I have been married for 20.5 years to a man 7 years older. He was just back from Kuwait when we met (USMC). I was dating someone else, and so was he. We became very good friends over the next 2 years. Both of our SOs left us for others, and we started dating. (There’s alot more into this but irrelevant.) Our first date was very unusual, but I think it was the most influential. We vented - about every X we had. He was married before (one daughter), I was engaged. Both of them had cheated on us. We talked about what we expected from a SO, a spouse. I told him about my father and his cheating, and that my mom kicked him out. His parents were also divorced, his dad married his OW leaving his mom to raise the kids. I thought this was a man that knew the pain that can be caused by infidelity and would be honorable. (Semper Fidelis). I WAS WRONG.
We were married one summer, his daughter moved in that fall (she was 8). She and I hit it off amazingly - her birth mom was not very kind, had kicked her out of the house at 5yrs, married several abusive men. (I am being very nice about her here.) We did struggle with me being a mom to her and my authority, of course. Her dad was OTR driver and gone for several days at a time, so I was her main parent. He also signed back up with the ANG to complete his retirement, so one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer he was gone.
He started behaving oddly 6 months after she moved in. I would clean out his bags and do laundry, etc while he was napping. One day, he had brought the truck home, I thought it would be nice to clean out his sheets, blankets, etc. As I was pulling things out, I saw a cell phone - not his/ours - and porn magazines with numbers circled. That was the day my world started spinning out of control. I almost vomited right there all over the bunk. I was dizzy, and bawling. I put everything back, and showered. I wasn’t sure how to react, what to do. I didn’t know if this would be considered cheating or not. He was supposed to be against this. (Semper Fi). I decided to talk to him about it that night. It took every ounce of strength to talk to him. He apologized. Said he was lonely out there, and I was always busy taking care of our daughter to talk on the phone. He said that was all it was - talk. I asked him to stop. He said he would - together we disposed of the phone and the magazines, cleaned out the truck. (This was very tearful.) All seemed ok.
Fast forward to our second year of marriage. We decided that we wanted to have a child together. We talked with his daughter letting her know our plans. I had a beautiful baby boy in the spring. His step sister loved him to pieces. When he was a month old, I received a phone call. A woman saying that she was going to sue my husband because he owed her money, and that him ignoring her wasn’t going to stop her. I asked her why he owed her - she said because his credit card denied charges for her service. I asked what her service was - she said (yes, I remember this exactly) “Why, honey, I’m his ‘personal assistant’.” The way she said that I knew what she meant. I told her that she needed to take it up with him. I wasn’t involved in it. She said my name was on the credit card making me jointly responsible. I hung up. He was on the road, and I had to wait days to talk to him. I spent those days going through credit statements. I found the name of her “service” several times.
Our discussion that night wasn’t as civil. Again he seemed remorseful and blamed me. Pregnant for 9 months, fat, big as a house, sick, focused on baby, etc. etc. He was lonely. I was a new mom - on maternity leave. None of my family was nearby, who would help? What would happen to my step daughter - she would be forced to return to her mom and abusive step dad. I felt trapped, lost, and alone. He made more promises. This pattern continued, we had two more children. Moved out of state, moved back. Every DD (yearly!!) I was alone, no friends of my own, no family nearby. And he always blamed me - focused on kids, focused on my schooling, fighting with his XW (I was the go between because he couldn’t stand to talk to her) etc.
I became very good at being an amateur PI. I gathered cell information, hacked his laptop, installed keyloggers, etc. Even with all this, I was still powerless. I think it got to where I thought - I let him do this to me for so long, why should he change? It became a cycle. One year, I was hospitalized, ICU, nearly died. My youngest was 8 months old. He left the four kids at home (8 months, 2yr, 4yr, 13yr) alone. Told them he was going to see me. I never saw him. I found out later that he was meeting an Ow. Nice. I threatened to kick him out. Told him that was it. I almost die and he uses that as a way to step out. Following more lies, and the fact that I am still alone, now recovering, and still fearful for my step daughter’s fate! (I had quit my job to be a SAHM just before the 2yo was conceived.) This was a first confirmed in person cheat I knew about. Most others were phone/online that I knew for sure. I could never prove that he actually met anyone while out on the road. I would like to also note that for several months after confronting him he was very attentive and sweet, etc. Then it seemed he would “get bored, lose interest” so I wasn’t always looking for his transgressions. I would look when I realized he withdrew from me emotionally.
Fast forward to 6 years ago - my step daughter is on her own - she has a husband, baby. My husband has since quit OTR, and has a “desk job” due to an injury. It was a huge pay cut, but he was home nightly. I had gone back to school and got my teaching degree and was loving my new job. I now felt like I was contributing to our financial well being. I thought maybe now.... Things seemed ok. Then an odd text over his cell phone. I ignored it. A few days later - more text messages, local number. From my past sleuthing days, I knew that numbers that were “local” ending in four like digits (9999, 8888) were hotlines. I called a few, and confirmed my suspicions. In addition, I notice that some of the numbers are of his employees... he was having an EA with one of them (IDK if it ever became physical). Again confronting him - again - blaming me, no time for him because of kids sports, my job, etc. And me taking the blame, and still alone... I felt like I let this go on for so long, what was I to do? How can I expect anything else, right? Well he promised again - yeah I know, I know....
FF to last year. We continue this cycle. He continues to be distant, and I continue to just focus on the kids, grandkids. They are all I have. I go out of town for a conference for school. I am with other teachers, and we are all “talking shop” over drinks. Some are from near and others far. Emails are exchanged as teachers always share tips and such. One male teacher took a personal interest in me. I was flattered, but waved him away. I told him I was married. We all continued to enjoy the rest of the conference as a cohort. A few weeks later I receive an email. I’ll cut to the chase - I had my first EA. No excuses, nothing. I got caught up in the attention, flattery, etc. My husband found out. He literally attacked me, physically, emotionally, verbally. I gave no excuses, no apologies, but asked “are you innocent? Are you 100% faithful? Today...” I knew he wasn’t. I knew he was seeing someone else and that they had gotten physical. He asked if it was my “getting even” affair. I replied that we don’t have enough years left for me to “get even” for his affairs. He walked out that night. IDK where he spent the night, but he abusively texted me all night. I turned off my phone. He returned the next day wanting to work it out. I foolishly agreed to try - for the kids’ sake. He said what about when the kids are moved out? I replied - “I guess that is up to you and your habits.” So we tried. I told the Om I had to stop communicating with him, even professionally. We did. I expected him to do the same.
Needless to say, he didn’t. He is still seeing her. I knew he would. I learned his phone password, and have been collecting photo evidence. I also put a tracker on his cell - so I have photo proof of his location at times I suspect he was with someone else. And since I have let this go - it has escalated. He has started paying hookers for sex. I have collected proof of at least 10 different times he has met and paid for various services. I have photos of some of them, addresses too. He is shameless. I have a mother load of evidence. But I still feel powerless. He is a “pillar of the community,” a “military veteran,” a “marine,” a “war veteran.” What am I? Nothing spectacular. I have few friends that are only mine. Most are “ours” and they will side with him. I am afraid of exposing him. He has been violent before. What if he decides that this is too shameful and decides to take his life - maybe mine? (He has threatened before.) He continues to harass me about my indiscretion. He literally persecuted me when I went to a conference last month. (All the while he was talking to his Ow, telling her he wished she could come over since I was gone.)
I want out. How do I do it safely? My thoughts are to present him with my evidence, and basically blackmail him into leaving peacefully - keeping our reputations intact. But I have no idea if he can even find it in himself to do this. He has been so spoiled by my inaction, he may feel like he should be allowed this behavior. And now that I have “strayed” and he forgave me... He uses it against me all the time. I can’t be on my phone (even facebook) when he is home. But he can text his Ow while lying next to me in bed.... If I say hi to a man - he asks - “You gonna screw him?” I have never responded - not even to say, “No, but I bet you would screw her, and her, and her, and her....”
I want out, and am finding my way. Thanks for listening to my story.
DD: once a year almost
Ow: too many to count, age ranges 19 - 50+
Kids: three and a step
Status: Lost, scared, fed-up, exploring D
Are you afraid he will physically hurt you? Have you looked into shelters? Can you just move out without giving him any notice?
Just my immediate thoughts. Others with better advice will come along I'm sure.
I'm so sorry you have been treated so badly by your husband. It was never your fault.
I am so sorry that you are here, but you have come to a very resourceful place. It has truly been a soothing, web-balm for many of us.
Like Sudra, I am not an expert and I want to reiterate that this is not your fault. You accept responsibility for your EA and he should accept all of the rest of this crap he has done.
Think like a teacher, since this is what you are. If one of your young parents came to you to confide this story of abuse, what would you tell her?
Of course, you would refer her to the school social worker, assure her that she did NOT have to subject herself or her children to this caveman and finally? Finally, you would tell her to get the hell out.
You know there are shelters, etc...You may not have to go that route, but keep it in the back of your head as an option. I think they counsel all abuse victims and battered women to plan an escape route BEFORE they actually need it.
You intimate that your husband has the ability to become violent. You also lead me to believe that he is a BULLY and that he expects you to simply take this crap from him.
You have rights; The right to be safe, and the right to be treated with respect. From what I have read, you don't have either. You are a contributing member in your home, yet you are receiving no respect and very few emotional amenities.
That's bunk. You do not have to live like this.
I will bet that he will cower and make a boatload of promises WHEN you lawyer up, wise up and get out.
I know you have years invested with him, as I do with my own husband. But scarednbroken, if you read on this site, you will find that there are many, many women who had husbands who cheated. Skads of them! You will also find that there are many who went to IC to find out what was going on within themselves when they decided to cheat. They did the work. They have changed and are now loving husbands.
It's a process. It takes anywhere from 2 years to 5 they say, to recover from infidelity. Me? I think I'm on the 6 year plan, because I still trigger. I trigger, but my husband is trying daily to help mend our marriage. He has more than a year of IC and two years of MC under his belt. I may have the numbers wrong, because it seemed like we both did IC and MC for centuries.
I don't want to ramble. You do not have to be afraid. You have been afraid of this guy long enough. Get your ducks in a row, as they say here. If you need to go to IC to gather more strength, then do that. See a lawyer too, but do not tell him about this.
As a matter of fact, don't tell him anything that you are planning. Do these things for yourself and take charge of your own life.
Continue to read here and post. Others will be along to help you, because you are never alone here at SI. Shoot, once you know the direction you are going to take, you are going to be such a woman to be reckoned with!
Start today to make plans and continue to post and read.
Come on, dig in. You are smart and resourceful.
Do your homework teacher!
With a few variations my story is similar to yours except that I am 24 years older..
Get out now so that you will still have many years to work and rebuild your life..
[This message edited by doggiediva at 5:22 PM, January 7th (Tuesday)]
I hardly ever advise anyone to lawyer up and go! I always try to see if things can be worked out, especially if I can see a glimmer of hope.
I am advising you to prepare and leave. Why? Because you have the ability to support yourself. You have suffered long enough. YOu are being bullied. You are emotionally ready.
lovedmesomehim: what you said about how I would say to my parents... professionally, I know this!! Emotionally, it is the scariest thing I can think of. It is so funny - my Wh tells me I am sooooo book smart (a BA, and two MAs, honors) but I'm real world stupid.
As I said a shelter isn't going to work during the school year. I have explored so many options. Staying at a friends, going home to my mom, but all of them mean uprooting the kids. They are very very successful at their school. I have so many fears to overcome before I can act. I so badly want to expose him for the bully he is, but at what expense? My children would be devastated. I already have a taste of this - my oldest son discovered his infidelity. He doesn't know the extent, but he understands that his dad won't stop. I think it is his knowing that has really pushed me to this end. My daughters will be devastated. They idolize him. I will be the "bad guy" in their eyes.
I wouldn't dream of telling him my current plans. I know he would work his hardest to destroy anything I have. Most of my evidence is stored away from where he can get to it. Old stuff is hidden at work (with instructions to send to my mom if I don't come to work unexpectedly.) New stuff is stored electronically in a password protected account (info for access is in my work "file.") I'm trying to get all my "ducks in a row" before heading to a lawyer.
I'm very glad I found this place. I think this is just what I need to help me past this block.
Good luck to you :)
Sudra: he has rarely laid a hand on me. The few times he has it was to prevent me from walking away. I bruise easily so...it always looks worse than it really is.
Once is abuse. I'm a fair-skinned blonde that bruises easily too, but my husband has never once left a mark on me.
I so badly want to expose him for the bully he is, but at what expense? My children would be devastated. I already have a taste of this - my oldest son discovered his infidelity. He doesn't know the extent, but he understands that his dad won't stop. I think it is his knowing that has really pushed me to this end. My daughters will be devastated. They idolize him. I will be the "bad guy" in their eyes.
If your kids are 13 and older, and your husband has left marks on you, they know. And watching their mother stay with an abuser is far worse than uprooting them from their school.
Trust me on this. My father would lock the bedroom to hit my mother and I couldn't get in to stop him. Back then, no one ever called police for DV, so it never occurred to me. I just felt so helpless that I could not protect her. It would have been much kinder for her to have uprooted me and moved out than for me to live like I did.
I have so many fears to overcome before I can act
I think this is your problem. Can you start IC? You need professional help.
Keep posting here - you will find good advice and strength. Others have been where you are.
Want her to find a dominating, abusive husband?
Well… Remain where you are and enjoy the ride.
If you want her to have a better future then set an example!
I’m a former cop and as such I specialized in dealing with domestic abuse. I’ve seen the stats. Young women from abusive homes tend to find men that are abusive. The correlation is something like 70-80%. She might not be so “lucky” to find someone that “only” lays hands on her when she tries to get away.
You don’t need to divorce this man. There are all sorts of programs to handle abusive husbands and abusive relationships. Heck – I even recall a study that indicated that veterans were better candidates for “rehabilitation”.
One of the absolute best resources for women in your situation tend to be hotlines for domestic abuse. These are not limited to the image we have of severely bruised women with alcoholic husbands. I had to enter homes of doctors, attorneys, mechanics, carpenters, employed and unemployed to deal with domestic abuse. These hotlines can point you in the correct direction regarding how to save you, your family and possibly your marriage.
Look – His actions are not your fault. That’s very clear and obvious. But the decision to remain in an unchanged situation… That’s completely your decision.
D-day #1 Jan 31 2007
D-Day #2 March 25 2007
Roll on Roll on Roller Coaster
We're one day older and one step closer
Roll on there's mountains to climb
Roll on we're on borrowed time
Working on Re