Looking for Advice
Between May 5 and 26 I pulled the truth from my partner of 5 years: he’s had 1 emotional and 2 physical affairs starting late last year and continuing until DDay.
We were on a vacation with family and friends in Hawaii (which meant an incredible amount to me, and which WS knew – my dad is 83 and I cherish our trips together). We went for dinner one night and when I came back from the washroom, I saw WS texting someone. I knew in my gut something was wrong by the length of the texts and his reaction and the trickle-truth began.
Y is a member at the gym where WS was manager (he proactively accepted another job and finished at this gym the day before we flew out). He leaned on her emotionally and discussed our relationship issues (of which I’ve learned since DDay were many), problems with his parents and his work. She kissed him once and he told her he did not have romantic feelings for her, which she apparently respected. I communicated that because this is a friend of the opposite sex that he kept secret from me, I was not comfortable with any type of friendship proceeding, to which he agreed. He acknowledged that by keeping their friendship secret, he knew he was crossing a line. In the heat of a fight after he confessed to the kiss I called her from Hawaii, and she was remorseless and took no responsibility. A trash human being. He sent her a NC text from Hawaii with my supervision.
He gave me access to his phone because of Y, and I learned about J. He had deleted all their messages, but I found them and surprised him. She’s another gym member who he had romantic and sexual feelings for, and in the panic of being discovered claimed to be "in love with" (he since insists he was not, which I’ve read happens often in other threads, post-A.) They texted 100+ times per day, including sexts and incoherent fantasy declarations of being each other’s "fulcrums". Most hurtful for me, WS shared inside jokes and stories and phrases, things that have now been forever tarnished to me. We’ve lived together since 2019 and have a pup, so this happened in my presence over months. They had drinks and coffee hang outs, though my WS claims the digital relationship with her was very different than the in-person (seeing her at and outside of the gym was less comfortable than their online fantasy world). I don't believe anything physical happened between them in person because I read all their texts and saw no evidence of it. Though things had been dying down in their A, the sexting ramped up HARD after she found out he quit the job and would be leaving. I text messaged her from Hawaii, and she claimed 1) not to know about me and 2) be in an open relationship (both lies, according to WS), again zero remorse or responsibility. Trashbag #2.
We came home from Hawaii, and WS immediately committed to the work of R. He bought books, signed up for workshops and booked IC and MC sessions (something that we’ve done pre-A). As I’ll touch on later, it was not a great situation as WS struggles with reactiveness, defensiveness and self-importance at the best of times. We had sporadic HB sex while I navigated the emotional roller coaster – I felt he’d crossed every line already as I believe their sexting (and individual masturbation afterwards) is a PA.
Then out of the blue an anonymous Instagram account messages me a video of WS. This is a consensual sexual video of WS and someone else (not any of his current APs) from before our relationship (2016). More trickle-truths and WS finally confesses that he had a PA with a colleague, K. They slept together in January after a work event turned sloppy and drunken. It happened soberly another four times over two months at her house, which is nearby the gym (how professional of them both). K is the one who sent the video because WS only shared it with her (I believe him, as I saw his messages with the other two however in the fallout of Hawaii he deleted all his messages with K too, even though HE KNEW it would be the first thing I asked for-as I did with the others-and because their chat was all on WhatsApp I have no way of recovering them). K denied it was her Instagram when I confronted her, and claims to have only reached out because I "deserve better than a psycho." Trashbag #3 (and the largest, ugliest, cuntiest of the bunch). He claims to have had no emotional or romantic feelings towards her, it was only physical. He was not able to send a NC to her because she blocked him on every platform.
As mentioned, prior to our trip to Hawaii WS accepted a new job. In his absence, the Trash Crew connected the dots and K had the FUCKING AUDACITY to be hurt that she wasn’t his only, exclusive AP (despite ALSO knowing about my existence???).
When I found out about the PA I made him leave the house because he lied for weeks claiming I knew everything and wouldn’t be blindsided again (HAHAHA). I was clear with those boundaries when we got home, so I felt no remorse at making him leave. I recognize he only confessed about the PA because his feet were being held to the fire by someone unhinged enough to commit a federal crime (which I flagged with the anonymous Instagram account before reporting it for revenge porn). I also know that if I hadn't discovered him in Hawaii, I have no way of knowing where things would have gone with any of the APs. WS adamantly claims the new job and our trip to Hawaii was his chance at a new beginning; things in our relationship had been drastically improved the month prior, and he insists he has always wanted me and our life. He claims he was planning to ghost the APs since he would no longer see them daily at the gym. He hasn't tried to blame me for his As, he accepts responsibility for his actions regardless of the state of our relationship prior to (because I was living with the same hurt and didn't decide to have an A). His fuck ups in the fallout have all been because of his defensive, reactive nature. We’ve been seeing each other at our/my place sporadically, but things have been very hit and miss with most nights winding up worse off than they started due to his inability to cope and provide me the comfort I need.
For context, this is because WS is SUPREMELY damaged from his childhood; he has a narcissistic mother and a whole truckload of trauma from that. I knew of his issues (anxiety, suicidal ideation, depression) when we got together but didn’t realize the extent or the depth. This is not an excuse for his As, but rather an acknowledgement of the even larger mountain he needs to climb to change the type of person he is. He continues to do the work from his parents’ house (the only place he could stay due to his complete lack of social network) but it feels like one step forward, two steps back because of his difficulties with reactivity/defensiveness and a total lack of emotional attunement, plus staying with his parents (who he’s been estranged from for a year) and navigating a new job. It’s a lot for anyone.
My questions for this community are as follows:
•Having my condo as a safe space has been invaluable, but much of our fighting the last month has been due to the logistics of him being a half hour away and at his parents (who have been a problem in our relationship since it started) and me resenting the lack of comfort because he's not physically here. What sort of ground rules/discussion points have other BS considered re: moving back in?
•I am really struggling with the thought of these 3 Trashbags "happily" living their lives after blowing up my world, especially because WS was never able to deliver a NC to K due to her blocking him. While I enjoy my lovely, violent revenge fantasies, I’m wondering what other ways you’ve all processed this intense fucking rage and the unfairness of it all. And specifically, should I pursue a NC with K for my own closure?
•Because of his immediate panic/anxiety response to all conflict, how can I know if he is in love with me or in love with the life we had/the redemption arc that resolving things would give? He’s so afraid of being "a failure" from his childhood, that I’m unable to believe him.
•I’ve articulated to him that unless I’m confident he’s in love with me and has the capacity to be emotionally safe for me, I won’t be vulnerable and do the work of R on my end. WS is really struggling with emotional capacity between the new job and the IC and MC work – it’s going to be a long time before he’s able to confidently answer that question himself. So, because I don’t want to continue investing in a relationship where I’m not cherished, if I take space until he can answer that question for me I feel like my reclaimed independence will make R difficult: I struggle with vulnerability at the best of times, and worry that this distance won’t be reversible in the future on my end.
I’ve never been in love before WS. I felt it deeply and immediately and it was magnetic, unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. WS has always claimed it was the same for him. I never in a million years thought he would hurt me so intimately and deceptively, and was truly blindsided. Now it’s all cliched garbage thanks to his taste for trash.
Thank you in advance for any advice you might have.
61 comments posted: Friday, July 8th, 2022