I’ve been in an over 40-year marriage in which I’ve invested a lot of emotional equity. My husband was unfaithful from the very start of when I meet him. I knew and should have run then but…..in my fairy tale mind, I thought I could change him. I thought my pure and naive love would be enough to make it work. I realized early that was utter stupidity, but felt trapped by then because we had two kids.
Because I wasn’t strong, I put up with a lot of things. I have been told by him that after an early separation in the beginning of our marriage he’d “only been with one prostitute.” I never believed him, but again I felt my love was big enough to fix him.
Fast forward to 2017 to late 2019, I discovered (my oldest son caught him) he’d been paying for prostitutes. He started out (2017) with it was only one time, and now he stands firm “it was only 20 times.” Of course I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth. (I cross checked financial statements and they showed more money going out than he claims.)
He’s been going to therapy and has shown signs he’s changed. I’ve been in therapy as well but I still feel paralyzed and not sure on what I want to do yet. It’s been over a year since this last day and I’m getting stronger but, still stuck. I know I’ll probably never know the full scope of his infidelities and that’s where I seem to have trouble. I tried looking through your archives to see if there was anyone else whom had similar stories, mostly to see how they handled it.
Stuck in a Fog
How people here “handled it” — a lying, health-risking, prostitute-procuring fuckwit — is they LEFT. That’s the advice we give here. Leave a cheater, gain a life. Happy to provide hand-holding along the way.
You’ve had a FORTY YEAR EXPERIMENT on whether or not he’ll change. And he HAS NOT CHANGED.
And if he did change (he has not), how would you know? He’s a liar.
I’m not being mean or name calling. This is your reporting. He lies. He minimizes. He steals marital funds. He’s done this for DECADES.
Is this therapist a wizard? Shrink sofas do not confer honesty upon liars. They have no magic powers.
Even if he wants to get better (he doesn’t, he wants a cessation of consequences so you’ll stay, that’s not love, that’s being of use) — even IF — that doesn’t negate 40 years of abuse.
Abuse of your health. (STDs check, STAT!) Abuse of your finances. Abuse of your mental well-being. (40 years of mindfuckery!)
You owe him NOTHING.
He has a shiver of sorry?
A come-to-Jesus therapy moment?
A sore on his pecker that needs examining?
Which just leaves YOU. Put aside his festering pile of potential, what about YOU? Is this relationship acceptable to you? The dread? The disrespect? The marriage policing? The cross-referencing? The trust and safety you’ll never feel because he’s never been trustworthy or safe?
Okay with you?
Because I wasn’t strong, I put up with a lot of things.
Because you ARE strong, you put up with a lot of things. It takes a superhuman amount of strength to live with chaos and abuse. But you don’t HAVE to. If you’re strong enough to put up with that shit, you’re strong enough to leave it.
Why not direct that mightiness at yourself? If we’re going to have faith in someone here, let’s make it YOU. And not the guy who steals from his family to buy human flesh to fuck. YOU have potential. YOU have the ability to change.
Your work is so much easier than his work. You just have to believe you’re worthy of better treatment and act on it. He has to give up decades of entitlement and privilege.
I discovered (my oldest son caught him) he’d been paying for prostitutes.
So, not only are you marriage policing, it’s a family effort. This dysfunction is being modeled to another generation. You can stop that. Take away his centrality and everyone dancing around him trying to save him from himself, or bust him, or call him out on a lie, and SAVE YOURSELVES. Let him be the disgusting person he is. Leave it. He can improve (he won’t) or not on his own. Go live in peace.
He’s been going to therapy and has shown signs he’s changed.
Here’s an experiment to test his sorry. Go see a lawyer. Draw up a fair settlement. Present him with a bill for “theft of marital resources” (This is a thing. You can ask for stolen marital monies back in a divorce.) Tally up the sex worker costs, add interest. ADD that to your half, or 60% or whatever you are due. Present him with the bill (a CONSEQUENCE) and see how he reacts.
There’s your sorry.
Oh, and see if he stays in therapy another second longer.
No? There’s your sorry.
If he is truly remorseful and realizes the damage he has caused, he will not resent you protecting yourself from his harm and he will try and make real, TANGIBLE amends — a settlement.
If he stole money as a common criminal, there would be restitution to victims. He victimized you. He realizes that, or he doesn’t. My guess (based on 40 years of reported behavior) is that he doesn’t. That his “therapy” is entirely contingent on what you do (stay). It’s impression management. Test his sorry.
You won’t? That’s because you know the answer. You don’t want to test it, because you’re afraid of a future without him. Of who you’d have to become.
A bazillion of us here who have made this journey can tell you.
On the other side is a woman who doesn’t live in a fog. She lives in sunlight. In peace. You deserve that.
Trust that he sucks. Call a lawyer.