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Newest Member: Stark

Just Found Out :
H is a complete stranger with a second life.

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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 1:55 AM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

I loved him so much. I can't believe he has thrown that love away. I just want to call a time out from this and bury my face in his chest and have him comfort me.

I really relate to that.

Among all of the difficult and treacherous challenges a betrayed spouse faces, one of the most difficult is that the person you have most relied on and trusted to lean on in difficult times is now the person you can trust the least. They are the source of the pain.

Line up an individual counselor and cast a wider net of support among friends and family if you possibly can. You need people who truly have your best interests at heart.

[This message edited by BreakingBad at 3:50 AM, Monday, August 29th]

"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: 227   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8752756
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Viciouspink ( new member #74432) posted at 2:17 AM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

I empathize with your story, as I went through stonewalling with my ex husband and his numerous affairs, once they came to light.

You sound very well put together and intelligent, and I will tell you not to rule out manipulation tactics on your end to get any and all info you may need from him. In my situation, that was the only thing that worked - all the way through the divorce.

Sending you good thoughts.

posts: 4   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2020
id 8752761
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 2:39 AM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

I've also gotten his plea for help, and here he is very generous with his words! He suddenly has a lot to say, wants to rehash his family of origin issues, and he wants draw a line between those issues and his inability to address "hard subjects" with me. He's essentially blaming his childhood for not being able to tell me ... what? That he has had mistresses and sex partners and sex workers? That he's not monogamous in his heart and never has been? And I am to help him become better at telling me about his sex workers? So far the request for help is nonspecific but I can tell he is gearing up for a very huge pity party for himself.

You know, I remember this part well, the duality of feelings where I could either step back and look at my WH's adultery clinically or I could feel the emotional agony of his betrayal. Guess which one was more comfortable?

It's easy to fall into a compassionate stance because compassion is something we are accustomed to extending to our spouse. We are inured to seek their comfort and to ease their burdens. But the pot hole here is deeper than that. When we fall into the trap of analyzing and fixing, the energy belying that is the desire to regain control. It's as simple as that. We want to be able to right the ship and get it back on track. The problem is that this is just about the worst betrayal you can experience and it tracks all the way back to your reflexive fear of abandonment at birth. It's the reason a baby cries when she can't find her mother. It's devastating. We NEED to understand, to fix, to save, because if we simply allow the pain, it feels like it will overwhelm us and tear down everything we know and everything we had.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but a little head bob is NOT even close to what this guy owes you right now. He has defrauded you of years of your life, years that you can never get back, and instead of thinking about how this affects you, instead of walking the proverbial mile and empathizing with your pain, he's turtled up into his own selfish little shell. It's okay to feel angry about that. Your anger is going to come whether you try to stave it off right now or not. What he did was fundamentally unjust and YOU are a human animal. Anger is nature's way of protecting you. Grief will have it's way and anger is part of that process. You don't have to go screaming out to put an attorney on retainer, but you should consider the merit of putting YOURSELF first from here on out. It frankly doesn't matter how your WH feels. That's his problem, and it's actually a step in the right direction for HIM to figure that out and then to give you the REAL explanation you deserve.

I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but you really WILL be okay. Know that this upheaval, as bad as it is, is temporary. Give some thought to making him EARN your compassion.

((hugs))

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 2:40 AM, Monday, August 29th]

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: 5966   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8752765
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 2:59 AM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

The stages of grief are not linear so you sound as if you are in the bargaining stage. Everyone does that. It is the horrible reality you are hiding from and we all understand it. Reality is too much right now. You will have The1stwife, Tushnurse, Camomiletea, and many others to help you through this. In fact there is a cohort of bs who should write a book. Let them be your support team. I have never read one bad suggestion from any of them.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8752768
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kiwilee ( member #10426) posted at 3:51 AM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Wow there is a wealth of helpful information/insight in this thread. The advice here is golden and true.

Your story has really stirred up a lot for many. I too found myself unable to comprehend that the cheating/lying/deceptive husband could not be the same husband I shared a life and kids with for many years. And especially when they are so charming, "good" in the soul, everyone loves them type of person.

You, however are quickly moving in the "right direction." You are able to be somewhat detached and also asking powerful questions. Yes you are in shock, but from this point of view, you are handling things with impressive ability!! You referenced feeling as if you were looking down on yourself during the confrontation, keep using that. I don't know if you are spiritual, but it seems as if a force is helping to guide you.

It is sooo hard to truly accept what they have done and who they truly are while making sense of the life you created together. I for one, have buried my head in the sand for many years. This is not the answer. Keep being bold, courageous, truth seeking. Do not stop- keep facing it as hard as it is, I promise you this is the best path. There are so many on here who went through false reconciliation (me included). You are a truth seeker and inspiration to me!

Kudos to you for staying open and applying the advice you received here. One foot in front of the other. Your instincts/intuition are sharp and dead on. Keep listening to your gut- You will know what to do in time.

All the best!

posts: 561   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2006
id 8752774
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 1:59 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Sigyn, I'm so sorry how this continues to unfold, especially that your WH cannot open up to you in any way, offer you any comfort or think beyond himself to see what you are going through.

I'm not sure if this will help, but at my first Dday, my husband came home to me from a trip (with the OW I learned a YEAR later) to comfort me and assure me that this was a discreet, long over "mistake" and he was mine and mine alone and we were going to grow old together, he loved only me, blah blah blah. I went from numb to clinging to him for comfort. Given a do over, I would have pushed him away, because that comfort only served to manipulate and ultimately confuse me more. It wasn't comfort, it was damage control, a slick attempt to keep the marriage/family box intact, and a selfish need to keep me with him and under control. As time went on, his patience for comfort grew thin, and he became very impatient with my inability to get over it, and blamed my personality and brain for continuing to harp on the past. He was truly incapable of normal human response, but it took me way to long to understand how he works. Five years downstream, I understand the mechanics, but it doesn't make it any easier to be the love of someone's life when they don't actually have the ability to love or attach like most of us do. Knowing is small comfort.

You don't have much to work with here it seems, and for that I am very sorry. I hope you can stay strong and continue to shore up your defenses against your very damaged and selfish spouse. The nausea and stress is awful, especially in the early stages. I lived on protein fruit smoothies and cereal and dropped over 30 pounds. Focus on hydration and keep walking. Do you have a dog? Taking mine for walks was a great distraction. I visited every park and nature trail for miles and tried to soak in the beauty of the landscape and tried and failed to not think about my train wreck of a marriage. So much of what gave me joy before discovery felt tainted and worthless in the aftermath and it's been a journey to rediscover them and to find new interests to fulfill me.

You will probably find yourself consumed with rehashing what you know and reading online about infidelity recovery and the psychology of cheaters and like me, you may fill notebooks, book shelves and a hard drive with it all. But the answers you seek are really already inside of you, they are about you, not your troubled relationship with a damaged person. That's why your other touchstones of family, friend and community will be so important as you move through this. Staying grounded is the best gift you can give yourself besides the basics of sleep, food and water. Take care and reach out anytime you get overwhelmed or need to vent.

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

posts: 436   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8752807
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 2:28 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

You are doing amazing. Keep up that work.
Remember no matter how many time he claims to be the victim that you are the real victim here.

Keep telling yourself that you did nothing to cause this, and whatever his sick excuses are they are just that Excuses. Not reality. The reality is he chose to do what he did of his own free will repeatedly. Put you, your health, and the health of your children at risk.
Try to embrace the anger that comes with that, and use it to move forward to help yourself.

You got this. You will come out of this stronger, and more fierce than you can imagine.

Lastly if you are struggling to eat get yourself some protein shakes, Fairlife, or Muscle Milk and get a couple of those down a day, this will help prevent your brain from starving, keep your thinking more clear, and prevent massive hair loss in a few months.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 22 & 25
Married for 30 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19534   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8752812
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 3:14 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Aside from the coming home from a trip with the OW on D-Day1 - I could have written this:

I'm not sure if this will help, but at my first Dday, my husband came home to me from a trip (with the OW I learned a YEAR later) to comfort me and assure me that this was a discreet, long over "mistake" and he was mine and mine alone and we were going to grow old together, he loved only me, blah blah blah. I went from numb to clinging to him for comfort. Given a do over, I would have pushed him away, because that comfort only served to manipulate and ultimately confuse me more. It wasn't comfort, it was damage control, a slick attempt to keep the marriage/family box intact, and a selfish need to keep me with him and under control. As time went on, his patience for comfort grew thin, and he became very impatient with my inability to get over it, and blamed my personality and brain for continuing to harp on the past. He was truly incapable of normal human response, but it took me way to long to understand how he works. Five years downstream, I understand the mechanics, but it doesn't make it any easier to be the love of someone's life when they don't actually have the ability to love or attach like most of us do. Knowing is small comfort.

STONEWALLING IS ABUSE. My blood boils now when I hear of someone else going through that particularly selfish form of manipulation. If someone wants to stonewall then the best thing you can do for you is to walk away and leave then (which is just about when my WH decided to stop the stonewalling). The stakes have to be high enough for them to decide to talk - for some that never happens and for others it does - but I can tell you the stonewalling will likely not stop no matter how long you "talk at" him - in fact my WH now admits it usually made him want to dig in deeper and eventually he could just tune me out all together (imagine that level of compartmentalization!) My WH, much like the quote above, at first seems sorrowful and loving and sad and upset and all of it - but he tired of that quickly and became frustrated - all because he had no intention of changing his life, and eventually I became an annoyance because I could not get over it and he wanted me to leave (and then he didn't - but that is another story). Point being the stonewalling never really ended completely until his back really was against the wall - until that point it was his go-to response when things veered into territory he did not want to discuss.

I'm sorry that happened to you and my concern about it happening to you was in reading your story it reminded me (in some ways) just like my WH's behavior and manipulation. It never occurred to me at that time that my WH's inability to discuss what had happened (and more importantly what was going on inside of his head) related to his inability to admit these things to himself/consider his own flaws but it's decidedly true.

In relation to your situation the head-bob and all the rest of your WH's action/inaction tells all the story you will need (I know it seems like you need to know more details - but you really don't - not to make the decisions you need to make): he has shown you who he is now. The only decision you need to concern yourself with is what you want to do with this newly discovered person?

I know it's not that easy in practice - in fact there is just about nothing harder for me (see my signature line) - but the sooner you get to that point the better for YOU, and at this point YOU have to be the main focus. This too shall pass (really it will and when I was in your position I could not imagine it passing). The good news is that you will be able to draw from this strength when other travesties happen in your life - you will get through this!

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 3:24 PM, Monday, August 29th]

"Sometimes you're going to have to let one person go a thousand different times, a thousand different ways, and there’s nothing pathetic or abnormal about that. You are human." - Heidi Priebe

posts: 1888   ·   registered: Jul. 11th, 2018
id 8752816
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 5:06 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Sigyn,

It's brutal. There is no other way to say it, words fail to capture how painful and devastating this situation is. It truly is amazing how you have handled this. Small comfort to you at this point but your actions so far are taking you faster to healing. Not fast enough for your broken heart but any other options you deployed would have detoured you off the healing path for however long you wandered off.

Healing at this point is measured in inches. Excruciatingly slow inches. Let's address your current overwhelming pain (I am uninterested in your WS's pain). What do you think you can do to manage that without relying on your WS right now? Some suggestions:

Keep him in the garage. The sight of him triggers you at this point never mind the new hurts of seeing him fail to honor you.

See that attorney. I know you will but I wanted to reinforce that positive step. Knowledge is power. Action helps us feel less helpless.

Implement the 180 as best you can. You can read about it in the healing library.

Lean on your support group. You need to get this pain out and they are there to help. You also need love and comfort and they can provide that for you. Widen this group if you need to. Best friend, mother, clergy, whatever is available to you.

Consider IC. A professional safe space can be invaluable in helping you work through your grief.

Radical self care. You know who you can count on? You. It's sad but true: we all come into this world alone and we leave it alone. Others can support and assist but you have the power to heal and grow and protect yourself from further harm.

How would you comfort one of your children who was devastated by a life event? Do that for you. Take space and rest when you need it. Indulge in pleasure and comfort like it's your job. Every day. Think constantly, what do I need right now? A talk? A hug? My favorite tea? Shopping? Exercise? Anything that brings you a tiny, tiny amount of relief and pleasure. Every time you give your mind and body even the smallest of breaks, your strength grows. Feeling strong is an antidote to pain.

I've been here awhile. I've seen betrayeds who could not commit to reconciliation until they were healed and strong enough to do that work. I've seen betrayeds who could not file for divorce until they were strong enough to admit that was the only option left for them. I've seen betrayeds commit to reconciliation only to find that once their full strength returned, they evaluated things differently and wanted a divorce. I've seen BSs file immediately and after healing, decide they want to put their family back together. The key? The BS has to heal and find their strength. What will or won't happen in your marriage is unknowable and beyond your control at this point. You can control your health and healing. I have total faith in your ability to heal. You may find that once there, you don't want what you think you want. Either way, you will be strong enough to make it happen.

You're amazing. Keep going.

posts: 249   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8752831
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 7:01 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

I'm reading every word you're all writing and appreciate it so much, partly because you don't even know me but have so much insight and clarity - two things I totally lack right now - and you're so willing to share it. And then also because all of your combined experience makes me feel more in control. Like I have one solid thing under my feet. Because I think at this point cobbling together what I know of my H and what others with similar experiences have said, I think I know more of what is happening inside him than he's willing to even see in himself. I don't know why I keep pushing to hear him confirm what I already suspect, but I cannot imagine actually walking away from this without hearing something solid from him. I can't STAND that thought, it just makes me want to crawl out of my skin. Do they get to just... walk away, without ever having to be honest or to soul search? He can just keep his head buried and pat himself on the back because he managed to never say anything? And that's how 17 years of my life, my marriage ends? It just can't be that way, that tears me up inside. It's like he died, and all of his reasons, justifications, thoughts, secrets died with him. I don't know how to heal with him or without him without more than this.

All he's done is tell me more about his issues with communication. He can't talk about hard things, he has a mental block with discussing his own mistakes, shame and weaknesses, he buries difficult subjects, he blames others for bringing up things that are bothering them even when he's bothered by the exact same things and then he benefits from the fact that they're now out in the open and can be worked on. All of this is what's he's been choking out like it's killing him and it's nothing I don't already know! Why is this coming up NOW??

He's essentially saying he gets whatever fun he gets out of decades of infidelity, the satisfaction of secrecy and avoidance, the thrill of keeping going until I somehow discover him, then he gets the satisfaction of blaming me for discovering and bringing it up, and so now I am supposed to pull the details and the WHY out of him where he can then feel relieved that it's "all our on the table" so I can navigate a solution to fix it??

That's what the path forward is supposed to look like for me? I get to be his mother, therapist and facilitator?

Just writing this now I'm realizing this is nothing but a misdirection AGAIN. I'm furious about the injustice of THIS - his fucked up patterns that I already know all about - instead of the realities of him having sex with multiple women over decades, paying for sex with escorts and traveling with other women on work trips, "solo" trips and even trips to see his family. Inviting women into my bedroom at least over video. Sending actual pictures of our son to other women!! Telling other women he was in love with them! Writing to strangers on the internet about how he cheats successfully. How he lies, steals, plots and plans and executes sex trips. And calls it his "lifestyle"!

Whoever wrote that his development was arrested in preschool was right, and that I'm treading water focusing on all of the wrong things because the reality is just too painful to look at is also right. Saving him and helping him would feel like I'm in control and have the capacity to fix this but it would be massive self harm, for me. It would actively kill something in me to focus on his needs to avoid my own. I just don't know what to do right now.

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8752844
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 7:33 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Sigyn,
You're still learning who your WH is, and maybe he is too. Mine risked everything by continuing to lie, thinking he could do what he wants. Yours is risking everything be even refusing to admit or discuss to what he has done. Until he can give you a written timeline and seek counseling to understand how he could obliterate your trust and cast your marriage aside for cheap sex, there's not much you can say to him. Mine couldn't break free of the entanglement, but I was dealing with one main gf and occasional attempts for find new ones, but once I got her gone, and we moved away, his head got a little unscrewed. He can't say why he did what he did because he doesn't know. "I wasn't thinking, you give me too much credit" are some of the filters he saw his indiscretions through, but at least I got most of the details admitted to. You're being given nothing to work with honesty wise, no empathy and you're supposed to be helping him? It's so insane and more so that he can't even see it. The delusion or the charade is real perhaps. And maybe this family and personality stuff you already knew is coming up now because he's flailing and this is all he can come up with. Clearly he is flailing. Don't let him drown you both.

You owe him nothing but your time as wife and partner to work through his betrayal if he would just come tot the table. Please don't try to be his facilitator, educator, or therapist unless you have years of this in you and don't mind crying and raging a lot. There is SO MUCH for you to be outraged about, and knowing of the further betrayal of a secret third person in my marriage cheering my kids on in their sports or saying hi to my dog makes the bile rise in my throat still. Separate compartments my ass. She was all over my life and I was clueless, and she got the funner bits of him and the intimacy and I got the laundry after the sexcapades and neverending judgements about how I raised the kids or kept the house. UGH.

But please, now, do your self a favor and recognize the inherent fixer and nurturer you seem to be and tell her to stand down, to let him deal with his own mess while you tend to a much graver injury to your heart, your self esteem and your reality. Your life is fractured and a mystery to you, but he knew all along what the truth was and what he is capable of and what he has been doing. Difficult conversations? Sure, but he needs to man up right now and do some triage on his life and his marriage and help YOU not the other way around. He's not giving you much beyond proof you need to be more afraid and more defensive and rightly consider removing him from your life. I had to remind myself and him often that I am the aggrieved party here, not him. I have the greater need and require and deserve more resources than he gets until this is a manageable life event for us both. Do the crime, then do the time if you want to keep this life. He gets that much. Yours better show you something and fast.

I'm so sorry because I know how much this hurts, and how hard the path forward, even if he did a 180 and became the model cheater. The odds do not look like they are with you, or not at this time. Tend to your trauma and try to put him and his selfish needs aside until you are stronger or until he realizes there are two of you involved here. Best to you.

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

posts: 436   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8752848
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Charity411 ( member #41033) posted at 7:53 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Something stuck with me from your very first post. Looking at it from the outside, without the gut wrenching emotions involved, I think there is another reason he is so adamant about stonewalling you. He is protecting that image he created of himself in his religious community and with your circle of friends and family. He is terrified of what you know, because he's terrified of what you can tell. As long as he has never admitted any of it, he can simply tell anyone you out him to that you are making it up. This is all about self preservation for him. While he enjoys the excitement of his sexual escapades with other women, what makes him feel good about himself in spite of it is the image he has created of himself to you and everyone who's opinions he thinks matters. He's trying to get you to show your cards first, so he can calculate what to do next to preserve his image. That is more than infuriating when you are faced with it.

I witnessed this in my sister's marriage. My sister is not an easy person to live with. She is extremely dependent on her husband and he is very co-dependent. He will let her walk all over him, to the degree that all their friends called him a saint. Then 23 years into the marriage he had an affair. It was the only time he stopped doing her bidding and ignored her. Without my sister knowing it was an affair, they went to marriage counseling and nothing worked. He wanted a divorce. She begged, cried, swore she'd do anything he wanted and nothing mattered. Then in one counseling session he was asked how he thought his relationship to family, friends and the community, that he was well liked and respected by, would look. Within 24 hours he no longer wanted a divorce, and he dropped the mistress who no one knew about. My sister only found out two years later (on their 25th anniversary) when the mistress died and her family called and wanted my brother-in-law to come to the funeral and drive them around for the whole thing. Astonishingly he went.

I'm the only person who knew about it, because we are identical twins, extremely close, live virtually next door to each other and I had been through infidelity. I held her together for several months while she dealt with the discovery and they went through counseling again. What made him flip the switch was not great love for my sister. It was the love of the image and lifestyle he created of himself that would disappear if he left her for the other woman. It was a cost benefit analysis. They remain married, and he stands on his head to please her, because it makes him feel good about himself. I however lost a lot of respect for him.

posts: 1639   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2013   ·   location: Illinois
id 8752850
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 8:19 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

I don't know why I keep pushing to hear him confirm what I already suspect, but I cannot imagine actually walking away from this without hearing something solid from him. I can't STAND that thought, it just makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

Trauma is just weird like that. Your brain can do all sorts of crazy things, connecting disparate thoughts and ideas, making you fixate on one thought or another, messing with your sense of time. It all feels crazy, but it's NORMAL. If you combine the effects of trauma with your need to control your surroundings, it just stands to reason you'd feel a sense of urgency surrounding this thought. It's not doing you good service though.

Yeah, it would be nice to get a real explanation and to hear something that makes some semblance of sense from your WH, so you could feel like there's hope or at least choices going forward. But you do understand that when he doesn't volunteer those things, that too is an answer, right? It's not that he doesn't know. He knew enough to brag online for who knows how long about what a slick cheater he was. He DOES know. He just doesn't want to say.

Ultimately, cheaters cheat because THEY WANT TO. They might have myriad reasons for wanting to, but the reasons aren't the impetus for action. He wanted to be that guy, the one with the family dynamic at home and the one who could do whatever he wanted and was too smart to get caught. That's a face he CHOSE for himself. He wasn't just walking down the sidewalk and tripped into a vagina. This wasn't a situation where boundaries were insufficient and an acquaintance or coworker slipped in under the fence. This was a lifestyle, a deliberate quest to search out potential sex partners. I understand the pain of that. My own WH went on a Craigslist binge after three decades of marriage, but it wasn't the first time I'd caught him being inappropriate with women. In that cheater's mind he has an image of the guy he wants to be, and as new BS's we think surely the guy he turned into was a mistake. But it wasn't. THAT was the guy he fantasized about being, the persona he created so he could live in the real world as that guy. You're waiting to hear that he didn't mean it, but he absolutely DID mean it.

Again, this is not to say that there's no hope of change. But that change does NOT come easy. The WS has to wake up and SEE that all those rotten things in his character which allowed him to do all those bad things make him a bad guy, not a misunderstood guy, or a guy who couldn't cope, or a guy who was damaged by his FOO, but a bad guy who needs to change. And you can't do ANY of that for him. If it's not real, you end up with the same cheater who is still capable of great perfidy. He needs to be willing to crawl over broken glass to make those changes, not be led to it while dragging his feet and demurring pathetically about communication issues and weakness. What's in it for you? What has he got to offer to you that you would want? His lies? His stonewalling? His damage? That guy needs to be scrambling to prove there's some kind of redeeming quality there. Or are you just supposed to feel lucky that he's not with a hooker right now? Is this broken, pathetic specimen the best you deserve?.. because that's what he's saying when he hangs his head and clams up. He's "the prize" here and YOU get to do all the work to fix everything he's broken. THAT is what his attitude says.

Anyway, my point is that you didn't create this mess and you can't fix it, not even if you wanted to. The idea in your head that you NEED to hear his reasoning is a natural figment of your trauma and your need to recreate normalcy in your life, but really, you don't need it. You already know what you need to know. The ball is in his court. What's he willing to DO to try and remediate his poor character? His response of "not much" isn't abnormal at this stage, but still... yours is to observe, not to lead a horse to water. He could find out in thirty minutes or less what he needs to do to get started on R if it's important to him. He didn't have any trouble finding online hookers or sex/cheating chats, did he?, And it's not like you've left him guessing as to what you want. He heard you when you told him you needed an explanation. He's just not willing to give you one.

It's hard, I know, believe me, I do.. but try to really focus on yourself and what you need. Your WH has said he needs help, but he's a grown man who chose his course along with the face he decided to wear while treading it. It will inform your own choices to stand back and watch what he does to get that help.

((hugs))

ETA: Also, I would recommend that you don't mince words with him either. Those aren't "escorts". That makes it sound like they're walking senior citizens across the street. They're prostitutes or hookers, and he's a common, skeezy "john" who pays for sex and is lucky he doesn't have a mug shot posted in the newspaper.

ETA again: Remember that your default setting is compassion. Don't let him take advantage of that. It won't serve either of you right now. The way is through, not around.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 8:39 PM, Monday, August 29th]

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: 5966   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8752852
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DidItAndAshamed ( new member #69086) posted at 8:22 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

BS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:25 PM, Monday, August 29th]

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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 8:34 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

All of what CT said, but I wanted to add that as we have moved through this process, the one thing that made my WH revert to awful the quickest is the bad person label, so I took the parenting approach and made sure I condemned the actions not the person. I tell him he is damaged and difficult and he does not disagree but I can't call him bad as a person. If he felt I was judging him as a bad person he would fight back harder and meaner every time, and when I picked that scab, some serious childhood anger came boiling up. It made no sense to me at all. So yours may have some trigger trouble in his own head, but that should not override his ability to communicate to you that he knows he is caught, and in serious trouble or any attempt to tell you how important you and his family are to him, and I don't recall he's said that to you. That's the saddest, he isn't telling you what you are worth to him, he's showing you he will let you go from stubbornness. At least I know my WH wants this life with me more than his cheating life. That is the only thing besides stupid love that has kept me here. I know how much this life and our adventures and family mean to us both and he was able to say how and why we mattered from the start. He can talk about us, just not about them.

Maybe it's time for the cruel psyops - come clean or I will out you to the family, church, community and be sure everyone knows why we are divorcing. That might unconstipate his conscience.

You deserve so much more than he is providing right now, even in his pain. He may be unsalvageable, or too paralyzed or lazy to try.

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

posts: 436   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8752854
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 8:42 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

He needs to be willing to crawl over broken glass to make those changes, not be lead to it while dragging his feet and demurring pathetically about communication issues and weakness.

This is what's currently killing me, that he isn't even willing to admit there's broken glass, much less crawl across it to get to a better version of himself. He doesn't respect me. He doesn't see me as an equal in our marriage. This is so incredibly painful.

My sister and her husband both know, now. I have the attorney appointment wednesday, which I keep thinking is tomorrow. H is now going to have dinner at his apartment from this point forward unless invited by me to the house, I just can't eat with him there.

do your self a favor and recognize the inherent fixer and nurturer you seem to be and tell her to stand down, to let him deal with his own mess while you tend to a much graver injury to your heart, your self esteem and your reality.

This is what I'm going to do now. I have to, because I'm drowning. I have my bullet points in front of me, right next to my computer to read during the day. "I can not and will not fix him. I will not be his therapist. I will not be his mother." The next thing I'm adding to it is "I will not have another conversation without an admission" because I can't listen to him cry about HIMSELF for one more minute. I can't do it, I won't do it. I'm going to tell him those words today - that I will not have another conversation that does not start with an admission by him of things he did during our marriage. Otherwise he can stay in his apartment, I can't be tortured every night waiting for dinner to be over on pins and needles to see if he'll finally tell me anything.

One way to do this is to ask questions that are based on facts, and which do not have emotional responses. For example, "What was the name of the woman you were with at X place on Y weekend?"

This is a really good point. I've been asking the emotional questions because i care more about his reasons than the details right now, but my questions have been so open ended that they're probably easier not to answer. A question like this won't be satisfying to me in the sense that I don't care about her name, but since it's a word or two and a fact, rather than a feeling, he might get that word or two out. And that might be an open door to other questions. I don't know.

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8752858
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BigMammaJamma ( member #65954) posted at 10:38 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

Sigyn, I found I had trouble because I would project my own values, empathy and good-faith onto my WH when I was trying to work through the understanding the reason for his betrayal. However, our WHs are not operating on the same internal set of guidelines as you and me. They simply do not understand the concept of loving someone else more than yourself. They do not love anyone more than themselves. All of their relationships in life are transactional. The people in their lives are all there to fill a specific purpose-- all of their relationships are superficial, and they only ever present a carefully curated façade. We cannot fathom hurting someone we love for cheap kicks and a life of deception hardly sounds appealing. I think that is where you might find yourself getting tripped up, trying to apply normal-people reasoning and values to a person like your husband.

I think that is why you should continue to minimize contact with your WH and continue detaching. It will come naturally as your brain starts to reconcile all of your memories with the actual reality. You will come to realize that you cannot save your previous marriage because your husband was an illusion. Who knows, you may possibly form a new marriage, but not with this man as he stands before you today.

Me- born in 1984
Him- born in 1979
We both have 3 kids from previous marriages and we share a four year old. I might be a BS, but at this point, I don't know if I'll ever know.

Update: As of 5/8/2020, my WH confirmed I belong in this club

posts: 241   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2018   ·   location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
id 8752872
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 10:40 PM on Monday, August 29th, 2022

I agree with CT re: reputation. At one point my WH said "Are you trying to destroy me by talking to people I know about this? You just want me to be alone and dependent on you and no one else."

I hesitate to say this but in regards to responses from him you need to realize/accept that:

1) Even if he does say something, it likely will not be the truth (in that it could be a total 100% lie, or more likely it could be a partial truth - the degree of which varies wildly). After awhile, when he finally started talking, I didn't care as much about what he said and I didn't trust him half the time anyway...and it was a process even for him - even when he decided hiding all of his thoughts and feelings was just pointless (not just for me but for him). You may find that even if he does talk it will not be the "closure" you think it will give you (in fact it will likely lead to more questions).

2) You are wanting answers that he may not have. The reality is that my cheater didn't think much about me AT ALL so anything I ask regarding how he thought I would feel, or what he thought about ME at the time, really likely was "not much at all" or even "I didn't" - but in the beginning he was deathly afraid to say that truth because it sounded SO BAD. My WH admitted later that he really didn't give me much thought at all when he was with his AP - I was, if anything, an annoyance when I called or messaged during "their" time. As I became more suspicious his dislike for me grew - your WH didn't have to deal with the suspicious/questioning phase - but he's still trying to de-escalate the whole thing, by minimizing and avoiding. The reality likely is that you were in a different box altogether - out of sight, out of mind.

3) Be prepared for angry A--H--- to show up eventually if you keep trying to talk to him long enough. At this stage he likely does not want to tell you - but what CT pointed out may rear its ugly head later on - he will protect his reputation over you/his marriage, and the more he can claim you are "crazy" and making stuff up, the better he will be able to present himself (in his own mind anyway - you have lots of proof as did I - when I finally blew it up with those he cared about his reputation was pretty low and oooooh was he mad).

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 10:41 PM, Monday, August 29th]

"Sometimes you're going to have to let one person go a thousand different times, a thousand different ways, and there’s nothing pathetic or abnormal about that. You are human." - Heidi Priebe

posts: 1888   ·   registered: Jul. 11th, 2018
id 8752873
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

I'm glad to hear your current plan involves more detachment i.e. not inviting him to dinner. Keeping yourself removed from him as much as possible.

I know dear girl you want to know why and how he could do this. You want him to fall at your feet and beg for forgiveness. He's not there. He may never be. Any answer you get from him before he is willing to own his shit, will be a lie or half truth.

I'll say this: he may have loved you the best way he knew how. But as you've learned, it is a paltry, demeaning love. It's offensive that he thought that was all you deserved.

Grow your strength. Get angry. Practice radical self care. Keep him at arms length unless he is willing to have the conversation that YOU need.

You're looking for him to validate that you meant something, that he wasn't a total sham. You did mean something. You just didn't mean enough for him to deny his other needs. You don't mean enough right now for him to deny his current needs (self preservation). A cold, painful truth that is NOT a reflection on you at all. It's a reflection on him and his inability to truly connect and commit to another human being.

This situation is BENEATH you! He's put you on the same playing field as sex workers and women who value themselves so little they will take scraps from a married man and then reach out to his wife to hurt and destroy her world. That's the world he plays in. It is beneath you. It's gross. He can stop his sniveling about it since he chose that mud pit. He complains now that you've dragged yourself out of it? No.

posts: 249   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8752884
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:23 AM on Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

I was going to share a story about a man whose behavior with males and females was so egregious but I don’t think that’s necessary.What I do think is that if you look up personality disorders your husband fits one of them or several of them. The problem is they’re too rigid in the definitions and your husband is all over the place. His issues from childhood are he gets an enormous amount of pleasure from sneaking around and keeping secrets. I’ll bet he has a halo to anybody that knows him and that included you until you found out the truth. I’m guessing some of the women he’s had affairs with think he’s absolutely wonderful. That kind of mask is scary because it’s not real.

I’m going to be pretty blunt. This man is not salvageable. He’s done this too many years. If y’all divorce he’s going to find another woman to marry and he’s going to cheat on her just like he did you. That is his modus operandi. This is not what he does it’s who he is. I repeat that it is who.he.is. If he has a personality disorder, which I am sure he does, you cannot fix them, they are as permanent as the color of his eyes.

Even though you are still drowning in pain and unhappiness and grief and despair you need to really make plans to move on because you are going to wear yourself out and into an early grave trying to fix him. I don’t think anybody can fix him

[This message edited by Cooley2here at 12:26 AM, Tuesday, August 30th]

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8752890
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