Hi everyone. Iíve lurked on and off for the past three years and had a relapse this week and thought it would be good for me to seek the advice of others.
DDay was over three years ago. On March 28, 2011, my wife of 11+ years found out that I had been cheating on her for 3 years with around 30 different women. I had created a fake identity and used it to meet women at bars, go out on dates, and sleep with them while I was travelling for work.
Through my wifeís grace, she agreed to reconcile with me, and we have been working hard since, but I have made little progress. She is still deeply hurt by what I did, has difficulty trusting me, and does not believe I love her or find her attractive.
Iíve been struggling. Itís been very important to me to be a model recovering wayward husband, but I have been handicapping myself by trickle truthing and gas lighting my wife. She did not have the full blow by blow details of my affairs until 9 months ago. Iíve also had periods where I have been unfairly short, impatient, resentful and mean.
This past weekend we decided to tour a model home in a new neighborhood. We were helped by a saleswoman that I found attractive. After we returned to the car, I decided to look her up on Facebook to find out more about her. I had no desire or intent to contact her.
I did not tell my wife I was doing this. A couple of days later my wife asked to look through my Facebook search history, and saw that I had looked the saleswoman up, plus some 25+ previous searches for other women that went back to the beginning of the year. These other women were professional relations (partners, prospective customers, coworkers, etc.). There were also a few men.
My wife confronted me about it, and while I did not realize while I was doing it that it was a relapse, I realize now that it was.
I need advice. I understand that itís okay to find someone attractive, but itís not okay to turn that attraction into action. There have been past occasions where I have found someone attractive and thought about them after leaving their presence, but this is the first time where Iíve done something.
Does anyone have tips on how to stop or redirect this type of thinking? Ideally I would prefer not to notice other women and be oblivious, but I donít know if thatís possible. I would like to condition myself to stop at the noticing so that it does not lead to this type of activity again.
I would appreciate any help. Iím feeling humbled after this latest relapse, and despair that I cannot change my ways.