Wife of a Habitual Adulterer

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wifey's Weekly Q and A

Dear Wifey:

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,

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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.


Keli August 26, 2009 at 9:36 AM  

I agree...seek counseling...

There is usually a reason for cheating beyond sex...

he may feel unfulfilled, not because of the marriage, but just in general.

Iknow a habitual cheater, he seems to cheat because the other women help him put back the pieces of his shattered self esteem. It never seems to be about love...the reasons are always selfish.

The only thing that befuddles me is why trash the wife? Unless thats his way of making the other women feel better abut the situation...by painting an uglier less than truthful picture of how things are at home.

You never want to get into others marriage, but if this was one of my girlfriends, I would be over there asap helping her back up his stuff!

But hopefully there is hope that an habitual cheater will change.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama August 26, 2009 at 9:53 AM  

I would say that seeking counseling and treatment for an obvious problem is imperative so that this wife knows she tried everything (as she cares for this man). However, please do not sleep with him without insisting he is tested for STD's and I would probably still insist that he wear protection.
Each time he has cheated, he has not only betrayed her but put her at risk of fatal illness. That is a betrayal that should not be taken lightly.
Praying for this hurting wife!

K.W. August 26, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

It truly sounds like her husband has an addiction. I, too suggest counseling. I know it's hard to separate a family, but you all might need time apart while you all get counseling, separate for his addiction and your pain, couples for how this effects you as a couple, and family for how this is effecting the whole family (I don't suggest going into the cheating here, but the separation issues/anxieties that your children may have).

As for his split personality, one of the reasons why he's trashing you online is because not many women will cheat with a man who says, my wife is so super awesome, but if the man degrades his wife it makes the mistress feel better about what she's doing.

I am so sorry that you are going through all this.

Felicia - I complete Me August 26, 2009 at 10:01 AM  

I agree with Wifey. Seek professional help you your own part to discuss how you are feeling and what you are going through and get professional information about sex addictions.

I had a friend who "claims" to have a sex addiction and her husband stood by her while she "seeked" help but she never followed through. He ended up leaving her. I say "claims" because at one point I believe that people could have a sex addiction, but now I'm not sure if it is a real addiction or an excuse. So that's why I say get facts not information form others who don't know or the internet (you can find arguments for or against any subjects). Make the best decisions for you and your children.

Anonymous,  August 26, 2009 at 10:44 AM  

I agree with Wifey and would also like to add that as you are seeking therapy you will need to include your children. At some point they are going to have to know what is going on so that if you decide to leave, they are already prepared. It's so easy for us on the outside to just say "Leave Him", but when your heart is so strong for a person it makes it that much harder. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous,  August 26, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

Ditto with the counseling advice. This is something you need to bounce off someone else, gather up your own strength, and build your confidence to make the right decision for you and your children. Sending hugs and prayers.

Tracie August 26, 2009 at 2:45 PM  

Also chiming in with counseling, by yourself and with your husband. Also, please go to you physician and get tested for STD's. Or go to a clinic in the next town over if you don't want anyone to find out. Prayers to you and your children.

Anonymous,  August 27, 2009 at 11:13 AM  

Counseling is a must. Also just my two cents...coming from a wife whose husband has battled a pornography addiction. Please know that there is no reason to EVER blame yourself or feel like you did something wrong. Addictions are just that addictions. Do everything you can to raise your self esteem and help yourself be happy with who you are as a woman..not just as a wife and a mom. My prayers are with you. Know that you aren't a lone...you are never alone!

Funkidivagirl August 28, 2009 at 6:42 PM  

I would suggest counseling for both the wife and husband. And a separation. The husband needs to deal with his issues because he does have issues....his infidelity has NOTHING to do with the wife at all. She needs to be by herself because his behavior is destructive. And yes, I agree that she demands that he gets tested for HIV and STD's (and not sleep with him until she is absolutely sure that he isn't sleeping with someone else).

Mammatalk August 28, 2009 at 8:17 PM  

You always give such great advice. Best of luck to
the writer!

Sapphire August 30, 2009 at 1:14 PM  

I agree with Funkidivagirl...professional help and a separation are definitely in order.
I do believe that they can work through this, if they both are committed, but she has to protect herself first.

ThatsSoYummy August 31, 2009 at 9:17 AM  

I would like to first tell Wife of a habitual adulterer that I am truly sorry that she is going through this emotional rollercoaster.

I would agree with all of the previuos responses to seeking counseling and separation for the time being. It is not healthy for her or her children at the moment and the best thing to do would be to see if something can be done, whether that solutiin brings them her and her husband together again or not at least she can know she tried.

Also I would like to tell her that THIS IS NOT in any way her fault, and she like anyother woman out there deserves honesty, loyalty and unconditional love given to her no matter what!

My paryaers are with her and her family.

JOlie January 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM  

I know that I am late stepping in however, it sounds like your husband has a lot of time on his hands extra at that. I sympathize with you and my heart pounds with anguish because I know how it feels. On the other hand I have also been the cheater and I can also understand why the husband is playing around.

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Anonymous,  July 19, 2014 at 5:42 PM  

Divorce the scumbag. He obviously does not love God, you, or the kids.

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