My husband was 55 years old, no known health conditions, he was taking no medication. Last August he was hospitalized and operated on. He had several strokes on the operating table and we removed the ventilator 7 days later.
We had been married not quite 6 years; this was a second marriage for both of us.
I was completely in love with this man. We never fought and appeared to get along very well. He was my dream come true.
Three days after he passed away I found out via one of his old phones that he had been having a long-term affair, with a 30-year old. At some point she had announced that she was pregnant, (then apparently aborted the baby).
There were screen shots on his computer of their discussions and he had been recording their calls.
Everything about this was devastating. I lost the husband I adored, only to find out he had been cheating for nearly three years of our marriage.
He was an executive and had been leaving work just after noon to go and meet her, then came home to me.
This is an unusual story for your site I think because my cheating husband is no longer alive.
I chose to contact her. She didn’t have the gonads to call me back so I had to call again. She had very little to say to me.
I found that he had been lying to her about his life. Nothing he told her was true.
I felt a little superior about this, until I found out months later that he had been lying to me about his life as well.
I’m trying to cope with the loss of a man I didn’t really know at all, as well as extreme feelings of anger and hurt.
I have burned through a few therapists and I seem to be getting nowhere.
Welcome to Chump Nation, where we understand the utter amazement of “I Never Knew This Person at All.” Anger and hurt are completely normal responses to being a sociopath’s plaything. Grief for the life you invested in and didn’t get? Check. Horror at how easily you were bamboozled? Check. Sorrow at losing a loved one, only to realize they were a hologram? Check.
You’re our tribe. The only difference is your cheater is dead. Which makes the no contact a lot easier. (And the division of assets.) But your situation isn’t unique. There have been several similar bereaved-and-chumped stories here over the years.
If I could offer an odd comfort — the reactions you were robbed off were not going to help anyway.
Demanding answers? You avoided the mindfuck blender. People who lead double lives are not known for their unvarnished honesty when busted.
Reconciliation? You avoided twitchy hypervigilance and marriage policing. (And further D-Days.)
Of course, with or without him, you could untangle the skein of fuckupedness — how could he do this? What makes him tick? Trying to decode that mystery is a natural reaction to shock, but it’s ultimately pointless.
Why? Because he could. Because he wasn’t that deep. Because he was preposterously entitled. These aren’t very satisfying answers, but it’s what the evidence points to — and that’s enough.
The double life is who he is, and you can’t pull it apart from the husband you adored.
Chumps are often left in the wreckage trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. Did they love me then? Or was it an act? They try to fish the “good times” out of a giant shit stew of deception.
I’m sure there are therapists who will tell you to cling to those good times, and not let his abuse of you cloud your misty, watercolor memories.
These are people who have never lived the giant shit stew of deception. Whose reality has never gone wobbly from gaslighting. Who don’t see this behavior as the abuse it is. They probably mistakenly think it will help you have something, anything! to cling to during this time of loss. Be the bigger person. Don’t speak ill of the dead. Continue to project your hologram husband and grieve him.
I look at your situation and I see a Higher Power blowing a whistle: “Game over, out of the pool.”
His messy life is laid bare. He showed up expecting an ordinary day, and didn’t have clean underwear or his double life locked down. And then God called him home. And he was left exposed.
Others might look on that with compassion for the poor man, cut down young. I see liberation. Whether you wanted it or not, some Old Testament god broke the chains on an imprisonment you didn’t know you were living.
I suspect it feels more like free-falling. But over time, your perspective will change and your mind will be able to absorb who he really was. ((Hugs))
As the blues song goes “You Can’t Lose What You Never Had.”