Full history is in my story - background:
Together 29 years, married 25 - 2 kids, 25 and 16.
1st EA was online / phone in 2007 with a woman from a dating site. Lasted 6-8 months and rug swept
I am in IC (so is he)
WH (EA / 53) began working with a 19 yo a year ago. In this line of work, it means he picks her up, drops her off, and they spend 2 - 4 hours a day, alone, in his work truck.
In January, 2021 he wired her $600 to help her get out of her home country after losing her green card. He did this behind my back after I explicitly asked him not to. My spidey-senses were already tingling but up to this point, I did not have a solid reason not to trust him. Now my trust was broken and I began to question everything. He insisted he did nothing wrong. (fwiw, his company did give him the $$ back)
I started IC in late February. We started MC in March (BIG mistake). I opened a separate bank account.
Early March - he writes a 4 page letter explaining his relationship with EACOW - how she "gets him" and "always has a smile for him". How they had similar horrible childhoods and that she's "his best friend". I'm very upset and ask to share this letter with our MC, and he refuses.
Late March, he financed a $1,200 cell phone for her. Fight ensued and I asked him to leave. He refused.
April - He opened his own bank account and began getting new credit cards. 4/17 (dday#1) he backed out of a concert we were supposed to go to in lieu of going out to dinner with COW (now 20yo). When he got home, a major fight ensued - he kept lying to me about where he was and with whom, broke the bedroom door down and the police were called. He continued to lie to me until I got a hold of his phone and found their text messages from the night before. More fighting, very little remorse, lots of blame shifting and gaslighting. I asked him to leave again. The next day, per the advice of our MC, he left and spent a week in an extended stay motel. We R'd, he was sorry, promised to change, etc. and came home. This starts the hysterical bonding cycle.
In early May, MC ended, again at the advice of our therapist who said she couldn't do anything for us as he continued his EA behavior and I "couldn't stop getting triggered".
**side note - MC was a JOKE! She was from the Gottman / Perle school of infidelity and everything was 50/50 fault. MC becomes WH's IC (which I find disturbing)
Late May he moved his paycheck from our joint account to his personal checking account, without notice or discussion. There had been fights about him continuously buying lunch for 20yo COW. I was devastated - more fighting and I asked him to leave, again. Started consultations with lawyers and worked up the first draft of a separation agreement.
Late June - WH sent me a text message meant for COW / EAP - nothing super explicit but intimate, with heart emojis. I left and went to a hotel and then spent the July 4th holiday with D(16) at a resort, without him. I asked him to leave, again. He went back country hiking, by himself, in the dark, and made *woe is me* posts on Facebook about being alone and getting eaten by bears. When I got home, I bought an air mattress and cleaned out our spare bedroom and installed WH in there. I retained a lawyer (that didn't work out). This went on about 2 weeks before I came home one night to the hoovering / love bombing. He got on bended knee, professing his love, his sorrow, promising complete transparency (including open phones, find my iphone on) etc. He cleans the whole house, makes dinner every night, bakes an "I love you" cake. It took a week before my defenses came down.
Then 7/25 (Dday#2) I discovered he'd been on multiple dating sites, including Match and Tinder, for months. He'd been sitting next to me on the couch that week, taking screen shots of various scantily clad women. Another huge fight occurred. I scream that I "hate him" and WH told me to "shoot him" and I called the police again. As I was talking to dispatch, he went and got a handgun from an unlocked dresser in the spare bedroom and said he was going to "go out blazing"...then proceeded to lock the gun away in the safe. Police arrived (a LOT of police arrive - about 12) - I tell them what happened but he was calm and rational at this point so there was little they could do. He did leave and spent the night sleeping somewhere else. Feeling unsafe, I left the next day with our D and went to my brothers for 2 weeks. I keep texting him asking him to please move out.
On 8/4 I found out he was talking to someone he met on Tinder. I had her number, texted her, and outed WH. She gave me enough to know they'd been talking since right after I left on 7/26 and had been planning to meet up.
I confronted WH (over the phone) and he asked me to come home and talk about separation. I went home and he went on to explain how in IC he and his therapist agree he is a "sex addict" and has a problem. He assures me he's never had a PA. He also has an issue getting too close to OW when they're "just friends". He and I agree this is a major issue. He promises he is done with Tinder & all the dating sites. We discuss his living situation and I suggest he rent a room or apartment as a "bug out" place while we decide if we want to R or S. I still want to R. Hysterical bonding.
8/7 - I leave with D16 and her cousin for vacation. He goes and signs a 12 month lease on a $$$$$ riverfront condo. I never specified WHERE he needed to live, but figured if it was just for "bugging out", then he'd consider renting a room or a relatively cheap one bedroom...not leasing a $2,300 a month, 2 bedroom, riverfront condo.
He decides to fly down and join us for a couple days of vacation. We get along, but after finding out about the condo, I'm once again heartbroken. He doesn't know if he wants to R. After returning home, he begins to spend time after work and on the weekends setting up his bachelor pad, but never officially moves out.
Since 7/25, he no longer is transparent - all phone passcodes have been changed and find my iphone is off. If I ask to see his phone, he'll hold it, ask what I want to see, and if he doesn't want me to see it, says "you've invaded my privacy enough" and puts the phone away.
8/15 we have a talk after his IC / day at the condo. His therapist is suggesting we separate. No definitive length of time (he is all over the place...from 2 weeks to a year). He wants to leave the following Saturday (come to find out later b/c he was getting his furniture delivered that week). This is very upsetting to me - he's saying he wants to S but stay another week as he empties out the house and just pretends everything is ok. He says he wants to work on R - be "exclusive", and promises transparency / turning find my iphone back on, etc...but I was adamant that once he closed that door to his condo, what he did was no longer my business and over the next 2-3 days, I make it abundantly clear if he leaves, there is a slim-to-none chance of R. He continues to go and set up the condo, but never leaves. Lots of tears and hysterical bonding.
Labor Day weekend - I discover a notification on his work phone from Tinder with a code for accessing an account. I confront him and he blows up. Swears he hasn't been on Tinder (this is a LIE), I'm invading his privacy, controlling his life, etc...He gets a couple things together and says he's going to the condo for the weekend. I get on bended knee, tears streaming, full codependent/pick me mode, begging him to stay. I tell him the notification was probably a mistake - maybe even a scam...please don't leave. He tells me he needs "time to cool off", he's staying at the condo overnight, and leaves - tells me I can join him to go on a trip Sunday if I want. I had enough. Something about the whole situation struck me as odd (OW? Time with COW? Trying to hook up with a Tinder date? idk and probably never will) and so I decide I can't have him walk in and out of my life like this and I'm done. He left and as far as I was concerned, can stay permanently at his condo. I block him on social media and on my phone. I pack all his extra crap up and it still sits in a laundry basket in the spare bedroom.
Again, I have absolutely no idea what occurred between him walking out of the house around 1p and his return at 9:30p that night, except I blocked him from being able to contact me. He walks in and I ask what he's doing there and he says "its my house too". We proceed to fight. Around 11:00 I'm done and told him so - that I'd blocked him...want to go NC (for awhile) and that it's best to separate. Wasn't this what he wanted 2 weeks ago?? He threatens to kill himself (again) and leaves - slamming the door hard enough to crack the frame and screaming tires off into the night. This time, I go to bed...until my oldest texts me and sends me a message from her dad that says "Bye". He's also texted D16 and his sister. Now I'm scared and his sister and I agree he's super unstable and we should call the police. As he's threatened to drive the wrong way down a major highway and I'm unsure if he's got a gun, he is listed as an endangered missing person. The most f***ed up thing about this is the WHOLE time he's been sitting 200 yards away, watching the whole scene unfold. About 2 hours after everything started, an officer spots him down the street. He is once again confronted, and is completely sane and rational. Explains we had a fight and I "overreacted" so he was going to sleep in his truck down the street. The police didn't have enough to take him to the hospital for a 24.00 hour hold, tell him to get a hotel, and I try to go back to bed around 2:30am
He comes back home around 4am - more tears, he's a big f-up, he's not sleeping and having horrible flashbacks all the time and needs help. I immediately go into codependent fix-it mode. He agrees to call his doctor in the morning for an emergency psych appointment. He does speak to a therapist, but the psychiatrist can't talk to him for 5 days and he ends up cancelling the appointment. Truthfully, he goes back to "normal" by Tuesday - after 2 days of hysterical bonding.
9/28 - he's been super distant again. Against my better judgement, I unlock his work phone and discover he's spent 31% of his time on that phone on Tinder (shocker ) and the Photo's are full of more screen shots of various scantily clad women and their profiles. His Google search history shows he's been researching "polyamory"!?
I confront him and I get blamed for him being on Tinder. He comes at me twice, arm cocked and hand in fist, acting like he'll strike me. I've been too controlling and haven't been loving enough. Then I get to hear about his "problem", his sex addiction stemming from being abused as a child, and how I don't understand what he's going through.
He even gives me an ultimatum, Tinder or porn.
I get told him being on Tinder and keeping screen shots of these women and profiles "isn't a big deal"...and that he isn't talking to them, so I should be more understanding.
I've been asking him to leave for two days. He tells me he doesn't have to go anywhere and I can leave if I want. Now he's telling me he's sublet the condo to someone. I ask to see the proof and he flashes an email from the condo association at me without letting me read it. He's lying.
Last night I started gray rocking as much as I could, but I have some outstanding issues, such as the fact he's still living at the house and he has the spare key fob to my new car. Replacing it would be $600+ - also the fact he's proven himself mentally unstable and could decide to steal it / wreck it.
I keep running the mantra "hes a POS" through my head when I'm tempted to try and have a discussion about the why's of what is happening. I'm not stupid, he's in the end stages of discard, but he's still getting something out of refusing to leave the marital home (control? security?). I'm kicking myself now for not going through with S back in mid-August :( I wasn't ready.
- I did retain an attorney back in July but it was a sh*t-show. She tried to pressure me into $30k+ legal fees to take WH to court for infidelity. Then when I told her I wasn't interested in that, and only wanted her to look over / discuss the separation agreement ($2500), didn't contact me for 2 weeks. I asked for my remaining retainer back and haven't tried to do another consultation.
- I know if he doesn't leave soon, I will have to lawyer up again and probably spend $$$$$ to get him out of the house. I feel like I am more solid ground with proof he was on Tinder, the text messages with the OW from Tinder, and 2 police reports on file. (These things all occurred AFTER I cancelled the contract and got my remaining retainer back)
- He only had the one week of true love bombing / remorse and a handful of other nights where he made dinner or did the dishes.
- yes, the violence is VERY concerning. No, I did not call the police when he threatened to strike me Tuesday night.
- He is mentally unstable and needs help, which is another reason I am really trying to gray rock
- I am hoping between some reverse psychology (separation would be good for HIM, it would get him out from under my thumb, he could live his life, heal, etc), and gray rock he'll take the hint.
- I've messaged HIS therapist about what's happened over the last 4 weeks - he hasn't said if she reached out to him
- He is NOT paying his share of the household bills. I asked for $375 a week and have only received $1,200 total since the 8 weeks since he leased the condo.
About me / my actions through all this:
- I have done my part to keep us in the Chinese finger pull - tears, begging, pleading, asking him not to leave me / abandon me
- There have been times I've tried to say things to make him hurt as bad as he's hurt me, such as constantly reminding him about his Tinder account, or separating his paycheck / not helping with the bills, calling him names (a$$hole, jerk) - I'm not proud of my behavior and have apologized.
- I've talked to him for hours about my feelings / pain. I'm finally realizing he doesn't care
- I am in IC with a good therapist who's been very supportive and doesn't back down from telling me the blunt truth ("he's lying", "he's a master manipulator", "he is showing you who he is through his actions")
- I've been attending Codependents Anonymous meetings since April and am slowly working the steps
- I've read dozens of self help books, including "Cheating in a Nutshell", "Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life", "Attached", "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay", "Not Just Friends", "The Drama of the Gifted Child", "The Human Magnet Syndrome", "CoDependent No More", "Complex PTSD" - not to mention dozens of podcasts such as "The Adult Chair" and YouTube channels such as Dr. Ramani's on narcissists.