I was re-reading my post of a few days ago and realised that "for what it’s worth, my WH and I are still trying to R" sounds a bit wishy-washy.
If our marriage were a house (which has suffered significant fire damage), then we're currently living in the garage. We're now past the stage of agreeing that we actually need a completely new house and are currently in the process of drawing up plans. We have architects/therapists involved. And we're both trying to figure out how to do it much, much better next time. Do I think that my husband was the one who actually lit the match? Yes. Do I acknowledge that between my husband and I and some other marital/life debris there was a bunch of flammable stuff lying around? Yes. Am I still (somewhere in the back corner of my mind) reserving the right to throw in the towel and run home to mama? On not so great days, indeedy.
Anyway, I wanted to reply to some of the comments that you'd all made:
Yes... Whatever you do, don't R with a serial cheater.
I was first going to respond in kind with some kind of glib and hopefully witty quip. (DYK that EnviroKidz makes a crispy rice cereal with the cutest cheetah in its logo.)
Then I was sufficiently motivated to go and read some of your story, and so I will try and respond to your comment in a little more depth.
I suppose that all of us can be baffled by other people's relationships, especially marriages. Why some work (as weird, unbalanced and peculiar as they may seem from the outside) and others don't (as happy and normal as they looked - again from the outside). I think that in the end, it boils down to what each party gets for what they give.
I am a pretty analytical person. So I can tell you with reasonable confidence that my husband's second affair used up less than 100 hours of his life (this is an exceedingly generous estimate.) His first affair (more than 10 years ago - why does that make me think of Donald Trump?) was considerably less resource-intensive - again, let's be very generous - another 30 hours. My husband and I have lived together for almost 15 years. As long as I can remember, he has gotten up first and made me a cup of coffee, which he brings to me in bed. (I am not a morning person.) On a weekend day, sometimes he brings me 2 or 3 cups before I drag myself out of bed because I absolutely have to. (I am really not a morning person.) If I assume that each cup of coffee he makes for me takes 5 minutes to make, then he has spent more than 400 hours making me cups of coffee first thing in the morning. It is perhaps a foolish example, but it is also real. And I have a very long list of many more examples. Should my husband be reduced to being only a "serial cheater" when I try to decide whether my marriage to him is worth trying to save? Or can I acknowledge that he is an imperfect human being who spends most of his life trying very hard to be a good one - and like me, screws up on occasion? Please don't think that this means I feel that his sin against me is small. It is huge. And he knows this and has owned up to it.
I think you are giving your husband too much of the power play here. I feel like he cheated and his "remorse" and words of regret are bs, since this is not his first rodeo. He hasn't been held accountable so it is likely he will continue this behavior.
Yes, Sephirox, I agree with you that he wasn't held accountable in the past. Our handling of his first affair was all wrong. He didn't really have to face consequences aside from some angst and guilt at the time. He got away with telling himself that it was an anomaly and would never happen again. Although he also went to therapy then, he didn't confront the cowardly, manipulative parts of himself that allowed him to cheat on me. This time round, he has had quite a different experience :
- he had to take a polygraph to prove that he had disclosed fully and face up the fact that he can no longer expect me to just believe him and take his words at face value, possibly ever again
- he has had to acknowledge that his actions and decisions have negated our marriage vows; and any action that I may or may not choose to take to follow up on that is out of his control
- I have realised that although I may still love him, this doesn't mean that it is the best decision for me that we remain married. I made this clear in a very unemotional context, and frankly I think this is the one that scares him the most.
- he got away with a "temporary insanity" argument last time, this time he has had to admit that he has a fundamental character weakness
- this time, I haven't been "strong" and I have been brutally open about the extent of the damage that his infidelity caused to our marriage and me
- last time, his actions were primarily against me, this time he has two sons in the equation as well. When I showed him proof that he had "used" them to see his affair partner more often and easily and that they had been at least partially aware that he was spending so much time with her, it had a big impact.
I'm not sure that he has "the power" at the moment. To be honest, I feel like I'm the one that is automatically in the right. In fact, I've started to realise that with time, we have to switch back to being equal partners. But this will take a while. And as to his remorse being genuine - I think that he has far more empathy and understanding of where I'm at than before. Last time I was spun tales of "not really being in love with you before" and "feeling trapped"; this time I've seen a far more honest acknowledgement of a fundamental character failing. Right up front. No justification. Just - I'm so very sorry, I was a coward and bastard. I want to make this right. Please tell me how.
OP, would you feel okay elaborating on your depression issues?
Personally, I think you must go see a therapist, work on yourself. Most of us come here broken hearted because we believe the person we love is the only person who will LOVE us. This is not the case. I feel your pain, however, I also feel you are letting your husband manipulate you. Does he know he is manipulating you? I don't know. I do know that a man who cries because he is confessing to an affair is doing his best to manipulate you.....
His were crocodile tears. I am almost 100% sure of this. I feel for you, you will have a very difficult time detaching from this man. Be strong and work on you. Be you.
ne9907 - my depression was a pretty major one. I was never suicidal, but I was certainly emotionally unavailable for a large part of it. I was on some fairly strong drugs that definitely modified my personality during the time I took them, although I think that they were helpful in dealing with the depression. I just felt like a different person for quite a while. Coming out of it, I can tell you that my husband handled some of it wrong, in that he just kept taking up the load. He took over a lot of my domestic responsibilities to try and make things easier for me, but all that happened is that I felt less and less needed and relevant. So all in all, not a great situation. It is easy for me to see that he would reasonably have felt resentful and unappreciated by the time he started his affair. And yes, thank you, I am currently having IC. Do I think that he is manipulating me? Perhaps at the beginning when I first found out, although probably not consciously. Now, if anything I feel like I am the one with a more objective view, the one who is more in control.
Originally Posted by She'sStillGotIt View Post
You're lying to yourself.
In your first post in this thread, you clearly
state that this guy has been cheating on you since BEFORE you even married him, yet you're making excuses for him by claiming your depression contributed to his behavior this time. Your depression lasted for 2 years so it's obvious you WEREN'T depressed the first
time he chose to cheat years ago, so what convenient excuse does he have for the first time he did it? And I hate to say it but god knows how many other times it's happened that you DON'T know about. In either event, don't make excuses for him by blaming your depression for being part of the reason he chose to cheat just because you want so badly to forgive him - again.
She'sStillGotIt, I did finally find a good, experienced polygraph examiner who confirmed my husband's truthfulness with respect to his recent affair and his interim behaviour. You're completely right that he didn't have my depression as an excuse the first time he cheated on me. I can find other "excuses" in terms of what was going on in both of our lives at the time, but actually what he did is not excusable. So the question is more about whether I can understand and forgive, rather than just excuse. For me there is a very big distinction.
I suppose the mental footwork that I'm guilty of at the moment is treating these as two separate situations. One happened more than 10 years ago. One happened this year. Yes, he was unfaithful in both instances, but the affairs played out very differently and happened under a different set of circumstances. I am not ignoring the past one because "It goes to show the character of the accused, your honour", but I can also admit that I am a very different person to who I was then (parenthood, if nothing else, has changed both of us). Therefore I must admit that he is also a different person. Clearly he still has the same fundamental character flaw that enabled him to cheat on me the first time, but if he has the strength of character to confront it now, then isn't this the better time to give him a second/third chance?