Thought I'd introduce myself. Found this place through a search.
My husband and I met in 1996 and married in 2001. He's my second husband, I'm his first wife. We have 3 kids from my first marriage, all grown and living away from home now (most of the time anyway!). March 2010 I discovered his infidelity and kicked him out of the house that very day. We reconciled and he moved back in Sept 2010 and we are going strong.
Here's a timeline of what we went through
Prior to May 2009 - Our marriage sucked. We had bought a house in 2002 with a large yard. I found out later that he bought it 'for me', not really wanting to be tied down with a garden every summer, mowing the lawn etc. but doing it to make me happy. This caused resentment to build and build with him, because he saw himself doing this thing for me over the years, when he didn't want to, and apparently I wasn't appreciative enough or something. Anyway, the resentment built and built in him.
We hardly talked. We hardly cuddled. We had sex every week or two, although I was never really into it. I had my obligatory orgasm, he had his, and we'd go to sleep. The same way every time. I was bored with it, and apparently so was he, because when he posted his online profiles later he called ours a 'sexless marriage'. I just didn't LIKE him very much. He was angry much of the time, very distant, and preferred to just talk about mundane things - no conversations of anything 'deep' ever.
I suggested MC which he shot down, and he claims that he also suggested it and I shot it down. I don't recall that, but that doesn't mean it never happened. I felt hopeless most of the time and really didn't care any more. I think that's why I kicked him out on Dday - I had been hopeless for so long it was almost a relief to get it over with and just be DONE.
I like to post about how we all have 4 choices when our marriage sucks.
2) do nothing
4) Work on the marriage
I had chosen number 2 after a few early years of choosing 4, and he finally chose number 3 of course. It had been at least 5 years since either of us was truly happy with the way things were going.
He had looked at porn before and it never bothered me overly, I kind of just pretended he didn't do it and he erased his history to keep the pop ups and crap away from the kids. He didn't do it much anyway, until I introduced him to Stumbleupon. This was in 2007 or 8. Well, he started seeing adult content come up, and got into online porn in a big way. He spent a couple of years hiding his tracks doing this on the family computer, but didn't go any farther than that for a long while.
End of May 2009 - I am away for a long weekend. He is home. He spends the weekend immersed in an orgy of porn as he puts it, on his new laptop, and he discovers sex chats. He told me later that he did it knowing full well what he was doing, but that he intended to indulge himself just that once and that would be it. This is, in his mind, when he started cheating. Up till now the porn was just porn, but on this weekend he invited other women into his life and started wanting sex outside the marriage.
I remember him meeting me at the airport when I came home, and he seemed happy to see me.
June-Sep 2009 - He finds that it isn't so easy to let the fantasies go, and that sex sites on the internet lead to much more exciting things if you just click on all the flashy links that pop up. At some point he signs up for Sexsearch. Later he upgrades his membership to a paid one, posts pics of himself, exchanges a few messages with people that nothing ever came of he says. He becomes an expert at hiding his tracks on his computer. He cancels his Sexsearch account and reopens it, cancels it and reopens it, as he tries to stop doing what he knows is wrong. He's become addicted to sex chatting.
I suspect nothing. Our marriage sucks, but other than that, I have no idea he is indulging himself in this manner. He would go on his computer when I was at the grocery store, or even when I was in the other room watching TV, or in bed. Since I didn't really care what he was up to, it was easy for him.
Sept 2009 - he is contacted by 'Juliana' on Sexsearch. She says she's a model from the Philippines and is coming to Edmonton and would like to get together for sex, he agrees. They exchange pictures and racy emails, she gets him to get a cell phone and set up a gmail account (both kept secret from me of course). They sext and email for a couple of weeks. She tells him that he can bypass her 'agency' if he sends money to her dying father in the Philippines, which he does, on three occasions. She says she's in Edmonton and they arrange to meet at some hotel downtown (he says he can't remember which one) but when he goes to meet her she texts that someone is chasing her and she has to leave ??? she proceeds to lead him all over town on a wild goose chase, he thinks someone is after her. He says they didn't meet up and I do believe this, since this 'Juliana' appears to be a scammer (I searched out the email address) He also starts chatting with another 'model' called Jhanna
Oct-Nov 2009 - he continues to sext and email Juliana and Jhanna, they also get him to sign up for Adult Friend Finder and other sites to 'vote' for them. Juliana goes back to the Philippines at some point and has the gall to ask him for MORE money because she is stuck at an airport in some country because her cousin used a stolen credit card to pay for her ticket. Thankfully he has grown a small part of his brain back and doesn't send her any more money.
Nov-Dec 2009 - Jhanna gets him to sign up for Yahoo, another secret email, and he starts using yahoo chat and leaving it open for her all the time at work to contact him. She says she's at the Westin in Edmonton and needs money so she can pay off a debt to HER 'agency'. He thinks he can get sex as part of the deal, he pays $700 times two and claims he didn't meet up with her either. He went to the Westin in mid December with intent to meet with her and have sex with her, this is the exchange I have the emails about, the emails I found in March 2010. I also searched Jhanna up and found out this is also a scam identity.
Jan-Mar 2010 - he continues to communicate with both these 'models' but does not send them any more money despite repeated requests. He joins several more sexsearch type sites, leads people on and emails them stuff and chats with them but again, says he never met up with anyone. He says he 'somehow' ended up with a $60 credit on AFF that he used to engage in live chat with models who would undress in front of their webcams for him. He sends many emails to many different people and couples, pictures etc. Meanwhile he keeps chatting with Jhanna after she says she has left the city and basically carries on an emotional affair with her.
During this time, my own computer breaks completely down, so I ask him on occasion to let me check my email on his. He has password protected it, which I didn't take as a sign of anything because he tends to be anal about weird stuff for no reason other than his own convoluted ones. Anyway, when I ask him why he password protected it, he says because he doesn't want the kids on it. He does give me the password in order to check my email though. He has since told me that his philosophy was that the best lies have a grain of truth in them. D day#1
Mar 13 2010 - While he's in the shower I sit down at his computer to check my email and he has left yahoo chat open. Till now I had no suspicions. But I see a couple of usernames like 'sexy_jhanna' and 'hot_wendy' which raises alarm bells. I am able to get into his email through chat and what I find blows me away. We manage to get rid of the kids for the evening and I had a huge melt down/blow out/ freak out on him during which he admits to all of the above. I kick him out, he leaves that day and moves into a hotel. Takes his computer of course. He gets rid of Yahoo chat on his computer, deletes his online profiles etc. and cuts off all contact with his online harem. I hack into his yahoo email before he can delete it (I still have access) but not his gmail.
If I had it to do over again, I would have demanded to see all his secret email accounts and all his online profiles before he had a chance to go in and delete them. I didn't, because at that point in time I was DONE. I wanted him out of the house and out of my life. As it stands, all I have is his word that he never met up with anyone, and the fact that both the 'women' he pursued are not real people but scam identities. And the fact that he admitted to hiring a hooker (see below). Trust is slowly rebuilding, but knowing right from the beginning exactly what he did and said would have been very helpful to my recovery.
Mar-May 2010 - we only communicate by email, he gets his apartment, we start counseling individually in March and as a couple in mid May. He has a 'relapse' in May at some point which he claims consisted of looking at porn on line and nothing more. He gets rid of his old cell and gets a new number.
June 2010 - he and I are both in individual counseling, he's been several times, and figures that since we're in couples counseling he can forego the individual stuff. He admits to the 'relapse' and tells me he has steps in place to deal with it if he has another one.
June 12 2010 - he decides to go to a lesbian bar (says there'd be less 'temptation' there wtf) and on the way home (walking) is approached by a hooker whom HE thinks is a lost person but who asks him if he's 'available'. He figures what the hell and takes her back to his apt where he gets a $60 blow job on his couch. He says he couldn't even get a full erection because he was so disgusted with himself, but figures that since he paid for it he's going through with it. He pays her in coins from his coin jar
In exhaustive conversations about the reason he did this, the best I can figure is that he had a couple beers in him, and had been feeling resentful of the fact I had been telling him I didn't believe that he hadn't actually has sex with anyone throughout all his pursuits. I mean, who WOULD believe him?? He had spent over $3000 trying to get laid, had left the house on at least two occasions to meet up with someone, and had been at it for at least nine months. So, when he realized this girl was a hooker and not a lost person, he spontaneously combusted and did it to get back at me for not believing him. Typical behaviour for a sex addict who was not in recovery.
July-Aug 2010 - we continue counseling, things go well, we spend more and more time together and decide he can move back home, which he does at the end of August.
Sep-Oct-Nov 2010 - I think we're doing really well together D day#2
Nov 6 2010 - he tells me about hiring the hooker when I confront him with a letter from his work computer addressed to Juliana, which I found just going through his documents. I hadn't had access to his work computer till now, and he gave it to me to have a look through. The document had been created back in Sept 2009. This is also the first I hear of Juliana and him paying money to have sex with her - till now he claimed the money he sent her was because he felt sorry for her and her dying father, there was no admittance of intent to meet up with her till now. As a result of my freak out at him at this point, he finally admits he has a sex addiction and starts going to Sex Addicts Anonymous, which he still attends.
This revelation occurred on a trip, and when we get home I make him get rid of the couch he got the blow job on. He does so without a peep.
That was the end of the revelations. I sometimes call Nov 6/10 Dday#2, although he hadn't done anything since June.
Reconciliation is HARD. Really really hard. Sometimes something happens that throws me right back to March 13 2010 and I am a basket case for a few days. Sometimes we fight and I feel hopeless. But the good days outweigh the bad by more and more as time goes on. People ask me how I can live with someone who did what he did. But that isn't the question. The question I had to answer for myself was, do I want to live without
him? And do I believe he can change?
He has changed, and every way has been for the better. He is far more relaxed and calm now than before, even before he cheated. He seems more comfortable in his own skin. He jokes around a lot now - he hardly ever did before. Our marriage was in BIG trouble and we both knew it was. He chose to cheat. I chose to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything was fine. Neither of us made the right choice. Dday was a wake up call for us both and we're taking advantage of it to the fullest.
He has done everything a truly remorseful wayward needs to in order to reconcile. He realizes what he did and doesn't EVER want to do it again. He reads, attends his group, we both attend MC, we talk. We spent the summer of 2011 'reconnecting by camping' as he likes to say - we camped 35 days from June till September. He's thrown himself at my mercy and proven he's in it for the long haul.
Before he cheated, I didn't feel I had any right to demand transparency. I had to trust blindly. Now I don't have to do that. I have his work and home email passwords, his bank passwords, I can look at his phone any time, his computer, whatever I want to. Our computers are side by side. I don't feel sneaky spying on him either. I've never had the ability to do all this before and I like it. I can verify that he's doing what he says he's doing. And that is a good feeling for me, despite what others say about it being debasing to feel you have to do that all the time. I felt like that before but I couldn't do it. Now I can and that's a relief.
Of course he could still be chatting it up at work with someone or calling them or whatever. He could be erasing his browser history again, although I think I've learned enough to be able to tell if he did this. But it gets to the point where you have to put things in their hands once again and see what happens. He knows that if he EVER does anything like what he did before our marriage is toast, so if he does, I will have a clear conscience. It also helps for me to know that I am perfectly fine on my own - I've been a single mom twice in my life and have done very well. So I don't depend on him.
Which means that I am with him by choice, not because I feel I have no other choice. I see BS's on here all the time who sound like they stay only because they feel trapped, and what kind of life would that be? I genuinely do love him, but it isn't a clingy dependent kind of love. I love him for who he is, the fun we have, the great sex, the tenderness and attention he gives me, his blue blue eyes, and his hairy chest. If I didn't I wouldn't be with him.
Since Nov 6/10 we have made a point of doing something romantic at LEAST once a month. We get a hotel, have a candlelight dinner, make art together
go to the mountains, whatever. We like to buy those daily deal things for massages, saunas, that kind of thing and have new experiences together.
In October 2012 I decided to confront my worst trigger, and booked a room for two nights for the two of us at the Westin, the hotel where he had gone and sat in the bar and waited to meet with Jhanna and go up to her room with her. You can read about that in these two threads here on TAM Is this a bad idea? OK guys. Your wife surprised you.
If you don't want to read all that, the short version is that exposure therapy works very VERY well for me!!
There are two reasons I think our R is so successful so far. I say so far because I don't believe it will ever be 'over'. We will always be living post-affair. It's like living after a war or the death of a loved one or a cataclysmic event like 911. Everything gets talked about as 'before' or 'after'.
Anyway. Two reasons. The first is that I let him go, or rather kicked him out. I was DONE. I hated him and never wanted to lay eyes on him again. What he did spelled the end of our marriage. This freed me up to work on myself. I went to IC and changed some things up around the house and lived with just the kids again (I was also a single mom for 7 years when they were little) and I realized that I actually liked it. I liked myself and I liked my life. This in turn led to the discovery that, if I had the choice, I actually DID want him in my life. I actually did love him. This surprised me, because it was a complete 180 from the way I felt on D day. So I decided that we would try R.
The second reason is the way he is now. There is VERY little he hasn't done that a WS should and needs to do. He owns his sh!t. He works hard every day to help me recover and to keep our marriage getting better. And he does it all with an attitude of remorse. He doesn't balk at what he needs to do. Even this long past the first Dday I can tell him that something triggered me and he is apologetic and fusses over me. The fact he is this way has meant that I can be that way with him too, when he needs me to be. Some books that I like to recommend to others For General Marriage Help
(not only for couples going through infidelity: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
"John Gottman has revolutionized the study of marriage by using rigorous scientific procedures to observe the habits of married couples in unprecedented detail over many years. Here is the culmination of his life''s work: the seven principles that guide couples on the path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Packed with practical questionnaires and exercises, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential" The Five Love Languages
"Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive—everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.......The 5 Love LanguagesŪ has helped countless couples identify practical and powerful ways to express love, simply by using the appropriate love language. Many husbands and wives who had spent years struggling through marriages they thought were loveless discovered one or both spouses had long been showing love through messages that weren’t getting through. By recognizing their different love languages, they witnessed the rebirth of the love they thought had been gone for good." Love Busters
, His Needs Her Needs
and the companion workbook 5 Steps to Romantic Love
"Dr. Harley helps couples understand why their best intentions are not enough to prevent marital incompatibility. in Love Busters, he helps couples avoid losing romantic love by recognizing and overcoming thoughtless and selfish habits. Couples must do more than want to meet each other's needs--they must actually meet them! The right needs are so strong that when they're not met in marriage, people are tempted to go outside marriage to satisfy them. But aside of the risk of affair, important emotional needs should be met for the sake of care itself. Marriage is a very special relationship. Dr. Harley describes the ten emotional needs of men and women. He helps you identify which are the most important to you and your spouse, helps you communicate them to each other, and helps you learn to meet them." About Infidelity Not Just Friends
"NOT "Just Friends" is the first book to shatter popular assumptions about infidelity, including: a happy marriage is insurance against infidelity; the betrayed partner must have ignored obvious clues; and the unfaithful partner was compensating for emotional or sexual deprivation in the marriage......Dr. Glass's scientific approach to infidelity is unique in its treatment of the betrayed partner's shock as a trauma. She helps couples cope with post-traumatic reactions and recover from the emotional roller coaster that follows deception, suspiciousness, and the shock of revelation." Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder
"The phrase "broken heart" belies the real trauma behind the all-too-common occurrence of infidelity. Psychologist Dennis Ortman likens the psychological aftermath of sexual betrayal to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in its origin and symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, rage, emotional numbing, and flashbacks. Using PTSD treatment as a model, Dr. Ortman will show you, step by step, how to:
• work through conflicting emotions
• Understand yourself and your partner
• Make important life decisions
Dr. Ortman sees recovery as a spiritual journey and draws on the wisdom of diverse faiths, from Christianity to Buddhism. He also offers exercises to deepen recovery, such as guided meditations and journaling, and explores heart-wrenchingly familiar case studies of couples struggling with monogamy. By the end of this book, you will have completed the six stages of healing and emerged with a whole heart, a full spirit, and the freedom to love again." For cybersex/sex addiction In the Shadows of the Net
"As Internet usage has exploded in recent years, so has the prevalence of compulsive online sexual behavior--a problem first addressed five years ago by Patrick Carnes and coauthors of the breakthrough book, In The Shadows of the Net. Updated with the latest information, trends, and developments, the second edition equips readers with specific strategies for recognizing and changing compulsive sexual behaviors. Personal stories reveal how desperate life can become for online sex addicts--divorce, career loss, and financial ruin are common outcomes. More importantly the authors set forth a path for breaking free from compulsive online sexual behavior and sustaining lifelong recovery." Your Sexually Addicted Spouse
"Sexual addictions and compulsive sexual behavior are growing societal problems, with as many as three to six percent of the world population affected. Your Sexually Addicted Partner shatters the stigma and shame that millions of men and women carry when their partners are sexually addicted. They receive little empathy for their pain, which means they suffer alone, often shocked and isolated by the trauma. Barbara Steffens' groundbreaking new research shows that partners are not codependents but post-traumatic stress victims, while Marsha Means' personal experience provides insights, strategies, and critical steps to recognize, deal with, and heal partners of sexually addicted relationships. Firsthand accounts and stories reveal the impact of this addiction on survivors' lives."