I’ve been waiting for the forum to reopen to share my story. I probably should do this under an alter but know I need to own this completely. I’m hoping by sharing this, others who have been there can share their story to help me know I’m not alone (or crazy) in how I feel. I really feel I need the support of people who have been there to be able to come here and read the responses when I feel like I’m having that moment of weakness when I want to call him and talk or see him again. Because I know I shouldn’t.
I’m newly single, not that I want to be. I met a man in 2008 that I was completely smitten with. It took a while for me to warm up to him but when I did, I was head over heels. But he was critically flawed. I fell for him in July and by that first December I caught him in a lie. He had spent an afternoon with his ex – at her house – and had told me he had been Christmas shopping with his mother. He wouldn’t tell me what went on, said he didn’t want to talk about it and I forgave him. A few months down the road, February 2009, I needed to have surgeries for a bone infection in my face so I was very sick. I certainly wasn’t feeling up to anything more than a cuddle on the couch with me falling asleep in short order. To relieve his frustrations, he went online and found a friend named “Amanda”. When I was in recovery from one of my surgeries, he came to me and told me that he was leaving me for her but it turns out she never existed. She was a creation of his ex to continue to toy with his life. I took him back again, saying to myself that I loved him unconditionally.
He continued this pattern of going online, doing it every 4-6 months. He would engage in conversations with random women that would turn erotic, sending them naked pictures of himself. He would use websites like “Cougar Life”, “Horny Matches” and “Adult Friend Finder”. I caught him so many times, though I’m not naive enough to think I really caught him every single time. This seemed to be a compulsion for him. He would do it late at night, when I was asleep, to entertain himself but it quickly escalated to taking over our life. The random text messages from women, because he shared his phone number with them. I watched him slip down this black hole, withdrawing from reality and seeing him become frustrated and angry with things that would normally never bother him.
I’m not a hot temper. It takes a lot to get me mad and I only yelled at him twice in six years. One episode was after finding those disgusting hookup websites in his browser history. I was so physically sick over what I saw. And the women he chose to do this with were all older than him by about 10 years and divorced with multiple children. For a guy who says he wants to get married and have kids, I doubt a 45 year old with teenagers is going to reopen the baby factory at that stage in her life. I was so disgusted by it all. He said he wanted one thing but did another. He continued to lead this double life – he presented a perfect happy relationship with a girl who loved him to the ends of the earth and to the public, we were blissfully happy. But in private, I was riding a demented roller coaster.
Things hit a real low point for me in February 2012. I found out I was pregnant. During this time he was still online, though at this point it had escalated to meeting women in person. One of the women he chose to go out with was a 45 year old divorced mother of three kids who lost custody of them in her divorce and was given just two court supervised visitations per year. He sat down with me one night and told me that being with her was *magical* and that she was amazing. I told him that he can go be with her but that should he build a life with her I would make sure he never saw his child because I would not ever put my child in the same room with that woman. There is a very good reason why the courts deemed her unsafe with her own children and I’ll be damned if I put mine with her. He also refused to tell her about me and our situation. That is when I lost my temper the second time. I’ll blame the hormones, but I saw red. I wound up reaching out to this woman, diplomatically asked her to remove herself from this situation and thankfully, she did.
My pregnancy was ill-fated. My progesterone levels were low and even with supplementation and bloodwork every other day, I wasn’t able to save my child. I was devastated. Even though I didn’t want to be pregnant and in this situation, nor did I want to be a single mom, having that happen made me realize I really wanted a baby. I wanted that baby more than I knew.
But, for him, this didn’t change things much. A week after my miscarriage we were at a restaurant with his parents and he opened his phone and had a text from someone named “V. Love” that simply said “OK”. I asked him who that was and he said his usual “just a friend”. When we got back to his parents, he left his phone out and I couldn’t help but look. His outgoing text message to her said “I had a great time at dinner with you and, as I’m sure you know, I really like you. If you’re up for it, I would really love to see you again.” That was what she said “OK” to. I asked him in that moment why he kept doing this stuff, and he came right out and said “I know you love me so much that you’ll forgive me for anything I do.”
After this happened, I sought help and asked him to join me at a therapist’s office. He did go, for one session, where the therapist flat out told him he has an addiction problem and isn’t going to be able to fix it on his own. He refused to go to any more appointments saying he can choose not to do it on his own and he didn’t need help to do something he already knew he could do. I went again, for myself, to learn how to deal with this. The therapist told me that should I choose to stay with him, that I will be living with the addiction for the rest of my life and I needed to decide whether I was strong enough for that. I thought I was and foolishly, I stayed and it never got better. In late 2013, I left. Blocked him and tried to move on.
In December he sent me a video, since I wasn’t accepting any of his contact. I played it and it was so touching and heartfelt. In that video was the man I fell in love with – not the monster that broke my heart. He said in this video that his life without me is not a good one. That there is a huge hole in his heart. He said he loved me and that he knew he was an A$$hole and didn’t deserve me but he hoped that I could give him one more shot to do things right because he was ready to be 100% committed to us. Blinded by the reemergence of the guy who had been missing for so long, I went back. And I was blissfully happy for a few weeks.
His commitment was very short lived. Three weeks ago, I found evidence in his email that he left open on the computer that he was back on the internet as early as February/March. I confronted him, he made no excuses and gave me a “Yeah… so?” look. He told me that he felt that to be really in love, you need to have that rainbows and butterflies feeling 90-99% of the time. That there should be excitement 90-99% of the time. I laughed and told him that what he describes is infatuation and not love. Love changes and it evolves. It ebbs and flows with life. It’s not a static thing. He told me that he did love me, I was his best friend and that I made his life better but that he couldn’t see himself asking me to marry him. To me, those three things – love, friendship, and life – are the trifecta of “That’s IT!” when it comes to choosing someone to marry. We at one point did almost get engaged, he bought a ring – two actually, and they have been sitting in his sock drawer for four years. Being a fan of positive visualization, I asked him if he were to ask me to marry him right now, in this moment, how would he do it? He got down on one knee in the living room in front of me and went into this lovely speech that you know he rehearsed over and over in his head and he actually started to cry during it. It was perfect. But not real. And this really was the end for us. After this he became more withdrawn, more angry and there was nothing I could do to bring him out of it. We stayed together one more week before we made it official. The last day we were at his godson’s birthday party and he pulled out his phone to check the time and it showed texts from other women on the screen.
As much as I loved him – at least loved the good man that I knew he could be – I had no more fight left in me. My heart was simply shattered. Last night, I sat with his mom to say my goodbye to her. She and I were so close and I have a deep appreciation for everything she’s done for me over these years. That was a hard thing to have to do. I don’t have my mom in my life and she was that for me for more than six years. She knows what is going on with her son and she even told me that I deserve better than what he’s put me through all these years and that no one can save him but himself. She wants me to move on and be happy and stop putting my life on hold for him. And this is a mother who loves her son and does anything for him. To hear her say that was a surprise.
I spent six years loving a man that didn’t earn it. I gave my love freely and forgave more than I should have ever forgiven and in the end, I’m left feeling utterly devastated. I really wish he could have figured himself out. I still have love for him but I know I couldn’t go on living that life with him. I’m a very transparent person. I want to know that should I die tomorrow that anyone who has to come pack up my home won’t be very surprised by what they find around my house. He seemed to be just fine living a double life. He didn’t mind having a public face and a private face and that was just not OK with me. I know in my heart had I stayed, things probably would have escalated to him becoming intimate with other women and with how much disregard he had for my feelings up until now, he would have no regard for my health by exposing me to diseases through his infidelity. If I stayed, there is a real chance this relationship could have killed me. Not through physical abuse but through his choices to devote his time and attention to other women.
I really appreciate being able to put this all out there. Just getting it into words is very cathartic for me and I know the strong women of COTH will have advice I can come back here and use when I feel those pangs of regret and sadness which run over me in waves. There are moments where I feel an utter sense of freedom and eventually I come crashing down to reality. Right now, I feel broken and can use all the support I can get.