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Don't recognize myself

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linds9 posted 2/27/2019 10:23 AM

When I was pregnant with our 3rd child, I received an anonymous text that I was being cheated on so I checked my husband's phone and there it was - a fake email with lots of sexual messages to lots of people and a POF account. I was devastated. He would admit to one or two small things, but then more and more would come out as I pressed him and the details would change and everything got worse. He said he was addicted to porn and sex chats and had sex with 2 people. That was May 2016. He moved out but continually contacted me and came over apologizing and telling me that he loved me. He went to see a psychologist and we went to couples counselling together. He was saying all the right things. He said staying together was the best thing for us and our family and I really wanted to keep our family together, as well. Then, on January 1st this year I received an email from a woman saying she'd been talking to him through emails for 2 years, they had met on POF. And that they'd been having sex regularly for the past 6 months. Devastated again, even worse than last time. During those past 2 years he'd been telling me he loved me, doing nice things, even the psychologist at couples counselling was praising him. But it was all lies because really he was going to work and chatting and cheating on me. We have 3 children together.
I don't recognize myself because I feel like my emotions are overtaking me. I know that I should forget him and focus on the kids. But he texts or emails me and I text back back, usually unleashing my pain or anger at him. He has come over to the house to spend time with our family and a couple of times, after the kids have gone to bed, I've even lashed out at him physically - pushing him or throwing a plate at him. I've never done anything like that in my life to anyone. I cry so hard, just balling and blubbering about how he's hurt me. I'm useless at work. This has taken so much from me. And it was done by the person who was supposed to love me and take care of me for life. I feel so deserted, used, and scared. And I can't believe that he would actually do this. It doesn't even seem real at times.

Cooley2here posted 2/27/2019 10:31 AM

It sounds like he has a sex addiction. Regardless of what he does you need to find a group of spouses of sex addicts. This is a hard addiction to overcome. He needs a complete psych evaluation.

The1stWife posted 2/27/2019 10:40 AM

Please donít take his cheating personally because it is his own poor choices and/or addictions that are causing him to cheat.

He does not appear to be able to be monogamous or faithful.

I hope you have a good counselor to support you through this.

I understand your rage and anger at him.

But now you need to develop a plan to heal, move forward and be the best parent you can.

Iím sorry you are facing this situation and have been betrayed twice by him. At least now you know you cannot trust him despite what he says.

So sorry - he has issues far beyond what you should have to deal with.

STLLOST posted 2/27/2019 10:57 AM

linds9 I feel the pain in your post and I'm so sorry that you're going through this. We all have felt those devastating feelings of hurt/betrayal/rage/sadness. It can turn you in to someone you don't recognize for sure. I would say exercise because that will release some of the anger but with 3 kids that's a little hard to accomplish.

I wish I had some magic words to help. If I did I'd be the most popular person on this site. Here's a hug though ((((((LINDS9)))))))

1Faith posted 2/27/2019 14:20 PM

Please know that this is all about him. HIM not you. As hard as that is to wrap your head around that is truly that basic truth.

He is broken and sick. He chose to cheat on you. His deliberate choices.

(((respectfully as I can)))

He is a coward and a weak man. He purposely chose the escape vs. facing his reality (marriage and 3 beautiful children). Coward and spineless. You owe him NOTHING at this point. He is playing you.

Please go to the Healing Library in the upper left hand corner and look up the 180*.

It is hard, it is scary but you can and WILL make it through to the other side of infidelity.

((BIG hugs and major prayers))

PieceByPeace posted 3/1/2019 05:57 AM

This makes my heart hurt. I find myself in your words. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I know it hurts more than anything right now (and will for a while). I know it's confusing and infuriating...pretty much every emotion under the sun. I have been in your shoes.

Because emotions are running so high right now, and you are unable to control yourself around him (understandably...I was the same), I would suggest limited contact with him. And you will have to set those boundaries and enforce them because he will not respect them at first. But if his contact with you continues turning into volatile situations then you have to draw a line in the sand before something really bad happens. His time with the kids doesn't need to involve you. Go and get your nails done, get a massage, hang out at your favorite coffee house...nourish yourself while he's with the kids. Keep conversations limited to business only right now, and do not have these conversations in person because they can easily escalate quickly. Be honest with him about why you are drawing a line in the sand...this isn't so much about him as it is you.

If he's committing to get the help he clearly needs for a sex addiction then that's great...I truly hope and pray he will take it seriously this time deal honestly with whatever is going on with him that is driving him to make these devastating choices. In the meantime, talk to a counselor for yourself...this is heavy, traumatic stuff...you need to process it in a productive and healthy way.

You don't have to make any decisions about the future of your marriage right now. Just take one day/step at a time and at some point you will know whether your marriage will survive or not...but you don't have to decide that today.

No matter what happens, there is hope in the healing process. You will learn much about yourself through this and you will grow from it. Trust me...I know. Love and hugs to you.

psychmom posted 3/1/2019 08:21 AM

Hi, Linds. Betrayal is a primal wound, and all the emotions and thoughts you are having are normal for this degree of trauma. Some liken what your H has done to emotional abuse. He has lied, cheated, gaslighted you into believing he is one thing, when in reality he is something different. Your emotions are normal, you are normal.

You now need to work toward getting yourself out of infidelity. That means different things to different people and situations. What does that look like for you? As others have noted, your H appears to be obsessed with the chase of sex with women outside his marriage. That is a very sick and twisted thing, and as you know in your heart, he is not a well man. His sickness has nothing to do with you. This is his burden, and unfortunately you and your children are victims of his weakness and selfishness.

If you believe at your core that he cannot be "rehabilitated" (which will require first that he admit he's got HUGE issues that need years of therapy and work on his part to uncover and work to fix) you need to work on yourself and finding the strength to leave him and get on with your life free of living with this holding you down. Living with someone like your H slowly kills us. You know you deserve more than that, and so do your children.

But since this is so new, you need to focused on helping yourself as a trauma victim, which you are. You are in serious risk of medical and psychological damage from the stress caused by what your H has brought into your life. I am so angry at him because of what he's done to you, the innocent victim in his sick games. There is the Healing Library up in the yellow box at the top of the page here, some good information in there to read as you slowly come to grips with how much your life has now changed.

The good news is that you WILL survive this. I did. Many others here, too, started where you are today and while it has taken us years to get to where we are today, we stand as witness that recovery is possible. And more than that, that you will come out of this stronger than you may have been when it started. This experience changes us, forces us to grow in ways we never imagined. But it can be GOOD.

Make sure you've done all the basics: get checked for STIs (regardless of what a cheater says, it's always best to assume the worst), find time to eat some healthy foods each day, lots of water, quiet walks, and ideally a trusted friend you can confide in. I was fortunate to have a girlfriend whose H had cheated and left her years before, but who had returned and they had reconciled. She was my rock and I an grateful to have had her beside me during these darkest of days.

You are in a safe place here, linds9. I'm just very sorry you had to come and find us. But as I was told when I arrived here, "this is the best club you never wanted to join".

ErinHa posted 3/1/2019 13:23 PM

I'm so sorry for what you are going through, in a way you are lucky to have found out, so many Betrayed spouses here do not know what is really going on. And, you might have just scratched the surface.

Take your time, do not rush into anything (especially reconciliation) with him. This will be a long long long road ahead no matter what you decide. I had 3 kids under 5 years old when my spouse cheated and I tried to reconcile too early. I demanded he go to an individual counselor for at least one full year before I would reconcile and he never did. We stayed in limbo for 12 years until we finally divorced last year. It was painful for all of us.

Try to figure out what, if anything, will make you willing to reconcile. Counseling (for HIM ALONE--don't let him do this in marriage counseling), no contact, complete transparency...whatever will make you feel ok to reconcile. But, regardless of whether you are open (again) to reconcile, you definitely need time! I highly recommend going No Contact and 180 with him. This will give you some breathing room. He is trying to manipulate you with his text messages, don't let him. I allowed my children to watch my ex abuse me for years, it wasn't healthy.

I'm so sorry for your pain, it's truly agonizing when our world has been turned upside down. I remember that pain so vividly. We're here for you, post as much as you need. The good people of SI are here.

ru79 posted 3/2/2019 13:11 PM

I can relate to your story a lot. My WH showed the same behavior, he was suicidal without me and was pleading for me to stay in the relationship when I found out little clues that he might be cheating. I had no solid evidence. I stayed on, things were great for a while and back to me having suspicions and finally, it all came out when he confessed 6 years later.

Last I talked to him, he told me that he has found out that he has a form of sex addiction, that could be the result of a deep-rooted attachment disorder. That is what he has to work with. Reading your post, I think your WH husband could also potentially have some deep seeded trauma manifesting as a sex addiction. They are truly lost!

I am sorry for yout pain, and the feeling of loss of your own identity. It was a blurry period for me. I threw the laptop at him, where I found all the emails. I cursured so much, said things that I have never thought I knew how to say. Then I would cry until I couldnt breath, and had suicidal thoughts too. Hopelessness was just bottomless. I didnt recognize myself either. Slowly I realized that he is a broken person and that I am not going to let him break me as well. I didnt do anything wrong. If I let him break me, lose identity, then I am betraying all those people that love me, work hard to shape my life, and depend on me. And I am not going to do that! I came out of it. I will always remember the experince, and i think it only made me stronger as a person, I am survivor! And you will be too. Hugs.

linds9 posted 4/15/2019 09:02 AM

Thanks to all who replied to my post. It really helped to have you validate my feelings and hear about your experiences too. And thanks for pointing the way to the 180 resources. That was all new for me.

I'm doing better now, but the feelings of pain and sadness still overtake me at times. And my husband is still trying to come around as much as he can, telling me he loves me, he's messed everything up, and is sorry. He got himself into an addictions counsellor at the hospital, joined the online SAA group and meetings, and has started to see a psychologist who treats SA. But it is all incredibly confusing for me. I'm sick of life being so hard and messed up.

The1stWife posted 4/15/2019 10:19 AM

Just because he now admits he has an addiction to sex does not mean he is ready to reconcile.

Heís just not ready for that type of commitment. Maybe never will be.

If monogamy is critical to your recovery you cannot jump back into the marriage unfortunately.

ChamomileTea posted 4/15/2019 17:26 PM

Have you thought about just going ahead and divorcing him? If he's claiming he's SA, that's a lifelong addiction. And he might work through it, like an alcoholic would. He might keep himself sober for a long time, maybe even for the rest of his life. But he's still going to always be an "addict". What that means for you is that you would always be married to an addict. But unlike an alcohol addiction where the addict can simply stay away from his drug of choice, this would be a more complicated addiction, whereby he engages his drug (within the marital relationship). So, what does that mean when life keeps happening? Stress at the job, raising kids, communications with you and agreeing on how to tackle relationship/family issues, aging parents, illness, midlife crisis... there's a whole world of triggers out there which can send an addict into a tailspin.

I don't like the "SA Defense" anyway. First off, I wouldn't buy it AT ALL if the diagnosis didn't come from a well-qualified CSAT. And even if we agree that sex addiction is a real thing, I think that all too often the cheater thinks he can go for a few months of therapy and be "healed". But what is he REALLY willing to commit to the process? Will he treat it like a life-long addiction, stay in a 12-step program, make his life an open book, avoid temptation, reach out for additional help in troubled times?

Cheaters are never owed a second chance. Your cheater would have already used up his second chance anyway. And he's cheated floridly, with trash he met while looking for NSA hook-ups. Been there, done that... and yes, reconciliation can still happen if both partners want it badly enough, BTDT too. But it's not easy. I'd recommend you put A LOT of thought into it and make sure it's something you really want to do.

((hugs))

linds9 posted 4/17/2019 09:56 AM

Yes, I have thought about divorcing him. And I have been to see a lawyer to find out how the process works and what our rights are. I did that the week following DDay #2 and I was so sure that divorce was where we were headed. I had no contact for a while. Having 3 young children complicates things and after a while I opened up to contact. He still lives separately from us.

Now the idea of divorce and even going no contact again makes me feel very sad. And the lies and horrible things he's done makes me feel sad. It just feels like there is no good option. I feel confused because before DDay #2 we weren't fighting and we enjoyed spending time with each other and doing things together as a family. Things weren't perfect, but they were good. And we were addressing the effects of the first round of cheating - I'd talk to him about how I was feeling when emotions and thoughts came up, we went to couples counselling. And he was doing sweet things for me regularly. He said all the right things - that he would do whatever it takes to repair the damage he'd done, that he loved me and the family, and didn't want to live without us. The counsellor was even praising him for doing nice things for me and trying to reconnect. And then I find out he'd been chatting online nearly the whole time and then having a PA for 6 months until he was caught. It makes no sense. I'm having a hard time processing and figuring out what happened here.

redrock posted 4/17/2019 18:51 PM

Itís hard to reconcile who the man you thought he was to the guy who could attend counseling, behave kindly toward his family While engaged in some pretty heinous cheating behavior.

He made choices. He didnít allow you to choose if you wanted to bind yourself into a one way open marriage. Those actions and decisions need to be seen for what they are.

Like all addicts he came first. He learned enough in counseling to use the lingo to camouflage his continued cheating. Heís good at it or you wouldnít be here.

The best thing you can do right now is give yourself some time. Use the 180 to strengthen yourself and provide some clarity.

Take car of yourself. Get rest. Make sure you eat and stay hydrated. This is hard. One day at a time. Keep reading and posting. Sending you hugs.

ChamomileTea posted 4/17/2019 19:53 PM

...he was doing sweet things for me regularly. He said all the right things - that he would do whatever it takes to repair the damage he'd done, that he loved me and the family, and didn't want to live without us. The counsellor was even praising him for doing nice things for me and trying to reconnect. And then I find out he'd been chatting online nearly the whole time and then having a PA for 6 months until he was caught. It makes no sense.

It makes perfect sense if he was trying to keep you sweet while he cheated on you. Honeyed words, picking up his husband game.. it's like a magician getting you to watch his hand motions so you won't notice the subterfuge.

I'm sorry if that sounds cynical. I know you'd most likely prefer to hear that he's just some lost, but otherwise sincere guy. But even if that were the case, what good is his devotion if it's THIS tepid? Certainly, nothing he said was more meaningful than the deceitful actions he carried out.

I'm not trying to turn you to one direction or the other. I'm in R myself. But in order for you to make a decision you can ultimately live with, you're going to have to get down and dirty with the facts of the case. Every single one of those honeyed words, every reassurance, every good deed.. was said and done with the full knowledge that he was betraying you. No amount of "compartmentalization" can account for that.

Sometimes, these WS are just working us. It looks real because they're able to tap into that 'home and hearth compartment' while they're with you. They're feeling the feelings of the moment. But... THEY KNOW THE TRUTH even while they're doing it. And they don't think you have a right to know it too.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this. Take your time though and don't get pressured into going along with R unless/until you've sussed out the whole situation and have an action plan to achieve your goals, not his goals... YOUR goals.

((big hugs))

WanttToBeHappy posted 4/19/2019 11:10 AM

I know the feeling all too well. DDay was in February and I am miserable
I am a terrible friend, employee and mom right now.
I would prefer I lay in bed all day or simply run away and change my name and pretend my life didnít happen and start fresh.
I understand and sending you hugs and prayers. Itís so sad we are all in this place.

nekonamida posted 4/19/2019 14:01 PM

CT has it right. Unfortunately, he put you through false R and did so in such a masterful way that you shouldn't trust a single thing he says or does right now.

You don't have to make a decision right this minute. Give yourself some time. Can you keep checking up on him and making sure he isn't just using this time away to keep chatting and meeting up with OWs?

WhatElseToDo posted 4/19/2019 17:06 PM

linds9, you might not realize this yet, but you were given an absolute gift, not once, but twice. The fact that you were told of your husband's indiscretions without having had to dig for proof was something that may not happen a third time. Please don't waste this gift. He saw the devastation that his actions caused for you and his family, and he didn't care enough to get help. Stop letting him come over and play family. That's not what separation looks like. Create a visitation schedule and let him play single dad, while you get some you time. Stop entertaining his fantasy of being single while having a wife and family on the side. If you were looking for a sign, you got it, by way of email on Jan 1.

HardenMyHeart posted 4/19/2019 17:44 PM

linds9, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I would like you to reread what you wrote:

The counsellor was even praising him for doing nice things for me and trying to reconnect. And then I find out he'd been chatting online nearly the whole time and then having a PA for 6 months until he was caught. It makes no sense. I'm having a hard time processing and figuring out what happened here.
What this tells me is that your WH was even able to fool the trained professionals. Think about that. These are trained professionals with experience in dealing with these types of issues and your WH pulled the wool over their eyes.

Now, you're struggling to make sense of things even the trained professionals failed to do. How would you even begin to have the skills to make sense of this. You're not emotionally unstable with a mental illness. You're trying to approach this as any rational person would, without having been trained in mental health issues. You're not going find answers discussing things with your WH. Your WH's capacity to hide, deceive and lie far exceeds your ability to comprehend. I would not even try. To do so will only bring you further down this crazy emotional roller coaster ride.

Right now it's time to focus on yourself and your children. You and your children's well being is of far greater importance than trying to deal with a lunacy of a mentally ill WH. What you are going through is extremely difficult. I'm sure you are a very strong person, but don't be afraid to reach out to an IC for support and guidance through this very difficult time. When dealing with infidelity the severe emotional swings can overwhelm even the strongest of us.

Please remember to do the normal things after d-day, such as STD Testing, staying hydrated, eating well, exercise and some type of relaxation technique. Try not to dwell on fixing your WH, but rather, what is best for your children moving forward. Don't rely on your WH to help, because I suspect he may be too ill for even simple support.

ETA: Forgot to mention:
Don't forget to look at "The Healing Library" found on this site (yellow box upper left corner). There are many good articles and resources available there that you may find helpful.

[This message edited by HardenMyHeart at 5:54 PM, April 19th (Friday)]

linds9 posted 4/24/2019 10:01 AM

Stop letting him come over and play family.

Well, I think you hit the nail on the head there. Sad to say, the playing family bit was partly for me too. Just the idea of detaching was painful for me and when I'd be home at times that we'd usually be all together, I felt this deep sadness and longing. So I think I had a couple of weeks of denial or wanting to escape that and, yeah, we played family. I told him two days ago I wanted space because the emotional rollercoaster wasn't good for me and I needed to take care of myself. He sent me 2 emails that morning! But I didn't engage, I didn't respond. So this is the longest consistent break from contact I've had in a while and I feel calmer and clearer than I have in a while. It's nice.

With a 2, 5, and 7 year-old it's not going to last, though. I have an early morning IC appointment tomorrow and have been invited out with friends Friday evening, so I'm going to have to make contact to arrange for him to take care of the kids at those times. And then there will be the seeing him when coming and going.

But I think some time with limited contact is good for the both of us. Both times after he's been caught he gets really clingy with me. Doesn't want to be away from me, is always texting, e-mailing, wanting to talk and hug me. I think he's scared of losing his family (not sure if it's just life with the kids or me too that he doesn't want to lose. He says it's life with me too that he doesn't want to lose, but those are his words, right?). And I think he's scared of being alone. But I don't want someone trying to R with me because they're lonely or scared, that's not love.

I wish I had read more of the learning library resources sooner! Communicating with a foggy WS is tough and messed up! It's like you're telling them 1+1=2 but they argue back and say it's not and you're like, wait I know that's what it is. But they are stubborn and won't see it and I got drawn into arguments and having big emotional reactions. I want to be done with that!

Thanks for all your responses and support SI peeps

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