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He's been sexting other women

(47 Posts)
tiredandnumb Wed 08-Jun-16 15:56:44

Background: DH and I together for 10 years. Married nearly 8. DCs are 6 and 3.

Last night I was using his computer and found FB messages sexting with 5 other women.
I know 2 of them. I quite liked them.
The messages are combinations of chat about their days and dirty talk. Most of it quite kinky. There are some (clothed) selfies. He's kinkier than I am, but I thought we had a pretty good sex life. In fact, I was after more sex than we were having.
The messages go back months and months and months.

He was out when I found the messages. I sent him a text telling him that he ought to come home because I'd found them.

What followed was a teary confession about his self-hatred, his selfishness, his depression (He's been on anti-depressants for a few years, and has suffered from depression on and off all the time I've known him) his knowing that it was wrong but being self-destructive. It was fiction, it was fantasy, it was because he didn't want to feel old and boring (we're 35! we have 2 small kids and draining jobs! Who doesn't feel old and boring?) - he's never had sex with these women or anyone but me since we've been together (I do actually believe this, as these are friends from the UK that he knew in his 20s, and we've lived in another country together for 10 years)...
I pointed out that he was talking about him, not me, and not us.
I pointed out that I had no way to tell if he was sorry because he was caught, or if he really understood and was sorry about how much he's hurt me.

He said he's been doing this on-and-off for six years.

It was late and I let him stay in the house (and the bed) because I was so fucking tired and numb and nauseous.
I don't think I want a divorce - we really did have a good thing going on. We enjoy each other's company, I still fancy him after 10 years - I thought we had something really great, actually. I always thought we were lucky.

I do want to absolutely terrify him. I'm furious. I want him to never, ever, ever do this to me again. I want to be able to trust him.
I don't want a divorce. But I want to be married to the man I thought he was, not this person I don't know.

He's offered to give up his smartphone and get an old-fashioned mobile. He's offered to not have a mobile. He's given me access to his computer (which I already had) and his phone and everything else.
He messaged all the women and copied me onto the messages, explaining that he was blocking them because he made terrible choices and betrayed me and he hopes he can save his marriage/life.

I'm thinking of taking off for a couple of nights in a hotel and letting him deal with the DCs and swimming lessons and all that crap while I figure out what I want.
I don't know if I actually want to do this or if I just want to punish him. I don't know anything. I feel numb and so tired. And heartbroken.
He's contacting a therapist for him, and a couples one - today.
Anyone who has come back from something like this: how did you do it?
I'm not planning on LTBing, I don't think. Unless I can't find a way forward. I don't want to live with him while slowly sinking into horrible resentment and loathing. I want my life back. . . but it was all a lie.

GlitteryFluff Wed 08-Jun-16 16:13:29

I'm sorry you're going through this.
I've no experience myself however 6 years of a 10 year relationship is a lot. Over half of your relationship he's been lying to you. It's a long time.
I think going away and leaving him to deal with the DC for a few days whilst you get your head around things is a good idea. flowers

Vagabond Wed 08-Jun-16 16:13:35

Your life isn't a lie. Your husband is unhappy and is reaching out for something to make him feel something. Most men (says Women's Hour) don't reach out when they are unhappy so they try to do things to make them feel better. Maybe him reaching out to your common acquaintances is a symptom of this - though very risky and not great for you and your friends. Why are they engaging with him?
I'm not in the LTB camp and I think if you want to make this work, you can.
For a start, I think you taking a couple of days away is a good idea.

I think the main thing to worry about is that you have a problem (which can solved) in your relationship which needs to be fixed. No doubt he is feeling horrendous and exposed now. My experience is that its hard to get men to chat about their feelings..... your power now is in making him confront his inner feelings and get him to talk to you honestly.

I don't think you should throw your relationship away. Your friends' being part of it is weird though. Good luck.

Jan45 Wed 08-Jun-16 16:17:42

Sorry you are going through this and you do know when caught they always minimise, it's the fact you knew some of these women, what an absolute embarrassment, who knows for god's sake.

I am sorry but I don't see how counselling is going to change his personality, he's been doing it for years, it's his nature, you make one mistake, not mistakes over six years.

If I was you I'd make sure he had a massive consequence, tell him to go, do not disrupt your life, he's the one who has shat all over your marriage, not you, and yes we all go through tough times and stress but we don't all go behind our partners back and make a complete full of them and ourself, the only hope you have of working things out is actually having a temporary separation, for him to feel what he can lose otherwise he will just carry on and hide it better.

He will have to now prove to you that he's actually worth having.

Potplant Wed 08-Jun-16 16:35:07

I caught mine doing something similar with an ex work colleague. We rumbled on for a long time after but looking back now, it was the beginning of the end. I had two toddlers at the time, I couldn't even think about kicking him out. But I often wonder if I had done that then, would things have worked out better (now separated). Perhaps he would have seen how much he stood to lose. As it was there were no real consequences for him.

However mine was not particularly remorseful, he was very apologetic and begged me not to chuck him out. not sure how to explain but I was never really satisfied that he really meant it. Definitely sorry I caught him rather than sorry he'd hurt me so much.

tiredandnumb Wed 08-Jun-16 16:35:22

I don't know if I want to go away
(no kids! let HIM do all the work!)
or him go away
(you don't get to have a family life and sext other women)

I don't know what I want. I don't want this to be happening, honestly. That's what I want. I'm so tired.

SandyY2K Wed 08-Jun-16 16:39:05

How will he stop this 6 year habit? 6 years of cheating out of an 8 year marriage, so after 2 years of marriage at 29 he got bored. That's a lot to take in.

On the plus side his reaction is better than a lot in his situation. In fact it's very good if it's genuine - but how would you truly know.

He could get a second phone and create a new secret profile.

He's hidden it so well for so long and he wouldn't have stopped if you never found out.

He immediately blocked them and explained why.

He offered to give up his smartphone

He's booked therapy for himself. Let him have therapy first before couples therapy.

I think you should take time out at the hotel and tell him you have a lot to think about and need some space.

Those women knew you too I presume?

6demandingchildren Wed 08-Jun-16 16:39:54

Something similar happened to us. Instead of me going away on my own we packed up with the kids and went away that afternoon for a few days. It really helped being in a new place away from our life. We talked the whole time and really sorted things out.
You have to do what you want to do tho. But sex isn't everything some men like to feel as wanted and needed as we do.

Jan45 Wed 08-Jun-16 16:40:18

I think the least he should be doing for you is offering to go, it must be intolerable to be in the same house after such a revelation, sure he can sofa surf or go to a mate's!

Sorry but I think your relationship has been a lie, for 6 years he's been investing his time and sexual urges with other women, it's as bad as cheating in my book.

If you get him to go away you will be able to think better and get your friends or a good friend to support you, it's not fair you have to carry that on your own - if you two are really meant to be and he is genuinely sorry and wanting to change you will find out in due course, the worst thing you can do now is just brush it under the carpet, which I am sure would suit him right down to the ground but you would be the one left with the tormented mind.

tiredandnumb Wed 08-Jun-16 16:42:18

I'd met 2 of the women. They were all friends of his from before we met back in 2005. I quite liked the 2 I'd met, but we both have a lot of friends from the old days, and I never thought much about it.

I've been such a fool. The one I liked most (I sent her gifts when her baby was born!) I actually sent an email to her like: "WTF are you doing? I thought we were friends? I hope no one ever does this to you and your marriage."

She emailed back, remorseful and apologetic and said it was a holdover from their single days when they were flirty and she never should have let it cross a line and etc.

I do not know how people justify that stuff to themselves. I'm not perfect by any means, but cheating is pretty clear to me.

TheNaze73 Wed 08-Jun-16 16:47:45

He's emotionally cheated on you, I don't see any option other than to bin him off. The last 6 years of your relationship were lies. Think of the excuses he has made to contact these women??? You deserve much more & he's stuck two fingers up at you & your marriage

AndYourBirdCanSing Wed 08-Jun-16 16:55:12

Sexting is cheating. I agree with the minimising- if he felt able to do this and lie to you over a 6 year period I would be unsurprised to learn it has progressed to something physical. Not necessarily with these women but his boundaries have been lowered and I, personally, would not believe I was getting the whole picture here.

You either search for more information or come to terms with the fact that you will probably never know the whole truth.

BUT you say you want to stay together, and some couples do overcome issues like these. It will take A LOT to rebuild the trust, and he needs to be prepared to take full responsibility for what he has done, and tell you how he plans to work towards fixing things. I would personally ask him to leave for a while if practical- he needs a huge bloody shock to the system.

HarmlessChap Wed 08-Jun-16 16:55:14

Its very easy to dismiss him as a waste of space but with his depression he may well feel that way most of the time. If he was hankering after something to make himself feel worthwhile and has made bad choices in doing so he might change, if he has been trying to relive a time when he felt some self worth, when he was younger, then I can understand it even if I do not condone it.

P1nkP0ppy Wed 08-Jun-16 17:01:29

How can you tell if he's genuinely sorry or pseudo sorry because he's been caught out?
It's a horrible situation and I really don't think I would be able to trust him again if I was in that predicament ......

Jan45 Wed 08-Jun-16 17:03:17

There is never an excuse for cheating, whether you suffer depression, bi polar, anxiety, you fucken name it, what he has done is betrayal it has nothing to do with depression - so what happens for the rest of his life, his wife continues to forgive his indiscretions because he's lacking in confidence? it didn't stop him sexting FIVE women for the last six years did it! Can't abide people making excuses for shit behaviour under a banner that somehow makes it more acceptable, just no.

LovesPeace Wed 08-Jun-16 17:11:57

You can work as hard as you like at this marriage but you can't change him into who you want him to be (and thought he was).

Mobile phones, policing his computer use, having to watch every female friendship he has, wondering if you can trust him or is he lying yet again?

A lying cheat is who he is - you deserve better.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Wed 08-Jun-16 17:33:51

Well I'm not often looked on kindly for it on MN, but I'm not so black and white about cheating as many appear to be. In my experience it's often not as simple as "lying cheat" or "not lying cheat".

It sounds to me like you've got a good plan in place for now, and honestly I think all you can do is take one day at a time. He's given you options as to whether or not you'd feel more comfortable policing him for a while, for a longer while, or indeed if you'd rather not. You have counselling lined up, for him and for you both.

It's confusing and uncertain, and that's undeniable. Perhaps one of the biggest shocks is that you've been thrust from a place of subconsciously depending on your relationship, relying on it and not having to worry about it to one where, from one day to the next anything could happen. You might not have it tomorrow; you might not want it tomorrow; so you can only be true to yourself and your better judgement today.

In reality I think we're all in that place in our relationships anyway. We'd all like to think we're not and that we took some vows and that means nothing ever has to change in any significant way, but actually we really are taking each day as it comes to some degree. So don't worry about making a big decision or being the most principled of them all right now, the big decisions are always the sum total of what you choose day after day after day, not one day. Today you feel you want to try and work it out? So today try and work it out. And keep trying until the day you either feel you don't want to any more, or you don't need to anymore.

Don't know if that helps. I'm shocking at practical advice but love a good pep talk.

Oddsocksgalore Wed 08-Jun-16 18:31:00

Six years, so while you were pregnant.

He will do it again.

He would have been doing it today had he not been caught.

RivieraKid Wed 08-Jun-16 18:32:55

I don't think I'd come back from this if it was six MONTHS. Ten years of you feeling 'lucky' in your marriage and being cheated on for six of them AND with women you knew?! No. No way. I appreciate your circumstances and your personal resolve not to LTB but...No.

Goingtobeawesome Wed 08-Jun-16 18:38:45

It can't be helpful telling a distraught wife, who thinks she wants to stay married, that her husband will do it again, most of her marriage was a lie and other such comments. Not a single one of you knows he'll do it again as you can't see into the future, even if it looks like to you that he might want to carry on something he's liked doing for years. He actually might be sorry and able to stop.

Jan45 Wed 08-Jun-16 18:57:35

So would you prefer if we all lied then Going, if you are in a shitty situation it's highly unlikely you are going to get rose scented answers.

I never said he would do it again, one person did I think and they are entitled to say that, he's been cheating for SIX YEARS, not a few weeks.

SandyY2K Wed 08-Jun-16 19:08:43

You know that infidelity experts would say you should inform the spouses of the other women. That they have a right to know what their wives have been doing.

I don't know how quickly your husband came up with all the things he proposed like giving up the smartphone and emailing the other women - but on the surface he's saying all the right things.

You didn't know it was 6 years, but he confessed that. Assuming there's no way you would have known it was that long, then him confessing the duration is a good sign.

Having heard similar stories and even from the OWs side, they have received NC letters and the following day the MM says I had to do it because she (wife) made me and it all goes underground.

The slight difference is that your DH offered to do all these things on his own.

I think a lot of doubt comes in from people because of the length of time and because you caught him in the first place. This could easily have gone on another 6 years.

Plus you were after more sex and he was consumed with sexting all these women. He was getting the extra fix from them and being people you know it's even more hurtful.

tiredandnumb Wed 08-Jun-16 19:10:26

Thanks everyone for your replies.

One day at a time. There's enough left that's good, to make me want to work out if I can keep it.

I've always been a LTB kind of poster, but I know it's not what I want to do at the moment. It might be one day, maybe soon - but not today.
I won't be checking back today/tonight as I'm about to deal with a really hectic night of works/kids/activities. But thank you all for your thoughts.

Jan45 Wed 08-Jun-16 19:14:13

Stay strong, I think you have a very good attitude about it all.

Goingtobeawesome Wed 08-Jun-16 19:37:18

Don't be silly, Jan, of course I'm not saying people should lie. I just don't think the OP needs telling over and over he'll do it again. She probably has thought about that possibility.

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