Have Known, But This Was Still A Shock

My husband is here, on EP, and has been for years. Only recently did I find his account and the extent to which he has been unfaithful to me - and to our children.

He has left a voluminous electronic trail detailing the depths into which he's descended, that when compared to the cover stories he has given me, leave me utterly humiliated and sick in my soul.

No, we were never perfect from the beginning; who is? We met when I took music lessons from his mother and though I never caught on with piano I started dating this affable, sensitive 21 year old with the body of an adonis. We came from very similar small-town and religious backgrounds. When he proposed it came with an ultimatum: either marry him or we would have to stop seeing one another. I was in love and it was no contest.

I dropped out of college and entered the work force so he could continue on to get his degree. Our newlywed months were filled with affection and laughter as I sought new ways to show him my happiness once his studies were put aside for the night.

Time went on, he graduated, worked two jobs. We were paying down our debts. Life was good. I was eager for him in bed; he was often tired.

He has always had a roving eye but assured me he loved only me. His gaze always lingered too long on attractive women. I started finding things that shocked me. Whenever I caught him hiding dirty pictures or books he would lash out defensively claiming a "one-off" or a "slip." He'd shut down and stop speaking to me, which I thought was a strange way of expressing "love."

Well, those "slips" were relatively few and far between at first. We were enjoying our first child, then four more. We traveled a great deal and lived abroad, something most people can only dream of. He bought me some expensive china and jewelry from time to time as if to compensate for the diminishing physical attention I was receiving from him.

Nearly twenty years into our union he confessed he'd fallen in love with a girl he'd dated in junior high when he found her through the internet. He was by this time working in Europe while the rest of us remained in the U.S. They were having an affair, mostly by phone or email, though there were clandestine weeks in hotels too. He said he wanted out. We had five children, the youngest not even out of kindergarten, and I was expecting again. This couldn't be happening. I refused a divorce and toughed it out, counting on his fickle nature to manifest itself. It did. The affair ended. During this turbulent time I suffered a miscarriage, feeling abandoned.

From that time on whenever his work took him far away he didn't move us with him, insisting the cost was too high. I would have gladly settled for fewer possessions, a smaller home, anything, if he would be with us and our children benefit from their father's presence, not to mention my need for him as a woman.

Seven years ago he landed a series of contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has seldom been home since. (I would add, he is now; he wasn't rehired after the last term ended. Looking at the long long list of interactions he's had here on EP, I marvel his bosses kept him as long as they did. No, he hasn't touched me in the months he's been home, either.)

How do I describe the loneliness, the frustration, the fear, the insecurity, the sinking gut feeling of being a single parent while the man I loved no longer bothered enough to so much as send an email or call more than once a week, if that.

So I scroll through his writings here, thinking of the emptiness of my own in-box these many years, and ask myself, do I know this man anymore.

I can't believe the things I'm seeing. I am so sick.
HandysWife HandysWife
46-50, F
Jan 13, 2013