awarenesshurts (original poster new member #83335) posted at 9:11 PM on Thursday, May 11th, 2023
Me and my husband have been married for 22 years and started dating 30 years ago. We have 2 wonderful teenage kids. Friendship and respect were always present in our relationship.
I have found out that my husband had a relationship with a woman since October 2018. He started an account on an adult cam site and focused on a particular foreign girl, 20 years younger than both of us, with whom he started an intimate relationship online. They met several times a week during these almost 4 years and had sexual encounters and personal, intimate conversations about their life. He found her amazing and believed they had a very intimate and genuine relationship. He supported her financially, both through the webcam site and sending her money. He thought that she gave him acceptance and comfort and loved how she admired him, and wanted to please her as much as he could. Last year, more than 3 years after starting their virtual encounters, he made a plan to bring her to our country. He set up a company to hire her, so she could have a visa, payed her a salary, rented a flat that he furnished, and started meeting her there. After a while, he decided to stop the sexual encounters, because he felt guilty, but kept paying her everything and meeting her.
When he started having actual sexual encounters at that house with her, I started to get suspicious because he wasn't able to have sex with me (which we always had over these four years of the relationship with that woman of the web cam site). I eventually found out the whole story. I never imagined that he would cheat on me. And he is considered by everyone a very wise and respectable man. Now he says he is very sorry, he doesn't know how he did it and he tells me I am the woman of his life. I forced him to cut off all support and contact with her (he wanted to keep the financial support to that woman for another 2 years) and she went back to the country she came from. He gave me all the money he had gathered to support her.
We are separated now and I think I cannot forgive such a betrayal. That took so long and eventually led to him bringing her to live here besides our family. But now he tells me there is no point in his life besides being with me. He lost a lot of weight and cries a lot. When I found out about the infidelity, he kept himself under control, more distressed about no longer supporting her and worried about defending her and their relationship, but now he is very sorry and distressed that we might break up. I guess he thought I would never suspect and find out, because I trusted him so blindly. And, when I found out, he thought we would get over it quickly. And he tells me he has been having suicidal thoughts. When I found out, we started couple's counseling together. He already had a therapist, who started 4 years ago, almost at the same time his affair began. But my husband had never spoken to his therapist about the affair until some months ago, when the woman was already living here and he ended the sexual part of their relationship. I guess he didn´t want to question what he was doing.
Since the moment when I discovered the whole thing, he has changed the way he sees that woman and their relationship. Now he says he was living a fictional relationship in a fantasy bubble, that she was opportunistic and had nothing to lose, and pressured him to do things and send money and gifts. He wanted to reward her, because he felt so good with her and she gave him easy and immediate pleasure when they met. He wanted to please her all the time, because he needed her to look up to him and feel that he was her savior. He tells me that what's left is shame and a dark cloud over it all and he doesn't care about her anymore.
I feel a wreck. I lost my identity, my marriage, my family. My husband’s image crumbled. I have not been able to cope at work. I permanently have intrusive thoughts about what happened. Our daily life was full of situations that he set up to have time and space for his encounters with her. So I keep revisiting what happened in these 4 years, where I lived thinking we were in a two-way relationship and he lied to me all the time and had sexual encounters and high emotional involvement with that woman and romantic attentions that he never had with me. He behaved like a sugar daddy, which seems completely dissonant with his apparent way of life and principles. I need to take time to think what to do with my life, but my husband insists all the time in getting back together and tells me no one will love me the way he does. How could I deal with all this situation?
Sorry for such a long text. Thank you all. Kind regards.
annb ( member #22386) posted at 9:34 PM on Thursday, May 11th, 2023
Hi, welcome to SI, the best club no one want to join.
I'm so sorry your husband has put you and your family through this nightmare.
I'm on my way out but I wanted you to know you've been heard.
Please check out the Healing Library, chock full of great information, knowledge is power.
Couples counseling is a waste of your time and money, your marriage isn't broken, he is.
Curious, why was he seeing a therapist for four years?
After a while, he decided to stop the sexual encounters, because he felt guilty, but kept paying her everything and meeting her
^^ HOnestly, IMO this is a huge lie. You have an affair with someone for years then continue to meet and support that individual and cut off the sex?
Tell him you want a written timeline of everything he did. How much money he spent, where, when, how, does he have copies of their texts and emails and any other communication?
More than likely that woman used him as it seems he was easily manipulated unless he volunteered to bring her to your country on his own.
Have you contacted an attorney or two just for knowledge? Are you in IC? Have you had an STD panel?
It takes YEARS to get over infidelity whether you decide to reconcile or not.
Right now his words are meaningless, actions speak volumes. Pretty much all cheaters are "sorry" after they get caught because their fantasy life AND their real world are both blown up into a million little pieces.
Others will be along to support you, in the meantime find an IC, lean on trusted friends and family members, lean on us. Meet with your MD for some temporary medications to help you cope if you need them. All of us have different stories, but the never ending nightmare is the same.
A huge virtual hug..
Edie ( member #26133) posted at 10:46 PM on Thursday, May 11th, 2023
I am so sorry to read your story. Your husband was clearly ‘had’ (conned) into providing the good life for this woman, who obviously tapped every (psychological) button she could find to keep the supply going. It may or may not help you that your WH was so easily conned and he will have to dig deep to find out why this was so. So shocking for you to learn he lived such a fantasy double life. It sounds like you are already doing some good boundaries and self care, this will need to be a priority in coming months. I wish you luck with the couples counselling and hope it helps you. Big hug.
Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.
awarenesshurts (original poster new member #83335) posted at 11:35 PM on Thursday, May 11th, 2023
Thank you so much for your support and advice. It made a big difference to be heard and to read your encouraging words.
awarenesshurts (original poster new member #83335) posted at 12:18 AM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
You're absolutely right. She used all the psychological tricks. She kept telling him that she had been abandoned before, so that my husband would feel that he couldn't end the relationship. And she would tell him that she had nowhere else to go but our country and our hometown. In fact, my husband agreed to bring her here at the time my father was dying in hospital after a stroke. How can I forgive this?
She also said she wanted to stop selling herself online, and he paid her for an online course, but she didn’t start working anywhere. She just waited for him to come online or at the house, for their appointment of uncomplicated satisfaction, and then she would wait for the cash and presents to fall on her lap.
My husband, besides the sexual pleasure and emotional comfort, was very pleased with the admiration and appreciation she was showing and felt very happy to look after her, such a helpless person. And he managed to compartmentalize the two relationships, without really feeling that he was doing me any harm. He even sent her postcards bought from my side when we were on holiday. How is such shamelessness possible?
fareast ( Moderator #61555) posted at 2:09 AM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
Welcome to SI. You will receive good support here.
Have you been tested for STD’s? You should see an attorney to at least learn your rights. You are just starting this journey and you will be on an emotional rollercoaster for an extended period. You have suffered a real trauma that has blown up your life as you knew it. Be good to yourself. Take care of you. It is good that you are separated from your WH. You need time to clear your head.
Your WH lived a secret life for at least four years. He lied to you. He deceived you. Whatever the persuasive talent of his AP, he’s a grown adult who knows right from wrong. We don’t know the mental status of your WH. He has been in therapy for four years as well. Is he not mentally competent to be faithful or to resist temptation? I would be wary of giving him any pass because he was seduced by his AP. No one can force him to break his M vows. He did it because he wanted to do it.
Take care of you and your children. You are in control. You decide whether the M continues. Watch your WH actions and not his words. Is he in NC with the AP. Is he empathetic to your emotional pain he caused. Is he getting IC dealing with his brokenness allowing him to cheat. Take time to figure out whether his A is a dealbreaker for you. No one is owed a chance at R. Figure out what you want moving forward. Good luck.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:26 AM, Friday, May 12th]
Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.
Tallgirl ( member #64088) posted at 4:05 AM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
I am sorry you are here. Infidelity is an awful thing. There is no magic wand, or secret way to make things better. It sounds like you are doing ok, despite the pain, the loss and the hurt.
Honey it takes time, lots of thinking, and a lot of talking.
Here are a few things to think about.
Take care of you. Sleep, eat, do something fun for you.
Do something you enjoy, hikes, knitting, whatever it may be.
Go out with good friends. Sometimes it is awkward but it gets better.
Talk to someone, it does help.
Read, there a lots of good materials out there.
Come here to vent.
Be kind to yourself. Buy some nice sparkly boots just for you. 😉
You will be ok, just one day at a time.
Yearning for divorce before I pop off
awarenesshurts (original poster new member #83335) posted at 11:34 AM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
Thank you very much for your messages.
Of course my husband did it because he wanted to. She had nothing to lose and could ask him anything she wanted. He was the one who had a life built with me and a family to lose and risked everything.
The hardest thing for me is sleeping. At night, I have many thoughts about how my husband felt when he was with her. Thankfully, I moved to another house and don't have to sleep in the bed he used to take his laptop to on some of the online sex dates he had with her.
Icedover84 ( new member #82901) posted at 2:46 PM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
Is nobody going to point out the zinger at the end of the original post?
"but my husband insists all the time in getting back together and tells me no one will love me the way he does."
This right here was what had my jaw dropping. Not "nobody would love HIM the way YOU do," but that "nobody would love YOU the way HE does."
That's straight up manipulative, and I sure hope he said that on accident, because one would hope nobody else would love you in a way that they set up an entire second secret life behind your back and gaslight you for years.
Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 5:12 PM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
He sounds so self-centered that I think you should go back and look over your entire relationship with him and make sure you look at all the red flags. I’m going to make a bet that he was always the center of attention and you catered to him because that’s how he set it up. This is a selfish man you have to deal with.
There’s a whole industry overseas for people finding men who want secret sex, and then they set it up, and they can get so much money because the guy is living in a fantasy.
I’m not here to offer reconciliation or divorce, but I think you need some individual counseling to help you learn how not to be manipulated. This is in no way blaming you because none of us are prepared for this kind of behavior. I certainly wasn’t prepared for my husband to cheat while traveling but he did it because he wanted to. He was young and he doesn’t do it anymore but I will always know that I’m married to a man who cheated on me.
When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis
Forks027 ( member #59996) posted at 5:14 PM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
I need to take time to think what to do with my life, but my husband insists all the time in getting back together and tells me no one will love me the way he does.
Honestly, that last statement gives me major warning flags. And would you really want the "way he loves you"? If this is what his love is, I’m a bit wary of what his hate would be like.
Please do take the time and space for yourself to decide what you want. It’s time for you to be a little selfish now. He can lovebomb you all he wants, but it’s gonna take a whole lot more than that to even make up for a fraction of his actions. Believe his actions, not his words. Maybe hold off on couples counseling until he at least gets into genuine individual therapy and grasps the severity of his choices.
Good luck. Sorry you had to join us.
[This message edited by Forks027 at 5:47 PM, Friday, May 12th]
BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 9:04 PM on Friday, May 12th, 2023
And he tells me he has been having suicidal thoughts. When I found out, we started couple's counseling together. He already had a therapist, who started 4 years ago, almost at the same time his affair began. But my husband had never spoken to his therapist about the affair until some months ago, when the woman was already living here and he ended the sexual part of their relationship.
Awarenesshurts, welcome to SI. Sorry you're here but glad you found us. I second the suggestion to forego couple's counseling. Liars lie, and it's not surprising he lied to his IC FOR YEARS. What was his IC goal back then? Was it "performative therapy"? MC in your situation feels counter intuitive. You're separated, and living separately. What's the goal behind MC? Is the goal to work towards reconcilliation? Hope the MC doesn't use the Unmet Needs model! If so, I'd nope right out of there. The marriage didn't lie, cheat and steal- HE did. Nothing you did or didn't do caused him to lie and cheat for FOUR YEARS. If reconciliation is seriously on the table HE needs to FINALLY take charge of figuring out WHY he became the man is now. He needs to take full responsibility for his actions. He knows "how he did it." He did it because he wanted to, because he got something out of it. He's got a lot of work to do.
He set up a company to hire her, so she could have a visa, payed her a salary, rented a flat that he furnished, and started meeting her there.
Oh boy. If I understand this statement, he created a fake company to:
use the "company" to apply for her work visa
write off her salary
write off her flat
Bet he wrote off her "online course" as "employee training"!
So, he not only lied to you and stole from the marriage, he lied to and defrauded the government as well. All this ILLEGAL stuff just to get his ego (and other things) stroked. He's quite adept at this game, methinks. Has he always been a "rules for thee but not for me" kind of guy? Are there other ways he's pushed boundaries and been dishonest in day-to-day business and social interactions?
Awarenesshurts, he strikes me as a VERY manipulative and selfish individual. The "suicidal thoughts" and crying for himself (self-pity) the assumption that you'll take him back and just move on already (rug sweep) are standard ploys manipulative people use to manage those they're trying to manipulate. If he has "suicidal thoughts", well, he has a therapist to support him. If he threatens suicide in the future please protect yourself by calling the authorities to deal with it. Don't let his self-pity ploys guilt you into taking him back. Please pay attention to what you need to do to take care of you right now. Don't let him pressure you into a premature reconciliation. You need time to grieve the loss of the "very wise and respectable man" in your mind. Did he ever really exist? It will take time to bring the past into focus, so you can see the real man in front of you right now. Take all the time you need to ascertain if he's someone you really want to reconcile with. And, if you "think you can't forgive him" then don't! He's not owed a second chance just because he assumes he deserves one. Firm up those boundaries (kids and finance only at your convenience), put an end to his pity party and move towards divorce.
Agree with Forks027 IC for you would be a big support. So, pass on the MC and get IC! IC will be a big help to sort through all of this, and give you the tools to identify and stand up to his manipulations. IC will help grapple with the intrusive thoughts as well. Developing PTSD after intimate betrayal is a real thing. Ask me how I know........Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. No shame in using the occasional sleep aid or anxiety med to get through this. Do you have support IRL from family and friends? Rally your support team!
I'm no lawyer BUT (my standard SI disclaimer:-)if you didn't already deal with the fraudulent stuff as part of separation, if necessary, seems prudent to corall his illegal shenanigans away from the marital record. Talk to your lawyer about all of this. Be honest! It would be a true injustice if you're on the hook for 1/2 of his fraud because you're still married.
[This message edited by BoundaryBuilder at 10:04 PM, Thursday, May 18th]
Married 33 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW 64 HIM:WH 65
13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months D-Day=April 21, 2018
Tallgirl ( member #64088) posted at 12:26 AM on Saturday, May 13th, 2023
Cheaters say idiotic, dumb, cruel, non-sensical garbage. As others have pointed out, he has said some bad things.
Do NoT believe a word that comes out of his mouth. Doesn’t matter if he is saying it nicely or not. Believe nothing. He has an agenda.
Anyone will love you better than him right now. Maybe remind him that he crushed your soul, no one deserves that and it is not love.
Please don’t let him convince you that you deserve him. You simply deserve more.
And please please be kind to yourself. None of this is your fault.
[This message edited by Tallgirl at 2:28 AM, Saturday, May 13th]
Yearning for divorce before I pop off
awarenesshurts (original poster new member #83335) posted at 11:35 AM on Saturday, May 13th, 2023
Thank you so much for all your advices, support and kindness! You said so many important things that I must keep in mind! Thank you for alerting me to the red flags. I will be very careful with his words and agenda. I will be very careful not to let my WH pressure me. ‘Don't let him pressure you into a premature reconciliation. You need time to grieve the loss of the "very wise and respectable man" in your mind.’ That is so true. The man as I saw him and the marriage are over. I feel mourning.
I will be getting IC, just like you suggested. It has been very difficult to deal with PSPT, because throughout the day I am always prompted to think about the things he did with the OW, since all that was so embedded in our daily life.
Both my WH and MC therapist were trying to follow the "unmet needs model". But I strongly opposed that idea (even though I am insecure and have very low self-esteem). If there were things he wanted to change in our marriage at that time (2018!), he should have talked to me. There were so many alternatives: communication between us, to begin with, but also MC, separation. His affair did nothing to improve our relationship. It was something he did for himself. For his sole benefit (and hers). And I really think it was a way for him to deal with the frustrations in his life (many beyond our marriage, I would say). A grubby solution to easily gain immediate approval, admiration and pleasure. I already tried to end the MC, but my WH was so desperate that I agreed to continue with it, though with less frequent sessions.
I have also been dealing with the problem of my husband always asking to take care of things for me (shopping, fixing things in my new house, dealing with paperwork). And as practical and convenient as it is, I think it's very important to free myself from the dependence I had on him for these things. I think he feels very good about himself when he is able to help a woman (it was a way for him to feel accepted by his mother and he did the same with the OW). I still haven’t found a way around these aids, since he tells me he needs them so bad.
Lurkingsoul12 ( member #82382) posted at 1:37 PM on Saturday, May 13th, 2023
This is a classic case of financial infidelity. The amount of financial fraud he committed just to live in that fictional bubble he created is seriously disturbing. There were a number of ways this could have gone far more worse. She could have trapped him with her pregnancy, she could have blackmailed him by using the information of his financial frauds to financially drain him, she could have made him buy her some expensive properties or assets for her financial stability all of which would paralyze your financial strength for decades. Both of you could have ended up with some serious debts. Before trying to reconcile with him (if you decide to do so), you need to make sure you and your kids are financially protected. This is not a run of mill affair story. This guy seems far more delusional than the usual cheaters. Usually, cheating men don't take such financial risks even for their affairs. To go to that extent just to keep his affair alive clearly highlights alarmingly his own insecurities and low sense of self-worth. Such persons' needs can never be fulfilled by anyone, even by their APs.
[This message edited by Lurkingsoul12 at 1:43 PM, Saturday, May 13th]
Blackbird25 ( member #82766) posted at 3:00 PM on Saturday, May 13th, 2023
I'm sorry you are going through this! I am in the middle of housework but wanted to jump on here real quick and tell you that you are heard! Nothing you did caused this - that whole unmet needs crap is unbelievable! Your WH had since 2018 to tell you that he was unhappy - instead of having a heart to heart conversation with you and tell you how he was feeling he made a CHOICE to cheat on you and lie to you. He secreted a mistress away in an apartment where he paid her bills, her rent, a salary, provided her w/ gifts, clothing and in return he got this fantasy secret life where he could be whoever he wanted to be - the hero, the stud, rich man to this girl. He needs to STAY NC w/ this girl - no more contact, no more financial support, nothing. Also - pressuring you to go to MC is ridiculous. I agree the marriage is broken - but the "marriage" didn't cheat, your WH did. So HE needs to do the work!! Get yourself into IC w/ a trauma specialist - you quite possibly have PTSD from the betrayal. Yes you'll feel like you are grieving, that you are in mourning, you are grieving and mourning over the loss of who you THOUGHT your husband was. All normal feelings! Intrusive thoughts? Yep - totally normal. That's why you need an IC who specializes in trauma therapy to help you work through all those feelings! Self care dear lady - take care of YOU! No more letting him take care of you by showing up to do your shopping, your banking, paperwork, fix things. No ma'am. Dig deep and find your independence from this man - let him see that you can take of yourself all on your own. Because reconciliation in my opinion is a GIFT he doesn't deserve - however if that's still on the table, then take your time!! He needs to do the work and that takes time. None of this business of you need to hurry and get over this quickly. Nope. Healing takes time and you'll hear a lot of us say it's not linear - you're going to go through periods where you have a whole bunch of great days, then all of a sudden something is going to trigger you right back to square one. That's the process - and it sucks, but we do it because we want to heal and get to the other side. And the other side may be that you stay married - or not. But that's your choice - your path and your journey. He doesn't get to dictate that and no MC trying to shove the "unmet needs model" down your throat should dictate that either! This is your journey of healing - keep coming here and posting, sharing your thoughts, venting. We are here for you!! Hugs to you.
Me: BS him: WH, DDay#1: 5/2012 (EA 3mos, PA 1 month), DDay#2: 12/26/22 (EA, 1 wk), Reconciling and back in IC
FunHouseMirror ( member #80992) posted at 5:06 PM on Saturday, May 13th, 2023
The first thing I planned to do was to address the idiocy of "No one will love you like I do." That just needs a one word answer.
"Good." No one needs that kind of "love".
I also want to talk about your chosen name. Yes, awareness does hurt. It's so difficult. But you were being hurt more (although unknowingly) before you became aware. Not the least of which is financial. He stole money from your marriage. From yourself and your children. I would consider hiring a forensic accountant and requiring half the money that he spent on her (I'm sure it's substantial.) and all of the money you spent on the forensic accountant in the divorce.
I know you haven't decided whether to R or D yet, but I do feel you should at least talk with an attorney (or five!) to see what divorce will look like. I suspect that you will feel a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders once you decide to put this man in the rearview mirror.
I'd also drop the MC for now. I don't know how it will help you.
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I can tell you are strong though, and you will get through it.
The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 12:05 PM on Sunday, May 14th, 2023
Your H seems to have the classic KISA mentality. Look up Knight in Shining Armor syndrome. Describes your H to a tee.
I doubt he’s suicidal but definitely determined to get his own way. He appears to be attempting to manipulate you so you don’t D him.
You need to do what is best for you. And if you decide to D him, be sure to itemize the sums of $ he gave the OW as half of that $ was yours. He should be required to pay you your fair share of those funds if you D.
Best of luck to you.
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.
awarenesshurts (original poster new member #83335) posted at 12:30 AM on Monday, May 15th, 2023
Thank you for being here by my side!
I pointed out to my WH that I felt pressured and manipulated, and he told me he didn't want to make me feel that way. I even told him, just like you said, that I hoped no one else would ever love me like he had loved me.
He keeps telling me that it was just a terrible phase and that right now he holds it sacred to be honest and will give everything he has to get our relationship back on track (as I told you, he’s always trying to help me, and he has been giving me presents, money). He says he doesn't know how he could have been so weak and asks me not to forget our 30-year long story (why didn’t he think about that during all those years he was cheating on me?). He is certain that we still have many good things to live through together.
But I'm listening to you carefully and I know that what I need right now is to recover, to take care of me (and my children too, of course). I think this pain will take a long time to subside, but at least I can fight to find my independence from him. It is very hard to rebuild a life after 30 years playing a secondary role, since he was the assertive and outgoing element of the couple, but I must try to find my own way of doing things and I can see how difficult it is for him to see me trying to do so. Even if we were to be together again in the future, I am sure we should never ever repeat the same model of help and dependence and he’s still trying to go back to that same model. It’s scary how the ‘knight in Shining Armor syndrome’ fits him so well. And he must do his homework and stop playing that role.
Take good care
Mamabear2813 ( new member #83216) posted at 2:32 AM on Monday, May 15th, 2023
You are on the right track. A few things:
1) You don’t owe him marriage counseling. You don’t owe him anything. He is attempting to guilt you and manipulate you constantly right now. Tell him you’ll re-consider marriage counseling once you have 1 year of individual treatment under your belt for your trauma symptoms.
There is no marriage to salvage and he’s way too broken to be married to. IF you decide to reconcile aster managing your own trauma and rebuilding you life independently, then you’ll reconsider marriage counseling. Not before. And let him know that if he EVER hopes to reconcile, he should stop asking/guilting you. He’s not in charge of you.
Do NOT let his guilt and gaslighting force you into things you don’t want to do. Please talk to your individual therapist about strategies to help with this right away.
2) He’s not trying to be helpful by involving himself in your new life/home. Beyond his knight in shining Armour complex, he also trying to "help" you because it helps him continue to control you in a way. He knows your new home, he knows what you’re up to. He’s losing control over you and he knows it— and he’s panicking— throwing out suicidal thoughts, presents, and emotional drama, etc.
I’m not sure if you’ve read about the 180 or "gray rocking" but it might be good here. He’ll panic because you’re actually setting boundaries but push through the discomfort and do it anyway! (Also, if he threatens suicide call 911 and let his therapist know— but you’re not a professional, can’t help in that scenario, and right nor he’s using bat language because he knows it pushes your guilt buttons and you’ll stay engaged. Don’t let him do this).
Sleep is the hardest and the worst at the beginning. I wish I had tips, but it does get better. You’re doing well, keep going!