H and I have been together since 2002. Married in 2012 (had been engaged for years but not married for insurance reasons.) In 2009 I found out about an EA that he had been having with someone he met online, but had met up with her twice and gone out on dates (she lived about an hour and a half away--I was aware he went to that town, but thought he was hanging out with a mutual friend.) By the time I found it, apparently it had been over (according to text/cell records and him) for several weeks. We hashed things out multiple times, almost broke up (at that time we had a 4 year old) and we left it that if it ever happened again I was done with the relationship.
We worked on doing more things together, communicating more, and things were much better for quite a while. Later I found out it was not just her that he had connected with online, there were also 3 or 4 other text relationships that he did not meet in person with, just met online and texted with for a few weeks then moved on to another. (At the time this occurred I was finishing up my masters degree and was interning during the day and attending class most nights)
After we reconciled and I got a full time job, we bought a house together and then got pregnant again. Apparently the abstaining from inappropriate online relationship continued for about a year and a half, and then resumed at the time when our second was about 6 months old and I was working full time with a 45 minute commute. At that time it looks just like online messaging on a couple of sites. He says over the past couple of years it would happen (in his words, he would start thinking about it, then do a little, then a whole lot, and then completely stop for a few months, and then start up again. He says once he was done he would feel ashamed/crappy about it) in spurts.
I was laid off 2.5 years ago, and have been staying at home/working very part time since then. We make enough to get by but no extra, so there are money frustrations quite a bit. We got married at that point since I had lost my health insurance through work, and then got pregnant a few months later. When I was about 6 months pregnant he downloaded kik messenger to his phone, and that seems to have been where he met most of the people over the last year and a half.
A few weeks ago I asked to borrow his cell phone and he would not give it to me. That made me suspicious so I demanded it and he wouldn't give it to me (he never did until later, when he had erased everything on it.) I called a counsellor the next day, and started looking through phone records again. There are several local numbers that he texted in December (again, for a week or two and then stopped). There is also a semi-local man's number that I had never heard about. We talked about it, he said it was a guy he had met online but hadn't told me because there's no way to say "I met him online" without me being suspicious. He said it was someone originally from this area that had been working in Texas but was moving back. A few days after this I looked into his paypal account and there was a money transfer of 40 bucks to this same person in march of last year. I asked him about it, and slowly it came out that he had met this guy on craigslist for strictly platonic relationships and had texted a couple of times. The guy was going to be in town and said they could meet up for drinks and possibly go back to a hotel room, and that his girlfriend was up for anything. They did meet up (my husband says he did not think it was actually going to happen) and there was the guy, another guy, and the girlfriend. They did go to a hotel, watched tv for a while and then the girl and guy number 2 began having sex. H says his 'friend' encouraged him to participate, but he couldn't get aroused. (I asked him, calmly, why not--did he not find her attractive? and he said he did not find the whole situation attractive once he was in it.) He stayed for a while longer, then said he had to get home and left. (that's his story anyway). However, the next day he transferred the money for his share of the hotel room and the note said "thanks for everything, would love to do it again sometime." He has sporadic texts over the last year from that same guy, he always responded (he says they mostly seemed like drunk texts saying how's it going, etc.) There were texts around thanksgiving because apparently he was in town and wanted to meet up again, which my H declined, and then there were messages even up to two weeks ago chatting back and forth.
I also found, in his sent emails, an email from October responding to a craigslist ad saying "marry me :) 25" to which he said "I would be interested in settling down if you're the right girl, lets chat and see where it goes" and included his body type stats. He apparently had had a separate email that he used for craigslist stuff but it got shut down for suspected spamming--they asked for documentation to prove that it was legitimate but did not want to give them the info. I asked if he was looking to get married again, and he laughed and said "that wasn't real, nobody is real." I don't know if that's him rationalizing that everyone else is fake to make himself not feel bad that he is fake.
Part of all of this, not sure where it factors in (if it does). DH has severe ADHD. Was medicated as a child for school, but not as an adult. He has always had strenuous outdoor jobs (I think as self-medicating, he runs off his excess energy) but feels very unsuccessful at book-knowledge type stuff (feels trapped in his job because he would have to pass tests to pursue any retraining and doesn't feel like he would be able to). Also feels unsuccessful in small talk/chit chat type situations. Had a few (like 3) good friends from high school who now are scattered all over the state so he sees them rarely and talks like once a month. (His job is done alone so he doesn't have any work people to talk with either) Has not made a group of friends here (we live in my hometown) though we've lived here for 10 years. The having no guy friends is/has been a continual frustration for him. He is kind of off-beat personality-wise. I think he may be depressed. Or just very fatalistic, I'm not sure. (He says stuff like "nobody would miss me if I died tomorrow")
My father was a serial cheater, a very smooth salesmen-type, so I purposefully chose someone not like that, I guess unsuccessfully.
At this point, we have three children (all of them have a medical condition that, while treatable, is a big deal in terms of regular visits to the local childrens hospital for their medicine and more if an injury occurs, which is also a stress primarily on me). (to add to the upsetness, the craigslist meet up happened when our youngest was 8 weeks old.) I don't know what to do.
He says he feels like he's broken in some way, that he can't explain why he seeks out other people (other than that he has no one to talk to except me), that he loves me and loves our kids and wants us to grow old together. That he does not want a divorce and will do anything. He is sick because he is afraid every day when he comes home that I will have left. (I almost did when I found out about the craigslist stuff).
I know craigslist is a bad sign (to me, it's just a bad sign that it escalated from online to local). FWIW, I do believe (I think--as much as I believe anything right now--I'm feeling pretty shell-shocked) that he is sincere in that he says he didn't participate because he couldn't become aroused (it took him 4 dates just to kiss me when we started dating). I just feel like continuing the relationship for the whole next year is either such desperation for friends to talk to that he doesn't care how he makes them, or intention to participate at some point in the future. I don't feel like he's met up with anyone else because he really doesn't have any unaccounted for time. (I was aware of the going out in march, he said it was to have a drink with a paintballing acquaintance). He says he doesn't know what he was looking for, that it's not unhappiness with me. (the day he transferred money for the hotel, we'd been out shopping together and then grabbed dinner with just the baby and us. There were not problems in the relationship that I was aware of, we weren't going through a rough or sexless patch or anything.)
We had an appointment with a marriage counsellor yesterday. I think it went well, she said we seemed to be off to a really good start repairing things. He has been turning his phone off (I still have access to the phone records and his apple account to see if he redownloads any apps) once he gets home and not taking it to bed anymore (I think most of this happened in the half hour before he went to sleep alone--he gets up at 330 so goes to bed at 8, while I'm still getting the kids to sleep. we had been sleeping in separate rooms because of our opposing schedules, but we are sleeping in the same room again now) but we still have internet on our phones, and I don't know what our consensus on internet usage should be going forward. The counsellor said that it did not sound like he needed individual counselling at this time (which I think if he's saying he feels like somethings broken and feels like no one would even care if he died would not be out of line...) but strongly recommends SAA meetings at a local church.
I guess my problem is the sneakiness continuing over the past three years, and the problems occurring when I thought our relationship was fine. In the future, how would I know if it was starting again? It seemed fine before.
Right now I'm crying every day, trying to wrap my head around this side of someone I've been with for 1/3 of my life. I feel like I'm doing a crappy job parenting because I'm so upset. I hate him for putting me in this position, of having to choose whether I want to divorce and completely uproot my family and my children. I guess I shouldn't have said "if this happens again I'm done" and not followed through. I'm a very forthright person. I don't hide anything, I don't lie (I even have trouble with little white lie social situations). This is so foreign to me I just don't get it. I do not want to divorce. But I don't want to live a lie for the rest of my life, or get five years older and watch this happen again.
[This message edited by pepper77 at 8:27 AM, February 5th (Wednesday)]
Itís good that you and your husband recognize that he is very broken. It concerns me that your MC doesnít think he needs IC. He does. He has to fix whatever is making him cheat again and again and again. Itís not a weakness in the marriage. Itís a weakness in him. And MC wonít fix it. He has to have IC. Make sure his IC and your MC know how to deal with infidelity. If the counselor(s) do not deal with the infidelity first and foremost, find another. Marriage counseling (MC) is a good idea but this is not the time to work on the marital problems prior to the affair, and we all had/have them. The marital problems did NOT cause the infidelity. You must deal with the infidelity first. Any counselor who says differently does NOT know how to deal with infidelity.
I know you want to believe heís not been physical yet. Unfortunately, most of us desperately want to believe our spouses when they initially tell us that it wasnít physical. All too often it was. Get tested for STDs before you have sex again. He needs to be tested as well. Make sure you see the results of his test yourself. Just to protect yourself.
Discovering your husband is cheating is devastating. Itís hard to function when all you can think of is the cheating. If you have a close friend or family member you can trust, share with her. Ask for help with the kids if you need to Ė you can do this without sharing specifics of why if you donít feel you can. Just say you have some issues and need some help with the kids. This is hard and it will be hard for a long time.
Your husband should answer all of your questions honestly and as often as you ask, without being angry or defensive, and without blaming you for his affair. He must do this to be open and to help you process the affairs. He needs to give you access to all of his electronic devices and passwords. The only way to ever begin to build trust again is with openness and transparency.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
No one is loving and loyal all the time.
Life is not always fair.
Things change and end
Pain is a part of life.
Things donít always go according to plan
How we deal with these things that happen to us will determine our own future happiness.
I know what a good man is and does.. He is immature and unmasculine. He is not capable of attracting you back given your story. Of course your man needs help. I disagree with your IC if you told her the exact same things as us.
You cannot insist he goes to counciling. He must want it. You cannot minipulate him into going, it wonít work. He decides if he changes, not you.
If it were me, I leave (not file D) him no matter what challenges you may face. Friends, family, churches will help you.
Pepper, ďUntil you figure out what it means to be a man, a man who know how to fix the pain he causes to himself and his wife, I will not allow you in my life.Ē Then no debate, no anger, no argue, no long discussions. Keep leaning of friends and find fun things to do on your own or with the kids.
Then pay close attention to what he does over the next 6 months or so.
But this is your choice, not mine.
Hold your head high. You are far more worthy then the current man you picked. You can look at this as your going to be stronger... or let this take you down. You being independant again can be most rewarding. Our laws will protect you with child support. Most likely, he will want to take care of his own children.
I am so sorry and I so hope you move toward peace soon.
[This message edited by trynhard at 9:28 AM, February 5th (Wednesday)]
Unfortunately I don't really have any friends that can keep the kids, and my mom won't keep all of them.
One of the best pieces of advice I've found is this: You don't have to decide right now whether to reconcile or divorce. You can see what he does with this CHANCE at reconciliation. Will he do the hard work? Wait and see. Will his actions measure up to his words? It's all on him at this point, IMO. You don't have to leave but you also don't have to agree that you will stay forever. Give it 6 to 12 months before you decide what you're doing. It's the least he can do to take the pressure off of you.
As far as the kids - do you belong to the YMCA or a gym? They usually have reasonable child care, plus exercise might help you work off some of the stress. Or maybe have someone help with the youngest or oldest or whatever might help you the most. Heck, have your husband stay with them for several hours so you can get out and take a walk or nap or library or coffee with a friend. Just throwing out a few things. I'm sure you've thought it through though.
Sending you peace and strength. Try to take care of yourself in this difficult time. You are not alone--we are pulling for you.
I almost don't want to leave the kids with him, I'm very much questioning his decision-making capabilities right now.
I have seen over and over (and experienced myself) that when WS are confronted with answering and posting craigslist ads, they say "it wasn't real" or "just bored and messing around online, it doesn't mean anything." As if the BS is just no fun and doesn't "get" that it "doesn't mean anything."
Your bf is at the very least bi-curious. His financial transactions and continued texts with that guy sound like a gay escort encounter he wants to do again. He is minimizing that he answered ads for women who are seeking a husband.
You are his security and safe haven. Inside he is clearly impulsive, chaotic, and thrill-seeeking, He totally needs IC. Even if he holds off on acting out, because he is now showing you his phone activity, that is very far from dealing with what is driving this behavior.
I think tryinhard has given you some very good advice.
Sex addiction is complex, individual, and progressive. Simply attending 12 step meetings isn't enough although it's huge, IF the addict wants it to help. But your WS doesnt even have a diagnosis. That needs to be done by a specialist. That same specialist can guide treatment, including a proper supervised disclosure to you of all the acting out. It's not unusual for SAs to escalate their activities, doing things that are more and more extreme as time goes on.
It's my opinion that the spouse needs specialized counseling too. Only sex addiction specialists GET IT. And only CSATs are trained to see through the very well honed bullshit skills that SAs are so good at.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 2:43 PM, February 12th (Wednesday)]