I really don't even know where to begin. I know I will probably find both judgment and encouragement on this site and I really need that. Sometimes I think it takes an outside perspective to show you what you can't see in yourself.
I'm not going to try to justify my actions. I could talk of my formative young years and the loss of my father and my desperate search to feel beautiful and loved again. I could spout plenty of words about not really knowing what was going on, believing lies, and thinking someone who was never mine was my soul mate. I have used all of those excuses as a crutch at some point or another but at the end of the day, I'm just human and imperfect and I've sinned. I still have not completely forgiven myself but I am trying to make my way back to being the good person I used to believe that I am.
I'm am a former OW and now I am married and confronted with a whole host of problems in my relationship. I need some advise about what to do on several fronts and this will not be a short story. If you are kind enough to listen and offer your feedback, whether harsh or understanding, I will be deeply grateful. I want honest responses and I don't have anyone that I feel I can truly confide in that is able to offer unbiased commentary.
Almost three years ago I began an affair with a married man I work with. I was single and had been through a host of bad relationships and my self esteem was shot. From the moment our conversations changed from polite to flirtatious I knew that I should run the other way because I had always felt an undeniable attraction to the man both physically and for his personality and I knew that he was married as he had talked to me about his wife on several occassions.
Like I said, I could make excuses here for why I agreed to meet up and chat after work one day and why I let our conversations become more and more intimate until our emotional connection turned into more but I won't try to explain or dignify it. The truth is that I wanted him. I knew he was married and I knew that I was setting myself up to be hurt but I had never imagined a man like him would be interested in me and his attention was addicting.
At first he told me that though they had their share of problems, he would never leave his wife. That she is good person who he respects and loves. We laughed and talked and enjoyed each other's company. At first it was not physical and I continued to date sporadically but eventually we found ourselves alone and when he kissed me it was beyond turning back.
Over a period of six months we grew closer. We were meeting every day and he called me and texted me all day everyday and began to tell me that he was in love with me and that he did not want to be unhappy anymore. He felt that both he and wife had been in denial for a long time and they had many fights screaming at each other and saying they hated each other and wanted a divorce (I do realize now that this is all his side of the story and I really don't know what his marriage was like). The problem was that his wife was from Europe and though they had been married 5 years, her citizenship was not final. He did not feel right about leaving until she was officially a citizen and would be able to support herself and that would not be for several months. I accepted this explaination as plausible and understandable and I chose to believe him. He told me that over the past month or two as we had gotten closer that they had ceased even speaking most of the time and had not had sex in several months.
I know that it sounds so cliche and that I probably seem like a pathetic idiot but I honestly felt, and grudgingly admit that I still feel, that our connection is something special and real. No one else has ever understood me, supported me, and loved all my quirks and flaws like he did. We could be silly together one minute and passionate and serious the next. We experimented with our feelings and physically and I opened up to him emotionally in ways that I never had with anyone else. He seemed to do the same.
I hated being the other woman. I had been cheated on and I felt so ashamed and confused and the affair was taking a toll on me and my soul. I had stopped praying and going to church because I knew I was in the wrong and I didn't want to face God. That really should have been enough for me to walk away and eventually it was.
At six months or so I started to feel him pull away but he would thing cling to me and tell me that I was his whole world and that he could not wait for us to be together. I was so confused. One day I decided that I was going to confront him and demand that he make a choice. I wanted a real relationship. I wanted to be the wife, the partner and I could no longer face myself after what I was doing. I told him all this and that we were both better than the people we were becoming. I deserved better and even more so, his wife deserved more too.
He grew very quiet and began to cry. Eventually he told me that he could not leave now -- his wife was four months pregnant. He claimed that they really had stopped having sex and that he did not know that she was pregnant until recently and that was why he began to pull away - that he did not know what to do.
I was crushed and felt so betrayed (I know, I know - how could I even dare think that when I was the one who fell in love with someone else's husband). I told him that I was done and not to contact me anymore and that whatever he did or didnt feel for me no longer mattered. In an instant, everything shattered within me. I felt so alone and used and I hated that I still wanted him and still loved him and desperately wished for a way out of my heartbreak. I couldn't eat for weeks and when I did I threw it all up. I could not sleep at all and spent the nights crying and curled in a ball on the bathroom floor. He didn't call me, but he did call my best friend and cried to her and told her that he was going to leave me alone because he did love and respect me and couldn't hurt me anymore but that he wanted her to know that it was real for him and he never lied to me or meant to hurt me. Who knows if that was true or a lie or something in between.
About 5 months went by and I just wanted to get over it and so I called up an ex that I had been on again, off again with for years. He was a guy that I had once really liked but he had dated me and then stopped calling and disappeared multiple times so I really did not expect anything serious. I just wanted to have fun and I thought he would be a good distraction. What I didn't know was that he had grown up and wanted to settle down and this time he treated me so differently.
He did little chores and sweet things for me all the time and we became more serious. I knew that the WS I had been seeing was surely now a father and even though I still thought of him everyday I was determined to move on with my life.
After only 3 months of dating, my boyfriend proposed and I was both excited and terrified. I think even then I knew in my heart that I was still running away and that I wasn't really 100% confident about our relationship.
Time passes as it always does and I became comfortable with my situation althought not blissfully happy. I figured that it is better to be with someone who is good to you and that you can be friends and build on that to have crazy passionate love.
Our wedding was approaching in less than a week when I ran into my ex, the WS, at work and I don't even know why but I asked him if we could talk afterwards. He agreed and we met up in a parking lot and somehow I sat in his car sobbing and confused about whether or not I should get married. He tried to tell me that if I was unsure then I shouldn't or I would end up in the same situation he is in and that he knew in his heart someday we'd be together. I think maybe I expected him to stop me and to actually leave once he realized he would lose me forever, but of course that did not happen.
The wedding came and I got married and put on a happy smile but it was the worst day of my life. I loved my new husband but at our wedding he was angry at me because my sister had turned off my cell phone and he could not get in touch with me while I was getting ready for the wedding and then he showed up so drunk that he could barely stand up. I had to drive from the reception to our hotel and when we got there he yelled at me for being unavailable to him before the wedding and basically told me he didn't know why he married me. Needless to say, we did not consumate anything that night.
I was determined to make my marriage work and I worked extremely hard to turn things around, to be attentive and kind to him and for a while it worked and became close, even happy, again.
He had decided that he really wanted a new job and he put in for it and had been on several interviews and was pretty much assured the job until one of his old employers gave him a bad reference. He was rejected and from then on he became a different person.
I could not talk to him without him yelling at me. He called me names and screamed in my face and was only nice to me when he wanted sex. Several times he would get so angry over little things like me picking up his laundry that his face would turn red and he would stalk me around the house until I was so afraid I locked myself in the bedroom. He yelled at me in front of other people and said out loud not to touch him and that all I ever did was get on his nerves. His mother came to stay with us for a week and he yelled at her too. I was appalled.
Then he started to "play" around aggressively. One time he claimed that he was trying to smack my butt but he slapped my thigh so hard that he left a red swollen handprint. Then, during sex he tried to choke me and when I told him to stop he didn't and then laughed about it and said I was a prude for not wanting to try new things. He put a pillow over my face and pretended he was going to smother me and wouldn't let up when I screamed and kicked. He would pin me down on the couch, first tickling but then squeezing and wouldn't let me go when I told him he was hurting me leaving bruises on my arms and legs. He never hit me or touched me in anger, but I was started to become scared of what he might be capable of.
It got so bad that I confronted him about it and told him if his attitude and actions toward me didn't change that I was leaving. After that I could tell that he was trying and he started to seem like his self again.
That lasted for maybe a month before new problems began to emerge.
He knew that I had trust issues so he had given me access to his email and I often went through his phone. Then he changed the passwords and began deleting the internet history on his computer and phone and deleting all his facebook messages and texts. I looked at our phone bill and there were numerous texts and pictures and calls going back and forth that had been deleted off his phone. He then told me that he wanted to go take a class in a town 5 hours away and would be gone for three days. I might be reading something that isn't there but my intuition says something, I'm not sure what, is going on.
My ex has also began calling me. He says that he is planning to leave but doesn't know when and it is complicated because of his son. I admit that part of me wants to believe that and that maybe somewhere down the road things will work out differently, but for now I refuse to get sucked back into a toxic situation.
I just don't know what to do on so many levels. Part of me feels that his wife deserves to know that he was not faithful and that he is so unhappy that he has been contacting me and telling me how much he loves me and how much he wants out. My heart believes him but my head says maybe he just misses the easiness of being with me and wants a little stress relief. He he really wanted out, if he was really so unhappy, I can't help but think that he would not stay. Of course, he does love his son and there is the fear that not only will there be a nasty custody battle and he would lose a lot financially in the divorce, but he has to worry that she will take his son and move back to Europe. I can't imagine those pressures but I also wonder if maybe he doesn't really want to leave.
Regardless, I guess where he is concerned I just want opinions on whether I am being duped again and really he still loves her and doesn't want to leave. I also want to know whether the right thing to do is not only try to stop talking to him as I have been doing but also to let her know that something has been going on. I think I would want to know but I don't know her and I don't know if it is my place. I don't want to cause more problems or ruin a family.
As for my own marriage, I want to know if I should keep working on me and fighting for it or if I should follow my heart and leave. I never ever ever wanted to get a divorce and I don't want to fail at this. I've tried to move on but I fear that maybe my karma, or perhaps my own poor judgment, has landed me in a hopeless marriage. Does it sound like he is cheating on me? Am I overreacting to his temper and aggressiveness?
I just feel so lost about everything.