Advice Please!? Should WH Listen to 12 Step Sponsor or Wife & Therapist?
My WH has a sponsor for SA and he has been working with him for ~7 months now. The sponsor has him moving painfully slowly. He is only on step 2 after all this time!
WH attends meetings every day sometimes 2-3 times a day. We were/are both concerned about the snail's pace his sponsor is moving at. He tried out another sponsor and after maybe 4 weeks, he was already on step 4 with him. However, that sponsor seems to have overcommitted because he can't find time for WH anymore.
I am needing amends/atonement NOW, as I have been in false R for 16 years unbeknownst to me. (He was still in the A for 3.5 years after he was caught and insisted that there was NC then lied to me for 16 years, while masturbating to porn that looked like the OW ). Our IC agrees - we both see the same therapist but individually.
The sponsor is discouraging WH from moving any faster and is accusing him of only wanting to move forward to make me happy and save his marriage, saying that is not the right focus. Husband says yes! He wants to begin working on a new marriage and make amends to me and our family but that is not the only reason he is doing it. He wants to do it for himself. WH plans to be a sponsor himself and agrees that the way he is going through the steps with his sponsor is definitely preparing him well for sponsoring others, but he is trying to find a balance or some way to honor his sponsor, as well as me.
WH says he is fine with going back over the 12 steps again slower and doing it as many times as he can but he wants to make these amends sooner rather than later...and boy does he have a LOT of amends to make.
I am the one saying I need it now, the therapist sees it, my WH wants to do it but the sponsor is saying no.
By no means am I saying he should race through without truly absorbing it all, but only 2 steps, the easiest steps of all, after close to 7 months? And his sponsor accusing him of having bad motives when he is finally trying to respect and provide for his wife's needs and wants?
Following Gottman, after an A nothing can happen before atonement/amends and I definitely feel that too. I am not able to attune or allow WH to attune at all because I still feel there has been no reparation or "justice" so emotionally, I am having a terrible time letting him near. Remember, I thought he atoned in 1/2007, that was why I let him come back home and went on to marry him. So this is what I NEED. NOW, because I will not make the same mistake twice.
What would you suggest? Should WH go ahead and do what he feels is best to start the process of making amends and atoning, or wait another year to get to the steps where amends are made? Am I looking at this the wrong way?
Thank you all so much for your time and help. You all are an amazing group of people making the best lemonade out of the most sour and bitter lemons.
16 comments posted: Friday, November 4th, 2022
What the f*&$? Exercise, meditation and writing to "heal" WH?!?
So my WH, long, long story but the gist is in my signature, after a forced disclosure told me he has been lying to me about an A from 16 years ago that he got caught in, assured me was over and unbeknownst to me, tricked me and carried it on AT work for 4.5 years during our engagement, and the first 3 years of our marriage. During our first pregnancy, our wedding everything. He says he never felt any real remorse or guilt because his justifications covered any negative feelings.
He would look into my eyes and see me crying and telling him how scared I was that he might be back with her and rubbing my pregnant belly assuring me he wasn't even *thinking* about her, but he was at work hugging, kissing, fondling and writing love letters on a weekly basis. He has also spent the last 16 years masturbating to porn that he chose to look just like her..and she looks the exact opposite of me. We are of opposite skin colors even.
Anyway, I asked hundreds of times over 16 years and each time I was met with "nothing happened" and the same story he told in 2006, it was an unsuccessful ONS. We now have found out he is high on the spectrum for Covert Narcissism, and a sex/love, and porn addict.
His therapist today "prescribed" him meditation, exercise 3 days a week and daily CBT writing consisting of what amounts to me as brainwashing: "I will not be hurt by telling the truth" "No look, fantasy or other woman is worth losing my wife" that type of thing. Imagine a school child writing lines as punishment....like that.
Please give me your insight on this. I think he needs a new therapist for his NPD because this sounds like crap. He's been seeing him since March 2022 and there has been very slow and very little progress.
21 comments posted: Friday, November 4th, 2022
The OW was his addiction and is his arousal template. I dont think I can do this..
In March, I found out after ~16 years, that my UH had a very obsessive, addictive 4.5-year affair and then when it ended, he used porn to get the "feelings" of the affair, in which case he has been masturbating to porn that he picked out to look just like the OW.
16 years! He did it so much that it became a compulsion and finally, an addiction and now his arousal template is HER. She is the exact opposite of me. One of us is black, the other is white. We look completely different and I now know that my husband will forever be addicted porn, specifically to "her" and interracial sex, as he created that arousal template.
At best, he will be in recovery from "her" but never will she be gone. Addictions never die.
So now I have the "wonderful" task of deciding if I can continue to live with a man who could be this cruel and wicked to me, who will forever be most aroused by women who are the opposite of me, and that in order for him to be fully attracted to me again, he has to *intentionally* stay away from even thinking about, or seeing women who look like her and be hyper-focus on me to give me a place on the template.
Could you do this? Could you live with knowing that the other woman, who is opposite you, and interracial sex/relationships would forever be your WH's weakness?
7 comments posted: Thursday, November 3rd, 2022
What kind of cheater do I have and is this enough and appropriate work?
I posted this in response to a post I made on JFO, but I'm wondering specifically for reconciliation. My WH's cNPD therapist "prescribed" him meditation, exercise 3x a week and CBT writing ("No look of lust or other woman is worth losing my wife", "I will not be hurt by telling the truth" "Lies hurt my wife more than truth" etc.) He says this will retrain his brain and him to follow through and create a new "operating system"
I started going down the rabbit hole of thoughts and wondered, is this going to be effective? Then I started thinking, I don't even know what kind of cheater I have, and is he even capable of being monogamous? Here's a "quick" backstory for reference.
I was the only person he had been with prior to engagement, I was concerned that he would want to be with someone else and asked him about that the moment of proposal. He insisted no, he didn't want do need that. Truth is, he did, but didn't want to tell me. He ended up cheating with her to have another experience before marriage and it uncovered a shitstorm of issues that no one knew he had.
Fantasy/Delusion - "A real man has more than just one woman. So I should too and I'm going to just grab any girl off the street and be in control of her, she'll do whatever I want, when I say. And the sex will be amazing! I'm gonna blow her mind and she'll be begging for me!"
The reality - he had no confidence or self-esteem so he never could muster up the courage to just ask someone. He instead chose to manipulate the AP by love-bombing to get her to like him before he was even comfortable trying for sex, plus he had insecurities about his size and believed that getting her to like him first, would soften the blow of potential disappointment in his size and performance. Only thing is, he ended up "falling in love" when she began to reject him.
So when they did finally have sex - after 2 failed attempts because he was so anxious he couldn't get it up - she ridiculed him because he had trouble maintaining the erection, he's not as large as she was used to and it was quick. She lost interest and didn't want to have sex with him anymore after day one but gave in 2 more times until she finally decided it wasn't worth it to her. He says he kept trying even after the first 2 times when it didn't work right because he was trying to prove to himself, that nothing was wrong with him. His fear of inadequacy/inferiority kicked in and he felt he had to redeem himself.
Obsessive traits - called her 92 times in a few weeks, and was constantly trying to get her attention which she rarely gave, because remember, she was no longer interested and it was never truly about him anyway. Her boyfriend kept cheating on her with girls from my race and she wanted to get validation that nothing was wrong with her...she actually made comments about girls from my race that indicated her mindset and intentions but WH says he never picked up on the meaning behind any of it and he feels SUPER stupid and embarrassed for that now.
Desperate need for attention and validation - "I mentioned before that I like hair up, so if she wears her hair up, she likes me". "That woman commented on my eyes... That woman looked at me twice yeah, they want me."
Impulsive behavior - "This girl just flirted, maybe I can have sex with her!" This was a different girl from the OW. He did make an effort to reach out to her to see if he could in 2008 right before our baby was born and even though she was enjoying flirting with him, she turned him down because he was married.
"Oh my goodness, it's an overnight shift, I'm at work and I was never expecting you to be at work, but we're here, so you wanna have sex in this bathroom!?" She said no though and that was what made him realize sex wasn't going to happen anymore because he wasn't willing to have sex outside of work because his paranoia kicked in full speed that anything outside of work, he was destined to be caught and he didn't want to risk that, so they had sex 3 times within 2 months in the beginning from 12/06 - 2/07, but for the other 3 years on and off, it turned into little quick pecks, hugs and quick feels, fantasy notes at work full of easily verifiable lies, to which she rarely responded. It was all in his mind that she liked him.
Compulsive behavior - "Okay I'm not in control of her because she doesn't want to have sex with me anymore, so what do I have control of? And where won't I be rejected? PORN! So I can create my fantasy affair with her in porn and I'm winning. Only now, I can't stop winning and this thing is actually winning over me..and it has been 16 years! Damn it's been 16 years?!?!"
Mommy Issues - The OW looks just like his mom did when he was a child and mom was neglectful, hot/cold, and rejecting towards him, just like the OW. He clung onto her tighter, desperate for her love and attention when he felt she was moving away from him. His feelings of fear, anxiety, desperation and excitement when she would drop a breadcrumb (which he identified as "love") intensified. He then began to manipulate the OW for survival because he believed that if he loved her more she wouldn't reject him. Only she still did, just like mom did.
He says after the A with her ended, he looked back and realized how stupid and pointless it was and never wanted to do it again and never wanted any other woman. He felt he had experienced someone else, and none of it was worth it so he didn't want to have any OW. He said he got the appropriate "high" feelings from being known as a devoted husband and father. But porn had always been a part of his life since he was 9/10 years old and he didn't realize it was a problem, he told himself all men do it and hide it.
So never mind the fact that he had been watching people that looked like her to "get the anxiety, arousal, sneaking feelings of the A" he just kept porn because it had always been there. And he didn't realize that he may have replaced an actual A, with a "porn A" since he was still chasing and getting similar feelings and it looked like her.
He truly believed he was faithful and committed after the A ended in 2010 because to him, porn wasn't cheating, even though I told him it hurt me aNd I didn't want him doing it. He agreed he also didnt want to be doing it, yet didn't see or admit it was an addiction so he never did stop. He couldn't stop on his own unless it blew up and the addiction was uncovered. He now sees that he had been "white-knuckling" it for a decade and what was once a daily or weekly pleasurable "habit" for a decade or so, turned into an addiction, (to her?) in porn, that he didn't necessarily want but couldn't stop. He wanted and tried to stop viewing her and real people, but couldn't stop porn in general, so he moved into watching cartoon porn with the justification that it wasn't real people, so it wasn't as bad.
So LONG story short. Now that all this has been uncovered, here is the work he has been doing:
1. Realized, admitted, and understand all his thoughts, behaviors etc are serious problems and that he is a very broken person - MAJOR since nothing has ever been his fault, he was perfect.
2. Been doing introspection which breaks him down to see all the disgusting parts of himself that he tried to hide from himself and others and used porn to numb out from.
3. Confessed to everyone what he did - HUGE since his squeaky clean image and nice guy persona were his lifeblood. Actually being a committed husband, father, and honest man with integrity, etc are now more important than just being known for those things.
4. SA/LA calls every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and has a sponsor. He is on step 4.
5. Gotten into and stayed in therapy - HUGE again because remember, he was perfect so whenever I asked for therapy throughout the marriage, the first time he went twice and then stopped, and then eventually he would just tell me "no."
6. Has 2 therapists and sees one of them twice a week and the other for covert narcissism once a week so 2-3 times a week he's in therapy.
7. Completed two Affair Recovery programs, read and listened to several books, podcasts etc.
8. Ended defensiveness and working on identifying DENIAL (Don't, Even No, I, Am, Lying)
9. Taken on the burden of vigilance (proactivity, planning for triggers, etc) so I don't have to.
10. Made a list of all the people who knew of, or suspected his infidelity to contact them and confess his wrongs and try to restore my and our marriage's honor. - BIG because he is willing to make himself vulnerable, humble himself and go back and own his wrongs to old coworkers and admit that he wasn't the morally good and loyal, faithful husband and father he pretended to be. He is willing to crush his false reputation, which he says was where he found his worth and identity.
11. Been sober from porn and masturbation for almost one year, the longest he's ever gone without it since he was 9/10 years old.
12. Complete transparency including the ending of all social media except for our business page, filters installed on his phone, etc.
Please tell me, do you think this is a sincere effort? Is he doing enough? Would this work satisfy you? I wonder if progress was slow because he still TT'd for 4 months, then was in deep DENIAL for another 4 months. Since August is when I've started to actually see progress. I think maybe it's been slow because there were still barriers to progress.
Also, what kind of cheater does this sound like? He had one LTA 2006-2010, that began with the intention of sex to have another experience before marriage and it quickly got out of control. He also tried to have sex with someone else in 2008, then stopped in 2010 and never desired to be with another OW, but continued in porn that looked like the OW.
The lies make me want to run because how can I ever trust again? But I also see he's been terribly broken since I met him and he is doing some work, which he was NEVER willing to do before. Any insight?
3 comments posted: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022
Mind Movies / Intrusive Thoughts
Hello. I am 10.5 months out from DDay 2, the "real" one. I don't think much about the 4 sexual encounters he had with her except for when we have sex.
We are both doing a ton of work, IC 2-3x a week for him and twice a week for me. Lots of podcasts, books, SA calls for him etc.
When did your intrusive thoughts/mind movies during sex slow and eventually cease? When we are physically intimate I can't enjoy a single minute where I'm not seeing him and her in my mind. It's so bad now, it's disturbingly noticeable if I'm NOT thinking about them. Like "Oh wow! Great! I'm not thinking about them!" and then that brings me right back around to seeing them again.
I need some timelines to look forward to please!
3 comments posted: Sunday, October 30th, 2022
Hello All. I had a major shift in my heart 2 days ago where I am completely indifferent now towards my WH affair, him, and the marriage that is now dead. For 10+ months I've been stuck in a place where I was desperately trying to somehow "save" the marriage and felt like I could also somehow, "fix" the A and undo any bit of it. Impossible considering it happened 15 years ago and I found out less than a year ago.
In my mind and heart, I gave the burden of the A and all its details and destruction back to him and her. I was never part of it, never wanted to be and it is not mine to hold. I've completely released it all and given that dirty diaper back to its rightful owners.
However now, I'm in a place where I fully comprehend with my mind and heart that that marriage is dead and gone, never to be "saved" or any of the A details to be undone. I understand that if there is to be anything else, it has to be M2.0, building anew from the ground up.
I am no longer depressed, angry, or having trauma-induced responses when I think of the details (HUGE for me because I've been raging at him and massively violent since March, in which case WH has had several black eyes and now has permanent bite marks and scratch/nail gouge scars. ) and it's like in my mind, I have put the A in a place behind me and when I try to see any of it in my mind, I can't fully. I can see the outline of a big pile of mess, but the details are blocked by a translucent "film" of sorts. I suppose this is acceptance? Or perhaps my own version of compartmentalization?
Yet even with that, I still don't feel comfortable or compelled to do nice things for my WH. He never considered me, when he was cheating, watching porn, and lying for 16 years. He got everything he wanted at my expense, while I was doting on him, considering him first in everything, and caring for him to the max. He had a win/lose mentality in which case he was always the winner.
So now, I feel as though he doesn't deserve to "win" anymore. I'm not going out of my way to hurt him or be nice to him, I simply don't care. I am reluctant to give him my attention, love, cherishing, etc because he got away with me scratching his back, while he was scratching his back too for so long. All the things I used to do kinda repulse me a bit now and I don't feel that heart of service towards him that I used to.
When did that ability to perform loving, heartfelt gestures come back for those of you who are further along the R road? The "I genuinely, love you and "want" to make you feel special and take the load off you" without immediately remembering what he/she did kind of feelings?
He is in IC 2-3x a week, does SA calls every day, has a sponsor and he's on step 4. I'm in IC 2x a week.
6 comments posted: Thursday, October 27th, 2022
coping with/accepting that WH didn't love me like I thought
I'm almost 16 years from DDay #1, 12/06, and 10 months from the *real* DDay #2, 12/21. I am mortified with understanding what the truth has been and that my WH lied to me about the entire thing for 16 years. DDay 1 was during our engagement and I was told it was an unsuccessful ONS.
DDay 2 (and about 10 more TT days) brought the truth that it was actually 4.5 years (from 2006-2010) and he continued the A after I forgave him in 2007 and we "reconciled", got married, and started our family.
Then he continued into a porn addiction in which case his porn actress of choice was a person he chose because she looked almost exactly like the OW...15 years of that.
All of that to say, I am struggling horribly with grasping and comprehending, let alone *accepting* that my husband never loved me:
1) like I truly believed he did.
2) like I loved him.
We are working towards R, but I'm simply stuck here and it's threatening to press me to death.
Practically speaking, how have you all managed to work through this facet and get to a place where it doesn't haunt you?
6 comments posted: Thursday, October 13th, 2022
what exactly *is* reconciliation?
There are several definitions I see used on what constitutes reconciliation. Is it the decision to work on it? Is it putting in the work to stay? it is the recommitment? Is it years out when you've healed? What is it?
2 comments posted: Sunday, October 9th, 2022
when will I stop seeing him as a lying, selfish, cowardly cheater?
My story is 16 years long over the same A from 2006, which I now know spanned from 2006-2010. He lied to me for all that time while he continued the A and then once we moved in 2010 and it ended, he became addicted to porn that he choose to look just like the OW.
So anyway, I just found all this out 12/2021. It's been almost a year and I can't get over the hump. Most of the nightly nightmares have subsided, the crying all day, unable to get out of bed is over. I can homeschool my children again, though I don't have the joy in it that I used to. I am able to eat now, after having lost 35 pounds in 4 months while I was pregnant with our 9th baby.
But each morning I wake up, it's still the first thing on my mind. When I go to bed, it's still the last thing on my mind. I have tried keeping a timer for each time I think about it and it's about every 3-5 minutes. I see my husband and it breaks my heart. I realized a few weeks ago that when he touches me, I instinctively close my eyes and a shield comes down over me. It's like I float away. I can feel the pressure of his hands on me, but the loving, melting, emotion is gone, replaced with numbness. I'm not angry and raging with him anymore (that was BAD!!), I'm now completely destroyed by it. I love him so and I miss my best friend, I need some real human connection and yet there is this gulf between us.
I already went through this when I was 21, during our engagement in 2006, for the first dday. I cant believe he has put me through it again, all because he chose to lie about everything, so as to continue the A initially, and then avoid facing the mess he made.
I'm now 37 with 9 children and it is SO much worse this time around. He has been diagnosed cNPD, sex (porn) and love addict..the love addiction part is deep and obsessive.
Each day I'm stuck between staying or leaving, so I can't even get to a point of making a firm decision to reconcile, though I want to. Every time I have decided to try, within a few hours I'm loaded with fear and anxiety and back the other way. I am constantly on a pendulum and it is exhausting.
He is doing SO much work, more than I've ever seen him do since I met him. He has 2 sponsors one for SA and one for LA and he is working the steps. He attends SLAA meetings daily and sometimes twice. He is seeing 2 ICs. He has read many books and I do see many changes in him. He is owning it ALL. For the first time ever, he sees everything including how trash his FOO is and how his justifications were delusional. He's now who I always thought he was and who I wanted him to be, but I am still stuck!!
I can't fathom ever feeling comfortable, safe, loved, and secure with him. I can't imagine ever respecting him, being attracted to him, or seeing him as my husband again instead of a fake, cowardly, lying cheater and a broken little boy.
When did some upward momentum start to take root for you all? What precipitated it?
0 comment posted: Sunday, October 9th, 2022
How Do you Know When It's Done?
I see so many stories on here of R and I'm wondering, how did you know when you were fully R'd? Did you have goals that were met? Just a feeling? Did a therapist tell you when?
And how long until you felt that you had R'd?
I'm almost 16 years from DDay 1, but that was only 1% truth. I'm almost 10 months from the *real* dday. DDay 2, 12/21, and then 6 more months of TT. The whole sordid tale including 16 years of lies, deceit, addiction to the OW in porn and etc. is out and I'm broken and looking for hope. Thank you.
9 comments posted: Sunday, October 9th, 2022
How Do I Begin? My Story...Long and Wild
Hello, this is my first post here on a site that I'm certain no one wants to be on.
My husband and I have known each other since I was 10. We began dating when I was 15 and he was 16. I was his first. He proposed to me when I had just turned 20, in December 2005. I asked him right then if he felt like he needed to experience being with someone else before we got married.
He assured me, no, he was more than happy with me being his only. I told him "okay, but if you change your mind please come and talk to me so we can set it up and be safe. Whatever you do, don't cheat on me."
Within 3 months (February 2006) he was already cheating, unbeknownst to me.
By August 2006, things with him got really strange. He became distant, irritable, mean, and uncaring. I had never seen that side of him in the 10 years I had known him by that time. He always treated me like the most precious person in the world to him.
He began hanging out with co-workers a lot after work. Initially, he was very considerate and would ask me if he could go, but then it turned to him being entitled to go. One night in December 2006, he came home from work, got straight in the shower, got dressed, grabbed his coat, and headed for the door without saying anything to me.
I asked him where he was going, he said, "out." I asked him to please stay home with me, as he had already gone out several nights that week. It was also the one-year anniversary of our engagement.
He said no, and I began pulling on his coat, begging him to stay, he pushed me down, hit and choked me while looking into my eyes with a smirk on his face. I'll never forget the look. He turned and left me crying in a ball. I was shocked, debilitated, confused, angry, and felt like trash. I had NO idea why he responded in that way. He had always been so loving and gentle with me.
I didn't know what to do or who to tell or if I even should, I didn't want him to get in trouble, I just wanted him to come back home. I stayed up that night crying, holding his shirt.
The next day, I planned to not confront him when he came back home, but I was also wondering why he never came back, it wasn't like him to spend the night out. I figured he needed space. I planned to do the laundry and make a nice meal for us to celebrate our anniversary.
But he didn't come back home by the afternoon either. So around 4p, I got nervous and thought to check the cell phone log to see who was the last number he had called. I saw a number had been called a LOT!
I called the number, and it went to voicemail, but on the voicemail, it was her. His coworker. My heart fell into the deepest recesses of my stomach. I fell to the floor. I couldn't believe he was cheating on me. Why would he be doing that?! It felt as though someone had scooped out my guts and I was a pile of weak, leftover flesh, in a mess on our dining room floor. I couldn't make sense of anything, I was confused, in shock, wailing. I couldn't think straight. I called him. He didnt answer.
I called again and made up a story about an emergency with our 4-year-old twins at home. He said he was on the way.
I called his mother, she told me to calm down and don't "blow it" with him. I hate her.
I called my mother, she sped over to support me.
He got home and was like a deer in headlights. We spent hours talking, arguing, crying, fighting etc.
He told me he tried to have sex with her but couldn't get erect. He said he cheated because he wanted to experience someone else. I reminded him that I had given him a free pass and all he had to do was talk to me about it! He had no response to that. And couldn't get erect? That had never been an issue with us and he was only 22 How could that be?
I asked if we were done. He said yes. I asked what it was about her, he said something to the effect of she had a flat stomach.
I was 21 with 4-year-old twins at the time, she was 21 with no children. I carried the weight of that comparison with me for the last 15 years. I was once a confident girl with high self-esteem and self-worth. That night in those few words along with the perceived rejection of his cheating and leaving, my self-worth plummeted.
He moved out the next day after coming home and pretending everything was fine and was shocked I had packed his things up.. when he was the one who said we were "done"
He moved out for a month and began begging to come back home.
January 2007, he moved back in. We discussed that if he ever cheated again, I would leave him, no questions asked. 2-3 days later, I saw a text message between them. I kicked him out instantly.
That night, he called crying, begging, and apologizing. Said he was sitting in his car and about to commit suicide. That cut to my core. If he did end up doing that, I wouldn't have been able to live with knowing it was because I wouldn't take him back. I didn't realize it was manipulation. He says it truly wasn't, he did buy the medicine and plant to take it all.
I let him come back that night, but my heart was calloused toward him. He promised me he was ending everything with her, and it was nothing anyway because they never even had sex, it was an unsuccessful one-night stand.
I gave him one last chance. I begged him to please never put me through that again. I told him, if he wasnt finished with whatever he has started with her, to go and finish and come back when he was ready to settle down and be a man. I begged him and assured him, I would not be able to handle it if he cheated again. He cried, told me he loved me, he would never hurt me like that again, he was so sorry, he was not going to parties anymore, no more communication with her ever, outside of work-related contact etc. etc. etc.
At the time, I didn't understand what rug-sweeping was, I knew though, that he didn't want to talk about it, didn't want to go to therapy, and wanted me to "let time heal it". I had no clue that those were all red flags.
I wish I could give my just turned 21-year self a hug, she loved, trusted, and wanted him so bad. I moved forward under the sole premise that he was choosing me. He restored me by ending it with her and choosing me. I was still so hurt, but that effort on his part was able to provide enough balm for my heart for me to still want to spend my life with him.
I truly believed that he made a "mistake". He wanted to experience someone else and was too scared to tell me that so he cheated, but it didn't work and he learned his lesson and didn't want to lose me.
We got married in May 2007. Everything looked and felt great. We were doing well. I graduated that summer but he told me he wanted me to be a SAHM. I did what he wanted. We conceived our first baby together in November 2007. She was born July 2008. I had nagging feelings throughout though because he still worked with the OW. I would cry to him while pregnant and tell him I was scared he was still talking to her.
He looked into my eyes several times while rubbing my pregnant belly and assured me that he was not thinking about her at all and that it was nothing before then or at that present time.
We moved to another state in June 2010. But still, each year, probably 1-3 times a year, I would ask him to please tell me the truth about the night he spent with her when I caught him. His story never sat well with me about why he would beat me, cheat on me, and do all that, only to be defeated by a flaccid penis. It didn't add up.
But by all accounts, he was committed, loyal, and loving. He was the amazing, wonderful, trustworthy, honest man I knew from when we were teens. EVERYONE admired and adored him, he was the hope of everyone we knew, that there are still good, faithful men in the world.
I caught him with porn once in 2014 and it hurt me a lot. I told him how it made me feel and he cried too. He promised me that if the desire to watch it ever came up again, he would come and talk to me. He made it out to be a one-off event. No big.
Fast forward to April 2021, my little brother was murdered for protecting his girlfriend and her children. Sheer devastation. I ended up attending a trauma conference in December 2021.
I fully believed that it was going to help with the trauma of losing my brother to murder, but what it actually did was help me identify that the majority of my trauma was stemming from the betrayal of my husband, then fiance, from 2006/2007.
I told my husband that clearly, I hadn't healed from his affair and we needed to actually do the work to truly heal me. He was mortified, but cooperative.
He replayed the story of that night and ONE single detail was different than what he had told me for 15 years. That was when the entire saga unfolded. I told him I now KNEW he was lying and need to tell me the truth or I was going to contact the OW.
The next morning, he came to me with his forced disclosure that he had done everything! Oral both ways, sex 3 times, and then hugs, kisses, groping, and love letters for the remaining 3 years until we moved.
I was horrified, broken, empty, and shocked. I asked him why he did all that. He told me he thought he loved her! My heart and soul shattered!
How could he think he loved her when I was his fiance and then wife? How could he think he loved her when we made our baby and I gave birth to her? He was cheating on me the ENTIRE time? Our engagement, our wedding, our pregnancy, her birth, everything?! I married him because he restored me, US. He ended it with her and chose me. Then I found out, 15 years later, at 36 years old and with 9 children, that he never did choose me, he TRICKED me!
I was 5 months pregnant with our 9th baby and collapsed under the weight of the details and heartache. 15 years of lies.
He never ended it, he lied and tricked me so he could continue cheating, but also still get to marry me. He said he didn't see cheating as the problem, to him, the problem was that he kept getting caught. He also insisted that he truly believed that what I didn't know couldn't hurt me and he didnt want to hurt me, but he didn't want to stop cheating either, so keep it all a secret, and all the problems are solved!
So he moved the entire affair to work so he wouldn't get caught again. That is why he never had sex with her again because he was too paranoid to be outside of work with her. He did try to have sex with her at work, but she didn't want to get caught, so they settled on sneaking around the store for random hugs, kisses, and love letters. He said he preferred it that way anyway because he actually did try to have sex with her several times and couldn't get erect and she ridiculed him on that and his performance.
He had bad anxiety and performance issues with her and it frustrated him, that is why he kept trying as if he was trying to prove to himself and her, that one of the times it would work right. According to him, it never did. So hugs, kisses, etc felt safer for his ego and for not getting caught and it still gave him the thrill/dopamine hits.
Several people in the store knew he was cheating and they all looked into my eyes and complimented me, talked to me, and adored me and my children. How HUMILIATING!
Her story was that she was jealous of me and the very first day my husband started working there, she had her sights set on him. Her boyfriend kept cheating on her and so she needed validation for herself that she was wanted. So she chose to go for an unavailable man, to really boost her ego.
She would flirt with any new hires and eventually had sex with most of them. They joked about passing her around. She was the "store whore" who my husband "fell in love" with and wanted so badly while we were married and I was pregnant.
She also made comments about women from my ethnicity because her boyfriend kept cheating with women in my "group". It seems she wanted me to hurt like she was hurting and also had it out for women of my ethnicity.
I also got to find out that my MIL is the gem who encouraged my husband to cheat so he could make sure he really wanted to be with me and he listened. I hate her.
He admitted that when he compared our bodies, he was trying to hurt me, although he doesn't know why he wanted to hurt me. He can barely remember the night he beat me and believes it was traumatizing for him as well, so he tried to block it out. He said he didnt want to be
'done" but he also didn't want to face the mess he had made. He was a coward and preferred to run from his problems than face them head-on. He has been a conflict-avoider (aka coward) since I've known him.
After 6 more months of trickle truth. I got to find out that he never did stop watching porn! 7 more years of porn viewing and the death blow was that the porn actress he became addicted to, was one he choose to look just like the OW. I am beyond shattered. He says that viewing the person links him back to the addictive, "high" feelings of the affair, but that he doesn't actually want or desire her of her "type".
My husband has enjoyed and continued to rehash and tap into the feelings of an affair he had, 15 years ago. Insult to injury. He said he wanted the OW to love and want him. How heartbreaking! *I* loved and wanted him! That's why I married him!
For 15 years he lied right into my eyes. What I thought was an "unsuccessful one-night stand", turned out to be a full-blown sex and love addiction, lies, deceit, manipulation gaslighting, etc.
I always told myself that if he ever did this to me again, I would leave. I never thought he would, now I have to do what I said I was going to do, or betray myself again and stay.
But the problems are, this happened 12-15 years ago. There is no recourse now. He hasnt had another affair (outside of porn) in almost 13 years. We have 9 children now and 2 businesses. Life is so entangled. I have also fallen deeper and deeper in love with who I thought he was over the past 15 years. I want to keep my family together, but I'm afraid of being a doormat. I don't know how to move forward.
I'm so stuck. They both got away with it! I received no justice. He intentionally manipulated me and made it look lie everything was well when it wasn't. He has been diagnosed covert narcissist and sex/love addict. There is also some molestation that happened to him but he can't remember it, only hints of clouded memories surrounding it.
His affair and behaviors are said to be trauma reenactment style. The OW was disrespectful to him, hot/cold, and used him whenever she wanted him. The exact same behavior that his mom gave him.
And the really scary thing is that the OW looks almost exactly like his mom did when he was under 10 and heavily influenced by her. It's a shitshow!
He is in loads of therapy and attends SLAA meetings daily, sometimes twice a day. He has 2 sponsors and is doing all the 12-step work. He is desperate to change for himself and for me to stay (that is why he lied about it for so long) and is committed to proving to me that he wants me forever and sincerely hates the person he was and wants to be different.
He insists that he didn't think of porn as cheating and has not wanted anything to do with any other women since 2010. He says he got the "experience" and it was bad and not worth it. So he did his best to lie and cover it over so he wouldn't blow up our lives over "something that was nothing". Yet here we are with several traumatzed children.
He works at home and for the last 10 years, we have literally spent about 24 hours a day together. We have truly been best friends...except that he had a massive secret and has been indulging in porn that was the OW.
He insists he truly loved me and thought he was good for me. He understands now that most of his life has been lived in a delusion. He contends that he never wanted her outside of his "work world" and that "fantasy" and that he didn't really love her, but rather the feelings he got. To me though, at that time, he wasn't self-aware enough to separate the feelings from her. So he truly would have thought he loved HER. How can I live knowing that!? We understand now that he has had the emotional maturity of about a 9-12 year old. His FOO is TRASH!!
His father is a serial cheater, his mother is narcissistic and they were APs who both left their marriage for each other. My husband was born from their affair.
He is an only child from them and grew up hearing constant fights about his dad cheating. All of this, I never knew. He has avoided real intimacy our entire relationship. I KNEW things were off and that I couldn't get through to him but I could never understand why or what it was.
Now that he sees all of his issues, he is mortified and desperate to not allow the same patterns to continue with our children.
My problem is, there is so much hurt, disrespect, betrayal, lies etc. I am completely broken and traumatized. I don't see him, or myself the same. Everything feels like a lie. I am resenting all the children I've had with him. My mothering has taken a major hit and I can't find any joy anywhere.
All I see is that my husband has needed a supplement for me our entire marriage. He has secretly held space for his AP for almost 16 years. How have I ever been enough?
I look back and see that everything he has told me he would do, he didn't. And everything he told me he wouldn't do, he did. I can't make sense of my life.
So all that to ask, how? Can any of you offer me any insight? I am doing EMDR and brainspotting on myself. We are both in IC before we can even begin MC. The therapists have said I have a LOT of trauma.
I look at him and it hurts my heart. He was my best friend. I genuinely liked him, not just love. 24 hours a day with him, never felt like enough. I look at him now and all I see is a broken little boy, liar, cheater, and deceiver. He touches me and I clam up. I hate this. He put us through this again after FIFTEEN YEARS! We didn't even get to celebrate our 15th in May because I was so crushed. We aren't supposed to be here, over the same A from almost 16 years ago!!
4 comments posted: Sunday, October 9th, 2022