Well, I finally got to Dday 3.
Let me start with a little intro. Hello all, so HAPPY (sarcasm) to be a member of the club LOL. Forgive me if I sound off, but it's been less than an hour since I got the truth (starting out) and I'm still reeling.
My husband (41m) and I (32f) have been married for five years and together for seven. We have no children of our own, but we co-parent his daughter from his previous marriage together. WH's XW has her own mental issues (NOT excusing him and his issues AT ALL though) and XW lost custody during the divorce (but kept her basic parental rights.) XW has not had consistent contact with their daughter since before I was in the picture, and stopped contacting her altogether before WH and I were even married. (WH and XW were already married and divorced before WH moved to my state.) Our daughter asked me on her own to call me Mom, and I agreed. For all intents and purposes for the duration of our marriage I have been and will always be "Mom." Unfortunately though I have no actual legal rights to her other than through my marriage to WH - which unfortunately adds complications to my relationship with my WH because, for all intents and purposes, he has all the real, legal rights.
Anyway, Dday 1, 12/4/21, was discovering that my WH had been messaging random users on Reddit; under the guise that WH and I were looking for a "third" in our relationship.
I had seen him messaging someone about two months before, and got a chance to peek at his phone while he was sleeping. The Reddit messages were deleted but still visible, so I confronted him. He denied it at first, but finally admitted upon seeing the evidence that he saw it as a form of porn and he wouldn't do it again. He cried and apologized. I told him forget that; "I'm downloading your Facebook history." He agreed, and I went on Facebook and requested the file.
I specifically went after WH's Facebook after the Reddit discovery because during our discussion of those messages he received a Facebook Messenger message from his ex (no, not XW.) This ex had been a point of contention earlier on in our relationship (when I first had my suspicions about her) because he's had the same Facebook for years, and I found messages predating our relationship where he talked about fantasizing about HER being the biological mother of our daughter. Up until that point he had insisted that they were "just friends" (I know y'all have heard THAT one before LOL), but when I pointed out that old message that I had found he admitted she had been his girlfriend at one point but said she cheated on him (right in front of him or so he still says), and that now they were honestly "just friends." He apologized, but I remember him being somewhat annoyed at the time, and I didn't realize at the time that that message was sent AFTER the dating / cheating incident between WH and his at-the-time ex. I have had jealousy issues in the past though (WH is my second relationship EVER - late bloomer - and eventually found out after my first BF dumped me that he had an exit affair) and I was afraid of projecting that onto his supposedly healthy friendships, so at the time I let it go. I shouldn't have.
Anyway, back to the 12/4 message; no words, but two emojis. I won't mention them exactly (paranoid) but they were suspicious. I confronted him; asked him what exactly that was supposed to be code for. He feined ignorance; said he didn't know why she would be messaging him at all, let alone messaging the "odd" emojis. I dropped it that night but was obviously suspicious, and this ex - let's call her N - was immediately back on my radar. (At this point, I hadn't heard her name in a long time - she lives in a different state, so not unusual. Or so I thought.)
So I got the data downloaded and started going through it two days later; the problem with Facebook is that to pick past a certain date, you have to request ALL of the info - and he's had his Facebook since before I was even in the picture. I started using what free time I had to comb through EVERYTHING; but my WH was injured on the job before we were even married and has been fighting for disability ever since - I have been the sole supporter of our family for our entire marriage and free time is hard to come by. Honestly I wonder if I wasn't treating it with the intensity and alarm I should've been; I think that even with the signs then, even knowing the mental issues we both entered our relationship with, that I didn't believe he would actually do something of this magnitude.
I'll point out; I think that one of the biggest causes for WH and my more-frequent-after-marriage fights is rooted (at least, from his side) in his depression and other negative feelings over the loss of his full mobility. He's not wheelchair bound, and manages to hold down the fort when I'm at work, but his leg gets in the way of him feeling useful and it gets to him. I think he feels emasculated because I support our family, and he was always the working man that took care of his family. Our marriage, when he became the SAHD, changed. (I was finishing classes to get my Associates at the time.) I remember some details (I think I've done too much "rugsweeping" in my time) about fighting with him when his injury issues started that I specifically felt like he was putting a "wall" between us since the beginning (before the injury - we've both always had mental issues) but even more so since he had been injured. I'd gotten him IC at the time (I could barely afford it - worked the job I met him at initially and we barely could make ends meet) but it didn't seem to make any real change; and I pointed that out too before he stopped going to IC when we were forced to downsize. I remember telling him with how cold he was that I sometimes wondered if he even loved me at all or was just using me and had married me because of my already-close relationship I had with our daughter and the fact that he was afraid I would abandon him financially if we weren't together. I told him that even if he didn't love me, that he was my best friend and the father of my daughter, and I wasn't the type of person who could do something like that. He would cry then and appologize; insisting he loved me and begging I stay not just as a friend but as his wife; that he couldn't stand the idea of me with anyone else and even if I did leave he wouldn't want anyone but me (for the rest of his life...*sigh*.) I eventually was able to find two jobs (55+ hr workweeks, not counting transportation and transmission time) that paid more than the job we initially shared (that's how we met - through work); and we stopped fighting as much - we didn't really have the time as I was never home. I didn't bring up the possibility of splitting romantically again, but I remember still fighting about how I was feeling unappreciated for the effort I was putting in to get us in a bigger home and on more stable financial footing. Most of my time was spent working (my relationship wasn't the greatest with our daughter at that point for the same reason) but I felt hurt that I would come home late and that he would be waiting up for me with dinner... but would constantly complain. The living space was too small; he didn't know how many more days he could stand going "stir crazy" stuck in that little space (the mental issues I mentioned have prevented him from driving since we met so without a driver he's home-bound.) I would point out how I was trying to find a better job in my field (just the one low-wage and one minimum-wage job then) and that while I also appreciated his contributions to helping the household (ex: always making dinner) I didn't like feeling attacked any time I was home. I know our daughter heard it too; at least sometimes (because of the small space) and I think it was his resentment that caused her to resent me, too, at the time. (In all honesty I haven't even gotten over blaming myself for that one.)
I finally did get into a job that utilized my degree, and we got into a bigger place (a 2-bedroom trailer) that I actually bought from my landlord just as the pandemic hit. There were still resentments though, even after the new job and move. It also didn't help that during the 55+ hr weeks I lost a significant amount of weight - quickly. (I would only eat when I was home from work.) I'm quite saggy now and still dealing with self-esteem issues from it; not helped by the continuing feeling (even in the new house) of distance. WH and I have made small steps of progress in terms of us (or so I thought) with how supportive he was when I explained not long after the move that I felt ugly and unwanted (unless he wanted to be intimate) and needed him to spend time romancing me; close the distance between us emotionally so I could have some confidence to help him work on our physical distance. He cried and appologized for making me feel used and asked me to be patient with him, that he was trying to change and get over his issues to fully let me in. Well, before Dday 1, anyway.
I finally found something on Dday 2; 12/17/21. I found him mentioning to a male friend in a Facebook message a shared female friend (I'll call her B) that he had talked to on the phone that they both knew only through Facebook. Never having recalled him even mention her, I looked up WH and B's messages and most were gone, but a few were remaining, including one of her calling him a pet name. I confronted him and he denied everything, initially saying "she calls everyone that" (well, first was "No she didn't!" and then I pointed it out to him...guess he didn't notice the first time around) and even suggested I contact the male friend to confirm. (I immediately called bull; and pointed out that because the friend mentioned going NC with B in the messages pretty quickly because the friend himself said B was toxic that the friend prolly didn't know the full story, and as for the pet name for everyone, why wasn't she using it for other males in her response comments on posts? WH got real quiet after that...) He finally admitted that they had talked a few times through messenger and once on the phone (then changed it to twice once I pointed out that he mentioned at least two phone calls to his male friend) but said it was "nothing inappropriate" and he only deleted it 'cause he got scared of how I would react.
I gave him the patience of a saint that night (his words from today) despite his old claims - that I have heard many times before - that he had "forgoten" details / people and didn't MEAN to lie; I told him that I wouldn't demand the full truth from him now, but pointed out that he had yet to admit to ANYthing - all the truth I DID have was from "pulling teeth", as my Grandma used to put it, or putting two and two together. If he wanted me to even CONSIDER R, he had to at least admit that he had messaged (and subsequently deleted) inappropriate messages to females during our relationship, to which he finally just said "yes" (after I left him alone for awhile to think.) I had already visited this forum and a few Reddits at that point, and directed him to the Reddits, this forum, and to two books: Not "Just Friends" and "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair." I told him I would give him time to read Not "Just Friends" but that afterwards he needed to start writing up a timeline and a picture for me of the type of communication with B, and with every other woman he may have had an affair with (I was still suspecting N that night, but he would neither confirm nor deny it.)
He acted sorry; suggesting he just block N and all the women he was in contact with from his past now (red flag - but most of his old female friends are either exes or old flames; red flag in itself) so that he could prove he was realizing that he messed up. He also initially pushed marriage counseling (thanks to everyone here for the heads-up about this one) but I pointed out that while I didn't claim to be a perfect spouse, even when I was unhappy I didn't go out and cheat - HE had. I told him he was to block NO ONE on ANYTHING during this time (was hoping one of his OW would reach out and I might catch it this time) and he agreed; swearing he would visit the communities, read the books, and get me a timeline (aka come clean.)
He started by creating a whole new Facebook that he said he wanted to do immediately as a sign of his "changed ways" and stupidly I believed him (he has to have a Facebook to keep himself in contact with his XW - she doesn't always have a phone number) since we had discussed getting a new one when I discussed getting him a new phone number on the night of Dday 2.
He also informed me that he had started reading "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair." I hesitated to point out anything immediately, not wanting to discourage his apparent desire to engage with me, but eventually pointed out to him that, to me, it seemed as if he was still trying to "rugsweep" the problem. I also reminded him that I was still without the full picture (I read him the letter linked in some of the communities about missing the whole picture - can't remember the name; Someone's Letter perhaps?) and while I was being as patient as I could, I was living in purgatory, in the dark, lost. I pointed out that I had already mentioned on Dday 2 that I wanted to give him the chance to read Not "Just Friends" before he wrote his confession / timeline, and him starting on the other was just running away. He appologized (as he always does) and told me he would start reading it so he could get his timeline finished.
I had complete access to his phone as I always had since the days of initial suspicion of N (no need to hide what you don't keep) during this almost month of purgatory hell, and we fought again after I found he had her blocked on Facebook after I had specifically requested him not to block ANYONE and he cried and appologized again; insisting he didn't remember doing it. I pointed out again that while I appreciated that he did appear to be showing some true remorse, that I was still waiting for him to read Not "Just Friends" so I could find out the depth of the affairs (because even without the details, I have operated under the assumption that him and N were having an EA - in his defense, after Dday 2, he would just stay silent instead of denying it) and that I already knew I was waiting for Dday 3. More assurances that he was working on it.
The night before last I had had it; since Dday 2 I've been struggling to even get through the work day (no one has said anything, but I feel like my quality of work has slipped significantly) and I have been keeping an eye on N's social media page since Dday 1. I forgot to mention, but between Dday 1 and Dday 2 (when I going through the old Facebook data) I was already on N's social media (hoping to find / receive proof) and she put up information hinting that her husband was either leaving her for or had cheated on her with another woman - timeline-wise, it wasn't that long after the two emojis she sent my WH. Subtle, hidden communication perhaps?
Anyway, as I said I had had it while waiting for a Dday 3 I KNEW was LOOMING, and while I had started reading Not "Just Friends" myself I hadn't gotten very far - but with his more ample time, three weeks to read less than fifty pages of a book didn't seem to add up to me for someone that was actually putting in the effort - even accounting for him initially starting the other book AND the fact that I read quicker than him in general anyway.
I gave up my free time that evening, and I just spent it making progress on Not "Just Friends". I surpassed him, and when we were getting ready for bed I pointed that out to him. Pointed out that I had gotten further in one evening than he had since Dday 2, even accounting for slower reading times and the wrong book, and that I felt like he wasn't really trying - and pointed out more bluntly that I didn't even know what he and N had done.
I tried to act cold and uncaring, and honestly by this point in the purgatory process I was feeling very numb, which made it easier.
Finally today, as we were discussing Not "Just Friends", N came up and he mentioned the past cheating she did to him and how he'd been really examining their relationship while finally catching up (and actually surpassing) where I was in the book. I ended up playing my usual role of emotional support for him, and he started crying and mentioned feeling guilty that I was being his support when everything he has read said he as the WH should be being supportive now. I was kind, but I pointed out if he really wanted to be supportive he would tell me what he could remember about his EAs and he got quiet. Finally with that I decided to text him some questions, asking some specific things (regarding N to start), and I finally have the basic truth thanks to his responses.
Yes to flirtatious communication. Yes to sexual communication. Yes to recieving pictures; no pictures sent and no videos incoming or outgoing. Yes to talking about our marriage (including negatively.) Yes to talking about me (including negatively.) Yes to discussing our daughter, but swears that it was only in passing, never solicited or unsolicited parenting advice. No to ever speaking of feelings or love. No PA (which I figured anyway considering the distance and his transportation issues.) Never discussed future / plans if caught / anything. And no to his mother knowing about the EA (though considering she would talk about how N was the 'one that got away' multiple times before and after our marriage I still have to wonder.) An on/off 7yr EA that has been going on since BEFORE WE WERE MARRIED. Our entire relationship. I feel both numb and devastated.
He also finally admitted that it WAS her and him talking when he initially got caught hiding the messages that got me suspicious and lead to the first Reddit snooping aka Dday 1 - he said he hadn't talked to her inappropriately since the pandemic, but pointed out that the initial message that got me suspicious was them 'just talking'. He also admitted, though, that with the ironically-timed Dday 1 message he knew immediately her sending those emojis was her trying to "get him to 'be naughty.'" ...just typing that makes me want to hurl.
He even admitted that he had been flirty with B, and swears that it never went sexual, even in their talk. She (unlike N, who is older - closer to his age) was actually younger than me, and considering one of the phone calls (according WH's convo with his friend) was her trying to get my WH to give her money, I have an easier time believing that it didn't go past flirting with B. But I also found out, after I looked at his phone when our texting was done, that he blocked N on another social media too. I had noticed her as a friend on that service after Dday 2 with the new Facebook, and he unfriended her but didn't block her (at my request.) I checked it again on the night that we fought about N's Facebook becoming blocked, just to be sure that it was still unblocked - and I KNOW it was. Meaning he reblocked her on this social media after I forced him to unblock her on Facebook for the SECOND TIME. How am I supposed to R with that?
I flat out accused him of protecting N at that point - which he immediately denied. Said N didn't even cross his mind (in regards to the blocking - and the new Facebook, which I also accused may have been his way of warning her in regards to the OBS/OBH and her own married EA status) but the whole thing he confided in me right before this confession involved him talking about how he's already started writing her an angry letter for the way she's just used him all these years as a plaything. How can I think anything other than even after Dday 1 AND Dday 2 that he still loved this woman, N, and was actively protecting her, the OW, from me, the BW? It has taken me hours thus far to write this (I'm so sorry for the length) and I've calmed from the initial shock, but I just feel...defeated.
I've always loved this man, my WH, but even more than that I love my daughter. I told him point-blank after Dday 2 that if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't even be CONSIDERING R at this point. My daughter and I were able to repair our relationship pretty quickly once Mom got the cool new job that came with a move / space upgrade (and more time home now, too!) I wanted to make this work for her since my only (legal) connection to her is from my marriage to WH, but I just...don't know how I can do this. I suspected that he was having an EA with N, but for 7yrs? Our ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP?
I don't want him sending her that letter; honestly, I started (initially) writing this post to stop my temptation to contact her myself. Tell her off. Ask if she can verify his story. Pretend to be him and she what I can get her to say. Maybe even just skip N entirely and try to find the OBS' contact info. But then I think of WH's feelings for her, that I still feel like I can't fully understand...and I deflate.
Once again, I'm very sorry for my long post, and I hope that it was clear enough to follow...I reread it a few times and took a long time to write and edit it, but even I can see its a jumbled mess. Probably because I'm just a mess; I'm supposed to go back to work tomorrow and I can't even decide if I should finally stop wearing my ring. I feel so FAKE wearing it, but I haven't told anyone - not even my one friend (no joke / pity party; just the truth) and I'm not sure I can handle the attention it may draw at work...or with more thought, my daughter. She's pretty smart, and she does know we have been having fights lately (she saw the Dday 1 aftermath - my swollen-from-crying eyes - and heard some of the crying of Dday 2) and I'm afraid she'd notice right away. But I don't know how to broach it with her, or if I even should.
Any advice or insights about any of this would be greatly appreciated; as I said earlier, I (and my life) are a mess lol. (Please feel free to ask questions on anything I was confusing / unclear on.)
TLDR; Dday 3 discovered a recent 4mo EA and an on/off 7yr EA spanning the entirety of the relationship. Was?/Is? considering reconciliation for (step - legally)daughter. BW looking for advice / insights for their mess of a life / relationship with their WH.