BH and I met online and have been together 8 1/2 years, married almost 4. I had a very rough mental patch and engaged in a 2-3 month EA in late 2009/early 2010 with an online friend that I knew for a little over a year prior (a friend behind the back of my BH). The EA involved exchanging pictures (clean and unclean), sex chats and phone calls. I never intended for the boundaries to be crossed, but I let it happen. I wasn't attracted to the person, but was attracted to the feelings and high of the fling, flirts, and compliments during a time when I felt terrible about myself and my life. BH found out by seeing an instant message from OM, but because I had deleted the evidence and immediately went into self-defense mode, I lied.
I continued lying for nearly 4 years, despite constant questions from BH and not answering them consistently, until I started trickle-truthing a little over a month ago. I thought that lying was protecting our relationship and our feelings, but little did I know that it was driving our relationship into the ground. I couldn't bring myself to come forward with everything because I thought BH would never forgive me or accept me after finding out the truth. The TTing started because he made the decision to send my hard drive off to recovery professionals and it was going to come out no matter what. The last piece of truth, I had made the decision to tell him when I could determine the right time, but he found out two days ago by reading an old instant message before I could come forward. Even though it was the last thing, BH doesn't believe a word I say (as I know full and well is justified). He is having a hard time because there are gaps and details missing because, honestly, its been so long and I've forgotten lots of it. He should get the hard drive results next week and I fear it will be the end of our relationship. I told him that the details of the conversation and finding the things that I cannot remember will hurt him more than anything else, and he knows this, but insists he needs it to "solve the puzzle."
I have done a lot of reflecting lately as I've been going over the terrible things I've done, searching for what went wrong in my head and how I can make the future better. I only recently found these forums, and the amazing post on TTing that I wish I had found a long time ago. I had no idea what I was doing was so harmful and I'm devastated to know that our relationship could end over something I thought I was doing to protect it. I am filled with so much guilt, remorse, and self-hatred that I just feel like the most worthless human being alive. Understandably, BH has been lashing out and reminding me of that. I've apologized many times, but like everything else, he doesn't believe me anymore. I just don't know what to do other than to beg for ANOTHER chance. I can't even give him a good answer when he asks me why he should trust me or why he should give me another chance when I blew so many others. I've tried to express my reasons for everything, my complete understanding and renewed perspective, my sincere remorse, but I don't know how to else to prove my honesty to him after burning my bridges. When he first found out about the EA, he took possession of my computer, checked it, installed software, etc and I made an effort to be very open with him about what I was doing and who I was talking to. But my lies have reset all that trust that was rebuilt, so he now has full control over my computer and cell phone and I am no longer on social media or the game in which I met OM on.
Is there ANYONE who has reconciled after TTing? Please tell me there is some hope. I can't bear for my relationship to be over, especially with a 21 month old daughter and a new baby due this summer. I wish so badly that I would have considered the consequences before doing something so stupid, disrespectful and selfish. Is there any hope for someone who has done terrible things but has had an epiphany?
[This message edited by rekindle at 7:39 AM, January 23rd (Thursday)]
Start writing out a timeline. Include every detail you can remember. You mentioned you started TT'g a month ago. Did the subject of the EA come up again or something? In other words what changed that caused you to begin TT'g a month ago?
I have written timelines in several letters, but because they were part of the TTing, they weren't truth. The latest one was truthful other than how long I had known the OM and where I had met him.
The EA has come up constantly over 4 years because BH was suspicious and asked many, many questions ever since. My responses weren't consistent, so he kept asking, kept disbelieving. The TTing finally started for a number of reasons, including that I was tired of lying, our children have inspired change, and he was so persistent in finding the truth.
The latest one was truthful other than how long I had known the OM and where I had met him.
Volunteer to do a polygraph. Short of that I can''t think of another way to reassure your BH after 4 years of on-off TT''g.
A couple of things I would suggest would be to not minimize the EA (e.g. I was only 2-3 months) or when it occurred (It was so long ago). You didn''t indicate that you had but I just wanted to forewarn you.
ETA: Removing emoticons that were not supposed to be there.
[This message edited by Brandon808 at 8:31 AM, January 23rd, 2014 (Thursday)]
I have volunteered the poly, but he's convinced it won't be accurate anyway. I've encouraged spy software, which he will be installing soon, and told him I'm willing to go along with anything else he feels like he needs to do for rebuilding of trust, while I try to figure out what I can do on my part. Although I have no idea what I actually can do unless he gives me another chance and I can prove myself in time.
Thank you for the advice. I actually have been minimizing the timeline and time since the EA. I was trying to do so as an attempt to show him that I am no longer a cheater and have been open with my online activities since, and that it meant nothing to me because of the clean cut I had from OM.
My W had a one night stand combined with an EA and then lied to me about for three years.
All I can tell you that you need to be cognizant that while you have had a lot of time to deal with this and the path forward may be clearer to you, your BH this is brand new.
In my situation it was the lies that almost ended my M. Not the ONS or EA, but the lies. After some time that will be hardest part for your BH to come to terms with.
Right now the best thing you can do is make sure that anything you do remember is brought out into the open immediately and without prompting. Give give him transparency in all things. Be 100% accountable and make all your communications available to him.
While you may think you have a handle on your whys, justifying them by saying you had a "rough mental patch," won't work with your BH. A lot of people have rough mental patches, but not all of them cheat. Low esteem alone does not explain it either. Chances are there is more which you are not aware of.
My W had Depression which explained her infidelity, but did not excuse it. It was also not the reason she made the choice. Without knowledge of why it was acceptable to make these choices and addressing them in a very concrete way is the only thing that is going to give you the chance of having a happy M again.
If you are looking for positives, I can tell you that the fact your H is still talking to you (even in anger) and has not left are big indications that he is looking for a way to work this out.
His pride, ego, self esteem and narrative of his life are in shambles right now. He does not trust you and wonders if your entire M has been a lie. He feels like you have made a chump out of him and his is second choice.
Correct or not, his feelings are there. The best advice I can give you is to not argue when he brings things up. Just listen and apologize. It is hard and I get how angry he must be. Do not give up, any hesitation on your part is going to give him the final push to walk. Be loving even if he doesn't return it. Think about when you were dating and approach him in a similar way. Right now, showing you love him, choose only him and are committed to fixing this are the only things that will keep him engaged.
A lot of people who have experienced the other side of this soon this will be along soon.
Books I will recommend is the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman. Another is how to help your spouse to heal from an affair. Buy them, borrow them, let your husband see you read them.
IC for both of you also would be very helpful. MC maybe, but some people, myself included have received mixed results.
Effort counts as much as effect and even if he does not acknowledge it, trust me, he is paying attention and will factor that into his decision.
DS 1, DD 6
Dday 8/31/11. ONS that occurred 3 years earlier. Lied to for 3 years.
Every truth comes to light in a long enough timeline.
I used "rough mental patch" to sum it up for brevity. I have plenty of issues that I am sure contributed to my decision to cheat, but I did not include them for there are so many and I didn't want this post to seem like I was requesting pity. I know that there is no excuse or justification for what I did. It all comes down to selfishness and my failure in the relationship.
I plan on reading "Not Just A Friend" which is a title I have seem come up frequently on the forums. I will also look at the books you suggested. I finished "What Makes A Man Feel Loved" recently, which is yet another thing I wish I had read long ago to change my perspective.
I've been sharing all the words here with BH and I hope that is a small token of how much I want to change. Your post reminds me that even though I think I'm trying, I need to try harder. Thanks for the advice.
Is there any WS that can offer some advice? I value all the comments, but I would love to hear from both sides.