My Valentine'S Day Roller Coaster

Some of you may have been reading my stories over the past months. For those of you that have not....I'm married. To a refuser. A man who will buy me anything under the sun but who doesn't want to talk to me often, hardly ever wants to have sex, and likes all appearances to be in order. I have been the dutiful wife. Bewildered by my husband's lack of affection for me, his apparent contentment with lack of intimacy, and my feelings wanting an attentive husband but not feeling like I could leave until my children are grown. My husband as a father? Involved. Attentive and worried about his kids. My husband as a husband? Lousy! Likes the house clean, dinner made, my picture on his desk next to our family photo, and he only wants to bother with me when he feels the need.

I entered into an affair in August. Unexpectedly. Of course my life hasn't been the same. I broke my vows. To some I have sinned. It was and is a betrayal. Just as my husband betrayed our marriage vows to love, honor and cherish me. For the last 12+ years he has failed me. He has failed to be a life partner. He has failed to fulfill my emotional and sexual needs. He has failed to honor me as a woman while he is happy with my skills as a mother and household manager. He has made me feel unattractive, unwanted and unworthy (which, by the way, I'm not - unattractive that is.....I take care of myself, work out, haven't "let myself go"...)

I hadn't even heard the term 'refuser' until I joined EP. I'm not alone in my pain. I never understood why my husband liked me but didn't want to be in love with me. He was at one time. We were madly in love. I was a lucky, lucky girl. Until he started to forget about me. He doesn't hit me. But the emotional scars I have from years of his refusal to acknowledge and care for me are real.

I have told him about my pain. He knows. He's known. He does little to 'fix' things. It's a little like a game and nothing is ever permanent except his refusal of affection. And, for those of you who may slam and blame me - just so you know - I don't nag him, I have calmly told him of about my needs, he knows that he's changed since we've been married, I have cried, I have threatened to leave, I have stacks and stacks of cards and letters from him promising that things will change. Lies. Just little teasers of hope because he knows I wanted my family to stay intact. He never consistently puts in the effort to save this marriage while he enjoys a clean house and a good front for our family, friends and community.

My affair? A whirlwind of great conversation and great sex. It was. Out of town with a co-worker. He's also married. Complicated and terrible. I know. I felt comfort and safe in a way I haven't for so long. I gave myself into those feelings. I felt alive and wanted. We are great friends, compatible lovers and both in unhapy marriages with children. Messy. Super messy. We've since stopped the physical relationship but still talk when we have an opportunity. I believe we still long for those days we were able to steal away from the rest of the world. I went back and forth thinking I needed to be with him. But I do know I need to do what I need to do for myself and by myself. And, after I heal I will be able to think with a clear head and a clear heart.

My laptop stopped working last week. I had a few things I needed to send home from the office. I asked my husband if I could use his laptop (he uses it for work). He said that would be fine. I emailed my files to his work email address and headed home on Valentine's Day.

My husband had an evening meeting but he had flowers and my favorite cookies waiting for me when I got off work. He has been trying to woo me lately (like he does when he feels he needs to put a temporary band-aid on what has become a chronic condition). He thinks throwing money and gifts at me will solve all of our problems.

I grabbed a few cookies and his laptop and headed into our bedroom to work. I opened his email and there were my emailed files. I started working. When I was done with each task I would delete the email. I continued to do this until all 6 were deleted. They were rather large files. At my office my email will back up frequently so I empty my deleted items from my outlook. As a courtesy I thought I would do the same. I opened up his deleted file - because I didn't want to permanently delete his stuff, just mine. And I was shocked to see deleted emails from a female - with a bad reputation for sleeping around - ironic and hypocritical - I get it. This female has mutual friends and once worked with my husband. We had discussed her a few times years ago after she began an affair with her neighbor shortly after the birth of her daughter. Her husband found out. They divorced. She dated the neighbor guy until she started sleeping with a mutual friend of ours. She then went on to cheat on him with a guy who also worked with my husband. Serial and aggressive. I'll refer to her as C.

A few years ago at a work function for my husband's office she was there. Someone made a flip comment about my husband running with her at lunch. Then there was another comment about them going to dinner together. I didn't make a scene. When we got home I asked him what the comments were about. He first tried to deny they were made - saying I must have misunderstood. Then when I refused to back down he told me they are friends who go to the gym together. At that time I told him I wasn't comfortable with that given her history and reputation. And something made me check the cell phone statement. They had been texting and calling outside 'business hours'. Of course, all evidence on his cell was deleted.

Long story short I called her from his phone while I was standing next to him. When she answered I told her who I was and why I was calling. My husband stood there dumbstruck by my actions. I calmly explained that there would be no more gym visits, texts or friendly lunches and dinners. My husband was mortified. After I hung up we fought. I made it clear I would leave if I found out they had anything other than a professional relationship. To me I thought that was the end of it.

His deleted emails were between him and C. So I opened them and started reading. What gives me the right you say? As a cheater myself? I'll tell you. 12+ years of living with a man, demanding his love, his affection, and his care - only to be refused time after time. Believing I was marrying a man who cared about my needs and my feelings only to get the bait and switch after he woke up one day and decided he could live without intimacy. I had the right after years of pent up frustration, tears, sleepless nights and sadness.

And boy did I read. For years he's carried on. Years. He strung me along and I stayed because I thought my children were worth more than my own feelings. I still think this. I entered into an affair because I'm still a women even if I'm a wife in a sexless and cold marriage. He never communicated he was missing something. He never asked me to change. He never indicated he cared about the passion he turned his back on. He wanted me but on his own terms while he also had his life on the side. And I cried. Disbelieving that years ago I could have been free from this torture if only I had known. I would have immediately walked away if either of them had admitting to a relationship. I could have shed years of pain and saved myself lots of tears.

But I didn't know. But now I do. And some may say I deserve this. And I won't disagree with you. I deserve to be happy and I deserve to leave this man who doesn't deserve me - faithful or unfaithful - I invested years that I shouldn't have. So good thing is we did have the talk about our finances before Valentine's Day. I have laughed at the irony, I have cried over the spilled milk and I have called a realtor to begin my quest of looking for my new home. When he came home from his meeting we had a talk. He denied any contact with her - apparently he thought once you hit delete email disappears. He didn't realize you have to empty the deleted files. When I pulled up the emails and started reading he got angry. And I knew, in that moment that it really was over. It's all out in the open now. I cheated. But he cheated too. So in that it's even spread pain. But he cheated me out of my happiness because he thought our marriage certificate gave him that right. But it doesn't. And my happiness will no longer relvolve around him or any other man. I am strong, I am successfully employed, i am a good mother, a good daughter and a good person. I strayed outside my marriage because I was tired of feeling like I was dead inside. I'm leaving my marriage knowing we're both in it for the wrong reasons and we aren't the soul mates we thought we were so long ago before life changed and he became a refuser. I'm scared but I know my children will be taken care of. We both love them and will do what we can to respect each other out of respect for the children we brought into this world. I'm treading my own path. Finally....who would have know C would have brought me the gift of freedom? Ironic....

carpediem2 carpediem2
36-40, F
7 Responses Feb 16, 2013

So if you've had an affair and he's had affairs why don't you just peacefully part? Or just both agree to be Swingers or Polyamorous? Why so much emotion?
I ask since my spouse appears to be like you and your husband, I.e getting upset over desire/lust for someon-else. If your needs are not being met why the drama?

Your divorce could be quick and painless..irretrievable breakdown divorce is rare and really just says the parents don't care about the kids... You've both cheated so be mature. Divorce is a ton of energy so of neither one if you want to start the process just draw up an "open-marriage" contract. Just be sure to let your lovers know you are in an open-marriage. My husband always gets angry when I suggest an open-marriage... I think it's because it then takes away the thrill of the chase/hunt with his prey/lovers.

With all due respect I'm not entertaining the idea of an open marriage. There was much emotion on Vday because out of the 17 years ive been with my husband he has robbed me of intimacy by refusing and withholding affection for 12+years. I remained faithful to him until this past August when my needs took over my judgment and I entered into an affair. Finding out my husband has been refusing me, while I cried myself to sleep on so many nights, and then discovering that he and C have been carrying was a shock. We are working on separating peacefully and have not carried on dramatically in front of our children....I'm not sure if that's where your post was going or not....

I don't feel we are being immature and for me my affair wasn't just the sex or the thrill. It was more of the companionship that I missed and the intimacy my husband controlled at will. While I appreciate you taking the time to respond I have to say I don't believe ive presented my story in the right light if your takeaways are that we are dramatic and lead you to believe an open marriage is an option for us. I made a mistake by having an affair. As a human being who was longing for affection I made that mistake. B made that mistake. As friends we crossed the line. I believe in marriage. I also believe that commitment means you not only value your spouse, but you do everything in your power to meet their needs. My marriage has failed. But that doesn't mean we are failures. It means we aren't as suited as we originaaly thought and a lifetime together isn't in the cards.

Your beliefs and your views about relationship may be different than mine. And it's not my place to pass judgment since I don't know your story or what you've been through. But I wish you the best in finding what fulfills you. Open marriages may be a good solution for some people. Everyone is different and I think in the right situation maybe everyone wins. For me though, its time to move on.

Okay, I am just trying to understand the complexity which is lost on me spouse has made the "affair" mistake many his first marriage, them with me and now in ours. And I am just perpetually baffled as to why he exhibits such strong emotions about it. So you love a person but yet last for big deal. Lots of people are like that. So the marriage did not allow growth of your love but other aspects, i.e kids and finances are involved ..well keep the construction but change the pictures on the wall (open marriage). No need for drama. Obviously you can both be attracted to other people. It's hard to grasp your perspective because I can't have sex with someone other than my husband; it's just too overwhelming for me. I wish I could though! And I am trying to reprogram my thinking to accommodate the open marriage contract as clearly I won't be having sex with my spouse again. I'm not intending to hurt but I'm just trying to understand the drama.

Your STBX is a hypocrite... I remember how you said he reacted when he found out about your short love affair - angry and hurt, even calling and speaking to B and his wife!!! He has some nerve! Maybe he was jealous, because he knew the relationship he denied having with C was/is only skin deep, while the one you had with B was much more than that.
I think you are doing the best thing for yourself by detaching from B, and giving yourself time to heal. The wounds are still fresh, and deep. You won't be thinking clearly for awhile.
Be kind to yourself, and do whatever you can to keep the drama away from your children. You don't have to deny yourself your feelings of pain are anger etc, just keep them in check as best you can - hide in the bathroom when you need to udder things under your breath or to shed those pent up tears... and when you do lose it in front of the kids, just remind them (and often) that they are not to blame, that you have adult problems and frustrations and they have nothing to do with it. I can't recall if you we're seeing a therapist, but I would highly recommend it.
I hope you will be able to have peace soon. (((((Hugs)))))

He's a hypocrite for sure but this has been his leading argument....that I cant judge him. There's some truth to that. But to your other point I would agree that it scared the hell out of him when he realized I had started to build a relationship with someone else that went beyond the superficial. Speaking of superficial...we had a talk this morning after he tried to initiate sex. Ew! I told him we would never have sex again and his choice in C was an insult. He wasn't trading up he had chosen someone who doesn't have custody of her young daughter (she gave that up voluntarily) while I invest so much into our children and....C may get a lot of tail....but the woman is at best only moderately attractive. I'm being generous. This offended his manhood, of course. That I could be offended by the fact his 'friend ' as he refers to her - is somewhat subpar. So he asked me how he should feel about B....shouldn't he feel as if I had tried to trade down? And I smiled like the mona Lisa but didn't reply. Because he knows he wasn't the man I deserved so he found comfort in what was easy. I may not be planning to live a forever after with B but I did find myself through an awakening I desperately needed. Leaving and putting the pieces together wont be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is.....and that's the lesson my soon to be ex husband needs to learn.

I can't believe he thought you'd have sex with him now... sorry, but he's such a dolt. You are so strong, and you will get through this, recover from it, and be better off. Him, not so much.

You deserve better. Your husband wanted a cook/maid/caregiver @ home & wanted his mistress on the side, no telling how many there have been. Now that you know he's a cheater I would say its been going on since about the time he "checked" out sexually from the marriage, just a guess. As I have come to realize with my H it isn't that he doesn't have a s** drive, he just doesn't have one with me (he uses p*** & web cams & who knows what else...still trying to find that out).
I hope you printed out those e-mails, just in case they can be used in your state (a lawyer can tell you this...find one ASAP).
Second, if you were intimate at all I would get tested for STD's (sounds like the woman he had an affair with could spit in a petrie dish & start her own
Third, this is just a side note, from the way you wrote your story I think you already know & understand this.....remember that his relationship with you is different than his & your kids... so, say goodbye to the husband/wife part of your family & as long as he is a good/attentive father then encourage the father/child relationship your children have with him. So proud of you for standing up for yourself. Keep us posted. Take car & God Bless. :)

Thank you. EP has been a great outlet for me to get my feelings out and hear from others who have struggled, who are struggling and who have succeeded. It's unfortunate so many of us feel neglected by the person who vowed to a lifetime commitment. For me my empty marriage felt like a life sentence! We are all searching for answers...or we wouldn't be here. I wish you the best as well and thank you both for sharing.

You could spend an eternity trying to figure out the exact when it all turned sour and the why or whys. As is often reflected here, it may be natural but pointless nevertheless unless there is something in it for YOU, moving forward. It may be something about yourself or it may be something about understanding others. It's all part of a valuable, constant learning process. But if the other person can't or won't share their ideas, beliefs then there is really nothing you can do about it except to move on and draw what lessons you can from it. You can still learn valuable lessons in life without the willing participation of others, if you will let yourself. It may be about being able or unable to trust others but more profoundly it is about being able to trust yourself.

thank you. I'm learning more about myself everyday and I'm realizing I'm stronger than I thought I ever could be....

i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 6 years to my husband and suddenly, another woman came into the picture.. he started hating me and he was so abusive..but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost…then he filed for whole life was turning apart and i didn't know what to do..he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so a friend told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell i decided to try it reluctantly..although i didn't believe in all those things.then he did the special spell casting for me. After 2 days, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn't believe it.. anyways we are back together now and we are case you wanna contact this wonderful spell caster, his email address is ishvaratemple@yahoo. com

I read your posting when it first appeared a few hours ago. I was quite literally rendered dumbstruck, and it pushed me to tears. <br />
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I think I can write what I want to say now. I'm not normally the type to send hugs and that sort of thing, but if I could reach out in any way, I would. What you've described is deliberate, disrespectful, hurtful and verging on plain evil. I realise this is your husband I'm speaking about, so please don't take offence, but I'd say he's a repugnant excuse for a human being.

Thank you tor the support. His years of refusal have been incredibly hurtful. Knowing he was purposefully refusing me while selectively investing himself elsewhere - while I begged him to acknowledge and want me? That is inexcusable. But also a blessing in disguise. This chapter of my life is closing. And my future is bright. We both love our children and need to nurture them through this change. He can be who he chooses to be. And now so can I..

Back on your Feb 7 story I suggested you needed quality information - though I was talking financial info at that point.

Boy !!! Did you uncover some quality information or what.

Lawyer next I guess.

Tread your own path.