I need advice...or a swift kick? Repair after an affair?

Alexis - posted on 01/31/2013 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I wish this was simple enough to be kept short and sweet. My 4 year relationship is a mess. We were TTC our son and when we found out we did it, he told me that was the happiest day of his life. We were in the process of moving in together (he already had a place which was not close to my job-which I was quitting). Fast forward to our first family Christmas (with our 3 month old) and I get a call from a "friend" of ours confessing to me that he has been cheating on me since the beginning, he kind of led a secret life, he lived with two other women while we were dating (before we lived together, obviously)- one right after the other, and that she's (the caller) now pregnant, and it was his (even though she is married, with two other kids already!).
He brought this woman and her family into my home as our "friend" and they were plotting the whole time, doing it right under my nose, right in my face (and her husband's and all our children's faces). In the end, she broke it off with him, realizing he was never who she thought he was. She does not know for sure if the baby belongs to her husband or her boy toy (not surprised she was sleeping with both...a cheat is a cheat, if they're cheating with you, then they're cheating on you!) I will not do a DNA test privately for her- she can do one privately with her husband and explain to him why. She can involve us via court.
Anyway, he will not comply with suggestions/rules laid down by me or our former counselor. He doesn't let me see his phone or online stuff, or he makes sure he immediately deletes anything questionable in case I'm sneaky enough to get a peek. He travels for weeks at a time for work so I can't keep a leash on him (and his work is killing us, not paying the bills on time or in full, not able to freely shop at the grocery store, no benefits...but he insists on keeping this job, says he has applied elsewhere but nothing is coming available)...I think he just likes to be free and stick his hand in the cookie jar when no one is looking, but I can't prove anything.
His family covers for him, protects him. His friends do the same. I have seen pictures and messages and I know he disrespects me when I'm not around-is this all enough to break apart a family? Like it or not, I've got to move past the old stuff, but the crap continues! When we discuss any of this, he insists he loves me and wants to be with me. He tries to convince me he just made a mistake, but I don't understand making the same mistake over and over with different people year after year. That is not a mistake, that is a poor decision/lifestyle. He tries so hard to do sweet things when he's around, he says nice things, touches me, cooks, cleans, helps with the kids and lets me (insists that I) be a SAHM...but he hides his bad side, its still there, he's just learned how to hide it better (except for the porn he was watching on his phone while I was in the hospital with my newborn son...who he had just delivered with his own hands-who thinks about porn after that??).
I guess I'm trying to figure out if something can be done here. Am I crazy for tolerating this behavior (clearly I'm some level of nuts)? Or am I crazy because I am so offended by his flirtatious behavior (he insists it is NOT a sex addiction), since I've clearly got bigger fish to fry? I've said to him before "just tell me that this is how you are, you like to look and you like attention, just tell me the truth so I can make the right decision for me" and he always insists that I am all he wants. There is no one better (...except the girls he cheated with for years...they were better, better than me and my unborn baby, better than me with my newborn. Fake boobs trump your own flesh and blood I guess.) I can't forgive him for denying our child just to please his mistress...or can I? Should I?
Ultimately I am trying to figure out if I can fix this on my own (since I feel like he is doing all he can or will ever do...I don't know what else to ask of him- other than to pack up and leave). Is it all in my head? I know I am hurt and I've not forgiven him for his actions, I fear I never will...and with that I feel like it would be better to just end things now.
...but he gives me a ring and begs me to wear it-for two years he's been asking me to wear it ( I will not, I do not feel loved ), he gushes over me and the kids when I'm in earshot... I hear couples say all the time that you can forgive and repair, but, 4 years into this man, despite his efforts and eggshell walking, he is not convincing me. Is it him being a bad guy/choice? Is it me holding a grudge and building a wall? I have two sons to think about in all of this too. I'd love some advice on how to forgive and rebuild because I am the result of a divorced family and I DO NOT want that for my children.
I expect and understand that many of you would say "run away, he sucks at life!!!" but I am so severely depressed and confused, I don't want to make a decision based just on my pain.
I have no friends. My family would rather see me single and on temporary assistance than stay with this man so they offer little support, I do not have health insurance and will not for months still so I cannot just go see someone to get my head straight-yet. I sometimes want to leave him but I don't want to look like a quitter and a failure to my sons 10, 15, 20 years down the road. Is it okay for me to deal just to keep my kids comfortable and feeling safe? I feel like it doesn't matter how I feel any more, its about making them happy- and daddy does that for them. Right now I just feel like I'll have to fake it til one of us dies of natural causes.
Surely someone out there can say something that will ring clear as a bell for me...please?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Liz - posted on 01/31/2013

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It sounds to me that you know what you should do and that is leave. I understand that being a hard choice. I know you are concerned about looking like a failure and a quitter to your son in the future, but he will know that you are miserable if you stay. AND he will believe that the way his father has made you feel is "normal". You don't want him to think that.
Two things I would advise, though, is don't talk bad about your son's father to him. I'm not saying you do, but he is still your son's father, and your son still needs him in his life, whether he is in yours or not. And two, you need to forgive him. Will it take time? Of course. But you need to do it for your sake. Not for his. Does he "deserve" it? No. But you need to do that in order to be completely free of him. Trust me, you will be much happier and better off if you can forgive him. Don't let him make you become a bitter woman. You can do this :)

Sara - posted on 01/31/2013

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No, it is about you just as much as it is about the kids. An unhappy mom is not a good mom sweetie.

You need to walk away. The father if he is a great dad will be involved, you can stay in the same town as him and have full 50/50 custody or give great visitation and flexibility so that you are not pulling the child from the father. It can work out very nicely.

But quite frankly you are being too slack. YOU HAVE GIVEN THIS AN HONEST GO... now walk away.

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Alexis - posted on 02/01/2013

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Thanks ladies. I'm ashamed to be sharing any of this but I've been struggling in my head and heart for years now and I'm beyond desperate for some kind of closure.
Liz, I agree that I don't want my children to hear bad things about their father from me. I'd rather they adore him than hate him (it took me a good 20 years to forgive my father for breaking up my family). As for forgiveness, I hear all the time that I need to forgive him for my own sake, but I don't know where to begin with that. Time is not healing my wounds and no kind words or actions from him hold any meaning anymore. I assume its all fake and lies because there was so much of that for so long.
Dove, I ask myself those same questions all the time. We all know the answers. I'm torn about him "bending over backwards" because he's always trying to convince me he's trying but I don't know if he's fake or if I'm just so hurt that I don't want to give him a chance anymore and I shut him down automatically.
I just wanted to be sure that I gave this a fair shot and gave him a fair chance (parent to parent, human to human) because I don't want my kids to resent both/either of us for "failing" at our family, and I would want that second chance if I ever made such a foolish "mistake". Thanks for the input :)

Sara - posted on 01/31/2013

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No not stupid by any means. It's not an easy decision and it shouldn't be done lightly. If you stuck around for the next 10 years I still wouldn't call you stupid, but I would say you were naive to expect changes.

You realize right now that its not right, that you deserve better. :)

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