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Reconciliation :
Will happiness find me?

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 Notenoughx4 (original poster new member #80449) posted at 7:30 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

My husband and I have been married for 18 years. We have two children ages 6 and 10. We’ve always had what I would consider a good marriage until I found out he was cheating on me five years ago. I found out through viewing Verizon call logs and seeing hours and hours of phone conversations between him and another woman. After discovering this one woman, it was also revealed there had been one before her as well. Five years ago we went through counseling and both we’re committed to staying together.
For the past five years, I thought we had a better marriage. I thought we were happy, and I thought he would never do it again. I had just gotten to the point where I was less guarded with him and much of the sadness had lifted.
Two months ago, I found out that my husband had two "Internet girlfriends" These were women that he didn’t know, but had "met" through social media (Twitter). He was spending hours a day texting with them. I’ve been able to read all of the conversations with one of the women through an app called discord. They communicated on discord and all of the conversations were archived. My husband would talk with this woman obsessively. Basically all day while he was at work and for three or four hours each night after I had gone to sleep. He spent a lot of time telling her how wonderful she was. He would call her his Queen and they agreed that they were cosmically connected.
When I first found out, he told me that she was just his friend. After going through all of their conversations and just the sheer amount of time they spent talking to one another I knew that wasn’t the case, or at least it wasn’t a friendship that I would ever be OK with. After pointing out some of the words that they said to one another he finally relented and said yes he agreed that it was inappropriate.
After the first time he cheated on me, I promised myself I would never let him hurt me that much again. And even though he never spent any physical time with these "Internet girlfriends", this betrayal seems to hurt worse. It hurts worse because he witnessed how broken I was the first time, yet he did it again anyway.
Though I thought that him cheating again would be the breaking point, reconciliation seems to be the least damaging for our family at this point. My children are happy and healthy. They live in a very stable household. My husband and I do not argue in front of our children, nor do they have any idea there are troubles in our marriage. They would be devastated if we were to separate or divorce. My husband and I are both teachers. With our two incomes, we make a decent living. However, we would both struggle financially if we were single. My husband says he loves me and that he will never do anything to hurt me again. He says he will do whatever it takes to make me happy.
My big stumbling block is that I’m not sure if I can be happy now. I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him enough to let my guard down and feel joy. Imagining anything tender or affectionate from him brings tears to my eyes. I am so consumed with sadness all the time. My husband is saying and doing all of the things to try and reconcile. However, he did the same after the first time and still sought out someone else.
I just don’t know how to move forward. Will I ever be happy again or will I remain sad, weak, and pathetic forever?

I’m so sorry many of you are going through this and I thank you for listening to my story!

posts: 2   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2022
id 8745923
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 8:25 PM on Friday, July 22nd, 2022

You say he is doing everything to try to reconcile. What exactly does that look like? Exactly what work is he doing on himself to become a safe partner?

He is a serial cheater. He's promised before that he wouldn't do it again. And,yet,he did. His words mean nothing. What action is he taking?

The very minimum he should be doing..

Answering all of your questions, without anger and defensiveness.

Being completely honest at all times.

Std testing.

Complete transparency. You get full access to all of his accounts,phone, computers, etc. Passwords included.

He goes NC with all of the women. And you inform their husbands.

He is accountable for his time away from you.

That's the minimum. And it has nothing to do with the work he needs to do on himself.

posts: 4495   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8745931
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 12:57 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

My husband says he loves me and that he will never do anything to hurt me again. He says he will do whatever it takes to make me happy.

He said that last time. It is a routine cheater line when they're caught and when they don't want to lose their lifestyle. Right now he's got it made, living a two income lifestyle with a devoted wife caring for his home and kids, while he gets emotional and possibly sexual fulfillment (you don't know it wasn't physical) from multiple women of his choice on the side. That's called cake eating and your husband has a plateful.

Gently, he's a serial cheater, and those are very unlikely to reform. He's had affair after affair, calling another woman his "queen". barf You caught him once 5 years ago and tried reconciliation and it didn't work. He fake apologized and went right back at it. Given this track record it is extremely unlikely that he will genuinely change, become faithful and loving. Also, he sounds deeply immature, talking about a "cosmic connection" with a random other woman he chats with rolleyes Either immature, or he's cynically manipulating the woman to maintain her interest in him. Either way it only adds to how unlikely it is for him to decide to stoically own up to his faults and genuinely reform and take responsibility for his life.

You want to stay together to maintain your lifestyle, and to avoid disrupting the kids' lives. Understandable, but realize that desire of yours is not going to keep him faithful, so you will be risking STDs the whole time you are intimate with him. Is having two incomes really worth getting vaginal warts or herpes? And there is always the possibility that he will eventually leave you for one of his "queens". Or that you will rugsweep now only to find another affair 10 years from now. How will you feel then? Your kids will be grown, so less worry about them, but you'll also be older, which will make it harder to move on. I don't recommend you give any more of your youth to this man.

I'm not saying this to hurt you, but to point out the reality of your situation. I recommend at least consulting with an attorney and possibly a financial planner to learn what your options really would be in case of divorce, so you aren't operating from a fear of the unknown. If you could manage to keep the house, it would be very helpful, and that's probably possible.

will I remain sad, weak, and pathetic forever?

Stop putting yourself down. You're sad for a good reason: you've been betrayed by the person who pledged to always care for you and remain faithful. You're not pathetic, you're traumatized. You get strong by doing hard things and not giving up. It's like working out at the gym. It gets easier the more you do it. When you stop clinging to him, you'll find yourself getting stronger. Btw I'm also a teacher and a mother and I am now making it on my own. You can make it, too.

I suggest you read Cheating in a Nutshell by Tamara and Wayne Mitchell.

[This message edited by morningglory at 8:29 PM, Saturday, July 23rd]

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8746003
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LIYA13 ( member #62026) posted at 5:12 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Its absutely horrible to read what youre going through. I do agree with what the others on here have said. Unfortunately he is a seriel cheater and most likely you will continue to be the victim in this. He cant and wont be faithful to you. He is 'broken' and you will not be able to 'fix' him. He hasnt learnt from his past events and it seems like he will continue these events in the future. His promises mean nothing. He's seen you at the weaknest moment and when youve hit rock bottom and he continues to hurt you. Clearly he has no feelings. Hes selfish. You havent healed from his past affairs and hes continued to drag you down. You need to put a stand to this. A marriage of convenience will continue to hurt you and only you. He will continue to fantasize about other women and he will continue to emotional cheat with 'queens'. He has no self control. Every time he is on the laptop or every time you go to bed you will wondet who he is talking to. Social media and all these chat apps make it so easy to meet people around the world.

I am a teacher too. I completely understand when you say you will struggle with one salary and with children especially giving them the best life. Even if you were to seperate he will have a reaponsibility to his children and he will need to continue to pay for them. Please dont continue to put yourself through the misery for the sake of stability and convenience. Doesnt your happiness matter? Yes it does. You deserve more than this kind of disloyalty and distrust. He cannot give you what you want which is that simple...happiness. So go out there and find your own happiness. You deserve more than this!

posts: 151   ·   registered: Dec. 29th, 2017   ·   location: United Kingdom
id 8746023
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 5:42 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Let’s break this down.

Your CH loves you.

But he loves himself more. Because his selfish needs are always met b/c he comes first. Not you. Not your marriage. Not your family. But his need for EAs with random women who provide the ego boost and validation he so desperately needs.

You know you cannot get him to stop unless he decides to stop. Unless he commits to changing. Until he makes that decision, you will face this again and again.

However you can protect yourself. Because one day you may decide it’s too much. Maybe it turns physical. Maybe it’s the 10th time and you are tired of the disrespect. Maybe your kids are older and you have had enough!!!!

Have an exit strategy. Your own $. Your own retirement. Your own future planned out just in case.

As a requirement for R I demanded a post nup. And my H signed it. I am financially protected so I walk away with my assets intact and not part of a divorce.

I don’t know what it will take to get your H to stop, but I know that telling my H I was D him (and I was) was enough to get him to wake up. And stop his continued need for the ego boost.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 5:43 PM, Saturday, July 23rd]

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12308   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8746027
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Knitaknee ( new member #71772) posted at 7:13 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Will I ever be happy again or will I remain sad, weak, and pathetic forever?

The heart of this question is with your current husband. 5 years after DDay 1 you caught him cheating again. This is only what you FOUND, no telling if there are others IRL. Will you be happy again while with HIM? The reality is you are with someone who doesn't have your back, isn't concerned with your feelings, will always put himself first. That is not a good husband or father. That isn't a likely source for happiness.

You'll get the psychobabble claptrap about you being responsible for your own happiness, but it is hard to achieve while sleeping with the enemy.

Your decision doesn't have to be today but begin to imagine your life without him. Try to get a few moments away for yourself, doing something for you (not cheating though). If you find yourself happier (or at least at peace and not sad), you may have your answer, then you put into action a plan to get there.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Oct. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Alabama
id 8746031
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 8:13 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

I am also a teacher with two children, in a home that is stable (but based on two incomes) and with a marriage where we do not fight in front of them. I understand what you’re likely looking at financially, and how and why it looks like the best option to reconcile.

But I think it’s very unlikely that you will be happy in this marriage. He’s a serial cheater. He knew the stakes and embarked on the behavior again. You can’t trust him. And even if he doesn’t cheat again, you have to live with the hurt he inflicted and the sense that the axe might fall again any time.

That doesn’t mean you have to divorce him here and now. But the previous poster who suggested a financial planner or attorney is on point. Don’t assume that you can’t forge a life on your income alone. Figure out what that would entail, and have a plan in place. My husband had an affair. One major step I took afterwards was to make a practical plan for a life without him. It would be a much more financially constrained life. I’d have to work past 65, live in a small place, and always be careful with money. But it’s possible. I haven’t had to use the plan, but it’s there if he cheats again or if we don’t work out. At very least, make a plan. It feels empowering to figure it out and wrap your head around it.

My second piece of advice is to read Living and Loving After Betrayal, by Stephen stosny. It turns the focus on yourself and on how to build a fulfilling, productive life. It was also a happiness builder for me.

I’m so sorry this has happened to you. Take care of yourself.

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month emotional and physical affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020 (soft evidence followed by a month of lies). DD2: 7/3/2020 (hard evidence, truth, started reconciliation journey).

posts: 190   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8746043
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BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 8:49 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

Your happiness is your responsibility . Your WS absolutely threw a grenade into your happiness yet again- what an asshole.
But where you go from here is up to you. You do not have to D. But you if you don’t, you do have to figure out how to accept that you are married to a serial cheater. You will have to detach enough to realize that you must make your own happiness. And know that it will take YEARS to get trust back even if he is the poster child for a remorseful WS. It just takes a lot longer than any of us want. So don’t feel badly if you are not "healed" in a few months.

Have a plan. See a lawyer and understand what D would look like. Start building a Plan B. Maybe it involves a different career or different school or a move into management or a higher degree- whatever. Understand what child support looks. Removing the fear of the unknown will give you power and allow you to feel more secure. Understand what spousal support might look like where you live if it is an option.

See an IC and understand why you are okay with this and if you really can accept an M with your H, assuming he does not change. Because you cannot change him and he has shown you repeatedly that he has no intention of changing.(And why should he? He has had minimal consequences for his previous actions. He is having his cake and eating it too. ) Now maybe he will change. But he has to do that 100% on his own and you can’t bank on that.

Decide what ACTIONS he needs to take to start to rebuild any trust. 100% transparency, IC for him, NC with all AP, no social media or gaming or texting apps, etc. Allthat time spent focusing on the AP? That needs to be redirected to the family. He can SAY whatever — you should just hear blah blah blah. Look at his actions over time to show you if he is serious about changing himself.

Also, do you really think your kids don’t feel that you are not happy? Do you think they are not clueing into that? Sure you put on a happy face, but please don’t underestimate children’s intelligence. Two happy homes may be healthier for them than one unhappy home with a pleasant facade. An IC can you help think through that. Again, maybe you will be okay with your M and be happy — but if you are not, then your kids will learn that is what an M looks like and will see that as the model for relationships. I know you really want the very best for your children. But is sacrificing happiness and authenticity and honesty if your WS doesn’t do the work really better?

Take your time to decide— nothing has to be decided today. This shit sucks and it can take time to get to where you make the decisions you need to be happy. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. You are the prize here— never forget that.

And please remember you are not weak or pathetic. You are a kind loving person who trusted your WS and wants a loving stable family unit for your kids. This is admirable. But now you need to not blindly trust; you need to set boundaries and requirements then work on yourself and your healing while watching him and seeing if he truly is committed to changing. Hang in there - however this ends up, you will be okay. (((Hugs)))

Me: BS 55 (49 on d-day)Him: WH. 64. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 4886   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8746046
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PSTI ( member #53103) posted at 9:44 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

I just wanted to chime in to say that happiness doesn't "find" you. That's not how it works, and it denies your agency.

You find happiness. The actions you choose are what determines your long term happiness.

So, what actions are you taking to create happiness? It doesn't sound like the ones you're choosing now are giving you that. If you want to be happy, you have to build it for yourself.

Does that sound risky, or like a lot of work or uncertainty? Sure. But when compared to a lifetime of unhappiness, it's cheap at the price.

Me: BW, my xH left me & DS after a 14 year marriage for the AP in 2014.

Happily remarried and in an open/polyamorous relationship. DH (married 4 years) & DBF (dating 3 years). Cohabitating happily all together!! <3

posts: 835   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2016
id 8746054
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 10:52 PM on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022

My husband is saying and doing all of the things to try and reconcile. However, he did the same after the first time and still sought out someone else.
I just don’t know how to move forward. Will I ever be happy again or will I remain sad, weak, and pathetic forever?

Some people do stay together for the children. Typically, it's not a "happy" situation, but it can be tolerable if expectations are managed. For instance, I would have to do something like that as a roommate situation in which I had my own personal space and sex would not be part of the bargain. I couldn't bear for an unremorseful cheater to touch me, particularly not in any intimate kind of way. Your mileage may vary on that. The bottom line though is that some people do manage to make it work long enough to get the kids launched.

That's not to say that your WH is incapable of REAL change, but it's not looking good that he didn't manage to learn anything from last time. He's comfortable with your pain. He has observed what it looks like and he's okay with it. He's got two sets of standards for behavior, one for you and one for him, and he's okay with that too. So, I don't see how you can be happy in a relationship with a person who has so little regard for you and so much for himself unless he makes real and lasting changes this time.

That will most likely require A LOT of therapy. His promises aren't good enough. Cheating is about character and your WH doesn't have any. That's a hard thing for a person to admit to himself, that his character is shitty and without appropriate boundaries or empathy. It's a total tear-down to get to the root of that kind of entitlement. It requires painful and humbling introspection as well as the kind of self-honesty which is unheard of in your garden-variety cheater. These people are typically emotional vampires using everyone in their reach, and they have to learn to cope with life without stuffing PEOPLE into the cracks of their angst and insecurity.

So, is he willing to roll up his sleeves and go to work?.. or is he just flapping his gums at you again and saying what he thinks you want to hear? Obviously, everything he said last time ended up being bullshit, so what's he willing to DO to earn his way back?

Like I said earlier, there's always the roommate option, but if you want to be happy, I think he's going to either have to actually make real changes or you're going to want to kick him to the curb. Eighteen years is a long time, but it's less than half the time I've spent with my WS, so you really do have plenty of life ahead to make a change even if it doesn't seem that way from your current POV. You're younger than you'll ever be again, and too young to settle for less than you deserve.

I'm sorry you needed us, but glad you're here. Have faith that you're going to be okay.

((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: 5750   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8746059
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 Notenoughx4 (original poster new member #80449) posted at 1:12 AM on Sunday, July 31st, 2022

Thank you all for taking the time to share your advice and thoughts. I feel so broken right now and I’m not sure what decisions to make, but you all have given me lots to think about. The encouragement is very much appreciated.

posts: 2   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2022
id 8747798
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 9:28 AM on Sunday, July 31st, 2022

I am willing to bet that many of the above responses were very hard to read.

That is because life can be brutal, and truths can be difficult to hear. Unfortunately, those brutal truths often do not make things easier.

Can your husband change? Sure, he can. There are many reformed waywards on this site alone.
Will your husband change? Nobody, not even he, knows the answer to that.....yet.

The million dollar question is what are YOU going to do? You have options, but none of them are what you wish for. Your wish(es) may come true in the future, but what is really important is for you to understand that YOU are responsible for what happens in the future. If you choose to try to reconcile with your husband, that is YOUR CHOICE. He may have given you some crappy options, but regardless, it is your decision, right now, in whatever you choose. What if he does it again? The cheating is on him, but it is on you for giving him another chance.

You can choose to separate/divorce. Again, a choice that you didn't want to entertain, but still a viable option. It will financially impact you; it will affect your children. WHAT effects they will have are still unknown, but to dismiss this option for these reasons are again YOUR choice. It sucks that your husband has forced you to look at these possibilities, and he is responsible for most of it. But to deny your own agency will only work against you.

You are stronger than you think. The sooner that you make decisions from a position of than as opposed to weakness, the sooner that you will get through this mess....and thrive once again.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4051   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8747808
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 9:40 AM on Sunday, July 31st, 2022

I am willing to bet that many of the above responses were very hard to read.

That is because life can be brutal, and truths can be difficult to hear. Unfortunately, those brutal truths often do not make things easier.

Can your husband change? Sure, he can. There are many reformed waywards on this site alone.
Will your husband change? Nobody, not even he, knows the answer to that.....yet.

The million dollar question is what are YOU going to do? You have options, but none of them are what you wish for. Your wish(es) may come true in the future, but what is really important is for you to understand that YOU are responsible for what happens in the future. If you choose to try to reconcile with your husband, that is YOUR CHOICE. He may have given you some crappy options, but regardless, it is your decision, right now, in whatever you choose. What if he does it again? The cheating is on him, but it is on you for giving him another chance.

You can choose to separate/divorce. Again, a choice that you didn't want to entertain, but still a viable option. It will financially impact you; it will affect your children. WHAT effects they will have are still unknown, but to dismiss this option for these reasons are again YOUR choice. It sucks that your husband has forced you to look at these possibilities, and he is responsible for most of it. But to deny your own agency will only work against you.

You are stronger than you think. The sooner that you make decisions from a position of than as opposed to weakness, the sooner that you will get through this mess....and thrive once again.

After the first time he cheated on me, I promised myself I would never let him hurt me that much again.

This is something that we often tell ourselves to make us feel better/stronger. "No way will my partner ever hurt me like this again. I will NEVER go through this again." But yet, here we are. That's the hard part about being vulnerable---it allows one to get hurt deeply. The opposite of this is to become closed-off and bitter--that way NOTHING gets to hurt you. But what did you gain by not allowing yourself to be hurt? The narrative that we SHOULD have been telling ourselves after our initial betrayal....if we chose reconciliation....is that we CHOSE to give our partner another chance, and if we get hurt again, that was a possibility we were willing to accept.

Otherwise, we take away OUR accountability in life.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4051   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8747809
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 12:48 PM on Sunday, July 31st, 2022

NotEnough, I was glad to see you post again. I’ve been wondering how you were. I am so sorry you are experiencing this. Please take care of yourself. I know what it feels like to face the looming school year soon after DDay. Wishing you peace and strength as you get through these difficult days.

You ARE enough, sweetie. Your husband may be too broken and dysfunctional to see that, but it’s true nonetheless.

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month emotional and physical affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020 (soft evidence followed by a month of lies). DD2: 7/3/2020 (hard evidence, truth, started reconciliation journey).

posts: 190   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8747813
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Omnipicus ( new member #79316) posted at 2:39 AM on Monday, August 8th, 2022

Your happiness is your responsibility.

BearlyBreathing hit the nail on the head here.

Happiness is up to you and can only be attained through you

Please remember that^. The moment you start relying on your partner for happiness is when you become codependent which is a dangerous place to be.

Find happiness in yourself. What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies? Take time to do that!

You can do it!

posts: 35   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2021
id 8748642
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