Some of his behaviors sound like he was trying to find ways to please you. One of the reasons he was so hurt and betrayed is because he assumed he was exciting you and keeping some zing in the marriage. There's other stuff in there, that's not real healthy, but IC for him will get that out too.
For reconciliation to work though, you both have to be actively engaged. His flirtation with this other woman will have to end, and you will have to come clean on the affair...not just admitting it, but giving details. One of the most hurtful aspects of this is it happened a long time ago. He thought he was married to one person, and now finds out he was married to someone else. He'll question not just the affair, but all 10 years since the affair. And if the basis for his early part of your relationship was his lack of trust, and he now sees that was justified, he'll continue to go back to that. This is why the longer the secret is kept, the more damage it does.
Me: fBH 46
Her: exWW 42
DDay: Nov 1, 2012
Divorced: September 17, 2013
Just a random thought, but it seems that it is possible that your H had a latent issue with not 'sowing his wild oats' and then resented that that M didn't leave him with the feeling that he had done so. So the resentment of your previous experience, and all the porn.
My idea is that he still feels some hole in himself that he feels would be filled by having his 'fair share' of sexual conquests. Your friendships were always triggers to his own suppressed desires. The porn was a fantasy into which he could project. Him wanting you to act like a hot slut was an attempt to make fantasies real. Again, just speculation. But it does seem that he has struggled with 'desire' and feelings of having repressed himself. Where did this hole come from? That is for him to find and fix.
NOW, the bad news for you: your affair was basically your letting your AP 'sow his wild oats' at your BH's expense. He is really going to struggle with this one. He may have some buried desire and resentment to know what another woman's body feels like, and now another man knows what yours feels like.
Just random thoughts here, but the porn use and the dressing up got me speculating.
Ask him to go deep down. There is a lot of guilt when things are repressed.
As a litmus test, I wonder what would he would honestly feel to a hall pass? It might be revelatory.
If at ANY time my writing reads as if I'm being critical, I am not, at all. Sometimes writing can be challenging, as there is no inflection to help illustrate feelings. So please know that I am NOT judging you, and I am 100% in support of you.
My answers to the questions - yes, yes and no.
Wanting to stay may not be in your best interest, but it isn't uncommon. You have been with your H for 2 decades. You love him. You stayed through some fairly horrendous treatment. You had lost control of yourself and given it to him, hence the bulimia. The pills were used to dull the world around you, and then you used bulimia to feel in control of something.
Your H had been making you feel 'less than' for years - cheating, which you termed 'getting physical with them, just not having sex'. He punished you for acts that occurred before you met him, and he lied and told you he wasn't a virgin. If he didn't verbalize his lie, then he did something to lead you down that path.
So now you're a 'slut' according to him, even though he knew about your experience. Years later, he wants to hear details as some kind of twisted foreplay. In short, he was emotionally abusing you. Insulting you, cheating, porn, all because you 'deserved it' because you'd had sex with someone else before you were with him. That is not normal behavior, at all. You did nothing wrong, and yet for years this man has treated you as if you were a very bad person. He did this to manipulate and control you. He most likely enjoyed watching you try to please him, or be sorry for having slept with someone else.
Now that you've come clean, he's talking to not one, but two other women. Yes, it most definitely sounds like he is going to cheat, and it sounds like more than once. He is probably going to use your cheating as an excuse to have a one-sided open marriage. This isn't going to 'even the score' or improve your marriage in any way.
I'm going to let some of the WSs here discuss the actual A, blaming your H, etc. I believe they can much more effectively discuss those issues with you. I'm not judging you for the A and therefore avoiding it. The WSs here have done a wonderful just working on themselves and the reasons they allowed themselves to have an A. I think they can provide much more insight about that part of your story than I can. Also, the WSs her at SI, like the BSs and anything in between, are great people.
I sincerely hope you find a great therapist. Your story is heartbreaking, and my guess is it's about to get worse and that he's going to have at least one A of his own. I pray I'm wrong about that. I really do.
I believe you've been a victim throughout your marriage, and that your H is in need of counseling. I would consider making that a condition of you staying with him. His attitude is extremely cruel and conditional.
I know you are hurting, a lot. Your pain is evident in your writing.
Welcome to SI.
You should try breaking your posts up into paragraphs as it makes it easier to read. You may get more responses.
What I take from your post is that you both have been in a terribly dysfunctional M from the get-go. Honestly, I think it is pretty hard to change a dynamic that is such a pattern. If you do, it will require a lot of work from BOTH of you. It sounds like only you are considering changing right now, but you are not even in counseling yet .
I am glad you confessed for whatever reason. It is good to have truth out there.
I think you minimize your BH actions and justify them because of his complex about have sex with only you. (Not sure I believe that is still true given the behaviors you have described but anyway). To excuse his prolific use of porn (I have no problem with porn but every day?) and his ongoing behaviors with other women, is not healthy.
Many BS here had a WS who cheated by other means than sex. And they will tell you it is just as hurtful .
I guess my last comment is to be careful. If you think simply steeling yourself for a few revenge A is the answer, you are wrong. It will destroy what is left of your M and self respect.
[This message edited by Mrs Panda at 6:56 AM, January 4th (Saturday)]
I am in complete agreement that my BH has cheated on me in ways other than having physical sex with him. He has had multiple emotional affairs, he has manipulated me with lies for the first eight years of our relationship before we were married. He would tell me he'd done something with a girl, touching or kissing, if we were fighting about something and then a year later or so change the story if I brought it up. And I allowed the behavior. My BH is very much used to getting what he wants and wines and mopes if he doesn't. His mother is the exact same way. It's actually a bit of a joke in the family.
I don't know what to do really. There is part of me that just says this is all way too broken to even try to fix. There's part of me that is so mad at him for not owning all of the emotional pain and manipulation he's caused over the years. But then I have to blame myself for allowing it to happen and for him to get away with it. The same way he is trying to figure out how to forgive me for cheating on him and allowing me to get away with it. He's said that many times. If he forgives, then I essentially got away with it. It's kind of true...kind of...
I've been completely loyal and faithful to my BH for twenty years, save those three months in the middle. I never so much as strayed while we were dating and I've never since the A. I have always wanted him, always JUST wanted him. But I got completely lost during that time by the emotional pain of feeling completely unloved, unappreciated, unwanted and abused. If he asks me why I cheated, that is the only answer I have for him. He doesn't want to hear that because he says it lays all the blame on him.
I guess that's the narrative that I told myself for so long, maybe. But it was true at the time as well. I never really desired my AP. He wasn't particularly attractive but he was older (I was 25 at the time and he was 40). I never wanted to cheat. I would practically beg my H to make love to me, I would try to do little things, grab him and lay a big kiss, and he would turn me away. I was angry, hurt and I let go of us.
Now we are both angry and hurt. And part of me wants to let go...not to have an A, but just to be free. But I will walk downstairs in a minute and see him and my heart will melt and I will want to run into his arms. I can't, he wouldn't even let me right now, but I will want to.
not sure that you can do anything other than letting him go find himself...and find what out what is important and meaningful and not...
And what about now? Say he continues to ignore you and do whatever he wants . Will you have anther excuse to cheat ? And so the cycle continues.
My sense is your cheating stems from your own insecurities. So work on that. Start respecting yourself.
WOW, so much of your post resonated.
My x told me I was his first, I no longer believe that based on his actions (if nothing else he is predictable - his actions make me now question me being his 'first')
I was punished the entire duration of our relationship for having a sexual past (one other partner). I broke up with my now x and ended up having sex with another person. X love bombed me, we ended up back together. He knew I slept with someone else this was never hidden. Thus began for me more than a decade and a half of 'punishment'.
He cheated on me repeatedly because he felt 'justified', I stayed because I felt I didn't deserve better. Run, if someone is trying to make you feel guilt for the past, they are punishing you for their guilt. You deserve better.
Work on why you got to the point of cheating. Not for him but so you heal and be a better partner in future.
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou
"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be". –
Leaving him, divorcing him, choosing to say "hey, I'm not taking this", that was the right way to go. I didn't, I chose the wrong way to handle it and made things much more complicated and backed myself further in to a corner that I had already been in before our marriage even, by having had more experience than him.
I'm back in that same corner and I know how this game is played. I've been here when it wasn't justified and now he truly has justification. We tried to talk a bit this evening when I got home and he said something about having always been the "loving, faithful husband". And I said, no, you haven't been. You cheated on me before we were married, it wasn't intercourse, but it was physical and you had these "dalliances" with multiple girls. Then after we were married, you had two emotional affairs (both included sexual talk/emails and him trying to see them on occasion, though he swears they never did anything but talk). He was immediately irate and said "I want a divorce" I said ok, you better mean that because if we have any chance here I will not live with that as a constant threat when the wrong thing is said.
HurtsButImOK, I feel for you. The pain of having your past held against you when it had nothing to do with the person you're with is completely degrading. I have a hard time believing that my H won't do the same as yours and use this A as the new excuse he needs to punish me and try to get what he wants. I'm going to be an idiot if I let him, I know. MrsP is right, I have to learn to stand up for myself and stop making excuses to justify my actions.