My Husband Had An Affair

My life has become defined by pre-affair and post-affair. Pre the worst pain in my life and post. How did it come to this?

I think many people don't realize how painful affairs can be unless they've uncovered one by their spouse. There's no way to explain this pain. The only thing I can say is that I grew up with a difficult childhood. My mother was mentally unstable and emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. She told me I was worthless, she spit in my face, she threw a beer on me when I was 12, she told me I was an @$$hole like my father when I was 10, she let my rabbits die from starvation while I was at my dad's house over the summer when I was 9 (I came home to find two skeletons with bits of fur stuck to them in their cage. That was how long she neglected them), she ridiculed me for having body hair, screamed, yelled, slapped, spanked for minor things like using too much shampoo...the list goes on, but you get the idea. The affair was so much more terribly worse than all of that.

I think that in order to cope with my childhood I started to assume that the responsibility for my life was mine, that I deserved this abuse somehow. In some way I continued to believe it into adulthood, and so found myself connected to a man, who was sweet, charming, romantic, and unable to keep himself from causing me pain. He had come from a difficult childhood as well. One, I think, he has only shared with me. It left him emotionally stunted, astoundingly passive aggressive, and with some of the lowest self-esteem I have ever seen in a person. You wouldn't know it when you first meet him. He seems confidant, funny, passionate, romantic, and on top of things. In a way, my mother is like this as well - her mental instability only reveals itself after a period of time.

I love him. I really do. This would have been so much easier if I didn't. He is charming and hilarious and so much fun. He is kind and caring even though his passive-aggressiveness causes him to act out in painful ways. The first year we were together he posed in some photographs for a photography student friend of his. They were an "exploration" of the seven deadly sins, quite frankly, through p**nography. My future husband at that time posed with several other men and one woman for "gluttony." I was furious, enraged. How could he do something like that?

If I knew now what I know then I would have been more patient, loving, kind, and I would have probably broken up with him, but I was as broken as a person can be. I was stronger than most people. I still believe that I am one of the strongest people I know, but completely broken. Instead of offering a kind, listening, friendly ear, I blew up. I was so angry I couldn't control it or care or think about anything else. It scared him, and made his passive-aggression worse with me.

A few months after that, he cheated on me with a girl he knew at college (he and I were dating long distance, and had been friends in high school). I nearly broke up with him then. I most likely should have. But he cried and begged me not to leave and told me how much he loved me and cut off all ties with that woman. So I thought we had worked through it and were over it.

Fast forward through the years - I discovered several online affairs throughout the years with women he met online through a text based mud (basically a role-playing game). Each time, his transgressions were worse. Each time, I confronted him, we cried, we made up, things got briefly better, and then it would happen again. Each time, we grew further apart, and yet more addicted to each other's unhappiness. Each time, he became better at hiding what he was doing and at lying.

I should have read the writing on the wall. I should have known what was happening. I was so close to the situation though that I couldn't see the forest for the trees. Eventually we got married, and then things got worse. Then I started finding disgusting and objectifying p**nography on his computer. Not just any kind of p**n, but illegal p**n. It upset me, so I confronted him again. Each time again, we would cry, make up, and things would get briefly better. He thought he could handle things on his own and never wanted to go see a counselor though I asked him to.

Then this past year, the s**t truly hit the fan. We became friends with a woman who claimed to be a good person, but who really did not care about anyone but herself and was a selfish, self-absorbed sociopath. He and I had grown so far apart that we hardly talked to each other anymore or confided in each other, though at the time I thought things were good. I didn't trust him anymore though, and he didn't trust me. He began an affair with this woman. She fulfilled his fantasy of being with a woman without the reality of life, bills, expectations, etc. The taboo of it was exciting. And he wasn't scared of confiding in her the way he was with me. He thought they had something special.

But this drove a wedge between me and him and between her and me. He began to pick fights with me constantly. She began to hang out with other friends. Things began to get increasingly uncomfortable when the three of us were together. The main friend she shared with began to look at me with deep pity anytime we would hang out. It slowly began to dawn on me, that something was severely wrong with our marriage.

I confronted him, badgered him really, into telling me about his affair of two months. The world dropped out from beneath my feet. I thought all the other betrayals had been painful and bad. They all had nothing on this, the deepest and most painful betrayal of two people that I loved and cared about. I felt like all the things my mother had said about me were true, that I truly was worthless. I wanted so badly to die. I wanted to find peace in death. I checked my life insurance policy for coverage in cases of suicide so that he would be taken care of. I thought of dozens of ways to do it - running my car off the road, hanging myself from the ceiling fan, taking a warm bath and cutting my wrists, jumping off the bridge over the highway, taking a pile of sleeping pills....

I had to hold myself back. I kept telling myself that these feelings would pass, but in the meantime I hardly ate and I cried and screamed and shook constantly. I felt like I was going crazy. I had incredible urges to run him over with the car and to set her house and car on fire or throw bricks through her window. These were overwhelming urges, that I nearly gave in to several times. Instead, I just wrote them both angry emails. I railed at them for all the pain that they had caused. He and I withdrew from our friends and worked on trying to figure out where we had gone wrong. She showed her letters to some common friends and I lost them as friends. After seeing my emails they were no longer interested in hearing my side of the story. They were more upset by the disruption of their own lives than by the pain we were feeling in any case, so they probably weren't worth much as friends in the first place, but that hurt too.

About six months after the discovery of the affair, we were doing better but were still struggling, when ICE gave me a call about a hit they'd had for some illegal p**n downloaded by an address in my name. My husband admitted that he felt he was a sex addict, with an addiction to p**n that he had not been able to control for many years, that this was what had led to all of his cheating. He begged for my forgiveness and he asked for me to help him fight this thing. I loved him and obliged. We spent thousands of dollars on lawyers, thousands that we couldn't afford. We spent thousands on therapy, more thousands that we couldn't afford. Our lives fell apart.

Then a few months after that, my oldest friend of 24 years, that I had known since we were 11, and to whom I'd been confiding all the terrible things I was going through, suddenly and unexpectedly died. More depression descended on me. Then our house was broken into and my husband wrecked our car in the same weekend. My blood pressure shot through the roof and still has not come down. I no longer had the energy to contemplate suicide. I just wanted something, someone, to come along and end my suffering.

We're better now. We're broke, we're in pain, we're struggling to survive this thing, but we're better. We're trying to heal our marriage of all the damage we've done. It's a long journey though and we are barely a year in. I need to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, that things will be better one day, that life does not have to be one unending series of losses and heartbreaks.
Jitterbugjellybean Jitterbugjellybean
2 Responses Sep 14, 2012

GOD help you. The light has always been there. You are obviously a codependent persinality and enable him to continue his sickness by staying with him, understanding him, supporting him therefore preventing him, instead if forcing him to get perfessional help.

I agree with "creekview"..I WISH I could tell you it gets really can and will get worse. sighs...been there...and 8 yrs now without still feels like I want to die as still in so much pain years after but I no longer have to be responsible for fixing someone that cant even attempt to see the problem, he got me in so much debt, cheated, did monsterous damage to me in so many ways and much was under the radar for years....but it was a trainwreck. I thought "I" was special and could fix him. They are on their own journey,save yourself, they don't change. Hugs.

Take you time, be vigilant, yet cautious. There will come a time when you will absolutely know which road to take. Do the right thing for you.

Been there, done that.