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Newest Member: Stillconfused2022

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

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Aletheia ( member #79172) posted at 1:52 AM on Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

The hubris that cheaters have is literally unmatched. There should really be a study on it. Sigyn, I don't have anything of substance to add, just wanna say I've been following your thread, and although you don't feel it, the way you've handled yourself has been nothing short of exceptional. Especially given the level of betrayal. I hate that you're going through this. Please remember to take care of yourself physically.

posts: 282   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2021
id 8760199
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xcook ( new member #81207) posted at 4:23 PM on Thursday, October 20th, 2022

Your husband was much worse than mine but I certainly know how it feels to be married to a stranger. I found out about all of my husband's cheating when I was over 70! At least you are much younger. I feel like I wasted the best years of my life on someone who had zero respect for me. I will tell you that staying is hard. Your husband has to want to change if your marriage is going to survive. If he does not want to change, it will never work. My husband waited over 50 years to confess to me and I am totally devasted. I feel like an empty shell of a person. I will tell you that he has changed and has been a wonderful husband for the past few months; however, I will never consider him anything more than a legal companion. I made a list of pros and cons and my cons did outweigh the cons. I do enjoy his company and we have common interests. He destroyed any respect I may have had for him with his deceit. He was able to lie and deceive so easily. I do believe he is truly sorry and that he does love me but I will never love him again. It helps me to talk about things so I hope this forum helps you. It takes two to make a marriage work and whatever happens with you, I hope you can find some happiness.

floored

posts: 15   ·   registered: Oct. 20th, 2022   ·   location: Kentucky
id 8760385
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 10:57 PM on Thursday, October 20th, 2022

The fact that he can’t see past himself does not nullify your heartbreak, and pain I’m so sorry you keep having to witness new and interesting levels of self pity. Even as he capitulates….. argh.

Be careful. He seems so full of ego and pride. Can he face reality and have the humility to submit himself to the process?

I think he’s shocked. He had no expectation of not getting his way. Meaning you were going to help him and get out the big broom to sweep it under the rug.

If you want to give him a chance please please please nice him into signing the separation agreement now while he is feeling conciliatory

Then you can’t take next steps as you choose.

[This message edited by redrock at 11:41 PM, Thursday, October 20th]

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

posts: 3504   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8761367
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 3:00 PM on Friday, October 21st, 2022

@xcook I'm so sorry, I read your thread and I totally relate. I'm so sorry you're facing this as well. I wonder how many husbands are actually strangers as yet undiscovered. sad

If you want to give him a chance please please please nice him into signing the separation agreement now while he is feeling conciliatory

I want to give him a chance to do the right thing, and right now that's stepping up for our son and being the best version of a father and man he's capable of being. I'm glad he's in therapy but I'm also afraid he snows his therapist. I'm having a hard time understanding what issues WH has that have made him keep himself so compartmentalized and I'm not sure if he's more compartmentalized in his dealings with women, and his therapist is a woman. I'm wondering if he has disdain for me and other women. If it's universal.

One of the first things I said to him was that I had always had immense respect for my one life. I understood its fragility. I valued it and took pains not to waste it. I took care of it, of myself. I had substance-abusing, risk-taking siblings. I understood the value of my life and appreciated it. I protected my health. I would never have voluntarily entered such an unhealthy situation and I NEVER would have put my kids in such a situation. He knew all of that. I have NEVER been treated with anything close to the utter disregard and disrespect for my very existence as a human being as I was shown by the person that I trusted with my and my children’s very lives.

This nails exactly how I feel. We used to have long talks after dinner, wine and a fire going next to us, talking about how we were consciously grateful for our lives, our health, our son, our sheer luck in being healthy and having work we enjoyed and a home we could grow in. How much we appreciated it. We wouldn't ever be people who didn't appreciate what we had until something catastrophic happened. We would only nurture friendships that kept us safe and happy with shared respect. We had this conversations with our son right there at the table, coloring or playing with something or drawing, knowing even if he wasn't listening or really understanding what we said, the vibe of our feelings would wash over him as he grew up.

I think about those nights now - some of those nights happened the very same week that I read the OW's first message - and I think of how much absolute disrespect for me WH must have to entertain that conversation with all of these women he's invited into our lives, our bedroom, the shared bacteria and viruses from their body entering my life, my own body, my pregnant body. He shared pictures of our son, innocently smiling into the camera. Any one of those women could have shown up at our home. Spied on our son at school. Gotten obsessed and angry and vindictive. Stalked us. Affairs are dangerous. That door was wide open, WH cut that door into our lives and then left it wide open with a Welcome sign on it.

Every few days I obsess over another part of his betrayal and this is something I can't stop thinking of. He smashed our marriage to bits 15+ years ago and I've been living in wreckage, thinking it was secure. He did that to us. He did that to his FAMILY! His son, and to me. We've been vulnerable and we didn't even know it, didn't have a chance to protect ourselves.

I don't think there's any way I can ever, ever get past this. How do I ever feel safe again?

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 3:31 PM on Friday, October 21st, 2022

It totally makes sense that this has shaken (destroyed) your sense of safety. Of course it has. If this man could approximate someone with real feelings and values, then is everyone just walking around pretending?

But I think when you sit with that, you'll find deep down that you know it isn't true. You know most people are like you, and that's why it's so horrifying when a seemingly good person turns out to act more like a monster, and that's why there's a whole genre of made for tv movies exploring that exact scenario. I read recently that it's 4% of the population that lacks a conscience, just like some people lack fear. The brain is a mysterious thing and I won't pretend to be an expert on it.

Something all BS struggle with is losing that child-like trust in their life partner. We just assumed this could never, would never happen. How could our closest ally become our enemy? I think that eventually you learn to accept what was true all along . . . that loving others means being vulnerable to hurt. You can't trust another person or situation 100% but you can and should always trust that you will get through whatever comes your way.

Having your sense of safety taken away is a really primal wound and one that we need professional help with IMO. Our amygdala is designed to detect danger and after you've been attacked by a saber tooth tiger, you will jump every time you see a shadow. Tools for calming and restoring the nervous system are important.

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
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WorldTraveler23 ( member #36528) posted at 6:01 PM on Friday, October 21st, 2022

I’m sorry to say it bluntly but I don’t think you ever will feel safe again - not when you’re in this marriage. You can trust yourself though, and being alone is a hell of a lot better than being in the mess of a marriage that you’re in now. You didn’t cause it, but you can save yourself and I think that you will. All the best to you.

posts: 141   ·   registered: Aug. 17th, 2012
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swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 11:13 PM on Friday, October 21st, 2022

I'm wondering if he has disdain for me and other women. If it's universal.

You mentioned he has a difficult mother, right? So yes, he may believe that the "difficulty" of women means it's OK to snow them.


My husband has a difficult mother . . . she may have borderline PD. I'm her exact opposite . . . I'm cerebral, stoic, measured, and an open book. The affair definitely illuminated the fact that my husband hid things because he imagined I would have a difficult reaction like his mother. He was projecting her issues onto me, or he was taking what he had learned in relationship with her, to placate, retreat, hide, and using it in our relationship.

[This message edited by swmnbc at 11:16 PM, Friday, October 21st]

posts: 1822   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2015
id 8761614
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 12:51 AM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Unfortunately, I tend to err on the side of worst case scenario. I always did. But now, after the A and false-R...it's a lifestyle for me. You are likely correct about this:

I'm glad he's in therapy but I'm also afraid he snows his therapist.

And this is also so accurate:

The hubris that cheaters have is literally unmatched.

My WH's first 6 months of individual therapy, that he was paying for himself as he did not want to file a claim (his work requires notification of everything due to his security clearance and he did not want to have to address therapy with them), was a total and complete joke. He lied to his own therapist about the A being over so anything else they talked about was shrouded in lies for 6 months and he saw him WEEKLY - so he paid for 25ish weeks of therapy out of his own pocket only to lie to the therapist?!? How do I know this? His therapist also invited me in for one visit joint visit after d-day AND MY WH AGREED. - so it all came out at his own therapist's appointment that he had been lying to his therapist as well about the A being over for a year. I mean - the sheer insanity of having me come to his therapist, who he had been lying to, and somehow thinking that wasn't going to come out was just duh Anything is possible.

I don't think there's any way I can ever, ever get past this. How do I ever feel safe again?

I don't know if there is any way for you to get past this - with your WH? There may not be, and a lot of that depends on him and his behavior and if he is really ever willing to address himself. That's the thing - I don't believe it's enough for a cheater to want to figure out their why's and do "the work" for the BS - it has to be for them. It is very AA/NA in that regard in that getting sober for someone else only works for so long - "white knuckling" it as they say - almost always fails eventually. Your WS is going to really have to WANT to do the work on himself, for himself.

A close family member who lived with me years ago was a drug addict. When he was using, and lying about doing it, saying he was clean and going to NA once a week, it was clear shit wasn't right. When he decided to really get clean, it was clear, from the fact that he started singing in the shower again to his openness and desire to communicate, which was normal for the sober him. It's the same with wanting to do the work to help themselves figure out WTF is wrong with them post A and what they are going to do to change. When/if that happens, you will know. For me, the difference between Mr. faking it/going to therapy once a week and lying to his therapist and Mr. I don't want to be this guy anymore and I have issues I want to understand and overcome for me was easy to recognize. The change was palpable. I couldn't have told you the difference when all I had to go by was Mr. Therapy-liar, but once the new Mr. TISL showed up - the guy who wanted to be a better person for him - I knew I would never be fooled by the liar again.

If you don't see/feel that change, chances are you will not be able to feel safe with your WH.

But getting past this can be done with or without your WH in the picture. In fact, most of us on here I think would agree that getting past it is usually easier on your own and away from the WS that hurt you. It's like turning a light on in a dark room where before there was only a tiny light in a dim corner. Once the light is turned on and your eyes adjust, you can see the world around you more for what it is again. You can see the danger where you were and that there is a lot of safety and normalcy out there. it will happen. Trust me.

Had you asked me in 2018 if feeling the way I do now is possible I would have told you NO. I felt stuck, like it was going to be like this forever. But then I thought back to some of the worst things that had happened in my life before the A and false R and the whole infidelity nightmare - things that as they were happening were terrifying and horrible and gut wrenching - and those things passed. I told myself this too shall pass - and low and behold, it did. I'm not the same person I was before surely - but I refuse to let his deceit and lies destroy my life. As far as I know you only have 1 life - I'll be damned if his behavior is going to ruin mine. That's the real rub: you can walk away and be okay. You are the good person who had something terrible done to you. Your WH on the other hand - he is the terrible person - nothing was done to him - he did it all - AND he's stuck with himself and the only way out is a lot of work. When you look at it that way it's clear to see you will be okay on your own. Your position is one of strength and his is of weakness. You will be okay. You will.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 12:58 AM, Saturday, October 22nd]

"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: 1914   ·   registered: Jul. 11th, 2018
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HeartbreakInHawaii ( new member #80401) posted at 6:16 AM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Similarly @sigyn, one of the biggest disconnects I've had in the last six months is coming to terms with the fact that WS was the type of person who knew that regret was one of my biggest fears and yet he did what he did. I've always been touchy about anything that could lead to regrets down the road, I never want to look back at my one single life and wish I'd lived it differently, spent my time differently.

We were on vacation with my brother and his fiance, my two best friends, and my parents in May. My dad is 83 and I will never have enough vacations with him. On the beach one day I got teary telling WS how important the trip was to me, how much I wanted to retain every moment, be present for every memory. I went on and on about how grateful I was to be there after two years of the pandemic. And that night when I came back from the bathroom at a restaurant where we were all eating dinner, I caught him texting one of the OW. He spent years and that very day listening to me and comforting me and reassuring me, I would never regret our life. He lied with every breath while he looked into my eyes and wiped away my tears. The silver lining is, he showed me exactly what type of person he is: selfish, calculated and cruel. When I have a night where I feel like my heart is breaking all over again, I'm grateful he did because it makes the hurt less remembering who he actually is and not who I thought my partner was.

[This message edited by HeartbreakInHawaii at 6:17 AM, Saturday, October 22nd]

posts: 26   ·   registered: Jun. 30th, 2022   ·   location: Canada
id 8761644
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 3:31 PM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

The silver lining is, he showed me exactly what type of person he is: selfish, calculated and cruel. When I have a night where I feel like my heart is breaking all over again, I'm grateful he did because it makes the hurt less remembering who he actually is and not who I thought my partner was.

I am starting to really get this. The one thing that my own discovery event did for me is it took away any place I have to hide in my mind from the reality of who WH is, and believe me I've tried to hide from it. I saw his words. I know his voice, and reading his words in his most self assured, firm, categorical tone tells me he put thought into it - like a LOT of thought over the years. He doesn't think love is a finite resource, he thinks romantic love can expand to as many women as he can fit into his life, he thinks he made a 'good choice' in his wife, but that there are any number of potential soul mates out there to add in to his life while remaining married. I saw the screen grabs of him video chatting his OW from our bed. We have a guest room, he didn't choose to use it. He wanted to bring another woman specifically into our bedroom. He told other women he loved them. That they were his soul mates. That he was in love with them.

There is no marriage for me in that, by definition. I cannot willingly, knowingly be part of a stable of women, only I'm the pathetic idiot who also cares for him day to day, cooks for him and takes care of him when he's sick, deals with his family, picks up the slack at home while he vacations with his other soul mates. The last conversation we had about this I just kept saying I'm done, I'm done, I'm done I'm done I'm done. I can't even repeat some of the admissions he made last week, I'm too ashamed and I haven't even DONE the things. I'm ashamed of him, I'm sickened by what he's been doing, I'm ashamed to be married to him. I've always been so proud of our family. We didn't have to be perfect, we could just be a family doing our best, overall putting more good into the world than bad. But instead WH has been living in this alternate universe in which he's been sharing his body, his time, his love and our money with any woman who would have him. Some of the things he's admitted to are shocking. The numbers, really just the sheer volume and complexity of the other life.

Honestly just feel like the only chance he has to live an authentic life at this point is to be with someone who is also on board with that lifestyle, and the only chance I have to live one is to get space from him. And I read some of the posts here of people who tried to put their marriages back together at any cost and I wonder - do I just not love him enough? Should I be doing that too, even if it doesn't work, even if it causes me more pain and is ultimately not going to work, should I try to stay by his side anyway to show that I'm committed to the marriage even if WH isn't? But then I look back at my secret stash of evidence and it falls apart. He isn't a WH who did something wrong, he is a WH who is a different person than I knew and loved. If there's any chance that somewhere inside of him he's the man I love so so much, the man I keep defaulting to in my mind when I still feel so much love for him, or when I remember a million different moments when I felt like we were bonding with our souls - then that man will have to come for me. It breaks my heart to lose him. But that loss is something that happened already. I had no control over it, and I don't think I have any control over getting him back.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8761674
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Wanttobebetter ( member #72484) posted at 4:34 PM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

I don't think I have any control over getting him back

But why? Why is the above even be part of your thought process? The person you think your WH was never that person, the loving, caring and committed husband.

I've been following your post from the start but never commented. It breaks my heart to see you twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to yank the reasons and whys out from him but to no avail.

It is understandable that you want to know the whole truth and who the reason person you married to all these years. But at what cost? The longer you remain in limbo the longer it impede your healing. The level of betrayal, to me, isn't something anyone can recover from regardless how much love you feel and how long a history you have with your WH.

I am sorry to be blunt and don't have more advise that other seasoned veterans here have given you. I hope you find strengths and choose your path to healing.

Take care and good luck.

posts: 188   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2020
id 8761678
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 4:48 PM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Jonathan Wallace has written about lying.

This is a quote from part of it: Lying is theft. When you tell me something which I take to be true and as a result I invest my time, or my money, or even my care, you have stolen these things from me because you obtained them with false information.

He wrote that lying creates inequality.

Please read the entire article. He covers so much. Pretty powerful writing.

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

posts: 3604   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8761682
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 6:53 PM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

But why? Why is the above even be part of your thought process?

Because I'm not a machine, I'm a human being. You might as well ask someone whose spouse died why they're crying. Why do you THINK missing the man I thought my husband was is part of my thought process? Because I've been married for 17 years and until a couple of months ago I thought I was married to a different man, a man I loved. Why is it so confusing to others that I don't just drop him like a hot potato, brush my hands off and walk away? Please forgive me for being such a slow idiot that it's taking me time to process the astroid that bashed into my house and sent my life up in flames. I guess I should have just flipped the off switch in my heart and walked away five seconds after discovery, easy as that.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 9:54 PM on Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

You’re allowed to be human, Sigyn. ❤️ I think those questions about your response are coming from a good place and are sound on a removed, practical level, but there are emotional needs and trauma through this that just take time to get through.

My experience is nowhere near what yours is, but I still find myself wrapped up in knots sometimes wondering about the reality of our marriage and my perceptions of our relationship in the 20+ years before I found out my husband cheated on me.

One of the enduring pains of this process for me is that truth about my life and primary relationship feels elusive and inaccessible. And I’m dealing with WAY less than you. So I get it.

[This message edited by Grieving at 9:54 PM, Saturday, October 22nd]

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020. DD2: 7/3/2020. Reconciling

posts: 274   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
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Charity411 ( member #41033) posted at 12:37 AM on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

I totally understand why you feel that way Sigyn. You can't just turn your feelings for him off. You need to process all of it. But a note of caution. You may never entirely process it or entirely turn it off.

I've been divorced for 30 years. I never remarried, and no longer want to. I was madly in love with my husband when he left me. I thought I had such a wonderful life. You know what? I did. I think there is this tendency for others to think that we are deluded and therefore that life didn't exist. It did. I just didn't know about the other life.

My ExH died about 2 months ago unexpectedly. Our daughter was devastated. She is 36 with a husband and three kids. When she called me while helping his wife (OW) plan his funeral, she was surprised that I wanted to send flowers. I didn't feel comfortable going to the wake or funeral, but he was a big part of my life. She asked me why, because she was sure I hated him. I said "How can I hate him. He gave me you."

Surprising even myself I cried multiple times in the week following his death, even though we had almost no contact. In fact the last conversation I had with him was 4 months earlier when I needed a copy of our divorce decree because I was retiring and needed proof he couldn't lay claim to my pension. I couldn't find my copy. He happily scanned it and emailed it to me. I told him I owed him one. That was the last thing I ever said to him.

The fact is I loved him and who he presented himself to be, until he stopped presenting that to me and did to her. The wonderful thoughtful gifts existed, the love notes existed, the 15 pairs of earrings hanging on the Christmas tree existed, the way he made me feel safe existed. Just because they didn't last doesn't mean they weren't there. How can we miss something that doesn't exist.

You'll work through this the way you need to. Your feelings are valid even if others don't understand it. I'm rooting for you where ever this takes you. Know this. You will survive and actually be happy.

posts: 1644   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2013   ·   location: Illinois
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NowWhat106 ( member #35497) posted at 1:08 AM on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

The one thing that my own discovery event did for me is it took away any place I have to hide in my mind from the reality of who WH is, and believe me I've tried to hide from it.

This is one of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles that many of us have had to deal with. It’s part of what is so paralyzing (hopefully not indefinitely) about deep trauma. Because even though we can’t hide from the reality of who our WHs are, paradoxically, our complex mind has to loop through this realization over and over and over because our normal version of reality is very fixed and deeply imprinted.

Really believing and accepting that the partner that we thought we knew literally DOES NOT EXIST except in our minds requires so much crushing and difficult re-programming. Really understanding that this new, horrible, unacceptable version of that partner is the REAL version instead of the one that we’ve believed we were married to for decades is just. . .mindfucking and heart-rending in the most shattering way. Grasping the million and one horrible implications of that reality, from our family to our community to our own psyche and emotional stability to our future to our memories, to Every. Single. Aspect of our existence and identity is just impossible to rush through. It’s what healing is about, and we all know that that healing takes a very, very long time with this magnitude of trauma.

We are in a million pieces that we keep trying to put back together over and over only to have them fly apart again with every reminder of our new reality. There’s no solid ground to stand on. We flip between irrational hopium, denial, bargaining, and then having the crushing reality hit us again, over and over. This is where you are right now, and where you’ll be in one stage or another for quite some time.

What I found so difficult in all of it was making any decision at all. In spite of all of the advice on SI, I couldn’t quite believe that my WH would not ever grasp the horrific price of his selfishness and dishonesty. There wasn’t any benefit to him in doing that. I kept believing, in the face of blatant evidence to the contrary, that the person that I now understand (from a great distance in time) only existed in my mind was still in him somewhere. The thing is, that person was never going to "reappear" because he literally never existed in reality in the first place.

But I lost years not realizing that. My kids suffered and experience a lot they shouldn’t have because of that.

I see clearly now that I got stuck in denial that he was really who he showed himself to be over and over. My WH never got around to owning his shit. He never got around to finding empathy or understanding for the pain anyone else experienced or the damage that he continued to do because of that. He never developed the courage that he had never had to face what he was/is and want to change. He had always been able to hunker down and wait everyone out. He was willing to wait forever safe in his compartmentalized shell.

So most everyone here is likely speaking from greater distance out which may not be helpful to you sometimes. I remember SO well the absolute complete disorientation and lack of solid ground of where you are right now. I let that go on FAR too long for myself and for my kids because the trauma was so profound and the hope was so deep (irrational, but deep). We all have to walk through this, and we all have to get where we need to in our own way.

But I’ll let you know that my biggest (and that’s saying a lot) regret is that I gave it and him SO much time. Time during which so much more damage was done. Time that I lost not healing myself because I was so focused on getting him to do SOMETHING to help the rest of us heal. Time lost to family trauma when my kids should have been able to rely on me to remove them from ongoing trauma and help them resume their fleeting childhood. I don’t know about the regrets of giving up on a marriage "too soon." But I can tell you that the regrets I feel for not accepting the reality of the situation and of who my WH really was far sooner are at times truly crushing.

That’s very likely where some of the well-intentioned advise is coming from. We can’t help hoping that you can be spared those regrets and that damage.

But this is your path, and you have to find your way through it. We’re just here to support and try to give you the sad benefits of our experiences. All of this knowledge is SUCH bitter, bitter knowledge to have. One of the great things about this site is that we have the opportunity and the hope that this knowledge, so horribly costly to each of us, can benefit someone else. That going through this will be worth something to someone.

So please just know that I—we—absolutely respect your need to walk through this the way that works for you. You are strong and thoughtful and great at articulating how this journey is affecting you. This helps not only you, but the rest of us too. I can’t tell you how much value is laced throughout this thread of yours, including the gold in your own posts. You will have much to share here to support others from your experiences too, including the inevitable things that you’ll wish, in retrospect, that you had handled differently. That is just part and parcel of the shit sandwich that we’ve all been handed.

Here are some things that I see (from an outside perspective) in your posts:

I saw the screen grabs of him video chatting his OW from our bed. We have a guest room, he didn't choose to use it. He wanted to bring another woman specifically into our bedroom. He told other women he loved them. That they were his soul mates. That he was in love with them.

He had all of the parts of HIS life where and how HE wanted them. They weren’t as compartmentalized as we sometimes want to believe. My WH did this too. He actually took me and MY KIDS to meet her once. This was something I just couldn’t get over. He delivered my kids to her. Because they were HIS. They were just neat stuff to show her.

I'm glad he's in therapy but I'm also afraid he snows his therapist.

He will. He doesn’t use language to explore his real self and feelings. My WH doesn’t even understand another purpose for language because he doesn’t conceive of sharing and exploring his real self—even with himself. He is always creating an image or constructing an imaginary self for himself and everyone else.

I'm wondering if he has disdain for me and other women. If it's universal.

He does. It’s part of being a narcissist. He’s the smartest.

I think about those nights now - some of those nights happened the very same week that I read the OW's first message - and I think of how much absolute disrespect for me WH must have to entertain that conversation with all of these women he's invited into our lives, our bedroom, the shared bacteria and viruses from their body entering my life, my own body, my pregnant body. He shared pictures of our son, innocently smiling into the camera. Any one of those women could have shown up at our home. Spied on our son at school. Gotten obsessed and angry and vindictive. Stalked us. Affairs are dangerous. That door was wide open, WH cut that door into our lives and then left it wide open with a Welcome sign on it.

Every few days I obsess over another part of his betrayal and this is something I can't stop thinking of. He smashed our marriage to bits 15+ years ago and I've been living in wreckage, thinking it was secure. He did that to us. He did that to his FAMILY! His son, and to me. We've been vulnerable and we didn't even know it, didn't have a chance to protect ourselves.

I don't think there's any way I can ever, ever get past this. How do I ever feel safe again?

There is no marriage for me in that, by definition. I cannot willingly, knowingly be part of a stable of women, only I'm the pathetic idiot who also cares for him day to day, cooks for him and takes care of him when he's sick, deals with his family, picks up the slack at home while he vacations with his other soul mates. The last conversation we had about this I just kept saying I'm done, I'm done, I'm done I'm done I'm done. I can't even repeat some of the admissions he made last week, I'm too ashamed and I haven't even DONE the things. I'm ashamed of him, I'm sickened by what he's been doing, I'm ashamed to be married to him.

Your posts are full of these kinds of stunning and astute observations and realizations. Gently, what I notice in your flare ups when you feel pushed to something that you’re not ready to accept at this point (which is TOTALLY normal and right for you right now) reminds me of what you said about your therapist visit and the cards. You said that you really had a hard time categorizing things as dealbreakers because that would mean that something had to be done about them. Could be that you’re having a stronger reaction to others pushing you to categorize things as dealbreakers for you. Like in your therapy session, your mind pushes that idea away forcefully. It’s protecting you from looking at the irreconcilable enormity of his crimes against you and your marriage. Again, perfectly understandable. What I’ve learned from this site is that the things that make me feel defensive should be looked at more than the others in much the same way that i learned to see things that my WH was defensive of as revealing of places where something was being withheld.

And I read some of the posts here of people who tried to put their marriages back together at any cost and I wonder - do I just not love him enough? Should I be doing that too, even if it doesn't work, even if it causes me more pain and is ultimately not going to work, should I try to stay by his side anyway to show that I'm committed to the marriage even if WH isn't? But then I look back at my secret stash of evidence and it falls apart. He isn't a WH who did something wrong, he is a WH who is a different person than I knew and loved.

Again, gently, love does not require you to throw yourself on the fire to warm your WH. That isn’t love. It’s self-immolation. That has nothing to do with loving someone enough or being a devoted enough spouse or being a compassionate and forgiving enough person.

You are moving forward, Sigyn. It’s not a linear path. You will get there. We’ll be here for you whatever you decide is best for you and your son. You’re doing great. Truly.

And I’ll just say that I’m so, so sorry that you have to learn these things and do these things and experience this horrible pain and trauma. I’m sorry we all did.

Huge hugs to you. NW

[This message edited by NowWhat106 at 4:16 AM, Sunday, October 23rd]

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: 516   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2012
id 8761738
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VezfromTaz ( member #80815) posted at 1:57 AM on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

these sort of people are prepared to play the long game - what's he got to lose

only you get to decide if and when it ends

posts: 64   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8761745
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leafields ( member #63517) posted at 3:16 AM on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

My is has a personality disorder (he's a diagnosed covert narc). He doesn't see people as people. They're objects to be used as he sees fit and manipulated for whatever purpose.

It took me 18 months to figure out that he wasn't doing the work to be a safe partner, but was only going through the motions. It took me that long to get through reprocessing what I thought was my reality versus this new version. For a long time, I wanted my life to go back to what it was. But, I realized that XWH had been treating me so horribly that I didn't want to go back to that, and was beginning to realize that he wasn't going to change. Then, he crossed the line with another female, which he knew was going to be a deal-breaker. I was done.

You can take your time to process through things, evaluate where you are, and think about what you want in your future.

In my book, if you can get out of bed and brush your teeth, you're doing well.

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

posts: 1488   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8761751
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VezfromTaz ( member #80815) posted at 10:26 AM on Sunday, October 23rd, 2022

As the old saying goes, how do you eat an elephant?

It seems like you've already set smaller goals moving forward to change how you respond ~ perhaps this could be expanded to, say, setting yourself a goal of not communicating with him in person, text etc for x number of hours/days, despite any urge to do so, or previous patterns.

Do something useful with that time instead of listening to the same ol same ol from him (although it sounds like you are getting a pretty detailed timeline which your lawyer might find of use).

I always felt a lot better when I kept my trap shut post separation ~ seeking information from ex was really just me trying to reduce my own anxiety, but all it did was exacerbate my anxiety because ex still had control.

I feel a lot better now we dont speak in person, only by text for our son (and I grey rock) and through lawyers for property and when ex is being a dhead about our son.

My anxiety has really gone now, even though ex is effectively stalking me by hanging around front of house unnecessarily, leaving his dog in the yard and wandering off, and I'm pretty sure he broke into house recently whilst I was away to put wedding rings back in wardrobe which he removed at separation (just more gaslighting bs ~ I dont think narcs even know that we know what's going on ~ they actually think we are stupid).

I recommend a book Blind to Betrayal, Freyd and Burrell. It is about various forms of abuse including infidelity.

It is truly a cruel and awful thing to do to a good person.

posts: 64   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8761758
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 1:18 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2022

What I’ve learned from this site is that the things that make me feel defensive should be looked at more than the others in much the same way that i learned to see things that my WH was defensive of as revealing of places where something was being withheld.

What I'm defensive about is that people who have been through this can be confused as to how I need to process that the husband I thought I had is gone. People ACTUALLY ask me why this thought is even in my mind? How can people who have gone through this not understand missing my life before infidelity?


It's been two months. My WH isn't living in the house. We are all in separate therapy. I have an attorney. I had a separation agreement drawn up.

I just don't need people here of all places telling me that my marriage is over. I KNOW that. I've been writing that, I am clearly acting on that. I am clearly mourning that. It's not helpful to tell me my husband is a bigger piece of shit than other husbands, that he's irredeemable, and that I should already be divorced and that it's weird of me to think about my old life with sadness. What good does that do?

I know my marriage is over.

I know my husband is not going to change into a different person.

I know that he's a piece of shit and worse than other husbands here.

I know that it's "useless" to wonder why, or to miss him, or to still love him, or to struggle with this revelation - but as a human being who formed a strong healthy attachment to the man I married, two months isn't enough for me to have raced through all the stages and nail divorce papers to his door and strut away with my head held high. It's not a movie. It's a complicated and intertwined life that is being dismantled. So yes, I will feel useless things sometimes. I want a safe place to share those useless, pointless feelings with people who understand because they felt them too.

Also I would be an irresponsible mother if I did not do as much as I could to take the most emotionally devastating time in my son's young life and get as much help, advice and professional attention as possible, and to make careful plans that put his safety and mental and emotional health and wellbeing FIRST. Even before my own, and definitely before WH. And that doesn't happen overnight. A quickie divorce will not help and might actively harm my child. So no I won't do it. I will plan his future carefully, and I will still emotionally process my own emotions while I do that. THAT is my primary concern, not WH, not shoving a divorce in WH's face because it feels good to make him hurt. I can't think that way, I'm a mother. And I also need this time for me.

posts: 76   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
id 8761869
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