Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde
I have been married for 13 years and had a relationship with my husband for many years before we married. Five years ago I believed I was very lucky to be married to a good, decent husband and father. 7 years ago my husband retired from work, having had a high status job, and suffered a number of personal blows, a house move to another area, for the benefit of our children and also myself, cut him off from the life he had enjoyed and removed work-related status and socialising, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and his drop in income left us struggling to service credit card debts accrued while he was working. He became bad-tempered and irritable and his constant irritability and a lack of affection made me feel unloved, at the same time I reached menopause, I lost my libido and sex was something I found myself avoiding. My husband complained about this, but in a way that made me feel unsexy. He was also having trouble maintaining an erection and said I wasn’t doing enough to help him. I was cold towards him because of his moodiness and found it difficult to make a first move, or to be as responsive as I was in the past. I tried to explain my need for affection but my husband only saw it as excuses for not wanting sex, and did nothing to change the way he treated me. He could not comprehend how affection mattered to me, although he says he recognises this in retrospect.
I have now learned that for the last five years my husband has had an affair and used sex workers to fulfill the needs I was not meeting, he fell in love with some and even said he wished he were free to marry them, have children with them. Things came to a head when he planned to leave me but he then realised he did not want to, and wanted to rebuild our marriage.
During those years, when I was ignorant of his behavior, I never stopped loving him deep down, but I did become bitter and resentful and this was obvious to him and he says he saw this as rejection. I am now faced with the awful betrayal and hurt. Initially he admitted to an affair but did not tell me about the sex workers, but I insisted on seeing his phone and when he realised I would discover the truth he confessed. I do believe he has been in a bad place because of other pressures and my lack of desire contributed to his actions, but I am finding it difficult to believe I can ever feel “in love” with him again and question what sort of man behaves in this way, regardless of the pressures he was experiencing. I feel repulsed that he has slept with sex workers who have been in their 20s when he is a retired man.
His present actions and the sacrifices he is now prepared to make for me would indicate he does feel shame and regret (transferring all joint financial assets, our home, to my name only for my security), admitting his behavior to his family, and saying he will stay with me, if I let him, whether or not there is an intimate relationship between us. He swears he never wants to go into the sordid world he has been part of ever again. He has said he would divorce and remarry me if that were possible and would remake vowels in church. He is basically saying he will do whatever it takes and wants a chance to redeem himself to some extent, although he realises he cannot expect forgiveness. He says he believes he can give me some happier times and work to reduce our indebtedness.
I am on a roller coaster of emotions as I am not sure whether I am married to a Dr Jekyll who became a Mr Hyde in some dark night of the soul, or whether I am married to a Mr Hyde who puts on a good front. I have been thinking about nothing else since these revelations and I am unable to function normally.