In 2017, my husband brought home a "friend" he met from an international trip, and she was visiting our city. I didn't suspect anything unusual with this request because we are very hospitable people. We both went to pick her up from where she was staying with her friend from college, and he acted like he was on crystal meth as soon as he saw her. We brought her home to a meal I'd spent most of the day preparing. He was very attentive to her - acted very animated. She seemed cool to me, and gave him more attention.

After 5 days, I snooped, and read his email. They were extremely flirtatious. After I confronted him, he still continued to minimize by stating that she was a "friend". To cut a long story short, he kept his narrative of "oh, I enjoyed writing those emails", I didn't mean anything by that. He continued with that line in front of our marriage therapist. Then 5 months after D-Day, he let on that he was "attracted" to her.  He didn't do much recovery work. I read every relevant book on affairs that I could lay my hands on, watched lots of videos, etc. After 24 months, he finally came clean, and told me that he was attracted to her. I felt like I was going crazy - being too jealous, etc. when he kept denying his intentions behind the emails.

He sent her a farewell email, and she sent an email back on our wedding anniversary (I think she remembered when I told her that on that date we would be married 28 years!). He deleted the email and did not reply. I do believe this is all over.

My dilemma is this - it's been nearly 24 months, I've done a lot of reading, research, and I still don't feel safe.

My husband has apologized and told me he'll never do it again. He has read some books, and watched videos when I tell him that I need him to do more than what he's been doing.

I have given him a deadline - I am filing for divorce on the day he met her which will be in less than 11 months, if he doesn't do more.

Am I being unreasonable? OK, he never had sex with her. However, after D-Day, he admitted to hand jobs by two prostitutes twice!

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I need to add that she went to sit next to him at a bar, with blood dripping from her leg - stating that she had tripped in the hotel car park. She bought him a beer. They made plans to meet the following week when she was going to be at the hotel for a conference. Then they made plans for dinner and went to dinner twice. When he came home to me, and he asked whether he could make plans for me to meet his "friend', he told me that he explained that they had bee to dinner. I couldn't remember that, but my daughter remembers that he mentioned taking her to dinner. It must have been my mind shutting out unpleasant stuff. Anyway, he made plans to go to dinner at a restaurant, but a huge hurricane hit and all restaurants were closed, which was why I offered to cook. I think it was extremely cruel of him to allow me to make dinner for his AP.  And go through the rain and storm to bring her home and the same to bring her back.
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You are allowed to put boundaries in place for what you need from him to move forward. If he needs to do more work to figure himself out then going to an individual counselor may be helpful to gain insight and awareness. If he is not doing those things you need, you have every right take whatever steps you feel are necessary for you.
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I agree with Jennifer. You have every right to throw him out on the street if he doesn’t do what you need him to do. 24 months of continued lies is a long time of deception. You owe him nothing. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Took him two years to admit anything, AND he comes out with “two hand jobs from prostitutes”???  In the state you are in you are highly susceptible to playing mind tricks on yourself and while on the one hand you don’t trust and don’t feel safe you are on the other hand likely to also be overweighting the “truth” of what he DOES tell you.  Your mind really wants to believe it was “no more than” just “two hand jobs”...meanwhile it probably wasn’t “only two”, “only handjobs” or “only prostitutes”.  

It just doesn’t add go from “only emails” that he “just enjoyed writing”, but “didn’t mean anything by them” to “well, ok I admit I had two handjobs from prostitutes”.

I think you can flip the script on this idiot and straight ask him “do you think I’m stupid?  ‘Only’ two handjobs??  You are minimizing...I can TELL...because it doesn’t add up!!  Don’t trickle truth me just because inside you are thinking ‘I don’t want to hurt her’ are hurting me FAR FAR more deeply by withholding the truth about who I’ve been married to all this time and preventing ME from making the call about whether I want to be married to the REAL you or not...So TALK motherf@cker!!!! I will give you one chance to get it all out, and THEN I have a SURPRISE for you, but suffice it to say I will KNOW if you are lying...”

Then HIT HIS A$$ WITH A POLYGRAPH and make it a REQUIREMENT if he even wants a snowball’s chance in h@ll, and let him know the ONLY other option is divorce.  

The reason you need to play hardball — RIGHT AWAY — is he will waste your life hiding from the hard conversations.  Think about it....he’s ALREADY wasted two years....TWO YEARS!!! Many people date less time than that and have successful marriages after...

Of course since he mentioned PROSTITUTES umm you need to cease ALL sexual contact with him if you haven’t already and FORCE him to get tested and test yourself.  

Remember you have to request the herpes tests because they aren’t included on the standard ALL STD panel. And even then ask your healthcare provider to explain the high error rate in blood based herpes testing...

You are not asking too much...what you have envisioned is not asking ENOUGH IMO.  This stuff is serious business, it can impact ALSO your physical health and your financial health.  If your husband is willing to SECRETLY spend YOUR money on handjobs you CANNOT trust him with money!!! What other financial secrets has he not disclosed to you?!?! That is all not even considering that many if not most prostitutes are TRAFFICKED PEOPLE and HE IS FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING THE GLOBAL PEOPLE TRAFFICKING CARTELS!!!!  He is a bigger piece of $hit than you are seeing right now because the mindf@ck and trickle truthing.  

As I’ve said in other threads these “go slow”, “don’t make any rash choices” “give your cheater plenty of space” messages that come from ALL OVER the internet about affair recovery, are — frankly — for the birds.  Instead I think you need to treat it like a gashed jugular vein and you need to stop the bleeding right away, take a major step back from the cheater and ask yourself whether it is acceptable to you that your husband — who you’ve probably devoted your entire adult life to — is getting handjobs from prostitutes.  Was that on your shopping list for a spouse??? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!  That’s on your list of $hit a man CANT DO if he wants to have your heart.  

Sorry Lausey, but F@CK this guy!!! I hate to break it down so hard like this but he is clearly not the man you thought he was....

If supporting the global human trafficking cartels IS somehow acceptable to you, THEN you need to decide if you really want to invest the effort to force his hand — QUICKLY — so he’s not wasting your time.  Your life is precious, we ALL get closer to the grave every day.  Do you want to waste another DAY (even) trying to convince yourself that you can somehow get over all that (NONE of us are wired to accept any of that, we simply mindf@ck ourselves into trying to somehow, SOMEHOW rationalize that all...)?  I doubt you do.  But that’s one way to do it (what I said above)....the “TALK motherf@cker, followed by polygraph strategy”....

Good luck.

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When he told me he met a friend who was coming to town, and would like me to meet her, I was expecting an old lady - I'm, not sure why I assumed that, but I think it's because I never suspected anything draconian. We drove to pick up his AP on Aug 26. He acted animated as soon as she opened the door. He was lively, talkative, and paid a lot of attention to her. When we were invited to sit down by the host of the house, AP's friend, I sat on the right hand side of the couch. AP sat on an armchair on the left hand side of the couch. He immediately sat next to her, leaving a big space between us. I patted the dog and edged myself closer to him.

When we got to our house, she sat on the right hand side of our couch. He made a bee-line for the space next to her. I quickly plonked my derriere next to her, so he had to go to his usual armchair across from the sofa. As I mentioned earlier, his unusual behavior of being overly talkative, and attentive were the first signs.

He continued like this throughout the night. She, on the other hand, seemed subdued, almost apathetic. While she talked, she seemed cool and nonchalant toward him. I attributed her demeanor to the fact that she must have thought she was going to be picked up only by him. I think my husband must be feeble-minded. He thought it would be a good idea for me to meet her. He told her via email that we were going to pick her up and bring her to our home for dinner. Perhaps she didn't think there would be a man this feeble-minded, and thought he was only kidding. Because, she was dressed to the nines - very very tight fitting tights, and a revealing low-cut blouse, ugly costume jewelry bedecked her ample bosom, and the most awful reeking perfume ever!

When we drove her back through the hurricane rain, I figured he was with her for dinner. He asked her questions such as, "did you end up buying new tires for your car?", so I figured that he must have met her more than once. Like I said before, he told me that he had gone to dinner with her while in her city. And my daughter remembered that. But you can imagine how I must have felt after 6 hours in their company in my own home, and then braving the rains to take her home that I hear this conversation which further confirmed what I felt as soon as I laid eyes on her.

Anyway, I still didn't confront him until 5 days later, on August 30. I read his emails to her, and even though there were no description of anything sexual, there were sexual overtones. On one of his emails, she asked him "Is this something (my name) is used to?", referring to her meeting me.  He replied, "No". Then he wrote, "I told (my name) that while in (city), I met the woman of my dreams. Only kidding!". It shattered me. 

He left on that business trip on May 29. He wrote me 3 personal emails, and wrote 3 emails to family. I read his 17 short emails to her between August 3 and August 30 (he came home on August 15). Then I called up my friend who is a therapist and she talked me through this. I believe she prevented a homicide (😂}. I pretended like I hadn't read the emails.I approached him and asked him if he had email communications with her. He said yes. I then asked him to show them to me, which he did. I pretended to read them for the first time. Then I asked him what was happening. His reply was, "She was just a friend". I told him friends don't write emails like that to other friends. To give some background. She was in town to go to court for a child support issue. The hurricane closed everything down, so she was stuck in her friend's house and also couldn't visit her 13 year old daughter who lives in another state. She is from another continent, and her 13 year old daughter is in the care of an older half sibling. She emailed him that she was bored. He wrote, "What can be done to alleviate your boredom?" Every email had snippets like that. They were not long or romantic emails. Well, he insisted that he meant nothing by those emails and he "enjoyed writing them". He wrote an email to end this, which I read and edited and he sent it to her.

We went to see a therapist recommended by a friend. To cut a long story short, this was his story - "she was a friend, and I enjoyed writing those emails. We had dinner twice and I enjoyed conversing with her about (her country) politics, music, etc. I never had sex with her nor have any intention to."

It was after this horrible event that I asked him whether he had other betrayals, to which he admitted to the hand jobs with prostitutes in a different country.

I read every book about infidelity that I  could lay my hands. One of them is Shirley Glass' "Not Just Friends". We spent many weekends talking, and going through some online classes.

Then on Jan 20 the following year, on our drive to spend a weekend away for our 28th wedding anniversary, I was triggered and brought up the prostitute episodes. He replied, "they were just hand jobs, and they happened 23 years ago.!". That really riled me. I gave him a mouthful of what I thought of his attitude. He was sobered by that. Then I told him that it was ok if he were to tell me that he was attracted to her as that is normal. He eventually admitted to that - 5 months after D-Day! 

I continued to read books and online blogs about infidelities. He would occasionally read something if I asked him to. Then in October, he admitted that he found her physically attractive. It took him 14 months to get to this stage.

He told me he had never done anything like that before. He told me that he felt guilty about going out to dinner with her. He rationalized that he didn't have sex or had any sexual thoughts about her. And he was sorry and will never do anything like this again.

This is the situation I'm facing.
He needn't have told me about the hand jobs that occurred 23 years ago, but he did. So he can't be that good a liar. And honestly, if I had to prioritize, it's this non-sexual betrayal that takes center stage.

He tells me that as soon as he sent that email to her, he stopped having any feelings for her. We went through a list of what it was that he had for her - was it limerence, infatuation? 

In the end, he thinks it's a combination of opportunities and lack of self control. He felt flattered that a younger, attractive woman would go out to dinner with her. Although, he is aware that in that country, the locals make a beeline for foreign men!

We agreed to a set of boundaries. No more going to pubs/bars/clubs/lounges by himself, unless with me, or our family and close friends. He seems to have grasped that he mustn't flirt or strike up friendships with strangers he is attracted to. He now knows about emotional affairs. He was under the impression that any friendship that doesn't involve sex is a platonic friendship! So I don't know if my husband is clueless or he pretends to be clueless. I think he is pretty clueless on these matters.

My main complaint is that he hasn't done much recovery work in the last 24 months to help us. He would tell me that he wants to do that and wants us to rebuild a good marriage. 

On the other hand, I may have overcompensated. I know now that it is up to the WS to do his own recovery. Unfortunately, he is so clueless that if I didn't point him in the right direction, he wouldn't know what to do. I've told him that I need him to do something or I'm filing for divorce on Bastille Day 2020 (that was the day he met his AP).

My dilemma is that I do not want to throw away our 34 year relationship (30 years married) due to his stupidity and lack of self control over a 1.5 month period in 2017. However, I do not feel safe as he hasn't demonstrated that he has done enough, apart from saying he's sorry and won't do it again, and coming home earlier from work (he is a workaholic - perhaps more like he doesn't work very efficiently?). Yet, I can't live with this video playing in my head for the next 30 years of my life. 

I've had many more good days than bad. I've purposely gone on a 2 month vacation from him, hoping that I wouldn't feel this rage whenever I think about his betrayal. I want to rid myself of this disease. Unfortunately, being away from him hasn't helped that much. In fact, it's worse, because of the time difference and the distance. I'm going to have to do more recovery work for myself, and if he doesn't do more, hopefully, I'll be stronger by then to leave him.

Sorry to make you read so much!
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If his response to you being triggered starts with “it was only (insert minimization)” and it was (insert this unit of time) long ago...” well THAT’S a problem... it’s ENTIRELY the wrong response, and there are right and wrong responses here.  The right response would be something like apology, followed by question to get you talking more about your pain, listen closely while you speak, display of empathy following your words, pledge of action to make amends followed by question of what else would YOU want to see, followed by offer of restorative justice, ALL followed by daily ACTION not words focused on YOUR comfort and safety etc. If he were truly selfless he would offer to buy you 22 hand jobs yourself to compensate you for the two he “stole” and to account for the value of compound interest...  

But coming back to the “physical betrayal” for a second...that happened when you already married for 7 years. Would it have made a difference for you, WHO the person was who was jerking him off?  Say it was a coworker...his boss, a peer, someone he supervised...or what if it was a friend? A friend of his, or a friend of yours?  What if it was a relative? That’s all bad enough but there’s usually an assumption that the c@ck-fondler in that equation is someone volunteering to do that.  In this particular case, your husband was using PROSTITUTES... he was using TRAFFICKED PEOPLE (it’s an assumption on my part ok, but one that is aligned w the reality that most prostitutes are not “volunteers”... it’s modern slavery and most acts of sex with a non-volunteer are a form of rape)...are you ok with that?  How far back in time does an infraction like that have to be where using slaves to jerk you off is something you are ok with?  Put yourself in that slave’s shoes for a second, and imagine...after being ripped from your family, and daily being raped and sodomized, forcibly administered drugs to keep you compliant, among other indignities you had to suffer that day, in comes YOUR husband whipping out his dong demanding you stroke it until he empties himself on you or whatever.  Where was this? Thailand?  Ok now imagine the prostitute is a girl.  12 or 13 years old.  Does that make it less ok?  I say all that to flesh out some other things to think about.   In my opinion your husband found a way to victimize you while exploiting and sexually assaulting a possibly underaged trafficked person when he did that.  And he spent your (joint) money on that making YOU a part of that (unknowingly).  That’s QUITE A TRIFECTA.  He participated in an atrocity, and he’s able to compartmentalize that down into “just a hand job”.  I’d think long and hard about whether any of that was ok on my spouse’s rap sheet.  Oh and it doesn’t really matter how long ago that was...  that sounds like “oh the Holocaust?!  That was 80 years ago!” Beyond that I wouldn’t be as focused on how long ago it HAPPENED but rather how long he kept that a secret from you.

Now for a couple other reflexive exercises...

How far back in time could YOU have had one rubbed out for yourself by another man, and that have been ok while married...?  Or to invert that, could you have, say, grabbed some guy you had the hots for by the dong and rubbed one out for him and that have been ok with hubby?  I highly doubt it.  

Imagine how hubby would react if you told him you have a new habit of jerking off other men, since your husband was ok receiving that... that’s one he can’t win because he will either: be angry (evidence of double standards), or be ok with it (evidence of unhealthy detachment).

Ok enough on that.  

Also thought it’s worth reflecting on whether it’s more valuable for you to be worried about “saving” your 30 year marriage vs saving the remaining 30 odd years you can expect to live?  Many of us get caught in a “sunk cost trap” and start swimming against the tide exhausting ourselves trying to save an unbalanced, asymmetrical relationship where so much is unreciprocated, as opposed to cutting our losses WHEREVER they are (5 years, 10 years, 30 years whatever) and just trying to get the most out of the future we can still enjoy, free of $hitty people.  You’d be well served to think about whether that might apply in your situation 

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There’s a reason you don’t feel safe 24 months out. Listen to your gut. If it says things aren’t ok, they probably aren’t. 

Of course, many/all of us will likely NEVER feel completely ‘safe’ again. I’m talking about the kind of safe that naivety brings. That’s different. 

Regardless, I think if you feel the need to set new boundaries, you are completely justified in needing to do so... for the rest of your life. 
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Thank you for your advice and comments.
I do wonder whether anyone who has ever been betrayed - whether it was emotional or physical betrayals will ever feel safe. There must  be this radar in the brain that is looking out for the slightest hint of it.

I'm going to subject my husband to a polygraph, and series of STD and Herpes tests. He was tested for HIV by his primary care physician when he went for his last annual checkup.

He may be the .001% of anyone who is dumb and non-aware enough to think like this. He was attracted to this woman. He thought it would be good for her to be a friend of the family, which was why he invited her to meet me. He thought that getting me to meet her would change the nature of his relationship (in his mind), with this woman. NOT! I asked him whether he felt differently about her when he met her together with me, and he told me "no". Like I said, he is feeble-minded, a simpleton, the village or even the national idiot when it comes to male-female relationships.

His feeble-mindedness, and lack of initiative in recovery work to help me, and our relationship led to his lack of empathy regarding his hand jobs. 

Question.  Do most men think these are minor trespasses? His infatuation from 2 years ago and 2 hand jobs from 25 years ago (he told me that after 23 years). I sometimes ask myself if I wish he hadn't told me that - some pieces of info could have been left in the ground. However, in the end, I'd rather know than not. Except, I then started to wonder what on earth did I marry? And by association, I felt blemished, dirty, a statistic - even though I wasn't the one paying for sexual services (ok, inadvertently as I live in a community property state). 

I have to admit, I have some women friends who think I am making a big hoo-haa out of his recent infatuation with his new friend from another continent, and thought that the hand jobs were too distant in the past.
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Hand jobs from prostitutes and emotional affairs are NOT minor trespasses. You should ask him if he is ok with you going to a male escort and having that guy manually bring you to climax.  I bet his answer is no, and if it’s not, then he is only saying it would be ok to cover his own a$$.  

I agree with hurting, we BS’s will never feel fully safe again. We will be triggered at times of feeling very unsafe, but if your gut is telling you that you aren’t safe when your not actively triggered, TRUST IT!   
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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They are NOT minor trespasses. Unfortunately those who have not experienced the same kind of betrayal often don’t understand. Honestly, you don’t need that kind of ‘support’. It said friends are not going to be supportive of you through such a time, I would just stop talking to them about it. 

I felt dirty and tainted. Filthy. Contaminated. Because of my husband. You are not alone. Sometimes just the sight of him disgusted me to the core. I felt disgusted with MYSELF for having been with him for so long, and having been so blind. There were times when I looked at him and saw nothing but the lowest POS on the face of the earth. I saw nothing but filth and scum when I looked at him. 

The other question this begs, is how much of this is the truth? Is there more to find out? Is he just giving you the watered down version of the truth to protect himself? This one is difficult because We can never truly know. That’s whey I say listen to your gut, and observe his actions. This is where I believe seeing consistent and real change is paramount.
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I think you seem to be aware that your own sense of feeling unsafe comes from the fact that he doesn't seem to understand his own behaviour.  Could the Understanding Why course maybe be helpful to him?  Or another resource on here that can help you have a discussion is the podcast 213: Crossing the line: When does infidelity begin:
It's a good example of how a WS can work backward to examine the choices they made and where they could have steered in a different direction. The questions Tim outlines at the end could provide you with some needed answers and reveal what work needs to be done to make you feel safe. See Conclusions 2.b. in the episode guide.
Whenever I feel insecure, these are some of the core questions I come back to to assess where I might be missing something needed to feel safe. 
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Thank you BorealJ. Yes, I've encouraged him to listen to the podcasts and we will be doing the online courses soon.
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