I need so help. I have looked through archives and posts and I just need some clarity on my particular situation. I’m struggling to get through each day. Let me give you some backstory:
“Bob” and I got pregnant by accident. He wasn’t supportive. I lost my job and moved in with my mom. He was still seeking some attention elsewhere and he ended up leaving me shortly after my daughter was born.
I struggled, but made it work for my daughter and got a job and actually began dating someone else. I was crushed when I saw a picture of him at a party with some girl and his hand around her, but I kept pushing. She ends up leaving him “because he’s not over his ex” and he comes running back to me. He was finally working and paying child support and it felt real. So, I took him back. Trust issues were overcome and we ended up getting married about a year after reconciling.
I was so happy, CL. In my head my marriage was great. I was always the lead in the household and managed finances, moving, just everything. I started to feel like more of a mother and began to resent him. It got worse when I was relocated and he was unemployed.
Here’s the kicker: I found out 6 days ago he we having a game room chat affair. He had been telling three women he “was falling for them” was in love with them. I found out, because the primary woman (lets call her, A) messaged me on Facebook with a full message history. Real soul crushing stuff. He admitted she was the one he was really drawn to. They sexted, he sent pictures of his stuff (that he randomly sent to me one day a week prior as well, kick in the gut). They spoke about threesomes with HER husband, in detail. And plenty more I just can’t bear to read. That and the fact that he kept telling her he “can’t lose her” are replaying in my head.
Our daughter is 4 years old and I kicked him out the same day. I’m already giving him time with our daughter and being as good of a co-parent I can be for her benefit. My own mother was pushing for me to give him another chance because “men say dumb shit and all men lie and cheat.”
He begged and pleaded the day of and the day after. He hasn’t brought it up since we discussed divorce terms and i spoke with a lawyer. He just says, “I bullshitted a lot of those messages” and insists I don’t share them with others.
CL, I’m in so much pain. I’m trying to be the best mother I can be. I feel like my identity as a wife was stolen. My future. My plans. My family. I try to think logically and stick to my guns about everything, as I’ve always said, “you cheat, I leave.” He knew what would happen. He just didn’t think I would find out.
I know this is all temporary, but I’m struggling. I hate the good memories plaguing my day and the messages I read replaying in my mind and making me breakdown. I have to wait 30 days to file because of the move, and 60 more days for it to be finalized. I need help getting through the day. I need help knowing I’m making the right decision. I need help to remind myself that I deserve someone that gives me what I need and deserve in every way, but I feel like I’ll never find it. I need help with the fact that I am not having to be away from my daughter on weekend and holidays for something I didn’t do. I need help to not go back if he “changes”.
I need your guidance and tough love, CL.
The character transplant didn’t take.
When people ask, “Once a cheater, always a cheater?” I don’t say yes. Because I don’t know. Anyone is capable of change. But people don’t get character transplants. Shazzam! I’m a new me! Personal growth is slow and painful and generally humiliating. Those prone to escapism and immaturity tend not to take the hard path. (For more reading, check out Reconciliation and Entitlement.)
My point is, you already gave him a chance. He wasn’t there when you needed him — he got you pregnant. He didn’t step up. It sounds like he was cheating while you were pregnant — which endangered you and your daughter’s health — and then he left when she was born. Big clue to his character there.
Even if you weren’t exclusive (“got pregnant by accident”? Seeing other people?), an ethical person would’ve protected your health and kept you informed. He was not that ethical person.
It happens. A few hundred thousand of us here made the “bred with a fuckwit” mistake too.
Now your heart is broken because your dream has died. He’s not the partner and parent material that you’d hoped for, that you invested everything in.
But Hannah — he was NEVER that guy. Your grief is real, and it’s terrible to lose an investment, and it’s exhausting to start over, please believe me when I tell you — HE WAS NEVER THAT GUY. He was never worthy of your investment.
At the beginning of this story we have a semi-employed, cheating man-child. At the end of this story we have a semi-employed cheating man-child.
There is no moral trajectory. No lesson learned. No new character.
So now what?
First, take some comfort from the fact that when he said he “can’t lose her” — he said the same thing to you. How’d that turn out? It’s only painful if you ascribe actual meaning to his words. He’s a bullshitter. When he tells you he was bullshitting three women BELIEVE HIM. And add one — you.
He’s quite okay with losing you. And her. And her. And her. Because there’s a steady supply of next ones. Life is an endless chump buffet when you’re a fuckwit. Nobody means much of anything to him.
How do I know? Because that’s what his ACTIONS say.
Investment in a career? No. Investment in relationships? No. Investment in being a good father? No.
Guy walked out on a baby. You clean that up! Catch you later!
Hannah, you thought you could work with that. And there’s the skein we need to untangle. It’s okay to want the dream — a family, a loving invested partner. There is NOTHING wrong with you for wanting that dream. And shame on him for future faking, and walking down that aisle with you, and letting you invest in him.
But going forward you have to look very carefully at people’s actions and pay zero attention to their bullshit.
He was okay with you doing ALL the heavy lifting. No reciprocity. No fellow adulting. He’s not partner material.
You’re a gem because you show up and you do the work and you love with an open heart. He’s not your people. Your people are out there.
Get this divorce finalized, and expect him to be a fuckwit, because that’s what they do. Maybe in 20 years he’ll be less of a fuckwit, but don’t bank on it. Get the legalities worked out and be the sane parent.
You’re giving your daughter an amazing gift — a strong mama who doesn’t tolerate bullshit. Who doesn’t pick me dance. Who knows her worth and ACTS on it.
I know that feels scary, and very, very alone sometimes. Especially right now.
You were always going to be alone with him. Worse than alone, you were going to be investing in a fake. Wedded to a barbed wire monkey. Your daughter would’ve grown up thinking this is how relationships are, you just get pricked and bleed, and hugs are cold spiky metal. Why doesn’t Daddy smile? (Answer: He’s a barbed wire monkey.) Gaslighting and dysfunction: Daddy IS smiling! or What did you do wrong to make Daddy frozen like that?
Run, run away! Start a new life.