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Just Found Out :
Online affair

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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 8:15 PM on Monday, November 29th, 2021

I found out my husband has been having online affairs for at least 2 years. I saw some texts he exchanged with some sexual content but most disturbing was that the call each other my queen and my king and lots of I love you back and forth. He says this has all been online and no physical contact. I went through cell phone logs and there are months where he has had 4000 text messages. The area codes are all out of state so he might be telling the truth that it hasn’t been physical. We’ve been married 27 years and he might be looking for attention it just really hurts that he went somewhere else and this is just weird and creepy. Not sure how to move forward I had no idea this was going in.

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
id 8701657
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 9:02 PM on Monday, November 29th, 2021

That behavior has a tendency to escalate. Ask me how I know. sad
Actually, you don't have to ask... I'll just tell you. Nearly seven years ago, I caught my fWH in what can best be described as an almost year-long Craigslist binge. There were multiple OW, and varying degrees of emotional involvement. But ten years before that, it was online shenanigans, porn sites, cam whores, cyber sex, etc. which finally resulted in a couple of EAs. I caught him out just two weeks before his first planned meet-up.

I'm going to print you up an old post that I made for someone else, but I think it might help you and also save me some typing. Because what I did next turned out to be a mistake. I frogmarched him out to counseling and then settled with the "unmet needs" gobbledygook we were fed. What I should have been doing was looking at my WH's character.

My own WH went on a Craigslist binge six years ago, multiple partners, various degrees of emotional attachment. He even thought he was in love at one point. But ten years before that, I'd caught him out in some online shenanigans, porn, cybersexing, emotional affair, etc. In fact, I caught him out only two weeks before a planned meet-up. I'd already seen an attorney before I confronted him and I was bent on divorce, but he pretty much cried his way out of it and I settled on MC. As you might have guessed already, we too were bamboozled with the "unmet needs" model of therapy, which sounds so reasonable. I upped my wife game, and did my best pick-me polka, but within a couple of years, he was right back at it behind my back. By the time we reached the ten year mark, he had screwed up his nerve to go live and in person on Craigslist.

Of course, I was pretty shocked as you might imagine. I thought we were good. I thought his "needs" were met. Damned if I hadn't been turning myself inside out for a decade to make sure, right? The more I thought about it, the more I revisited what I knew about the "unmet needs model", the less it made sense. I was doing everything right and he still CHOSE to cheat.

Here's the fly in the "unmet needs" ointment...

Healthy ADULTS don't need to be validated. They validate internally. Healthy adults are self-fruitful in the matter of contentment and life satisfaction, and when things come up which make them unhappy, they address the cause and solve the problem. OTOH, the vast majority of cheaters cheat because they're seeking external validation. They are NOT emotionally healthy. They can't do it on their own. They've got a hole inside them and no amount of external validation will fill it. Certainly, the old and familiar validation of a spouse doesn't get the job done. Our "kibbles" are stale and boring. They don't create enough adrenaline anymore to make the cheater feel special. It's like getting an "atta boy" from your mom, right?

This is old pop-psy which is still being taught in schools and still selling books. But it's bullshit. NOTHING you can do (or fail to do) can MAKE another person throw away their core values and do something that's in this kind of opposition to good character. If you're a person who BELIEVES in fidelity, who VALUES fidelity, you don't cheat. End of story. Because when we truly value something we protect it. The cheater has a "but..." in his values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, but... not if my needs aren't being met." For people like you and me, we have a "so..." in our values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, so... I don't put myself in risky situations with the opposite sex." This is the BOUNDARY we create organically. We don't sit around planning it out. It just happens, because it's innate to our character to protect what we value. The cheater doesn't have those boundaries because he doesn't really honor his values. He only claims to.

I'm not saying that your marriage is over or that your WH can't change. What I am saying though is that this "unmet needs" model is NOT going to challenge him to clean up his flawed character. In fact, it allows him to offload responsibility onto the marriage and onto YOU. It's not your job to MAKE him feel (fill-in-the-blank-here). It never was. It's his job to control his feelings. You could have been doing everything exactly perfect for the entire length of your marriage, and he would still have cheated... because there's NOTHING in his character stopping him and he has no coping mechanism to fall back on when he feels unvalidated, inadequate, unappreciated, etc.

It's HIS job to see that his "needs" get met. Sometimes that might mean negotiating with you, say if it's about sex or about the division of labor in your home, etc. But sometimes, it might mean that what he sees as a "need" is unhealthy in an adult, like external validation through attention and flattery.

MC's are there to treat the marriage. The marriage is the client. So, of course they're going to talk about communications, resentments and expectations. The MC doesn't want to alienate anyone, so s/he's looking to find balance on both sides. But marriages don't cheat. People do. The only way your WH is going to make a change that safeguards against further perfidy is by correcting his need for external validation and becoming an emotionally healthy adult whose deeds are as good as his word. No excuses, just honoring the things he claims to value. For that, I would recommend IC (individual counseling) with a therapist who is well-versed in adultery.

The last thing any newly-minted BS needs is to walk into an MC's office, believing that they've come to safe harbor, and being handed a copy of The Five Love Languages or some other "unmet needs" gobbledygook. It would be really nice if we actually did have the power to control our mate by giving them "acts of service" or "words of affirmation", but sadly, we aren't gods who can stop a cheater from seeking out his/her choice of adrenaline rush and new kibbles. Although, this kind of pop-psy suggests that their behavior is somehow our responsibility. The more you dig into this ridiculous line of thought, the more absurd it becomes.

Anyway... sorry for the lengthy post. Nothing fries my ass more than seeing new BS's being sold this bill of goods. I do think that there's a whole lot of motive, means, and opportunity in your WH's story though. It's not impossible that they didn't have sex, but man... I'd have to see a polygraph result to believe it if it were me. Maybe I'm just a bit jaded after my own experience, but adultery happens in about half of marriages and a year is a really long ramp-up.

Anyway, I do think your situation is a serious one, and that you would do well to insist that your WH get counseling from someone who will hold his feet to the fire, and that he not stop until he can verbalize what went wrong in his character and what he's done to repair it. This behavior provides a feel-good biochemical cocktail that the user eventually becomes accustomed to, not unlike a drug addict. Eventually, they need bigger hits in order to get the same buzz. That means bigger risks, and often, like in my WH's case, it's going to mean live sex. If you've caught it before it's got to that point, that's great. Your best bet for stopping it from escalating though is to avoid the unhelpful "unmet needs" model of therapy, and have him evaluated by a CSAT (certified sexual addiction counselor) instead.

You're going to be okay. I know it doesn't feel like it right this moment, but you will be. We've all been there and we made it through.

((hugs))

BW: 2004(online EAs),
2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 38 years;
in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5639   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8701663
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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 9:46 PM on Monday, November 29th, 2021

Thank you chamomile tea

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
id 8701676
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 10:32 PM on Monday, November 29th, 2021

It’s still an affair. He has cheated on you. Do not let him "minimize" this b/c there was no actual physical contact.

It could have been phone sex or something like that too.

He has betrayed you.

Do you have a good counselor to support you? Someone who understands the trauma of being a betrayed spouse is the best for you.

If the counselor tries to put any blame on you — find a new counselor. It means the counselor doesn’t understand infidelity.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12120   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8701684
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Shockt ( member #74399) posted at 11:52 PM on Monday, November 29th, 2021

So very sorry you have to experience this Devastated. You're right that it is just weird and creepy. That "my king" stuff rings a bell - sounds like something I read when I read messages between my WH and .... well I'm just gonna call them all cam whores.
Perhaps it's part of the training. It's so hard when you feel that you really know someone so well - after a long marriage (mine too - 20 + but 30 years together) - and then suddenly you find out you don't! My h also did this for 2 years! And I had absolutely no idea. He also claims that it was all online with no physical contact. Mostly I tend to believe him - but the thing is - I won't EVER be totally sure. This betrayal of trust is, as you've named it, devastating. The fact that he was cheating on you while pretending he was faithful is just mindblowing, isn't it?

You will find this site really helpful, so keep reading and posting. Chamomile is a wise woman and has given you some great feedback already. I totally agree with her that you should not let your h minimize this in any way ("we never had sex") My h said that one time - prefaced with "I know this doesn't make it better, but...." I closed that down immediately. I told him that "not having sex" is a just a technicality as far as I'm concerned. Most of us here on SI would agree that it's the LYING and BETRAYAL and destruction of truth that is the real killer.

Detach from worrying about him and his issues. Maybe a trial separation (we did that for 6 months and found it helpful to both os us) Take good care of YOU and watch his actions. I will say that what my husband did was shocking and heinous - it all ended a year and a half ago, but he was immediately remorseful and continues to work at restoring my trust with actions. Nevertheless, being betrayed like this is traumatizing and, if you 2 decide you want to (can) stay together it will require a lot of work and honesty from both of you. You (and the marriage) can heal over time, but there will always be a scar.

Give yourself time and kindness. You don't need to decide anything in any particular timeframe. Ultimately you will know what you want to do. And, echoing Chamomile again, make sure you have good support. A good therapist - maybe a trusted friend or two who will just be there for you - without judgement or advice.

posts: 86   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2020
id 8701696
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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 12:09 AM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Thank you Shockt it is comforting to hear from people who have been in my shoes. I have to say I feel more alone than I ever have in my life right now and am already so happy I found this site. I have an appontment with a counselor next week, hoping that will help also. Thanks again for the kind words of encouragement.

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 12:58 AM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Devastated63:

I’m sorry you find yourself here. I am a BH from many years ago, and we have been able to rebuild our M.

Right now you have suffered an emotional trauma. You will be on a rollercoaster for a long time. Most importantly take care of you. Eat healthy, exercise, try to get good sleep. Focus on you. Get started on IC. I recommend you and your WH both read “How To Help Your Spouse Heal From your Affair” by McDonald. A short, informative read. Read in the Healing Library. There is a lot of helpful information available. To be safe I would get tested for STD’s. We are all different but cheaters tend to follow many similar behavior patterns. The number one is that they lie a lot. Don’t trust his words. Watch his actions. Good luck.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 3171   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8701705
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UseTaCould ( new member #78773) posted at 1:46 AM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

It's infidelity plain and simple. EA or PA makes no difference IMO. It all hurts! Sorry this has happened to you! My best advice is to keep digging as you will always find more to the story. Also go back and look over all you have found so far. Evidence has a way of speaking to you the longer you study it.

posts: 23   ·   registered: May. 10th, 2021   ·   location: Colorado
id 8701714
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Legatus ( member #79152) posted at 9:55 AM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

I’m sorry this has happened to you. I showed up on this site three or so months ago and the advice from its members was key to me advocating for myself and more importantly facing the truth and emerging from my own denial. The people here may give you advice that’s hard to hear, but it comes from a good place. My story goes 4 years back, but I won’t rehash that. If I would have come to this site four years ago it would have helped me avoid a lot of mistakes. Here’s what I’ve learned.

1) what you know now is likely the tip of the iceberg. I’m not saying it was a physical affair. I’m saying cheaters like to convince the betrayed spouse they found everything there is to find. Then you find something else.

2) trust your gut when your considering if he’s being honest.

3) no one on this site knows all the details of your life and your marriage. Many if not all of us are experiencing pain and it’s easy for us to project our experiences onto yours. That being said, after reading many stories here, it’s amazing how predictable the cheaters behavior is.

Good luck, stay true to yourself.

posts: 103   ·   registered: Jul. 21st, 2021
id 8701753
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Legatus ( member #79152) posted at 9:57 AM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Sorry, I meant to add you should look back over the past two years to see if there were any opportunities for him to meet her in person. You’ve likely already done that, but I thought I’d mention it.

posts: 103   ·   registered: Jul. 21st, 2021
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ggcamp1975 ( new member #78491) posted at 12:54 PM on Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Devastated63 - you are me a little over a year ago! I feel for you, I really do because the shock and disgust of my fWH online/texting affair. My brain could not process what all was happening for months, those first 3-6 months are just a wave of emotions (or at least they were for me) I felt so alone and trying to find others in the same situation was not easy. My fWH did only have an EA but I can tell you that it does not make it any easier IMO it is much more difficult to process. The difference with mine is there were no ILY exchanged, nothing personal at all it was strictly sex talk etc...

What I did was pull his phone records, pulled every text, internet search etc from iCloud and I read it all, it was not easy but I needed to see it all because I had to know what I was facing, now I did not tell him I pulled everything because I wanted to compare what I knew was the truth and what he was telling me. For me I was lucky, (if that is possible) everything he told me matched exactly what I read and saw none the less I still made him present me with a timeline.

I will give you a glimmer of hope, after 14 months I feel a lot more stable than I did a year ago, we have both been in IC since a month after DD but no MC. I am not a big fan of MC, I am more of the fix yourself kind of person and the relationship will follow (or not laugh ) I am so much more calm these days and fWH has really stepped up to the plate, it is like this was a massive wake up call for him and for that matter me as well. After 25yrs of marriage I feel like I did when we first met 29 yrs ago, it sounds strange but we do have a better marriage today than we did 2,3,5 years ago and I am grateful for that but I hate what it took to get us there.

Keep coming here, read or post or both but know you are not alone in this we are all here for you smile

BS - 45WS - 47 married in 1996 met in 1992

posts: 20   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Southeast US
id 8701772
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:40 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Hi Devastated63,
I'm so, so sorry for the pain and trauma you are dealing with. You have supporters here.

My husband also had online affairs and his included sexting. When I discovered the what was happening, we had been married for 29 years.

I second all of the advice previous posters have given and also add a couple of things.

...there are months where he has had 4000 text messages.


So averaging 133 messages a day sometimes? You didn't clarify if this is a general total for all messages or with just affair partners. But if a fair percentage of this total is with affair partners, that's a lot of time, energy, and effort to communicate with someone and a lot of communication to keep secret from you--which is one of the reasons that it is betrayal and very intentional betrayal on his part (no matter how he justified it to himself and no matter if he did some magical thinking to decide not to label it cheating). It is cheating and it is betrayal.

You might also consider other methods he might have used to communicate--other apps like Facebook Messenger (my WH's favorite method), Snapshot, WhatsApp, and (sadly) many others. If he has these installed on his phone, he could have used...and could still BE using these to communicate. Even personal email accounts could be a method. His phone and computer should be completely transparent and accessible to you, if he is making a genuine effort to stop cheating and to help you begin to heal. If he wants to become a safe partner to you, he needs to demonstrate his safety now. Because he has already put effort into demonstrating that isn't faithful or safe. He must align words with actions now.

...most disturbing was that they call each other my queen and my king and lots of I love you back and forth.


That is super disturbing. You are not wrong. That is your husband and his affair
partner reinforcing their emotional connection and even their seriousness/depth about the connection to each other.

This language, and also the amount of communication and the length of time this went on, leads me to give you two pieces of advice to consider:

1) Be wary that your WH doesn't take the communication underground--continuing his connection to affair partners but just hiding it better. We've had posters on this site who discovered other apps/methods being used and even 2nd/hidden phones.

Affair behavior can easily become compulsive and be difficult to stop. He was putting in a lot of time and energy to the affair in the past; it can be hard to stop getting those great brain chemicals and "feel goods" that the affair was providing.

2) Check financial records (credit cards and bank statements) to see if there was money/gifts flowing toward affair partners (or paid women websites).

Finally, none of this is your fault. No marriage is perfect, but these were HIS choices. The betrayal is a result of his destruction methods to fulfill his needs, his brokenness, and his lack of healthy boundaries.

Sending support your way, Devastated63!

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?
No, I ain't happy yet.
But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrs
Both in IC & MC
Married 31 yrs now
2 kids-both in HS
Attempting R

posts: 162   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8701937
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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 4:56 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Thank you all for the words of kindness and advice. It has been comforting to know I am not alone. Not sure where all this is going but am starting IC next week and have an informational call with a lawyer tomorrow. Unfortunately for me I am the one with the good job and the 401k and if I ultimately have to give half of it away to the person who has hurt me more than anyone else in my life it’s going to be a hard one to swallow. But interested to hear what a lawyer has to say.

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
id 8701967
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nekonamida ( member #42956) posted at 7:34 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

How is your WH responding? Is he still talking to the OW?

posts: 5138   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2014   ·   location: United States
id 8701987
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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 9:50 PM on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

He started counseling has his second session tomorrow. He says he is not communicating with her anymore, I honestly have trouble believing that is true that after exchanging close to 100 texts per day he was able to just stop. And he apparently has a pretty deep emotional connection to her judging by how many times he told her he loves her. My husband as I know him just isn’t that disciplined, but then again I’m not sure I really know him at all.

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
id 8702016
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 1:07 AM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

...but then again I’m not sure I really know him at all.


Yeah, that's the scary bit, isn't it?.. that sudden feeling like you don't know this person at all, that you're living with a complete stranger. It's so shocking and makes us feel so vulnerable. I remember when I confronted my fWH after the online stuff... I sent the kids to school, saw an attorney, and then called him home. Now, bear in mind that my fWH has never raised a hand to me, but I remember keeping my shoes on and holding my car keys in my hand, keeping my body between him and the door so I'd have a head start. It sounds so ridiculous now, but the SHOCK of seeing what he was capable of was so thorough that I was actually frightened by him.

It's going to be okay though. I know it doesn't feel like it, but your gut is still there. Trust yourself.

BW: 2004(online EAs),
2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 38 years;
in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5639   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8702055
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Fof9303 ( member #70433) posted at 8:57 PM on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

I am so sorry that you are going through this. It is hard to contemplate that the one we love could hurt us more than ever. You will get through this. Take a breath and don't make any rash decisions. Get informed. Talk to a counselor. Have him see a counselor. I hope he is remorseful. Do you have anyone you can talk to about his... a friend.. a pastor.. It certainly helps to talk it out with someone. I relied heavily on my faith during those very trying and difficult moments. Hoping you have a support system. Take care of yourself. God Bless.

posts: 134   ·   registered: Apr. 27th, 2019
id 8702188
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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 2:01 AM on Saturday, December 11th, 2021

So here I sit 3 1/2weeks out from d day. Husband started counseling and so did I. He has told me how sorry he is - my response was of course you are you got caught- I had asked him if he would at least admit he was unfaithful he told me he was working on it. Last week he finally did admit what he did was cheating and said it took him a long time to admit it. No idea what that’s supposed to mean. He is offering no further details on how, why, when this started. I am not asking because it’s up to him to tell me. I don’t know if he thinks that by saying he is sorry and he loves me that that’s it and I will take him back. I don’t yet know what to do but the sorry and I love you are empty words. Many people here say their spouse stepped up to the plate how long did that take? What did they do? Starting to think he really doesn’t want to come back and that’s fine. Any thoughts out there?

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
id 8703585
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 3:50 AM on Saturday, December 11th, 2021

Devaststed63:

Sounds like your WH is hoping by saying sorry and going on with life he can rugsweep the whole A. But your trust has been shattered and your world turned upside down. You need to see actions and not just words. If you need details demand a timeline with details of his A. If you leave it up to him he will minimize and delay. I gave you a book recommendation in an earlier post. This would be an excellent time for him to read.

I’m glad you are in IC. Keep it up. Get stronger for you. He should be transparent and willing to answer you4 questions and anger. Always value yourself. Your WH went to great lengths to communicate with his AP for two years, he needs to be willing to expend the sam effort to try and rebuild his M. Feeling guilt or shame is no excuse. It takes both humility and courage to be honest with you about his actions and motivations. Right now he is not displaying either one. Good luck. You will get through this.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 3171   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8703598
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 Devasated63 (original poster new member #79637) posted at 3:34 PM on Saturday, December 11th, 2021

Thanks again for the advice. I think the book is an excellent idea but not sure I want ask him to read until and unless he comes to me and asks what he can do or does something to indicate there is something more he wants to do than say I’m sorry. Maybe I’m wrong? But he’s the one that left the marriage if he truly wants to come back and try and fix things it’s up to him to make the first move. But is that the right way to think? I’m still just so confused and hurt and angry. When I think of some other behaviors over the past few years they seem to be very narcissistic and that just doesn’t fix itself and I’m starting to think I really don’t want to live in that kind of environment anymore.

posts: 13   ·   registered: Nov. 29th, 2021
id 8703663
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