Living With a Cheater and/or Sex Addict Can Destroy You!!
My ex-husband was a cheater. It seems that he was into the thrill of illicit sex, not the type of affair that requires any emotional effort (as far as I know).
I was very young and dumb when we married, and I was swept away by his charm and that fact that he was older (3 years seemed like a lot when I was 19 going on 20!). I was too inexperienced to see all of the warning signs of what I was about to get myself into.
He had just gotten divorced from his first wife, for starters. She and other girls phoned him until we got married and moved into our apartment because they no longer had his phone number (that was before everyone had cell phones). "They're obsessed with me" was his explanation. I was dumb enough to think I had "a real catch."
It became apparent that he was a sex addict shortly after our marriage. That makes for a very ugly situation. That person is never satisfied for long, if at all, unless they meet someone just like them I guess (?).
I stuck it out for almost a decade, and it wasn't pretty. I think that there are a lot of people who fall into the rut that I did: they convince themselves (with A LOT of help from their spouse) that they'll never find anyone else, they center their life around that controlling and self-centered person, and/or they feel like they've made a commitment that they're bound to – especially when children are involved and you want the best in life for them. I was terrified to rip their world apart with divorce until I realized they were being taught a very poor example of how a loving relationship should be. Kids learn by example.
Then, there's the undeniable aspect of how to survive financially. It's terrifying to imagine surviving without two incomes when you have a house, vehicles, credit card debt, utilities, essential life necessities, etc. My ex fought to the end until I stupidly gave up and was left with with virtually all of the debt. He did it under the guise of "giving me everything he had," along with the monthly payments I couldn't possibly afford. A good lawyer like he had would've have come in handy, but I was broke.
I could go on and on about how easy it is to get stuck in a bad marriage for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, anyone that matters will eventually see what a POS your ex really is. One word: Karma.
When you're in a relationship like that and have resolved to make it work, it's easy to become numb. You learn to ignore your own feelings, hopes and dreams. You feel stuck, and you allow yourself to become oblivious to the fact that this person has no real concern for anyone but themselves and their own satisfaction. A cheater is a conniving liar, they usually put a lot of effort into hiding it, and they really believe they're smart enough to get away with it. The sad thing is that they almost always blame you for their actions. They almost always, finally get caught, too.
Had I been older, wiser and had some self-esteem, I might have seen the obvious. These aren't the typical signs I've read about, which you should probably consider first if you have the feeling you're being cheated on because they are major red flags and probably more common today than my experience that ended almost 15 years ago. I'm sharing this because I hope it might help someone.
1. He loved to talk in graphic detail about other people's infidelity and how wrong it was, such as the guys he worked with and had been in the military with. "Everybody cheats, and you're so lucky to have a husband that doesn't" was his basic message. He loved to remind me how great a husband he was.
2. He was obsessed with porn. That can be a sure sign that someone needs a lot more than you could ever give to make them feel excited, especially if they are a sex addict. Having sex with their spouse isn't enough of a "fix" for very long. They need more and more excitement. If the person who is supposedly committed to you spends a significant amount of time viewing other people naked or having sex, it is not a flattering compliment that builds your self esteem (unless you're obsessed with it, too, I suppose?).
3. He brought home an STD, and blamed it on a yeast infection from me! I was SO naive and inexperienced, and took the medicine his doctor gave him for the two of us like a trusting child. I had no clue what the symptoms of specific STDs were, but I found out later and it sent shivers down my spine to know I'd been given it by my husband. Like I said, very young and dumb!
4. He would give information that was totally unnecessary while on business trips or recreational outings. "The guys are going to a strip club, but I'm going to bed." Hmmm, it's 7:30 p.m. and you don't want me to try and call you later, right oh perfect hubby? People who are being deceitful sometimes give away a lot of information to cover their tracks. Out of guilt or paranoia, they will build an unnecessary story on a small portion of the truth in order to have an alibi later. "I didn't want go, but I felt like I had to be one of the guys. I didn't want to hurt your feelings if you found out somehow." The ironic thing is that I have never felt threatened by a guy going to a strip club. Don't give him credit for being sensitive to my feelings, because he frequented the local prostitutes I later discovered. Great to know that I basically had unwilling sex with the drug whores he was with. Gag.
5. He was ultra-paranoid after cheating. Lots of sudden but unnecessary work to be done in the garage or outdoors, so he could totally avoid me. (If that's the only place they smoke, they will spend a lot of time there, smoking a lot more than usual). If they've become involved with the other person, they might be on their cell phone talking to them.
6. He accused me of cheating, and didn't trust me at all. I never cheated or gave him any reason to suspect that I did. He even questioned whether or not our second child was his! It was a totally unfounded accusation and the ultimate insult. Unforgivable.
7. The final straw: he avoided me for days (as he'd done many times and now I know why), like he was really mad at me, and after a lot of tears and begging (ugh) he finally told me that a girl we both knew had "made a sexually inviting" remark to him and he was worried that she was pissed off by him rebuffing her and therefore she might tell people they screwed around to get revenge on him. I'm too embarrassed to tell you his exact description of the imaginary incident because it was pathetic.
That was finally it for me (Hello, stupid? Nice to see you've finally reached your limit and actually care about yourself!). He should have gotten an award for the lamest excuse in infidelity history. Apparently cheaters finally run out of semi-believable excuses, or they get over-confident and sloppy. This girl was a business supplier that he had exchanged very explicit sexual remarks with on the phone many times in the past, right in front of me. It was just "an ongoing joke, all in fun." We saw her about a week later at a restaurant and she made a very hasty exit after they looked at each other like two deer caught in the headlights. This is someone who had previously come up to us and chatted her head off every time we saw her, for many years! My guess is that her husband, a business associate or someone else caught them and they were both flipping out.
This is only part of what he did. I made a huge, life-altering mistake that had so many unforeseen consequences by not getting proof that he had cheated. I was a total doormat ... please wipe your feet here. It affected my life and my children's lives in so many ways. He still believes that he got away with it because I was so empty for so long and by the time I was finished, I honestly didn't care about what he had done or who he'd done it with because I just wanted out. I had learned to never confront him about anything because he would become enraged, and he'd punch and destroy things because he knew I would not tolerate him being physically violent with me.
Cheaters and liars are experts at turning everything around and placing the blame on you. I guess that's how they live with themselves. Everyone tries to justify their decisions and actions, even if they're wrong and hurtful to others.
You owe it to yourself to get solid proof of unfaithfulness, if it is at all possible. You need to stoop to their level and be sneaky, in order to gather enough evidence to bust them in their tracks. I wonder what grief I could have avoided by doing that, instead of leaving everyone to wonder why I "suddenly" left him. It all came out eventually, because Karma is inevitable. He made his own bed and is lying in it miserably.
Trust your intuition, it's a God-given gift and it's there for a reason. If you feel that something is wrong, find out for sure instead of ignoring it to keep the peace and keep going on with life as you have been. We are meant to be happy, and no one who has committed themselves to another deserves to be deceived, degraded and humiliated by the ultimate form of betrayal.