I married my husband in June of 2015 after being together for 6 years. He is the only man I have ever been in a serious relationship with.
In December of 2015, my mother died unexpectedly. I was a complete wreck for at least a year. He was my ROCK. In June of 2016, my father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Again, a complete wreck. Still my support and my rock.
A few months after my father’s diagnosis, my husband started cheating with a coworker. For over 2 years. I had NO idea.
We had ups and downs of course. I wondered if I still loved him or not. We tried to get pregnant for 2 years. It was a tough rollercoaster. He was seeing her all of this time. Throughout my pregnancy. My son shares the same birthday as her. She had NO idea that I was pregnant so he was lying to her too. He brought my newborn son to her home when I was at work. I saw pictures.
Sometimes he takes responsibility, other times it’s because he felt like I didn’t like or love him anymore. I’ve heard lie after lie. I found out about the affair in October of 2018. I keep telling myself I’m going to leave (I have constant suicidal thoughts, nausea and vomiting, panic attacks) from all of this. But I have a home that I’ve invested so much time and money in, my identity and my 2-year-old son that doesn’t deserve ANY of this. I hurt for him and I am afraid if I leave, I will ruin his chance at a normal life. I’m also closer to his family than I am my own. I’m scared to lose them.
How do I gather up the courage to leave and how do I know if it’s the right thing to do?
Is leaving the right thing? How do you feel about your continued investment in a marriage that gives you suicidal thoughts and panic attacks? It’s been 1.5 years and you describe the distress as “constant.” Why do you think you should live like that? Why do you think you feel that way? Could it be you feel unsafe because your situation is, in fact, unsafe?
I know this decision feels impossible. So let’s break down all the scary things and face them together, okay?
1.) He went from “rock” of support to cheater. He was there for you, until he wasn’t. In fact, during the time you thought he was there for you — supporting you through your father’s cancer diagnosis and trying to have a child with you — he was cheating on you. So, you can’t really feel safe in any “support” he offers, as you know that he’s completely capable of faking his investment.
This new knowledge negates the “supportive” partner narrative. How would you ever know if he really has your back? Could he eventually morph into a truly supportive person? It’s possible, but he’d need to want to. And we have zero evidence of that. In fact, we just have bad signs. Which takes us to data point, #2.
2.) He lies and blameshifts.
Sometimes he takes responsibility, other times it’s because he felt like I didn’t like or love him anymore.
He had ethical ways to address this — difficult conversations with you, therapists, or divorce lawyers. Fact is, he was quite happy to have you (unlovable, withholding you! projection much?) and the OW. That’s cake. TWO YEARS of cake. He’s excusing his sociopathic weird-ass double life by blaming you for not loving him enough. Insult to injury.
He chose this behavior, that risked your health, your child’s health when you were pregnant, and your emotional well-being. He felt ENTITLED to do this. That’s the problem.
Were you distracted by grief, losing your mother? Or concerned about your father? That’s adult life. Partnership is weathering these crises together. Good partners realize that they will not be the constant focus and that one’s happiness is not always of paramount importance. (It’s not irrelevant, but it doesn’t supersede the welfare of others.)
He didn’t feel loved? Making a child with someone is an act of love. Putting your body through pregnancy and childbirth is love. Showing up every day is love. Investing in a shared family life together is love. Where was HIS investment? He’s got a lot of nerve putting this on YOU.
3.) The OW lies.
He was seeing her all of this time. Throughout my pregnancy. My son shares the same birthday as her. She had NO idea that I was pregnant so he was lying to her too. He brought my newborn son to her home when I was at work. I saw pictures.
The OW had no idea you were pregnant? Where did she think the baby came from? A turnip patch?! Did she imagine her Very Single Boyfriend waltzes around with newborns? Enjoys accessorizing with snugglies? WTF?
“He lies to me too!” Really? Then why didn’t she ditch him? Why invite him in for photos? I’m sure OW’s shocked and concerned. (Eye roll.)
Scared, she’s snowing you. And the fact that she wants sympathy from YOU, after conspiring against you for TWO YEARS, is disgusting.
Other disturbing details — why talk to her? Because your husband won’t level with you? Also, what do THEY do when you’re at work? Do THEY work?
I only see one ethical adult here, and it’s you. Listening to a couple liars would make anyone feel wobbly. Scared, why do you want to be part of this triangle? Imagine how peaceful it would be to not need details from either of them, and to live in the land of Meh.
4.) Your sunk costs are keeping you stuck.
But I have a home that I’ve invested so much time and money in,
There are other homes. I’m house proud too. I’ve left a lot of homes I really loved. Heck, I planted an entire garden before I left my cheater. I planted a Prairie Fire crabapple tree and whenever I’m in that town I drive by just to see how glorious it is. I GET loving your home, as do a few bazillion readers here — dream other dreams.
It doesn’t matter how lovely your home is, if it’s filled with misery and suicidal thoughts. YOU make your home beautiful. YOU fill it with love. That follows you.
my identity and my 2-year-old son that doesn’t deserve ANY of this.
He’s two. Do you remember anything from age 2? Two is easier than 12 or 20 years of modeling chump/cheater narcissist/eater of shit sandwich dynamics to your offspring.
Your identity? What? As a hypotenuse to a couple of fuckwits? That identity? Of being with a guy who could lie to your face and risk your health for TWO SOLID YEARS? You want to be arm candy to THAT?
Oh no, you mean the life you’re fronting of normalcy and Intact Family Togetherness? Inauthenticity, the constant diet of shit sandwiches is death by inches. People can smell the phoniness. No wonder you have panic attacks.
Why not consider a different identity? A mighty mom to a toddler son — an INTACT family, minus one fuckwit.
I hurt for him and I am afraid if I leave, I will ruin his chance at a normal life.
I just got my copy of Normal News, and Dad With Double Life did not make Father of the Year.
Really, have a hard think about your values. Do you think all of us here who single parented and divorced aren’t “normal”? That we didn’t give our children “normal lives”?
Do you see the judgement? If you want to stay with a guy who makes you feel SUICIDAL because of intact-family-I’m-married! status, go head. You’ve spent 1.5 years suffering to maintain that status. And giving him lots of power to decide your self-worth should he decide to strip you of that status. How’s that working for you?
I’m also closer to his family than I am my own. I’m scared to lose them.
They’ll always be in your son’s life. Do they know their son cheated on you for two years? While you were pregnant? And they’re okay with him? I’d say these are not people you need in your life.
If they don’t know, then perhaps they need to be tested with this knowledge. I hope they’re in your corner.
Scared, it’s sane over here on the other side. I hope you’ll make the leap and come join us abnormal people.