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Just Found Out :
When cheating stems from addicton/trauma/compulsion

question

 SecretsOut09 (original poster new member #80820) posted at 5:21 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

WELL, this one's gonna be a long one, but its worth the read. Full disclosure- part of this story involves sexual abuse and incest-based childhood trauma, So read on with caution if necessary.

I am 33 and I recently discovered that my partner has been having an on-and-off affair with an ex, for the entirety of our relationship.

For context: He and I have been together for 4 years and our lives are entirely intertwined. Our families are connected, we have all the same friends, we live together, own a car together, share bank accounts, etc. We have no children, but do not want any. From the outside looking in, we have the perfect relationship, and it really did feel that way... until 8 weeks ago.

Now, back to the affair. After discovering this information I called the woman myself and she confirmed my suspicions. She sent me screenshots, messages...everything. They had jokes, made plans, and even talked about the future together. It was heartbreaking to read, to say the least. (afterwards, he told me it was "just what she wanted to hear". whatever.) But she had no idea existed, she thought he lived with his MOM!

The funny thing about it, is that this girl was lovely. I almost feel like she and I would have been friends, had this not been how our paths crossed. She was smart, strong and passionate and she genuinely cared for this man, just like I do (did? idk.) We literally cried together over what he had done to us. Both shocked, both disgusted, both heartbroken.

So how did she NOT know? The truth is, that he had cheated on her years ago, when they had originally been in a relationship (in their 20's). So this time around, they both kept their hookups a secret from their friends and families- her because she was embarrassed to go back to him, and him because of the life that he and I shared. It was the perfect situation for a man trying to hide a mistress.

After discovering this affair and hearing the lies he had told this other woman, my soul just KNEW there was more; he swore there was not.

He suggested therapy and I obliged, still not sure if I wanted to stay, but I knew that the life we had built was worth trying to save. I had been a loyal partner, why should I be punished by HIS actions? I do not deserve to lose the life we've built! And just to be clear, this is not a financially driven decision -- I can support myself without him, I just simply love our life together.

Anyway- we began therapy. We began having some of the best and most honest conversations we have ever had. We oddly felt closer than ever, and he was suddenly an even more perfect version of my perfect partner....but I still had that nagging feeling that there was more to come.

...WELL YOUR GUT IS ALWAYS RIGHT, RIGHT?!

One month into therapy, I discovered Uber receipts, dating back years. Trips to multiple addresses that I didn't know, in neighborhoods that we didn't frequent. From our home and back.

All different addresses. All homes. All different dates. All visits were about an hour. All on nights that I am working, busy, or out of town.

I panic.

I KNEW IT.

I called him immediately and he faked sick to leave work early. He came clean to me and admitted that in addition to the affair I had discovered, he had also been soliciting sex online.

For years.

Prostitutes!

He admitted to me that this was his deepest darkest secret and that he cannot stop. He has tried many times over the last 10 years, and sometimes been successful, but always goes back to it eventually. Typically once every month or so, right around pay days. He swears he used protection. He tells me that sometimes he couldn't even have sex with them because he was too uncomfortable to perform, and he even admits that some of the women gave him cocaine to try to take the edge off.

I am in shock. Mind you this is a man with high functioning anxiety. Someone who is admittedly shy, awkward and has never even smoked weed! So, you can imagine how out of character this story is.

At this point I am feeling so many emotions at the same time that I don't even think my heart works.

I tell him its over but he begs me to help him get help.

Now, for some back story on him, and this is where it gets HEAVY, so TRIGGER WARNING--

He was a child from a very abusive home. Both of his parents were drug addicts and both did prison time. His father was a pedophile and raped both of his sisters at VERY young ages. All of this is proven and factual.

He maintains that although his father did physically abuse him, the abuse towards him was never sexual. However he did witness the sexual abuse inflicted upon his sister and mother in their home. This was all before the age of 4, when he and his sisters were removed from their parents care. Knowing all of this about him, it has always been a miracle that he was so "normal".

Until Now.

In the process of therapy, he has begun to have flashbacks of sexual abuse that he DID in fact suffer as a child, at the hands of his father. Memories that he has been so ashamed of that he has hidden somewhere in his brain for 30 years. He shared the memories with his mother and she has corroborated many of them. As a child, his mother knew something was going on and took him to many doctors/therapists, but he always denied it. He never told the truth about what was going on behind closed doors. Even after both of his sisters admitted to being abused, he continued to deny that it had happened to him. His mother thought he had dodged a bullet, as did he. It was not until now that he admits that he was also a victim. Suddenly he is afraid of his own mind, and of these memories that are flooding back. He has also begun to have night terrors, recurring dreams and screams in his sleep. He hasn't been able to have a single sexual thought in weeks, to the point that he is afraid that he won't be able to ever again. He admitted that he tried looking at porn but couldn't even get aroused. He is also discovering through therapy that so many of his personality traits are directly related to this trauma. For example, his anxiety, his inability to say "no", his people-pleasing, his insecure tendencies, his need to be liked by everyone, his habitual lying, his sexual tendencies, and his compulsive personality, just to name a few.

Apart from all that has unfolded in this story, I should also say that although very troubled, he is a great man who has overcome A LOT. He is a wonderful son to his mother (who has since turned her life around completely, and is now a Counselor herself!), everybody's best friend, and also an Emergency Responder in our county. His entire life is devoted to helping others. He's the guy everyone counts on, and he comes through every. single. time. No one has a bad word to say about him and would be SHOCKED to hear this story. Which is why I'm writing it here.. because I cant tell ANYONE right now.

The problem is, that now he has handed me this burden to carry. His secret is out, but now its mine to hold. He has told the truth to me and to his family.. but now I have to bare the weight IF I choose to stay. But can I?

Can this be forgiven? Is it weak to stay? Would staying with him mean I allowed him to walk all over me for all these years? Does it make his actions acceptable? Does it make me "that stupid girl"? Or should I feel empowered by going through something so hard with someone and coming out on the other side? Is there even another side? Can I get there? Will I be proud of myself if I do, or will I feel ashamed? Is it wrong to leave someone who is working so hard on themselves? How can I walk away knowing that my discovery has spilled more trauma on the doorstep of of a family that has already gone through SO many years of healing?

He has done so much work in the past 2 months to prove that he wants to be fixed, he has been so vulnerable and so honest and so transparent. He wants to be better SO BADLY, for himself and for "US". But how do I trust his intentions?

I need to make a choice but both options feel wrong to me. I see shame and weakness in staying, but also in leaving. I just refuse to lose myself in this. I want to feel empowered and strong and resilient, I want to be proud of the choice I make, but H O W ??

[This message edited by SecretsOut09 at 3:19 PM, Wednesday, September 7th]

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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:20 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Sex addicts don't have the best prognosis, and I do think that might be what you're looking at here. There's a thread in the I Can Relate section you might get some benefit from. Personally, I believe that the sex addict diagnosis (which should be made properly by a CSAT btw.) is LESS incentive to try R rather than more. It says in essence that the disease is at fault, not the perpetrator of the action, and as such, the WS has an established history of not being in control of it. What's worse, is that many therapists tend to try and drag the spouse or significant other into the WS's accountability system and instead of your trauma and betrayal being dealt with, you become a cog in the cheater's recovery effort. The guy risked your life, your health, your emotional and financial security for an orgasm with a random or semi-random stranger. Hell, at this point do you know for sure it was even just women? Sometimes it's not.

He might be a paragon of virtue in other respects, but what other aspect is more important than this for YOUR purposes? You are NOT required to forgive and take him back just because he's an otherwise nice guy. You're not a bad person if you decide to save yourself. He might have a wheelbarrow full of psychological trauma but instead of dealing with that, he DUMPED IT ON YOU. He knows the difference between right and wrong. He wasn't unaware that what he was doing was cheating and that there would be consequences for it, hence the lies and the sneaking behind your back. You're young, and believe me when I say that time moves fast and your life is lived before you know it. There are other men out there who won't be perfect, but they won't be a project with a hooker habit either.

Anyway, my point is that you do have choices. You aren't locked into this. Four years seems like a lot, but from my perspective of married for nearly 40, it's still the getting-to-know-you stage. What you've found out in this stage isn't promising. Don't sell yourself short.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 6:20 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

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.

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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 7:11 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Have to say I side with ChamomileTea. He's had a tortured soul buried within himself for as long as you've known him. He wears a mask and wears it so well that He was able to keep that damage hidden from everyone around him. Continuing on with him is an incredibly high risk prospect. It's not assured that he is fixable. Because of his ability to hide behind a mask, you will never be sure that he has been able to fix himself. We have a saying here of not setting yourself on fire to keep someone else warm. Your WP was tragically damaged by his own father. That's not your fault and it's not your responsibility to help him heal from that. Especially at the expense of your health. He needs to heal for his own sake. Not because of you. Tread very carefully if you do decide to stay. Prioritize your need to feel safe over his.

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 SecretsOut09 (original poster new member #80820) posted at 8:40 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

thank you both for your opinions, a huge part of me knows that you are right. @grubs @ChamomileTea

I guess I am just so scared of change that I am stalling the process. In my heart I don't want to start over on my own, but my head knows I should!

I think I am just still in shock from the whole thing. I cannot explain how blindsided I was. I felt so safe and at peace in my relationship with him, it is unfathomable to me that this could have occurred. And trust me, I am not a stupid woman; he is just an incredible manipulator, it seems. He has the whole world fooled- I can't explain the way that everybody just loves him. Everybody speaks so highly of him; co workers, friends, even people he's just met. It's always "wow what a guy!" or "find me someone like him!" (yikes)

I just hate the idea of losing the life I created. I hate that I will have to expose this secret. I hate the idea of everyone coddling me like a child when they hear what happened to me, or looking at me like a victim- I don't 'want any attention from this!

But I think that most of all I'm afraid that I will never trust my own instincts again after being SO wrong this time. All these thoughts just make me want to stay where I know what I'm getting as opposed to getting into another relationship where I will have to carry this weight. Is the grass always greener on the other side?? or Is the evil you know better than the evil you don't?

[This message edited by SecretsOut09 at 8:45 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 9:04 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I felt so safe and at peace in my relationship with him, it is unfathomable to me that this could have occurred. And trust me, I am not a stupid woman; he is just an incredible manipulator, it seems. He has the whole world fooled- I can't explain the way that everybody just loves him. Everybody speaks so highly of him; co workers, friends, even people he's just met. It's always "wow what a guy!" or "find me someone like him!" (yikes)


That's part and parcel with the dysfunction though. As Grubs pointed out, the guy probably has a big bag of masks that he's been using for a very long time. He hustles for love and approval like its his full-time job, so yeah.. he's good at it. It's his modus operandi at this point.

But I think that most of all I'm afraid that I will never trust my own instincts again after being SO wrong this time. All these thoughts just make me want to stay where I know what I'm getting as opposed to getting into another relationship where I will have to carry this weight. Is the grass always greener on the other side?? or Is the evil you know better than the evil you don't?

The first feeling you get after you've just found out, at least in my experience, is that the path ahead seems to slide away into some terrifying, impenetrable mist. You were so sure-footed on your every day course, but suddenly, you can't SEE the path ahead anymore. So yeah, it's scary AF. But you know what's MORE scary?.. looking back decades later and wondering what might have been.

You got fooled. We all did. So you start doubting your own judgment because why wouldn't you? But the bottom line here is that you don't think like he does. Your default setting is compassion and trust, not subterfuge and betrayal. Cheaters go to great lengths to keep us fooled, and they're sometimes quite good at it. You've been mugged. Is it your fault for having a wallet, or is it the mugger's fault for being a criminal? That urge to self-blame is a subconscious desire to take control, because if you can somehow make any of this your fault, you can keep it from happening again. It's the same feeling for nearly all of us. Don't let it rattle you.

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.

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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 11:12 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I sent you a pm

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

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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 11:25 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

They are a lot of conversations about FOO which I prefer to call childhood traumas. Often times the child is not even raised by their original biological family. They might be in foster care, with relatives, family friends, neighbors. For anyone to think that these do not have a profound effect on children as lying to themselves. They can now do brain scans and see the damage.

Childhood traumas:

1. Sex abuse can be by family members, neighbors, older siblings’ friends, priests, teachers, coaches, etc. I watched a cop from Los Angeles explain about what you need to deal with as a parent. There is no safe place to send your child. You can’t send them to camp, or the movies, or to the park, or to school, or to the neighbors or anywhere. You need to be very well aware that there are predators in your environment and they have already looked at your child. That’s the scary part. In fact I was at a meeting one time when a cop said for every square mile in the United States that was a sex offender. That scared everybody in the room.

2. Emotional abuse. One of the most hideous ways to drive a child crazy. If your family inflicts it on you it is a wonder that you survived. Many of you have shared your own stories. They are heartbreaking. This appears to have life long consequences unless therapy is used.

3. Physical abuse. This is not to be confused with a parent who swats their kid on the butt every now and then or smacks their hand. Those are not necessary but they are not child abuse in most states. It’s easier to get a child to be good then it is to punish them for being bad. It’s much more positive but some families do resort occasionally to a swat. Hitting a child in the kidneys, or the stomach or the head is abuse and you can be arrested for it.

Because science has come such a long way it is now easy for doctors to look at the brain scans of the patients and there are definite changes in the brain if there has been as much abuse as you have talked about here. Your husband needs such intense therapy that the first place I would tell him to go is one who is experienced in EMDR. There are other therapies out there now and more coming out every day. He needs as much as he can get. And then he needs to find a group of sex addicts that are going to hold him accountable. He also needs a therapist who is very well trained in trauma and sex abuse of children.

No one can tell you whether you should stay or not that’s entirely up to you but you need to understand this is a very sick person. It’s as if someone gave him a chronic case of cancer. It won’t kill him but it never leaves his mind even for one second. Please be gentle whatever you decide to do because he is hanging on by his fingernails.

[This message edited by Cooley2here at 11:28 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

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

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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 10:23 AM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Or you can say those are excuses for cheating. As in just b/c you have had a crappy life or childhood is not an excuse to cheat.

I just hope you see those are excuses. People cheat because they want to. He had a great relationship with you but decided to cheat anyway.

Enough said.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

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 SecretsOut09 (original poster new member #80820) posted at 10:29 AM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

thank you for that perspective @cooley2here ! Understandably, most people have been so quick to tell me to run away from this man even though it seems that they have all been working on recovering their own relationships, and that confused me. So it was refreshing to hear that someone else feels that the trauma aspect makes my situation a bit different than most.

I have been doing a lot of research on childhood trauma, as I know that it plays a massive role in his actions. I know that his experiences are NOT an excuse for what he's done but I am trying to give him a little more grace that I normally would, because of it.

I DO want to help him through this, even if we are not in a relationship. I recognize that it is not my job to "fix" him, but I am willing to be supportive if he continues on the right path. I think that with continued therapy he can free himself of so much of the weight he has carried all these years.

He has done a lot of research to find the best help possible and is currently in therapy 2x per week with a counselor who specializes in compulsive sexual behavior. We have been working with a couples counselor while I decide what I want my future to look like, and he also attended his first 12 step meeting this week.
When I tell you that he is using every resource at his disposal, I really mean it. I will also look into EMDR as you mentioned, as I don't know much about it and assume he may not either.

a HUGE part of me wants to take everyone's advice and run for the damn hills, but my heart won't let me walk away completely.

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 SecretsOut09 (original poster new member #80820) posted at 10:32 AM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

@The1stWife, i completely agree. You seem to have found light at the end of the tunnel, though, how did you find reconciliation after multiple affairs? is there hope?

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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 2:03 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

In most cases I agree with 1stwife but I know there are sex addicts whose lives are awful. There are also serial cheaters who shrug off any pain they inflict. I assume there might be sociopathy present. There is a difference.

I watched a TED talk by a British therapist and she was able to convince me that the addiction is real. Right now in my extended family a man is suffering from alcoholism. He has fallen off the wagon many times but keeps trying. His wife is giving him one more chance. It is so sad to watch. He doesn’t understand why he has such difficulty staying sober. I can’t drink. I don’t like alcohol. Never have. My body cannot handle the acid.

Addiction in the US is an epidemic. Drugs are killing people, so is alcohol and it would not surprise me sex addiction does occasionally.

EMDR is done by an expert therapist who continues to study. The good thing about it is that results don’t take a long time. It pulls up hidden memories. It does not remove them it allows the patient to work through them and remove their power. Then talk therapy begins to work through everything. That should be done in conjunction with an expert in sex addiction. None of it is easy and it should be a part of his life forever.

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

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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 2:35 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Understandably, most people have been so quick to tell me to run away from this man even though it seems that they have all been working on recovering their own relationships, and that confused me.

If you're suggesting there's some sort of hypocrisy in place or that people want you or your WS to suffer, that's not what's happening. IME, healing came because I was able to value myself enough to erect and maintain boundaries for the first time in my life. It's not about a lack of compassion. I had great compassion for my WH, and that's sort of a natural reaction because it feels MUCH nicer to stand off to the side and take a clinical look at our WS's situation. We don't have to wade through our own hurt and fear when we're focused like a laser beam on him. We're detached and in control emotionally. But that's an illusion. We are still enmeshed and in many cases, like mine, codependent and enabling.

I had to break that dynamic in order to heal, and my WH had to look inward on his own without crutching on someone else for the first time in his life. It was on HIM to become worthy of ME, not the other way around.

Maybe your situation will be different. Who knows? All I can tell you is what worked for me, and being strong on my boundaries is what saved my marriage. Having REAL and meaningful expectations about what kind of treatment I was going to tolerate from people going forward is what made it possible for me to heal.

ETA: Just wanted to add that if you begin with the premise that no excuse is good enough for cheating and then build off that, it will keep you straight on your path. That doesn't mean you are lacking in compassion. It just means that you are clear-eyed and unwilling to accept blame-shifting, and this will lead you to a state of expectation in terms of the treatment you deserve from a partner who claims to have your best interests at heart.

You're going to be okay. Really. It feels so messy and painful, but we've all been there and we're still here. You will be too.

((hugs))

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 3:26 PM, Saturday, September 3rd]

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.

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veryhurt2018 ( member #65877) posted at 4:48 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

I sent you a PM

Me-BW(47) Him-SAWH(57) D-Day: 5/9/18 followed by trickle truth for 12 months. Lots of cheating

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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 9:07 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Long term affair with an X?

That’s just very hard to recover from for both of you.

The "connection" to the past has a stranglehold on some people. I’m lucky my X’s were never people I wanted to go back to. There was a reason for them being an X.

In this case there is "something" that continues to remain unresolved between them. As an example if she dumped him and he never got over it, then there may be future encounters between them.

I urge you to get counseling for yourself. It will be the best solution for you. It’s not for the counselor to tell you to R or leave him but yo help you determine what is the right path for you.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

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annb ( member #22386) posted at 11:34 AM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

Sorry you find yourself here.

Gently, your partner, who is supposedly this wonderful guy other than the cheating and prostitutes, has been cheating your ENTIRE relationship. You've been living a lie for four years. Four years. I hope you think about that because honestly, a real relationship did not exist, it was a fantasy in your mind and maybe his.

I think therapy might help you to figure out why you would even consider staying with someone who duped you for so long. sad

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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:21 PM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

SecretsOut09,

In response to your question as to how I survived 2 affairs and ended up happily reconciled, I can tell you it wasn’t easy to R and my H committed to making amends after dday2 of affair #2.

His first Affair was a 4 year EA (emotional affair) which he refused to admit to. I knew it was going on but he just loved that ego boost. It finally ended after he completed grad school. Completely rugswept and no consequences to him. He lied and stonewalled me the entire time this affair occurred.

15 years later he starts a second EA but this time he wants a divorce. Ten days after telling me about his affair he’s practically kicking me to the curb.

I’ll spare you the gory details but the affair ends. At least that is what he told me. However it actually started up again but I had no idea. I was smart enough to work on my exit strategy and continue with my plan B.

Dday2 I called the OW )other woman) who told me they had been seeing each other. It was a 2 minute conversation and she also told me he admitted to her that he cheated on me with grad school girl 15 years earlier.

Sooo…….it’s now time for plan B. I told my H in a very short statement I was Divorcing him b/c I had no other choice. He was free to go and be with anyone he chooses. I left the room b/c it was not a discussion.

Two days later I told him he had to leave. He refused. I made a phone call and found him a place to go. And then he was on his own. Me & kids were staying in our house and he was paying for it. I actually told him that.

I did the hard 180. It’s been 9 years and I still don’t do his laundry or cook dinner if I don’t feel like it. I don’t do his errands. He’s not #1 any longer.

Turning my back on him restored my power and self esteem in one move. He had no ability to make any decisions about my life. And he knew it.

He was begging to R and I wasn’t interested. But somewhere along the way I noticed a change. He was making amends. He had remorse. He lost his big ego that gave him permission to cheat.

And that is how we ended up happily reconciled. We both changed. I’m not a doormat any longer and he doesn’t need outside validation from other women to get that ego boost.

I hope this helps you.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 1:49 PM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

I am very sympathetic to your partner. His life is hell. But you need to understand that this is what he has been doing probably since puberty. I don’t mean having sex with prostitutes when you’re 12 years old. I do mean a fixation which began from a toxic, chaotic childhood. What the other posters are trying to get you to understand is that your life is going to be hell too. You’re going to obsess over this. You’re going to wonder where he is every minute of the day. You’re going to want him with you 24 hours a day because that’s the only way you know he’s not having sex with someone.

He is also a phenomenal liar. That is the part that makes his recovery iffy. He is an expert in illusions.

Your future should be your focus. Can you live with this fear? Stress can be a killer.

Please look at a TED talk about childhood trauma. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris.

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

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 SecretsOut09 (original poster new member #80820) posted at 3:20 PM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

Sooo…….it’s now time for plan B. I told my H in a very short statement I was Divorcing him b/c I had no other choice. He was free to go and be with anyone he chooses. I left the room b/c it was not a discussion.

Two days later I told him he had to leave. He refused. I made a phone call and found him a place to go. And then he was on his own. Me & kids were staying in our house and he was paying for it. I actually told him that.

I did the hard 180. It’s been 9 years and I still don’t do his laundry or cook dinner if I don’t feel like it. I don’t do his errands. He’s not #1 any longer.

Turning my back on him restored my power and self esteem in one move. He had no ability to make any decisions about my life. And he knew it.

I'm happy to say that this is the road I am on as well, but this has been my approach since day 1. I kind of thought that creating strong boundaries was the assumed first step

I told him I was leaving him, period, full stop. I have told him that he is single to do whatever he pleases, and he refused to do anything of the sort. He has actually done the opposite- suddenly he does EVERYTHING For me and wants to be with me every minute of the day in hopes that it will win me back. a Love bombing of sorts but more remorseful than malicious, I think.

I also openly began looking at rental apartments 2 days after discovery and he knew about it. He even offered to help pay the rent for me to live in a nicer area that is closer to my job, so it didn't add any financial pressure to me- but I don't want anything from him if I leave. I have always been very independent in our relationship so this wasn't a surprise to him, but he left the offer on the table even till today.

I also have not cooked, done laundry, or anything of the sort around the house and he has been sleeping on the couch downstairs for well over a month now, since discovery. I have allowed zero intimacy, even though he tells me he misses me every day.

I have never lost my power or self esteem thorough this,I even ended my original post by saying that I refuse to lose myself in this and that I want to remain empowered, strong and resilient. Maybe asking all of those questions translated as weakness, but I guess I forget that nobody here knows me personally. So just to be more clear about who I am as a person, I am a FORCE of a woman. Which is why this was all so shocking to me. I am extremely strong mentally and very self aware.

That being said, I actually don't blame myself for anything that has happened and I never did. I am confident that none of this was my fault -I know I was a great partner and he still tells me every day that I didn't deserve this. A Huge part of me wants so stay just because I know I don't deserve to lose everything over HIS mistakes, as I said in my original post. I am just shocked that this happened to me and that discovery didn't land me in Jail, honestly. We were in the car during discovery, he was driving and had to pull the car over on the highway. I'll let you use your imagination for the rest of how that ride went mad

He is in individual therapy, group therapy and we are seeing a counselor together just to help mediate conversations as we both move through this experience. All of this has happened in only 2 months time and at HiS urgency, and through his own research and planning. (since I quit doing anything for him)

all that being said, I think i'm just having a hard time with so many reconciled people urging me to cut my losses and run when it seems like so many have not ?

[This message edited by SecretsOut09 at 3:49 PM, Wednesday, September 7th]

posts: 9   ·   registered: Sep. 2nd, 2022   ·   location: Maine
id 8754205
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 SecretsOut09 (original poster new member #80820) posted at 3:33 PM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

He is also a phenomenal liar. That is the part that makes his recovery iffy. He is an expert in illusions.

THIS. this is the problem. This is what I need to accept, or NOT. The "masks" as many posters have aptly called it. Thats the part that angers me most. Do I just keep my world in tact and accept that he is capable of deception? Do I push an open relationship where we both agree to remain partners while entertaining other people in a safe way? {I'm sure this is a HOT button for a lot of people on this thread, understandably. But please be open minded as I have done this in the past very successfully, and know that many people do.} Do I continue with the therapy to learn WHY he lies like this? Or do I just run for cover and never look back.

Please look at a TED talk about childhood trauma. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris.

Will do! thank you Cooley

[This message edited by SecretsOut09 at 3:44 PM, Wednesday, September 7th]

posts: 9   ·   registered: Sep. 2nd, 2022   ·   location: Maine
id 8754207
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BeingNaive ( member #30652) posted at 5:08 PM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

Being in an open relationship takes complete trust in your partner to follow the guidelines you set. You cannot trust him at all so even considering an open relationship will only add more issues to your relationship.

People are not telling your to cut your losses because they want you to hurt. They are trying to save you from the possible years of future hurt. Cheating is bad enough as it is. To know he has ALWAYS been cheating on you is why people are telling you to consider leaving. He has never been faithful to you. Cheating is WHO he is, not something he has done. Perhaps he can change, but do you really want to spend years of "perhaps he'll change" just to see he doesn't in the end? That is a real possibility. Especially with all of the past trauma he will need to work past.

I sympathize with his history and I know he has been hurt. However, many people have gone through similar upbringings and THEY DON'T CHEAT OR LIE FOR THEIR ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. We're here to offer you our best advice based on our past histories and experience. I do hope you consider them instead of just saying "you're telling me to leave and you all reconciled". Not all have reconciled. Some that have, regret it. In order to make the right choice for you, you do need to consider all scenarios. I can't recall one person that has regretted leaving once the dust has settled for them.

We truly wish to help and only want the best for you.

[This message edited by BeingNaive at 5:09 PM, Wednesday, September 7th]

posts: 281   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2011   ·   location: Michigan
id 8754216
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