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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new here. My name is Dale. This is my first post. I'm hoping I can get some advice because I'm at my wit's end.

My wife has been repeatedly unfaithful to me many times over the last 6 months. There were other incidents in the years before that but now it is much more frequent. Her infidelity is mostly online (cybersex chats, sharing explicit photos) but there have been a couple of in-person incidents as well.

We have had confrontations about it and she has promised me over and over again that she has stopped, but I know from snooping on her computer and phone (yes, I know that's bad) that she is still in touch with the people she has had affairs with regularly and is making new online friends all the time. Even when these online relationships are not overtly sexual in nature they are almost always romantic and affectionate.

She has a history of childhood sexual abuse and is currently seeing a counsellor once every two weeks. She describes her online activity as an addiction that stems from her past abuse, which involved an online predator.

She has told me that she has quit cold turkey but I am about 75% sure this is a lie. She has started putting up passwords up all over her electronic devices so I can't snoop anymore, but a husband of many years can still see the signs.

I believe she really does want to stop because she's aware of how much it hurts me, but I also believe that she hasn't fully stopped yet and it could be a while before she finally does.

What I need very badly is your help and your advice to put my mind at ease until that happy day comes.

What can I do to forget about it, and give her time to catch up to where she wants to be?

It haunts me every day and I'm horribly depressed. Please help.

(PS: Don't just tell me to leave her, that's not an option)
 

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I think you should read some of the stories here at CWI and learn from them. They will point you in the right direction.

Bit I can tell you, that if your attitude is that leaving isn't an option, you are in for a lot of trouble.

You must be ready to leave in order to win her back. She is cake eating big time, and you are letting her.

Do some reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've tried to forgive her each time but I don't really think I have, because if I really forgave her then I'd feel more at peace.

It also doesn't help that even if I forgive her completely for everything that she's done in the past, I think it's only a matter of time (a week? a day?) before she succumbs to her addiction again.

I don't have a number limit on how many times this can happen before we divorce. It's hard to feel morally superior about her infidelity when I know that it stems directly from awful traumatic experiences in her childhood. I pity her more than I'm angry at her.
 

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What I need very badly is your help and your advice to put my mind at ease until that happy day comes.
(PS: Don't just tell me to leave her, that's not an option)
So in a sense you're asking for a quick fix ?

Sorry Dale, you need to wade through the pain and your attitude should change as cpacan says

Check out the newbies links from Almostrecovered's signature and the links from morituri's signature. They will point you in the right direction
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi cpacan,

I have been reading posts on this site all morning, and I was dismayed to find how often the pat answer people give seems to be "just leave the b*tch" or some variation of that.

I'm not throwing away a 7 year marriage without trying to give her a chance to heal the way she's trying to.

I just want to help myself feel OK while she's working on it.

Dale
 

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I've tried to forgive her each time but I don't really think I have, because if I really forgave her then I'd feel more at peace.

It also doesn't help that even if I forgive her completely for everything that she's done in the past, I think it's only a matter of time (a week? a day?) before she succumbs to her addiction again.

I don't have a number limit on how many times this can happen before we divorce. It's hard to feel morally superior about her infidelity when I know that it stems directly from awful traumatic experiences in her childhood. I pity her more than I'm angry at her.
How about when she starts bringing guys to your house? You'll blame it on her childhood?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the specific references of things to look at here, anyonymouskitty. I'll check those links out today.
 

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Oh Dale, we've been there mate. The thing that separates people who make it out( married or divorced doesn't matter) in a better emotional state than the ones who make it out being basket cases is that the former were willing to leave the relationship while the latter hung on till the string broke
 

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It's hard to feel morally superior about her infidelity when I know that it stems directly from awful traumatic experiences in her childhood. I pity her more than I'm angry at her.
I know exactly how you feel. If someone cheated on me because of childhood sexual abuse, I'd personally find it much easier to forgive them, precisely because of the pity I'd have for them. I'd find it much harder to leave them and throw them to the wolves in those circumstances.

That being said, your wife will not break this vicious cycle until she gets professional help to address that trauma. All you can do in the mean time is sit back and watch because she will not let go of that addiction so long as she's consumed by those demons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Keko: That mental image is really not helping me much, so please cut it out.

Angryandused: My wife feels a tremendous amount of remorse and guilt, because she knows she's making me feel the same pain she felt during her abuse in early life. But remorse and guilt are not enough to make someone quit a serious addiction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the tough love, anyonymouskitty. The string I'm hanging onto is surely getting frayed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Complexity: You seem to get what I'm feeling totally. She is currently seeing a professional counsellor and has been for a few months now. However, because of our financial situation she can only get a free two hour session once every two weeks with a public counsellor, so progress right now feels painfully slow.
 

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Do you see a trend here? You keep forgiving her, she keeps promising you yet she does it again.

Do you have a limit of how many affair's she'll have before you divorce her?
... or before she breaks the news to you that she's filing for divorce from you! When she reaches what she considers to be fertile ground for a sustainable outside relationship will exactly be the moment when she'll drop that bomb on you, my friend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Anonymouskitty: thanks again for the additional links. I'll read them and try to learn from them. It's scary to think that what might have been making me feel so bad was my devotion, dedication, and hope... but if I let those go I'll have to do it entirely on my side of the relationship. One of the factors that caused my wife to start cheating to begin with was a fear of abandonment, so if I tell her I'm ready to walk away, I'll trigger another episode. I'm sure of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
arbitrator: i really doubt it. as I said, i snooped in her electronic devices and i've read her exchanges. she's not looking to create a permanent outside relationship to replace ours. she's addicted to online sex and fake "boyfriend" experiences with anyonmous men. she trades them up every few weeks, it seems, and doesn't hestitate to dump them without a goodbye and find a new one. she's addicted to promiscuity. a permanent outside relationship would exclude the possibility of that for her.
 

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I dont know if childhood sexual abuse is the cause of her promiscuity.
Some veterans like Mori, LM may be able to answer that.

If she is truly remorseful, she should have stopped online cheating at your first confrontation.
 
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