The other day I found some pictures on our computer of 3-4 different naked girls. I was very upset and confused, because I would never imagine my husband to be a cheater. Then I start to think, maybe he wants to see if he can get away with it like I did.
I started texting to my ex-boyfriend a few months ago, at first it was really casual and I just wanted to tie up any loose strings. Then we started texting about our history and it developed into some inappropriate commentary. I was never going to physically cheat on my husband, but in some ways I feel like what I did is worse. I did send some pictures to my ex and I'll never forgive myself for that. Anyway, my husband found out and I ended it, then and there and have never looked back.
Now, I see that he has these pictures on his computer and I start to do a little digging. I see this picture of his package and I remember that I have seen this picture before. Two years ago, someone annoymously emailed me stating he had sent this picture to them. At the time I thought it was one of his friends playing a mean joke and just left it at that. But now, I see this picture on our new computer and it all comes back to me. Now, I am starting to have real fears, so I do some more digging. I open his email and I see all of these emails from Craigslist personal ads. I see him responding to over a dozen of them and saying he wants to get together with them.
Now, I don't think he has physically cheated on me. But he is either very close, or loves the fact that he is doing to me what I did to him. I have not told him anything yet. I have no idea what to do or how to move on from this. At this point I keep making up excuses, like someone hacked his email account, but I see so many things where I know that thought is just denial.
Any support, suggestions, thoughts, or advice would be appreciated.
Hi Melissa (and Debbie):
I speak from experience when I can say that know exactly what you are going through. Three years ago I walked into our office to find the computer not logged out, and my husband's email open. In his inbox I found a ton of emails from a site called xxxblackbook. It seems that when my husband was traveling for work he was trying to hook up with woman while he was out of town. I clicked on all the email responses, and immediately was logged into his profile of a picture of him naked, which I had never seen.
I was angry, upset, and distraught that this was happening, and so I called my best friend to talk me down off the ledge. It hadn't been the first time my husband had been attracted to another woman, but this was the first time he had not been open about it with me. My girlfriend encouraged me to print our every email, so I did, just for proof in case my husband tried to deny it. Then I hung up with her and called my husband. While he and I were on the phone, I watched his entire inbox full of emails disappear, and I could no longer log in to his profile at xxxblackbook. He deleted it out of embarrassment and shame. If I'm honest, he also deleted it because of my reaction. I was furious with him, as you could imagine, and when I cooled down, I was devastated. All I could do was cry.
I thought I was safe from this happening to me. I was a stripper for many years at the beginning of our relationship before we were married, and we had also been swingers. I thought I had the desires of men all figured out, and I would always be able to keep my husband happy. How egocentric to think I could be everything that he needs. Well, I had convinced myself up until that moment that I was doing a pretty good job of it! :)
What followed was a horrible time in our marriage, and a huge revelation on my part. I needed to grow up and be realistic. If I was going to stay with this man for the rest of my life, he needed to be more honest with me, and I needed to be more honest with him. No, this wasn't what I had always pictured marriage to be, but I was committed to find a way for us both to be happier. We had many tears, arguments, several nights of staring at the ceiling trying to figure it all out, and over time we eventually both healed. Yes, we are on the other side of that now. It took me a long time to forgive and trust him, and yes, it has changed our relationship, but I can say for the better. He knows that what he did was wrong because it was not within the boundaries and commitment of our relationship, and that is where the betrayal really was. To this day we continue to learn to be better at communicating our needs, having learned from our past. We are incredibly close right now (I think all marriages go through different phases).
Do I think we will continue to stumble on this subject? If I am honest, yes. We all struggle with monogamy - that whole, grass is greener thing. My earlier relationship was very similar to a toddler first learning to walk. Now we are competent at walking but we occasionally trip over the crack in the cement.
I can honestly say my husband and I have become better at our relationship together, each and every day.
So, what can I tell you from the other side? Men (and women) want variety. That's why you reached out to your ex. Some need validation that they are still attractive to the opposite sex, more than others do. Some people just get bored in their relationships in general. When you eat pizza three times a day for several years, well, it doesn't taste as good as it originally did (and it doesn't look as good either), does it?
You need to look at yourself honestly and realize you can't provide everything for your partner at every moment in your relationship. So why do people feel the need to be dishonest about this? You know this better than anyone - we don't feel like we can be honest with our partners about our feelings for someone else. I don't think your husband is consciously trying to get back at you, but I bet if you asked him, he would certainly feel like you gave him permission with your previous actions. We tend to set the bar for each other when it comes to behavior.
And so is the struggle with being monogamous for the rest of your lives. Marriage in general is a full time job.
I know this is extremely painful information to realize about him, but I feel like you are trying to understand his actions by reaching out here. I think you need to calm down emotionally and have an open and honest conversation with him about his needs, since it's obvious that those aren't being fulfilled right now in your relationship. That will be the start of something new for the two of you. You will either fall apart and put the pieces back together again, like my husband and I have, or you will see a part of each other that you don't want to accept.
I wish you the best.