I am CERTAIN than alcoholism is strongly correlated to cheating and is even a causative factor, I am also certain that no study has found that every single alcoholic ever cheats. That's just not helpful for me).

I am really trying to listen with an open heart and mind and I am really taking the things you are saying seriously. I welcome advice and even opinions - please just know that the diagnosis is not helping.

Thank you.

circe posted 12/16/2013 22:19 PM

I hear you. And honestly I think the alcohol talk is obscuring the discussions about a potential affair and your feelings of not being emotionally safe in your marriage at the moment. You sound like you guys have a good professional support system and you can handle the other part of things if any need should arise.

Let's put away the symptoms and just think about the source of things and the different scenarios and what you can do about them.

The woman at work - it's good that they're not hanging out after work, but the texting they do after hours should stop, and he should withdraw his friendship, conversation and thoughts from her while you guys work on your marriage. It really does sound like his anxiety and lack of coping mechanisms seem to come out in a lot of ways he doesn't control well, so the lack of boundaries at work, away from you, might be a huge issue you're not fully aware of.

What can he do to be more transparent with you? Can you hold him to his promise to give you access to the texts he deleted? Not to provide you with a print out, but to give you the log on information that will allow you to see the raw data for yourself?

The thing is, it just doesn't sound like your gut is wrong. It sounds like you're fighting against something you know. So I don't doubt there's something there, but with all of the issues he has fighting his anxiety, from the outside the issues seem kind of mixed together.

HoldOnHope posted 12/17/2013 09:29 AM

(((gutfeeling))) if anything, you sound so frustrated. My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry that you have found yourself in this horrible place, especially as a newlywed.

First, you are not being dramatic. You are dealing with a very stressful situation and trying your best to keep your head above water. I'd say keep snooping, because the red flags are certainly there and you're your gut is screaming because you aren't stupid. I SHOULD have snooped more the first time my gut told me something was off with my H. But alas, I chose to blindly trust my husband for 3 more years until a stranger threw the truth in my face.

Have you thought about taking a little break, even if it's just a week or two, from your husband's dysfunction? Yes, we all made vows to be there for better or for worse but darling you can't fix him and it seems like you could really use a there any way that you can move in with your parents or something? Just to take a step back, take a breather, and allow him to work on some of this with professionals. One thing I want to warn you about is fostering a relationship that allows for co-dependence. You sound very mature and level-headed, so you may not "depend" on your husband but he obviously depends on you. Be careful.

Taking a step back for a week or two may also allow you to clear your head from some of the day to day struggles and determine if this marriage is really what you want. Clearly, your H is someone you want to be with and you love him very much and you very much want him to get better. However, whether he cheated on you or not, is this really the type of marriage you want? And how long are you willing to deal with this stressful of a marriage? Do you want children? Do you want him to be the father of your children? I also agree with this statement from Circe "he's not going to be able to actively repair your marriage and your relationship while he's falling apart in all directions." To this, I want to add that you need to ask yourself if you are ok with putting your marriage on the back burner while he gets some much-needed help.

As for your gut feeling and the potential that he cheated...I would guess that you will always have a gut feeling about Beth until the day you know for sure. I'm not saying he cheated on you. I'm saying you will most likely always wonder. That's a lot of baggage to carry through a marriage for the rest of your life. It worries me that your husband has such a pattern of lying. And it worries me that, after months of asking him the same questions about Beth, you can't look him in the face and feel safe with his explinations of what their "friendship" is. I do hope that he gets the help he obviously needs and learns to be an open/honest person. Maybe once he gets better, you can learn to trust him again and believe him when he says that he did not have an inappropriate relationship with Beth. Until then, what do you need your H to do to make you feel better about his work relationship with Beth? Does he need to go as far as apply for a new job? Imagine what it would feel like to hear your husband say, "After everything I have put you through, I want you to be happy, and if that will make you happy, then I will look for another job".

Finally, do all alcoholics cheat? Just my 2 cents-No, they don't ALL cheat. I have no idea where Cancun thinks that statistic came from. My father was an alcoholic. While still drinking and shortly after truly commiting to sobriety, my father admitted a lot of messed up stuff to me that he had done over the years (really.messed.up.stuff) but drunk or sober, he has always sworn he never cheated on my mother or his first wife. After hearing his other confessions, I know he's a very angry and broken person but I believe he never cheated. Everyone is different.

Regardless of whether or not you H is an alcoholic and whether or not he cheated, he has a long way to go in becoming a better person and you can't have a happy, healthy marriage unless both people in that marriage are happy, healthy people.

Best of luck to you! I hope you find the peace of mind you deserve.

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