Dear Chump Lady,
A few weeks ago, I discovered that my 63 year old husband of 25+ years had been having a texting/sexting relationship with a 25 year old woman. He denied it at first until I showed him evidence and our children (ages 18-24) got involved (They were actually who pointed out the obviousness of it all to me.) He had asked our 20 year old son to show him how to put a password on his phone and how to open up a g-mail account. He worked late several times as well, but he only admits to three innocent rides home where “he did not so much as hold hands.” As further information unfolded, I found out that he let her use our charge card to pay off parking tickets (over $1000 worth), but she immediately paid him for them according to him. She just needed a charge card because she didn’t have one. Of course, I had to discover this myself. He says he has every right to loan money if he wants. But I would never make a loan without telling him.
For years I put up with what I consider to be verbal abuse from my husband. An example of this is saying, “Shut the f—k up” to me in front of our friends. Although he hurt me to the core on these occasions, I stayed with him out of loyalty and because there were good times too. However, he ruined many a day with his verbal poison that sent me sulking to my room for hours. He was oblivious to each of these hurts and claims not to remember them.
My husband has always had a sneaky side. Years back he bought a boat and a motorcycle without telling me. They both sit unused and wasted like broken toys. He spends a fortune on books and vitamins. I also know that he peruses a lot of online pornography. I let all of this go chalking it up to “just him.” He wastes a lot of our hard earned money, and he complains that I spend too much.
My husband insists that this texting was harmless and never went any farther. He says that he is sorry it hurt us, but he never meant it to and if I had just left it alone it would have “died a natural death.” After multiple fights, he agreed to go to counseling so that someone could help him understand why he doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He is not kind to me or understanding, and he refuses to take the lock password off his phone. At one point he apologized and said he didn’t want to lose me, but his actions show anger and hostility toward me. I truly believe that he is angry I ruined his fun, and he feels that his privacy was violated.
I moved him out of our bedroom, but I do not know yet whether or not to divorce. Divorce is very complicated for us as we have real estate rental properties together and splitting up investments toward our future (which does not look very secure any more) would be complicated. I obsess all day about finding out the details of what he did and whether he is where he says he is. Clearly I have lost all trust in him. He makes no effort to help me through this, and he does not seem to understand how he has devastated me. We do not speak, and when I try to he says to wait until he talks to the therapist. He says he is sick of hearing me say the same things and ask the same questions.
Tell it like it is, Chump Lady.
Do you really need me to tell you to dump him? His actions are screaming DUMP HIM! What about this situation makes you want to tolerate one more second of it? His utter lack of remorse? His charming habit of telling you to “shut the fuck up” in public? The way he makes unilateral financial decisions to pay off (ahem) “parking tickets”?
He says he “doesn’t want to lose you”? I can’t imagine a more repellant set of circumstances to keep someone. What exactly does he think is required of him to make you stick around? Oh that’s right — NOTHING. He’ll discuss it later at the shrink appointment he will never make.
He is so sorry that he password protected his phone. Wendy, his actions are sending you a very clear message — he wishes to do as he pleases. He has zero respect for you. He will continue as he always has, and if you push back, he’ll tell you to shut up or discuss it “later.”
Do you really believe that all of this is no big deal? Do you believe his “innocent car rides”? Do you think that men who just sext never have sex, even when they’re missing evenings, and even when they “loan” their affair partner significant sums of money? Have you been gaslighted so long that you think this entitled baboon never so much as “held hands” with another woman?
Your reaction to this abuse has been to “sulk in your room” — that bedroom he no longer occupies. Time to up your game, Wendy. Stop eating the shit sandwiches and stop being his chump. Don’t tell me you can’t divorce because of complicated real estate. That’s why God made lawyers — they specialize in exactly those sorts of dilemmas. Go call one today.
Also considerate a forensic accountant. I have a feeling he’s paid for a lot more than parking tickets. Do not tell your idiot husband ANYTHING. Just make a plan of escape on the down low, and then serve his ass. Won’t it be nice to auction off his useless toy collection in the garage? If you think you can’t divorce because of financial security, I would argue you’d be a lot more secure without him — a guy who drains the accounts for his sext friends. Or a motorcycle. Or a boat. HE is your complicated financial problem — dump him like a bad stock.
Your problem isn’t “sexting” — your problem is abuse. He’s an abuser. Emotional, verbal, and financial. He can destroy you without ever hitting you. Don’t let him — FIGHT BACK. This shit stops when YOU say it stops. Time to stop sulking and start filing. Call a lawyer.