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!!
[This message edited by IndigoSkye at 10:56 PM, Saturday, October 8th]