I’m new to your site and like the no-nonsense approach of those who are here. I’ve been having trouble emotionally detaching from the SOB my husband has turned out to be. Intellectually I know that he sucks, but I can’t seem to walk away. I can’t believe how much crap I’ve taken. But part of me thinks he’s making the affair into much more than it is in an attempt to get me to leave him… and I’m not sure I want to give him the satisfaction. The gory details to illustrate his suckitude:
My husband was emotionally detached for the last year. His behavior became increasingly erratic over the summer — grilling me about when I’d be home vs. traveling for business, staying out until all hours under the guise of going to a movie with his friend, texting on his phone constantly. Yup, you guessed it, he confessed to an affair in September. But he lied about the affair partner, making up some bullshit story about an ex-firefighter who works at the food court in the mall whom he met on facebook (!). Within 48 hours, I discovered that in reality the affair partner was a mutual acquaintance who is married to his childhood friend. He swore it was merely an emotional affair with some occasional kissing and groping (“nothing below the waist”), didn’t know why he did it (except to state that he’s been unhappy and hates himself), and begged my forgiveness.
I calmly informed him that I believe affairs are a symptom of something else being wrong, and vowed to work with him to discover and remedy whatever that was as long as he break off the affair and work with me to repair our relationship. He did… at least initially. However, after a month he moved to his sister’s house to “get some space.” He stopped coming to counseling, only to return two weeks later. Some days he would be remorseful and romantic, other days he would be cold and distant. Finally, at Thanksgiving, the other woman started calling our house to harrass us. Her husband discovered the affair and she wanted to make sure that I knew about how she’d been screwing my spouse all over town… including in my own house. Apparently, the reason my husband moved out was so he could re-start the affair away from my watchful eyes. WTF?
She broke off the affair and my husband moved home in December. He was faced with the full range of my emotions: a barrage of questions, angry outbursts, quiet sobbing. He did seemed to be telling the truth finally and there was no sign of contact with the skank, but two nagging questions haunted me: (1) why did he start the affair again, and (2) did he really choose to be with me, or was a merely his default option? I couldn’t get an answer other than: “I have no feelings for her, but I thought you and I might not work out so I figured if I could keep the affair going at least I’d have that if we split up.” WTF?
I started relaxing over the holiday season and we were finding a new normal in our relationship. Obviously, things were different than before but I was beginning to trust again, slowly. My husband was showing tenderness and expressing regret for his actions. However, in mid-January, my husband moved out of the house while I was at an eye exam. When he wasn’t home for dinner, I called and he said (breezily), “Oh, I don’t live there any more.” He didn’t even leave a note! WTF?
A week later I lost my job. Two days after that, I was served with divorce papers. He claimed that because I was angry about the affair he just knew we’d never be able to reconcile. (Like I’m supposed to pretend it never happened?) He also accused me of forcing him to waste money on STD testing (yup, this amazing human specimen decided that condoms were unnecessary). Then he reversed course and started saying things like “I want you in my life forever,” “I will always come home to you,” and “I will never stop loving you.” The divorce papers were put on hold (he never filed with the court) so we can work together on getting me a new job. Again, WTF?
He started attending marriage counseling again, and this time actually did the work. He also seemed to be applying himself in sessions with an individual therapist from what I can tell. Over month of February, our relationship steadily improved. He started kissing me passionately, telling me how much he misses me, etc. I felt like we’d finally turned a corner and could see a future where he comes out of his fog and works to rebuild our relationship. Then, two weeks ago, he asked me to meet him for lunch. He announced that the other woman called to tell him she’s going to ask for a divorce. Isn’t that exciting? Now they can finally be together! He said he’s just been lying to himself this entire time — because the affair has lasted over a year it just has to be True Love! (But I guess our 25-year relationship doesn’t count as true love??) He invited her to move in with him since she “can’t afford an apartment.” Yet again, WTF?
My husband is being PLAYED by this woman. She’s never been out of state, is saddled with six kids she claims not to want, has never held a job, and has a HUGE inferiority complex. Her husband is an idiot manchild who refuses to parent their children, wears their 16-year-old son’s clothes in an attempt to look cool, carries health insurance only on himself (wife and kids are out of luck), and is so cheap he won’t let her have her own meal in restaurants (they share an appetizer). By contrast, my husband has traveled the world, wears nice suits and cufflinks, has no children, and loves nothing more than to splurge on 12-course tasting menus and bottles of fine wine. So of course the whore would prefer to be with my husband to escape the miserable life she’s created for herself. On the other hand, my husband seems to want to pretend that he’s James freakin’ Bond and whisk this woman off for hotel trysts, keep her on the edge of her seat with stories of the exotic world outside of our city, and play the big stud by throwing down serious cash on food and wine. He can’t see that she fucks for steak. (He even told me that not ONCE has she opened her eyes during sex. Closes them when the panties come off and doesn’t open them again until she’s fully clothed. If that doesn’t sound like someone who’s merely trying to endure it, I don’t know what does.)
So my piece of crap husband keeps running to the skank to reiterate his offer of a place to stay. She keeps saying that she won’t do anything until she has a divorce agreement because she doesn’t want to jeopardize child custody rights. I keep pointing out to him that she may have used him as an excuse to leave her marriage and may have no intention of spending time with him once it’s over. Even if she does run into his arms, it won’t last once the shiny new wears off and they have to deal with the reality of having a legitimate relationship… trying to figure out how to pay bills, etc. I believe that a lot of people who have affairs conflate the whole thing once they’ve gone sufficiently far to truly mess up their lives. If they simply messed up their lives (and the lives of others) for some piece of ass, that’s reprehensible. However, if they mess up lives because of True Love, surely that’s noble, right?
Tonight I had dinner with my husband to discuss some financial issues, and reminded him of all these things. He stated that he doesn’t know what will happen with this woman because she’s not committed to anything, but he hopes that things work out for them. He started saying truly hurtful things to me. (e.g., we’ve been dealing with infertility for 6 years and the problem seems to be on my end, so he casually said, “Maybe I’ll get her pregnant — how would you like that?”) After dinner, I got an email from THE WHORE apologizing for how she’s hurt me, then telling me that I need to stop bothering my husband because she will be moving into his apartment two days a week, they have planned a life together… and that my “ongoing attempts to salvage something that is already gone will only hurt him in the long run.” Once more, WTF?
Anyway, to get to my question: I know my husband is messed up and I can’t believe he’s really doing this out of LOVE. I wonder if he’s just trying to keep hurting me and hurting me until I push him out of my life so he doesn’t look like as much of an asshole. You know, so he can say about the break-up of our marriage: “it was mutual.” What do you think?
And, obviously, when you look at the list of crap he’s perpetrated on me, it’s clear that he sucks. I know I deserve better than this. So why can’t I just let go? Plus, why am I so damned fixated on the OW — he’s gone crazy so why should his stated reason for his behavior matter to me? Do I win the chump prize or what?
Who CARES if he thinks the break up is “mutual”? Seriously, he can think the break up is the Will of Zarathustra — why should it matter? What matters is that he is treating you APPALLINGLY and you’re sitting there taking it, explaining it for him, having dinner pointing your insights out to him, and getting nowhere. And all you so you don’t give him the “satisfaction” of a divorce? WTF? Suzanne — he’s left the building. Assuming he was ever in it. He sounds like a flaming narcissist (international man of mystery and 12-course tasting menus?) You’re best rid of him.
You know what’s on his 12-course tasting menu? CAKE. Loads and loads of cake! You and the OW. The OW and you. You’re never going to lose this idiot whatever your marital status to him, because he adores centrality. He’ll shack up with the OW, and then he’ll be back kissing you passionately, complaining that the OW fucks with her eyes closed, and he misses you. Then he’ll get you and say the kind of cruel casual aside that NPDs excel at, like “I’ll get her pregnant, how would you like that?” to provoke a REACTION from you — anger, grief, sobbing, ooh! Or better yet a competition! “No! Get me pregnant too!” Because that rewards him with heaps of ego kibbles!
You can play this game of mindfuckery with him indefinitely, or you can lawyer up and leave him. I vote for leave him.
Why are you so fixated on the OW? It’s a common mistake. OWs are usually trainwrecks, and everyone’s a rubbernecker, but really she’s not the problem here and you know that. Your husband is the problem. She’s a wing nut with six poor kids. It’s easier to blame the OW as the aggressor than look at your husband’s culpability for allowing this person in your life. He doesn’t have boundaries, THAT is the problem. It could be her, the Miss February centerfold, or your cousin. He shouldn’t let her in, period. He should be faithful to you, whatever the provocation that he not be. I’m not saying she doesn’t suck, or that she’s blameless. I’m just saying she SHOULD be irrelevant. It’s your husband’s conduct that makes her relevant.
Why is it so hard to put the blame on him? Well, you love the idiot and she’s a stranger. That’s part of it. But the other part of it is that he’s a master mindfuck and a narcissist and you’ve probably got 25 years of experience of him not taking the blame for anything. Narcissists hate personality responsibility. It’s like Kryptonite to them. They shrivel and back off “Must. Not. Accept! Aiiiiigggggh!”
If you’ve lived with one of these characters, you devise all sorts of manners of coping with them. Like researching their behavior and explaining it to them over dinner. You do that, Suzanne. You need to read that Dr. George Simon interview posted here to the right. It’s got this great nugget about character disordered people — “It’s not that they don’t SEE — it’s that they DISAGREE.”
He knows what he’s doing. He knows it’s hurting you. He knows it’s hurting six innocent children and their father (who, btw, you don’t know jackshit about, only what he’s told you — which is probably lies. I’m sure the OW says something similar about you.) He DOESN’T CARE. He doesn’t AGREE that he should stop. You’re projecting your sense of right and wrong on to him. (Clearly, he must be mistaken about his motivations… I must elucidate him….) He gets it. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.
So rid yourself of this horrible man. I’d start by gathering whatever evidence you have about the affair and handing it over to the father of the six kids, so he can use that in his custody fight. Then you should divorce your idiot husband, so he’s totally available to the OW. I think you’ll find he gets very ugly at that point. He doesn’t want a divorce, he wants CAKE. Fuck him. Divorce him. Then go no contact to cleanse your brain of his mindfuckery. Get some counseling to shore yourself up, turn all those insights in on yourself. And read up on personality disorders. I think you’ve been dealing with one. The cruelty of his “pick me” dance isn’t normal — he’s a practiced mind fucker. Good luck, Suzanne!