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Newest Member: Stark

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

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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 2:18 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

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 think the only way that I part ways with the more experienced posters here is this very subject.

I don't want to know who he is and why he's led a double life so that I can correct it and save my marriage. Yes I do wish that were on the table in front of me, but I know it's not.

On the one side there is our marriage, which in the middle of my sleepless nights I hit a brick wall in every single alleyway I run down trying to figure out how to save. On the other side there's the relationship I built with my husband since we were in our early 20's. If we had never gotten married, if we had just been two people living together and building a relationship for 20 years, if there was no such thing as marriage or divorce - I would still want to know who he is, what his vision of himself and of me is. What life I've been living by his side.

It's not about saving the marriage at the moment. It's about saving my sanity. I want to know who my partner is. I want to know what he's thinking, how he's feeling, what his morals are. Literally WHO HE IS. I want to know the man I've been sleeping next to, because I thought I did know him. I thought I'd had every single conversation five times over with him. I know his childhood secrets, his earliest memories, his secrets (I thought), his insecurities, his secret fantasies (I thought), his doubts about his religion he's never told anyone else (he said), I know the details of his first sexual experience, where he got every scar on his body, his hopes, dreams and fears. So I thought. And now 20 years later it's like SURPRISE!! This isn't the man whose every story, anecdote, joke and fantasy I've heard 100 times over. He's someone else. Someone different. Someone with a split personality. And his other personality is a totally different man.

I've done a lot of soul searching and whether my marriage ends or continues, I still want to know who I'm married to. His answer to "why" might not be accurate, might not be a clinical answer to the questions I have, and definitely won't change the outcome of our marriage. But it's necessary for me to move forward in my life. It's necessary FOR ME, and I need to be important in some part of this equation. It's not just about "the marriage" for me. It's me. It's my mind, my heart, my understanding, my sense of reason, logic, morals, my sense of who I am as a woman and wife and mother as married to this other person. My marriage is a mixture of me and my husband and of this structure we've built over the years. But I am a thinking, feeling, processing individual person who even if I did divorce will move on with my life and keep living and mothering and co-parenting. And I need this for me. Married or divorced, I need to at least hear an attempt at explaining why. I need to hear what I missed, what I ignored, what he hid, what was living in my house and parenting my child and tucked away in the corners.

It's like if a loved one died and everyone told you that you didn't need to know the cause of death, you just needed to know they died. Wouldn't you want to know?? I NEED to know, in order to be a whole person, whether it's a married person or divorced person.

Will I get over this? Will I someday not care at all? Will I look back on this three years from now and laugh at myself for being so naive that I thought I needed to know what's real before I could breathe all the way in again? If I'm crazy please tell me. I certainly feel crazy. But I do know it's not just about my marriage. It's about ME, because I have been lost in this entirely.

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8755915
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 3:39 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

I so wish I could wave a magic wand and make him give you what you need. You say that you are OK with an attempt at explaining why. I just don't know if this is possible. I think he is many, many, many miles away from being a man who would do something he views as contrary to his own interests for your sake (or anyone's sake). I think he believes fundamentally that he knows better than you do what you really need.

I sense that you are like me . . . I couldn't fake being interested in salvaging the marriage just to get him to dig deep for me. And I think that's your only shot (and it's a looooooong shot) of him deciding he needs to comply. Otherwise you will continue to get decoy answers designed to assuage your need to know. They will sound good. They will be plausible. They will be bullsh*t.

I do totally understand why you need to know and I wonder if reading those secret affair boards will help? The other day on Reddit I read a thread where some cheaters were very blase about wondering if they were psychopaths or narcissists. They were explaining how they just don't feel guilt and I don't know that that's something a person who doesn't feel guilt can relate to a person who does. It's like you're speaking two different languages.

Don't give him the honor of holding your recovery in his hands. He doesn't deserve it. Anything you expect or ask of him going forward just gives him an access point to continue his attempts at manipulation and control. And I have a feeling that based on your good intuition and sense, and your knowledge of his background, that you are in a better position to get to his "why's" than he is. He can't make sense of it because he doesn't speak the language of guilt or empathy. It's just "it felt good, so I did it." He will never be able to account for why he lacks the capacity to care about others. Something in him got half-baked or left out of the recipe.

This won't be the first thing that fixate on to make yourself feel better. Oh boy, do I have a list of all the gestures and explanations and milestones I thought would flip a switch in me. But the truth is that you process your grief and anger by letting them out little by little in a safe space. You don't get OVER it . . . you get THROUGH it.

posts: 1789   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8755922
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 3:54 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

Don't give him the honor of holding your recovery in his hands. He doesn't deserve it.

Respectfully, why are you telling me that what I need isn't important that I should judge my needs based on whether my cheating husband "deserves it"? Where am I in this equation? Why is it all about him? Why is the advice to me here focused on what HE deserves? Why is my cheating, lying husband still the main character that people are advising me to tiptoe around and bow down to and consider? Is the fact that I need an attempt at an explanation for it completely worthless?

I don't care if he's worth it, aren't I worth it? Do the betrayed spouses never get to need things just for us? Or is it always going to be about him? Always his needs, always his motivations, I swallow my needs if they happen to overlap with things he doesn't deserve?

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8755924
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 4:31 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

It's not that you aren't worth it . . . you ARE! You deserve everything you want and need to make sense of things right now.

The problem is that you can't rely on him to give it to you. We can't make other people give us anything. Imagine if your loved one was murdered and you decided you couldn't heal unless the murderer explained themselves to you. Well, most of us never kill anyone. The fact that this person is a murderer already means that their issues have issues. It's totally normal and human to want those answers, but if you hinge your healing on their response to your pain you are just setting yourself up not to heal, I'm afraid to say.

If your husband had the capacity for introspection and empathy then he probably wouldn't be happily chatting online about how easy cheating is. He probably wouldn't be responding with, "Here's my list of flirtations and fantasies, sorry about that!" He wouldn't be saying, "Ah yes, how understandable that you might be a little uncomfortable with my double life . . . let's circle back in six months and see how you're feeling!"

You deserve answers. You deserve fidelity. You deserve a marriage of equals. You didn't get those things and you have every right to rage about it. It's some effed up sh*t. Just try to be realistic about what you can get from him. He's very cunning. He will take your earnest request for answers and see just how much he can get for himself out of it.

[This message edited by swmnbc at 4:32 AM, Monday, September 19th]

posts: 1789   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8755928
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SicTransitGloria ( new member #79621) posted at 5:45 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

His answer to "why" might not be accurate, might not be a clinical answer to the questions I have, and definitely won't change the outcome of our marriage. But it's necessary for me to move forward in my life. It's necessary FOR ME, and I need to be important in some part of this equation.


I think that your deep desire to know "who" your partner is and "why" he treated you like he did is completely relatable. Nobody here would say otherwise. But I'm sensing some really interesting dynamics behind your words. Reading the quote above, it seems like you are so close to coming to terms with the reality that there's almost no chance anything coming out of your husband's mouth is going to actually lead you closer to what you seek. But you feel compelled to ask anyway. And in the last sentence, I see a deep cry of the need to regain agency, to be "important in some part of this equation." This, too, is a highly relatable and perfectly valid feeling to have. But where I am stuck as an interested and invested observer is how exactly these two feelings intersect, as they clearly seem to in your mind. If you are feeling unimportant in this whole situation (which I'm inferring from your last sentence," how is squeezing out answers from a source you acknowledge to be wholly unreliable (and that board members are also warning you is dangerous to your healing) serving to make you feel important again?

I ask that question with sincerity, because I feel like there is something lying behind these two stated desires that isn't quite worked out yet, but could be really valuable once it is.

posts: 6   ·   registered: Nov. 23rd, 2021
id 8755933
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VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 5:55 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

As to the why - I concluded in my case that underneath the layers of fake humility and good blokedness my ex considered himself superior and entitled. That belief system underpinned all his deceptive behaviour. Except like most of his variety, one time years before he told on himself. I couldn’t make sense of it at the time. He was standing in the garden ranting about how special he was - he sounded exactly like his mother. It was bizarre. Maybe you will work it out over time when you have time to reflect on the entire history of the relationship.

I’d be interested in looking into his FOO, because the duplicitous behaviour is probably learnt or adaptive from that environment. Lundy Bancroft in "Why Does He Do That" has some good explanations about why men engage in abusive (I’m sorry, that’s what this is) behaviour. He concludes that mostly it is because they can. He also says anger is a human right (I only mention that because it is common manipulation tactic to shut down legitimate anger).

Edited to say, because I wasn’t clear as to my point: I doubt you’ll get the why from him now, but he might have told on himself in the past, so you might find the answer there (indirectly, from him).

[This message edited by VezfromTaz at 6:08 AM, Monday, September 19th]

posts: 40   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8755935
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leafields ( member #63517) posted at 6:46 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

A poster on another thread made a comparison to the movie The Truman Show. It's like you're Truman and now need to process what is real and what isn't.

My XWH is a diagnosed covert narc, so the lies and deception covered decades. I couldn't count on anything he said because he lied so much. I couldn't count on him, so what could I count on? I could count on me because I was trying to live an authentic life. When I was happy, sad, mad, I was living authentically as I could.

Part of what made me angry was that my XWH robbed me of my personal agency to act of make decisions based on the full truth.

It took awhile, but I had to get to the place where I could accept that I will never know so much about a person that I spent 34 years with. I'll be talking to my kids and start with, "Your dad" but stop because I don't know if what I thought he was thinking of feeling was really true. There are a few times when I knew who XWH was.

Are you willing to accept that you can't control him and you may never know who he truly is?

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 1336   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8755937
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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 7:39 AM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

We are all rooting for you and for you to heal.

Where am I in this equation? Why is it all about him? Why is the advice to me here focused on what HE deserves? Why is my cheating, lying husband still the main character that people are advising me to tiptoe around and bow down to and consider?


It's not about tiptoing around him, it's about not trusting him to give you a straight answer--when his track record is not to do so.
Why keep engaging with someone whose filter is not set on honesty or protecting you, but about serving and protecting his own interests?

It's not about saving the marriage at the moment. It's about saving my sanity. I want to know who my partner is. I want to know what he's thinking, how he's feeling, what his morals are. Literally WHO HE IS. I want to know the man I've been sleeping next to, because I thought I did know him. I thought I'd had every single conversation five times over with him....his hopes, dreams and fears. So I thought. And now 20 years later it's like SURPRISE!! ...He's someone else. Someone different. Someone with a split personality. And his other personality is a totally different man.


Is it possible that you have your answer about who he is?

Maya Angelou famously said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." People on this site often emphasize, believe the actions not the words.

You now know his long track record of actions. Don't these reflect his true morals? Not the morals he said he had, but the morals he was acting out day to day?

Gently, is it possible you do now know who your H is, but it's just really hard to fully accept it?

New conversations with him may not be the key to your healing. It may just be that you need time and dealing with the awful emotions as your new horrible reality sinks in. He has shown you who he is. It isn't who you believed he was.

I'm so sorry for your pain. All of your emotions are justified and understandable.

"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 8755943
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:16 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

Read Lying.by Jonathan Wallace in the Ethical Spectacle. The article is not just about cheating it’s about how lying whether by omission or commission removes your reality. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever read about why we want honesty from others.

On here are some of the most eloquent answers I have ever read anywhere trying to help you. There are no real answers for you because whatever is driving him is not logical. It’s as if you’re asking questions in English and he’s answering in Chinese and neither one of you understand the first thing the other one has said. Whatever is in that hidden brain has been there since childhood. He is coming from a child’s perspective. Whatever happened to him did not allow his emotional growth and you are dealing with a child. Would you ask a three-year-old what caused them to break a lamp on purpose? And his inner child might not even be three. Please accept that that’s where your husband is coming from and he is never going to be able to tell you why because he does not know why. Whatever is driving him is buried so deeply that I don’t know if you can ever get to it. In the meantime there you are trying to live an authentic life and you can’t because you don’t know what’s authentic anymore. My suggestion is to concentrate on your own health and well-being and let him concentrate on he is. If you do if you stay married this is going to be your life, if you can live like that.

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

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8755949
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 1:16 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

((((Sigyn))))

I know this is incredibly painful and you at your core want answers as to the why of the situation. I want to caution you that often there isn't some awakening of the WS to figuring out their why's. Often it's just because they wanted to or they could.

The recommendations here are more about separating yourself from him so that he can no longer could cause you more pain. Interactions w/ him will lead to more blame directed at you and life. Which in turn causes you more pain, and trauma. The recommendations to focus on yourself and your healing comes from those that have walked the path out of infidelity.

One absolute truth that is difficult to accept is that you have zero control of his actions and choices.
The other difficult truth is that you no matter how good your are cannot make him do anything he does not want to do.
I know the desperate need to hear the truth from him, my H's A went on for a solid 6 months, and it took me that long to find the proof, and the entire time between the start of it, and having proof were nothing but torture. You know the truth. He is unwilling to own it. How do you move forward from that. How do you heal you moving forward? Focusing on yourself and your strength, and your needs, and your well being will give you some distance to understand how much abuse you have endured.

Keep reading, keep posting. Set some goal for yourself 1 week, 1month, 6 months, 1 year. They will help you find your way forward.

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 8755956
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DobleTraicion ( member #78414) posted at 1:21 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

I absolutely get that you want answers. That you need to know who the man that youve slept next to all these years and built a life with truly is. That path is also where, in all probability, an all new level of pain resides. This is what makes me wince reading your words. Know why? I went on a similar quest and it sucked the life out of me for years.

Ill try not to project however and talk possibilities. Maybe, as you ask, and ask and ask again in many different ways he will begin to be forthcoming, most assuredly with trickle truth after trickle truth (if he comes out with it at all). As I said before, probability is very high youll find more and more rot. Every revelation will be another cut to your soul. Every peek behind the veneer a sickening and sad reality revealed. Not projecting here, just stating probabilities based on what youve already learned.

The probability is also very high that he will just continue to be the duplicitous spin master that hes been for years. Even in the face of watching his wife fall apart in pain, and torturous grief. All because he is at the center of his own universe. Always has been. Probably always will be.

If you must exhaust every effort at finding all or most of the truth, then I wish you well. This is one of those times when I would rejoice to be wrong. Id be ecstatic that at least you could come through with the measure of solace you seek that I never found. There may be someone here that has experienced a "leopard changing its spots" so to speak. If so, it'd be great to hear.

I can tell you that my quest left me empty and battered, then emptier still. It was only through years of therapy and processing that Ive been able to find peace within myself, and even then, Ive come here searching for answers to some of the same questions youve asked, most recently about duplicity and cognitive dissonance.

It is all crazy making and I feel for you.

"For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."

posts: 71   ·   registered: Mar. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: South
id 8755957
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 5:04 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

It's necessary FOR ME, and I need to be important in some part of this equation. It's not just about "the marriage" for me. It's me. It's my mind, my heart, my understanding, my sense of reason, logic, morals, my sense of who I am as a woman and wife and mother as married to this other person. My marriage is a mixture of me and my husband and of this structure we've built over the years. But I am a thinking, feeling, processing individual person who even if I did divorce will move on with my life and keep living and mothering and co-parenting. And I need this for me. Married or divorced, I need to at least hear an attempt at explaining why. I need to hear what I missed, what I ignored, what he hid, what was living in my house and parenting my child and tucked away in the corners.

This is so NORMAL. The reality we've lived in gets completely upended in this situation. You might be feeling like you're stuck with this same thought reverberating through your head, but so many of us have been there before you and we understand the existential crisis of it, how you feel like everything you thought you knew, everything you thought was real, is suddenly in question. What is love? What does commitment mean? Has God abandoned us? "Who the fuck did I marry?".. all of it. This ripping away of the primary relationship leaves us naked and afraid in a dark and scary world. And yeah, all that might sound like hyperbolic drama, but that's how it feels. We're stricken down by grief as if our WS had died and we don't know what happened or why.

OF COURSE you want to know. Of course you do. All things considered though, what could he tell you that would make sense of it? What possible explanation could he give you that would make what he did understandable? What could he say that you could trust at this point?

In the end, we all have to decide what we believe. Our story has been destroyed, and sure, your WS could supply you with a substitute, a new narrative to replace the old one, but that's not going to make you BELIEVE it. The story has to make sense and it has to fit with what you know as the facts, and what's been going on in his head isn't quantifiable. Whether you eventually accept and empathize or reject out of hand, you're trying to get the measure of something that needs YOUR approval to be real to YOU. IOW, eventually, YOU are going to decide what the new narrative will be going forward. YOU will decide what is real, what is rational, what happened and why. You will gather the facts and interpret them for yourself, and even if the story ends up being that you could never get him pinned down or truthful, that's going to be story enough when you're ready for it to be.

So yeah, there IS an end to this. Right now, you're still in the middle of it though, and it's a horribly draining and confusing place to be. You're going to get through it. This is temporary. It sucks and it's hard, but you'll get there.

((big hugs))

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 6:51 PM, Monday, September 19th]

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 8756004
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 6:44 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

(((Sigyn)))
YES. You deserve answers, and whether you get them or not, you will find your way through this. You are worth everything you need, want and are asking for and so much more. You are worthy of a partner who can give you that. Your partner is not yet ready to be worthy of you. I wish I had any answers for you. I thought my sanity might be a casualty of his choices for a while, but I went into a place of flatness or numbness, not by choice, by a matter of instinctive, protective survival. I have not found most of the answers you seek, but I have managed to find enough of my way to get through somehow, with the help of my friends, this site and my own stubborn self.

What I need you to understand from my experience, is that any attempts to answer those questions have come at a pace so slow it only added to my crazy. Our WH's have lived a lie for so long, they don't even recognize the lies they tell themselves, the mental gymnastics and rationalizations they have made to perpetrate this charade and any unravelling of their protective coating comes with great effort, pain and time. I'm sorry to tell you this, and sorry for the pain I know you are feeling.

When I finally got one true answer to my thousands of whys, it hurt me deeply. I made a joke years ago about how I'd like to be a fly on the wall and watch him put his moves on someone, and I didn't mean it to emasculate him, just cracking on both our nerdy personalities. He told me that was the moment he decided to go on Ashley Madison. It is one of my deepest hurts so far, knowing a stupid joke made him resent me so much. I had no idea his ego was so fragile or his coping so minimal that he couldn't even tell me I hurt him. He bottled up any resentment or issue he had with me because it was easier than talking about what bothered him. This has helped me to understand him moving forward but done little to help me understand why he chose the path he did and why he could turn away from me and sacrifice my trust in such a devastating way. My answers didn't help me much.

You are not crazy. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. I suspect you are strong enough to not let this break you. You are traumatized and trying to make sense of the incomprehensible. You are very, very early in the process, and I apologize for letting my downstream advice cause you more pain. You are not wrong, this needs to be about you and he is not giving you that. I am so sorry he is making things worse for you and making your pain so much more intense. Mine did too, although he swears that was not his intent. He, in my opinion, was just selfish, inept and flailing and made things much worse before he was able to even see what better should look like. Please take care and allow yourself all the bandwidth you need to get through this.

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 8756042
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MKaaa ( new member #80551) posted at 2:44 AM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Sigyn,

My D-Day was 6 weeks before yours and I just went thru the obsession phase of finding out EVERYTHING for my own sanity. My therapist helped me to see it differently. I realized that my WS had total control over the whole situation for years. He planned his trips to prostitutes and was successfully hiding his inappropriate behavior. He controlled my mind by creating this image of a loving, caring, trustworthy husband who would never cheat on his wife. He still has control over the information by choosing not to share ALL the facts with me, even though I begged him for the truth and tried to explain to him that I need it in order to start my healing journey.

I don't care if he's worth it, aren't I worth it? Do the betrayed spouses never get to need things just for us? Or is it always going to be about him? Always his needs, always his motivations

I decided to take the power back. I put my 20 month old baby in a daycare and found myself well paying job. In two weeks I'm moving out to a new place and soon I will be filing for divorce. As soon as he realized that I'm being serious, his behavior became even worse. He became more angry, more irrational and just impossible to reason with. All because he was losing his control.

I don't need his f*** truth anymore. He'd by probably lying anyway and I'd always would have doubts, suspicions and more questions. This is a torture. Didn't we go thru enough already? I decided to focus on what I can use my energy on instead. Instead of searching, questioning, analyzing, figuring out hoping to find a rational explanation or a solution, I shifted my energy to focus on myself. On rebuilding myself so that I can be the best version of me for myself and my baby. We are worth the freedom that comes with it

All the best to you..

posts: 10   ·   registered: Aug. 13th, 2022
id 8756136
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 3:17 AM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

There are different motivations for having an affair. Some people are broken until they heal. But there are others that are simply too broken to ever heal. They missed a developmental window at an early age and simply cannot recoup that piece.

For those that are deeply broken, the affairs are rooted in power and control. Those two things are the driving force in ALL of their lives and the affairs are just a manifestation of that need. These are the people that tend to lead double lives - and rather convincingly. They aren’t struggling to reconcile two aspects of themselves. The two aspects are just simply the necessary component to have the ultimate power and control. They write the book of themselves as how they wish you to read it…but they must have the two sides for either story-writing to be satisfying for them. IOW, one can’t exist without the other for them to feel they have the control.

All this to say, you will likely NEVER get the truth from him. It’s easy to think that the horror of their actions is what they are avoiding…that if they will just get it out then they can save themselves. But they aren’t horrified by their actions - or really even fearful of the consequences. They are fearful of losing the CONTROL. So in that regard, the very thing you need most from him is also the thing that’s giving him the most power. Whether consciously or not, obviously or not, he’s getting his rocks off on all this.

You can’t win with people like this. It’s a poker game at best. And you’re playing with your "grandmother’s heirloom silver" while he’s playing with Monopoly money.

[This message edited by truthsetmefree at 3:20 AM, Tuesday, September 20th]

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8913   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8756139
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Crazytrain101 ( member #48200) posted at 1:44 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Sigyn,
I am SO very sorry, my heart breaks for each new person who comes to SI. But 200% know that this community which I wandered upon 6 years after I discovered my WH's secret life is the BEST. These folks here will give you the right advice and support you need. I would have never made it through my fiasco without the people here.

I personally gauge even saving a marriage in just how much masterful and risky the cheating was, EVERYONE here told me to walk away from my marriage due to amount of OW, possible random meetups, unprotected, and just how esily your WH could compartmentalize the cheating.My WH was a master too-13 OW that I know of after the polygragh (thanks SI) they told me that there was more then the ONE OW due to masterfully he managed it all.

You will never forget the betrayal in your heart, I'm so sorry some here may say with lots of work and rebuilding you can have a happy, trusting marriage after this. The amount of transparency and patrolling of him if you reconcile will be soul sucking. I did this for years after my WH's first round of cheating--daily email checks, checking locations several times a day, requiring a yealy polygraph (which I believe can be passed even lying) the polygraph is really only good to "scare" them into telling you the suppossed truth ahead of taking it. (Thanks SI--my WH said 13 more OW before his!?!?!)

You have said it right, its equivalent to a death, a person you really never knew, the mask has slipped off and your WH is standing there bare for the world to finally see. THIS is the man he is, he isn't the one he has portrayed to his community, family and you.

I will say as I feel like I'm talking a lot about my situation here, I did chose to R with my WH, he promised me the moon and stars, full transparency, counseling, even a post-nuptial agreement with a large consideration towards me if my WH cheated again. Now 6 years later I am headed for divorce, yes he has cheated again. Not just once but several different women and even a post-nuptial agreement that would devastate him financially did NOT stop him.

Some of these cheaters will white knuckle it, mine bought a sports car which he said was necessary to distract him and keep him busy. mad Obviously the car did not work, cheating and what it fills in his empty soul is WHO mine is.

Please take care of yourself, gather your evidence, and proceed with caution, your WH will promise you the world to stay, it takes real hard work on themselves to get to the why's, for some cheaters this is who they are. You'll need to watch and see. Filing for divorce is a major wake up call. My WH went to church every Sunday through his cheating, proclaimed his spirituality and carried his bible in the dash of his work truck all the while leading a separate life.

I understand your need to figure this out, to wrap your head about his morals and his other actions. You keep your head held up high, you did not cause this, push him to this or do anything to contribute to his cheating. You simply married someone that was not who they portrayed, a master of separting his two wanted lives, the one that he wants the world to see, husband, father, morally respectable---then there's the dark side that allows him to hurt you without remorse, endanger your health and safety by putting you unkwowingly in a open marriage without your consent, lying to the OW, lying constantly and without any remorse.

I can say fully that my WH did go to therapy and got some blanket reasons from his psychologist, childhood abuse, low self-esteem, body image issues, etc. so I felt like he was repairable, but 6 years later and finding out again I realize his cheating and the joy of deception of people is WHO he is, it's ingrained in him. The attention ,the excitement, the addiction to getting away with it, the dopamaine rush.A normal, well adjusted person can NOT understand, I spent years trying to figure my WH out, making excuses for what is ultimately just a person I couldn't understand or fix.

Much love to you CT101

6 years ago-found out he was a serial cheaterReconciled-2015 Back again September 2022 as WH is a cheater again Heading to Divorce

posts: 1749   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2015   ·   location: Ohio
id 8756174
doh

NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 10:14 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Double post. blush

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 10:29 PM, Tuesday, September 20th]

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 8756250
default

NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 10:28 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

I so understand your need to understand and know who you were married to, but more than that, to know who YOU were in your marriage and to have YOUR needs matter. It comes with the realization that it’s likely your needs, your goals, your values, your very self as a real person, were never part of any thought he had when he was making his plans and decisions. What you are in need of is acknowledgement of your existence, your agency, your RIGHT to have expected loyalty and honesty and love and value and honor from the person who promised you ALL of those things when he married you.

One thing that became very disturbing after confrontation was that my WH said repeated times: You are a part of me. I had a visceral response to that statement in light of what he had done. My response: NO, I am NOT a part of you. I am an actual separate human being with my own rights to make my own decisions about what is and isn’t okay for my life and for my kids and my family. My response came from understanding that what he was really saying was that I didn’t exist as a separate person—I was a possession that he had felt he had the right to make decisions for.

So that was one thing.

The other took me much longer to understand, and to be honest, I’m still discovering pieces of understanding—ELEVEN YEARS LATER. (Believe me, you are so far ahead of this horrible curve, Sigyn) This thread is full of gold for so many of us.

Our WH's have lived a lie for so long, they don't even recognize the lies they tell themselves, the mental gymnastics and rationalizations they have made to perpetrate this charade and any unravelling of their protective coating comes with great effort, pain and time.

This is SO very true. They have lost track of the actual truth if they ever even knew it. That isn’t the same, however, as not knowing that they were lying to you. He clearly understood that he was and had developed a rationalization and a methodology for deceiving and hiding from you. Really understand that: HE DEVELOPED AN ARTICULATED METHODOLOGY FOR DECEIVING AND DEFRAUDING YOU OF AN HONEST AND FAITHFUL MARRIAGE. Imagine if he had put that energy into becoming a better person, husband and father and dealing with the shit that he knew, because he sought therapy, was there. He was led to the doorway, and he decided to turn around and dig deeper into his ugliest center.

My WH did this too, and I can tell you that that decision—to embrace his worst and run from understanding and fixing it—was one that he never decided to walk back from. Telling himself that he was fine and that everybody was like that and that he wouldn’t have needed to do that except for. . .so many excuses and blameshiftings.

The probability is also very high that he will just continue to be the duplicitous spin master that hes been for years. Even in the face of watching his wife fall apart in pain, and torturous grief. All because he is at the center of his own universe. Always has been. Probably always will be.

I’m sorry, but my experience is that this statement is right on. Has your WH revealed a single thing to help you in the time since you confronted? Has he made one attempt to comfort you and acknowledge that your agony is because of him? OR. Has he expressed concern for his own discomfort and distress at being caught? We know that he has had the stones to tell you that you will now be required to focus on helping him more than ever now.

I recognize that we are all too used to stuffing our own feelings and pushing our concerns down to prioritize them, but what about your son? Has your husband expressed any concern over what HIS actions have done to his son? I ask because when I brought this up to my WH, his response was that he hadn’t done anything to the kids. He might have done something that upset me, but the kids didn’t know anything. They were fine. I had to point out that destroying our marriage was also destroying the foundation of their security and of their family unit before it even dawned (visibly) on him that this was a possibility. Don’t worry though—he quickly stuffed that knowledge right back in a box for himself.

Here is the most important thing that I think I’ve realized and that another poster articulated really well:

. For those that are deeply broken, the affairs are rooted in power and control. Those two things are the driving force in ALL of their lives and the affairs are just a manifestation of that need. These are the people that tend to lead double lives - and rather convincingly. They aren’t struggling to reconcile two aspects of themselves. The two aspects are just simply the necessary component to have the ultimate power and control. They write the book of themselves as how they wish you to read it…but they must have the two sides for either story-writing to be satisfying for them. IOW, one can’t exist without the other for them to feel they have the control.

All this to say, you will likely NEVER get the truth from him. It’s easy to think that the horror of their actions is what they are avoiding…that if they will just get it out then they can save themselves. But they aren’t horrified by their actions - or really even fearful of the consequences. They are fearful of losing the CONTROL. So in that regard, the very thing you need most from him is also the thing that’s giving him the most power. Whether consciously or not, obviously or not, he’s getting his rocks off on all this.

This is just SO right on for my WH, and I think it may apply in your situation too. Only you can know that.

My WH had a horrible, controlling, self-centered, narcissistic mom. And he was her favorite. The relationship was disturbing. She was manipulative, selfl-serving, and cruel when crossed. When I first met my WH, he told me a story about how he had once concocted an elaborate charade to talk two older ladies into giving him the address and phone # of a girl that he was interested in who hadn’t given him the info. These ladies worked at the school that the girl attended. What should have been such a red flag to me was that he was proud of his ability to "play act" so well and felt that it was an indication of his charm and people skills.

My WH is ALL about hiding and keeping personal secrets. He is ALL about covert activity as a rebellious and self-affirming practice. Getting away with it gives him power. Guarding and hiding information gives him power. It seems to all be part of some big: you’re-not-the-boss-of-me middle finger to anyone who he resents.

Guess who he resented in our marriage? He turned me into his mom because I asked things of him that he didn’t like to do. You know, like, tell the truth, not hide financial transactions, be responsible as a husband and parent, carry his own weight. He felt like he should have time to himself to pursue his own activities more, but was FINE with me taking care of the kids, carrying all the workload, being responsible for remembering and taking care of all of the WE responsibilities while he focused on his responsibilities to himself.

And he knew that wasn’t okay with me, so he hid his fun and his personal indulgences more and more. It has taken me years to unravel some of the things that he was/is engaged in, and honestly, I know there is so much more. But his firm practice is never to admit to anything that I haven’t caught him in and never to admit anything that I haven’t already had to find out on my own. Of course, there is so much that I can’t find out about—only what is in an email or a receipt or a text message—so he is free to withhold the complete picture.

This withholding allowed him to keep his power. It allowed him to use what he learns from my reactions and my sleuthing tactics to manipulate me and try to control what happened next. It allowed him to blameshift and deflect and a thousand other dysfunctional things.

And yeah, my WH would also endlessly tell me that the WAY that I approached bringing a problem to him—anything from asking him to take out rotten garbage to demanding that he stop lying to me—was the problem. If I would just handle it correctly, not use that particular tone, not get angry, not act like he had done something wrong, or any fucking thing that might distract onto my behavior and away from his, he would respond better.

Guess what? He never responded better, no matter what I did short of ignoring any issue completely and never bringing it up again. But he did accomplish getting me to turn myself into a pretzel and spend tons of times trying to figure out how I could approach it differently to get what I needed from him. I exhausted myself trying to solve the puzzle while he kicked back and enjoyed the break from having to face or change anything.

And he has never really looked at his behavior at all. He still has an unbelievably strong need to operate in secret, and I mean about little stupid secrets as well as big things. He gets off on the control it gives him. It’s like he’s a sneaky five-year-old that feels so very smart, so much smarter than his mom, when he gets away with it. And he is so ugly and resentful when he is caught. In the past, any time that I caught him in a lie, his response was not contrition but bitter resentment. He would often complain that I was never going to let him forget it now that he’d been caught. THAT was his concern.

If any of this sounds like him, I’m sorry to say that I don’t believe you are likely to ever get what you need from him. It is possible to move forward in this knowledge. It sucks. But for me, it wasn’t possible for me to have any kind of relationship with my WH knowing this.

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 11:23 PM, Tuesday, September 20th]

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 8756254
default

 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 11:13 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

I'm sorry for lashing out, I can't seem to keep my anger and frustration aimed solely at the person who deserves it lately. I can't tell you how much I've valued all of your posts and advice and personal stories, I read them over and over and they hit me differently every time I read them. Different pieces of advice or insight jump out at me depending on my latest deluge of emotions. The other day my anxiety was just through the roof. sad

I sense that you are like me . . . I couldn't fake being interested in salvaging the marriage just to get him to dig deep for me. And I think that's your only shot (and it's a looooooong shot) of him deciding he needs to comply. Otherwise you will continue to get decoy answers designed to assuage your need to know. They will sound good. They will be plausible. They will be bullsh*t.

We are the same in that! Here's the crazy thing. A lot of what I'm grappling with is the recognition that my marriage is at this moment encased in ice and off to the side while I'm an individual person looking at WH who is another individual person. I don't know how to describe it, but our marriage is a shared space I have only 50% control over (so I thought) and at this moment that shared space is unavailable to me. And so it's just me over here, and I'm evaluating just him over there. His decoy answers are never ending! The amount of time and frustration and energy I put into getting the answer to a question rather than a tangent, a diversion, confession of a far lesser crime, a finger pointed back at me, a finger pointed at his mom, a long winded story about something that happened to him 30 years ago - it's endless.

But on my stronger days the scales have fallen from my eyes and I will keep saying to him "that didn't answer the question" over and over because suddenly I can't stop seeing his manipulation. Sometimes I'm listening to him and actually saving up moments like that to share with my sister later, like in my mind I'm picturing her reaction to it and I know how outraged she will be. It makes me feel like I'm not crazy. I think to myself "people who love me would be shocked at the way he's behaving" and I don't even mean the affairs, but the lies, deflection, blame shifting and excuses. Someone wrote "DARVO" when I was first posting here and I looked it up and OMG it describes the way he handles even mild criticism, as well as this massive humiliating moment of truth.

This is where things stand right now. I dug myself into a hole by telling WH that I only wanted to know 'why' on the first day I confronted him. He's latched onto that and throws it in my face every single time we talk. He pretends that I've never asked him for anything other than 'why' in the weeks since, he pretends that he's working very hard to tell me 'why' and I'm not listening to him. His 'why' as you can all probably imagine is a combination of childhood sob stories, emotional abuse from his mother, his struggles to articulate his own needs ( shocked ) and the way that I insist on diving too deeply into his psyche, which wounds him. I'm actually embarrassed for him as I'm typing this out as a list, but that's the gist.

I've told him numerous times in words and in writing that the 'why' I was looking for at the time was actually asking the question "Why did you think it was okay to have romantic and sexual relationships while married to me? Why did you do these terrible things to our family and marriage? What specific life needs were you filling by lying and paying for sex?" I was looking for what he said to himself to justify what he did. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to know WHO he was, not why he did what he did.

I told him last night that I asked the husband I THOUGHT HE WAS the 'why' question. I would not ask the man in front of me that question, because it no longer makes sense to ask. 'Why' this man in front of me now did those things is because that's who he is - he's a man who engages in sex with multiple women, hires prostitutes and lies to his family. I just didn't know him yet when I asked the 'why' question. I was asking my illusion of a husband that question because the illusion husband was a good, loving, caring family man. Anyone would have asked THAT husband why he did something terrible. You don't ask terrible people 'why' they do terrible things, because you already know. They do them because they're bad people. Now I really want to know: just how far does this go? What other axes are hanging over my head right now that I don't know about yet? That's what I want to know now.

And here's what I've gotten from him, his big reveal: he doesn't feel like he's monogamous at heart. I actually laughed in his face when he said that. I kind of forgot that I'd already known those exact words because the Whistlesucker OW had forwarded me that screen grab of him writing that exact thing, it was one of the first pieces of evidence I ever saw. Somehow I forgot that WH doesn't know that I've read those words from him a million times over. It is ridiculous to me that a) I have already told him I know he's had girlfriends and hired escorts, and b) we are obviously having this discussion before he goes back to his bed in the garage because he has been seeing other women. Of course he's not monogamous! That's literally the entire source of the flaming dumpster fire in front of us! But he says it like it's a confession dragged from him through torture! This is what I'm working with.

But in the process of making this confession he said he felt like he was born non monogamous and even used the phrase "coming out" as if being non monogamous were a sexuality or identity. This is a very low blow and also manipulative because without too much personal info we do know a couple who divorced after the H came out as gay after 20 years of marriage and after a lot of emotional turmoil they now have a happy blended family. No one was angry at that husband, even if they were emotionally devastated by the divorce itself. And so when my WH told me that he never felt able to "come out" to me as a cheating lying prostitute effer, it's a deliberate call out to that couple and their situation. But my WH also said that he felt like he was able to maintain all of his love for me and for our marriage while actively involved with other women. And I did respond to all of this, the gist was that I tried to make him see ME in this scenario and he kept returning to himself.

He's self focused to a maniacal degree right now. He also has developed this weird nervous tic of running his fingers through his hair over and over while he's talking about this. I've never seen him do that kind of obsessive self grooming before, it's completely weird and disturbing. I recommended that he see his old therapist again and he jumped at it. I think he thinks it's to score points and that's okay with me for right now because I just want him to be talking to someone professional.

I made another bullet point list of questions for him that I haven't given him yet and might never give him, but these are the questions that are weighing most on my mind right now. I want to know if he's gotten another woman pregnant. I want to know if he has anyone he is financially supporting other than our family, and the sex workers he hires. I want to know if he has ever been involved with someone I know, one of my friends, coworkers or our mutual friends or his coworkers. I want to know if anyone else in his 'legitimate' life knows about his other life. I want to know if he's ever been diagnosed with an STD, even if he successfully treated it before coming home.

It is so incredibly degrading that I have these questions in my journal and I literally don't know the answer to them.

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8756259
default

VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 11:21 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Nowwhat106
You provided an excellent example of a narc revealing exactly who they are, early on in the relationship. We just dont interpret it through the lens we do now. Mine told me a story of how he and a wealthy friend begged outside a church when they were backpacking in their early 20s. They were both loaded so cash wasnt the issue. He just liked deceiving people, especially if they thought he was a sad case and took pity on him (his hook through the marriage). Throughout the relationship they test the temperature to see what they can get away with and what you already know.

posts: 40   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8756261
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