I will try to make a long story short... we have been married for 16 years, together for 18+ w/four kids aged 17,16,16 (yes, twins) and 11. He has been cheating on me since the beginning. And I have been "buying" his bullshit apologies, lies, manipulations, blame, etc., etc. etc. since the beginning. No more. He will never change. He's sick. He's cruel. And I am ashamed of myself for taking his abuse for nearly 20 years. But I'm also very very sad because this is the end. And then I feel stupid for being so sad and broken and emotional. But I'm also VERY angry. Like I fucking hate him right now. I will chew my tongue out of my head to not bad talk him in front of our children but I truly wish he'd just fucking die and get out of my life right now. And I'd like to shout that from the rooftops but I'm trying to be the better person... and a good parent... and protect my housing/financial situation right now.
I guess my long story short is going to not be so short but I feel like I need to say/write it if for no other reason than I NEED to be in the reality of my "marriage" - not the fantasy that I wish it was. Or ever was. Before we were even married there was "questionable behavior". But I never had definitive proof and he made me feel like a crazy jealous girlfriend. In retrospect, and with the things I've learned on SI, all the signs were there. He has also admitted to some of the cheating/affairs - mostly just what I know for sure though as he's never been forthcoming w/information so ... I got pregnant then pregnant again (w/twins so we had 3 babies in less than a year - seriously) then we got married and he spent a great deal of time convincing me everything would be different because now we were married. His behavior got shittier in different ways - like he could be verbally abusive then cold and distant and then he just basically "checked" out - working all the time, never around, etc. At some point, in my infinite wisdom, I decided I wanted another baby so when our boys were 4,4, and 5 I had my daughter. I was basically a single parent, we were flat broke, and I was borrowing money from my dad all the time and cleaning my best friend's house weekly so I could buy groceries and asshat could play cowboy. He worked as a ranch hand and rodeoed. He grew ever more distant emotionally and physically and we started fighting constantly. I went from being a raging bitch one minute to a begging pleading pathetic person the next. I was SO lonely and it just felt like something was so so wrong. But he wouldn't talk to me. Then when our daughter was 15 months old we had a huge fight one night and he walked out. For a month I heard almost nothing from him. He saw the kids almost never, gave me a little money but spent lots of money in the bar. Then after I had a panic/anxiety attack one day I decided to pull my head out of my ass and get some help - medication, counseling, etc. Then he decided to start coming back around once in awhile (basically because everyone was telling him what a puke he was for abandoning his kids) he was absolutely cruel to me. Told me how awful I was, couldn't stand me, etc. I was in shock but then just started moving on w/my life and started accepting my marriage was over - BOOM he confesses one night he was "seeing" someone. Blames me for everything though, of course. Now I'm going to cut it short(er) - when I said I'm done - he all of a sudden wants to "fix" it - but it was many months of his lying and still seeing her plus I found out she wasn't the only one. Needless to say I ended up taking him back but started seeing a counselor (by myself because at this time he had still had me convinced there was something wrong with me). I also started working part-time and went back to school. It was a nice distraction for me. About 3 years later - BOOM he gets a call from a girl one night who is pissed at him cause he called her a whore - I had picked up another extension when I saw his face go white and heard him mutter "oh, God, please don't do this" ... I kicked him out and he lived w/a friend for about 2 months all the while kissing my ass and working on "fixing" it. Yep, I took him back, AGAIN. He can be so very charming and knows exactly what to say/do to manipulate my clearly damaged emotional needs. To add insult to injury people would tell me things about my husband during these times of separation - what a pig he is, making sick sexual comments to women, etc. --As I type this I am sick to my stomach and so fricking pissed at MYSELF. How much humiliation do I need???? Well, clearly A LOT. And a couple years later guess what?? I just had that feeling in my gut. His behavior was giving me clues. I just knew. So I started snooping and it didn't take long - BOOM I found texts on his phone. Then I printed the bill - holy shit - 2 girls, hours of phone calls. He denied, gaslighted, blamed (my fault for snooping) then I called the girls and got some truth. So I told him I was done and wanted a divorce. He moved into our spare room and I started living like a single girl - going out, etc. all the while he is kissing ass and trying to "fix" it again. Well one night I got real close to stooping to his level and I made myself physically ill. I am not that kind of person. So then I took him back AGAIN. -- anyone else wondering what the fuck is wrong w/me at this point, cause I sure am!! But this time I got serious. Lots of counseling (for myself- he went a couple of times), I finished my degree, and I really concentrated on being a great mom, wife, etc. (anybody see a pattern of blaming myself here - gee, if I just fix what's wrong w/me, everything will be just fine), and I found this site. And it really helped me to understand so many things. But I knew deep down he hadn't really done the work needed - just enough to appease me and get himself back in the door.
So we floated along for a couple of years. Me w/my counseling for awhile and then my antidepressants and mood stabilizers (cause you know this is still a problem about me - not my reaction to his abusive behavior)- and then I started to get that feeling in my gut again. I knew something wasn't right. He was pushing my buttons, picking fights, being distant... all his typical signs. And you know what I did?? I GOT MORE MEDICATION. I basically numbed the holy shit out of myself. Checked out, basic functioning. As our finances got worse I was so tired of asking him for money or borrowing from my dad I just stopped paying a lot of the bills. This went on for nearly a year until a good friend of mine visited from out of town and she looked around my house and said "what the hell is going on?" Snapped me out of it pretty damn quick so I weaned myself off the meds and rejoined the land of the living. It was not fun to face reality. I started insisting that he engage and contribute in our lives - this did not please him. Same old pattern of behavior but I could not bring myself to snoop this time and I figured sooner or later he'd get sloppy and caught. He did. He spent the last year in a beer bottle. While our kids spent lots of time alone cause I was working 2 jobs. Then he got too drunk and too sloppy and - BOOM. He got caught. But this time my kids are older and we live in a fairly small town and he publicly humiliated all of us.
This happened at the end of August and I kicked him out. After he (supposedly) came out of his fog this time he has been (in his mind) diligently trying to fix it, again. But this time I stuck to my guns. I set real boundaries and stuck to them. Don't care what you SAY I need to SEE real change. He quit drinking and has been seeing a counselor as have I. He hangs out at the house w/the kids when I'm working in the evening and then leaves to go back to his house after they go to bed. Well the last couple of weeks he seemed to be backing away/getting cold/distant again but denied repeatedly there was anything "wrong" and was still working to fix our marriage. Last week we had our first and last joint counseling session w/our respective counselors. He came in and blindsided all of us. Said he just doesn't really see how this is going to work, he thinks he's "done". I am COMPLETELY HUMILIATED. I feel like the world's biggest fucking fool. And I'm hurt and devastated and that makes me feel even stupider.
So now here I am. Back here again. I have been very clear and trying really hard to have no contact w/him right now. I hate him and feel like I will never get away or get over him if I keep listening to his bullshit. I have told him to not contact me in anyway unless it has to do w/the kids or finances. I told him he can come get the kids or have them meet him somewhere or go to his house absolutely anytime (they are old enough) but he is no longer to hang out at my house. The thing is I worry A LOT about this situation. The house we live in is provided by his employer and he has made comments in the past in anger about it being "his" house - he just basically is letting me stay here out of the kindness of his heart. He has also said he is doing all of this for me - he just doesn't want to hurt me anymore. Boy, he sure likes to do me favors. ha
PLEASE help me stay strong
Sorry you are here. You have demonstrated great strength so don't sell yourself short! You can do this!
Keep strict NC except kids and finances. Set up consults with several attorneys to find out what you can expect in a D in your state (plus it prevents him from using them). Many L's offer free consults. Then start thinking strategically. Do your own homework on your court's website. Take half of any checking/savings and put in your own account. Start thinking about future living arrangements. If the house us provided by his employer it is probably unlikely that you can remain there after a D, but that is something to look into further.
Put your bitch boots on and channel your anger into action!
Yes, you can do this!
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man, ~ Shakespeare
Emotionally, I wrote a line in another post quite a while ago that I loved, and I will try to remember exactly how it went..
The post was about people owning their own shit. The WS has to own their shit, and the BS has to own their shit. And I said something like, "Yeah, I'm owning my own shit, now that I'm away from that abusive gaslighting, blameshifting piece of shit and can actually figure out what my own shit is without him clouding everything with his manipulation."
DON'T GET YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE FROM THIS GUY. Please go no contact with him. Focus on yourself. This guy continually makes you feel like shit, and boy is he good at it. Stop letting him dictate how you feel about yourself. Put on your bitch boots and say it with me now. FUCK THAT GUY!!!
No one deserves a mindfuck as giant as the one he has been pulling on you. Stop caring what he thinks and do what makes YOU happy.
Lots of hugs. I'm so sorry for the hell he has put you through. I have finally let my STBX stop dictating how I feel about myself. While his insults sting just a teeny bit every now and then, they mostly slide right off, and it's because I don't respect him anymore, and who gives a flying fuck what someone you don't respect thinks? I sure don't! And you shouldn't either!!
Find your anger and use to it fuel you.
The sad clown forced my hand well before I had the strength to do it myself.
In time you will see his lack of remorse as a gift. Not now, I know. But in time you will. You could have wasted 30, 40, 50 years with him.
You are doing this right now because it is the right time. You have had enough. You are ready. It is exactly the right time.
Please look after yourself. Please keep eating, keep your fluids up. Stay on top of sleep. Lack of all of these makes this all so much harder to deal with.
I promise you you will look back at yourself today and wonder how the hell THAT guy made you feel this way. Keep posting. We've all been right where you are now. Our roads to this point may have been different but this path is one we've all been on - are on, with you.
But I admire you so. What a strong woman you are. Despite having a crappy, cheating, unsupportive husband, you've raised four kids, gotten a degree, worked two jobs and improved yourself.
Don't think for a minute you are weak. You've believed your husband, which is what we are supposed to be able to do. If we all knew the future, it would be foolish for many of us to R: we just don't know it yet. You can know, without a doubt, that you did everything you could to save your marriage.
You will get through this, and the steps you've taken to strengthen yourself over the years will help you.
I could have wrote the same post about my relationship with XWH#1. It was 22yrs of hell and I just kept putting up with it, got a degree, and then kicked his ass to the curb.
Most of us get to the point when enough is enough. We realize they will never change and we can't change them. That's when you put your bitch boots on and fight for you and your kids, start thinking about your own life and what will make you happy.
Be prepared. They don't give up without a fight. I spent 2.5yrs in divorce hell but it was worth it. I was finally free from the hell he put me through for all those years. I found the best way to deal with him was as little as possible. NC except for kid issues. We only discussed finances with our attorney's. The longer I was NC, the stronger I got. I eventually got to a point of indifference. He is still the same NPD pathetic ass that he always was and he will never find someone as good as I was.
Unfortunately, I found another fixer-upper to replace him. My bad, but we are attempting R. If he cheats again, he will find himself on the curb right next to XWH#1 and he knows I am serious.
You sound like you have finally gotten enough. You are strong to have lasted this long and put yourself through college and have taken care of 4 kids. You will be strong enough to do this and find your happy. Keep posting. We will all help you to stay strong and get through this and onto a new beginning. (((HUGS)))
The "owning your own shit" really resonates for me - since I started going to counseling years ago I've done a lot of owning my own shit. The problem is I also own his for him. Just last week I was sharing w/my IC how guilty I feel for subjecting my boys to his verbal/emotional abuse - like I've failed as a mom for not protecting them more and my IC practically screamed at me "now YOU are responsible for his abusive behavior?!!! STOP taking responsibility for his behavior and his choices!!" I get it, I just don't know how to stop.
WS told me recently (before I fully initiated nc) that this will probably basically "teach me a lesson" because it will show me he's not such a bad guy and I can now see what it will really be like w/out him since I think its been so bad... "I really haven't/am not such a bad guy - maybe you'll see that now" Is he freaking kidding me???? No, asshat, maybe now YOU will see how good you've really had it.
I also think we may end up only being able to discuss finances through attorneys. Money, or lack there of, has always been an issue for us but its gotten far worse in the last couple of years and only recently have I begun to realize how much he controls me with it. I have worked 2 part-time jobs for the last several years so I would have the flexibility to run our household and care for our children as he works 7 days a week (including holidays) and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING around the house - when I'd bitch about being broke (can't hardly pay the bills as he's had 1 raise in the last 12 years while the cost of living has skyrocketed where we live) he'd tell me I need to work more. Yup, so I did. Made me feel like I don't contribute. Once again, my fault. At any rate I feel pretty confident he's going to "cut me off" soon. I will not be able to pay all of our bills w/just my income and he knows it ... I know, I know, I REALLY need to see a lawyer.
I just need to unload a bit more then I'm going to "function" for awhile - shower, try to eat something, get some laundry and general housekeeping done before I'm off to work this evening. Another question - what do I do if he decides he's going to "hang out" here while I'm at work? He gave our son a ride home from a school activity last night and decided he needed to come in and talk to our daughter for "a minute" (he agreed to NOT come in just the night before) needless to say 30 minutes later he was still here trying to engage me in conversation and offering to "help" me - I was changing light bulbs - in the 10.5 years we've lived here that man has never changed a light bulb - he does NOTHING in this house - not a dish, laundry, mowing, paying bills, fixing anything broken, NOTHING - oh, and do I "need" anything... I was blunt and cold when curtly responding to him as I am civil but absolutely cannot bring myself to be nice to him. I want to spit venom on him. I want to scream vulgarities at him. I want to dig his fucking eyes out w/a spoon. But alas, I have children and am in a precarious housing/financial situation so I will behave like a grownup. But how do I handle this? Maybe a text reminding him to "please" honor his agreement??? It feels like that would break my nc though... Although I guess w/him standing in my kitchen last night the nc was already broken...
Finally (for now) - I am dealing w/the horrible feelings of "what's he doing, who's he with..." mind movies. I just keep trying to tell myself it doesn't matter any more, its not my business now, just as its not his business what I'm doing. I have to keep having this conversation w/myself that he has been out doing whatever/whoever he wanted for years, I am just no longer "waiting" around for him to come "home"... Because he really can do whatever he wants to now - he just doesn't get ME too. He's such a pukebag
For the mind movies, these two articles helped me enormously:
She's Special (2nd article down)
Do not expect in S/D what you did not get in your M. He will not respect your boundaries. He will not honour agreements. Do not expect him to.
Get your kids into IC too if you haven't already.
Talk to your L about getting exclusive use of the house. Get hard/soft copies of ALL of your documents (bank statements, insurance, investments, assets etc.) and keep them off-site somewhere. If you have any valuables I would be ferreting those out of the house too.
Get a lock on your bedroom door (move his shit to another room) on the inside and the outside.
I was so hurt, in shock and barely functioning day to day that I allowed him to railroad me completely. Start your moves NOW - get your ducks in a line before he knows what is happening.
Chances are right now he thinks he can manipulate you into being compliant just as he has done for almost 20 years. Brace yourself for the bursts of outrage when he realises he no longer controls you.
Most of all keep in mind that you WILL be OK. Better than OK. As hard as this has all been I sit here almost 2 years after DD and I am happier than ever. I had gone numb for the last few years of that M. I was the veritable frog boiled slowly.
I still mourn the man I thought I married (never existed) but I am no longer living amongst eggshells, at the mercy of his moods. I am no longer being cheated on. I am no longer being emotionally abused.
No, asshat, maybe now YOU will see how good you've really had it.
Precisely! Odds are that it won't happen though, so don't hang your hat on that A-Ha! moment from him. I was hoping my XPOS would see the light as well, but he is too wrapped up in his self-centered, delusional world to see beyond it. He needs a reality 2x4 upside the head, and maybe in time it will happen. Don't really care at this point, but it would be nice.
what do I do if he decides he's going to "hang out" here while I'm at work?
This is not black and white in your case because the home is being provided through his employer. Normally you can seek exclusive rights to the home when you go for temporary orders, but the fact that his employer is providing it may create some issues for you. This is something you really need to talk to a lawyer about to see where you stand. Laws are different in every state.
Keep posting here, and the longer you keep strict NC, the better it will become for you. The mind movies will continue, but they will decrease over time.
Just remember. At this point he's never going to change. It will be the same as every other time. Your forgiveness and sacrifice aren't appreciated, they are exploited. If you give in now it only confirms to him that you are his expendable reliable chump/sucker who will take whatever he dishes out and he'll treat you even worse if possible. Stay strong!
Put those bitch boots on and take care of yourself. You can do this!
I had no tears all day - some anger and felt a bit stronger. I read the suggested articles and had several "a-ha" moments - made lots of sense.
I went to work this evening and just felt really sad, resigned and sad.
Right now I'm feeling terrified. I almost feel like I could have a panic attack. Sick to my stomach and completely, utterly terrified.
What you're feeling is normal. You are planning to end something that's been in your life for 20 years. But you have to remember that what you have is an abusive relationship and that you can do better if you bear with the birthing pains. You are going to make it!
I keep reminding myself that he continued to do this after he saw it almost killed me and he thinks I should believe he loves me now.
I really believe strongly in for better or worse but I don't think that means your spouse should be able to abuse you repeatedly and you just turn the other cheek. Strike 3 should be enough for anybody.
You are back baby and this time you will heal.
Really though, this is so hard. I am continuing to move forward. I talked to my brother yesterday about recommendations for a lawyer and to get some advice (he has been divorced twice - from the same woman, they had 2 kids together, they absolutely HATED each other at the end and were both pretty crazy but managed to divorce fairly amicably so I'm pretty confident he knows how to handle this) - he had some good tips for me i.e. how to "nicely" ask for things I don't really want or need but to use for leverage to get the things I really want/need, etc. I have loaded up on as many financial documents as I could find - he has been hiding money from me for so long and at least I have a paper trail - my bro figures it should at least be enough proof for a judge to issue a subpoena into bank records, etc. if need be. I have removed these documents from my home and they are with a safe person.
Our outside door handle was messed up so I had it replaced a couple months ago then made all new housekeys for kids, had one extra that I put in one of those magnetic "hide-a-key" thingys to stash in the garage in case kiddos lost/forgot housekey. I had left it lay on the counter for quite some time (amongst the mess of papers, bills, etc. that I'd been procrastinating to get to) and went to look for it a week or so ago - yep, GONE. So I asked him one evening if he'd seen it - told him my intentions to put it in the garage for kids (never once even hinted that I would not disclose to him where it was) and he looked me in the face and said he had no idea what key I was talking about. Shocking news here ... OF COURSE he was lying - and I knew it. So yesterday I asked my kids if anyone had seen it - told them I wanted to get another one made w/it for grandma - and one of my boys said "I think I may have seen it stuck under one of those cans by the door.." (I have old cream cans outside) and sure enough there it was. Pretty stupid place for it actually cause if one simply glanced in that direction it was pretty visible. Needless to say I hope he didn't make a copy but I'm thinking he probably did not since he never disclosed he took it (didn't even tell the kids so they could have access to it if needed) and hadn't "snuck" it back in. I plan to gas light him if he asks about it - "what? I have no idea what you are talking about..." then maybe I'll move on to - "Well, I asked you if you had it so if you didn't take then I obviously don't know where it is..." - finally, if he keeps pushing, I'll coyly turn the topic around in a circle to something else. Sound familiar?? Ha, petty game-playing, I know. I seriously don't expect he'll ask about it since he lied to my face already and he almost NEVER admits to his lies. Even when caught red-handed. Its crazy-making and indescribably frustrating. ***sigh*** At any rate at least he won't have access to the house when none of us our home.
As for NC I've been doing really good. Not feeling good, of course, but sticking to it none the less. I heard nothing from him for days then yesterday he tried to call me 3x. I ignored it so he followed each call after a short period w/a text - first one he told me he was having twinboy1 pick up oldestson from debate practice (he usually does this) to which I simply responded K. Then a couple hours later he texted "how's everything going - do u need anything" to which I responded Fine. No. - just like that. Then a short time later he texted he was going back in to work to help his boss... WTF????? I haven't known where/what he's doing for weeks really - why would I care now??? Made me wonder if that text was supposed to be for me??? At any rate I did NOT respond. This morning he tried to call again. Short while later texted asking if I work tonight - my reply was Yes. I was tempted to tell him he doesn't need to bother playing nice dad and bringing the kids supper cause there's leftovers in the fridge but figured I'm just going to stay out of it and keep w/my one word responses. Anything more feels like giving him too much of my attention and I'll be damned if he's getting that anymore.
So, that's where I am. Roller coaster of emotions still but I guess that's to be expected. I have some questions about how I've handled the situation w/kids so far - have talked to them "piecemeal" about it but am looking for some reassurance and advice but gotta get ready to head to job #1 for a few hours then to job #2 this evening then job #1 all day tomorrow so will get back here when I can.
Thanks again for all your support - I need it so very much and it really does help.