Can a serial cheater/narcissist change?
I have been with my husband for almost 10 years and married for 5 of those. Three years ago, I discovered a secret email account and he had been making fake profiles up (using fake pictures) to meet people for one night stands via online dating sites. He had also been using Craigslist for this, too. I kicked him out but we had literally just moved across the country and a very close family member to me died at the same time I found out about the cheating (with at least 7 people - women and men), so I was alone and fearful and devastated so I took him back. We tried counseling but couldn't find a counselor we liked. We are still together. And I thought things were good. It has always been very roller coaster like for us - good times are great and bad times are hell but we have been working on us for the last 3 years. Or I was.
The thing is, we we started this relationship, I made it very clear to him, because of my past relationships, that this has to be a monogamous relationship. Well, I had my suspicions over the years but when I asked about it, he would say I was crazy. I even found an email once to a friend of his that said he couldn't go hang out with her because he was going camping - which was a lie because he was going home with me to meet my family for the first time.
Anyway, I thought that because I had been burned in the past, I was being too paranoid. But when I found out about the cheating and had evidence, he couldn't deny it. I still took him back because I was in a terrible situation in my life having moved and lost a loved one.
Fast forward to 3 years later. I had my suspicions again and this time I set up a fake online profile and was able to catch him in the act. He has admitted to 2 more one night stands in the course of the past 3 years. He says he doesn't know why he does it. He says he loves me. He says he needs help.
We have started marriage counseling together because I hate to throw it away without trying. He has moved out too. I really do believe that there is something mentally wrong with him. Of course, I have also realized that there is something wrong with me. I know I have trust issues but I also have low self esteem. And his constant "you're crazy to think I would cheat" has really driven me crazy; I was doubting myself and my gut. And I knew I was right.
I found out 3 weeks ago. And I am sitting in a hotel at a beach alone on a vacation we planned months ago for just the 2 of us.
I don't know if he is deserving of a 3rd chance. I don't know if he is capable of change. I don't know if his words are just more empty air and manipulation. He promised before he wouldn't hurt me and yet he did.
I think for him, he enjoys the thrill of the chase and the sex. I feel like he wants the best of both worlds - our very comfortable and "normal" life and his cheap thrills.
He is very charming and uses his words very eloquently. I contacted one of his recent one night stands and even though they only had sex once, they talked online for months. She told me that she still hopes she can meet someone as good looking and charming as him and that if we don't work it out, to tell him to find her!!!! Amazing!!!!!!
I fear being alone. I fear him cheating again. I don't know if he can change. We have no children (thank heavens). I am, in my work life, smart and very successful. I have a great family (one reason why I think he stays with me is this - his childhood was awful and his family bonds are nonexistent). I have great friends. I love my job and am so happy with things outside of this marriage. I have stopped blaming myself (no more "it's because I'm 30 pounds overweight or didn't love him enough or didn't keep it spicy enough). I would just like to hear from others to see if a person like this can really change or if I should cut my losses and face my fear of loneliness.