BeachRockGirl (original poster new member #80296) posted at 11:17 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022
So... over a decade married. 42 and no kids; planned fertility treatments. D-day was 4/21. But the AP/COW says he had told her about other women in the past. He only admitted to this AP and to one emotional affair (over 2+ years). He knows I know about "more" and that I needed a complete disclosure yesterday. But I told him if he needs to talk to his individual counselor 1st, or write a letter, to do that. No more partial revelations. Took him too long to admit to actual sex (once)... meanwhile I have to take time off life to call his AP and find out. Fun stuff. He gaslit me into not asking so much, into letting him spend all the time he wanted with his friends; really, he bullied me into "believing" him, for years.
He's not living here now. Now, he wants to make it right; he realized what he coudl lose (me, I hope, not just the house); he wants to put together the happy marriage and family package I've been asking for, for years. But until he is 100% honest, I don't want to think about all that. It feels manipulative. - It's also hard because hypothetically, AP could have her own motives for making up some additional stories... to look better, to prove it is not really her fault, to get him back, whatever. But... I think I know there is more to it. In counseling, faced with this request, he nodded and took notes. I am just waiting. To be fair that was two days ago and he is between individual counselors.
I am beginning to hate couples' counselors. I thought we should go to one of our pastors, who is a couples' counselors, just to check in. Though he was mainly directive at my WH, it felt strange to me too. Why the implicit assumption that the marriage itself needed fixing, on both sides? It did, but I have been trying to fix my side for years, bending over backwards. Why assume that he has to live at home so I can monitor him and make sure he doesn't get into trouble? Why not start with the fact that he has to prove himself? I don't owe him anything right now. Anything I offer is a gift. And I am not suffering under the illusion that the AP is better in some way (thanks in part to the forums here). I'm just ticked that I don't yet see 100% real contrition.
In the meantime I do not want to tell my family. I don't think it will help, and in case we do get back together, that would make it even harder. But that means family gatherings. Two this week. I am cranky, distracted, exhausted, depressed, behind at work. WH is trying to be helpful with physical things (car engine light), is there for any appointment I make, comes when I call, has offered to clean the house; he cries, he is grieved and bewildered at how he could have done this. But I just want him to read the book (How to help...) and to write me his letter. I want freedom to feel the anger and know exactly what it is about. To give him a demand list that doesn't have to be amended later.
Not entirely sure what my question is. But sympathy and advice are welcome.
The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:17 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
If this were a "one time" affair I think you would look at things differently.
But he’s had more than 2 affairs and he has a serious problem.
I think you are doing the right thing here. Take it from a veteran of two affairs - if you don’t get control in your marriage and start to put yourself first then he will continue to treat you like a doormat and potentially cheat again.
He may be good for awhile until he feels he’s out of the doghouse - then he will revert back into his lying cheating ways.
Now is the time for YOU to stand up and demand what you want, what you need to heal and what you expect him to do.
Then sit back and watch. If he stops doing ANY of the things your request, then he’s really not committed to fully reconciling, making amends and committing to you and the marriage.
[This message edited by The1stWife at 12:18 AM, Friday, May 6th]
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.
beauchateaux ( member #57201) posted at 1:33 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
has offered to clean the house; he cries, he is grieved and bewildered at how he could have done this.
I swear, I don't know if it's comforting or tragic that it's the same old story, every single time. I've been reading and posting on these boards for years now, and this sentence could easily be a cut-and-paste from ten thousand other posts. They all do this - the blubbering, the crying, the begging, the 'oh, honey, let me make dinner tonight to try and make up for the severe psychological and emotional abuse I've put you through while I was chasing tail behind your back and blaming you for it'.
This isn't to say these emotions of his aren't 'real', it's just that they're probably not coming from the right place for R. "I don't understand how I could have done this" - even that sentiment is still focused on him, not you. He's crying because he's afraid of paying the piper - now that there are real consequences and he's about to lose what he has, he gives you the waterworks. Not wanting to lose your life together on the surface sounds encouraging but honestly? The tears are STILL for himself, and not because he has empathy for your pain. ESPECIALLY if he's still not giving you the full truth.
He needs to give you the full truth and do whatever it takes to save the marriage. He needs to do this of his OWN accord, and not because he's prodded and pushed to do it by you or a counselor (and I mean REAL work, that is uncomfortable and emotionally raw - not cleaning the dang house). You cannot address problems in the marriage until the cheating has been addressed, and you should not under any circumstances take ANY blame for his choices on that front. His cheating is NOT your fault.
Start there, but make him no promises. PS - they ALL say it was 'just once'. Most of the time that's minimizing bullcrap, and it means he's still trying to avoid facing consequences and STILL gaslighting you. Unacceptable, and if that's the case there can be no R. I'm so sorry this happened to you and has been happening to you for so long. You sound strong and awesome though - you'll get through this, I promise! Keep posting!
I edit pretty much every post because I always hit submit and then think of 'one more thing' to say.
ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 1:59 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
I am beginning to hate couples' counselors. I thought we should go to one of our pastors, who is a couples' counselors, just to check in. Though he was mainly directive at my WH, it felt strange to me too. Why the implicit assumption that the marriage itself needed fixing, on both sides?
Marriage counselors are there to treat the marriage, but marriages don't cheat. People do. And it seems like most MC's have been trained on the "unmet needs" model of therapy, which pretty much infantilizes the cheater when we're dealing with adultery. I am NOT a fan, as you might surmise. There's more if you can stand it on my profile, just click the little person in the upper right hand corner of this post.
Your better bet, if you want to try MC at all this early, is to interview first and really ask them if they feel like cheating is a marital problem or a character problem. And don't be afraid to put off MC altogether if you want. It's better IMHO, to not go at all than to have some yahoo validate your WS's excuses.
[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 2:00 AM, Friday, May 6th]
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.
HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:04 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
Never call the OW,and ask her anything about your husband. It gives her power,and a window into your relationship.
Tell him he has to write a complete timeline,then a polygraph will be a requirement for attempting reconciliation.
gmc94 ( Guide #62810) posted at 2:58 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
Just wanna echo all of the above.
Also, if you’ve been reading here, I assume you’ve seen the "basics" of:
- get a FULL panel STD test asap- no matter what your WS says about condoms, etc
- see an attorney (or three) to get a sense of what D looks like (doesn’t mean you are filing, just learning)
- do what you can to eat, drink, sleep, exercise, etc.
I think it’s important to get the anger out of our bodies. Personally, I sucked at HOW I went on that front (basically threw it all at my WH… not that he didn’t "deserve" it, but it was WAY too much and I still sometimes struggle with my own shame at who I was during that time) Today, I have a virtual reality game that includes kicking and punching things- which is a twofer for exercise and anger purging.
How do YOU feel about your WS attending family functions with you? He CAN be "busy" and unable to come. I really regret all the "couples" stuff i did in the first months after dday, including a long-planned family vacation that devolved quickly into my entire family knowing everything (which likely could have been avoided had I just gone stag and said my WH was "busy")
And I sure as heck got the same stuff beauchateaux describes. It really IS amazing how similar they all can be.
Anyhow, sending support. You are not alone, and welcome to the best "club" no one wants to join
M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived
It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies
pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 3:43 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
Mine did the same. Gaslighting is the worst!!!!!!!!!
Crying, trying to do things. Amazing to watch. Oh boy do they haaaate getting caught. Now their tricks are exposed. You sit there and recall all the times you thought something was off and they always had some handy thing to confuse you again. It was this it was that you never and what about that time....the excuses come like falling leaves.
He's got a pattern. I watched mine for a time after. Pretty soon he was back texting her and they met up a few times as well. I know you want kids but can you trust him at all? There's been so many pregnant ladies here crying that their guy is running around while they drive themselves to the doctors. These man babies can't be counted on to be there in the tough times. Stress comes and they run for their fun. It looks to me that he's fine with saying whatever to placate you and then he does what he likes. There's no respect. No gratitude. A father who puts his kids mom in danger of a disease is not a good father. It's a crushing blow for you. We want to believe they will have a breakthrough but those are slim odds. He's chasing excitement not stability. Don't be fooled by his fine words like I was. Right after d day I naievely thought he was on my side. Nope. Watching and waiting for the heat to die down. They were a team strategizing against me and I was dumb enough to still believe his lies. Don't believe a word.
Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.
Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 5:35 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
I'm sorry that he's done this to you. Nobody deserves to be treated that way.
What Hellfire said. Make him write out a full timeline to whatever level of detail you are comfortable with. Tell him that you will give him written follow-up questions that he will also have to answer in writing.
Everyone should know exactly what they are agreeing to forgive, or at least accept, if they are going to R.
Me: 60, BS -- Her: 59, FWS -- Dday: 11/15/03 -- Married 37 yrs -- Reconciled
BeachRockGirl (original poster new member #80296) posted at 6:30 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
Thank you everyone. I am new to this style of forum and not quite sure how (logistically) to post individual replies to each of you. I do feel comforted reading your words!
Question: Is there a short list of simple accountability tools you all can point me to? What is the best way to know you are seeing everything on a phone, and on a computer? Drawing up my list of boundaries/demands...
Question 2: is a post-nup prior to reconciliation, a good idea?
The good: 1) He reached out to find a really good counselor today and to verify with me that I liked them. I do, from the description; covers all the bases of expertise and perspective. 2) He really seems to be telling his friends the truth, relying on the stable and supportive friends we both like, and willing to leave behind his less healthy friends to make new ones. 3) He is reading the book tonight (finally). 4) While it is true that many of his words are coming from a place of shock and self-protection, I do also hear empathy and grief for me. I'm just not ready to trust him with most of my emotions yet. 5) Because I have developed a kind of texting alliance with the husband of the AP, we can have a reasonable degree of certainty that the (short, and awkward) affair is over. 6) The guilt in the affair was immediate and vomit-inducing so that he had to leave the place (corroborated independently). I hope I am not deceiving myself that the immediate guilt was actually a good sign, even if it didn't drive him to speak. 7) I am doing (for me) a pretty good job of putting my own needs first here... though I need to stay alert to that goal. 8) He understands that I don't owe him a decision anytime soon. He seems grateful for a chance. 9) Not really about him, but I'm so thankful for the fact that I was in another city, with a friend who has actually been through this before, when I found out.
The bad: 1) Until I know everything about the alleged past events with others, I can't heal, trust, or make a real plan. So that sucks. But I'd rather wait a few days than deal with his (potential) panic attacks and gradual revelations. The polygraph idea is good, if alarming! How private is a polygraph? 2) If it's as bad as it could be, he needs a lot of help, and more than the usual amount of recovery. 3) Yeah, hanging out with my family is kind of a weird move right now. One birthday down, one holiday party at my house to go. No easy way out of that unfortunately. After this weekend I will say we need a real break until we get to the whole entire truth - which had better come within a week at most (just to give him one chance to work out his fear with his new therapist - if it will mean I get the whole truth at once, not in pieces). 4) It's such a shock to find out what a good liar he is.
Children: Rather than full IVF, I will do egg retrievals. If he can change, we may have a chance. If not, I will not have spent what may be my last months of potential fertility waiting to find out.
Contacting the AP: I agree with the advice that this should not normally be done. But I don't regret it. I knew enough of where she was mentally (via 3rd party), to be somewhat confident and direct and unemotional in reaching out. I think it worked out well for all; she felt better having been honest. The window into our relationship showed that I am a real person, even a kind one, and the marriage is real; my WH's behavior hadn't led her to take it seriously. She too is sorry, disillusioned, and more motivated to accept that it's over.
Thank you so much for the encouragement and good advice.
The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 6:50 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
I have a post nup. It was written by an attorney and excluded all my assets from being included in any D settlement for any reason.. For any reason is important - if you decide two years from now you just cannot get past the fact he cheated, then your Assets are excluded and protected.
If you put in the post nup a reference to "divorce b/c of cheating" and he hasn’t recently cheated, that could be open to interpretation and it could negate the post nup.
Regarding accountability and things the cheater should/could do after discovery day (Dday): I took a very different approach here than others. Most people will tell the cheating spouse/partner to do X and Y and Z.
I refused to do that. Mostly b/c I planned to D my H. Because during his affair he kept demanding a D and kicking me to the curb to be with the OW.
So I offered no help or support in his efforts to Reconcile (R). He was on his own. I felt he had enough brain cells to cheat, so he can figure out how to make amends and repair the damage on his own.
Somehow some way he figured it out and we are happily reconciled. Was it easy? No. Was it hell? Absolutely. Every day for one year I still planned to D him. But he hung in there and if we had a setback, he would just pick himself up and start over.
My standing my ground was a game changer in our marriage. I am no longer a doormat. And my H knows he has no more chances.
[This message edited by The1stWife at 6:52 AM, Friday, May 6th]
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.
BeachRockGirl (original poster new member #80296) posted at 7:13 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
The1stwife, that is a really good strategy. I feel that way too, that it is or at least really ought to be HIS responsibility to prove himself to me. This isn't my battle.
But I wonder.... if he's not willing to do what that would take, better to know now, and not waste my time...
And I don't 100% trust myself not to be charmed into little concessions, trying to make HIM feel better at some point in the future. I need a list for my own sanity.
So I might include:
- Findmyphone turned on
- No apps with disappearing messages (snapchat etc)
- Phone carrier account password
- Venmo password
- Social media passwords
- phone passwords
- nothing in the company of only females
The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 7:27 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
My H did all of those things in his own. I never asked for any of it. He just volunteered it.
Just know if they want to cheat - they will.
A secret app can be added to a phone. Lunchtime meet ups at work can happen. Leaving work for a "meeting" is possible too.
The point is the cheater now has to prove commitment to the marriage and the family and the betrayed spouse.
Do the words match the actions? Does the cheater say one thing and do another? If so, that’s a 🚩.
Does the cheater give up trying after a few months? If so, 🚩. The cheater most likely was doing just enough to get the betrayed spouse off their back.
I have a test for cheaters. Ask the cheater to randomly borrow their phone. Like "hey my phone died can I borrow yours?" If they get defensive or refuse to allow it, you know exactly what’s up and where you stand.
We’ve been reconciled 8 years. My H doesn’t guard his phone and I can use it anytime. Not that I do. But it’s the fact that I can that makes a difference.
I hope this helps you.
[This message edited by The1stWife at 7:28 AM, Friday, May 6th]
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.
standinghere ( member #34689) posted at 9:43 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
They all do this - the blubbering, the crying, the begging, the 'oh, honey, let me make dinner tonight to try and make up for the severe psychological and emotional abuse I've put you through while I was chasing tail behind your back and blaming you for it'.
Just yeah, the standard "I got caught response", and when you see true remorse it looks really different.
BH - Me - Late 30's (now late 50’s)
WW - Her - Late 30's (now late 50’s)
Her - Love of my life...still is.
Reconciled - Partly...she can't get over it.
Her - Thunderstruck by what she did.
morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 11:13 AM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
So... over a decade married. 42 and no kids; planned fertility treatments. D-day was 4/21...He only admitted to this AP and to one emotional affair (over 2+ years)...Took him too long to admit to actual sex (once)...He gaslit me into not asking so much, into letting him spend all the time he wanted with his friends; really, he bullied me into "believing" him, for years.
This is an emotionally abusive relationship. DO tell your family. You need their support. Abused partners are often isolated and that makes them more likely to accept the abuse. I know you don't want to get a divorce, that you want your husband to change from a manipulative, bullying serial cheater into a faithful, loving and caring husband, but you aren't a magician. The only healthy way to deal with an abusive partner is to leave him.
[This message edited by morningglory at 11:24 AM, Friday, May 6th]
BeachRockGirl (original poster new member #80296) posted at 3:07 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
Yes, it was emotional abuse.
I have dear friends who are supporting me really well. My parents are older and a bit fragile and would need my support if they knew. I don’t have that in me right now. If I make a decision to divorce I will loop them in as needed. But I am not in a hurry on that… Right now I need to nail down what remorse would and wouldn’t look like in this situation… and change… so I can evaluate it.
I will get a new individual counselor next week to start processing that.
Of course a part of me wants this to work out magically. But I am standing back to see.
BeachRockGirl (original poster new member #80296) posted at 3:10 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
What does true remorse and contrition looks like, to you?
sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:31 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
What does true remorse and contrition looks like, to you?
There are 2 threads I'll point you to:
I also suggest reading the 'bull's eye' threads towards the bottom of the 2nd page in this (JFO) forum.
I have a much different view from morningglory's. An A does not necessarily make the whole relationship abusive, although it helps some people to view the A as abusive. Not telling the family is a common strategy that works, and you know better than we do what will work for you. You are after all getting support from good friends, which is not common for people beaten down by abuse. You may be leading yourself down the garden path, but this soon after d-day, you seem to have a very solid understanding of what's going on, assuming '4/21' was a few weeks ago, not a year ago.
I suggest NOT "Just Frieds" as reading for both of you.
Also, what are you doing about the feelings - the grief, anger, fear, and shame - that come with being betrayed? A good IC can help, you, too.
Why go forward with a baby now? Are you prepared to be a single mom? (That's a real question, not a rhetorical one, that you have to answer for yourself.) It'll be a big adjustment, and your H has proved himself to be unreliable. He's more set in his ways that he was 15 years ago; incorporating a 3rd person into his life is probably harder than it would have been then - and it's never easy.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 3:49 PM, Friday, May 6th]
fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.
BeachRockGirl (original poster new member #80296) posted at 4:42 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022
Thank you. I do see gaslighting as a form of emotional abuse, especially as it twists reality to the point I lost confidence, walked on eggshells. But fortunately it all snapped into focus when the unthinkable happened. So I am recovering who I am. That is why I’m starting with an IC next week. Our old couples counselor has been helpful to me, actually - because she was as shocked as I was - but infidelity is not her specialty. I think possibly if she were less trusting some of this (the recent stuff anyway) could have been avoided. But she’s had my back since.
I’m doing egg freezing to preserve what’s left of my fertility without reference to who will be the father. If we divorce I may never have a child. But if later I meet the right person and want to try, even at 45 or 46 - I would be angry at myself for either giving up on my dream too quickly or pinning it irrevocably to my WH by making embryos. (Natural conception is unlikely.)
I do not exactly want to be a single mom, definitely not with a donor (after reading up on adult donor perspectives), but at some point if we really reconcile I will likely decide to also take that risk (the risk of divorce after children).
I can’t say I’m processing the feelings so well all the time. I’m lost in space too often, in bed too much, not sleeping enough. I don’t know everything. I’m too likely to slip into feeling sorry for WS (ha!) and give him a little hug or small encouragement. (He’s not asking… but it’s so unusual to see him this sad and quiet. I know I ought to be more stoic until he can tell me everything and I can know wth I’m being asked to forgive. Yet I haven’t wanted to press that point until family gathering week is over.)
Yes, D-Day was 4/21/22. I think some of the emotions just haven’t hit yet.
Thank you. I feel like I am really strangely clear-sighted right now… in contrast to the last few years. But I don’t want to have too much confidence and miss something.
Fof9303 ( member #70433) posted at 12:52 AM on Saturday, May 7th, 2022
So sorry that you are in this in between stage of figuring things out. I think that may have been the hardest part for me after the initial pain wore off.. figuring out whether to separate or reconcile. After having been in counseling, I know why they want him to be in the house and living at home with you. It is because the more distance between you two, the harder it is to reconcile. It is easier to do when under the same roof. With that being said, I had my husband leave too. I felt as if I could not breathe the same air. We did counseling too and all the other things, read books.. etc.. etc.. We met with our pastor too. All these years later after going through those difficult seasons and painful experiences, I know it was not wasted. I believe God can make all broken things beautiful and can somehow use your story one day to help others. But right now take care of yourself.. don't worry about making a decision right now... just take it day by day and see if can get his act together. God Bless.
ShockedAndShattered ( new member #79685) posted at 1:11 AM on Saturday, May 7th, 2022
I am so sorry you are going through this. Sometimes the trickle truth and gaslighting feel worse than the actual discovery. Just as you're starting to reconcile one thing, you find out another and it goes on and on. It just prolongs the BS's suffering and it's cruel. I have been dealing with that for the past 7 months and it doesn't get easier. I agree with the other posters who suggest a polygraph. Willingness to take one would say a lot but also, once you know, you can make an informed decision, based on fact and not just on what he wants you to know. Wishing you all the best.
BS(me):42 WH:43 Married 3 years @ 1st DD
DDay 1- 9/11/2021 EA 5+ yrs & lies TT
DDay 2- 9/23/2021 EA 2+ years & lies TT
DDay 3- 10/17/2021 EAs 1.5 yrs/5+ yrs
DDay 4- 04/11/2022 Confirmed PA w/1 EA
Currently in R