I have spent some time reading the posts here and I am so sorry for all the pain on these boards. I appreciate many are going through the destruction of long marriages with more complicated circumstances and I feel so much empathy for how awful that must be.
I found out a week ago that my long term boyfriend has been unfaithful. I am now in the early stages of reacting and I was seeking advice, feedback and support because I feel (as I understand is normal) like I am on a rollercoaster.
The short version is, we have been together for three years. We have no kids together, but we both have one grown up child (we are early 40s).
It's important to say that while there will be criticisms in this post, that I was with my boyfriend because I thought he was the kindest, sweetest man I'd ever met and I felt completely safe and loved in our relationship. It was a great relationship, and I think that makes my decision here very difficult.
The only issue we ever had in our relationship from day one, was a level of fear from him regarding commitment. That's not to say that he was difficult to get monogamy or reliability from (it wasn't), but it's to say he had fear about the future based on past relationships and childhood stuff.
I tried to get him to address this a few times, but he brushed it off. Over time, he was slowly improving so I decided to let him heal slowly from the process of being in a happy, loving relationship that made him feel secure.
Then, just as we were getting very serious, he took a short term post overseas for work, the pandemic hit us, and he was unable to get home as planned so we ended up separated for the past 14 months, which is obviously a long time.
The location where he is, is extremely isolated (only maybe 100 people within a thousand miles) and there's nothing much there. the community has been locked down completely due to covid so no one can come or go.
A single co-worker (who also lives next door) started to provide "company" by inviting him on walks or popping over for Netflix, and after getting drunk this ended in sex.
He did not confess, so I did not know about it.
He let her know he loved me and regretted it, and some months passed of it being just "platonic", before the same happened again.
While this was happening, I was seriously ill with covid unfortunately and so wasn't able to speak to him very much. Which adds an extra layer to my betrayal obviously.
They then escalated into what I'd classify as a "friends with benefits" arrangement which went on for either a few weeks or a few months depending on who I believe. It involved spending time together "hanging out" at weekends, and also occasional sex which only happened when drunk.
His story is that he was constantly telling her it had to stop (she confirmed that to me), but that she was persistent and he can't answer why he was unable to stop it.
This makes me very angry as I don't understand why he didn't just stop and tell me the truth.
I found out, because he had broken things off finally. She got angry, googled me and phoned to tell me.
I was DEVASTATED. As I am sure you will all understand. The shock was just beyond comprehension because I thought out relationship was rock solid.
His story is that he was lonely, has no interest in her besides wanting a human being to "do things with" and that she had desires on him which she preyed on when he was drunk. He takes full responsibility, but he says he wants me to know there was never any feeling for her and it was just a really terrible mistake.
I am inclined to believe him because after telling me, the woman escalated to the point of harassing me to the extreme. Texting/ calling /trying to get to me on social media. She was really enraged and seems to be trying to "get rid of me". Her story has changed several times but the general picture is that she wants him and wants me out of the way.
In the end, the local police have become involved because she tried to smash down his door in rage and he's been advised to call them if she comes anywhere near him as she's unstable. I have blocked her on everything due to the harassment but my stomach turns every time my phone rings.
Where we are at right now is that from his side, he has indicated in the strongest way that this was a huge mistake that he will do anything to rectify.
He is doing whatever I ask whenever I ask it. He has cut all contact with this woman (enraging her even further), and he's taken on online counselling (at my request) to get to the root of the fears he had regarding commitment and how this played into him taking a job so far away and ultimately ending up here.
He's also applied to finish his contract remotely from home, and if that's not successful he is going to quit his job (so he should be home within a few weeks).
It's obvious for me to see how much he regrets this. He's not an emotional man but he is constantly crying and says he loves me so much he will do anything, even if it takes years, for even a tiny hope of getting our life back but that he knows he doesn't deserve it.
He is doing all the right things, and because I miss my life and how happy I was I really WANT to resolve it.
But the pain I am feeling is so consuming. The thoughts are so all pervading. I don't know how I will ever understand how he lied to me like this. How he risked our life together for something so worthless. How he put me into harms way like this.
The thoughts NEVER end. I won't list them as anyone who's been through finding out a partner they loved is cheating knows all the questions that make you feel crazy.
I know I am not supposed to make a decision right away, but I feel a desperate need to.
One minute I want to end it and find someone new who didn't hurt me this way. The other minute I just want him home.
I really don't know what to do with myself.