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Two Weeks In

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WONDERingWOMAN posted 6/19/2014 13:12 PM

First, I would like to thank the people running this site and everyone who has shared their stories here. When I first found out (2 weeks tomorrow) I thought about who in my life I could confide in about my WH's misdeeds. The answer was a very scary no one. If I wanted to keep my options open, I couldn't share this with any family members and most of our friends are OUR friends. Then I found this board and read for hours. It gave me a much needed place to go for support, confidence in my own ability to get through this no matter the outcome, and hope.

My story: I have been married for almost 19 years. (I'm 41, he's 43) Like everyone, we have had some tough times (most notably, I had a breakdown after September 11th and went through a significant period of depression and anxiety, as well as 3 years of therapy, during which my husband was my rock), but overall we had what most people would describe as a successful, happy marriage. I've had more than one friend say that our marriage is what they wanted in their own lives. A true partnership of best friends. I remember thinking you can never really know the truth of other people's relationships, but do admit to feeling a little bit of pride at the time. I thought we were pretty much doing it "right." Which is why this has been such a shock.

Friday afternoon. My laptop had died, so I went on WH's computer to use my Gmail account. I needed a document we were sharing because I was helping him with an issue he was having at work. I typed in and it pulled up a mailbox for a name I didn't recognize. At first, I thought it was some weird computer glitch. Then I noticed the profile pic. It was a male torso w/o a shirt in spandex swim trunks. But it was the shower curtain pattern to the right of the body that caught my eye. It was our old shower curtain. I felt the room move away from me. Confusion, betrayal, more confusion. What was this? I started reading some of the messages, but knew my husband would be home soon. I wrote down a name and email for the woman he'd been messaging exclusively for the last 5 months and hoped I would be able to access it again on Sunday to gather information while he went alone to see friends(a rare occurrence). He came home and I tried my best to act normal, but I spent most of the evening on the verge of tears and went to the bathroom extra times to hide it. I went to bed early to get away from him, crying, my mind racing. When he came to bed I waited until I heard his first snore, got up and started searching for answers on the internet and found this site.

I went to group meditation on Saturday. I barely made it through, but felt a little better afterwards. We'd scheduled dinner with my mom to celebrate WH's birthday that night. It was surprisingly normal, but felt surreal, knowing what I had found. A day in, I'd already seemed to have hit the emotionless plateau.

On Sunday, I spent the day creating a log of who he had messaged, when, with occasional quotes. Having read much of the advice here I wanted to gather evidence before it could be covered up. It took me the whole day just to get through the IMing, barely even scratching the surface of the main woman he'd been emailing/messaging/video chatting with. I closed everything (or so I thought) thinking I'd spend the upcoming week going through the rest and trying to figure out the passwords for other emails, profiles, etc. I think part of me thought, if nothing else, the sheer volume of the correspondence might shock him into the reality of what he had done. I went to bed early, soon after he came home, as I always do for my early Monday morning job. Unlike Friday night, I fell asleep right away, clearly emotionally exhausted.

About 2 hours later H came into the bedroom. He startled me initially and he said he was sorry. I thought he meant about startling me and I said it was okay. Then he said, no. Not that. He was sorry. I'd accidentally left up a download window with photos of his "friends." He'd found the document I'd started with pages of info. and my occasional notes of response and he'd read it all. I wasn't sure I was ready to talk about it, but I figured once he knew I knew it was better to deal with it.

We were up for hours. He was remorseful. In fact, he acted exactly as people on these boards had said someone who is truly remorseful should act. He took responsibility for his actions, he made a point of saying that everything was his fault, and that I hadn't done anything to cause it. He answered my questions fully. He cried a lot. He apologized for hurting me, for betraying my trust. He agreed to me being able to look at everything there was -- he gave me all passwords. He agreed to send a NC letter. He said he wanted to try to fix what he had broken in our relationship. He agreed to CC and said he had actually brought this up in IC he was going to for the work issues at the end of his last session (although that didn't alter his actions in the week that had followed). He said he knew it was a serious problem and recognized he needed help.

I found out it was worse than I thought, but not as bad as it could have been. He had opened this account in 2008, but really started messaging OP regularly in 2011. He'd had frequent sexual online encounters. In January he'd started an online relationship with a 24-year-old OW that was more serious than the others. She knew his real name. They talked about their lives. They messaged every day and chatted or video chatted almost as often. He'd do it while he was in the other room working on homework for his online class. He did it while we stayed at my aunt's house while I visited with family. There was an intense sexual component as well, although, thanks to the distance, there was not an in-person component. At least not yet. He said it wouldn't have happened, that talking about meeting IRL is just something you say, but the few times he mentioned it, it sounded real to me.

I have surprised myself with my reaction. I am usually a very emotional person. And although I had to hold in tears that first day, and I did cry a lot when we finally talked, I've found myself mostly calm. Even WH commented on how I didn't yell once or even swear, things that smaller injustices often bring out in me. And that he appreciated it, although he wasn't sure he deserved it. I have my first IC appointment this afternoon. I'm hoping to better figure out what's going on with me. I did a lot of work on myself back when I had my breakdown, but this is something I hadn't ever imagined that could happen to me.

It's such a cliche. It's ridiculous as Carlos Danger. I'm the same age as my mother was when my dad left her. We'd just started dating at that point and WH was so mad at my dad for the pain he'd caused me during their break up.

Even worse, we were trying for children. We knew it was a longshot with my age, but we'd been trying since January. He talked to her about us trying. That often hurts more than the sex stuff.

The biggest issue for me is trying to wrap my head around the person I thought I was married to and the person who could do this. He is such a loving, caring, sensitive person. My sisters have literally called him a "saint" on multiple occasions for putting up with my idiosyncrasies. No one would ever suspect he was capable of this, including me. Even worse, he is the one person I have always trusted to be in my corner, no matter what. When I've had big hurts like this in the past, he is who I would turn to for comfort. It makes this especially confusing. I want to be consoled by him, but he is the one who has caused this pain.

I have had sexual feelings for other people in the past. It actually first happened during my therapy, as I came to terms with my own sexuality. I had put my sexuality in this side area separate from the rest of me -- something I didn't share with the outside world. Therapy helped me become one whole self and accept that part of myself as part of myself. My therapist at the time said it was normal to have these feelings, and what was important was my actions. When I've had those kinds of feelings since, I have always thought how I would never do something like that, not just because it was wrong, but because I could never hurt H like that. He is so sensitive that it would crush him.

The other main issue for me will be intimacy. I've only ever been with him. He's the only one who has ever seen me naked. I used to be the only one who'd seen him naked. That's no longer true. And then there are the things that they've done together, even if it was over the internet. How can I feel safe that he's with me and not thinking of someone else while we're together, something he at least told the OP he was doing?

We have not scheduled CC yet, since I am hoping he can sort out some of his own personal issues first - like why he did what he did and how he could compartmentalize what he was doing and act so normally with me. He has sent the NC letter and all accounts have been closed.

I know I am at the beginning of this process and am thankful to have this community of people to share and learn from during what is truly a horrible time in our lives.

ckss4 posted 6/19/2014 13:23 PM

wow...sounds similar to my situation...although I am only 9 days in. We are also the same ages! My husband has had one serious online affair for on and off for 2 years...similar things texting, chatting, sending sexy pix, phone sex, this went on daily...its unbelievable and shocking to me. Last night I found out there were many more woman...but none as serious as this one. I am beyond devastated and have basically been crying all the time...trying to stay strong for our 4 children. I wish I could give you some advice, but I dont have any to give. I know we havent made any definite decisions and he wants to save the he has started IC and is remorseful, so I guess that is a start. I am so sad and cant even believe my husband of 15 years was living another life behind my back. I am so sorry you are here.

Hugs to you

norabird posted 6/19/2014 13:25 PM


You have done amazingly so far. The lack of emotion is often a byproduct of the initial shock--it's a way of coping with the trauma and being functional. Accept the numbness as a strange kind of gift and know it will not be there forever. The pain that then comes mixed in with anger is what we call the rollercoaster ride here. Just keep your seat belt buckled and you will get off at the end in one piece--bruised, shaken, but standing.

I am glad he is going to dig down in IC to get to the bottom of this. That is an important condition. Let him do the work now. You focus on you.

I know your entire world's foundations have been rocked. I know how disoriented you feel and how tainted everything seems.

I came here initially for my own betrayal but just found out my older brother, who with his wife have been my rocks and my anchor, has been having online sexting affairs too and has a porn addiction. Suddenly the world splits. This person you love and trust--this good person--also contains something bad and rotten, has broken coping methods, behaves hurtfully. Yet they are still someone you love. It's a deep loss and no matter what, R or D, it must be mourned.

The trick is to determine if they can be someone worthy not just of your love but your trust. Only time will tell. For now, watch and wait and above all else, take care of yourself. This is not your fault. Also, I would advise you to rethink keeping this secret from everyone in real life. Your true friends will not judge you for trying to reconcile. And the extra accountability for him is good, while the extra support for you is priceless. Don't take on shame for something that is not yours to bear (because secrecy often stems from shame), and let the light in.

[This message edited by norabird at 1:26 PM, June 19th (Thursday)]

happyman64 posted 6/19/2014 15:12 PM

You are WonderWOman.

You no longer are wondering who your husband really is or has become.

But give credit where credit is due. He got caught.

He is remorseful.

Now stay tough, demand he gets the help he needs and ensure he is remorseful for the right reasons.

Most importantly take him off the pedestal that you and your sisters put him on.

He is human. You are human.

We all mistakes.

The key is how we correct those issues in the future.

Make sure your business stays between the two of you. Not his online buddies.

And please make sure he gets out of his little office and into your big bed where he belongs.

With you.


WONDERingWOMAN posted 6/19/2014 16:03 PM

Thank you for the feedback and support!

ckss4 Hugs to you as well. I can't even imagine having to take care of other people right now. There is comfort and disbelief in knowing how similar others' situations are. Hang in there!

norabird My therapist said the very same thing about the numbness being a coping mechanism. (It was my first session, but that seems like I good sign.)
I hear and appreciate your suggestion about letting people know. And while I'm sure there is an element of shame involved in keeping it to myself at this point, I'm afraid there have been similar situations in both the family arena and our main group of friends that would suggest an unwanted outcome that in the end would be more painful for me. As I work though this in therapy and here, I may change my mind, but for now, it's staying between us. Like you said, only time will tell.

happyman64 Believe me, the pedestal has been knocked over. I know we all make mistakes. I just want to understand why he made this one. I think he does too. I am hopeful about the fact that he had started talking about it in therapy before he was caught, even if it was only a week earlier.

BreatheAgain10 posted 6/19/2014 17:00 PM

I'm sorry you find yourself here like the rest of us BS's but I'm glad you found us for support.
Keep reading from the Healing Library (yellow menu box on the upper left hand corner).
You are a lucky one of few who was able to maintain some composure after DDay. It is a coping mechanism of the initial shock just as your IC and Norabird mentioned.
I completely agree with Norabird. So beware of the emotional roller coaster you'll experience once that initial shock wears off. Anger, depression, more numbness, and even intense love are all normal feelings that can shift quickly... Even within seconds!
I was in that numb, calm, composed shock initially after my last DDay four yrs ago. So calm and composed that my fWH actually began crying bc he admitted that he thought I was planning on murdering him in his sleep, lol...
My eerily calm presence freaked him out because I, just like you, would typically have a more intense reaction over much less intense situations.
But over time, those roller coaster of emotions did indeed kick in and boy there were moments of rage and passion (sexual hyper bonding) calmness, then depression and they would cycle back again for months.
If your fWH is truly remorseful and DOES THE WORK to help you heal, you can hopefully get thr off that roller coaster faster than many. I pray for the best for you, hun!

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