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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.

Awomanscorned Thu 01-Aug-13 17:24:28

Thanks again ladies for your kind words, lots of food for thought here. We have been in pretty constant contact since I found out and I am just exhausted by the circles we seem to be going round and round in. I think I need to go cold turkey in order for me to at least begin to get my head together and decide what to do in the best interests of me and the DCs.

Twinkelstein I do genuinely believe that he has been adversely affected by his dad's death, his dad became ill when he was in his teens and so for several years he helped his mum care for him through some pretty gruesome times and essentially had to supress his own grief and distress to step up and be the man of the house and be strong for his mum. He has never spoken to me or anyone else about it and never acknowledged the depth of his feelings and consequently, imo, is quite emotionally detached. He also claims to feel like "a ticking time-bomb" and says this is what has led him to dislpay such reckless disregard for us. I am in no way making excuses for what he has done, clearly it is inexcusable and indeed maybe he really is trying to "medicalise philandering" - he's played me for such a fool I am loathe to trust my own judgement.

Alpha I have ordered the book you recommended and read through your thread, you're right, the pain is indeed horrific and the not knowing is worst of all, hugs to you too.

Twinklestein Thu 01-Aug-13 18:11:35

I don't doubt that was deeply affected by his father's death, some terminal illnesses can be traumatising for the people left behind. However, I've never heard of it as an excuse for cheating before. I don't think the two things are related, I think that's just his sympathy card.

The experience could have worked the other way - that he is more cherishing & grateful for his family to be alive & healthy.

The fact is he has given precious little respect for your sexual health, and some curable stds have awful long term consequences if untreated.
He has prioritised sexual pleasure over his family.

alphacourse Thu 01-Aug-13 18:46:19

OP - I posted when I first found out that he was a fully paid up member of a married affair site, but under a different user name. I took the thread to the secret place, so it got deleted after 30 days. How much poking around in his affairs have you done? Do you know which sites he used? He may have used the same user name on more than one site? How honest do you think he is being with you?

Awomanscorned Thu 01-Aug-13 19:54:33

Ahhh, I see, I read the "Can I forgive this much deceit?" one, and am sad to say it completely resonated with me, but still, ridiculously, I don't feel ready to LTB. Am I really such a mug?!

I haven't been able to poke around as much as I'd like (well, not like, obviously, but you know what I mean...) due to logistics, I can only see the search terms he's used and not specific websites so no idea of his user name or passwords. I don't think he's being honest with me. But then of course I wouldn't.

I feel like absolute shit.

Mosman Fri 02-Aug-13 00:23:03

Try spoeko.com put his email address in CBD see what comes up. You'll be amazed at what is right under your nose.

alphacourse Fri 02-Aug-13 07:24:15

Have you managed to sleep? I didn't ltb straight away either - the shock is too great. Do you know what you want/how you feel about it? My DP started psychotherapy straight away, and seems to be getting a lot out of it. He has bought the book I recommended, but hasn't started reading it yet. He doesn't think he is an addict - but I think he was def addicted to the ego kibbles of people fancying him online - the thrill of the chase. Can your DH explain why? What he got out of it?

Awomanscorned Fri 02-Aug-13 08:57:57

Mosman I'm not familiar with either of those sites but have just Googled Spokeo and will have a look. What's CBD? I'm really not sure how much more detective work I can stomach tbh, I mean how much worse can it get?! I'm also pretty sure he has at least one secret email address and an alternate sim card for his phone so I'm not sure how much I will be able to discover. I can't believe he's even putting me through this now he knows I know, why can't he just fess up?! Betrayal is betrayal at the end of the day, and so whether it's one woman or several is largely immaterial, I can't feel any worse. I just want the lying to stop.

I did sleep a little Alpha, I think it's helping to go no contact and just take some time to try to process what's happened. Quite frankly the things he was saying were just making me more and more irate. I'm beginning to wonder whether he's delusional, he said yesterday that he has "demonstrated his devotion to change" - WTAF? So in his warped mind making an appointment to see a counsellor equates to wiping out what he's done?! Clearly this does not bode well.

I have (of course) asked him why, he says he felt we were drifting apart, that I didn't love him and was just with him for the sake of the kids and a comfortable lifestyle. He felt "old" and "lonely" and "insecure" and wanted to see if anyone else was interested in him, hence the chatrooms and dating sites...I have yet to ascertain quite how this escalated to fucking a hooker, apart from the fact that he said he didn't want any emotional involvement...A lot of what he's told me is so completely contradictory I just can't get it straight in my mind at all.

Of course, now he's been rumbled he is telling me that he compartmentalised everything and just didn't consider the consequences and that he loves me and wants to start over. I'm finding it increasingly hard to believe that someone who had even the tiniest modicum of residual affection for me could do what he has done, never mind someone who loved me as fiercely as he claims to. I think he just feels ashamed and is scared of looking like "the bad guy" (both of our families think the sun shines out of his arse) or is scared of being on his own rather than genuinely wanting to be with me. He denies this. Well he would, wouldn't he?

I am going to have to talk to the kids today, I am still not sure how this is going to pan out long term but although I've absolutely avoided discussing what's happening when they're around they have obviously picked up on the vibe that something is amiss, and I know from personal experience what a sickening feeling that is...Have no idea what to say to them :~(

Boosterseat Fri 02-Aug-13 09:31:18

I have (of course) asked him why, he says he felt we were drifting apart, that I didn't love him and was just with him for the sake of the kids and a comfortable lifestyle. He felt "old" and "lonely" and "insecure" and wanted to see if anyone else was interested in him, hence the chatrooms and dating sites...

Don’t let him make this about you and your relationship, if he really was compartmentalising surely the above statement is contradictory?

Kids are intuitive, depending on their ages they don’t need specifics but you might just put their minds at rest by explaining they haven’t done anything wrong and Mum is mad at Dad because he told a lie and lies make Mum sad etc.

alphacourse Fri 02-Aug-13 09:52:09

It isn't about you. It is about him. He will get nowhere fast by trying to blame any problems in your relationship for his choices. I have said exactly the same to my DP about 2 or 20 women - it makes no difference - the truth is what could save us. But they are embarrassed. They know it is bad, so they try and minimise the damage. I DO believe they can love you, and still do it by compartmentalising. They think they won't get caught, so it won't hurt you I think. It is shit. So so shit.

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