I am unofficially in purgatory. I have been 22 months in wreckonciliation with my cheating husband who cheated with an ex coworker for three-plus years. We have been married for 25 years and have two awesome sons. D-Day was via cellphone accidental discovery. He was angry at me that I had found out and deleted evidence of their affair from my cellphone. I took a picture of the text as I knew he’d deny it. I was on vacation with him in another state. A vacation I was reluctant to be on because I felt that I had lost him. That our marriage was over. He was mean and distant to me and I had felt alone for years.
Yes, I read every book I could find on how to be a better wife. I even texted him old photos of us together when we were dating. I knew I was losing him, but he would always tell me he was happy and there was nothing wrong. I was so unhappy and tried desperately to make myself happy. I read books, wrote in journals, took classes, got a job, but it didn’t work. I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough. He, however, was king at work, the great breadwinner, in control of his life, his looks, played competitive sports and I felt that he looked down on me. I have lots of friends, but he never wanted to socialize with anyone. I had to drag him to things and had about two dinner parties a year. He always shone at these parties. Everyone loves him. He would then avoid seeing people as much as possible. He had work, or sport, or his music to play.
I was always making excuses for him, which I hated. Anyway, he could be helpful and funny and not too demanding so it was easy to live with him, but I don’t think I have ever been truly happy. He has also attacked me physically a couple of times, enough to scare me enough to leave for a couple of days, but my friends encouraged me to go back.
The point is, I am still here, 20 months after D-Day and I am unable to leave. He begged me to stay, swears that he will make me happy, buys me flowers, calls and texts, which he never did before. He says he loves me, that he made a mistake, but he took 6 weeks to tell me the name of his affair partner as he didn’t want to hurt her. He stopped seeing her as far as I know and he threatened to leave me if I told anyone. Eventually I did and was terrified he’d find out. I don’t want to break up the family and I am scared of hurting my sons, in their twenties. I think my friends are useless except for a couple who have been in a similar situation. My mother is dead and my father died in June. I feel so alone and don’t know what to do.
I realize I sound pathetic, just reading this to myself, but all the books and blogs I read said I should reconcile and make my marriage better, but it seems to me that it doesn’t get better. It’s surface clean and shit on the inside at least for me. My husband seems happy and just tells me to get with the program. He wants to look after me and be with me forever. He is sorry. But he still lies about little things that don’t need to be lied about and I need honesty and integrity and love. How can this be love.? One friend says I should tell my sons but how can I? How can they respect me if I stay with him? How can I respect myself?
I have spent 34 years of my life with this man that I thought I knew inside and out. I moved continents for him, and gave up my career to support him and this is how he repays me! Counselors are useless. He won’t see a counselor and yes, I have read everything on this site. Why am I so scared to leave? What if he does really love me?
“Does he really love me?” is the wrong question. How much do you love yourself? Would you want your sons or anyone you care about to endure physical abuse, mental abuse, threats of abandonment, and infidelity? Would you wish this kind of partner on ANYONE?
Why would you tolerate it for yourself?
I know, I know. You’ve got 34 years of sunk costs and he’s not all bad. He can be helpful sometimes, and not too demanding. Except for:
I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough…
And then you sign your letter, “Worthless.” Jesus, no wonder you’re depressed. You’ve set your entire worth on “Is The King Happy?”
Oh hey, HE is happy. That is, until he’s hitting you, or threatening to abandon you if you tell anyone what he’s done.
His response to your terror?
He wants to look after me and be with me forever.
Welcome to the cycle of abuse, Worth. (I refuse to use your screen name.)
The point is, I am still here, 20 months after D-Day and I am unable to leave.
You ARE able to leave. Call a lawyer today. We will hold your hand and walk you through every step of this shit storm. Get over on the forums.
You have AGENCY. Let’s not set our sights on “happy” right now (however, you can absolutely be happy some day soon) — let’s set our sights on “escape the abuser.”
He begged me to stay, swears that he will make me happy, buys me flowers, calls and texts, which he never did before.
It’s called “love bombing.” It’s part of the cycle. He’s trying to avoid consequences and eat cake. It’s also highly possible (judging by my mail, probable) that he’s moving monies and screwing you over in ways you’re not privy to, trying to keep you off his trail. That’s why you need a lawyer, pronto. Start collecting all your financials. DO NOT TIP YOUR HAND.
He says he loves me, that he made a mistake,
A three-year mistake. That you know of. That’s one hell of a singular “mistake.”
but he took 6 weeks to tell me the name of his affair partner as he didn’t want to hurt her.
He’s putting her “feelings” above your well-being. When you find yourself begging to know who the affair partner is? You’re doing the Pick Me Dance at the masked costume ball.
He’s protecting her and himself. At your expense. Are you okay with that? Does that feel loving?
He stopped seeing her as far as I know and he threatened to leave me if I told anyone.
He is abusive.
My advise to you is call his fucking bluff — leave him and tell anyone you damn please what he did. It’s YOUR STORY. He doesn’t get to put a gag order on your life.
Eventually I did and was terrified he’d find out.
He terrifies you. Is this relationship acceptable to you?
And don’t answer that with what he might do, you hope he’ll do, or wishes for his eventual improvement. Are you OKAY being with a man who ROUTINELY TERRIFIES you?
You get a vote. YOU MATTER.
I don’t want to break up the family and I am scared of hurting my sons, in their twenties.
This isn’t a family, this is a hostage situation.
I’m sorry — you’ve already hurt your sons by modeling an abusive relationship dynamic to them for 20-plus years. You can FIX that, by getting mighty and modeling resiliency and badass life building.
You’ll find that you have a family — you and them. Minus the fuckwit, and the abuse, it will be a much happier family.
I think my friends are useless except for a couple who have been in a similar situation. My mother is dead and my father died in June. I feel so alone and don’t know what to do.
Abuse can feel very isolating, and abusers work hard to keep their chumps feeling alone and needy. All the better to manipulate you! To counter this, you need to REACH OUT for help, from people who get it. Not those idiot “friends” who told you to go back to a man who HIT YOU. But real people who CARE about you. Get on the forums here, call a women’s domestic abuse agency… That’s NOT over the top — stop minimizing this. Yes, I’m in your head and I know you’re thinking I’m Not That Woman. Yes you are. I was her too, and now I’m not. Come on over to the sanity side. You’ll love it here. (Skooching over… making room on the bench.)
You DO know what to do. You just don’t want to do it.
To stop the pain and unhappiness, you must leave him.
I know that seems like it will be MORE painful, and it might be in the very short-term, but think of it as one big labor pain into your new life. PUUUUUSSSSSHHHH! The way you are living now is infinitely more painful. A hundred chumps are going to tell you this in the comments.
What if he does really love me?
He doesn’t. You’re of use to him.
Whatever he considers “love” is not what healthy normal people consider love. Pedophiles will tell you that they “love” children. (They’ll also tell you their abuse was consensual.) Maybe it feels like “love” in their head. It’s twisted and sick.
I need honesty and integrity and love.
You can have it, right now. It lives in you. Not in him.
We’re here for you.