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Is it worth a second chance, or should I abandon ship now?

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skadi1991 posted 1/8/2014 18:47 PM

Hello, I am new here, and I wasn't sure where to post. I would just like to hear from other betrayed people, opinions on whether the situation I am in would be worth fighting for or not. I know we're not married, and we're both young, so it may seem like petty, unimportant things I should move on from, but I would like someone to listen to my story. Sorry in advance for the huge wall of text.

I started dating my SO in July of 2012. I was a couple weeks shy of 21 and he was 28. We met on a dating website and hit it off great. SO is divorced from an unemployed, drug and alcohol addicted ex-stripper, and has a four year old son, two at the time we met. (I only mention the ex-wife because it plays a role later. He is neither on drugs and rarely drinks alcohol.)

Everything was great for the first two or three months. I loved being around him, and we always had fun together. Gradually, he started becoming distant and even slightly mean. He would treat me like I was a piece of furniture in the room, and break promises. He said insensitive, but no over-the-top things, and it was obvious he couldn't care about how I felt or anything.

Every once in a while we would have a great time together, but he would immediately push me away again. I had nothing but awkward, screwed up relationships with "odd" people in the past, so I figured this was normal. He kept telling me "Relationships have honeymoon phases. We just are comfortable around one another so we're not in it anymore."

Honestly, I love him, and that's why I stayed with him, knowing what a wonderful man he once was, I was hoping it would shine through again. I guess I'm a little naive. Things remained the same until mid April.
He started warming up to me again, and treating me like I was his girlfriend and not just a "video game buddy." I was so happy! But... suspicious. On June 7th, I was sitting on my computer after he had went to bed, and his phone buzzed. He left it in the living room, whereas usually he was attached to it like a vital organ. I had a horrible gut wrenching feeling and checked it out.

This is when I discovered he was cheating on me with a 60-year old married woman that he met via World of Warcraft. He denied it at first and said "Oh, that's just how we talk to each other." But it was
obvious he had slept with her. I confronted him and he broke down. He told me he only slept with her once (I don't believe that. They had been in contact for 3 months) and that he immediately regretted doing
so, but was afraid she would tell me or her "jealous gun-toting husband" She basically said that it would be a shame if my husband found out hed come down here and kill youso I guess you have to stay my FWB He said he was trying to wean her away from him by being distant from her, but I dont really believe that too much. Its in the past now and I cant do much about it.

He said he didn't want to lose me and that's why he didn't tell me, because he knew I would split. I was so heartbroken, and shunned him for days. He cut all contact with her, on his phone, on his computer,
everything. He took the passwords off his computer and told me I have free range of anything of his. A few nights later, I was sitting watching TV after going out for supper with my friend (female) and he broke down. He fell to his knees, put his head in my lap, and started crying and sobbing, begging me to give him another chance. I have never, ever seen this man cry before. There was a couple of weeks of him begging, pleading, breaking down and apologizing before I decided to give it a shot.

He promised to make everything right if I gave him a second chance. I asked him why he had cheated and he kept claiming "I was curious. Ex wife cheated on me, dad cheated on mom (worked things out), and SIL cheated on brother." BULL! What a sorry pathetic excuse! (More on that later)

He suggested we go to couple's counseling, and that he would pay for it, I would just pick one out I liked. We have been going there since June, and it has helped a lot. He has completely turned his life around, got a nice job, started being healthier, and has treated me amazingly since then, more wonderfully than I deserve. I have been part of his family, and he has been part of mine. He is a complete 180 from what he was a year ago, and I am happy to call him my boyfriend.

Just a couple of months ago we had gotten into an argument, and he finally confessed as to why he really cheated: Every girl he dated before me was... well, to put it nicely, the dredges of society. He got fed up with it and put up a wall. He met me, and I treated him like a human being. He apparently went into self defense mode and thought "The rest of them screwed me over, what does SHE, a normal, nice girl see in someone like ME? She's going to do what they did." so he closed himself off to prevent himself from getting hurt. He admits he treated me horribly and made an awful decision, and wants to make it all up to me now, and he even told our counselor that the biggest mistake he had ever made in his life was betraying me.

I am still hurting, but things are getting better each day. I have free range of all his things, and if anything looks suspicious in any way, he proves to me what was happening (i.e. getting called into work on a weekend, he printed out his pay stub to show me he was indeed at work.) I have had no reason not to trust him since D-Day, even though I don't completely yet. We spend more time together, and are actually a couple now. We talk, we share, and we vent. He seems excited to see me, and has showered me with affection, and he has matured greatly. He has made it clear that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, marriage, kids, all that. So for now, I guess I'm giving him a second chance. I'm not afraid to leave if I have to, and he knows that. He says he just wants me to be happy. Ive had a lot of emotional ups and downs, some nights crying and swearing, some happy and content. Its been 7 months, and even though the progress weve made is slow, and is taking time, it is happening.

But I want to hear from other people. I know things aren't always black and white. Has anyone had a similar story? I would like some input on whether or not it seems worth it, or if things are just going to go back to where they were before. If anyone would like any more insight to anything, I would be happy to answer, I would just like some opinions. Thanks :)

avicarswife posted 1/8/2014 19:27 PM

Hi and welcome to SI. I am so sorry for what you are going through.

I guess there will be those who will tell you to run for the hills, but truly only you can make the decision - you will be the one who lives with it.

In fact in the I can relate forum there is a thread (page 3 currently) for those who had "no reason to stay" in many peoples' opinion but have chosen to.

You talk of big changes he has made - hopefully changes he has made in himself not only in how he relates and is trying to rebuild his relationship with you. He needs to truly understand why he thought it was acceptable for him to behave like he did and risk so much. And no he isn't treating you more wonderfully than you deserve - you deserve to be treated amazingly. You are worth it and more.

If you choose to stay, you need to understand that this will never go away, but instead be part of your relationship history.

Have you both been checked out for STIs? You need to be to be aware than some are not obvious however can have long term consequences.

In the yellow box at the top of your screen on the left is the link for the healing library. There is a load of valuable information and some recommended reading. Check it out.

You don't need to make a decision in a hurry. Take your time and do what is going to be the best for you. You don't have to go because you have heard that once a cheater always a cheater. People can change, but nor does change obligate you to stay.

You will get lots of advice - pick out what rings true for you. We are all unique and react accordingly. Lots of hugs and keep posting.

[This message edited by avicarswife at 7:29 PM, January 8th (Wednesday)]

Dreamland posted 1/9/2014 00:30 AM

Sweetie.. You're 21..or 22 now. You have your whole life ahead of you. Find someone who makes you a better person not someone who brings you down. I say dump him and work on why you would stay with someone like him. He seems nice but has issues.
Go have fun with girl friends. Enjoy your youth while your young. Don't worry you can settle down later

sisoon posted 1/9/2014 12:53 PM

My first concern is about his honesty. Is his XW really an 'unemployed, drug and alcohol addicted ex-stripper'?

You report a lot of stuff that sounds fictional to me when I add it all up. Each individual piece sounds OK, but I wonder if one person has to deal with 1) a drug & alcohol addicted ex-stripper, 2) a 60 year old ow, 3) a gun-toting H who will kill him, 4) an overnight change from wanting to be with people he thinks are low lifes to wanting to be with a nice girl....

BTW, I know for a fact that there's lots of life left in at least some 60 year old women. I fell in love with my W when she was 20, but our relationship was immensely better in every way 40 years later. Just sayin'....

At the same time, I'm not sure I would have realized that when I was 28. A 28 year old man choosing to cheat with a 60 year woman ... that alone is a red flag on top of 'stop' sign. (Cheating is the 'stop' sign; ow's age is the red flag.)

Is he in IC? If he's honest with himself, IMO he really needs it to change his self image from 'low life' to 'human being', for want of better terms.

I can't help thinking the probability is very high that this guy is conning you, that he's really effed up, that he's saying more about changing than actually doing anything to change, and you're buying a pack of lies.

But you actually talk with him. You see his body language. You know him better than I do. I could be wrong. OTOH, I'm responding to what you write.

Tough choice. I'd probably send him away, but it's your decision.

Myheartstillhurt posted 1/9/2014 13:05 PM

Hi Skadi1991

You know, I am happy with my life today, but the path to get here has sucked.

I met my husband when I was 17. He was four years older and had already been married and divorced with a kid. He cheated on me back then when we were dating with his ex wife, but being 18 or 19 at the time, I easily forgave it. He even left me for a year to go back and then ended up back with me. I "loved" him, so of course I forgave and believe what he told me.

He did no work on himself, we lived as if it all were fine. We got married when I was 20. His first emotional affair probably happened a few years after that. I don't know if I will ever know the full extent to what happened over the years..

Then, in 2010, I found out about a LTA with my best friend that was like a sister to me. Her and I had known each other for 28 years (I was 30 when I found out). The affair was almost 3 years (or maybe it was 3 years, who knows really).

Anyway, my husband is now 37 years old, and he is a really good man. He has done counseling, marriage counseling, and changed into what most would consider a great man, husband, and father. But look how long it took, and how much pain and heartache... I can't know if life would have been better if I had put my foot down the first time or not.

Too many things shout red flags.. Almost all people that cheat will claim there is someone who will come kill them if the affair is outed, that is not new. You are sooooo young... You don't want to decide 10 years and however many kids later that you had the chance to have a fresh new start with no baggage attached. I caution you on moving forward with this guy. It hurts really bad after 10 years, 4 kids, and a double betrayal. Much harder to get over than that initial blow when you are still free to move on without a ton of obstacles. Good luck.

pain822 posted 4/12/2014 02:51 AM

Hi there Skadi1991
I can completely relate to the last part of your post where your husband says that he did do so protect himself from hurt. See that I am in no way excusing his behaviour but I can give you my example. Its not cheating related but it may give you an insight into this behaviour.

As a teenager I did not have any good friends, even if I got close to anyone something or the other happened and they broke their friendship with me. I was left hurt and rejected.Over the years same thing kept happening. Then came a point in my life I stopped getting close to anyone.Even if I thought that someone and I could be friends, I used to distance her for the simple reason that I couldn't handle if she rejected me so I went ahead and rejected her first.
for example I was afraid of waving Hi to my classmates because If they ddn't wave back the rejection would hit me hard. So I stopped waving Hi and even if anyone said Hi to me I ignored it. Just to protect myself from rejection and assuring myself that there is someone who accepts me.
Your husband probably felt the same. After seeing and going thru multiple cheated on instances, He must have been afraid that he cannot handle another rejection. So he went ahead and cheated himself before you could cheat on him.
It may sound bizarre and it IS really difficult to explain. I have tried my best though.
and note that I am NOT excusing his behaviour.

MomtoRoses posted 4/12/2014 08:07 AM

my dear friend. I feel for what you are going through. It is really hard. I, too, dated toxic men (I didn't know it at the time), so was bound to have a marriage that had problems. The problem is why am I attracted to toxic men??

If I could go back in my life, early marriage, I would insist my wh go to Sexaholics anonymous after the FIRST violation, instead of waiting (and his hiding/lying) for many more years. I don't think I've met more than a handful of cheaters who cheated one time and changed their lives ALL ON THEIR OWN, without therapy, 12 step, church accountability etc.

I met a woman the other day who became a therapist bc she dated a sex addict in college, but she didn't know what it was. Now, she helps other women recover from relationships. I hope you learn about yourself and what you are willing to live w/ live w/out.

Wodnships posted 4/12/2014 09:03 AM

I'm going to tell you something someone told me when we first joined. We have people here whose marriages survived multiple long term affairs and we have people here who divorced over a kiss. What's the point? Only you can decide if your relationship is worth fixing.

My wife didn't have a PA but before me she had a string of relationships with trash. In fact I'm the only guy who ever really treated her decently. So, that over night change does happen. And what your husband says about not feeling like he can believe you are as good as you are seem genuine to me.. Is he in IC to deal with his issues? The real root of the issues are why he choose those woman in the first place.

As far as the crazy gun toting husband, that sounds like a manipulation. To me that screams the OW is trying to make sure that no one tells her husband. Protecting herself.

If you want my opinion. In your situation I'd most likely try to make it work but keep him on a short list. I'd insist on IC and MC. I would want to see change in his over all behavior. If I didn't see him working on who he was fundamentally as a person I would walk. But the road to reconciliation is hard and anyone who tells you it was easy is lying or not really healed.

The caveat to all of that is you are young. You are still learning who you want to be for the rest of your life. I don't think anyone could blame you if you walked away and found someone who gave you the love and respect you deserve.

In the end only you can make the call though.

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