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I'm not even sure what to say here. I've read so many other stories but I don't know if I can get beyond this like other people have tried to do.

I discovered the hard way, less than two months ago, that my husband of 10 years has, for nearly 5 years, been spending large amounts of money on strippers, which then escalated to prostitutes. I really trusted him, which is hard for me because I have been in three previous relationships where I was routinely cheated on and was extremely nervous about trying again. I had told my husband all of this and how fidelity wasn't the most important thing, but truth was. If anything like that happened, please just tell me so we could work through it. So of course, he lied to me for the entire 5 years while he allowed his behavior to escalate, increasing the lies, etc etc etc.

Needless to say, I am completely devastated. I thought I had finally found one of the good guys. I had spent 5 years with a 'bad boy' who gave me diseases, 5 years with a 'player' who was the typical cheater, and 5 years with a man who said he would tell me if anything ever happened BEFORE he had sex with me. He did finally tell me, three months later, in the middle of hot and heavy sex where he blurted out 'I had sex while I was back home visiting. She was the only woman I could ever truly be myself with.' Huge hit in the self esteem and trust department. Each time, I ran for my sanity and never looked back.

I thought this time was going to be different. I thought I had found one of those great guys that no one paid attention to in high school but grew up handsome and sweet and caring. Now I find was as much a liar and a rat and a coward as the rest. I had to dig up every bit of dirt before he would admit to anything. Now I find there are loose ends that he still won't admit to, even though he swears he has come clean about everything, and I simply can not believe him. But I can't run anymore. I have too much invested in my life. I liked my life before all this nightmare.

My biggest concern is, if I do try and fully commit to this marriage, how can I get past this? He says he is truly sorry, loves and wants only me, and wants this marriage to work. He is going to counseling and so am I and we are going together, also. But this is the most devastating, painful thing in my entire life. I let myself absolutely, completely trust him, and he lied to my face for 5 years. How can I ever learn to trust him if I can't trust myself to know by now? I am terrified I will never really recover from this one.

This is the fourth time I have been played like this and it is literally killing me. I have been contemplating suicide every day for nearly two months. I am on antidepressants and antianxiety pills and I hate my life and I hate what I may turn into as a person.

Please, don't just tell me there is hope. Words mean nothing at this point. Can anyone help, show me real ways I can ever recover?
 

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Ariadne13~

I'm sorry you're here and I'm sorry we had to meet this way. The first thing I would say is that you tell us not to tell you there's hope and words mean nothing, but this is an online forum and thus that is all we have to offer--digital words. However, through this digital method I do want to briefly sketch out for you one possible route to real live healing.

I see that you note that you have been contemplating suicide every day for nearly two months. I can't tell if you mean the thought passes through your head (which would be somewhat reasonable given the circumstance) or if you mean that you've considered how you would do it, made a list of what you'd need, planned a good time to do it, gathered the items on your list, and now you are waiting for the right time to try. Obviously the second option is VERY DANGEROUS and I would recommend that you contact the USA NATIONAL Suicide & Crisis Hotlines immediately. That website has the national hotline (1-800-SUICIDE which is 1-800-784-2433) and has some links to help in your state as well. But suicidal thoughts like that are clearly well beyond the ability of this forum to help--whereas having the thought pass through your head may be something at least closer to our abilities.

So a little about myself. I've only been married twice myself: once to an abusive, diagnosed mentally ill ex...and once to my current Dear Hubby. My Dear Hubby on the other hand has been married a few times, and like you for a while he was quite depressed and wondered what in the world was wrong with him? His first wife was one of those "we married at 18 and by 19 we knew it was a mistake" marriages--and by 19 she was cheating on him. His second was a woman who by all appearances seemed "normal" but she had an affair and just would NOT admit that what she did was wrong. Then rather than face the consequences of her choices, she just became one of those MIA spouses: a walkaway wife.

I bring this up because for a little while my Dear Hubby thought maybe there was something about him that made him pick cheaters...or maybe he had some issue that made him trust too easily or too early. Know what I mean?

My Dear Hubby was able to live through it and heal. It does take some time. It does take some courage to face yourself and say, "Do I need to learn or grow? What did I do to contribute to this?" and then be honest enough to admit what you need to change and actually practice changing it. It does take some patience because it won't be fixed overnight. It does take some forgiveness, because what was done in the past is now in the past and can not be changed; the present and the future though CAN be changed.

So there are people who have healed. Are you seeing an individual therapist? Do you like it? How does that seem to be working for you? Is your hubby seeing a counselor too? For now I would make a proposal. You two are both REALLY busy focusing on important, individual issues. I propose that you two agree to not really make "marriage decisions" for a while and just agree to be civil to each other, to be polite and have some manners like you would with a house guest, and just put "marriage decisions" on HOLD until you have a little time to do individual things. Also, I would suggest that from this point forward you two agree to a policy of MUU = Mutual United Understanding. That means that before either of you would do anything, you *both* are united enthusiastically, and you *both* understand what is being agreed to!

I hope this helps a little and if you have other questions I am on here all the time :p
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you so much for your reply.

I apologize if I sounded rude about not wanting words. I have been researching for weeks and keep running across sites that offer generalizations without giving much meat to their advice, so I've been rather desparate for something I can use or practice or do that makes sense and doesn't seem beyond my emotional reach at this time so soon to the 'disclosure'.

I have had to admit to myself that I must be attracted to emotionally unavailable men, most likely due to abandonment issues from my own father. I have been actively trying to improve myself image and my own inner strength for years before this relationship, and yet find that I still do not seem to know the difference between a man who really is investing in a relationship and one that is distant and only going through the motions. My greatest fear is that I will fall for a half hearted attempt at rebuilding by my husband and not recognize it as not a real, full on attempt to rebuild. Or, that even if he is truly trying, that I won't be able to accept it and be trapped in my fears and doubts and never learn how to accept and move on.

I've read some of the posts 'poopooing' PTSD over something as nonlife threatening as an affair, but I am really beginning to feel like my whole life is one giant trigger and that the anxiety is driving me places I can't withstand. I don't know where I am going to find the strength to survive this time. I have accessed my support network of friends and family, going to counseling, but in the end, it has to come from me, and I don't know if I have anything left to draw on.
 
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