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long and winding road

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Foxyfox posted 3/3/2014 19:55 PM

I am new to this site and I am posting in the reconciliation category as that is what we are trying to do. My partner and I have been together for almost 18 years. It’s a big investment, 18 years. I am having such a difficult time with some of the aspects to all of this that I’m hoping that if I bare all someone will have some wisdom and may be able to help me. I have been through a lot of hardships in my life, but the devastation I feel from his A is by far the most painful and challenging thing I have ever endured. If one more person says to me “once a cheater, always a cheater” I am going to scream. People in my life make their judgements. Doormat, settling, foolish. These are the terms I am labelled with. I try to look beyond the immediate pain and see things in a bigger way. I try to reserve judgements. I will try to be brief but it’s a complicated tale. Here, in all its glory, is my story:
My partner lived in the same house in the same town with cold unsupportive parents all his life. Then when I finally let him move in with me after 8 years together we lived five minutes from his parents on the same street. His life has been, shall we say, sheltered. In the extreme. Never done drugs. Never broke the law. Not boring, just a good, kind, wholesome man. When we met I was a 20 year old divorced girl fresh out of a terrible abusive marriage with nothing on my back but a newborn baby and a checkered past. He supported us. Helped raise my son. Provided for us. We worked hard on our careers together, making sacrifices year after year, sometimes knocked back by life but we were lovers and best friends and we got through it all together. To me, he was the paragon of goodness. Super moral, kind, always there to help others. Always there to help. He wanted to be a hero and went into the kinds of careers that heroes went into. He was a saver. Rescuer. He had signifigant emotional crap to deal with but I figured one day he’d get to it. We really were very happy and in love for 16 years straight. Then, a few years ago we decided we should move to a new town, fairly far away, to further our careers and so he could get his masters degree. The new town was not welcoming, not full of friendly faces, and really really boring for us coming from where we had come from. He started school and to support him in doing so I took a year long position working full time nights in the trauma department of my hospital. He started to fail at school. He had always struggled with anything short of a perfect score in anything and he was really drowning. He would send me text messages with a picture of a head of lettuce and say "is this too wilted to eat?" He relied on me very heavily but I liked it. Soon it became apparent that he was neck deep in a MLC and that was obvious to everyone else but I was too tired and too traumatized myself to really care or notice that he was sinking fast. He had always needed a lot of support which I had always been happy to give but I couldn’t even stand on my own two feet after a year of watching people die at work night after night and I didn’t realize that I was sinking into a very deep depression. We stopped talking and started fighting. All the time. About things we would have never fought about before. Then one day I saw an email that he had written to a woman in one of his classes. It was flirtatious and essentially invited her to have sex with him. I called him on it and after a few weeks of denial he owned up to it and apologized, agreeing that it had been inappropriate. But that nothing had happened. Which I still believe is probably true. But that email mixed with the depression and everything else broke something in me about how I felt about him. I had always been kind with him but I no longer felt kind. I felt betrayed and I lost all respect for him. I started yelling “I don’t want to talk to you” at the phone when it rang when it was him calling on his way home from work like he had done every day for the past 12 years. You get the idea. It was a bad situation. I was checking out emotionally. I even looked into places to rent that I could live alone after it ended.
Then he started acting really weird. He would take his cell phone into the bathroom and lock the door 8 times in an hour. He started disappearing once in a while on his lunch break and wouldn’t reply to my texts. He would come home smelling like perfume and cigarette smoke. I knew, of course, that he was having an affair. He denied it. I accused, he denied, back and forth, for almost a year. But during that time he was still always wanting to spend every weekend and evening with me, we went on two big trips travelling abroad. We only had sex 2 times in 12 months. I felt like I was going a little bit crazy because he would say “when do I have time for an affair?” etc… and logically it seemed unlikely. But I still knew in my heart that he was. And I screamed at him about it constantly. Then, in November, we got the news that the big promotion we had been working so many years for was finally his. He would have to leave for training for three months and then we would have to move clear across the country. We were very excited. Things seemed to be really improving with us. We seemed to start reconnecting.
Then, two weeks before he was due to leave for his training many many states away, I was sitting at home in my bathrobe and my doorbell rang. I answered the door and there were two women standing there, smoking. One looked like she was hiding behind the other one a bit. I told them they clearly were at the wrong house. The short one, dressed in a black minidress that she must have had to pour herself into (all about 275 lb of her) with bright red lipstick on and stiletto black boots said no, she was at the right place and she knew exactly who I was. She proceeded to tell me about how she had been with my man of 18 years for the past 2 years and that she had broken up with him because she had had enough and that she felt guilty. She handed me a little pink patent leather journal which she said was their “special book” that they hid in the bushes by his work and wrote to each other in. then she proceeded to tell me that they had met because she was an escort and he had come to her as a client and that they had a connection and fell in love. She said he had given her diamond earrings for Christmas and that he wanted her to come to visit him on weekends at the place he was training. Then she said a lot of other things that seemed like things she knew maybe a little about but not much, like where he went on Tuesday nights (but it was actually Wednesday nights he went out), how they spent two or three afternoons a week together at a specific hotel etc… she said he helped her get out of hooking and off the drugs (!!!!) and that she just couldn’t hurt me like this any more. She gave me the little pink book and her phone number and teetered off. I sat on the concrete in the rain in the front drive for a while reading the pink book but somehow it didn’t quite measure up either. I was willing to believe anything and everything bad about him at that point but for some reason the scribbled out passages, writing that didn’t really look like his, wording that really didn’t seem like his, I don’t know… it just didn’t seem quite right somehow. Mostly it was stuff about how she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on and that she had taught him the real meaning of love and all that sort of stuff that pretty much rips your heart out and stomps it into the ground. But it did feel a bit off….
I emailed him at work and told him who had just come to see me. I said many many many four letter words. Then I spent several days unable to sleep or eat just mechanically packing his belongings in boxes. The fourth day he showed up and put a new car battery in my car. We had planned to do it the evening of D-Day but of course we didn’t. I invited him in and he sank down onto the floor in tears and I sat down next time him, put my arms around him and told him he was going to be ok. We spent the next week making love 12 times a day, talking about things we had never talked about before, laughing, feeling giddy in love and crying. One morning he spent 4 hours telling me (his version) of what happened with her while I laid in bed beside him and tried to breathe. It was a very different story. In his version they meet at the grocery store where she was flirty and he liked the attention and it became emails which became lunch hours which became sex. He said she told him she was an escort after they had met a few times and he was initially horrified, then intrigued, then aroused by it. He said he even got her a hotel room once to take a client to because it was kinky and he was intrigued. He said he got her off the drugs, out of the escort business and into a normal job because she made him feel like he was helping someone and yes, getting attention and adoration and sex as well. But he says after the first few months the bloom quickly came off the rose and he started to want out. And she started making a lot of threats to come and tell me. He claims the diamond earrings at Christmas were like an “ok, lets stay reasonable, here’s the earrings you kept emailing me about but it’s time to say goodbye.” He said he wanted out months before but didn’t know what the hell to do about her because it was clear that she was going to tell me and he thought if he could just hold her off until we moved away in april then he could tell me about it himself, it would all be part of the horrible time we spent in this town we were so unhappy in, and we could move forward with our life. He bawled like a child. He seemed truly genuinely remorseful. He punched himself in the head. He sobbed. Day after day after day he was broken and full of tears (not fake ones, I think I know the difference) and then a few days before he had to leave for his training for three months he proposed. I had been waiting 18 years for that proposal. I didn’t answer. He bought a beautiful ring and proposed again. And again. The 25th time I said yes. Now, he has been gone for two months and he is due back in 30 days. We get married, then leave the next day to drive our lives across the country. We have sent out the wedding invitations. I have booked a venue and bought a dress. He sends me pictures and loving messages all day long and we talk for hours on the phone at night. He flew home for the valentines weekend and we spent another magical weekend feeling so new and so in love. I know one thing only. I don’t really think I know what really happened but I would bet my life that he wouldn’t do it again and has learned his lesson. But….
I hurt. Deeply. Very, very deeply. I know he had a MLC. I know that the masters degree he took was intensively self reflective and it shook all his emotional issues out of the tree and they were all around his feet and he was drowning. I know this man. And more than anything, I love this man. I want to reconcile. I want to get past this but some days (nope, everyday) when i think about that little pink book and that hooker in her little black dress on my doorstep I just don’t know what to believe anymore….. He gave me smatterings of proof as I asked for them. she said a hotel every week for a year. his credit card statements show one hotel bill for the time he told me about. she said the diamond earrings cost 900$ but the credit card says 250$ - which is what he had told me. I don't know what to think or what to do or what to believe sometimes. anyone out there have a little light to shed on my situation?

FixYou71 posted 3/4/2014 00:06 AM

So sorry you find yourself here. It does sound as if he is remorseful. What kinds of things does he say to you when you discuss the A? Does he apologize often? Does he understand the depth of your pain? How long has it been since the affair and since you found out? Would he consider counseling for himself? It's a scary idea to hope that regret/remorse cleans up all the underlying issues that lead him to the A in the first place. It's possible but do you feel safe building a future on that? It would be good for him to learn more about his whys and to find some perspective on how he handles stress and hurdles in his life. You must be questioning his boundaries at this point. I know for myself I still worry that life will eventually calm down and there's always the fear of 'what if' we go through a bad patch or he has a hard year? How will he handle it? Has he learned enough to keep it from happening again?

Foxyfox posted 3/4/2014 01:13 AM

Thank you for taking the time to read my long story and reply. He does seem genuinely remorseful though talking about the affair seems to cause him so much distress that I try and try not to bring it up and then it all comes tumbling out in anger and angony which causes him to fall apart. It's hard not to talk about it but it's almost worse when I see how it affects him when I show him my pain. He does apologize often. He seems to fully understand how deeply he has hurt me. He needs counselling. He was going, briefly, but I think his issues are so deep and so complex that it would take years to sort through it all. He feels like he's learned a lot about himself in the past two years and certainly he has. But I suspect that we are in the top level of the iceberg still. I'm willing to wait for him to sort it all out, and I see that he wants that as well, but yes, the problem certainly is the what if's......

Foxyfox posted 3/4/2014 01:16 AM

It's been 2 months now since she showed up at my door. But I already knew it was happening. He wasn't very good at hiding it. I guess I've known for about a year. Since it started. I felt like I knew the moment it started and I knew the moment it was over for him too. (About five months ago)

iwillNOT posted 3/4/2014 15:20 PM


I am so sorry for the situation you find yourself in and all your pain. I am no expert at 7 months out but I have picked up a few things along the way. It hurts so badly, it truly is the worst pain you can have, to be betrayed and lied to by the one person you feel you can always rely on.

A few things come to mind. I may be a bit disjointed as I am typing amidst the kiddos.

First, what are you doing for YOU, for your own healing and growth? I encourage you to focus on you. I hear you talking a lot about him. IC, caring for yourself like you would want your own daughter to care for herself, cultivating hobbies/ interests/friends. Working on you, benefits you and the relationship.

Second, I am very concerned that your WH has not had IC. Has he read books, done research, is he transparent, is he proactive about helping you heal, is he giving you whatever you need? He's said he wanted to tell you about the affair after you moved so you could label it a bad time in your lives, and move on. If indeed he really did intend to to end it and tell you( and they all do, at least once they get caught), it sounds to me like he wanted to manipulate you into staying by choosing when/ where to tell you, and then " move on" or Rugsweep to avoid the pain and discomfort of fully dealing with things. You seem to be making excuses for why he did what he did, and the way I read what you wrote, you are on your way to rugsweeping. It seems to me that you (and he) aren't looking deeply at what was broken and what needs fixing - just writing it off to a stressful time, it won't happen again and by the way let's get married. I am concerned that you are entering into a marriage with a lot of unpacked baggage.

What happens during the next stressful time that comes along? Because come along they will. That's life. What about the next time you are stressed or busy and can't look at he lettuce for him every day? If he hasn't learned better ways to cope and hasn't thoroughly examined what he did, he is very likely to cheat again. After all, it's on his radar now.

From my own experience, and the experience of many others here, I can tell you that rugsweeping is a ticket back to this same situation later on. It is sooooo much worse a second time. Don't let it slide like I did. Face this head on, dissect it, figure it out, work through it - and demand he do the same. Something in him, his "emotional baggage" if you will, made it possible for him to choose cheating. He needs to drag it out into the daylight and get a real good look at it.

Don't let it go, Foxyfox. Don't do what I did. You, he, and your life together are worth resolving this properly.

I wish you peace.

[This message edited by iwillNOT at 3:21 PM, March 4th (Tuesday)]

iwillNOT posted 3/4/2014 15:25 PM

By the way, I do not believe once a cheater, always a cheater, or I wouldn't still be with my WH. BUT. We didn't deal with things the best way last time, and we are doing it differently now. Have you ever heard the saying
that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, and expecting different results?

FixYou71 posted 3/4/2014 15:52 PM

I hear you about your concern for him and the pain you see when you bring it up. Sadly, this is both of your new realities. This could end up being a bonding experience for you to face your pain together. He needs to not be protected from your pain. It will last a long time. Get some highly recommended books marriage, intimacy, healing after affairs etc and ask himto commit to reading a chapter every few nights together before bed or after dinner etc. As you read you can discuss things that resonate with each of you and that can be a more controlled way to help communicate your though thoughts and your hurts. The wounds are so deep. Let him feel them. He wil lsurvive. Dont protect him too much from this growth opportunity. (Absolutely not saying rub it in his face or be disrespectful and do be cautious with your wording) I found out recently during a conversation with my husband when he was verbally responding to an email I wrote him covering several topics that one of my methods to express a particular feeling of pain was being perceived by him as an attack and when I explained how it was meant something to be read he saw it for what I meant it to be.
((Hugs to you))

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