Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wifey's Weekly Q and A
My husband and I have been married for seventeen years and have two children. He's always taken care of us and been a good father. The first instance of him committing adultery happened when we received a phone call from the Navy twelve years ago saying dependents couldn't go to Cuba because it was too dangerous. He came home on leave several times that year but something wasn't right. After he came home permanently I asked, "Did you love her?" to which he replied, "Yes." Despite my heartbreak we worked things out.He rarely went out but when he did, he'd do stupid things like take his wedding ring off when out with a friend or I would find strip club matchbooks in his pockets.
Fast forward to October of 2008. After a wonderful morning of making love, I went to the store. When I returned home and after I put groceries away, I went to check my email because he was doing paperwork at the table. At first I thought someone hacked my Yahoo! account because I saw a man's name staring at me. I freaked and starting looking over the subject line and was horrified at the explicit sex talk in front of me. And then, out of the blue, I saw a photo of a birthmark I recognized all to well--it was my husband. There were too many disgusting emails to count. Some with women, others with men talking about how to sneak out and have a threesome with a woman at a local hotel--that never happened. Even more hurtful were emails to women where my husband totally trashed me. He'd never said anything demeaning to me, ever, over the course of our entire marriage. He's always come home from work and hugged and kissed me. He gives me foot massages and tickles my back nightly and calls me several times a day while he's at work. We do family stuff together regularly. It's not that we never argued or had fights, but they were few and far between. Needless to say, I was devastated. When I confronted him he broke down and started crying, saying he loved me but that he was a different person online. He said he didn't mean any of those ugly words he'd written and he had no intention of actually hooking up with anyone.
I forgave him but couldn't forget. I refused to make love to him because the words I saw kept running through my brain. Several months later, we were starting to return to normal as far as conversing and being lovey-dovey but I still wasn't comfortable having sex. Then, from out of the blue I receive a message on a social site from someone I don't know saying they have information about my husband. My heart sank, this couldn't be good, and it wasn't. In my mail was a list of two months worth of email conversations between my husband and a woman he saw at the gym each morning. The person who sent me the emails was the woman's husband. It went further than conversation though--they had sex the day before my 17th wedding anniversary. They called it quits before I found out.
Each and every time I've caught my husband doing things of this nature, he's broken down and cried that he loves me and does not want a divorce. Not just tears streaking down his cheeks but the choking type of cry. A couple of days after the last incident he said, "I think I have sex addiction. I took a survey and it came back saying I have all the symptoms." I was conflicted. I don't know what to believe. Sex addiction is growing as far as being legit but not all psychiatrists agree it's a real disease. Several friends told me it is indeed a real problem and that my DH admitted to it shows he's ready for help. Perhaps I was being too stubborn after being hurt again because I basically convinced him that he didn't have a sex addiction problem but an ego one.
I wish I could explain how good he treats myself and our children outside of his extra-curricular activities. He was my source of strength when I went through a really tough period a few years ago, when I went through a terrible religious experience. It's so hard for me to forget the good times, the wonderful memories, etc. He's nothing like the man in the emails I saw. You probably feel I'm stupid by now, and I'd understand if you do...I forgave again. Then, four days ago he forgot to sign out of his online email program, the same one I use, and I saw the following: "I love you baby. Here you go", along with pictures of himself to one of the women I caught him emailing last October. I told him I want a divorce because I can't take this anymore. Again he broke down and brought up sex-addiction. I haven't changed my mind about getting divorced, but because I'm in love with him and our children love their dad, I question whether it's a good idea if indeed he truly has a problem. He told me he wants help, but I don't know if I have the strength to last while he does.
- Mrs. Wife of a Habitual Adulterer
Dear Mrs. Wife of a Habitual Adulterer:
First off, I do NOT think you are stupid. Hurt, confused, and conflicted quickly come to mind, but not stupid. Being deceived and betrayed by your husband - the one person that you are supposed to be able to count on for the rest of your life - has got to be extremely painful, emotional and confusing, especially if he's been playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. With that said I suggest that you take the time to seek professional help before you make any final, life-altering decisions. I'm not a therapist nor a doctor but I do know that his behavior is not conducive for a healthy marriage and no one should have to deal with such painful indiscretions. Seek therapy so that you can try to make clear, levelheaded decisions to do what's best for you and your children. Discuss sexual addiction with the professional and draw your conclusions from facts not emotions. Stay strong, hold your head high and always remember that you are worthy of honesty, loyalty and respect. Sending you strength, prayers and positive thoughts.
Winks & Smiles,
Calling in the troops ... ladies (and gentlemen), any words of wisdom or encouragement? Has anyone had to deal with a cheating spouse? Do you stay or do you go? Can a marriage survive infidelity? Wounded wives want to know ...
The advice on this site is intended to be helpful, but is not meant to take the place of marital counseling, legal advice, financial advice or any other professional service. If you feel you need professional help, it is encouraged for you to get some.