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Newest Member: Stark

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

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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 7:48 AM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

I’m glad if anything I’ve said is . . .useful. I won’t say helpful. I hate so much that I know any of the things that I’ve learned from this devastation, and I hate that any of us need to become vigilant, closed and suspicious of the person that we thought we could trust with everything.

So, that happened today. Please, please don’t beat yourself up or feel stupid. This was your first interaction where he tried putting back on a face that resembles the reasonable, caring person you thought he was, and. . .you wanted to see that mask so much. However, it’s really, really important that you recognize what he just did or he will know that he is going to be able to manipulate and control you again, and he will become very, very dangerous to your sense of yourself, your ability to trust yourself, and your sanity. That’s not an exaggeration. If anything, it’s an understatement.

First, let me say that this kind of thing happened to me over and over and over. I think I mentioned that before. I let myself be convinced that he was really trying. That it was super hard for him. Because he had SO much to change to become a decent person. And not lying is so hard. I just couldn’t understand how hard it was for him. My WH PREYED on my hope that I was indeed seeing bits and pieces of change.

But that. Was. A. Lie. He was never really trying at anything except learning how to put on the face that would shut me up, put me off, and get me to do what he wanted—mainly that I stop bringing up the things that he was ashamed of, get over it, move on, and NEVER ever expect him to really face what he’d done. I let him divert from the topic of him and his behavior to my behavior or some excuse or a tangential topic or ANYTHING but focusing on his fuckedupedness and how he wasn’t willing to look at it. He was so earnest. So hurt. So indignant. So angry. So defensive. So whatever he needed to divert attention from himself and his actions. He turned things on me and suddenly we were talking about my behavior or my "inability" to heal and move on or any fucking thing but him.

I did what you did today: I analyzed and figured out what he’d done after the fact. I felt dumb. I rethought how the conversation should have gone. But as I said to one counselor, when you are a person that thinks of language as a tool to express your actual thoughts, feelings, emotions, wants, needs, and you are communicating with someone who uses language to create a facade, to manipulate, to get things done, to achieve what he wants, there is no equal or common ground to work from. There is no way to have an honest exchange in those circumstances. I was trying to get him to see me and my pain and the results of what he’d done, and he was too busy trying to spin and work to make me believe what he wanted me to believe about MY OWN PAIN AND EXPERIENCE. He has actually told me that I don’t actually feel what I feel. There is simply no way to always be prepared for what new mind fuck he’s going to employ when your mind just doesn’t work like that.

So let me point out that while you’ve been agonizing in pain over the loss of your marriage and your husband and your life and your stability and your son’s stability, THIS is what he’s been doing (besides watching TV). He’s been trying to figure out how to get the upper hand again, how to get back in control and manipulate you. He hasn’t been worried about you and if you’re okay. He hasn’t been agonizing over how this will hurt his son and whether or not his actions will permanently affect him. He hasn’t been asking himself how he let himself do this to the people he loves or to his own life. He’s been working the angles.

Today, he did what he’s been doing throughout your marriage. He controlled the conversation. He USED your love against you. He acted like he was giving you what you wanted, while getting exactly what he wanted. He managed to leave you feeling like something was accomplished while NEVER ONCE having to talk about his years of deception, infidelity, disloyalty, and outright endangerment of his wife and son.

He thinks he’s bought 6 months during which you won’t bring up all of those pesky details. You’ll focus on helping him. Fixing him. Fixing your marriage. For the sake of your son, your families, your community. Fuck him. He USED the people that you love and how it would affect THEM for HIM to have to face his shit. Please take a minute to realize how shitty and evil that was.

He is fighting for his life here. And he is clearly going to get extremely ugly. Nothing. NOTHING will be to low for him to use to regain the upper hand and take away your power.

Your sister is amazing and completely correct. You are blessed to have her as a sounding board during this mess. You and she are right—he completely controlled the divorce narrative and turned it to his advantage.

How generous of him to grant you permission to let divorce enter your thoughts (notice he did not own that you should actually be thinking seriously about it—he just conceded that it was not completely unreasonable for you to let those thoughts pass through your unstable mind in its agitated state. After all, even he MIGHT have such irrational thoughts himself if he were in your shoes.). He was putting on what he thought was a good show of sounding understanding and empathetic.

But notice that he said he can understand why you THINK divorce is on the table. There is real arrogance and entitlement in that statement. You THINK divorce is on the table, but he has not given consent for that.

How reasonable of him to suggest counseling where he is pretty fucking sure that he is slick enough to convince a counselor of all of the fake things that he’s convinced his church and his friends and your community of. He thinks he will WIN in that arena.

He has defined the parameters of counseling: you will talk about the potential (pre-determined negative and unacceptable) ramifications of divorce on your son, your families, your community, the mailman. He thinks that he can limit the discussion to the marriage, what is wrong with it (which will be a shared responsibility), how it (not him) must be fixed by both of you committing your energy to it, how bad it would be for everyone to let a hasty decision to divorce destroy their happiness. He thinks that he can bury the past (how ugly to dwell on the past when you are trying to rebuild for a better future for everyone) in counseling. He thinks he can buy 6 months and he’s pretty sure that he can regain and hold the upper hand.

He’s feeling confident again that he can control you by using your LOVE for him and your son and your family. And you’re going to have to find your fury about this or it will likely work. Not because you’re stupid or weak, but because he has obliterated your mental and emotional equilibrium while remaining as detached and compartmentalized as he has been throughout your marriage. And he’s willing to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE VULNERABILITY AND AGONY THAT HE CREATED.

I really wish that so many of us on this thread hadn’t experienced exactly this to describe it in so many posts. I really wish that I didn’t feel that I have to say such hurtful things about the person that, until a few weeks ago, was the person that you most trusted.

So my prediction—and I certainly could be wrong?—is that he will be like this as long as you play along. As long as it’s working. He will wear his caring, collaborative, kind face. But as you can see now, he wasn’t actually being caring or collaborative or kind. He was using that to manipulate you.

You mentioned in your first confrontation that he used insecurities from the past against you to divert you.

My sister: That. Was. NOTHING. Compared to how ugly he is likely to get if he realizes that this didn’t work and you backtrack on counseling and regain control of the divorce process.

If he is anything like the majority of this particular variety of wayward, he will use literally ANYTHING that he knows about you. He will twist it. He will be cruel. He may ultimately question your sanity and rationality. He may tsk and shake his head over your inability to let go of anger, your obsession with the past when you should be concentrated on your son’s future (yep, he will use your love for your son), your lack of equal devotion to preserving your marriage when it’s all he wants.

Ask me how I know. When your WH is the secretive, guarding, controlling, lying manipulative kind on this scale, you have to recognize how deeply invested his entire being is in those behaviors and in guarding himself and his secrets. He has never let anyone, including himself, really see what he is. He is deeply afraid of that. More than he’s afraid of anything else.

So don’t spend too much time being upset at what happened today. Learn from it. And learn from the next exchange, and the next, and the next. This is one of the big reasons that everyone says watch and listen. You will learn things you never wanted to know and wish you didn’t, but there’s no luxury of time here. You have to stay on your toes and not let yourself engage without preparing yourself. Try not to engage when you’re tired or rushed or in a particularly vulnerable state. Never agree to anything on the spot. Give yourself time to think and process and make sure that it’s what you really feel is good for you and your son. And remember: you don’t OWE him ANYTHING. Even if you’ve agreed to something, you can change your mind if it’s not good for you. What commitment has he kept to you in the entirety of your marriage? You’re allowed to reconsider and think better.

AGain, I say with the greatest concern and care; you can literally lose YEARS to this ongoing, brutal health and soul and mindfuck. You can think you’re trying to preserve your son’s family while really letting his childhood slip by with a mom who is never her full self and a dad who’s, well, what he is.

I’ll ask again: have you seen ANY sign that he cares about what he’s done to you? Have you seen ANY sign that he recognizes how horrible his lying and cheating and robbing you of the agency to choose the marriage that is acceptable to you has been for years? Has he even indicated that he thinks he’s done ANYTHING wrong? He actually had enough clarity and awareness to describe his lying methodology to strangers online. He likely does not even believe that he has done anything wrong. He is too invested in believing that he’s a helluva decent guy. He would have to let that go to even begin the endless journey to understand and address his darkness.

I know I’ve gone on too long. We all know what you’re going through. We all care about you here and see your struggle and your strength and your pain. We know that pain too well. We wish that we could spare you even a little of what’s ahead of you. We hope what we didn’t learn soon enough can be of some small help to you now. We’ll be here no matter what happens and no matter what you decide to do.

One final note, please don’t overlook the fact that he may be looking for what you know and where you’re getting information. That might lead him here if you’re leaving your browser history unwiped when you log off. If that happens, it will be a source of additional power to him, and will rob you of your safe place to share and get support. I strongly recommend that you leave nothing logged in, change passwords so he can’t get into your accounts of all kinds (email, text apps, SI, etc). Wipe your browser history each time you log off so that he doesn’t know that you’re posting anywhere. Try to anticipate what he may have access to and cut it off.

He isn’t your friend. He isn’t your husband right now. Please protect yourself, and keep sharing with your sister. She is awesome.

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 8:10 AM, Wednesday, September 14th]

Me BS
Him WS
LTEA with old HS GF from 25+ years ago
DD #1: 10/6/2011
DD #2: 10/21/2011
2DS under18
My marriage didn’t survive but I did

posts: 496   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8755193
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 1:58 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

Hi Sigyn,

It's totally normal to feel excited by the crumbs our WS throw our way. Before DDay we were participating in our marriage in good faith and it's hard to throw out those rules and figure out which new ones apply. I'm glad you have your sister to reframe things for you.

If your husband was so concerned for the marriage, why didn't he suggest marriage counseling before you mentioned divorce? It does sound like a stall tactic, not something he thinks is necessary just because your marriage is a sham he trapped you in by keeping you in the dark.

I'm not saying my husband is some kind of exemplary WS, but when we talked about divorce he wept and said he understood why it might come to that and promised he would always take good care of me and the kids even if we divorced. He put a contract in to buy a house around the corner because he wanted to be as close to the kids as possible (though he got out of it, obviously, when we decided to reconcile). He appeared to be acting like a man who loved the kids and me and who understood that I had every right to choose divorce if I wanted. To be clear, a lot of clarity and growth didn't come until much later, but I just wanted to contrast that with the cool and calculating way your husband was steering you towards a realization that "we" don't want a divorce because of how it will impact everyone except YOU.

Any sort of diagnosis is obviously beyond my wheelhouse, but it's pretty clear that your husband does not experience much guilt or empathy. You can learn to lean into your empathy and develop those muscles but you have to have a fundamental concern for other people for their own sake. Do you think that's something your husband has?

I don't think there's anyone on the planet who could find out their spouse was a stranger living a double life and not need some time to adjust and recalibrate. But you really are ahead of the curve when it comes to the BS experience, if it's any consolation. So often you see posts saying, "My WS is a model WS so why am I struggling?" and the reality is that the WS is doing a few small things to placate the BS without figuring out WHY they were OK with cheating and addressing those issues. I'm sure your husband wishes you had blinders on and were impressed by his attempts at damage control, but you understand that there would be respect and concern for you underlining them if they were genuine.

One thing I've learnt (from my own experience and work with DV victims) is that controlling people feel entitled to have the last say on everything, including if and when a relationship ends.

^^ I think this is an important point. I don't think your husband really believes that you have the unilateral right and ability to end the marriage. He thinks he can guilt, persuade, or charm you into staying. I understand why the attorney spells things out the way that they did, but amicable is really a crap shoot if you aren't giving your husband something he wants. I think I could have done an amicable divorce with the guy who was weeping about how he would always take care of me. I don't know if it's possible with a master manipulator. He may not be capable of letting go of outcomes, but you are, and I encourage you to decide whether the marriage is what you want without worrying about how hard he'd make divorce.

posts: 1789   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8755209
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 4:20 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

How long did it take you to let that go? It feels like letting go of an entire 17 year marriage is impossible but then I also feel like there's this black box in front of me when I try to think of what even the next month will look like. Something has to give.

For me, unfortunately, it took him kicking the emotional shit out of me for the next year and a half. I’m pigheaded, and strong-willed, and I didn’t want to "lose" (yes, at that time I also believed that giving up on the marriage and walking away from my cheating, false-R-ing, empathy-challenged WS was losing because I was letting the AP "win" somehow), therefore I kept hanging onto and hyper-focusing on anything that he did that seems like working on our relationship and giving only a cursory review to all the laundry list of things he did that clearly were NOT.

Again NowWhat106 is spot on.

Clarity for me happened when I realized my WH

was willing to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE VULNERABILITY AND AGONY THAT HE CREATED.

When I realized:

I [had been] agonizing in pain over the loss of [my] marriage and [my] husband and [my] life and [my] stability…[but that] He’s been trying to figure out how to get the upper hand again, how to get back in control and manipulate [me]. He hasn’t been worried about [me] and if you’re okay. He ha[dn’t] been agonizing over…whether or not his actions will permanently affect him. He hasn’t been asking himself how he let himself do this to the people he loves or to his own life. He’[d] been working the angles.

Up to that point I:

let myself be convinced that he was really trying. That it was super hard for him. Because he had SO much to change to become a decent person. And not lying is so hard. I just couldn’t understand how hard it was for him. My WH PREYED on my hope that I was indeed seeing bits and pieces of change.

I am not sure when "it" happened prescisely – when my mind made the switch, but I think it was in conjunction with D-Day2, when I discovered that the A had gone underground. While WH had ended it at D-day1 he went back to it less than a week later and carried on for the next year. A few months earlier I was suspicious and confronted him about a lie I had caught him in that could have been A-related but I was not sure. He unsatisfactorily explained the lie away and we had a huge discussion about it which resulted in my having a total break down, shaking, crying, anger, sadness, and at one point I looked him in the eyes and said "If you are lying to me now about this, you have to realize you will have killed ‘us’ forever. We may be able to come back from you continuing your affair, but lying to me about it now is destroying me." He looked straight at me and said "I’m not lying. I’m sorry you are upset and I know I’ve done so many things to hurt you but I am not now." But, of course he was. The lie was a direct cover up for having sexual relations with his AP in the parking lot of a doctor’s office around the corner from our house.

When d-day 2 happened, I could not get that image of his lying face out of my head those several months before. My WS WAS the person capable of shoving the knife in deeper to save himself. He did have a lot of work to do, but the fact was that for that year for False R he was hell bent on keeping up multiple façades – he had to have his pretend affair life and keep up the facade that he was sure he was leaving me with his AP (which I don't think he was sure of anything, and he had to keep up the facade at his workplace that he was not having an A, and he had to pretend he wasn’t having the pretend affair with me AND pretend he was actually trying to work on fixing himself and pretend he wanted 100% to fix our relationship. Basically after d-day1 my WH’s life became a lot MORE pretending than it was before, yet he persisted with all these facades…and that knowledge, when I realized he was willing to do whatever it took to avoid reality, was what did it for me. The attraction, when I looked at him with that knowledge made him ugly to me in ways I have never been able to get past.

He has done a TON of work on himself, and while I now believe he is not likely to repeat that type of behavior anymore – because he does not want to be that person AND he is much less afraid to speak the truth about his own feelings and not try to control the outcome – I can’t get my pre-affair feelings back for him. The love I had – the love I associate with a forever partner – can’t be recreated at least with him. IDK if I can create it again with anyone else, but I know for sure I can’t with him. The reality of my WH is this and that isn’t enough for me:

I was sure that the man I thought I was married to was in there somewhere. After all, this horrible monster looked just like that nice guy that I married! But the guy I thought I married never existed.

So my long winded answer to your question is: I think I got to where I needed to be when I started focusing on me and what I really wanted and what my REAL options were. The stages of grief are there for a reason. I got to where I am when I reached ACCEPTANCE of who my WH is and what real options I have because with acceptance comes clarity.

You will get there. My WH's A and the whole trajectory of his affair and my reaction are textbook it seems, as is this: My WH finally decided to get his shit together and start working on himself for real when I was leaving him - as in out the door - as in moving out and filing. At that moment, he went from "I don't think I can do this with you anymore as you are so unhappy all the time and I'm afraid you will never get beyond this" to "I don't know what my problem has been for so long, but the problem is me. I don't want to be this person anymore. I am mired in fear, but I don't want to lose you." And all I said in response was "Time will tell. Maybe we will see." but I did not stop leaving. I did not change my mind and stay. Had I done so I have no idea where he (or I) would be at this moment. If he really would have started, and continued, to do the work. I do believe that sticking around would have much more likely prolonged the misery.

So, my advice is to make moves in the direction of helping YOURSELF without regard to him or to fixing the marriage. There is no marriage to fix without both of you doing the fixing. You know this - I knew this - getting to grasping that is the tough part. Making a list (I too am a list maker) and ticking off boxes towards your new reality is a good way to start.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 4:27 PM, Wednesday, September 14th]

"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 8755226
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Belle25 ( new member #63676) posted at 4:41 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

The fact is that he's probably feeling pretty good and smug that he thinks he just bought himself six months to give you time to rugsweep and go back to normal. Don't let him.

Your sister is wise. I'm glad you have her.

No amount of time will undo what he has done for many, many years. In ten years, all the things he has done will still be true. It will take time and therapy to know for sure if you can live with what has already happened.

You are doing so well. I know you feel like shit, but you're a very strong and thoughtful person.

posts: 47   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2018
id 8755232
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Viciouspink ( new member #74432) posted at 5:15 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

Hi Sigyn,
Jumping in late to this thread, but I wanted to point a few things out.

When we are in a situation like yours, in love and embroiled, it is almost impossible to look at the situation objectively. You hold onto hope, try to compromise and most importantly, try to "fix".

The thing is, you cannot fix him. There is absolutely nothing you can do. It’s out of your hands. So wanting to "try" is honestly moot. There is nothing for you to try. He is the broken one.

From an unbiased outsider perspective, I see a decades-long serial cheater. This is who he is. Serial cheaters have character flaws that are unchangeable. It is who he is.

The fact that he’s still minimizing and being dishonest proves that he is nowhere ready to put in any kind of work to "change" himself.
It’s clear he’s trying to placate you and hope it will all blow over because he cries in front of you and is contrite at times.

He still holds all the power. He knows how badly you want to make this work, so why would he openly admit everything you know. Matter of fact, there IS MORE you don’t know. Think about that.

No one can tell you what decision to make, but I believe talking about divorce options with him is giving him more openings to manipulate. Why give him any options when he gave you none? You shouldn’t even give him a choice to talk about it. He gave you no choice when he cheated repeatedly putting your health and life and marriage at risk. Understand that his level of betrayal goes far beyond a one night stand or even an affair. He’s a sick man. He could give you a disease that kills you. He could invite a truly crazy woman into your life who is dangerous. He could siphon money for your child to feed his addiction, and he would have continued to do so if he were not caught.

Take the power back. Employ the 180. See a lawyer to know your legal rights. Your old marriage is dead. Gone. You can’t save it. He won’t try and save it. If he really wants to be a changed man, even though he’s shown no indication of that, then there is always the chance at a new relationship with him after divorce and after he puts in the blood, sweat and tears to make himself a safe partner.

As much as it hurts to do that, it will be a one time hurt. And then you heal and move on. Like millions of other betrayed spouses. By staying and attempting to try, you are looking at a very long time of prolonged pain, never trusting him and always wondering if he’s cheating.

He is not reconciliation material. Right now anyway. Don’t try and fix him. Don’t fall into the sunk cost fallacy and waste years of your life hanging onto the hope that maybe, maybe he will wake up. It’s pretty clear that he is extremely manipulative and uses whatever little you give him to manipulative further and try to dig himself out. That is not remorse. That is not change. That is someone trying to save their hide.

Without 100% commitment on his end, true remorse, true understanding of why he did what he did, and CONSEQUENCES, there is no shot at reconciling. He’s not there. And he probably won’t be until YOU take his power over you away.

At the very least, you could be separated right now to give you space and the chance to breathe and detach enough so you can see more clearly. Right now you’re still in shock and don’t want to believe your husband is capable of this continuing behavior.

There‘a nothing stopping you from getting a separation agreement and keeping your contact to only about your child and finances. That gives you time to process without him feeding your more bulldookie and detach enough that you can see this objectively enough that you don’t make decisions based on emotion and fear of losing him.

I truly feel for you in this awful crap sandwich he fed you and am sending strength your way.

posts: 4   ·   registered: May. 14th, 2020
id 8755236
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Trapped74 ( member #49696) posted at 8:04 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

NowWhat106 is so eloquent and so, so right.

I find myself getting so worked up reading your thread, because I see much of myself in it, and because I so desperately don't want you to be me.

We went to marriage counseling, which was utter and complete bullshit. DON'T DO IT. The marriage didn't hire hookers, your husband did.

you can literally lose YEARS to this ongoing, brutal health and soul and mindfuck.


Correction: You WILL lose years. If you don't stop all conversation with him NOW and file for divorce.

Any conversation you have with him from now on will be a master class in manipulation. He's had a hell of a lot more practice at this and he is better than you. It is scary and awful and you'll feel like you're giving up. But remember: you didn't do this, he did. The marriage was over the moment he betrayed you. Now it's just time for the cleanup. Protect yourself, protect your kids, protect your assets. If you stay, it will get uglier and meaner, and more dangerous. Any man who can do what he has done and continues to do to you isn't that far away from other forms of abuse. He has no empathy, very little humanity. At some point, he's just going to see you as an impediment to whatever his true desires are.

Many DDays. Me (BW) 46 Him (WH) 49
Happily detached and compartmentalized.

posts: 233   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Oregon
id 8755264
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 8:31 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

Any conversation you have with him from now on will be a master class in manipulation. He's had a hell of a lot more practice at this and he is better than you.

THIS is what you must remember. He is VERY very very very very good at manipulating you. It is working. I think your lawyer's advice of reconciliation being the best option is 100% wrong. You are signing up for a lot more pain if your husband continues to have this power over you.

The divorce can be stopped. You can file and change your mind. Filing now and getting him to agree with what is best FOR YOU is how he can show remorse. If he won't, you have your answer a hell of a lot faster than years of manipulation and torture while he SAYS he is remorseful without anything to back it up.

posts: 300   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8755267
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 9:26 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

I’m not saying this to brag. But for too many years I was always a people pleaser and did things to avoid conflict.

So…..long saga short after my H’s first affair (4 year EA) I allowed it to be swept under the rug b/c he wasn’t going to admit it was an affair anyway. Complete stonewall.

Then it’s affair #2. To his credit he came home and told me. But 10 days later he wants a D. Like kicking me to the curb for the OW.

His mistake was admitting to her that he cheated on me during his first affair. Because when he dumped her she told me.

During Affair #2 I did the pick me dance and made all the same mistakes. I allowed him to lie and manipulate me. The only smart thing I did was get my plan B together just in case.

Just in case day was 6 months after dday1 also called dday2. False reconciliation for months. He’s still lying and cheating. He’s still stringing me along and manipulating me.

Until I snapped. Until I had enough.

I told him I had no other choice but to D him. I told him that he was free to be with anyone he wished and we were done being husband & wife.

I did the hard 180. And suddenly he realized he cannot manipulate me any longer b/c I was not engaging. Now he wants to R. Now he wants to go to marriage counseling. I refused all offers.

His only option was to start being honest and remorseful and make amends. He had no other choice. And that is how we R.

And that is how I gained all the power and control back in my life. By finally standing up for myself and not allowing people to walk all over me.

I was well prepared to lose the marriage and at that point, dday2, I didn’t care. I was done being mistreated and lied to etc.

Lesson learned.

In fact we just had a situation where he agreed to something and then did the opposite. I told him if that happens again I am leaving him. No more chances. And he knows it.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12542   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8755276
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Aletheia ( member #79172) posted at 2:10 AM on Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Sigyn -
I’m very sorry you are going through this. You’re getting so much astonishingly sound advice I don’t have anything to add other than this: please commit to the idea of seeing other attorneys. I’m exhausted and my head is muddled so I can’t articulate well why what that lawyer said screams lazy to me. Keep searching. Good luck.

posts: 245   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2021
id 8755316
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 4:02 AM on Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Trapped74’s post is RIGHT ON. You are going to attend a master class in manipulation every time you talk to him.

I think that the attorney gave you his/her list of best to worst based on a generic situation. Obviously, if someone is in an abusive situation, the best result would not be to stay together. The problem is that he wasn’t giving you advise based on all of the particulars of this situation, and he wasn’t evaluating whether or not that list was best for you personally. That’s not his job; that’s YOUR unfortunate job. You are in an abusive situation. If nothing changes, the advice is crap. And something really, really big would have to change—namely, your WH. He would have to change completely and even then, would you be able to move on from knowing how little regard, respect, value, care, love he has had for you throughout your marriage in order to put your actual health and life at risk, among other things? Frankly, from what I know of this type of disordered wayward, I don’t think he can/will change.

I’ll say again, your WH seemed to have his response all planned out yesterday. He proposed a very standard SI period of time for a new BH to take if they have doubts about ending the relationship. Please, please, please, make sure he has no access to your online activities. If you are on a family phone plan, make sure everything you do in your browser is in private/incognito mode or he will see every site you visit. Change your passwords.

Maybe ask yourself: if he was so reasonable and concerned about how divorce might affect your families, your son, your community, definitely himself and maybe even you, where was that concern in all of the years when he’s been buying anal beads and having sex with random women and gathering girlfriends for long term relationships? What will affect everyone is NOT your proposal to divorce. Don’t let him shift the blame and responsibility to you. Everyone has been and will be affected by his horrific betrayals and dangerous behaviors. Where is his concern for how tat will affect everyone? He is trying to guilt you into staying and swallowing his shit to protect the people he has already betrayed and devastated. Don’t let him get away with saying that shit again.

Every time he expresses concern, you know he’s lying. Because he has never let concern for anyone stop him from doing whatever he wanted. The only reason he’s expressing concern now is because he’s concerned for himself—no matter how good he is at play acting concern for everyone now that you are proposing a solution to protect yourself and your son from him.

Marriage Counseling with him is a mistake right now. He will use it to his advantage. He will not be honest. He will try to use the counselor against you. He will try to make you seem irrational. He will manipulate you like he did yesterday.

Like Trapped74 said: THE MARRIAGE DIDN’T HIRE HOOKERS, YOUR HUSBAND DID.

He would need intensive no-bullshit individual counseling for quite awhile before you should EVER set foot in a counseling office with him. My WH was great at manipulating counselors. He had such a sad childhood. He was such a victim. They just never quite got around to talking about HIS victims and how he could ever become safe for his family.

I hope you had some time away today and found some peace to think and regroup. Huge hugs of support.

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 4:22 AM, Thursday, September 15th]

Me BS
Him WS
LTEA with old HS GF from 25+ years ago
DD #1: 10/6/2011
DD #2: 10/21/2011
2DS under18
My marriage didn’t survive but I did

posts: 496   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8755335
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 1:59 PM on Friday, September 16th, 2022

How is amicable working for you now?

He has admitted to long term relationships and will not come clean on the escorts. No details. Whitewashed generalities and a timeline full of introspective word salad.

He subjected you to a decades long open marriage without your consent.

Like others have mentioned, that is NOT a marriage issue.

You want to see him try. Marriage counseling seems like effort but it’s just another insulting innuendo that somehow you are part of the problem. Like his previous insinuation that he can’t tell you the truth because it’s hard for him to open up to you. 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

I guarantee you that based on your description of him, he has little or no humility and disclosure is a ego hit to him. He can’t face the shame and vulnerability that will expose him to.

Look back on your lifetime with him. How many discussions followed the pattern of the recent one? You never address core issues he doesn’t want to address or admit because he deflects to a new topic.

You can’t control him or what happens. You can’t fix the marriage until he address the giant black hole that is him. You can’t do it for him.

Only you can determine your path forward. It’s still very new. You head and heart are at war.

There is no where to go without honesty and transparency. Until he is willing to admit what he’s done, hand over the phone and take responsibility for the utter wreckage and heartbreak he has caused, he isn’t worth the breath it takes to speak to him.

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8755511
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 11:12 PM on Friday, September 16th, 2022

But as I said to one counselor, when you are a person that thinks of language as a tool to express your actual thoughts, feelings, emotions, wants, needs, and you are communicating with someone who uses language to create a facade, to manipulate, to get things done, to achieve what he wants, there is no equal or common ground to work from. There is no way to have an honest exchange in those circumstances.

So let me point out that while you’ve been agonizing in pain over the loss of your marriage and your husband and your life and your stability and your son’s stability, THIS is what he’s been doing (besides watching TV). He’s been trying to figure out how to get the upper hand again, how to get back in control and manipulate you.

It's like you have a window into my husband, like your experience has made him transparent and you're painting the picture of him even though you don't know him. Like they are all similar people reading from the same life manual! I feel every single word in my bones and I really hate the picture it gives me of my husband, and of me, too. It's like not wanting to see how the sausage is made. Their sausage is made from things that disgust people to see. It almost feels inhuman, like communication is a lever for them to pull to get the result they want from a human vending machine (which is ME! I am the human vending machine!). It's appalling. I cannot believe how much we pour ourselves into them with such good and honest intentions. How can marriages last decades without this being revealed?

Like never mind for right now that he covered his cheating electronic trail, what's worse is that he covered his intentions and morals and also the way he sees me and our marriage. This keeps hitting me over the head with its awfulness! I haven't even been fixated on the sex and the escorts and other women as much as I fixate on his deception about himself. It kills me that he must have so much contempt for me, and I have to believe he has contempt for himself. How could anyone with self respect live this way??? I'm asking the same question of myself.


I think I got to where I needed to be when I started focusing on me and what I really wanted and what my REAL options were. The stages of grief are there for a reason. I got to where I am when I reached ACCEPTANCE of who my WH is and what real options I have because with acceptance comes clarity.

I'm not there in my mind, I haven't reached acceptance of who my WH is, but things are escalating for me and I have to act as if I've reached that so I can get my feet back under me. This state of living is completely intolerable to me. I saw another attorney and had a long phone consult with yet another, both on the same day, puke. The long phone consult one will be the one I retain if/when I'm ready. Also had two appts with my therapist, and I've got my new bullet list in front of me now.

- I will not go to marriage counseling with H, I LOVE the line "the marriage didn't hire hookers, he did"! We couldn't do anything in marriage counseling anyway, how could we? I don't even know who he is, how could I speak about what my marriage to that old H was like when it was mostly really good and also completely not real? It seems stupid now that I was ever excited about his suggestion, I can't even think of what we would say? Does he need a therapist to tell him that he should be honest with me??? Will he find it somehow possible to take off his mask in a room with a stranger when he can't do it in our home with his wife?

- I won't go 6 months in this state of affairs, I just won't. I can't. If I'm brave enough, I'm going to tell him he can either reveal everything or take his secrets with him into divorce. Current lawyer told me to not threaten divorce even once to him, but to tell her first, get things prepared, and then serve him. I think she understood his personality more than the first attorney I saw. She actually reminds me of everyone here, no nonsense, painfully straight talk. Probably she's seen it all. I told her the first lawyer's advice and she said it's true, if you take all potential divorces across the board, all are in some way negative (so saving some marriages is one version of 'ideal'), and amicable divorces are the next safest option, but she said I'm probably not in either of those groups so we have to deal with what's safest based on my own circumstances.


I told him I had no other choice but to D him. I told him that he was free to be with anyone he wished and we were done being husband & wife.

I did the hard 180. And suddenly he realized he cannot manipulate me any longer b/c I was not engaging. Now he wants to R. Now he wants to go to marriage counseling. I refused all offers.

I want this to be me and WH. I want him to come to his senses and then I'm also not sure how I could ever get over the sheer contempt he had for me, for us, for our son. Do you struggle with it? Do you struggle with wondering if that's your WH's new play, new mask, or if it's real?

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8755663
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 11:18 PM on Friday, September 16th, 2022

How is amicable working for you now?

Yeah it turns out I'm like that cartoon character who stands in the road with a stop sign and gets steam rolled.

I know you guys saw that coming a mile away but I'm still mostly blind to it. I read the posts here and it's like a series of arrows going through my heart. I want to be like "You don't know him!!" because I picture him at his best, and we've had so many really beautiful good years. But then I come back and read the same post the next day and I realize I am the one who doesn't know him, because everything you say is more accurate than anything I am saying. None of you have ever met my WH and yet you describe the worst of him perfectly. It's shocking. I can't stop thinking of him at his best. Even now! But using that vision of him is doing nothing but turning me into the cartoon road pancake. It's just intolerable, I can't live this way.

I'm editing this to clarify that I don't mean I don't want to live, but that I don't want to live in this excruciating limbo stage.

[This message edited by Sigyn at 11:20 PM, Friday, September 16th]

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8755664
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kiwilee ( member #10426) posted at 3:23 AM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

Hugs! You are tackling so much like a pro (even tho you don't feel like it).

Give yourself so much grace. Of course you have wonderful experiences and memories with your WH. It's such a mind fuck to sort out what was real vs what was lies/deception. I'm hoping your IC is helping you sort through this since his lies corroded most of your marriage.

The thing that stood out to me about your latest post is "It's just intolerable, I can't live this way." TRUST THIS!!! This is your intuition, your guide, your gut. It will steer you in the right direction. Somebody else said it is so easy to waste years of a life getting to this place. So many of us have done it, using excuses of keeping the family together, or hoping for change.
Your situation is so new so it is so hard to make a big decision (very natural). Just keep listening to your inner voice (she is wise beyond your years!!).

Also, I completely relate to the realization of being steamrolled (loved your analogy of cartoon sidewalk pancake). I've recently been made aware that I often get steamrolled. I always saw myself as a strong woman, not someone to be rolled over. I am by no means meek and have always stood up for myself and am not afraid to fight back. However, after years of enduring the alpha manipulative male with his double life I have disengaged with him completely and am mostly numb. Please Do not allow this for your life. When you know a thing, you do better/respond better. You have discovered who he is at the core.

You are so brave! Believe it. This thread of posts has opened up so much in me and I believe in others. It is inspiring how well you are advocating for yourself. Keep on this path.

posts: 561   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2006
id 8755699
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VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 4:12 AM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

I think the worst part of this sort of betrayal is not that you never knew who they were, but that they didnt know who you were. All those years together and the only thing he knows about you is how to manipulate you to get what he wants. Your husband doesn't know the first thing about who you really are, about what a strong person you are, but he is beginning to find out.

Edited to say: I wouldnt bet on the fact that underneath all the multiple layers of treachery he hates himself ~ did he sound like he hated himself in his posts bragging to everyone about what a great con artist he is. We assume people who do bad things must really despise themselves ~ but maybe they are thoroughly happy with themselves, just irritated that some debbie downer has come along and ruined their fun.

[This message edited by VezfromTaz at 4:29 AM, Saturday, September 17th]

posts: 40   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8755704
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 2:05 PM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

Phantom pain is real. People who lose an arm can still feel pain in the arm that is not there anymore. We all forget that our brains are part of our bodies. It’s the same as if you’ve had four or five huge concussions. Your brain is taking a long time to heal. Synapses and nerve endings and cells and all the things that go into making your brain are injured. It has been traumatized as if you were in a horrible wreck. I have a friend who was in a wreck two years ago and she still has pain in one of her knees. She had a concussion and did not remember anything until she woke up in the ER. She doesn’t have headaches but she does have some memory loss. So look at this entire horrible experience as a terrible wreck it’s going take you a year or two to get over. Your brain is a part of your body and it’s been injured.

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

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8755729
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 2:30 PM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

I'm not there in my mind, I haven't reached acceptance of who my WH is, but things are escalating for me and I have to act as if I've reached that so I can get my feet back under me.

This.
This is your path forward.

Now that you know he has been acting on behalf of his own self-centered interests for all of these years (doing whatever he wanted for his own physical pleasure and his own ego boost on the sly...while also juggling the happy, solid family image in public to get his everyday needs met and get community respect),
you now need to act at every turn in protection of yourself.

He is all smoke and mirrors. That is him to the core. He will do what serves his purpose.

When he seems to be supporting you, accommodating you, going along with you, don't trust it.

Protect yourself and rely on trusted others for support and advice.

180 as much as possible and follow your sensible lawyer's advice.

You deserve truth, support, sanity, and solid ground to stand on. I'm so sorry that you have to rely primarily on yourself to build that solid foundation again.

You are much on my mind, Sigyn. Our support is with you. I wish I could give you a hug IRL, so (((hugs))) to you this morning.

"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 8755734
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 6:17 PM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

I told her the first lawyer's advice and she said it's true, if you take all potential divorces across the board, all are in some way negative (so saving some marriages is one version of 'ideal'), and amicable divorces are the next safest option, but she said I'm probably not in either of those groups so we have to deal with what's safest based on my own circumstances.

Yes, this lawyer seems spot on and I'm glad you have her!!! Human behavior/personality is a spectrum and most people are not at the extreme lack of empathy and compunction end of it. But some people are, and since being super disordered probably isn't conducive to a long term marriage, a divorce lawyer is going to see her fair share of people like your husband. Someone who feels genuine attachment to and respect for others is capable of an amicable split, but some people simply lack the capacity. Unfortunately you seem to be married to one of them. This is why all those Lifetime movies exist, right? Because we all understand that some people hide behind masks and terrible things happen when the mask slips or is discarded.

I can only imagine how difficult and shocking this is. Here we all understand the shock to some degree, but it's the people whose spouses were conscience-less who are going to give you the most salient advice. It's great that you've found a lawyer who gets you and your situation.

posts: 1789   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8755753
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Charity411 ( member #41033) posted at 8:25 PM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

The smartest thing you decided was that you can't go to marriage counseling. I wish I had had your wisdom on that one. We went. Guess who babysat our 6 year old daughter while we were there? OW. And then he'd drive me home and go retrieve our child alone, so he could get in a quickie while our daughter played with her kids in the next room. barf All while I was ever so grateful that he agreed to counseling at all. LOL!

Instead of feeling like a chump that's going to get pancaked, give yourself a pat on the back. The fact that your brain is letting you see it coming is absolutely outstanding. I know it doesn't feel like that because you want to be wrong. We all did. We are not geniuses when it comes to seeing into your husbands soul. We are just people who got pancaked ourselves and lived to tell about it.

posts: 1639   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2013   ·   location: Illinois
id 8755763
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 9:42 PM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

Sigyn, offering encouragement for you and hoping you have some moments of peace and are able to get some rest so you can function in your daily life. Something that I wanted to ask: Have you considered what if he suddenly caved, came clean and told you everything? At this point would that even matter? Would not knowing who he really is and how he could treat you so badly during this trauma lead you to the same sad conclusion, to end your marriage?

Your lawyer choice sounds spot on, she's probably seen it all and can likely predict how things will unfold with your WH. It sounds like she has your back and you need a strong, savvy team. Your WH is playing confusing games and I'd guess all he really wants is to go back to when you didn't know, to save face. Try not to give too much analysis or meaning to his actions while he is cornered, as my WH said I overestimated him, thinking he was thinking at all in the first few months, trying to control the narrative with minimizing lies. I'm only beginning to see inklings of an understanding that his attempts to placate or spare me with non disclosure were nothing more than selfish, manipulative, disrespectful and damaging. His intent may not have been to damage, but if he were able to think beyond himself it was obvious that would be the result.

I was thinking of you as I returned to reading Living and Loving After Betrayal, which is so validating of all the reactions a loving, trusting spouse has to betrayal. I was struck by Dr. Stosny writing that the BS should let go of asking the why questions, because it is fruitless. "We can never understand why someone betrays an intimate bond." He says instead to focus on the message of the resulting pain, which is to heal, repair and improve. Focusing on a WS's why distracts from the healing process, which involves lots of focus on yourself, your thought process and your core values, not on your WS's morality or motivations. Chances are your WS can't articulate why he abandoned his morals (if he had any) any more than he can articulate what he has done behind your back, or why he wants to have both a secret torrid life and a happy marital home.

I've come back to this book over and over and it is full of notes and I learn or relearn something essential every time. Some of the messages I just wasn't ready to receive at the time. The most useful theme I keep coming back to is the focus on identity, core values, what is good and valuable about ourselves and becoming a testament to transcending the suffering and coming out the other side a better person with meaning and purpose. You've been way ahead of the learning curve on this than most of us, so maybe you won't need years to get the helpful healing messages I am still working on today. Best to you, stay strong, and love and trust yourself fiercely.

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 8755767
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