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I cheated. How can I support my spouse while we reconcile?

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Neveragain1221 posted 1/8/2014 08:05 AM

Okay, this is my first time posting on a forum like this. I'm a little nervous.

Anyway, I met my husband at work 7 years ago. We both instantly fell in love with each other, and I knew he was the one I wanted to marry. However, there was another, married man we worked with. A very charismatic, outgoing, fun guy I liked as well. I didn't like him to the extent I liked my BS, but I was very fond of him.

Soon after we began dating, my BS became extremely emotionally distant. I knew he liked to play video games, and I didn't want to make him stop, but he started to go home from work everyday, invite me over, then do nothing but play while I sat awkwardly on the couch, doing nothing. If I tried to suggest doing something, or even try talking to him, he'd just grunt and turn the volume on his game up. If I tried to distract him by touching the controller or touching him, he'd get angry and yell. At the same time, when he did pay attention to me, he'd often belittle me or try to make me feel stupid. If I accomplished something new at work, he'd say "That's not that hard. Anyone can do that." If I ever learned a new fact or heard something interesting, he'd dash to the computer to try and find something to prove me wrong. It made me feel stupid and unwanted.

At the same time, I loved him greatly. I wanted to talk about things, but I knew he wouldn't listen, so I turned to my coworker. He gave me everything I needed. He listened to my problems, assured me I was smart, assured me I was a good artist (something I've always been sensitive about), and let me know he was there for me. I learned over the years that he was a manipulative jerk who did this with every woman he could find, but when all this was going on I was taken in. It took many months of him pressuring me, but I finally gave in and had sex with him.

Since the first time, I saw him off and on again for about two years. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and more often than not I found excuses not to be with him, but whenever things got emotional with my BS I'd turn back. I felt terrible after every time, but I couldn't stop myself. I was afraid of telling my BS, because I knew he'd walk away.

The reason I stopped seeing him after two years is because another one of our friends began to have relationship issues, and he did the same thing with her that he did with me. Looking at it from the outside, I instantly recognized the behavior, and I began to realize what kind of person he was. I distanced myself considerably, and only saw him in a group setting from then on. When things went south with the girl he was currently romancing, he tried to turn back to me, telling me he was sorry he'd seen the other girl, and he missed me, and he wanted me to continue to see him. I declined, but it was hard.

After I stopped seeing him, my BS asked me to marry him. I was so happy, but at the same time I was scared we were moving too fast. We'd already been together for 4 years, but it was the first romantic relationship I'd ever been in. I managed to stay away from my affair partner for the duration of our engagement, but a month after we got married, I went back for one last fling. I'm not even sure why I did it, and I know I shouldn't have, but I was weak. That was when my BS found out. I made up some stupid lie, and after a few days he appeared to accept it, and didn't bring the subject up again, only to insist that I never had contact with the coworker again. It was hard, because I still did like him, but I agreed. I let my coworker know that I wouldn't be spending time with him any more, and that I didn't want him texting me. He was angry, but complied for a while. After a few months, he began texting me again, trying to get me to come to his place. I never did.

This peace lasted for a year and a half. I was extremely happy. I was hoping that if we just never brought the subject up again, and I devoted myself to being the best wife I could be, I could forget it happened. My husband took a job that requires him to travel, and even though it was lonely and hard with him being gone all the time, I never even felt like befriending another man. I thought everything would be okay. Then, last Saturday morning, he confronted me through the computer about everything. I wanted so badly to keep going with the lie I had made in the beginning, but this time, for whatever reason, I told him about everything.

I feel like the lowest person on the planet. I can say I was manipulated and taken advantage of all I want, and it's true, but I still chose to say yes. I've acknowledged my failings to my BS, and because I was willing to accept responsibility for it and come clean, he's agreed to try and fix our marriage.

He says I'll need to support him, and I desperately want to, but I don't know exactly what I need to do. He's told me some things, like going to counseling to come to terms with why I felt the need to cheat, and I'm willing to do this. I'm trying, but he says he feels like I'm not working hard enough to support him. Does anyone have any advice on what I can do to show him I really do want to support him?

Any advice helps.

[This message edited by Neveragain1221 at 8:18 AM, January 8th (Wednesday)]

pointofnoreturn posted 1/8/2014 09:08 AM

Hello, welcome to the worst club in the world!

I think when BSes ask for you to support them, what they're really saying is "own your shit". You might hear that a lot around here, but it's true. A few things you can do beyond IC is accepting and going through the "consequences" of your actions. It helps if you're accepting of them, because it shows your BS that you're willing to work through this.

Some suggestions could be going strict NC if you haven't already. Since you said this AP was a co-worker, that could go to the extent of changing jobs completely. This sucks, but it is worth the peace of mind of your BS.

I'd also recommend reading up in the Healing Library. You can find it on the left-hand side there. I read everything, even the BS stuff to gain perspective.

You can also read, "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. Since your AP was a co-worker, this is probably a good one to start with.

Are you becoming fully transparent? Give your BS access to all your accounts, get rid of phone locks, and anything they may want to check. This will help build some trust if you're not constantly guarding your phone.

It's just mostly about taking ownership of the pain you've caused, accepting the consequences, and doing anything your BS reasonably requests so as to help them heal.

This is all just general advice since I'm running low on time, but welcome to SI and please stay here and post. We'd love to help.

Neveragain1221 posted 1/8/2014 18:55 PM

Thanks for the reply. I really am trying to "own my shit." I've admitted responsibility for the affair because, as much as I was manipulated and lead on, I still said yes. I'd love to blame it all on the AP, but I still made the choice.

The AP is a coworker, but we work in different departments, and we work at an Int'l airport. It's a big place. My BS wants me to change jobs, but his mother is trying to talk him out of it, because AP and I rarely to never see each other when we're at work. He works an AM shift, and I work a mid-shift. There's only a short window where our paths have a chance of crossing, and they usually don't. I'm hoping not to have to change, because I like my job and it provides our health insurance and life insurance. However, I am looking to transfer positions to a new airport if I can find an opening.

I am becoming transparent. He has my passwords to my email and Facebook. I don't have a lock on my phone, and he is welcome to look at it any time. I even offered to let him put a SMS tracker on it, if it would ease his mind.

Brandon808 posted 1/8/2014 19:02 PM

BH here and regarding the work situation this...

There's only a short window where our paths have a chance of crossing, and they usually don't.
...short window is still extremely difficult to deal with. It causes the BS to constantly think "Is this the day they do cross paths again? What if OM decides to come to work early or stay late so he can try to see her?"

I have to admit I'm more than a little surprised your BH's mother would try to talk him out wanting you to change jobs.

Neveragain1221 posted 1/8/2014 20:57 PM

"Is this the day they do cross paths again? What if OM decides to come to work early or stay late so he can try to see her?"

If OM decided to do that, I would go to the police, and my BS knows that. We've discussed it. The OM is very egotistical, and he may not be handling this very well. I told OM's wife about the affair, and I don't know if their marriage can take it. He usually "punishes" people by giving them the cold shoulder, but in this case both my BS and I are worried he might become violent or threatening. He's never been to the house my BS and I have, nor does he know the address, so at least we've got that going for us. I did tell OM that if he ever attempted to contact me again, I would file harassment charges.

She's trying to talk him out of it because she's been the BS before. Her first husband of 17 years, and my BS's father, cheated on her over 30 times. She's been where he has, and she's trying to encourage him not to make hasty decisions. His job pays well, but not well enough to support the both of us should I be unable to find another job, or have to take a significant pay cut.

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