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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

So I found out for the past 4 or more years my husband had been on MANY chat sites chatting, sexting and exchanging photos with many women. 10yrs ago he was having an emotional affair with a co-worker, 9 yrs ago with client.

I left for a few weeks. We went to counseling and for past 5 years I thought things were good. Only really feeling safe the past 3 1/2. Our relationship was better then ever I thought. He swears it had nothing to do with me or even our relationship, that things were good.

Our lives are very stressful (child with kidney disease and many hospitalizations. A child with Pot syndrome and raising 2 grandchildren ages 3 and 1 and baby has CHD. Due to medical issues we had to declare bankruptcy.) Counselor said stress escape and addiction. Originally I only saw one site and he immediately shut it down. But continued on another site for 2 1/2 more weeks. He did stop this before I found out (I believe due to our first sessions with counselor).

My issue is the lying. I asked from moment I found out is there any more? Answer was no. I asked if photos exchanged he said no until I accidentally came upon them a few weeks later.

Well, due to these lies I decided to research and 6 weeks since revelation I found his Skype account. This is where I saw it went on for almost 3 more weeks. Most conversations I saw (most deleted) were very sexual but one not only sexual but very personal (this one hurts the most) when confronted about the site, he denied it until I put it in his face.

I left him for few days until he located me and came to talk. Next session seemed to have a breakthrough. Last session I found out the one woman I found is from Germany and they chatting for 2 yrs. He said it was not real but fantasy and never thought any different about me (I was shocked with whole situation bc we had I thought a great relationship. We do pretty much everything together and have a very healthy sex life)

The counselor said he totally separated this from our relationship (so hard to wrap my head around) originally I was told this was going on for 4 months, Last week ( we got new phones and had to download info) I found out it has been going on for years. I found more pics (he thought deleted but never really goes away) sites and dates. He said he lied to protect me. Said one month 1 year 10 yrs what’s the difference? He was wrong from 1st time.

He is doing amazing since counseling except for the time I found Skype. He is for most part going above & beyond to save our relationship but I am not well. First 2 months I focused on getting him the help he needed. I suppressed my pain for the most part as to not make him feel horrible (2 day after I found 1st incident his sister died 4 days after Skype the baby was hospitalized with RSV and last week the day I found info on phone my mother was hospitalized )

idk if stress or repression to much for me but 13 weeks into this I am breaking. Do I love him? Very much. I also take my vows seriously. But it was hard enough when I thought it was 4 weeks. All the fun we had shopping for holidays the parties the weekend trips were all tainted now knowing that as I was feeling safe and enjoying our life (finally) as soon as I went to work or fell asleep and at times I was right in room with him... he was on these sights, i related that season so much to pain that the anniversary band he gave me for Christmas we took back.

Every time I looked at it I literally felt ill but now OMG every good memory (vacations graduations birth of grandchildren) bc I saw dates on google history are all tainted. Even 2 yrs ago when I was in an accident and had to have major back surgery in the hospital for almost 2 weeks and he was there with me he was on sights, Now I look at him or see a picture or hear  a song have a memory and it is all overshadowed by this darkness.

One moment I feel anger disgust even bitterness and another such hurt heartache and at same time pity for him. Do I want it to work? Yes but idk if it can. I feel for every 3 steps forward I eventually slide 2 back. I wish I could get amnesia. My mind is stuck in past and it is eventually going to effect our healing. At times I feel maybe it’s to late I am damaged and broken but unlike him who took no thought how his actions effected others I realize how devastating it would be on our family if I left  To many people rely on me. He doesn’t want to separate or go for a week or 2 and honestly through all of this we have still continued to handle the care of my parents our daughter and the babies without any of them knowing a thing
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973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Oh my gosh, such betrayal.  I'm sure this has rocked your world.  He never met in person with anyone, it was all online, correct?  Small comfort but if I had to rank the way I'd feel, I'd be more upset if it was in person. Is he now remorseful?  

This is a crisis time going on outside of our homes and then to be IN your home with such feelings.  I really feel for you.  I'm here if you need to talk hon.
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3 Comments
And only you can answer to stay and go.  I think, and I'm always considered an optimist, that many relationships can be healed and people can work through things when both want to.  So, I'd stay until you know you have to go and you don't know that yet since you are asking the question.  hugs
He is very remorseful. I have never seen him so broken. He has agreed to go into sexual addiction counseling. He has synced his phone to mine. We even dropped our Google account and got iPhones so that all of his contact was gone. He does go above and beyond to try to make me feel comfortable. He gets up an hour earlier in the morning so we can do devotions And pray together. I was so far along in our journey until I came across the fact that It had gone on many years and he had continued to lie to me. He says the lie was for my protection because he knew it would hurt me. And I guess in his mind he thought that way but I see it as he was protecting himself knowing I would break and more than likely leave. My mind wanders back-and-forth because I feel like the last 10 years of my lifeLife and our marriage Have been Wasted. But then I think of all the great memories we’ve had especially the last six years. I try to concentrate on them and how I felt safe. But then that God comes in that while we were enjoying our time together he was still involved in his addiction. Sadly because of what is going on in the outside world our counseling sessions have been postponed. I have asked my own counselor if we could video council. She said this may be an option. I don’t want To leave, but I am also so upset that I have been taken advantage of and then played a fool. Even though he says there’s nothing else there’s nothing more and he begged me to believe him I don’t know if I can. There’s been so many lies and I believed each one.
I understand.  Forgiving is something we say we can do but is hard to really feel for a long time. So, I commend you for knowing yourself so well.  My hope is that if he is truly remorseful and broken is that TIME will heal this.  I think praying about it sure can be a big help.  Truly.  And the counseling for sex addiction would be very powerful.  I think he has to allow you to be angry.  That sadly is often a sticking point  You know he is sorry and WANT to heal but it doesn't happen immediately and you'll have set backs.  Where you feel terrible and maybe even blow up.  He has to be patient and also give it time for you to feel the forgiveness you want to.  

I feel like you are a very strong woman.  We're here to talk to any time!
134578 tn?1614729226
Hm. So the counselor said this was done for stress relief and that he is a sex addict. The stress level, with the kids you are raising and the financial issues, doesn't seem to be going to change. So what about the sex addiction? Does your husband plan to go into therapy to break this cycle?

Almost everyone who has ever had a sexual fantasy (and plenty of married people do) leaves it at that, a random fantasy. And, I'd agree that the odd fantasy means nothing. But I don't agree that what your husband did means nothing. He (apparently long ago) crossed the line into acting out, and though he found a way to not do it in person, he seems to have no natural barrier against doing it when most people do have a natural barrier against doing it. If he has no natural limit against such risky and harmful behavior, and apparently is unbothered by the potential consequences until they hit, it doesn't sound like he really will be able to change. The lack of a braking mechanism to the impulse sounds hard-wired into who he is. While there are sex-addiction clinics (Tiger Woods famously went to one), they are costly and there isn't one on every corner, and you've gotta want to stop. I think this is part of who he is and sorry though he might be right now, he probably wouldn't be able to stop.

Given that you two sound like you can hardly afford to split up due to not having money and the need to care for the children, then the question is how you can live with this situation as it is. It would take you changing your mindset and no longer expecting him to be in the role of faithful husband. You'd almost have to just think of him as a guy who lives in your house and helps take care of your mutual responsibilities. You would have to give up on your idea that you two have an exclusive and loving relationship in the ordinary way a wife expects of her husband. But if you did stop expecting that, he would no longer have the power to hurt you. (Whether in such a relationship you still would want to sleep with him, would be your decision.) I can't tell from your letter whether you have anywhere else to go, or whether you would kick him out, or what, and how you would support yourself and the kids if he were gone. But it really sounds like you staying sentimental about your love and happiness together, when he is a lying sex addict, is what will hurt you the most in the end. I'm really sorry.

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Avatar universal
I agree. That is why he is seeing a sex addiction counselor but you are right. Even though he says he would never do it again bc he sees now the pain it caused, I know it is an addiction and you can’t just stop, The only good I see from this situation is that he had renewed his relationship with God and above all I guess that is the most important.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
I'm glad he's seeing a counselor, and that he has a better relationship with God. Maybe if he really wants to change, those will be enough and he will be able to. Addiction being addiction, you are still better off not hoping for things to return to a storybook marriage. You don't want to break your own heart by having sentimental illusions. He's done enough heartbreaking already.
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