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Heartbroken ...

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Venus1 posted 1/15/2021 15:18 PM

Heartbroken says it all. I’m hopeful to get some advice from people who know how I am feeling … betrayed, violated, and lonely.

My husband ‘J’ and I have been married for 13 years (this past September), together for 16 years. My husband will be 40, and I will be 39, in March. We don’t have any kids, but have 2 awesome dogs, and have good paying jobs. J even has a side business that is starting to pick off the ground.

We’ve been very happy and had so many good memories over the years, even when life events throw a wrench into things (for example, J deploying to Iraq/Afghanistan, deaths of close friends / family, J finding out he has an 18 year old son and we never knew about). But, 2020 was an especially tough year for our marriage. I started having some health issues (causing weight gain and low libido) earlier in the year, he started ‘hating’ (his word) his job, we had to remodel due to a flood on the first floor, and J’s companion dog got cancer and died. And of course you have COVID, which has been tough on everyone.

In Aug/Sept, I noticed that J started getting frustrated with me more easily and our sex life (which was quite frequent in past years - 3-4 days / week) was almost nonexistent following my health struggles. We talked about it and we both agreed it was stress from life and was just circumstantial. Retrospectively, I know that was a mistake now.

Then in late-October, I was sitting on the couch with my husband watching a movie and I got a text. The text contained a simple message, “what do you think?”, and it included naked photos of my husband. I was in complete SHOCK! I asked him about it and he was forthcoming and explained he had gone on a pornographic website that a friend told him about, and the site was ‘interactive’ (eg, sharing pictures, videos, sexting, 3D video games). I couldn’t believe it. I personally think watching porn is healthy, but the idea of virtual interaction between my husband and another woman was just not acceptable to me. What’s worse, the photos were also sent to my sister-in-law as well, causing a lot of unwanted questions being sent my way.

After I got over the initial shock, I asked my husband to show me the site. I was curious about what was on there, what the attraction was, and wanted to know if it was a detriment to our marriage. J said he was ‘off’ the site and didn’t show me, but I was still curious. So, I set up an account on the site and I knew immediately after only a few minutes that that type of site was not good for our marriage. I communicated to him that he needed to delete his account (if he still had one) and to not do that ever again. J said he deleted his account and wasn’t on there anymore. Foolishly I believed him.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving and my husband casually brought up the idea of an open marriage over desert. I told him that I didn’t like the idea because of STDs, unwanted pregnancy, potential for either of us to fall in love with another person, etc. and I didn’t want to introduce that risk into our marriage during such a fragile time. Suggesting marriage counseling as an alternative. Again, SHOCK came to mind because hall passes, open marriages, swinging, etc. was all something we both said previously we didn’t want. This was a monogamous relationship. But, since it seemed ‘important’ to him, I told him I would think about it and we should talk about what was causing him to ask about this. And I didn’t exactly want to talk about it at his parents’ house over Thanksgiving if you know what I mean.

But, my life changed drastically after that conversation, even before realizing that it had.

J had two business trips (to the same location) scheduled in December (first week of Dec and 21-32 Dec), and when he came home he seemed ‘distant’. For example; Christmas Eve, he didn’t participate in any of the traditional holiday stuff that we do every year, and Christmas Day he didn’t participate in our family card game (my parents are in our COVID bubble and came over), couldn’t wait to get work done in the office, went on a drive in the car alone, etc. Even though we were having more sex, we weren’t arguing, etc. in December, I could tell something was ‘off’ with him!

On 30 December, he told me he wanted to go away for a few days to ‘clear his head’. That he felt really overwhelmed and needed some time to think things through. He deals with low-grade PTSD from deployments, so sometimes he needs that space. And because this seemed to be something that he really needed, so I said ok and we could pick a weekend for him to do it. That’s when he said I’m going to X location tomorrow and I’ll be back on 2 January. The location was the same location as his two business trips in December, which was a red flag for me. I got really upset and asked him how he could book the hotel without discussing it with me and how he could go on New Year’s Eve. That he would be leaving me alone during COVID on a holiday! Well, suffice it to say, he left on his trip on the 31st.

On New Years day, that female instinct took over! The the hotel didn’t charge to our account, he didn’t call me at midnight to with me a Happy New Year, etc. So, I started digging. We have a joint computer and it didn’t take long for me to discover that he was talking / sexting with a woman since November that he met on that interactive pornographic website. I found phone calls between them on our cell bill, IMs on the website, emails back and forth and confirmed that she lived in X location (where he visited 2 times for business and where he was on New Year’s to ‘clear his head’). In the IMs on the website I confirmed their virtual affair stated in November and they talked about how their sexual encounters were the hottest they’ve ever experienced (even graphic details so I know what kind of things they did). I also learned that she too is married, their sex was unprotected (and he came home and had sex with me after), and they talked about me, her husband and our marital problems. I felt so VIOLATED! And dirty … From the phone calls I know he talked to her on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, on the drive to X location, etc.

When he came home on the 2nd, I confronted him. And I did so calmly, not raising my voice and not yelling. Just asked him if his trip was good, if he was able to clear his head and if 'she' helped him do so. He was the shocked one this time, but admitted to the affair, confirmed it was only three times (the same ones I uncovered), that he likes her but doesn’t love her, blah blah blah. He also said he’s just ‘lost’ and doesn’t know what he wants anymore. That he has thought about separation / divorce for 6-9 months because he is so unhappy and that I just didn't listen. Trust me, I had no idea!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind and I am so sad and angry and devastated that I feel I can barely function sometimes. I’m sleeping a little better, but I can barely eat because I’m nauseous all the time from the stress and the constant crying. I seriously can’t believe this is my life. I’ve gotten a COVID test (got negative results), an STD test (pending results), had my first counseling session with a therapist, and consulted a lawyer to find out what the options are to protect myself. I decided to stay at my parents’ house to give myself some time, especially because I knew my parents would also help me do all the things I’ve mentioned.

J and I have talked on the phone and texted a little, and he’s answered the questions I’ve been courageous enough to ask. While he seems remorseful and wants to go to a counselor to work through things, I can't help but feel like anyone in his position is just sorry he got caught. This marriage will not survive with three people in it, and it won’t survive with that website in it! The last 16 years feels like a lie and it just breaks my heart.


I have so many questions … and these aren't all of them. Any advice ... please!

• I want to go back home. He’s the one who cheated after all and I made it a home for us and didn't break our vows! Do I request that he live in the guest bedroom downstairs and I live upstairs until we figure out how to proceed? Or do we sleep in the same bed?
• Is he still on that website and talking to her via IM or some app on his phone allowing him to do it? He says no, but how do I get over that constant feeling that he is?
• Do I contact the woman or do I contact the woman’s husband? I feel like the husband deserves to know!
• How could he do this to me? Our marriage? Does the last 16 years not mean anything to him?
• Is this just a mid-life crisis because he is so unhappy with everything that he was looking to ‘feel’ something different, exciting and thrilling? That will wear off with 'her' even if he's stupid enough to think that it won't.
• How does he justify lying to me and having the affair? I could NEVER do something like that to him!
• He says he wants to work through this, but how does he expect me to trust him again? Especially if he says he doesn't know if he wants to be married?
• How could he confide in this woman when I’ve always been here and accepted all his flaws and struggles?
• Will this pain ever subside? I feel like I’m going through trauma and I too will now need to be a survivor of PTSD.
• I feel like I’ve lost everything. My husband, my best friend, my self-esteem, etc. Please tell me it gets better.

The1stWife posted 1/15/2021 16:33 PM

I am so sorry. Those first few moments of finding out are the worst. It’s like your entire world is upended.

You ask many questions. Good ones but ones that may not provide the answers you were looking for. You ask how he could do this and why he would do this. Unfortunately no one can really understand the mind of a cheater, especially one that makes a conscious decision to cheat on their spouse. I think the only answer that makes any sense is that he was selfish, entitled and made the decision to cheat to meet his own needs.

Nothing you did or didn’t do caused him to cheat. Please know that.

I don’t want to tell you that the healing process is one that happens quickly. Your healing process is one that well basically have you feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster. One minute you may be happy and the next minute you may be completely hysterical crying. The good news is that those feelings eventually calm down and become more manageable over time.


I strongly suggest you get a counselor to support you. Living in limbo — him not knowing if he wants a D or not — adds another layer of pain to your situation. I was in your position. After 25 years of marriage my H wants a D for someone he knew 6 months. And I lived like that (in limbo) for months.

Counseling and the support you will receive here will be a blessing. Unfortunately I did not know about SI at the time of his Affair so I was operating on gut instinct and counseling.

Get a plan B together no matter what. You may need it (I know I did). A plan B does not mean you are getting a D but you are prepared in case it may happen. In my case I needed it when I learned the affair never ended.

I’m sorry for you. You deserve better.

Happenedtome2 posted 1/15/2021 16:37 PM

I am sorry you are here.

First , getting to your lawyer and protecting yourself and your assets is a great step.

Second, this is not your fault. Period.

Third, as someone who caught my WW mid EA , I can attest that the internet is a cesspool of cheaters.

Now, the fact that you do not have kids is a huge thing here. Regardless of what path you take, the decision is about your best interests. He does not fit into the equation in any way, shape or form unless you decide that he does.
Ultmately, you have to decide what is a deal breaker. Personally, physicality is my deal breaker.
Personal counseling is in order no matter what. No marriage counseling. Independent of each other, especially him because he is clearly broken.
Others will be along and give better advice. I just wanted to let you know we hear you.

[This message edited by Happenedtome2 at 4:40 PM, January 15th (Friday)]

Trapped74 posted 1/15/2021 16:50 PM

• I want to go back home. He’s the one who cheated after all and I made it a home for us and didn't break our vows! Do I request that he live in the guest bedroom downstairs and I live upstairs until we figure out how to proceed? Or do we sleep in the same bed?

Definitely do not share a bed. If possible, don't share the house. He should leave, but if he won't (and you don't have kids so no abandonment issues) then I would recommend staying away. He is not your friend at this point.
• Is he still on that website and talking to her via IM or some app on his phone allowing him to do it? He says no, but how do I get over that constant feeling that he is?

Cheaters lie lie lie and lie some more. If his lips are moving, he's lying.
• Do I contact the woman or do I contact the woman’s husband? I feel like the husband deserves to know!

Contact the woman's husband ASAP (with evidence!!) And do so without letting your WH know. If he confronts you about it, you know they're still in contact. The OBS absolutely deserves to know. Do not contact the woman. She's filth and you'll not get anything worthwhile from her.
• How could he do this to me? Our marriage? Does the last 16 years not mean anything to him?

Questions every BS on this site asks themselves over and over. I am so sorry you have had to join our club.
• Is this just a mid-life crisis because he is so unhappy with everything that he was looking to ‘feel’ something different, exciting and thrilling? That will wear off with 'her' even if he's stupid enough to think that it won't.

Probably, combined with (likely) low self-esteem and an over-developed sense of entitlement.
• How does he justify lying to me and having the affair? I could NEVER do something like that to him!

He's already rewriting your marriage history with things like "unhappy for 6-9 months." He can't be a bad guy, so he's going to put the blame on you and not meeting his needs.
• He says he wants to work through this, but how does he expect me to trust him again? Especially if he says he doesn't know if he wants to be married?

Take the ball out of his court. YOU file for divorce (you can always stop the proceedings if he gets his head out of his ass). You make the rules. He won't be motivated to make any changes unless he sees real consequences for his actions.
• How could he confide in this woman when I’ve always been here and accepted all his flaws and struggles?

"accepted all his flaws." In his AP's eyes, he has no flaws, so he can see himself through her - APs are just a mirror of what a WS wants to see.
• Will this pain ever subside? I feel like I’m going through trauma and I too will now need to be a survivor of PTSD.

Yes, it will subside, whether you decide to Reconcile or Divorce, it will eventually subside. From everything I've read and experienced, it will subside a whole lot faster if you Divorce.
• I feel like I’ve lost everything. My husband, my best friend, my self-esteem, etc. Please tell me it gets better.

See above. YOU ARE THE PRIZE. You did nothing wrong. Do not judge yourself based on a broken, selfish person's actions.

I'm so sorry for you being here, but it really sounds like you have a good (fantastic, great!!) head on your shoulders and are making the right moves to protect yourself.

EllieKMAS posted 1/15/2021 16:57 PM

• I want to go back home. He’s the one who cheated after all and I made it a home for us and didn't break our vows! Do I request that he live in the guest bedroom downstairs and I live upstairs until we figure out how to proceed? Or do we sleep in the same bed?
Short answer here is do what makes YOU feel okay about things. If that means kicking him out of the bedroom, then do it.
• Is he still on that website and talking to her via IM or some app on his phone allowing him to do it? He says no, but how do I get over that constant feeling that he is?
If he isn't crawling up his own ass to fix what he broke, you won't get over the constant feelings. But you are also in early days yet. That wtf feeling will likely persist for some time, even if he is doing everything 'right'.
• Do I contact the woman or do I contact the woman’s husband? I feel like the husband deserves to know!
Don't bother with the AP (affair partner), but i would absolutely put together a packet of all the evidence you have and give it to the OBS (other betrayed spouse). You are right - he absolutely has a right to know. Also - affairs thrive in darkness. The quickest way to stop it is to expose it. I didn't have an OBS in my case, and I didn't really expose early on and wish I had.
• How could he do this to me? Our marriage? Does the last 16 years not mean anything to him?
He did this because he is broken. He did this because he has a void somewhere in him that he chose to fill in this way.
• Is this just a mid-life crisis because he is so unhappy with everything that he was looking to ‘feel’ something different, exciting and thrilling? That will wear off with 'her' even if he's stupid enough to think that it won't.
It might be a MLC. It might not. But you know (as do all other grown folks) that the excitement of the 'new' is fleeting. And frankly - if he was unhappy he had a million other ways to address it than falling dick first into another woman's vagina. Counseling, working out, talking to his wife... any of those would be acceptable. What he did is not.
• How does he justify lying to me and having the affair? I could NEVER do something like that to him!
Again - because he clearly has a blank spot in the 'be a stand-up guy' department. He justifies it because he is selfish and made a selfish shitty decision to hurt his loyal wife in the worst way.
• He says he wants to work through this, but how does he expect me to trust him again? Especially if he says he doesn't know if he wants to be married?
Sigh. Read around on SI enough and you will see that the majority of cheaters say they want to work through it. Most of them say they are sorry. But their words mean shit. Their actions tell the story. Is he answering all your questions? Is he willing to get himself into IC to figure out how he could so such a thing? Is he patient with you when you trigger? And honestly if he 'isn't sure he wants to be married' then he needs to figure that one out toot-fuckin-sweet. Mine pulled that shit too and I fell for it hook line and sinker for 9 more horrid months before separating.
• How could he confide in this woman when I’ve always been here and accepted all his flaws and struggles?
That's the limerence talking. He thinks she is special. You know she isn't. It was never about you or even her. It is about his emotional fuckwittage.
• Will this pain ever subside? I feel like I’m going through trauma and I too will now need to be a survivor of PTSD.
You ARE going through trauma. Infidelity is horrendously traumatizing. And you likely will experience PTSD. That's all part of the shit sandwich. But the good news is YES the pain will subside eventually, whether your marriage survives this or not.
I was a mess when I first got to SI 13 days after dday1. I was a mess through 9 months of false R. I felt like I would be in that desperate place forever. But now? Now I feel happy most of the time. I survived it and you will too.
• I feel like I’ve lost everything. My husband, my best friend, my self-esteem, etc. Please tell me it gets better.
YOU are glorious. YOU are amazing. YOU are loyal and honest and kind and compassionate. Your self-esteem is not about him (I know that is hard to grasp this early on). Maybe your marriage doesn't survive this, but YOU will. It just takes time.

Please know that NOTHING you did caused him to cheat. It doesn't matter if you gained weight, or had low libido, or had you know, regular life ups and downs. He cheated because of a void in him.

ChamomileTea posted 1/15/2021 18:26 PM

• I want to go back home. He’s the one who cheated after all and I made it a home for us and didn't break our vows! Do I request that he live in the guest bedroom downstairs and I live upstairs until we figure out how to proceed? Or do we sleep in the same bed?
• Is he still on that website and talking to her via IM or some app on his phone allowing him to do it? He says no, but how do I get over that constant feeling that he is?
• Do I contact the woman or do I contact the woman’s husband? I feel like the husband deserves to know!
• How could he do this to me? Our marriage? Does the last 16 years not mean anything to him?
• Is this just a mid-life crisis because he is so unhappy with everything that he was looking to ‘feel’ something different, exciting and thrilling? That will wear off with 'her' even if he's stupid enough to think that it won't.
• How does he justify lying to me and having the affair? I could NEVER do something like that to him!
• He says he wants to work through this, but how does he expect me to trust him again? Especially if he says he doesn't know if he wants to be married?
• How could he confide in this woman when I’ve always been here and accepted all his flaws and struggles?
• Will this pain ever subside? I feel like I’m going through trauma and I too will now need to be a survivor of PTSD.
• I feel like I’ve lost everything. My husband, my best friend, my self-esteem, etc. Please tell me it gets better.

It gets better. It just takes a very long time. Typical healing from an intimate betrayal is two to five years. It really does your head in, so you need to be really patient and kind to yourself. Make sure you're engaging in good self-care; eating right, sleeping when you can, hydrating, and avoiding alcohol. You might talk with your doctor about stress management and if you need a little medication, that's common.

Certainly, go back home if that's what you want. Kick him out of your sleeping space. You need your rest, and he's got no right whatsoever to pressure you for any sort of physical reassurance, let alone sex.

You can't control what websites he goes on or who he talks to, but you can damned sure be prepared with consequences should he make those choices. I went with a stark approach. I wasn't going to live in fear or with half measures. If my WH wasn't prepared to be "all-in" on the marriage, I was ready to put him "all-out". I'm not afraid of divorce (and at that point, I was pretty keen on it actually), so I had no problem letting him know that I was DONE playing. He had already abused my trust in the worst way, then asked me for a month to prove himself. I gave it to him. We'd been married more than 30 years, so what was another month to me, right? Sure enough though, I caught him in contact with OW. So... when I said I was done playing, I absolutely meant it. One more website, one more failed NC, and I'd file on him. So, my suggestion would be to tell him to do what he wants, but if I caught him in contact with another woman or on another porn site, he might as well pack his fucking bags.

For the OW?... HELL YES, you contact her betrayed husband and tell him everything. As other folks have said, the very best disinfectant is sunshine. Once her BH knows what she's done, she'll most likely be too busy trying to save her own home situation to worry about yours. That said, sometimes you run into a kinky couple who are both in on it, so no promises. It's troubling that you've already had anonymous contact from someone, and maybe it's her. So, who knows. Certainly after you're done, you'll want to change your contact information so she can't harass you.

I can't explain the mind of a cheater to you. I can tell you that it wasn't your fault, that nothing you did (or didn't do) can cause another person to throw away their own core values. Cheating is a character problem. There's a gap between your WH's stated values and his actual deeds. He doesn't value Fidelity and Honesty the way you do, at least not his own. And because he doesn't truly value it, he doesn't protect it with appropriate boundaries the way you do. You can see that there's NOTHING you can do to MAKE someone value their own integrity.

In terms of him wanting to work through this... that's up to YOU. No cheater is owed a second chance. They know the risks, and they DON'T CARE. He didn't care that he was risking your marriage, your health, your sanity. All he cared about was his dick. So, you don't have to feel obliged to care what HE wants now or how he feels about being caught. You suit yourself. He's had his turn. The ball is in YOUR court now. For some people, cheating is a flat-out deal-breaker. It's nothing to feel guilty about if that's you. If it's not, I'd still leave him dangling until I had time to assess whether or not he's REALLY willing to address his defective character.

Try not to make comparisons between yourself and whatever tramp he wrangled up online. There's no contest. YOU are not a skeezy internet whore who screws married men. You are faithful, kind, and obviously more compassionate than most. Be confident that YOU are the prize here, not your WH, and certainly not some dime-a-dozen floozy. And if it turns out that he is unable to see how wonderful you are, believe me, you'll be better off without him. There are untold number of men who want nothing more in life than to find an honest, decent woman.

You're going to be okay. I know it doesn't feel like it right now, and Lord knows it takes a long, long time to work through it all. But focus on yourself and what's ultimately best for YOU. The other stuff will sort itself out as time goes by.

((big hugs))

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 6:27 PM, January 15th (Friday)]

Dignitas posted 1/15/2021 20:26 PM

I'm really sorry you're here. You've got solid advice from others so far. I'll simply say that you didn't deserve this, and it's not your fault. You tried, repeatedly, to work on marital issues. He didn't do this because of any issues in the marriage, he did it because he's a deceitful coward.

The1stWife posted 1/15/2021 22:29 PM

Also to stop the confusion - ignore whatever the cheater says. But their actions tell you everything.

Example - the cheater isn’t ready to D but still wants to continue the affair. So the cheater says they want to work on the marriage. But yet they are still cheating. Actions show the cheater is really not putting the marriage first.

Sometimes the cheater will say anything to continue living with he spouse - but still lie and cheat b/c it’s in their best interest. And they don’t care who they hurt in the process. It’s all about the cheater.

Venus1 posted 1/20/2021 01:15 AM

Thank you so much for all the advice on my initial post. The past few days have continued to be an emotional heartbreaking rollercoaster, but your advice has really supported me in making better decisions in these initial days.

J and I spoke last night on the phone and he said he hasn't been happy the last year in our marriage. I had no idea he was this unhappy! I let him know that I feel blindsided with this news, but he counters with 'I've told you time and time again, but you just don't listen'. He even got mad! Is this just his way of justifying his actions? Place the blame on me so he doesn't have to take full accountability? I'm not claiming to be perfect in this marriage, but I would have remembered that conversation!

J also says that he wants to do IC and CC, but just 'doesn't know if he wants to be married anymore'. How can your husband say he loves you and cares for you more than anything, and then all of a sudden have an affair not know if he wants to be married? I feel like he has a lot of individual issues to work out because his behavior is so uncharacteristic of the man I've been with for 16 years! But, i'm also quickly seeing that these issues he has ... few of them are related to me, and I'm just the proverbial 'punching bag'.

I'm also learning that J has so many false perceptions of me. Last night he told me that I eat pizza 3-4 times a week and don't take care of myself. That if I want to loose weight, it's fewer calories in and greater calories out through exercise, and that I need to stop using my health issues as a crutch! I couldn't believe it when he said that.

First, if I ate pizza 3-4 times a week, who cares.
Second, take a look at the bank statement J ... how about WE have pizza 2 times a month (not just me, but together for Fri night date nights)!
Third, the whole idea that I use my medical issues as a crutch is total BS. I am so pissed that he said that because it just shows me that there is ZERO empathy or understanding to how my medical issues could cause me to gain weight or make it difficult to lose it.
Lastly, I told him that instead of demeaning me in the way he was and being cruel in his words, why didn't he say he was concerned about my health and suggest we work out together an hour every other day? He never works out with me, but could be my support buddy and encourage me as an alternative to this negative behavior. I mean what does he want, a trophy wife who also works full time and has perfect health?

The other thing that is really bothering me is that while J says he feels bad about the affair, that I found out in the way I did, and how he handled the situation so poorly, he isn't going to cry or give any grand gestures to make things right. That he's sorry, but ...

I hate the 'but'.

I feel like he's not remorseful or doesn't feel guilty about the affair. Is it normal for the WS to not show this remorse right away? As a coping mechanism?

Also, I know he deleted the other woman’s phone number (he did so in front of me) and deleted the website he was on. Albeit reluctantly. And he admitted she contacted him last Tuesday when he was back at X location for work asking to 'meet up'. His text response read (he showed me): "I can't meet up with you tonight. I am working on my marriage. I miss you, but I need this time." Another 'but'...

He needs time for what? Is he just keeping options open? He said that she was sweet, kind and fun (defending her character), which made me sick, but points to the fact that he wants that option.

I know words without supporting actions are meaningless. But, I never thought my husband would be that person... I'm so sad!
I feel like I've lost my sense of safety, my sense of security and my sense of identity, all in one night. I went to bed with one man, and then woke up with someone I didn't know. How could I have not seen this?

[This message edited by Venus1 at 2:28 AM, January 20th (Wednesday)]

ChamomileTea posted 1/20/2021 03:25 AM

I feel like he's not remorseful or doesn't feel guilty about the affair. Is it normal for the WS to not show this remorse right away?

I think you're right. He's not remorseful and he's not feeling guilty. In fact, it looks like he's spoiling for a fight, like he wants to make up more reasons to walk away. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that he's still immersed in his fantasy with OW and that he's just going through the motions with you in order to say that he tried or whatever. Emotionally, he's still out in la-la-land with the OW so you don't really have access to him.

And... Holy blame-shifting and misdirection, Batman! You were talking to him about his ADULTERY and suddenly you're having to defend your pizza intake?? What fresh kind of hell is that? There's no way the guy is cluing in to what he did in any kind of meaningful way when he's stonewalling you and criticizing you. You're the victim here, not him.

If you open up The Healing Library in the upper left corner of the screen, you'll find information about The 180 in the Articles section. Maybe it would be a good thing for you to step back and stop giving him opportunities to run his mouth at you. The 180 was originally designed by Michele Weiner Davis in her book Divorce Busting, and while I don't agree with her strategy AT ALL, I do agree that the 180 goes a long, long way toward helping a BS break through their enmeshment and create some emotional distance from their WS. Take a look and see what you think.

Also, I would see an attorney. You've got sixteen years invested in this relationship. You need to be thinking about protecting your financial interests in case this is an Exit Affair. I know it hurts like a bitch and it's so confusing. The person you trusted most just ripped off his face like it was a mask and revealed the most terrifying monster. So many cheaters are like pod people when they're actively cheating, unrecognizable. But sometimes they don't come back and the person you thought you knew is gone. You need to protect yourself. You should be thinking about whether adultery as grounds applies in your state, whether it's beneficial for you to use it, how to protect it as a tool if you need it. In many states, continued cohabitation or a return to the marital bed can be viewed as "condonation" and take grounds off the table. The fact that your WH is still acting "like a pod person" is a pretty strong indicator that he's not through with the affair.

I have to be honest with you... I'd find OW's husband, tell him everything that's going on and I'd file for divorce. I'd mean it too. I'd go NC with him as much as possible and I'd take every goddam thing I had coming to me in settlement and then some if possible. But that's me and not necessarily you. If you're not ready for all that, consider the 180 and seeing an attorney so you don't get blindsided. If your WH brings up marriage counseling again, say 'no'. It's too soon. He needs to work in IC for awhile in order to try and excavate some semblance of CHARACTER, and you would do well to see one who specializes in infidelity and trauma for some emotional support. MC will just end up being a rehash of your dastardly pizza habits and how you've forced your timid little forest creature to hide his head up his own backside in fear of confronting real life. I say that facetiously, but it's not really so far from the truth. MC's are there to treat the MARRIAGE. But your marriage didn't commit adultery. Your WH did. An MC right now would only validate his laundry list of made-up grievances and make your job harder.

((hugs))


ChamomileTea posted 1/20/2021 03:26 AM

{duplicate post}

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 3:26 AM, January 20th (Wednesday)]

steadychevy posted 1/20/2021 05:42 AM

When a statement is followed by BUT... it negates everything before the BUT.

He hasn't been happy for a year because he's been re-writing the marital history. He's been cheating. It's hard to be nice to you when he's so wrapped up in someone else. Further, he's a good guy who would never do what he is doing unless there was a real good reason. So, it must be you. It must be what you do, say, don't do, don't say, it doesn't matter - it's you.

That is bullshit. There is nothing you did or did not do that made him commit adultery. He made the decision, thousands of decisions, and he's trying to justify his behaviour. It's blameshifting like Chamomile just wrote.

He needs IC to find out why he has shit for morals and integrity and commitment. You need, IMO, IC to help with dealing with the trauma which is severe.

Don't go to CC or MC. Why waste money. He has said he doesn't want to be married. Besides MC very often retraumatizes the betrayed. The marriage is the patient and it's easier if the betrayed will shoulder the burden of blame. It will be blameshifting and rugsweeping unless you get an exceptional MC.

I suggest you read the last 2 paragraphs of ChamomileTea's post.

Venus1 posted 1/20/2021 12:55 PM

@SteadyChevy
"When a statement is followed by BUT... it negates everything before the BUT."

I LOVE this because it's so true. Whenever J uses the 'but' it isn't a real commitment and he is being wishy-washy. It just boggles my mind that he is doing it! I feel like a broken record … it’s just not characteristic of him to act cruel, and I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he did this and is behaving in this way. He has always been compassionate and put my feelings first (for at least 15 ½ years), so to not be doing the same now is just mind boggling and hurtful. He’s done this total 180 on me and I can’t catch-up and can’t catch my breath.

@SteadyChevy and @ChamomileTea

I’ll definitely look at the 180 approach. I too don’t really agree with the strategy as a rule, as I’m a communicator and prefer to work through problems vs disconnecting. But, I do feel like I may need to distance myself a little. I fear that asking too many questions right now might make the situation worse because he is on the defensive and is blaming me for everything! It might hurt me more emotionally to be exposed to that day after day. However, I do worry that too much distance is also a bad thing. Here’s why…

J has low-grade PTSD from his deployments to Iraq / Afghanistan. So, when things get too stressful and overwhelming, he tends to withdrawal from family / friends and throw himself into work. Thinking about it, I’ve seen this classic avoidance behavior the past 6 months. In his mind it is fine to be alone and suppress that stress and use being productive to re-focus his mind, and in fact this is what the military teaches military personnel to do. But long-term, this is the type of behavior that leads to worse issues like depression and suicide.

Over the years we have worked together to bring him out of that withdrawal period and to process whatever that stressful event is. As noted in my initial post, we’ve had many stressful events the past 2 years. If I distance myself too much, he could never get out of that. While not my responsibility to do this and he is the one who has to do the work, as my partner in life, it is foreign to me to not support this effort. Even though I’m hurt and angry and devastated, I still care about his wellbeing and care that whatever is going on with him can be addressed so he finds happiness. Whether it be with me or not in the long run. But, as of now, he hasn’t reached out to a friend or family member to even talk through what’s happened.

Now, don’t get me wrong … I know I can’t make J do anything. I can’t convince him that what he is doing is wrong. I can’t convince him that his behaviors have nothing to do with me, but have to do with what is broken inside of him. I can’t convince him that he needs to go to IC and work on himself. I can’t convince him that he needs to feel guilty and remorseful and be apologetic and make this right. I want to shake him awake and make him see these things, but realistically know this isn’t possible. So, how do I emotionally distance myself while maintaining support for him?

Also, why is he telling me that he likes and cares for this OW? That she is kind and fun? He’s ‘defending’ her and her character, when she’s lying and cheating on her husband. She’s a terrible person! Is it just to hurt me or to justify his actions because she is the shiny new toy? I understand when people feel lost, unhappy, even unwanted, the shiny new toy provides this fleeting escape and it feels ‘good’. But J doesn’t seem to comprehend that when she goes home to her husband, it’s reality. The OW likely annoys her husband, maybe doesn’t have sex with him as often as he wants, doesn’t wear makeup and sexy lingerie, etc. I guess I just wonder if cheaters don’t really see that the the affair partner presents their best self only, and at home they are boring like the rest of us.

Venus1 posted 1/20/2021 13:05 PM

Also, can someone give me insights into why I should inform the affair partners spouse? I do believe that he deserves the right to know and deserves to know who he is sleeping with. But, does telling the affair partners spouse help with closure or support the healing process for me, for me / my husband, etc.? I am not the type of person to intentionally hurt someone else, and I also don't want to add fuel to the fire on my end given how my husband is blame-shifting and angry.

The1stWife posted 1/20/2021 13:16 PM

Your H is deep in the affair fog. That is why he keeps putting the OW first in his mind and focus.

Im sorry you are living this. It’s like living in limbo. He has his own selfish interests first and foremost and basically the hell with everyone else.

Not much you can do here. You cannot change him or get him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. Sad to say.

annb posted 1/20/2021 13:28 PM

Affairs thrive in secrecy.

Telling the affair partner's husband is the right thing to do, usually one or the other individuals having the affair will throw the affair partner under the bus. Nothing like shining the light on the affair.

The other woman's husband deserves to know he is being lied to. His health could be at risk as is yours since they've had unprotected sex. Add Covid to the mix, a true recipe for disaster.

Find him and gently inform him of the affair with documented proof if possible.

ChamomileTea posted 1/20/2021 16:26 PM

why is he telling me that he likes and cares for this OW? That she is kind and fun? He’s ‘defending’ her and her character, when she’s lying and cheating on her husband. She’s a terrible person! Is it just to hurt me or to justify his actions because she is the shiny new toy? I understand when people feel lost, unhappy, even unwanted, the shiny new toy provides this fleeting escape and it feels ‘good’. But J doesn’t seem to comprehend that when she goes home to her husband, it’s reality.

Because it's not just sex. It's "affair fog" like The1stWife said. They're caught up in their own fantasy and for them, it feels real. Your WH's allegiance is with the OW, not with you. You can see her for the piece of trash she is, someone without enough integrity to refrain from fucking another woman's husband, someone who goes home to her family every night and LIES to them, who exposes them to potentially lethal health risks. He can't see that because he is THE SAME.

Affairs are like narcissistic mirrors... Narcissus' pool. The cheater looks into the adoring eyes of their AP and see what they most want to see reflected back at them and ignore what they don't. In the AP's eyes, they can do no wrong and vice versa. They don't see the ugliness because if they did, it would break the spell and they'd have to see that SAME ugliness in themselves. So, they rewrite the marital history and treat their spouses and families like villains in a story they have created. The whole thing is fantasy, but the cheater won't see it.

If there's anything which can break that spell, it's REALITY. This is one of the reasons why you'd expose the OW or file for divorce. Sometimes exposure kills the affair. The cheater is snapped back to reality, often realizing that they're about to lose everything which is truly important to them. Some reject the fantasy so swiftly that they can no longer identify what the hell they were thinking. They're too busy scrambling to save their home deal. But some cheaters disappear into that fantasy, and even when it's exposed or otherwise taken away from them, they don't come back. The bottom line for this type is that they are rejecting their current reality permanently... the dreaded "exit affair".

I think you're looking for some kind of magic to save the marriage. But there isn't any. Your marriage is dead. Forgive my bluntness, but your marriage died when your WH broke his vows to you. What remains to be seen is whether your WH is the kind of cheater who snaps back to reality or the kind who's gone. Words won't tell you anything. Your WH told his OW he's "trying" to repair his marriage. His actions however are to defend the OW and start fights with you. Cheaters don't like to think of themselves as bad people, even though they KNOW they're adulterers. They like to think they're good people who went about solving their problems the wrong way. So yeah... they will often say they're "trying", but when you look at their actions, they're doing nothing which would assure success.

I'd like to be more hopeful for you, but everything you've said so far indicates that your WH is still wrapped up in his affair fantasy, has NOT been snapped back to reality, and may turn out to be the "exit affair" type. And because you can't be sure, it's going to feel really unsafe, like living with a ticking time bomb, unable to predict what moves on your part might set him off. Here's the thing though, if he leaves, he was ALWAYS going to, no matter what he says to the contrary in his efforts to blame you. If he stays, he was never going to leave. He's either one type or the other. So, if you're feeling scared and tentative, there's no point. He's either going to leave or he isn't, and that too has nothing to do with you and your response to his adultery. Try not to be intimidated. You didn't cause any of this, and you can't fix it.

((hugs))

SlapNutsABingo posted 1/21/2021 14:01 PM

Also, can someone give me insights into why I should inform the affair partners spouse? I do believe that he deserves the right to know and deserves to know who he is sleeping with. But, does telling the affair partners spouse help with closure or support the healing process for me, for me / my husband, etc.? I am not the type of person to intentionally hurt someone else, and I also don't want to add fuel to the fire on my end given how my husband is blame-shifting and angry.

Because by not telling them you take away their right to determine the course their life will take...

The1stWife posted 1/21/2021 15:34 PM

How could he confide in this woman when I’ve always been here and accepted all his flaws and struggles?

She’s telling him he’s “wonderful and perfect” and you ask him to take out the garbage. See the difference? He can pretend to be anything with her - carefree and charming and funny snd rich and smart.

With you - he cannot boost his own ego. You know the real him, not the person he is pretending to be with his OW.

Expect him to rewrite your marriage. It’s typical cheater behavior. My H told me a slew of crap to justify his affair, Including that he believed I never loved him and married him for other reasons. Just utter lies - and only said to excuse his behavior and choices to cheat.

Affair fog - he’s in deep. He has the audacity to text her “he misses her but needs time”. Utter crap. Disrespectful to you and he’s clearly putting the OW first.

gmc94 posted 1/21/2021 19:38 PM

can someone give me insights into why I should inform the affair partners spouse?
It helps you bc
* Affairs thrive in secrecy and OFTEN go underground after discovery (they just find better ways to keep it secret, buy burner phones, etc). There are a TON of stories here on SI about "false R" where the OBS was not told and weeks/months/ or even YEARS later the BS learns that it was still going on even after the WS had "committed" to R.
* it may help your WH get his head out of the "fog" when his AP throws his ass under the bus once she is busted. This isn't guaranteed, but from what I've read on SI it is more likely than not.
* it has the potential (again, no guarantees) for you and OBS to both dig deep and "compare notes" to ensure that the info you are getting from your WH is accurate.
* it is the right thing to do, which - in and of itself - can be empowering.

Put yourself in the OBS (other betrayed spouse's) shoes.... if he's known about the A and chose not to tell you, how would you feel?

I would not talk to my WH about it. This is not his call to make and IMO it's more likely than not that he'll give his AP a heads up (which means breaking NC and allowing the two of them to "get their stories straight" before her BH knows the reality of his life).

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