This is my first post. I'm new to this forum. I have a very long story, and will just give you the highlights. By shortening it, I'm afraid it may come across as cold, but you can't imagine the emotions involved in all of this. But, to make a VERY long story short....
We married in 1984. I had an affair in 1986. It involved flirting and one sexual encounter. I never told my husband, but he always suspected. He asked me several times over the years and I always denied. He brought it up again in 2006, and I could tell that it was really bothering him, so I confessed.
Turns out he had imagined things a thousand times worse. He was horribly hurt. Even though it had happened 20 years ago, it was brand new to him. And it wasn't just the cheating, it was the 20 years of lying to him.
Things got ugly. He kept asking "why". I couldn't give him a good enough answer. There is no good answer for something like that. The fact that I was young, stupid and impressionable certainly wasn't a good enough reason for him.
In the summer of 2006 he propositioned 2 women at work. Supposedly both turned him down. Then in summer of 2007 he advertised himself on an internet dating site and after 3 days of chatting w/ a woman, he met her for sex. I found out pretty quickly, he said he broke it off, but later I found out it went on for another 3 months.
I was devastated. I thought we were doing better. He said he didn't do it for revenge or to hurt me. He said he did it because I couldn't give him answers. He said he did it as an experiment to see how you could do something like that to someone you love.
Since then, he has stayed in touch w/ the internet woman. Sometimes secretly, sometimes openly. He has become good friends w/ one of the women he propositioned. He was trying to get close to 3 other women on the internet. I know he was lying about one other woman and going to meet her at the coffee shop. He swears nothing physical has ever happened except for the 3 month affair in 2007.
He's really gotten big into Face Book. He was chatting and flirting with a woman last night while we were lying in bed together.
Obviously I can't trust him.
He says he can't love me like he did before. He says he can't like who I am, because I don't even like myself. He says I should find myself, then come find him.
We've gone to marriage counseling and individual counseling. He HATED it because he thought he was completly right and they didn't agree with him on everything.
He says he's thru placing blame, that this is just where we are. But if I ever act mad about the other women, he throws my affair back at me. We have a very one-sided relationship. I don't argue, I wait on him hand and foot. He never did housework before, but now he won't do anything (cars, lawn mower, etc.) He said one time that he's waiting on me to get stronger so he can leave. I think he may be waiting till our 15 yr. old turns 18 so he won't have to pay child support.
Even if nothing physical is going on (and I'm not sure of that), all these other women are driving me crazy. I don't see how we can work on our marriage when he's got one foot out the door.
He wants me to "find myself" which I think means lose 50lbs and act happy, and want sex 3 times a day. But how can I do that with the constant disrespect and tension?
Please believe that I'm not making light of my deception. I know I hurt him terribly. He thinks that I don't understand, and maybe I can't fully understand, since I'm not in his shoes. But he's hurt me too. He's done and said things to me that have rocked me to the core. The fact that my gentle, laid back husband did all this tells me how much this has affected him.
He says that I don't "own" what I did. He says that he takes full responsiblity for everything he's done. But he still lies and keeps things from me. So how is that taking responsibility?
It's been 4 years since DDay. He tore me down so bad that I took everything he dished out, every punishment, because I thought I deserved it. I already felt guilty, then his words and actions killed any self respect I had. Now he doesn't want me because I don't like myself. Every time he brings it up and asks if I've forgiven myself or do I feel better, he says "how can you live w/ yourself after what you did?". So it all feels like mind games. Manipulation. We had a conversation the other day where he said I was being selfish by doing unselfish acts. ?!?!?!
I've really wondered if part of this is midlife crisis.
I just don't know what to do. I know if I give him an ultimatium about the other women, he'll leave. Mainly just because an ultimatium of any kind will tick him off, and he's so stubborn he'll leave even if he doesn't really want to. Or, is this all some kind of test and he's waiting for me to stand up for myself? Or does he really just not care if he hurts me?
Speaking as a person who was cheated on, I don't think your H's "eye-for-an-eye" mentality is justified. I would not do that to my wife. In my opinion, if he loves you and wants to make it work, he should focus all this attention on working through issues in your relationship. To be honest, I had the same thoughts of revenge when I found out about my W's affair. Then, I realized it was selfish and somewhat childish. Taking revenge on the situation was not going to help me resolve any of my hurt feelings.
Just a perspective from someone who has been in your H's shoes.
No he doesn't care. You KILLED that part of him. That's what happens. YOU know that, you're feeling it now, too.
Just move on. Let him have whatever life he needs to have now, and let yourself heal and move on and learn from your mistakes. Find someone else who you can tell the truth to, and let him decide if he will want you. Sorry, but this is your consequence.
He claims he doesn't have the eye-for-an-eye mentality. He really thinks he's above that. Remember, his affair was an "experiment" because I wouldn't give him answers. So it was my fault, not his. He denies it was for revenge or because he was owed a freebie.
As for keeping in contact with the OW, and all the others that he talks to, he says good friends are hard to come by, and he won't stop talking to them. When OW stopped contacting him, he actually contacted her and told her how to call him so that I wouldn't know. He thought she needed someone to talk to. (gag!) It's funny how all his good friends are women.
He says he's moved on, quit placing blame, etc. He says there's no reason for him to change. He is who he is, I am who I am, and he's accepted that. He's perfectly happy with himself. He says I'm the one not happy with myself, so I need to change. I need to find myself, then come see him. He can't like me the way I am, because I don't even like myself.
Well, I don't like myself right now because I've turned into a jealous, suspicious, snooping wife. And justifiably so.
He spouts all this crazy philosophy. He says we should have no expectations. About our relationship or life in general. If you have expectations you'll only be disappointed. But we're married. Should I not expect him to be faithful? How do I argue with the illogical?
I don't know - SHOULD you expect him to be faithful? You had an affair within two years of marriage. Shouldn't he have expected YOU to be faithful?
Honestly, I'm not trying to tear you down. You learned from your mistake. That's good.
But I really just can't fathom why you now feel you have a right to expect him to have to live by a higher standard, when YOU were the one who messed up first.
And know that I am NOT condoning what he's doing. This isn't about that. I think he's acting like a jerk. But like I said, different people deal with infidelity in different ways. Apparently YOUR infidelity broke something inside him, and this is the result.
Would he have cheated without you first doing so? Maybe.
But that's not your situation.
So either accept that he will never love and trust you again, and keep him the way he is now, or move on.
I could advise you to expose the affair like I usually do, to try to end it, but I frankly don't think you're in a position to do so; and even if you did, neither of you is in a position to repair your marriage. He would just leave you.
I guess I thought taking all the abuse and accepting his first affair kind of made us even. I guess I assumed that since he didn't leave, that he wanted to be with me and by default that meant working on our marriage. And we did work on it for about the first 2 or 3 years after dday. I know I messed up. He says he's move on, and is thru placing blame, but I know he hasn't forgiven me.
And we did work on it for about the first 2 or 3 years after dday.
It sounds like you may have put additional effort into your marriage but he started pursuing other women soon after this. My guess is that he did not deal with this news well and convinced himself that he was no longer in a monogamous marriage, processed that and started to pursue other women...ah well, such is life, not my fault, she's the one that redefined this marriage.
So from that standpoint, I can see where he gave up on the idea that you will have a monogamous marriage and decided not to fret over that anymore.
From your standpoint, you made a mistake a long time ago and since that time, for many years have remained faithful within your marriage and have not been entertaining thoughts of an open marriage.
I think his way of dealing with the news of your infidelity has put you both in different places as far as what your marriage means today.
He has disconnected himself from the marriage and you are right, you cannot work on improving it while he has 1 foot out the door and no desire to work on things with you, as a couple. At this point, I would call his bluff and start working on you...do things you enjoy...excercise, new hobby...because until he stops pursuing other women and really focusing on your marriage you won't make forward progress on that front...but nothing can stop you from doing positive things just for you
This all goes to show that relationships are just a kind of mirror to that allow us to see who we are. And when we look deeply into that mirror and see that -horror of horrors- we are real people with FAULTS, some of us can't take it.
All the problems he is having are with himself. And all the problems you are having are with yourself. Everything else that seems so tantalisingly true... is just window dressing.
you were wrong to have an affair in the first place and he is being wrong now.......2 wrongs don't make a right......
I think it's time you two separate and take some time to think whether you want this marriage to continue.
He is kind of abusing you in a sense now and making you pay for what you did.
If he can't deal with it, the two of you should end things.
Or you work things out without all the punishments.
He might need you to walk away before he realizes what he could actually lose if he keeps this behavior up.
Why does he even want to stay with you, it's not very loving what he is doing.....
You either forgive each other or call it a day.
Why live your life like this.......This can not be good for either of you.