Topic is Sleeping.
Pained123 (original poster new member #83357) posted at 12:13 AM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
First time posting and not yet comfortable in sharing too many details but long story short, I found out about multiple affairs seven months ago (one PA and two EAs and one of those EAs a flirtation across several years).
We have been slowly working towards reconciliation and then I was contacted this week by a stranger informing me of a much more serious EA with a fourth person. It has been a shock to say the least and confirmed one of my worst fears which is that, despite showing me his phone, credit cards, bank statements etc and claiming transparency, if he really wants to hide something from me he will.
While this fourth affair is in the past (about a year before the others), the fact he did not disclose it makes me feel this could be the tip of the iceberg and that there could be many others.
Question is - how do you reach the point where you feel all has been revealed and you can actually make an informed decision about moving forward?
We have some big life decisions to make soon and I don't know if I should be making them from the viewpoint of a married couple or not.
Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 12:27 AM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
Seven months is still early in the process. It may feel like a lifetime already, and I understand, but it can take quite a while to determine if you have enough of the truth to make an informed decision.
In my case, it turns out most of the trickle truth was wrapped up in 6-7 months, but I had to ask and re-ask a number of times to sort out what fit the timelines and what didn’t.
I was also looking at the day to day actions of my wife to see if those aligned with what she was telling me in the now.
I think it was two years before I figured out I was ready to move forward and fully commit to rebuilding the relationship.
A lot of people don’t have that kind of time or patience, and I understand that too.
You don’t owe a last chance, if your spouse isn’t doing work to be a better partner or making you feel safe, you already have the information you need.
Credit cards and phone records reviews don’t make us feel safe, actions do.
Married 35+ years, together 41+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored.
"It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca
HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 12:28 AM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
He's a serial cheater. So he has a really bad track record. And,he's proven he has no problem lying to you. For Years.
Trying to R with a serial cheater is extremely risky.
Schedule a polygraph, and have him take the test. You can't attempt reconciliation without a foundation of truth.
As a serial cheater, he has a lot of work to do to become a safe partner.
I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.
Pained123 (original poster new member #83357) posted at 12:45 AM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
Thank you both. I hadn't thought of it in the context of him being a serial cheater but you are right and that gives me something to think about.
Over the last couple months I felt that he was really starting to put in the work and I saw that with his actions. However, it now feels I am back at square one.
I guess I know that it is still early but had hoped to be in a better place by now. And yes, I agree that actions are the most important thing - but he puts on a good show and I can't yet trust him.
ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 3:30 AM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
Nor should you trust him. It's not unusual for WS's to not give up the whole truth, but until he does, R can't really start.
I think if it was me, I'd probably ask for a written timeline, meaning that he writes down every transgression and everything he needs to confess. You don't have to promise any kind of amnesty, in fact, I would make a point not to. I'd make it clear that if I find out anything later that's not on that timeline, it's game over. You might also consider a post-nup depending on if you've got a lot to divide up. Thinking about what a settlement will look like, particularly one in your favor, might make things a bit more real for him.
BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8
HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 5:44 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
What work is he doing..exactly?
I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.
SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 8:20 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
If I were in your shoes, I think I'd tell him that I'm not havin' it. I'm not going to continually get the rug pulled out from underneath me with his lies of omission. He'd better barf it all up right now or that's it. If I find out about anything he hasn't willingly disclosed, I'm out.
Of course, like Oldwounds said, you don't have to give him that chance. You can make your big life decisions as though you're divorcing, and if he decides that he wants to be a stand-up guy, things might change later. I'd be super leery about getting into anything contractual with him that's hard to undo, like a home loan or a move for work.
Let the world feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.
Devon99uk ( member #82658) posted at 8:35 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
I know it's hard to hear but I think most people in your shoes with a serial cheater who has a consistency to protect himself by not disclosing the full information to you, would seriously consider ending the relationship. You will never fully trust him again and will likely spend your whole life with that pit in the bottom of your stomach wondering if he's done anything else/where he is etc. It's hard to think about a future without the person we've loved for so long but if you really take the time to imagine what it could be like, you may realise that actually there are wonderful, trustworthy, kind people out there who would never treat someone they loved like this xx
WhiteCarrera ( member #29126) posted at 9:39 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
When I read your thread title, I thought to myself, "That's an easy answer. You can't!" And it's pretty much that simple. I think serial cheaters are also serial liars, and as HellFire mentioned, a polygraph might be the only way to feel any sense of safety.
In my case, every conversation since D-day has essentially ended with, "NOW I've told you everything. That was the last lie I was holding on to, and there is nothing more." But each subsequent discussion has proved the prior one false (as recently as about six weeks ago, after 14 years). It's just a never-ending rinse and repeat.
Is it possible that I actually do have all the truth now? (haha - how naive was I when I wrote that?)
me - husband; her - wife, Married 13 years @ D-Day in 2009. Now married 27 years and hanging in there (maybe by a thread sometimes)
This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 9:57 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
In my case, I got enough corroboration with her complete timeline.
It was her only A. I got a pretty minimal amount of TT. I'm still not sure the lies are over. I live with the uncertainty something else could come up, and I'll leave. She lives with the uncertainty I might leave even if nothing else comes up.
If you don't keep an equal fraction of the uncertainty, the WS will always have the edge on you.
Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.
Pained123 (original poster new member #83357) posted at 11:52 PM on Friday, May 19th, 2023
Hard truths but confirmed what I am feeling which is that I will never be able to fully trust him.
I did demand full disclosure yesterday and one new detail came to light. It was minor compared to everything else but still immensely hurtful.
In terms of doing the work, he's going to IC and CC and stepping up to be a better partner and father (being more present and communicative, taking responsibility for household duties which he neglected before, etc.)
Of course I worry that this could all be short term and a form of love bombing so I don't leave right now. Also, his affairs seems to involve mostly damaged people who he showered with love and gifts, so I feel he might get some sort of peverse satisfaction supporting me through this time.
Leaving is complicated and I am not ready emotionally or financially - I know I don't owe it to him but I feel I would regret not at least trying and I'd rather feel firm in my decision before I turn my child's life upside down.
ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 12:12 AM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023
Also, his affairs seems to involve mostly damaged people who he showered with love and gifts, so I feel he might get some sort of peverse satisfaction supporting me through this time.
What's he taking away from IC. This new information is only a few days old, but he's had seven months now. I'm no professional, but if you're getting the feeling that he's got KISA (knight in shining armor) tendencies, shouldn't that have been something he's identified and working on by now?
IMHO, cheating is largely about character, meaning the way our actions support (or fail to support) our values. A serial cheater might understand that cheating will get him in trouble, but in his values system, it's a viable option. He's got a "but..." in his core value of Fidelity, ie. "He believes in Fidelity, but not if he needs flattery, or sex, or whatever". Cheater's have an out clause that true believers don't have. There are myriad reasons why the guy might have wanted to cheat, but that action is only made possible when there's no real value placed on his espoused beliefs, when there's no real boundaries and no hard stop.
At seven months out, he should be able to verbalize some kind of insight into where he went wrong and what he needs to do to fix it.
BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8
Pained123 (original poster new member #83357) posted at 12:23 AM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023
He had a slow and inconsistent start with IC and the lack of insights from it is a point of contention (mainly there is a realization that he was seeking validation but that is not really an earth shattering relevation).
I will look into what you said about KISA as I hadn't really heard that term before but it sounds spot on.
TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 1:18 AM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023
The truth is you should not trust a cheater. I mean, it's only logical. They cheat and lie so it makes no sense to trust them.
It takes some time to stop reflexively trusting them because despite what they have done, our hearts and minds don't fully accept it.
But trusting a cheater is always, always a mistake.
He has to change himself from cheater to a reliable person. He hasn't done that. You know this because truths still continue to come from other sources and as you've said his IC has not progressed.
So, you have no reason to believe anything. That's the position he has put you in.
You focus on you. You're healing. Are you seeing an IC? You should consider it. To help you deal with your trauma and pain. Take exquisite care of yourself right now. Eat, drink water, sleep, see a doctor if you need help, confide in someone you trust, etc. See a lawyer to see what divorce might look like for you and start planning for a new life that involves making sure YOU will be ok. Not him. Not the marriage. YOU.
He is not trustworthy. As painful as that is, it is the truth. Protect yourself.
I'm not suggesting you divorce. I'm suggesting you stop believing in this person who has given you no reason to trust him. Start relying on yourself and your future.
If he wants to catch up, he will. But you cannot make him and you cannot lie there vulnerable to him while he figures himself out. Assume and prepare for the worst. Frankly, if you do that, the "worst" will be you, no longer a victim of a serial cheater and liar.
Pained123 (original poster new member #83357) posted at 1:54 AM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023
So many insights I wish I had posted sooner - maybe I could have navigated the early stages in a better way.
I am seeing an IC although need to do so more frequently. Trying to take care of myself and express my needs etc but it is frustrating because my main needs right now are truth and security and they clearly cannot be met by my husband.
secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 4:13 AM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023
My husband is a recovering sex addict.
For me knowing the root cause was generally enough. I had some moments when I was processing where it wasn't enough. But really, big picture, the SA being the root cause, that's what is important. Because DH has been actively high for 17/18 years of our 26 relationship, I'm pretty confident all will not be revealed to me. He can't remember every detail.
I never really worried too much about my husband's honesty with me. I trusted myself enough to know that I would eventually find out if he lied to me. I told him, that, too.
I didn't have to check the phone, cards, statements. DH told me to grab his iPad to turn spotify off. I did followed his request. Proof just appeared when i opened his ipad, again at his request, that he was lying to me. I had a feeling for a while, the "something just isn't quite right" feeling.
What I should have been far more worried about is the lies he was telling himself. Those are the more dangerous lies. Those are the lies I'll never know about, and those are the lies that will contribute to a relapse.
I don't know how safe my husband really is. In the end, though, the only person he's really hurting is himself. He is the one that has to live with himself and his choices.
It took me 18 months to decide to stay with my husband the first time. After his relapse, it took 5 years for me to decide to stay. If there is a next time (though, I don't think it will happen), we'll likely separate at my request.
I would focus on your work though. Get your needs met other ways than your spouse. Hang out with people that you find truthful. Define what security looks like, and go out and get that need met. Maybe, you might even find that you can fill that need yourself. Do the work to trust yourself.
[This message edited by secondtime at 4:15 AM, Monday, May 22nd]
Edie ( member #26133) posted at 8:49 AM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023
KISA is definitely a possibility here, but also more simply perhaps he chose damaged, weak, low self-esteemed individuals because he has himself very low self esteem and choosing the walking wounded meant he could feel superior to them, feel more powerful, be the one needed more than being the needy one. Possibly also addicted to the chase, or the high of that frisson of conquest, or addicted to limerance and associated biochemistry.
For me, I got enough truth in a timeline to know that I had enough to get the full picture (also a serial WH it turned out on getting the timeline), and so few more details were not going to give me any more salient information. For you though, if you are receiving such anonymous letters, it sounds like you are way off that. Sorry, you need a full timeline in order to inform your decisions and plans.
Btw i and my previously serial philanderer are very happy in R. I had a good enough trust in myself to proceed in the experiment of R, which has proved a deep and satisfying journey. Once a serial offender has understood their motivations, usually tied to a need for validation and excitement being poorly resourced to deal with inner ennui or whatever, and to see other ways of dealing with those things, there is, depending on strength of character, some hope they will truly see the error of their ways and the ways forward, especially having seen the damage and pain of betrayal, hitherto unimagined. I trusted my WH had that strength of character and he did. Contrary to some opinion on SI, not all serial cheaters are a lost cause.
[This message edited by Edie at 8:53 AM, Monday, May 22nd]
Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.
Pained123 (original poster new member #83357) posted at 10:59 AM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023
Thank you Edie. This gives me some hope, although I agree I need a fuller picture before trying to R is even possible. I think that is partly why this is so painful - I felt we were starting to get somewhere (slowly) and this has put us back to square one.
Devon99uk ( member #82658) posted at 7:48 PM on Monday, May 22nd, 2023
From my own experience (and I've read from quite a few others too) I think the only time you'll be as sure as you're ever going to feel about whether your Wayward has told you the full truth, is only when they have nothing left to lose. Most of them are so used to lying to you and themselves, they tend to keep going right to the bitter end. When you've taken it all off the table & said it's over, they have no reason left to lie. If they still think they have a chance, they have more of a reason IMO xx
CarolinaGrace ( new member #80480) posted at 1:48 AM on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023
I am in the same situation you are. Two and a half years from first Dday , I only got the full truth back in January. There might be little details lingering but I am not interested in those.
My WH is also a serial cheater, he was running amuck in the beginning of our relationship and again toward the end. Ty here were a few years in the middle where he was straight. We were having issues, the marriage was definitely on shaky grounds but we were going to MC and i was under the impression he was fully invested in it as well. Come to find out, he was still messing around with a woman at work.
Fast forward to present day, we stopped going to MC and are both in IC but separated at my request. I can tell you this much, serial cheaters can change and can be trusted again as long as they are willing to take that journey, find a good counselor and are willing to dig very deep as to why they have made those choices and risk of losing everything. A lot of these people really love their spouses but there are some very deep rooted issues they need to get to the bottom of and it is a difficult, long and very emotional journey for them as well as their loved ones.
My husband has been putting in the time, effort hard work and with each passing day I see a man that is dedicated to turn his life around. From IC to church, group meetings etc he even told his boss what he had done and that was huge. He made himself accountable and vulnerable, risking his job but he took full responsibility. He is completely crushed under the weight of remorse, guilt and shame and it is hard to watch.
Unfortunately, as much as i admire him for everything he has been doing, it could very well be too late for me. I may never see this new person emerging, and if he stays on this path, he deserves someone that will not think of him as a lying, cheating untrustworthy person but someone who was strong enough to rebuild his life and chose a new path.
Maybe if we had little kids together I would feel differently. Or maybe I will feel differently in 6 months. Right now, today the pain is too deep to see the good in him. But because my emotions are so all over the place, I am not making any life altering decisions right now and I think it would be a good idea for you to focus on yourself and put off any major decisions until you are a little more solid on your feet.
Nothing has to happen today. All you have to do to day is take care of yourself the best you can. If you love him and feel he is genuine about working on himself, give it some time. At the end of this journey, it is your decision if you want to stay or leave. But first and foremost, take care of yourself. You deserve that. Hugs and healing to you!
[This message edited by CarolinaGrace at 1:49 AM, Tuesday, May 23rd]
Not friends, not enemies. Just strangers with memories.
Topic is Sleeping.