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What did I do?

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Sallyjay posted 1/3/2021 20:37 PM

I am trying to figure out my part in the break down of our marriage and I need help. I am really struggling to figure out what I did wrong and how to avoid doing that in the future. The way I see things, I was the one keeping us together this whole time and had it not been for my perseverance, we would have split a long time ago.

We dated for 3 years before getting engaged, we were engaged for a year and a half and married for 12 before separation (one year ago).

Even before we were married, I had seen signs of cheating type behavior. Since we were moving, he was training a new coworker, a female, he had helped her with her computer at home once, but apparently she had a boyfriend so I didn't need to worry... then she called early morning before he left for work to ask him to pick up milk for her, I thought that was weird AF... then we moved away and I found pictures of her in her underwear on our computer, I confronted him, he said it was like porn to him, she lived in another province now and would never see her again, whats the harm? I told him that if I had pics of men I used to know, if he would like that, he said no and I told him it was the same for me... things improved a bit, we got married, had a child, then when my son was 6 months old, I found nasty messages on his cell phone, he was sexting the lady that worked at the liquor store... Very blatant sexting "can't wait to touch you, feel you" kind of texts... I confronted him again, he said it was just fun and they never actually did anything physically, just texted... I said he could never go back to that liquor store or see that woman again...
Then a year later, I have his phone in my hand trying to search a GPS location as we are going on vacation and a text comes in that says "Good Morning 😘"... I memorized the number, called it later and sure enough it was the same woman... I finally confronted him, after our short holiday (just a long weekend getaway). It was excruciating to pretend nothing was wrong the whole time, but I did it for our sons sake. He admitted he had been having an affair with her, that he thought our marriage was practically over since we were rarely intimate with each other... after that episode we experienced insanely strong hysterical bonding emotions... we couldn't get enough of each other for months, we were having sex almost every day and trying new things etc...
Time went on, we got back to our old habits, he was getting drunk daily again, being mean to me and calling me names, making me feel like shit.

Fast forward a little while, this time a lady contacted me on Facebook, she knew things about him that only a wife should know... I confronted him about it, he eventually admitted to me that she was an escort and had been blackmailing him for a couple months now. It was gut wrenching, this woman knew my full name, where I lived and God knows what else. I was afraid for our lives. We got cameras installed. She called the police on me saying I was stalking and threatening her, it was a very difficult time... Again another round of hysterical bonding, having sex almost everyday. This time it lasted maybe 4 months... then things slowly started going back to the way they were. A year goes by, I told him I was still struggling with what he had done, (he had also given me herpes from this lady, although he still denies it, since he never got it, he was clearly a carrier), he got really mad and started threatening custody of our son, since I wasn't working, I'd quit my job because I was afraid for my safety and reputation... I decided to stick it out for a while and try and get my shit together so I would never be in this situatin again. I got a job, tried putting a bit of money aside, got a better job, then as soon as I had proof of his infidelity again, I kicked him out! No questions... he had to be out of my bed, my room, my house, my space!!!
Since then, I have decided that I can not take any responsibility for his actions, maybe our marriage wasn't perfect and we struggled to connect at times, but he chose to put his attention towards other women, rather than on his own wife and son and I can't take any responsibility in that. I was the one staying home with our son while he went to the bar with friends and met up with escorts and random people he met on Craigslist.

What I am trying to figure out is how can I not repeat this cycle!!!

Do I just need to change the type of guy I'm attracted too? However I wasn't attracted to him at first, he kinda grew on me when we were dating... maybe I should not go for guys iI'm ot initially attracted to?

Maybe at the first sign of the potential for infidelity, I need to get out???

What is my lesson, my part in this?

I dont mean to sound full of myself, but I'm really struggling to find what exactly I did wrong in all this...

Please be as honest as possible, Thank you

[This message edited by Sallyjay at 8:52 PM, January 3rd (Sunday)]

Katz13 posted 1/3/2021 22:01 PM

I think instead of beating yourself up about your shortcomings and what you did wrong, try focusing now on becoming the best version of yourself. Get into therapy for this. You were too nice and forgiving to a person that didn't deserve it. Now you are lucky enough not to have to deal with it any longer. Focus on you and your kid and drop him like a boulder to the floor of the ocean. Not worth your mental real estate. Personally I wouldn't worry about future relationships for some time. Focus on you not others. Just my two cents but there are tons of sources of help on this from therapy, books, blogs etc.

messyleslie posted 1/3/2021 23:39 PM

I struggle with this a little - I donít think I contributed to the breakdown of my marriage, my ex is an alcoholic with mental health issues has some serious FOO stuff. I was not a perfect wife but I was a good wife and I can see that had my ex been someone with a shred of integrity and not spent so many years lying to me we would have had a really happy successful marriage.

But I also want to fix whatever is wrong with me that made me attracted to him or stay so that this never happens again. And while I think therapy is really important and becoming a whole person and able to be alone and self confident and all of that is good, I think there is also this element of control in that thought process. Like oh if I can figure out what I did wrong then I can fix it and then I never have to go through this pain again.

And the reality is that you could have been perfect and this could have still happened. There is no way to protect yourself from being betrayed again or having another unsuccessful marriage.

I think for me I want to heal and become a healthy person so I donít drag all the trauma from this mess into another relationship. And I also want to be strong enough to know that if another marriage falls apart I will be totally okay and not make decisions in fear of that. And to really love the life I create for myself so that I donít tolerate anyone coming into it that doesnít add something.

Those are my thoughts...

BearlyBreathing posted 1/4/2021 11:37 AM

Itís true that we did not cause the cheating. However in some cases we accepted really shitty behavior and did not call them out on it. We accepted it. So that is the ďwhyĒ that we BS need to look at.

So maybe you have a bad picker. Maybe you settled. Maybe you are conflict avoidant. Maybe you thought he met your needs on paper and that was as good as it gets. These are the things I am exploring in IC- and some is me repeating the patterns that were shown to me. I accepted what my mom did, but my dad was a fundamentally good guy (and never cheated). I was almost trained to repeat it, despite thinking I was doing the opposite. And I was always the peacemaker in the family, so that made me the perfect chump for my WH to cheat on.

Seeing these thingsó it took some time and perspective for me to see them - is the first step and from there you can take steps to not repeat it. For me, IC is helpful in seeing these patterns.

HalfTime2017 posted 1/4/2021 17:30 PM

You did nothing, he is a serial cheater. Look at the infidelity rate, you chances of running into someone that cheats is high. YOu did nothing wrong, and even if you made him promise to heaven and earth, there is nothing to prevent him from cheating except for himself. You cannot prevent him from cheating, nor your kids. Its all on him.

Don't beat yourself up. Learn what you need to learn and move on. It was not your fault, so ruminating about that wont help you. As others have said, try working on being the best you. Just know that there are great people out there that will respect you and not cheat on you.

katmandude54 posted 1/5/2021 08:36 AM

You could have been the Mother Mary and he STILL would have cheated. Forget him, leave, reclaim your life, move on.

DevastatedDee posted 1/5/2021 08:54 AM

Obviously a lot of us end up with someone screwed up like this. That isn't on us. That crime is often just falling in love with someone who doesn't disclose that they are going to become a cheating asshole. Not on us for lacking the ability to read minds or foretell the future. If I met my XWH today, I'd figure out that he wasn't a safe person for me but that's only because I've already experienced someone like him. I had no experience of someone with his particular issues, so I didn't catch any signs. I don't blame me for that. It won't happen again now that I know what that flavor of fucked up looks like. I have quite the education now that I lacked before.

I think we all want a way to pick the damaging ones out before we develop feelings for them in the future. Sometimes we'll be able to and sometimes we won't. The goal for the future is to be able to leave at the first red flag and not let our hearts make or accept excuses for it. So yes, the goal is to leave at the first sign of infidelity or disrespect. It means we may have to drag our weeping hearts away from someone we care about before we're emotionally ready. You are now armed with the knowledge that not leaving early on only means more devastation and pain in the future. That will help.

fooled13years posted 1/5/2021 09:39 AM

As an outsider it appears to me as though you might suffer from the female version of the knight in shining armor (kisa) syndrome.

Is it possible that when you see guys who you perceive as facing certain psychological or lifestyle challenges that you think you might be able to help straighten them out?

Please know that, if this is the case, you cannot change or fix anyone but yourself.

josiep posted 1/5/2021 09:41 AM

If you have drug addiction or alcoholism in your family or have ever lived with anyone suffering from either, the best thing you can do for yourself is begin the AlAnon program.

Individual counseling might help.

But the bottom line is, life is a crapshoot and there is nothing you can do to guarantee you won't go through this again. All you can do is live your best life, love people and hope for the best. That's sort of a depressing thought but look at it this way: if it happens again, you already have 70,000+ friends to help you get through it and you'll know what to do.

I would also advise that you never, ever trust another partner 100%. Keep your finances in order, protect your credit rating, keep some assets and money in your name and keep up your career/job skills. Actually, I believe that by doing that, you will project the image of a strong woman and that might even scare away the ones you want to avoid. But at least if things do degenerate, you'll have financial freedom and not be trapped or get ripped off. I wish I knew all this when I was younger. Learn from your elders.

Sallyjay posted 1/5/2021 13:33 PM

Thank you all for your heartfelt responses

One more thing I need to get clarification on... and thats the reason he claims he went elsewhere, was because we were not having sex...

But that logic is Bull especially since at one point, we went on vacation for a week, had sex every night, or almost while we were gone and the day we got back, he had an appointment with an escort at a local hotel... Also, even though I didn't know it, I knew something was up, which made me not want to trust him and therefore not want to have sex with him... plus his hygiene was horrific, he smelled like a drunk street bum most days, thats attractive... not!

Is there really a reason to cheat, other than its easier than looking at your own behavior and how you treat your wife and family and do better so she wants to have sex with you?

[This message edited by Sallyjay at 1:34 PM, January 5th (Tuesday)]

DevastatedDee posted 1/5/2021 14:37 PM

Sallyjay, I was the one with the higher sex drive in my marriage and was (I thought) more adventurous as well. He still sought out prostitutes. I daresay there wasn't anything he paid them for that I wasn't likely dying for him to do with me. That kind of behavior is not about what you did or didn't do.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 2:38 PM, January 5th (Tuesday)]

tushnurse posted 1/5/2021 14:57 PM

Oh sweet Sallyjay....

Maybe at the first sign of the potential for infidelity, I need to get out???

Absolutely. Get out. Do not ever allow someone to treat you like an option, or that you are not valuable.

As far as this BS goes....

One more thing I need to get clarification on... and thats the reason he claims he went elsewhere, was because we were not having sex...

He can claim whatever he wants, he did it because he is broken person with shit values, that knew he could get away with it. Period.

He would have done this if you were f'ing him 3 times a day 365 days a year. He needs external validation and attention more than he needs substance, and value. Pretty sad really to realize the person you attempted to build your life with was shit all along, but please please please please, do NOT blame yourself for one more second.

His cheating and his leaving is 1000% on him. It was his choice. Not yours. You did all you could he just was too broken to appreciate it.

Trapped74 posted 1/5/2021 15:01 PM

I think you may be grasping at straws - control straws. I did the same thing after DD1.5. If his cheating was caused by something I did or didn't do, then I could change whatever it was, and I would never be cheated on again - giving ME control over the situation, right?

Nope. Cheaters will cheat. Like others have pointed out, you could have been Mother Theresa crossed with Blow-Job Barbie, and he still would have cheated. The only true control we have over other people and their actions is whether to allow them to stay in our lives.

josiep posted 1/5/2021 16:37 PM

ne more thing I need to get clarification on... and thats the reason he claims he went elsewhere, was because we were not having sex..

He can claim anything he wants to claim but the truth is, he's an adult and a real adult who was having problems in his relationship would try to fix the relationship within the relationship, not ignore whatever problem he's having and violate the terms of the relationship.

I can tell you how to tell when he's lying to you: it's when his lips are moving.

I'm so sorry but he's a weak man with no backbone. And you are the definition of strong.

Muggle posted 1/5/2021 20:16 PM

One more thing I need to get clarification on... and thats the reason he claims he went elsewhere, was because we were not having sex...

An excuse is still and excuse to try to detract from the fact he has no morals, no loyalty and he doesn't want to be responsible for his actions. NEVER forget cheating is ALWAYS a choice.

It's not an impulse he can't control or a disease. It's a character flaw. Cheating men will always have dozens of excuses to blame the victim rather than themselves.

You are not the issue, he is. You trusted him and he choose to betray that trust. When a man shows you who he is believe what you see.

I would highly suggest a councilor to help you with healthy boundaries and seeing red flags of a dysfunctional or toxic relationship.

My ex was NOT faithful and gave me every lie in the book. He would always come back to me and I would believe his lies. Life would get better until he found someone new again.

At some point you have to recognize trauma bonding and how it impacts your life dealing with the stress of an unfaithful partner. It gives you no closure, no real answers that make sense. You will second guess every decision you've ever made but in the end you will find you can't fix someone that is broken and wishes to cheat.

Concentrate on yourself. Remove him and do not speak to him or let him take up a moment more of your life. He will NEVER change, no matter how good, how much sex or how wonderful you are.

You were deceived. He put on a show, but wasn't genuine, or a man to spend your life with. Look within yourself for what you probably could see but didn't want to focus on when you were with him. Often we have nagging thoughts, moments when we wonder about what they're doing that gives us reason to suspect they are up to no good. If you feel those twinges then most often it's a valid feeling. Find someone you are at ease with, someone that has respect for women, good relationships, no addictions. Someone that you see the honesty, humility, and daily choices that would make you proud of them. Someone that treats you with respect every day, not just when they need something.

Expect this to take some serious time to process. Be willing to move forward without knowing the "why". Often those questions remain unanswered.

I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but I promise it will get better one day at a time.

josiep posted 1/6/2021 08:08 AM

Holy cow, Muggle! I wish I'd read what you wrote above when I first arrived here. What a mind blowing excellent post!

I might just print it out to hang on my bathroom mirror so I start every single day being reminded of the facts of my life. Thank you.

The1stWife posted 1/7/2021 04:48 AM

Experience has taught you a few things. Like at the first sign of infidelity or lying you run. End it. Move on. Donít accept or tolerate that behavior.

StillLivin posted 1/7/2021 23:14 PM

The only thing you could have done different is to not marry a morally bankrupt cheating fuckwit. End of story. Just as he could not make you someone you're not, you cannot make him into someone he's not. And he's not a monogamous man.

phmh posted 1/10/2021 11:51 AM

Agreed. I also spent way too much time trying to figure out what I did wrong so I could figure out what to change about me to make my next relationship successful. Through IC and tons of reflection, reading, etc., I realized that i was a fabulous partner and had i fallen in love with a moral person, we would have had a happy long until death do us part marriage.

Unfortunately, life is not fair and sometimes we pick bad partners. We excuse too much. I'm pretty sure we all saw red flags early on that we dismissed. Knowing what I know now, I very much should never have gone out with WXH due to his behavior when we were getting to know each other as friends. But I believed words more than actions, and he was also a master at hiding his true self until after we were married.

It's a few years old now, so there might be better stuff out there, but when I was back dating I read "The Science of Happily Ever After" - you can probably get it from your library. It helped me see what is really important in a partner. Had I known what was in this book when I met WXH, I would have run. This book helped me to find a partner that (so far 5+ years) is faithful, honorable, and has never once shown even the slightest red flag. I highly recommend this book as it can help you decipher red flags and to know what kind of personality traits/behaviors to look for in order to set yourself up for success in a future relationship.

Shehawk posted 1/13/2021 11:02 AM

Nope. Cheaters will cheat. Like others have pointed out, you could have been Mother Theresa crossed with Blow-Job Barbie, and he still would have cheated

I am laughing so hard that if I was drinking coffee I would have spit it out.

I came up with an idea for me. Your mileage may vary. I am going to do a little life experiment to see if the chex (cheating ex) is right...I am going to continue to work on myself right into a marriage relationship with a decent, emotionally available securely attached man and see how the sex is (I mean see how the relationship goes ).

Seriously the chex tried that sort of I made him cheat reasoning on me. So when we were in false R I asked him to tell me precisely how many times a day we would need to have sex and what boundary pushing things I would need to do to make myself into the wife he would not cheat on. Just what WOULD be enough? I don't think he had a limit seriously. I think stuff like that just escalates because of the thrill kibble adrenaline factor. So I don't think I could have ever been enough.

I will keep SI posted as my life experiment progresses. But so far so good as I work on myself and why I was a class A Chump.

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