Melian

I feel embarrassed. My husband had a physical affair (one night stand) with a neighbor over 10 years ago. It was a dark time in our lives but we got through it. We moved, he got help and everything was great for a while. Then about two years ago I found out he had another affair (it had already been going on for at least a year) and at the time I thought it was an emotional affair.  She turned out to be an ex-girlfriend from high school.  We fought for several weeks but he later apologized and promised things would be different. Nothing changed even when I begged him to spend time with me, he was too busy “playing games” in the garage. He password protected his phone and deleted texts in front of me. He installed an app to sweep his phone. I just ignored all of it because I didn’t want to be paranoid and I wanted to believe he still cared and maybe this is just who he is now (he is a veteran with ptsd). Until I was woken up in April 2020 by his phone going off with messages in the middle of the night. This prompted me to look at my phone bill but I ended up checking the wrong phone number on our account. He immediately got angry at me for falsely accusing him of calling numbers he did not. This just made me more suspicious, so I checked his phones call log and sure enough he was talking to the same woman/ex-girlfriend he had what I thought was emotional affair with and later found out it was also physical. Turns out he didn’t even wait 3 months from the time I found out before picking it right back up.  He was using the Line app to talk to her and I also found he was chatting up at least 4 other women in the Line app and in games. So, right now I’m heartbroken and angry and he has shown very little remorse. When I made him send an email breaking it off, I got a call from the other woman on 6/22/20 (dday). She was angry because she lost her kids, her husband was filing for divorce and she had nowhere to live. She told me they had a relationship and he found the opportunity to sleep with her on two separate occasions on trips we took to see his parents.  He couldn’t even admit they slept together after she told me and I had to drag pieces of the truth out of him.  She told me he told her was going to do counseling as a ruse to bide time so he could save money to leave me. He also told her he was transferring jobs to her city and that he was going to take care of her (which is a lie because he can’t transfer in his position).  She also made it sound like my husband didn’t really love me and she threatened that should he contact her again, she would send someone to “get him.” After telling my husband this, I think he really is done talking to her. He says he loves and wants to be with me and we started counseling a week after dday. Every time it feels like we’re making a little progress we end up going backwards because he stonewalls and gets angry and defensive. He doesn’t want to talk about the affair and will do anything to avoid it except during counseling. I can see he is struggling and I’m terrified he just will not be able to change or worse, that he doesn’t really love or choose me but fears being alone. I also don’t know if I can ever be ok with the fact that all this went on behind my back for almost 4 years but I do still love him.

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FanofMike2020

Melian,


First of all, I’m so sorry this happened to you.  No one deserves to be treated like you have.  Some people are just not marriage material.  Those people need to stay single and date people with the same mindset.

What you are describing sounds like a pattern.  When they keep doing the same thing over and over, they are showing you such disrespect that you don’t deserve.  He has no boundaries.  He knows what he is doing is wrong which is why he keeps things secret.  


Sounds like your hubby needs therapy to figure out why he has no boundaries and thinks it’s OK to disrespect you the way he does.  There could be more to the story.  Do you believe anything he says from now on?

There should not be any secrets between him and you.  If he refuses to give you Passwords, then that’s a big red flag that something is wrong.  Don’t let him treat you like a doormat.  He doesn’t get to come and go and do whatever he pleases.  Your home is not a revolving door.  He’s either all in with you, or out he goes.  Stand up for yourself.  If you don’t, he’ll keep doing whatever he wants.  He’ll be like a Rock Star which means he’s getting attention(sex) from her and attention(sex) from you.  Why would he want to change what he is doing?  He’s got the best of both worlds.  If I was getting attention from two women at the same time, and nobody held me accountable, I wouldn’t want to change my ways either.  Think about it.  

You have to set boundaries.  It’s either me or her.  You can’t have both.  Sometimes they are such cowards, they don’t want to decide so you have to decide for them.  Out of the house they go.  Let them see what life will be without you.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  They might learn a valuable lesson being on their own.

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Melian
Thank you. We’ve been together 23 years and married almost 18. Knowing there is a pattern of this type of behavior just makes me question if it is even possible for him to change. I don’t know what else will come out during counseling and I don’t know if I can handle any more bombs being dropped on me. I feel like I have to let it play or before I can decide what to do next. My closest friends tell me to leave him but he is all I’ve known. We’ve been together since I was 19. This is just so difficult and I get what everyone is telling me but my heart just wants him to change.
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hurting
Contemplating leaving someone when they’ve been part of so much of your life is terrifying, isn’t it? Sometimes though, we need to do what is best for our sanity and our own lives. You are strong enough to find yourself through this. You can be ok without him. 

In a weird twisted way, I get the whole desperately wanting him to choose you again thing. But it shouldn’t have been a choice to begin with... you are worth more than this. It’s up to HIM to show he can change to be good enough for you. If he doesn’t, then be wary. Actions are the only things you can really judge. Empty words from a cheater are less than worthless.

change is possible... though it isn’t without its ups and downs, and it is damn difficult. He must want to and choose to change though. You cannot force him to...
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Melian

Thank you for being candid. You are right that only he can decide to change and his actions will speak to that. I don’t want to waste anymore of my life either but part of me wants to wait and see and part of me says I’m fooling myself. I’m also not seeing a whole lot of effort and there is no trust. I know it is still early but I don’t how long I can wait to see something from him. He wants to wait for counseling sessions to talk and that’s just ridiculous. He has shared some things about conversations with his AP but not much else. I can see he is struggling though and he says it is the shame he feels but I just want him to get over feeling sorry for himself so he can address what he did and how I feel and what’s next.

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FanofMike2020

Melian,

I get that you are embarrassed because you think that his cheating reflects something bad about you.  That he cheated because of something you said, or didn’t say, something you did or didn’t do.  The truth is he cheated because he wanted to.  He made the choice to get attention that he didn’t deserve from other women.

Cheating is a choice not a mistake.  A mistake is adding salt to your coffee because salt and sugar look so similar.  He chose to pursue other women all on his own.  No one forced him to cheat.  No one put a gun to his head.  Don’t you dare take the blame for him deciding to cheat.  Don’t let him disrespect you by blaming you for his bad choices.  


Your self worth should not be attached to this man.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and you should not feel less than how God made you because of your husband’s weaknesses to go outside the marriage.  You had an open marriage and didn’t even know it.  According to the Bible, you can divorce him because he broke the marriage covenant first.


Cheaters are shallow people who have nothing to offer anyone other than grief and pain.  Shallow people cheat with shallow people.  They are hallow on the inside.  They try to fill up their emptiness by having sex with other hallow people, but they both come up empty.  The cheaters have nothing to offer each other.  These people are broken, and you should see your husband as a person looking in all the wrong places to fill his soul.  Sad really.

I was dating this guy in college who one day told me that if we ever got married, he was going to cheat on me. At the time, I was very young, and upset as to why he would tell me such a thing.  Luckily, I quit seeing him.  He used to tell me about when he would visit brothels which didn’t sit very well with me.  All these years later, I count my self lucky to have left him behind.  I dodged a bullet with him.  I have to give him credit for at least knowing himself well enough that he already knew he was going to be unfaithful.  I was never going to be his one and only, but one of many.  I don’t know what ever happened to him, but I would venture to guess his life was filled with pain and misery.  

He at least told me what he was going to do.  I have to give him credit for telling me in advance what my life would look like, and it was not going to be pretty.  He knew himself.   Some people never disclose their true intentions and wind up hurting others.  


It makes you wonder why people are never satisfied with what they have.  They have to constantly look for that missing piece of the puzzle.  Maybe he didn’t get enough love from women, and this is why he cheating.  


In the eighties, there was a British soul and pop band called Simply Red with the lead vocalist named Mick Hucknail.  One of my favorite songs was entitled STARS.  Anyway, growing up Mick’s mother abandoned him and his father for someone else.  After Mick became famous, he said that in one year he had slept with over 1,000 women.  Some days he had sex with 2-3 women.  Years later, he was able to look back at his life and realize that he was seeking love from women to make up for being abandoned and not getting love from his mother.  He publicly apologized to all those women he used to make himself feel better about himself by using them for sex just to get attention.

I don’t know if your hubby has abandonment issues.  There are some questions that you need to ask which might give you a clue about his background.

1.  When did he start having sex?  If it was as a teenager, studies have shown that the earlier someone starts having sex, the more likely they are to cheat.
2.  Was he exposed to porn at an early age?  Porn messes with your brain and distorts sex as not being something special.
3.  Was he sexually abuse as a child?  This will make a person become promiscuous.
4.  Was he physically abused?  Hurt people hurt people.
5.  Is he a sex addict?  He has to have sex with multiple women.
All these events will cause people a skewed look at sex.  Sometimes people will hide these events in their lives, but their problems will eventually appear in your relationship.

I don’t know if you have heard of Ester Perel.  She is a famous therapist in NYC.  She has a podcast that you can listen for FREE at stitcher.com.  It’s from her series WHERE SHOULD WE BEGIN.  One of her podcasts is entitled THE ADDICT.  It’s about a couple where the husband had been unfaithful for most of their marriage.  After being found out, he confessed to being exposed to porn at a very young age and being sexually abused by a close friend.  He cheated on his wife for 22 years all because of his experiences as a young boy.  She had no idea about his history which was front and center in their marriage right now.  The wife’s daughter will not allow her children to be around grandpa because she is afraid he will do something to the grandkids.

I don’t know your husband’s background, or if he had any experiences that affect him today.  Have the conversation to try and figure out why he does what he does.  If he doesn’t know, he needs to go to therapy.  If there are no consequences for his actions, he’ll very gladly keep doing what he’s doing.  You have to change the dance by putting boundaries in place. Example:  If he’s still seeing someone behind your back, he’s out of the house.  Disrespect is not tolerated.

There are some videos on YouTube by Affair Recovery that address ambivalence on your husband’s part.
1.  What do you do when your spouse is ambivalent?
2.  Changing the dance of ambivalence 
3.  When they won’t decide: Understanding why a spouse won’t commit either way
4.  When you don’t know who to choose
5.  It’s time to cut the anchor 
6.  When betrayed spouses are perceived as needy or codependent 
7.  Ambivalence is always the end of the marriage help for those in crisis due to infidelity
8.  They get to say no, but life is going to change ( My favorite video)
9.  The Day Samantha Told Me She Wanted a Separation 

Dr. Phil has a video that I came across entitled Dr. Phill to Betrayed wife: Don’t blame yourself for husband’s  affair.

You need to know that being needy is not good.  Don’t beg them to stay or bribe them, or plead with them to not leave you.  All this screams that you are weak and will make them run the other way.  You have to be strong.  Like Lady Gaga, show him your POKER FACE.  No crying, no pleading, no begging, nothing.  Listen to Samuel’s videos.  They are very helpful.  Once you have set your boundaries, if he breaks your boundaries, follow through with consequences, or he will never believe that you mean what you say.  It’s hard, but you have to become a WARRIOR and stand up for yourself.  You are not a doormat.  If he senses that it’s OK to clean his boots all over your doormat, he’ll keep doing it and not respect you at all because you don’t mean what you say.

Watch those videos, and see if there was anything in his background that could have contributed to him being a serial cheater.  If he wants to be with you, there needs to be total transparency pertaining to passwords.  There should not be any secrets between married people.  If there is any contact with his AP, he needs to tell you right away.  He needs to cut contact with others decisively.  Being in contact with his AP while trying to reconcile with you is prohibited.  If he’s living in the same house as you, throw him out.  You have standards, and he’s not living up to them.

I hope some of this is useful.  Stand up for yourself, and don’t let him walk all over you.  Be a WARRIOR not a doormat.

Best of luck to you.  Stay strong.

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Melian
Thank you for all the resources! I know I’m not to blame but I do feel like I’m somehow responsible sometimes. He does have abandonment issues as he was adopted but I found his biological mom (about a year into the affair but he still continued) and he and his mom have a good relationship and talk most everyday. And there are other issues as well. We are in counseling and my hope is that he can change but if he can’t, I’m not willing to risk being hurt like this by him ever again. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I value everyone’s advice. 
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hurting
Remember this: you do not have to make a decision straight away. its ok for you not to choose right now.

I would tell myself this many times in the early days. But set yourself a time limit if you do this. You can give him a month. 6 months if you will. But remember to come back to it and ask yourself... now that I have given him time and a chance to come clean and change, is he taking the opportunity? Or is he squandering it and not really doing much to change and help you feel safer? Is he continuing to cheat and lie? That would be a big red flag to GTFO! Or is he learning how to show his remorse and shame? Has he come clean? 
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Melian

I’m trying to be patient but I honestly don’t see much progress in the past 4 months. He’s only thinking about protecting himself. He will not talk much and wants to wait until counseling sessions to reveal the bigger things. He’s not affectionate, shows no remorse and says things like “I know divorce is in the back of your mind and it’s what you want so why not just do it. I can be alone.” That to me doesn’t show any commitment to the marriage even though he’ll turn right back around and say he wants to be with me. Everyday is a challenge because I don’t know what to expect from him. He had told me some things about the affair but I want the whole truth and I’m only getting bits and pieces. Thank you for the advice and taking the time to reply.

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ThrivenotSurvive
Melian,

If I am honest, I don't see any of the signs I look for when trying to judge whether a reconciliation is likely to be successful.  I could be wrong, people can surprise you - but that being said, having gone through my own experience and helping so many others here, I have a pretty good feel for what to look for.  Your husband isn't exhibiting any of them.

First, he's a serial cheater.  That is a HUGE red flag.  It means he did it once, saw firsthand and up close how much it broke your heart... and was willing and capable of doing it again.  That says something very dark about a person.  That their dysfunction runs so deep and the need for outside validation so strong that they can't stop - even when they know EXACTLY how much suffering it will cause.  It also means that they get more from the cheating than they lose in self-respect. 

They had to face the fact that family and friends - the people they love the most - saw them for a liar and a cheat.  And rather than say "OMG who have I become?  I don't want to be this person any more." and make permanent life-altering changes, they decided they could live with it.  They could return to the feeling of lying without remorse. 

For me, reconciliation was a ONE TIME offer.  It has been my experience that most one time cheaters seem to have convinced themselves that either their secret will never be revealed - or that if it is - the carnage won't be nearly as bad as it is.  Then DD comes and there is a rude awakening.  They see their spouse go through depths of despair they never thought possible.  If they have any empathy, they realize that they have shaken their spouse's belief in everything - the life they thought they knew, their own judgement, their internal safety and security, their self-confidence - everything.  They suddenly realize that they have abused the trust of the one person who fully gave them their loyalty and fidelity. 

In my PERSONAL OPINION, the ones with a decent heart who got lost in their own BS/mid-life crisis see this and break down.  They can't believe the wreckage they have caused.  This is their turning point.  They may not get everything perfect right away, but they TRY and keep trying until they get it right.  They work on learning more empathy, go to counseling to figure out how they got themselves here, take 100% responsibility for what has happened, work to make their spouse feel safe even when it is hard, etc. 

That your husband could have returned to the same behavior that caused you so much pain is not something I could get past.  And the fact that when you caught him (when you thought it was just an emotional affair) he just waited until he thought you'd stopped suspecting/looking and started right BACK UP AGAIN - that shows a terrifying lack of remorse or guilt.    

That is three strikes in my mind - he's the boy who cried wolf.  What exactly could he do now that would ever REALLY make you feel like he had changed?  And I am not asking that rhetorically... I am asking you to really think about it.  If you felt confident that you two had healed and moved past it before - what could he do SIGNIFICANTLY differently that would give you a real, tangible reason to believe that you won't be having this same discussion in another 5 years or 10?  Because he - and you - can't just do what you did before.  It didn't work.  

I probably wouldn't give him that chance.  But I also know that each of us need to make our own decisions and forge our own path. It is always easy to tell others what you think they should do - when you don't have to live with the consequences.  

But I know one thing for certain.  If you do give him another chance you will need to make it contingent on some SERIOUS boundaries and changes.  For one, he needs more therapy - and not one of the "feel good" ones.  But one of the kind that calls you on your crap - because he currently is living with NO integrity.  Second - he needs to be willing and able to give you passwords to EVERYTHING he owns and access to it whenever you want - and he should expect it will be that way forever.  Does it make him feel like a child? YES.  Does it matter? NO.  He needs to EARN you even CONSIDERING giving him another chance.  And that is going to take some BIG, BOLD steps.  If he can't man up, let him GO.  He may be all you've known, but there are good men out there.  Trust me.  And frankly, even if there weren't - being alone would be better than waiting for the other shoe to drop.  That is no way to live.

He needs to dig deep and start giving you a reason to believe.  

As hurting mentioned, you don't have to make a decision now, but choose a timeframe and set a reminder in your phone.  When it goes off make yourself sit down and REALLY consider if you see any changes.  There should be a LOT more than the last time. 

In the mean time - start seeing your OWN therapist and work on self-healing.  Do your best to ignore hi for a bit.  Pour your time and attention on rebuilding YOU (you will see some of my old posts with recommendations that helped me.)  Whether he gets his head on straight or not, YOU need to heal the trauma he has caused you.  Infidelity causes PTSD and many of the same types of problems that combat vets/disaster victims /survivors of violent crime suffer from.  Read about it and take an active role in healing your heart, mind and nervous system.  Then whatever you decided about him, it will be coming from a place of strength and self-value.  Right now he's made you doubt your value.  You need to refind it and become so centered in who you are and what you deserve, that there is no question in YOUR mind - or HIS, that it is a life of love, security, honesty and loyalty.  And if he can't deliver that in spades, it is time for you to move on to the next chapter in your life.  

No matter what you choose - keep coming here.  We have all walked this path and know so much of what you are going through.  You are NOT alone.

Thrive
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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ThrivenotSurvive
Melian -

A couple quick addendums to my post.  

First - do not take my opinion as fact.  I could be wrong.  There have been those who have made the same painful choice over and over - who finally get sick of it and change.  Similar to drug addicts who hit rock bottom, they finally break free from a pattern long after everyone watching has given up hope.  BUT, that kind of change comes from within.  And I just urge you to be very, very, very wary.  Pull you energy back into yourself and use it to rediscover yourself.  Make it clear what you can and can't live with - and then let HIM decide what he is going to do about it.  Don't try to fix him - just tell him what you need, what you expect and what you will do if they aren't met.  He will likely see this as an ultimatum.  But it is not.  It is you giving him an instruction manual to living with YOU.  You aren't telling him he can't sleep with other women - you are only telling him he can't sleep with other women AND come home to your love and companionship.  He's an adult - he can do whatever he wants.  BUT - so are you.  And YOU will make decisions on where you will live, what attention, love and loyalty you will give based on whether this relationship is a healthy investment for you.  Right now, and for a VERY long time, it has not been.  He's been making withdrawals from you "love and trust" bank while putting very little in.  His account is SEVERELY withdrawn.  If he doesn't start making some serious deposits - it is time to close that account. 

But again, his ACTIONS will speak volumes.  If those aren't very, very different from the past - then you are likely being set up for yet another disaster.  So just be VERY wary.  And prepared.  As you wait and watch... work on YOU as I mentioned - and allow yourself to really explore what life without him could look like.  Meet with a divorce attorney.  Look at your finances.  Think about where you could/would live.  You don't have to act on it, but it will empower you to make decisions about your future from a place of knowledge and power.  

Second - YOU have no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed.  Your good heart and willingness to forgive is a STRENGTH - not a flaw.  Yes, it was used against you in this case, but that says FAR MORE about him than you.  You have chosen to live by your ideals - even when it was at a great cost.  That deserves respect.  It is easy to SAY you believe in forgiveness and compassion.  It is far harder to live it when you are gutted.  BUT, there comes a time when forgiveness becomes enabling.  When compassion turns to co-dependency.  You have reached that point.  He either changes in ways so utterly obvious and significant that it gives you reason to believe you will not suffer his dishonesty again - or you move on.  You can still forgive him - while not signing up to be a party to it anymore.  You can still have compassion while protecting yourself.  They are not mutually exclusive. 

But DO NOT CHANGE.  Do not let his brokenness make you lose something special and beautiful in you.  It is valuable, and just because he doesn't know how to treat or respect it, doesn't mean it is any less valuable.  If you have a Picasso in your basement because you thought it was your cousin's weird art project, doesn't make it any less a Picasso.  And someone, somewhere is going to come along and recognize it for what it is worth.  YOU ARE THAT PICASSO.  Do not let his actions make you think otherwise.  

Thrive
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Melian

I completely agree and I know that many people if put in my situation would just be done. I also know how messed up he is mentally and has ptsd on top of those issues and yes most everyone would probably run away at that point because addressing those types of issues and expecting change takes time and a lot of effort. I do, however love him and therein lies my struggle. I know he is capable of being a good husband and person because I saw it before he went to the military and in raising our kids. I feel like I failed him by not trying hard enough to get the right help we both needed the first time it happened but this time is just my worst nightmare come to fruition. It is so much worse and he kept it secret for so long because in his mind it would just be over between us. The last time I made it clear there would be no second chances but I still feel like I owe this process some time to see if that’s really true or if change is even possible. Ultimately though I don’t know that the help is what’s needed, I think he needs to want to change first and that has yet to be seen. I did set a timeline and he’s fully aware of it, so I guess I just need to see what happens and prepare myself either way. I will be taking your advice and trying to focus on myself and what I really need. Thank you for being completely honest. I needed the reminder to just get real and your post has helped me look at things more clearly. I’m glad this community exists because I don’t have anyone to really talk to (aside from counseling). Thank you all so much!

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hurting
I agree with everything Thrive has said above. 

During your ‘give it time’ process, your focus should be on you. It should be about looking after yourself and learning that you can be ok. It is up to him to do his part.

you did not fail him. He failed you. This is a fact. There are many people with mental health issues... none of those are a pass for destroying the world of another. It is neither a reason nor an excuse to have done what he has done. 

I was like you too... my WS had an emotional (one sided because she was not interested!) ‘affair’ years before the physical one. I was a wreck afterwards BUT (and I do feel this part is partly my fault), we never addressed it properly. I was distraught, but unwilling to let go. He did NO work to change afterwards, and it was essentially rugswept and we ended up getting married. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE! He then went on to physically have an affair with a different person. 

The above in my mind, is two strikes. The first was a weird half situation but he still saw how it hurt me. My fault in that was allowing myself to go back without seeing proper change. My WS absolutely did NOT deserve a second chance. I can barely believe I gave him one myself even now, when I type it out like this. In retrospect, I should’ve just kicked him to the kerb and be done with it as I sure as hell deserve better than him! But I was scared to let go. I still loved him on some kind of level. We had been together for 12 years. I also didn’t want to feel like I ‘lost’ somehow. 

My WS did not change perfectly. He lied. He evaded questions. I got trickle truth, then I found out about his porn addiction and he lied about that too. I walked out multiple times. I spoke to a lawyer multiple times. Every time he screwed up I came closer to leaving for good. BUT throughout that, he was slowly trying to change. Slowly because he’s an idiot and a damn slow learner. However, He did not refuse any of my demands. We got rid of all social media. His old SIM card and number were gone and back ups wiped. Email accounts deleted. I have all his passwords to his phone. He was not allowed to carry cash for awhile though could use card as he wished to be accountable to where money was being spent. His pay went straight into our joint account. I have his bank login. We moved out of our apartment and in with my parents etc. we activated find friends on our phones. His phone settings have been changed such that only I can turn it off and he cannot delete apps or browsing history. Etc. He signed a post nuptial agreement which was grossly in my favour (and his lawyer advised against) in order to show that he was willing to put SOMETHING in the line for the opportunity to salvage our marriage. It literally reads ‘should I want a divorce for ANY reason, I take 70% of everything we have). I could’ve filed for divorce the moment the ink was dry and he knew it. 

All of the above measures are tiny baby steps en route to change. It isn’t so much that they themselves provide safety... because let’s face it. He could get around any of those measures should he wish to. It’s that he agreed to them, knowing full well that the only reason I felt unsafe enough to require such measures was HIM. He showed me over time, that he was willing to learn to be open and transparent. That although he screwed up massively and then again in being too much of a coward to come clean, he was open to change. 

We also went to counselling (both MC AND IC) weekly for over a year. 

Agreeing to be monitored like that seemed like so much at the time. Yet in the grand scheme of things is actually so little. But do it he did. Over time, he learnt what was or wasn’t ok. The important part, is that those lessons have stuck (FINALLY!). I can now say more comfortably that my WS does try to keep me safe. He has shown consistent change over the last 2.5+ years, and I am glad that I chose to give him the chance to prove he could be worth my time. 

None of the changes I see happened instantaneously. But my WS was open to change from the first day that I agreed to even see him after I walked out. He screwed up and there were backwards steps. But overall, he slowly moved forwards. It takes time, but I could see change. 

Can you see that in your WS? It’s hard when you are faced with crisis after crisis. Sometimes all we can see is the pain. But IS there change? That is only something you can see, and you need time to observe this. If there is, MAYBE you have something to work with. Like I said... change is hard. And he must want it himself. No amount of wishing from us can force change upon them. If there isn’t though... I would do whatever you need to do to look after yourself. I would speak to a lawyer, outline what your exit plan looks like and how it will go. I would even tell him about it. NEVER would I let my WS say crap like what yours has done re: divorce. I would talk about divorce often in that first year. His response would always be ‘if that is what you want and that’s what will make you happy, then do it. But it isn’t what I want.’ 

As Thrive suggested above, I would set some VERY firm boundaries on what you need to feel safe. The MOST BASIC of these is knowing all his passwords and full access to every account he has. This was literally a no compromise boundary for me, set on day 1. A WS will not like these sorts of boundaries, but the willingness to share such information to keep you safe is the most important thing here. It’s less about monitoring him as being willing to be open and showing that he truly wants to change. He needs to prove himself to you now... over and over again. Because your safety now is the top priority, over whatever gripes he may have. It should be YOUR top priority, and it should also be his. If he is willing to do whatever it takes to help you feel a little more safe, then you have something to work with.
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ThrivenotSurvive
Yes, all of that ^^^**
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Melian

Thank you for sharing your story and I’m glad it has worked out for you. I know there are no excuses for what he did including mental illness but I feel like it still might be contributing factor. I really don’t know.  It has been really difficult dealing with flooding and trying to cope with the fact that he isn’t giving me much comfort. I can tell he is struggling with trying. He thinks I’m trying to change his identity but I need him to see it’s his behavior that needs changing. It isn’t easy watching and waiting but I guess I really need to switch the focus to myself and let him be. If he decides to change, like everyone has pointed out, I’m sure I would see it.

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