by Kimberly A.
My husband cheated on me 3 mos. into a diagnosis of early stage spinal cancer. My health was going downhill fast, and he had begun withdrawing even more rapidly than he had previously, looking back with 20/20 hindsight. When I came home from the doctor one afternoon, I saw a note on my door and thought, "With my luck, that's a 'Dear Jane' letter. Guess what...
Looking back, I will admit that I was The Other Woman in my husband's first marriage. We were the classic Infidelity at Work couple. My husband's first wife was an absolute control freak, and I knew her personally, and when she finally ordered him to "get out" (after a marriage counselor said that while there was "no question" that there was another woman involved, it shouldn't change how she needed to respond to him, which was to stop being a control freak and work together to save their marriage), he did. They were divorced 2 years later; we were married 4 mos. later and made a conscious decision to disconnect our bank accounts and credit accounts. THAT was the best decision I ever made, because (1) come divorce time, it was very easy to determine who owned what, and (2) I was able to spy on his cell phone.
Our marriage began its slow death when I became (1) unable to bear children, (2) in dire need of a hysterectomy (which I finally got), and (3) so wracked with pain from fibromyalgia and (though I didn't know it at the time) spinal tumors playing havoc with my pelvic nerves and muscles that I became unable to have intercourse. Now, that didn't mean I stopped pleasuring him. I got really, really good at pleasuring him, as a matter of fact. But somehow he couldn't bear to get by with one-way sex. He became fixated in playing games on the computer, especially online games with "adult" chatrooms. I was very upset with this because I could tell he was involved with sex talk, online seduction, mocking of me, and finally actually engaging in cyber-sex with an online affair.
In the three years leading up to the end of my marriage, I counted no less than four cyber affairs. In addition, while he was stuck in a government job where he hadn't seen a promotion in over 10 years, I was working my hindquarters off climbing the corporate chain in an outside job where I made tons of money, and now he controlled NOTHING in the marriage--he couldn't control the money, the working hours, the sex, He began to publicly mock me to his friends when I was away (one of his friends blew the whistle; we had a horribly angry fight over that one). Worse, he began mistreating me when we were together at parties. Example: During one Easter brunch we attended, he sat down on the sofa behind me and started scratching my back (nice), then lifting my blouse to scratch up further (not so nice, as it started to come up in the front as well, and I had to pull it down), then started trying to undo my bra with one hand (now completely inappropriate; I grabbed my blouse and pulled it down firmly and moved away from him). My friends had noticed his treatment of me. Some knew he cyber-cheated, but most thought nothing more was going on.
Then, he found The Other Woman, for the second time. And I slowly began to notice a pattern. He did practically all of the "Signs he's cheating": He changed his clothing style. He wore cologne. He smoked big cigars (to cover the smell of her cigarettes). His cell phone constantly beeped with text messages coming in. He was gone frequently, mentioning one time a "trip to meet Ed, my online friend" at a cigar factory in Pennsylvania (he came back with new cigars, but also coffee cake from "Ed's wife, Wendy", which I thought was odd) and then began going out of town on weeks when we didn't have visitation with his teenage daughter, saying he was going on business (and since he worked for the government, I couldn't know more than that).
Then I lost the ability to walk properly, and my mother flew in to care for me. We went from doctor to doctor to get a diagnosis, and I became more and more frustrated. My mother noticed my husband wanted NOTHING to do with care for me--not interested in doctor reports, never offering to take me to the doctor, and spending lots of time on the computer. When we finally got the diagnosis--early stage spinal cancer and a body chemical imbalance called hypercalcemia--Mom was distressed that she had to go back home to attend to problems with her own dying mother, but at least by this time I'd started physical therapy and was walking again. My boss was remarkably supportive, and I was told to take all the time I needed to recover.
When Mom returned a month later to again take on care for me, we had his daughter living with us because her mother had to go out of town on business. Thus, the computer room had to serve as a proper guest bedroom, and husband had to stop playing on the computer all the time. I distinctly remember one night he was online until 11:30. My mother came upstairs and woke me up because my husband would NOT stop playing even though my mother had repeatedly dropped hints that she was tired and wanted to go to bed. I went downstairs and ordered him off the computer. He snapped back that he was "playing in an online tournament" for his silly game and it would be starting at midnight. I held my ground and ordered him out of the room, telling him that my laptop was plugged in downstairs and he could use THAT for his "stupid tournament, and you KNOW my mother is sleeping in here, so you have no excuse for not immediately signing off and going downstairs, so get downstairs now or I'm turning off your power strip (as I pointed my cane right at the on/off switch)." Even his daughter noticed how preoccupied he was with the game he played.
Just days after my mom left, he dropped off the daughter to her mom and headed out of town "on business".
THAT was the weekend I got the $500 cell phone bill, almost all of it text messages on HIS number, all from the same number. When he returned home, I demanded the $400 he owed from the bill and demanded to know who it was he was texting. "The team captain," he covered. "So, you can't tell him to just call your number, which is CHEAPER?" I snapped, and again demanded the $400 in text message he'd sent and received. Surprisingly, he didn't have the money. That's when I wanted to know what was really going on. He again covered that he was out of town on business, and I told him in no uncertain terms that if he was really out of town on business, he'd have begun getting refunded for business expenses incurred, and he had no bills other than child support and the mortgage, so he shouldn't be short on money. I told him point blank that he was either going to give me the $400 now or I'd go on a selling spree and sell his precious CDs and albums on eBay.
The next day, I got $300 and a promise to pay later. Less than two weeks later, he was gone, moved out, leaving the Dear Jane on the door that said he'd found another woman, they were "In Love", his business trips were a facade to cover his affair with her, and that he "no longer wanted to be a "caretaker and caregiver to a dying woman". I broke down crying and fell to the floor (unable to stand any longer), then dragged myself to my feet, contacted my family, then headed out to Lowe's and bought a new lock for the front door.
I found this site and several others online and saw ALL the signs I'd missed clearly indicative of his cheating. Now he'd found The Other Woman, they were In Love, Happy Happy Joy Joy. I contacted a lawyer and learned about getting a divorce in Maryland, then structured the divorce that I wanted and told the cheater that if he wanted out of the marriage with anything left in his bank account, he'd better get his assets over to me that day. I presented him with a temporary separation agreement, with the understanding that if he followed it to the letter, we'd be divorced by Christmas and he'd still have money in his pocket. But if he deviated EVEN ONCE, he'd be sued for every dime he had and then some, and The Other Woman could spend her money caring for him.
He stuck to the plan, only publicly whined once (and then retracted the online whine when I warned him), and we were divorced 2 days after Christmas 2006. I got the house and around $15K in cash via refinance, and he signed a Quit Claim. He got a little over $4000 after the refi to shut up and get the H-ll out of my life. I've had people tell me I let him off easy, but he was left with nowhere to live, owing me substantial money for two months after we split when the remainder of the cell phone expenditures came in. The Cell Phone contained damaging evidence of his infidelity, but my lawyer said more would be required for an Adultery divorce, so I told him that if he wanted his divorce before Christmas, SHE would have to testify on my behalf as proof of his adultery. He talked her into it, she came down from New York and testified.
Now they're married. She's a carbon copy of the first wife. They're miserable, crowded into a smalish three-bedroom apartment with a rotation of her college-age kids coming "home" to live with them, despite her promise that they would not be living with her any more. His daughter thinks he's "completely selfish" for the way he destroyed our marriage.
I derive no pleasure from his situation. I still miss the good things about our marriage. And I've always said if I run into him on the street, I'd back up and do it again. But 2.5 years later, I'm in remission and alive, have beaten the survival rates to date, and bear him no ill will. I think that's a good state.
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