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Can he really change...And do I even care?

(34 Posts)
Awomanscorned Thu 01-Aug-13 03:18:41

So here I am for the fourth consecutive night completely unable to sleep, my head just won't stop spinning, and I'm hoping off-loading on here and any subsequent advice might help a little. There is a ton of backstory, so apologies if this is a bit convoluted - I will keep it as brief as I can.

For the past couple of months I've had an awful gut feeling that something was "off" in my relationship with H, I have tried to talk to him on several occasions but he has just brushed me off and attributed my concerns to paranoia on my part. I'd delved a bit and hadn't found any evidence of wrong-doing on his part, even my closest friends assured me he adored me and I was imagining things but I was unable to shake the feeling off. I ultimately found myself on MN and reading AmIJustParanoid's thread, the more I read the louder the alarm bells were ringing and I was convinced something was up.

How right I was. I managed to remotely access H's internet search history and am utterly devastated by what I discovered. Porn, chat rooms, but most sickeningly web searches for "one night stands" in a city he's travelled to recently on a business trip. I confronted him, and so the drip-feeding began; he was "just looking" and then "it only happened once", yada yada...

Fast forward a few days and it transpires that not only has he cheated on me but that he paid for the pleasure of doing so, oh, and just as a bit of a random aside he has a major addiction to porn, and lesserly chat rooms and dating sites. Gutted, wretched, disgusted - none of them even come close.

He has admitted he has "a problem" (no real getting away from that one!) and is already seeking professional help. On the surface he appears to be incredibly remorseful, he claims he will never forgive himself but that he can change and is pleading with me to try and work things out. But he is obviously a total stranger to me! I mean I was aware he wasn't averse to a bit of porn and don't have a problem with it per se, but I just can't believe I was so oblivious to the extent of his problem. Now that the blinkers are off I'm pretty sure that him shagging a hooker is just the tip of a Titanic sized iceberg, I also have suspicions of a past EA...I have no idea if there is the slightest possibility of us ever coming out the other side of this or whether I even want to.

Mixxy Thu 01-Aug-13 04:09:19

Well I can't tell you if you still want him, only you kkow that.

I can assure you that I wouldn't.

No, I don't think he can change and hookers is a deal breaker for me. I'd pack his stuff and be done. A total waste of your time.

Don't forget that STI test.

GeordieCherry Thu 01-Aug-13 04:18:22

You poor thing. It took a lot of digging on your part for him to be caught & then be all remorseful. He blamed you being 'paranoid' & quite possibly still would be if you hadn't got the remote access.

Yes to the sti tests.

Only you will know whether you can get past this (& you certainly won't know just yet, I expect you're in shock)

But it's up to him to try to put things right. And for me that would be him doing the work, not saying "I'll do anything you say" & putting it back on you

Take all the time you need & keep talking. I'm really sorry he's doing this thanks

Awomanscorned Thu 01-Aug-13 04:55:07

Mixxy I completely get where you're coming from and if it wasn't actually me who was in this shitty predicament then I too have no doubts that I'd be urging the OP to run for the hills, frankly even I can't fully comprehend why I haven't already done so...I guess when it's your life it's just not such an easy decision to make.

Yes Geordie, I have no illusions that he has come clean for any other reason than being presented with some fairly incontrovertible evidence, and I'm sure there's still more horror to come despite his protestations to the contrary. He says he sees what has happened as a catalyst and admits that he doesn't know what would've happened if I hadn't found out. He has been to see a counsellor, but even if he genuinely wants to change it seems to me that his addiction is so deeply entrenched I wonder whether it will be possible. And then of course there are the inevitable trust issues.

STI results are all clear, thank god.

Thank you both for your replies, I really need some impartial opinions. I've spoken to a couple of RL friends but only given them a brief synopsis as I'm aware that, should I decide to stay, they will be judging me as well as him.

alphacourse Thu 01-Aug-13 05:03:04

Hi AWoman - I hope you are managing a little sleep. I was in a very similar situation to you 15 weeks ago - my DP was using married affair websites. Minimised it to 'just chatting and flirting online' for 7 weeks before I found out that he had slept with at least 2 girls. I posted a threat recently asking whether I could forgive that much deceit. I got a unanimous LTB! I have learned a lot over the last 15 weeks! Firstly - everybody is correct - he DOES need to leave the house for a few weeks. It will help you to think clearly and it will also shock him into being a little more truthful! For me the shock laste for 10 days. Hugs.

alphacourse Thu 01-Aug-13 05:06:56

Patrick Carnes authored an excellent book about sex addiction which should be useful to you both.

Mosman Thu 01-Aug-13 05:09:28

The biggest mistake I made was not getting him to leave immediately. Six months on I truly regret that.
You maybe able to work this out but it's about healing you and deciding what you want. He knows what he has to do I do not believe being faithful is so bloody hard because you've done it, I've done it what's so difficult that they can't.

Mixxy Thu 01-Aug-13 05:11:01

Don't be worrying what your friends think. Werent they the ones telling you that he adored you and you were imagining it all? We had a friend who started dating a gay friend in our circle. We were all a bit hmm. 10 years later they often comfort members of our circle through divorces. So stuff doing what you think will impress or appease your friends. Because really this all comes down to how you feel.

I know you admit that this is the crux of your problem. Can you trust him again? Does he deserve a second chance. You seem to have a good gut feeling. I mean, you suspected and were right. If your gut is saying stay,then do. If it is telling you something else, then listen to it.

Dahlen Thu 01-Aug-13 08:39:41

Im sorry. flowers What a shock that must have been. It must have made you feel like your whole marriage was a sham. sad

It's all well and good saying LTB, which is what any sane person would say under the circumstances I think, but you've just discovered all this and you're reeling. You need time to take it in and consider your response. I understand that.

I would still make him leave for now. I don't see how you can have the necessary space to think this through with him being around. Phrase it as "I need some space" or "a trial separation" rather than "it's over" if it makes you feel better, but he really needs to go in the short term, even if it's just a week at a mate's rather than a flat somewhere.

You have three separate issues you need to deal with I think. Any one of them on their own would break many relationships, so I'll be honest and say I don't see how you can come back from all 3, but then I don't know either you or him, and you may have a past that you feel is worth working them through. You need to tackle each one separately - infidelity, sex addiction, porn use. Remember that the onus is on him to prove to you that he's worth taking a risk on, not on you to give him a chance to show he's changed.

Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

alphacourse Thu 01-Aug-13 08:44:53

For me - the issue is all the lies. Have you seen his online dating account?

DfanjoUnchained Thu 01-Aug-13 08:51:05

You poor thing sad

What made you think something was up?

You must be in shock right now. I think the anger will come soon, then sadness and tears. Look after yourself in this time. I would personally ask him to move out for a bit while you get your head straight x

buthow Thu 01-Aug-13 09:02:47

You know I think walking out on a relationship is more harder if this person has been a part of your life so long. I mean if I date a guy for 2mnths and realise he is cheating then definitely "its goodbye" but then if u have been married for like years and have never heard any difficulties w him cheating then its very hard to jus up and leave, throw it all away coz of some hooker...

I dnt know if I'm wrong but some men cheat because they are jus players right? Some cheat coz they are jus curious to experience n are just being naughty but they truly love their partners however some have an affair tht satisfies them n makes them happy they jus dnt hv the guts to end their marriage.. So I thnk OP needs to look at the reason he is cheating. Is it un happiness? Curiosity n jus being naughty or he is a total player....

However as much as I think u need to look at were u r coming from w your partner to throw it all away because of him acting childish n stupid for something meaningless..a cheating partner cannot be trusted... But it seems most men cheat some are caught and some are smart enough to get away with it. It is wrong for men to cheat and truly unfair but it cnt really be stopped

I hope you make the right decision for yourself everybody does deserve a 2nd chance

Boosterseat Thu 01-Aug-13 09:18:09

Agree with Dfanjo get some space and remember the mantra.

You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

Its the best advice I have ever been given, you cannot change other people they can only change themselves.

Be kind you yourself my love, you've had a really shit time and don’t be ashamed to talk about it in RL, they are his inadequacies and you have nothing to feel shame about.

MadAboutHotChoc Thu 01-Aug-13 09:18:15

You must be in shock sad how cruel of him to dismiss your concerns as paranoia only for you to discover that your gut instincts were spot on.

Don't make any long term decisions - but do ask him to go away to give you space.

Did he actually use prostitutes? The cheating is bad enough but to buy women's bodies, that must be really devastating as it shows what he really thinks of women - he must hate them.

The sex addiction if that it's was it is, is HIS issue and only he can deal with it.

Awomanscorned Thu 01-Aug-13 13:27:46

Thank you so much for all your responses MNers, I have been a bit tearful at the irony of such support from random strangers when the one person I should be able to rely on has totally f***ed me over.

To those of you who have suggested some time apart, we are currently on different continents and have been since before I found out. We moved overseas last year, and I can't help thinking how incredibly cruel and selfish he has been to uproot me and the DCs under such circumstances. The kids and I are due to return next week and I feel physically sick at the thought of it but cannot postpone our flights as I want things to remain as normal as possible for them and don't want them to miss any school.

Alpha you are spot on, whilst I am obviously hugely hurt and repulsed by what he has done the killer is not the actual deed itself, but the underlying duplicity - he has blatantly lied to my face time and time again and I do struggle to imagine how I could ever regain any trust in him at all. I don't think he's a player or a bastard, I think he's been severely emotionally damaged by the events surrounding his father's terminal illness in his (H's) twenties. Dahlen we DO have a past that makes me feel our marriage is worth fighting for but I cannot and will not help him if he continues to lie to me. How can I make him see that there is no possible hope for us without total transparency on his part?

Jan45 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:45:39

I think you are bloody marvellous, one for wanting to still try and also for wanting to help him. You say he's no player, his actions say differently - not saying he doesn't have a problem, he clearly does but does he not have control over his own body? Sure he does when he wants to.

Unless he sorts himself out (not you) you won't ever be able to trust him again or not expect it to happen again - if he's truly sorry and changed then you will find out in time. It's a waiting game at the moment, least you have the space to really think about what you want to do, we all deserve second chances and if you still love him then I'd say go for it.

Twinklestein Thu 01-Aug-13 13:52:15

He may not be a player but he's definitely a bastard, by my definition anyway. A friend of mine's father suffered a terrible death from Motor Neurone disease when she was late teens early 20s, she didn't turn to hookers... I don't think the 2 things are related.

Wherever 'home' is now, I would ask him to move out for the moment, you really need some space & uou need to take control of the situation.

I'm not sure that you will ever be able to get the whole truth out of him...

Boosterseat Thu 01-Aug-13 13:52:32

You can’t make him do anything, and do you really want to?

If he was at least trying to make amends, be open about relapses or feelings he was experiencing then you might be able to claw some of that trust back. The changes have to come from him and him alone.

Other than moral support, which IMO he doesn’t even deserve after what he has done to you, you can’t do anything more for him and he needs to identify and seek help for his destructive patterns of behaviour.

He is seriously bloody lucky to have you, i hope he knows this.

alphacourse Thu 01-Aug-13 13:53:09

OP - for me - it is the continued lies and minimising which is the killer. As much as you tell them to put all the cards on the table and get the pain all out in one hit, they won't. They will try and hide some of what they have done. The drip drip drip is by far more painful than what they have actually done. That they can continue to look you in the face and lie, after all they have done, is what will break the relationship I think. You can't forgive what you don't know. You need to know it all and then see if you can mend things. I am in almost exactly the same position. The pain is horrific. Hugs xx

welshharpy Thu 01-Aug-13 13:53:12

Do you know how long he has been on registered with the dating websites and using hookers?? Sorry for me that is a massive, instant dealbreaker and I honestly think its very likely he will do this again. So sorry Op

debtherat Thu 01-Aug-13 14:15:53

So sorry for you. Losing your trust in someone who then wants you to help and sympathise with them is impossible. I felt and still feel emotionally and spiritually bereft. I found these boards and talking to other people so helpful but the disrespect in all in this to you and your children is heartbreaking. Cant offer much more help/perspective - just needs to be lived through unfortunately - you will find much kindness in other people. Good luck.

Twinklestein Thu 01-Aug-13 14:21:50

Thing is, if he'd really wanted help he's had plenty of time to get it.
He's only asked for help now that he's being rumbled. Is that even sincere? Or is he just trying to medicalise philandering?

debtherat Thu 01-Aug-13 14:27:10

Twinklestein exactly sex addition my arse. I suffer from a star bar addiction "i can't help myself - it just happened".

debtherat Thu 01-Aug-13 14:28:45

I guess one good thing is that he hasn't blamed you for this...so far.

mummytime Thu 01-Aug-13 14:48:27

Are you in your original country at present? Or the place he moved you?

If in your original country, which country do you want to live in? Where would you have most support and help?

If it is where you are now I wouldn't go back. Yes your children would have to change schools again, but better that than you being stuck in a country you don't want to be in.

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