Newest Member: Loyalandbetrayed

Just Found Out :
Is There Ever Hope?

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 SoEffingTired (original poster New Member #74527) posted at 3:19 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

I (50yo f) caught my husband (53) sexting another woman for the second time in three months (different women). Even though he swears he never actually had sex with anyone, he knew I considered it the same betrayal. Not once, but twice. It makes no sense to me (or anyone who knows us well as individuals and as a couple...two of my friends burst into tears when I told them) as it's obvious to the entire world that he genuinely loves me. But I can't wrap my head around how, if that were true, he could gut me like a fish over and over again.

I believe it's rooted in his unaddressed childhood abuse in which he has a bottomless need for validation outside himself because he has so little within himself and has never fixed this even though he knows it's there. I don't believe he cared at all about any of these women. I've spent our entire marriage doing nothing but filling that need for him, boosting him, assuring him, positive reinforcement that he's a good man...but, it's never enough. Until he can do it himself, NO ONE will be able to fill that void. I think he was doing it for that reason alone.

Or deep down he hates me. Those are the only answers I can come up with that make any kind of sense.

But, I can't stay here. I can't stay in a marriage with no trust. Even though we're able to cohabit (we have a very large home) without a lot of conflict right now, I can't stand the whiplash of being a very physically demonstrative couple to suddenly being formal strangers in the space that felt full of love just a week ago. So, I'm looking to move out of the family home and hope that getting away will provide some clarity.

I have no idea what to do...

Should I throw in the towel for good? Should I maintain any tiny shred of hope that maybe time and distance could potentially maybe hopefully possibly heal something within the relationship that might pave the way for another attempt at some point in the future? Should I just move out and file? Try to get on with my life and cut him out of it entirely?

Of course, he shows genuine remorse, but he did last time, too. I don't believe a word he says at this point. I took him back on the faith of a 20+ year friendship and knowing him to be a man of his word, having given his word that it wouldn't happen again, so the reality I believed to be true of him obviously doesn't exist. I think my packing and actively looking at homes has pounded home in stark reality for him that I'm done. I haven't discussed reconciliation with him as even the remotest possibility so he's getting a very clear picture of what his future is going to look like without me. He's been in a panic state since last Thursday; I know he's made at least two trips to the ER/urgent care because he thought he was having a heart attack. So, I think he understands I'm serious. But is there ever hope that these things can be worked through? For real? Is there anyone at all who's come out the other side of this and doesn't cringe every time their partner's phone alerts go off? Who doesn't pull away from their touch? Who doesn't feel sick whenever they see pictures of their life before it all came out and feel that it was all a lie?

I can't see how to move forward. With or without him. Open to any help or suggestions (I'm also seeing a counselor, but haven't been able to get an appointment yet). Thank you in advance...

posts: 12   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: CO
id 8590638
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Cabernet ( Member #72890) posted at 3:34 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

I'm so sorry you've found yourself here, though I will say it was the best thing for me when I found out about my WH's betrayal. Others with tons of experience will be along with help, but I do have a question that might help you get more detailed advice:

What happened after you found out about this the first time? What did you do/say? What did he do/say?

Well I've been afraid of changin' 'cause I
Built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children grow older
I'm getting older too

posts: 68   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2020
id 8590641
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 SoEffingTired (original poster New Member #74527) posted at 3:39 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

I addressed it head-on. I started to leave but agreed to marriage counseling first after my best friend pointed out that my pattern is always to run, and that it was obvious that he truly does love me. So we did couples counseling. He changed how he related to me. He cut his screen time and cut out the women he'd been connected to on social media. Until he stopped and we fell back into old patterns. We've had issues communicating. Because he has so little self-worth, any topic that felt critical of him was interpreted (by him) as only that he was a failure. So we've never communicated well. We hate to see the other suffer, so we'd fight but then smooth things over after a short period and never really resolve anything. I remember telling him 10 years ago that sweeping everything under the rug would eventually result in a mountain too tall to see each other over. That time is now and the mountain is real. For a period of time after May, he was able to hear me without feeling attacked and THAT'S what gave me hope. We actually communicated. I was starting to believe maybe the therapy had got us over that hump. We worked through a lot of issues. Then, one day the communication/his reaction went back to where it was before and I think that's when I started pulling away again. Me pulling away is his reason for believing he "needed" the other women in his life (I disagree). But, I know that's a factor. And, when I quit filling that need for him in the way he needed it, he found it elsewhere.

posts: 12   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: CO
id 8590646
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Cabernet ( Member #72890) posted at 3:52 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

It is commonly advised here to avoid MC (marriage counselling) and instead seek IC (individual counselling) for each of you separately, as infidelity is not a 'marriage' problem - both of you are in the same marriage, and only he decided to break trust/vows.

I hear what you are saying about your WH needing external validation, but I hope you realize that his decision to sext other women outside the marriage are 100% on him, you are not responsible for this in any way. There are many other ways he could have handled his needs instead of this.

You will find good advice here, no matter if you ultimately want to Divorce, or Reconcile. Make sure you are taking care of yourself; rest, drink lots of water, do lots of reading here and post as much as you like.

Well I've been afraid of changin' 'cause I
Built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children grow older
I'm getting older too

posts: 68   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2020
id 8590655
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 SoEffingTired (original poster New Member #74527) posted at 3:55 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Thank you. I read your story and know that you know exactly how I'm feeling right now. I've lost 9 pounds since last Thursday. I'm scheduled for surgery tomorrow and have to rely on him to take me/bring me back.I feel so destroyed. Hoping to get in to see my therapist before end of week. <3

posts: 12   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: CO
id 8590657
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Cabernet ( Member #72890) posted at 4:08 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

So hard not to have your relationship consume all your thoughts right now, I remember that all too well. Wishing you a speedy recovery and good luck with your surgery tomorrow - hope it isn't major! Try and focus on yourself, rest, read, and recover. You'll get through this!

Well I've been afraid of changin' 'cause I
Built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children grow older
I'm getting older too

posts: 68   ·   registered: Feb. 24th, 2020
id 8590668
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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 4:22 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

A good MC can help even early in recovery. MC addresses M issues, however, and your H - not your M - failed.

You've identified the real problem - your H's lack of self-esteem and need for external validation.

If your H addresses his problems, you can have a real hope of R(econciling). If he doesn't, I think his pattern is likely to repeat and perhaps escalate.

I recommend requiring your H to start IC with a goal of learning to validate himself.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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id 8590675
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Thumos ( Member #69668) posted at 4:50 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

My problem with MC is it is hard to find one that really understands the unique trauma of infidelity and isn’t tempted to enable rugsweeping and blameshifting. A lot of valuable time and financial resources can be quickly drained with the wrong MC and then you have to shop around looking for one who gets it.

I recommend trying to find a betrayal trauma specialist who partners with another. Then each of you can see an IC and they can work in tandem as partners to position you for CC when the time is actually right. Betrayal trauma specialists also understand infidelity and will hold a WS’s feet to the fire.

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH (me): 50, WW: 49
Married: Feb. 1996
DDAY: Dec. 20

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 SoEffingTired (original poster New Member #74527) posted at 4:55 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Thank you. We’re both in IC right now. He saw his therapist yesterday. I’ve finally been straight up honest with him about my true feelings regarding our communication breakdown without pulling punches so he wouldn’t overreact (because it’s obviously not working anyway). I also told him I’m not doing MC again. That I can’t put any hope in him at all right now but that I also can’t bring myself to file. So, if he wants to see THAT as “hope”, by all means work on yourself while I figure this out for me. So I’m not closing the door any harder than it’s already closed but I can’t keep worrying about HIS mental health while I’m a mess.

posts: 12   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: CO
id 8590694
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minusone ( Member #50175) posted at 5:28 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Sorry you had to join us. Please go to the healing library and start to read. Contact an attorney before you move out....knowledge is power. YOU have to protect yourself.

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better". Maya Angelou

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faithfulman ( Member #66002) posted at 6:40 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

I think independent counseling may be helpful for you.

If your husband is not repentant and continues to rationalize that his behavior is okay for some reason, and is not ready to be completely honest with a therapist, then counseling for him will be a waste of time.

He'll manipulate the therapist with lies and try to cook up excuses for why he did this or that.

Also, don't depend on a therapist to A) Hold him accountable, B) Point out his obvious lies and bullshit, and C) hold the correct point of view that there is no excuse when it comes to cheating.

Plenty of individual therapists will discuss his "unmet needs" in his marriage or life or perhaps even your failings as the impetus for his cheating.

So just be on guard for that.

Also, plenty of individual therapists are marriage counselors and/or couples counselors, so the distinction between the two is not what it is really made out to be.

***

As you can see, I am pretty skeptical of therapists overall when it comes to resolving the issues of cheaters(disloyal people/liars) who are not independently motivated to change themselves.

However Thumos' suggestion of you/your husband seeing a betrayal trauma therapist with a "cut the bullshit rationalizations and no more lies" attitude is an interesting idea that you might want to try if you feel you want to put any more effort into this marriage.

[This message edited by faithfulman at 12:41 PM, September 23rd (Wednesday)]

posts: 873   ·   registered: Aug. 28th, 2018
id 8590724
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The1stWife ( Member #58832) posted at 7:48 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Is there hope? Only he can give you that answer. Because he right now is the only one who can do anything to change his behavior, recognize the disrespect he showed you and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

You obviously understand him and know him very well. He doesn’t accept the support and validation from you. Not sure why. But I can tell you I once told one of my children they looked very nice (whatever they were wearing I don’t recall). But the Kid turned around and said “you have to say that you are my mother”. What he meant was it was expected I thought that.

And I believe the same holds true for adults in some cases. I expect my H to tell me I look nice but if a random stranger says it “wow!!” I must look nice.

That’s on him. His issue to resolve.

My H was on his 2nd Affair and he was planning to D me. Typical mid life crisis affair. After months of false Reconciliation I finally had enough. I realized I had no other options so I informed him (very calmly and rationally) that he left me with no choice and I was D him.

He was completely blindsided. He never expected me to stand up to him. He thought I would just take him back and rugsweep the affair like I did the 1st time.

He had to figure out on his own how to save this marriage. I provided no support or guidance. None. Nada. Zilch. He was on his own. It was sink or swim. I didn’t tell him to go to therapy or read a book or give me access to his phone.

You need to let your H figure this out. He has to clean up after he dropped a bomb on your marriage. You can sit back for a few months and re-evaluate. You can get your plan B in place just in case.

Maybe you already know the marriage is over no matter what he does. That’s your decision to make. Independent if him and his efforts. You have to figure out if you can be happy with him no matter what. No matter if he makes changes and never does this again — is this enough for you? Or will you always be suspicious and wondering. That’s no way to live either.

Speedy recovery on your surgery. Hope it goes well and you are back in your feet quickly.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 10517   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8590742
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nekonamida ( Member #42956) posted at 8:18 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

SET, I would be wary believing that you have only caught him the 2 times he was sexting and that it hasn't gone further in the past. Your WH didn't wake up one day as a man who needed so much external validation that he was throwing his marriage with you away to sext randoms. Did he give you access to his phone, email, and accounts to show that there are no other OW and no local OW that he could have met up with? Do you think he would be willing to give you a timeline of his infidelity and take a polygraph if you asked?

posts: 4957   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2014   ·   location: United States
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 SoEffingTired (original poster New Member #74527) posted at 8:25 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

I’d be absolutely shocked if there were only two. And no, I not for a moment am able to believe that what I know is all there were. I’m also not willing to live as his jailer or his nursemaid which is why I’m leaving. I dont need to know the details. It won’t help me feel better. And whether or not he could pass a polygraph would in no way restore my faith in his word. It’s why I can’t see a way I could ever be with him again. All trust is gone. That stuff never comes back the same.

posts: 12   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: CO
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 SoEffingTired (original poster New Member #74527) posted at 8:30 PM on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

And I absolutely refuse to let this turn me into a bitter cynical woman. He will NOT destroy that.

posts: 12   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2020   ·   location: CO
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99problems ( Member #59373) posted at 2:23 AM on Saturday, September 26th, 2020

I'm happy for you that you cancelled the MC.

As someone who tried to reconcile and failed: please make sure he is doing the work.

If he is not doing the work, then he is probably continuing to cheat.

I tried to believe that my stbxw's heart was into saving our marriage, but I knew that she wasn't doing what she needed to(she wouldn't set up an IC, but kept telling me she would)

She cheated the whole time and is now living with an AP.

Don't be me.

Got me a new forum name!<BR />Formerly Idiotmcstupid.<BR />I am divorced, so not as much of an idiot now- 4/15/21,

posts: 1000   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2017   ·   location: Colorado
id 8591557
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Shockt ( Member #74399) posted at 4:16 AM on Saturday, September 26th, 2020

Sorry you are here SoEffingTired. My story is similar to yours. I too spent years bolstering my husband's low self esteem. And I too believe the reason for his sexting is the seeking of validation. As to wrapping our brains around why he would 'gut us like fish" - because it's so easy, just a click away now. And because many men have the ability to totally compartmentalize this behavior in such a way that they really believe "but it has nothing to do with you." True enough. "You" mostly never entered his thoughts while he was acting out. It seems they see their relationships with us as somehow fine and totally separate from this other hobby. Just bizarre. I am totally with you on not wanting to be his jailer, ask for and rely on polygraphs etc. I'd rather be gone than live like that. Therefore, my husband and I separated almost immediately after I discovered the sexting. We've now been separated for 4 1/2 months. We're older than you two (70 and 73). My WH has expressed nothing but remorse from the get go - especially for the pain he caused me. He's in IC, as am I. He wrote to me a lot for a long time and I responded minimally. We just had our first phone conversation last weekend. We are planning the first face to face in a few weeks. We would both like to save the marriage. But we will see if it's possible. I think the physical separation has been helpful for both of us. I already knew that I could live quite well on my own, as did he. So it becomes more of a question of "do we want to?" It sounds to me as if you are seeing things clearly at the moment and doing what you need to do - feel what there is to feel, don't rush yourself, and see where it goes..... Good luck!

posts: 70   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2020
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The1stWife ( Member #58832) posted at 9:47 AM on Saturday, September 26th, 2020

It’s why I can’t see a way I could ever be with him again. All trust is gone. That stuff never comes back the same.

I agree with you here. Right now all trust is gone.

I’m one of the lucky ones who survived infidelity and reconciled. We are happy. Trust has been restored b/c my H has earned it. We are 7 years from the year from hell and he has proven himself worthy of another chance. Somehow he turned it around, made amends and stopped me from D him.

There are some people who do pull their head out of their butt. My H believed the OW was the one he should be with so he planned to D me. He had a huge almost insurmountable hurdle. But he never gave up to prove he changed and was committed to making changes.

He did this solo as I provided no support or help to him.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 10517   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
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Stinger ( Member #74090) posted at 3:04 PM on Saturday, September 26th, 2020

The ability to trust again seems to vary from person to person. It is very tough to know one's capabilities in this area.

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The1stWife ( Member #58832) posted at 3:28 AM on Monday, September 28th, 2020

Let me explain the trust we have now (post affair).

I don’t trust that he may never cheat again. He’s done it twice. Could Happen again. I’d be surprised if it did but not devastated.

I trust him financially and he’s always been a great parent. No worries there. I manage our $ so I Would know if he was spending it foolishly.

But I wouldn’t trust any one not to be a cheater.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

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