I'm not sure if I "just found out" because its been 3 months today.
I'm a new member but have been reading for weeks. I feel like I "just found out" because I'm just starting to experience something other than wrath and anger. I feel a shift happening inside me, but I'm afraid to embrace it. I'm writing my story as sucintly as possible - I could talk and tell for DAYS. I'm exhausting my therapist.
I suspected flirtation between my husband and a woman who worked for him in the spring of 2012. When I voiced my suspicions, he denied and started hiding their "friendship". He deployed with her over the summer of 2012 and had sex with her 4 times. He said he was flattered by her attention, that she made him feel amazing AND she wanted to have sex with him. Says he now (hindsight) sees he was "playing with fire" but didn't actively seek an affair, that he loved the way she made him feel about himself. That the first time it "half happened" out of the blue, and he stopped it before the sex was consummated. Immediately felt guilty, but still in love with her "mirror" of him, he rationalized that if he was capable of doing something he SWORE HE COULD NEVER DO, he must love her, it must "mean something." And, he had already "broken his vows" by allowing anything physical happen. Told himself that it happened because he had been unhappy in our relationship and maybe we were not right for each other all along. He told her he loved her but that he couldn't leave his family. They left the deployment saying they would "see how things went." I got pregnant - unplanned by either of us - the night they got back. When we found out about the pregnancy, he says he snapped out of his fog and tried to end it with her only to find out that she was pregnant. She had an abortion (she says, he believes her though she wouldn't let him pay for it or be there with her through it - he offered) Afterwards she started to threaten him that he couldn't leave the relationship whenever he tried to cool things off and end it. He felt incredibly guilty for the abortion and her anger. He tried to "get out" for 19 months - she kept threatening to tell me, to destroy his career & tell the story to make it look like he took advantage of her. He would have faced jail time (military). I found evidence and phone calls and texts all throughout but chose to believe his excuses and lies and gas lighting. I was sick and pregnant and distracted. I beat down my own intuition that something was happening, even in the face of actual evidence. We had started MC that year (fall 2012) and he lied to the therapist when I found the most damaging piece of evidence. We moved out of state and away from her due to his job change in June 2013. He said he was so relieved to be moving out of state - that it would finally be over with her, they had a tearful goodbye, etc. To re establish contact she threatened another pregnancy (was not pregnant) and for the last year has been threatening him verbally over the phone. Calling him at work, telling him he "owed it to her" to end his marriage or she would tell me the truth. He tried to wait her out - figuring that eventually she would get tired of waiting and move on. Told her he wasn't happy (in his marriage) that he loved her but couldn't be with her because of the kids, because he felt badly and shouldn't have had an affair. She didn't move on. The threats and attacks got more intense. He saw her once in January at her request. He had said she was starting to see other people and demanded he see her so that - in her words - she could see once and for all that she was done with him. Instead, they had sex. He says the sex was at her insistence - that as soon as they were alone she started with him, telling him there had been no one else. His IC (and mine) have suggested that he followed the patterns of a battered spouse (no offense meant to actual battered spouses) - just that his behaviors were consistent with someone who was so desperately relieved when the "beatings stopped" that he would do anything to keep them at bay.
Meanwhile, (with a new baby, in a new state and with a painfully distracted and mysteriously unhappy husband) I had started employing all our knowledge gained from MC and our relationship seemed to be improving. I was trying to help him address his sadness and "issues" (what I thought was a depression) - suggesting he see a therapist, I was listening more, we were communicating better about our day to day conflicts. I was changing & embracing what I had learned I needed to do to grow from our therapist. Because of this, he (apparently) felt comfortable enough to voice all the complaints he had been building up in his mind about our relationship - the ones that he told himself were the reason he had felt attracted to her. He realized after 9 months of talks and "working through" his issues with me that he was wrong. And that he never loved her. And that his affair had actually been his fault, born out of ego, sexual impulse control issues (porn, etc), his emotional insecurities and his immaturity. He had told himself for years that I never really loved him because we argued a lot and (he thought) I didn't "want him" sexually enough. According to him, because sex was the way he was able to express love, my not wanting to have sex (because of 2 young kids, emotional distance and lack of intimacy) he believed that I must not love him. Working through all these issues - first in MC during his affair and then last year - he realized that he had been wrong - that I did love him. So he told me. Out of the blue. When I had stopped suspecting anything. He says so I could finally know the truth and make an informed decision about whether I "should" love him. And here we are. Called her to "end it" in front of me (on Mother's Day, awesome) - I heard the actual threats and a lot of the "scary." I saw the insane text fury. He says he has maintained NC - she only tried to contact him 2 times in the first week, both of which he told me about.
I've been FURIOUS and in a self protective RAGE for 3 months and am getting exhausted. I have been hunting for evidence, going through EVERYTHING, searching and scratching and crawling my way through primal emotions I never knew I had. PTSD trauma processing - all of it. Except the weepy, what is wrong with me step. That I haven't had. I feel shame and embarrassed that my husband did this to our marriage, lied to me and to himself, etc. but I don't feel like my self esteem has been affected. This is on him. But. I have not held myself accountable to my actions and re actions. I am now actively trying to express my emotions in ways other than through anger. I now know that I haven't been able to process or absorb anything he's told me because of the noise of rage and fear and indignity roaring in my head. And he has told me EVERYTHING because I have demanded it. I felt (and believe that for me) the more information and details I had, the less power "they" had. However, I have heard all of his "truth" as "reasons" and "excuses". Now, as I'm finally calming, I am able to see that they may actually have formed his "truth" - to him. He has been deflecting my vicious verbal attacks (and they have been vicious). He has gotten very defensive and has gone on the attack at times. We are both stumbling and struggling. We are both wondering if a separation would be better or worse. I am starting to believe that he is actually remorseful, full of shame and guilt and anguish. The affair was completely his fault and he knows it. This morning he said, "there was nothing you could have done. It was too late because I never told you how I was feeling because I didn't really understand how I was feeling and, oh, by the way, now I know that I was WRONG to feel the way I thought I felt. I'm completely fucked up."
In IC (both of us), starting MC this week. I'm starting to want to move into a new phase because this anger isn't working for me any more. My anger just might wind up doing as much damage as his affair. I kinda get that, even if my anger is warranted, justified. So. I have been starting to think about reconciling or at least truly trying too. But I know that means being vulnerable. Means trying to trust. Means possibly investing and failing or him failing. I feel like turning my back on my anger and hurt somehow disrespect it. Saying I want to "try" to give him a chance to build a new marriage with me is somehow "wrong" because of what he did. I don't know if its is pride that is holding me back, or love that is pushing me forward. Either way, I'm starting to feel "unstuck" but am terrified of entering a new phase.
Any insights or advice?
Sorry so long winded. That should have been my handle...