H is a complete stranger with a second life.
I'm completely numb.
H and I met at 22, married at 25 and we're now both 42. One child, 9. It kills me to say I thought we had a strong marriage because probably everyone says that. But we were literally asked to counsel young people getting married to talk to them about the realities and responsibilities of marriage and relationship building within the first years, and we were asked because H's religious community sees us as such a strong example of a solid marriage. My sister and I are very close and she married a difficult man and because of his lack of maturity and responsibility their marriage and finances have always been shaky, she is always telling me how much she envies my marriage because H is so responsible and solid. So I know I'm not crazy, or blind, or stupid to have thought we were doing really, especially well together??
I got a facebook message from a weird account. I don't check facebook often and so the message request was there for over a month before I read it, which just kills me. It allegedly came from a 'family friend' and wanted to let me know my H was seen pulling up to our local airport arrivals area, embracing and kissing a woman, putting her suitcase into his car and driving off with her. They described the custom bike rack on his car and the two distinctive bumper stickers on the rack. They also gave a date, which was six months before.
I kept racking my brain trying to think of who would write this to me? Why would they make this up? And it had to be someone we knew, or they wouldn't have the details of H's bike rack and bumper stickers and the date they gave was the date H took off for a solo bike trip. I thought even if someone is making up this kind of story to make H look bad, then there is something happening in the background of his life I don't know about.
I don't know why I didn't ask him about it. In any other circumstance I would have just read the message to him and asked what he thought was happening, but for some reason I just didn't.
Instead I checked his phone when he was in the shower. I checked his texts, calls, photos, recent deleted photos, skimmed his email inbox, skimmed his sent messages and looked as his app list. Nothing weird.
Later as I was thinking about it I realized I should have checked his firefox and safari history, and so the next time I got access to his phone I checked them and I found in his hundreds of open firefox tabs: websites for women's lingerie with things saved in the shopping cart, several websites for escorts who offer massage, a tab for a local STD clinic, a sex toy website with things saved in the cart, and many many Etsy shops that have custom sex toys, lingerie and other sexual things.
Escorts and STD clinics. I kept thinking there is NO WAY. None. None.
And then in his personal calendar I found entries for things that were a single letter. "A" at 3pm Thursday, or "L" at 2pm Tuesday, that kind of thing. I wrote them all down with the dates. One of the appointments marked "T" appeared twice, 6 months apart. On one of the appointments there was an attached address for an STD clinic.
I wrote a message back to the facebook account that had written to me thanking them for the information and asking them to share anything more they were comfortable sharing with me. And then the reality of my husband, my marriage, the father of my child just materialized in front of me.
I can't even contain this in my mind, it's just so unbelievably sick.
It turns out that the facebook message was from a woman who had been involved with my H, had ended her relationship with him so she said, and apparently wanted to let me know about his secret life. She gave me enough info that I know at least part of it is true. The dates she said she was with him match the dates of his solo trips, work trips and even a trip to see his mother in 2020 during which he 'quarantined' for 5 days before their visit.
She said they met online in a chat group and "dated" for two years. They communicated through a messaging app I knew my H had, but he used I thought for group chats with friends and coworkers. She says they video chatted while H was working from home, I was at work and our child at school. She accurately described our bedroom, our bedspread and H's home office.
They were together on H's work trips and bike trips. They had sex, NO protection! She said she asked to see his STD test results before they met up and that he did show them to her. He told her he was in a "happy marriage" but he was "not monogamous in his heart" and could love more than one woman at a time. He has shared pictures of our child. He told her he was in love with her.
She says that in the online group where they met he said he has had at least two other longer term "girlfriends" over the years, and was able to name at least one place he told the chat group we'd lived when he was with these women -the place we lived when our child was born!! He told the group he commonly sees escorts for massage and more, sometimes as much as twice a month!! And this woman was apparently fine with all of this!
She will not tell me her full name, where she lives or whether she's married. According to the dates she gave me she must have been with him for every single trip he's been on since 2020 so I suspect she's single. Even trips to see his mother, our family and friends, he would travel several days early to "quarantine so he wouldn't endanger anyone" - and I completely supported him in this, renting an AirBnB in the area to keep everyone safe - but really it was a love nest for the two of them.
So now what I know is that my H has apparently never been faithful. He's had a series of long term OW, including while I was pregnant and a new mother. He's seen escorts. He shops for anal toys and lingerie for other women. He's active in online groups for people who cheat. He apparently sees himself as not monogamous though he has never even broached this subject with me, not once. He considers our marriage "happy" while he holds all of the information, has ultimate freedom, shares all of his real thoughts and feelings with random cheating mistresses - while I am left in ignorant cloud cuckoo fantasy land like I'm nothing.
This woman says she recently ended things with him, but I don't know if this is even true. But it fits with some very odd behavior I noticed a couple of weeks ago when H was uncharacteristically stressed and anxious and I had this fear then that he was going to tell me he lost his job, or was under investigation at work. It was that kind of vibe, very hidden and sad and anxious. H told me he was frustrated with his mother, which really tracked at the time as she's a difficult woman and he does get anxious when she lays into him. And so I comforted him and coddled him and even asked if he felt like getting away just the two of us for a weekend. And it wasn't his mother at all, he was just dumped and I, his wife, was comforting him for it!!!
I'm so numb at this point I don't even know what to do with this information.
H does not know anything is wrong. In fact he seems exactly as he always had. He DOES NOT SHOW that he's lying. I am in absolute shock over this. I've always thought of him as a bad liar. He's steady, he's responsible, he's actually a detail freak and a planner. The kind of lies I've ever known him to tell are things like pretending to love something someone has cooked when it's terrible, and he looks exactly like someone uncomfortably lying about liking a terrible dish. He looks insincere when he lies, or so I thought.
Lingerie, escorts, anal toys, std testing clinics, vacations with another woman. And that's just what I can verify so far.
I don't know what to do. I don't know how much verification to get before confronting him.
I don't know what I want, I'm so numb right now I'm not even crying, I just have a ringing in my ears and my chest feels like ice. I haven't told my sister yet. I know she'll tell me to hire a lawyer and divorce him immediately and I can't even put my mind there yet. I've already been carrying this with me for weeks and the shock still hasn't worn off.
What do I do?? Do I keep talking to this revolting woman over facebook? Do I ask for more proof? I've already looked at all I know how to access on his phone and we share our ipad with our son, H has a work laptop but it's heavily restricted in use and would be illegal for me to even open, so I won't, but he's constantly monitored on it so I don't think he could conduct anything nefarious on it. I don't even know what to look for at this point. And then I think do I even need more information? I am so adrift inside my own mind and body right now. If any of this is true my H who I've known for 20 years is a total stranger to me.
765 comments posted: Wednesday, October 19th, 2022