New and unsure

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
New and unsure
5
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 2:25am

I had an affair.  It started as an online emotional affair and ended with one weekend in a hotel room in a city other than where either of us lives.  We had contact for a month & a half after but the affair was over.  My DH didn't find out about it til 6 months after it ended.  We were seperated at the time and working on divorce papers.  He fought for us to get back together.  Truth is, I still love him very much and we did get back together after a 6 month seperation.  As soon as he moved back in, he stopped fighting for us and started dwelling on what I did.  I have answered all of his questions honestly, though he refuses to believe that I have.  For the last year I have tried to change everything about me that could possibly make him think that I would go down that road again.  I have given him the passwords to my email accounts & my facebook.  I often leave my phone laying out where he can find it & look through it.  I am hiding nothing.  My best & only friend allowed me to say I was going to see her that weekend.  As a result, I am not allowed to have contact with her.  It started out just being that I couldn't go see her anymore.  (she lives about 2 hours from me)  Now he gets angry if I text her or like anything she posts on facebook (including pictures of her children).  I have been saying that I want to make some new friends because being friendless sucks & makes me more lonely than I was 2 years ago when the affair happened.  He gets very mad & tells me that I don't want us to work.  I have mentioned getting a part time job but he says he can't trust me that much.  I know I dug my own hole, but is this normal?  It has been a year since he moved back in & things have gotten a lot worse.  Any tv show or movie that has infidelity in it makes he tell me that the woman is a worthless b***h.  She is evil.  If I tell him he needs to be fair to me (for any reason)  he blows up & tells me that's not gonna happen because of what I did.  His job requires him to be gone for 24 hours at a time every other day.  I used to tell him to have a good trip on his way out the door.  Even when things were at their worst between us, I told him that.  Now I'm not allowed to tell him that ever again.  Can't say have a good day either.  He has taken over control of the money.  At first, he would hand me cash & send me to get groceries or gas & tell me to keep the change.  That stopped when he figured out that I could save up what I call my "secret" stash.  It's not very secret cuz everyone knows I have one, just not how much is in it til I spend it.   Again, I made my own bed so now I need to lie in it.  But I'm not sure this is right.  I don't feel like I shouldn't be able to go anywhere or do anything unless it has to do with my daughter or my niece. 

I have been bugging him to go to counseling but he won't.  Says he shouldn't have to go because I'm the one who messed up.  He has had anger issues from day 1 and I have made it worse.  He refuses to get help with those anger issues.  Always has refused.  Now he tells me that I'm just trying to rush him into forgiving me and into healing.  I keep saying I just want to see him start to deal with the issues instead of allowing them to rule his life and keep him from healing.  He does tell me that he knows I'm doing everything that I'm supposed to do to help him heal.  We have visited a couple of affair recovery sites together and we have both signed up for affair recovery newsletters from a few different sites.  I know he has joined a support board.  I went to individual counseling for a few months starting before he moved back in.  I want us to go to counseling together and I want us to start doing things as a couple.  We have been married for 20 years and haven't ever really done anything together other than watch movies.  In recent years we started going to concerts with a married couple that we know.  Last year we decided to do that just the 2 of us and found that it was a very good way to bond.  I have never cared for camping but he loves it so this last summer, I started going camping with him.  But I could only get him to go a couple of times.  A year ago I also got a very active dog to help me have something to do with my time.  We used to go for walks together with her but that stopped after a few months.

I could really use some advice.  I don't know if I'm wrong for thinking I should not be this secluded or what else I can do to help him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 3:33am

Don't think about what is normal, think about what you can tolerate. Your H found out about the affair 18 months ago?

Generally speaking, your H's behavior would seem emotionally abusive--isolating you from meeting new friends or getting a job, controlling the money, what phrases you can say, the derogatory terms. IMO its emotionally abusive post-affair and I don't think that you deserve it, drawn out so long. Yes he's hurt and angry, but you are doing the things that you can to reassure him (passwords, access to your cell phone). After 18 months he should be able to agree to work on moving forward but instead he's stuck on torturing you. You are not "rushing" him, he is trying to hold all of the control in the relationship by saying when it will be time to forgive and start healing.

Do you feel like you deserve to be treated this way, is this your "penance" for the affair? I ask because you said a couple of times that you dug the hole or made your bed etc.

Yes you made a mistake but you seem to be sorry, and say that you are being transparent. Yet your H continues to rub your face in your mistake and treat you like a person that cannot be trusted without a guard. He acknowledges that he has issues with anger but refuses to do anything to improve them. He's blaming you for everything while absolving himself of responsibility for his share of the marital problems. You didn't say why you two were divorcing before, have you resolved those problems?

The question is for how long do you think that you deserve to be punished, and for how long can you tolerate this kind of treatment? IMO it has gone on long enough, its time for your H to start trusting you and if he cannot do it on his own then he should get professional help. If he's not willing to do that then there is no hope for the marriage.

You didn't ask this but I'll say it: I'd give him an ultimatum that he joins you in couples counseling or its back to divorce papers. Your marriage is not going to improve with him treating you like this.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 9:46am

You are being emotionally abused.  What your H is doing - controlling who you can speak with, what you can say, all the money, etc. - these are CLASSIC signs of domestic abuse.  Please see this page:  http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm.  And this one:  http://www.thehotline.org/.

Yes, you had an affair, but he is using it as a reason to amp up the controlling behaviors.  PLEASE seek help.  Start by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE).

You can't save your marriage, you can't help your H, but you can help yourself. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 10-22-2013 - 10:39am

At the time you had this affair, you were planning on getting divorced.  I know you were technically married but to me it's not the same thing as people who are living with their DH or DW, pretending that everything is ok & having an affair.  If your DH really wanted to get back together with you, he should have dealt with the fact that you were with another man WHILE YOU WERE SEPARATED and thought about whether he could tolerate it.  I feel like it's a bait & switch--he lured you back into the marriage only to make your life miserable while you are with him.  Why should you then want to continue the marriage?  You are doing everything to make your life transparent, but he is going overboard.  He basically doesn't trust you at all--I'm surprised he doesn't have an electronic monitoring bracelet on you while he's gone for 24 hours to make sure you don't leave the house.  He should not have control over all the money, treating you like a child--really he's making you a prisoner so you can't escape.  You actually do not need his "permission" to get a job--you are an adult.  I'd go out right away and just get a job.  Actually I'd probably talk to a domestic violence hotline or local shelter first because you said that he has an anger problem so who knows how he will react if you assert your independence?  I think that maybe you could look for a job while he is gone and then maybe go & stay with relatives or even in a DV shelter if you have to.  You do have to get away from this guy because I don't think his behavior is just normal after an affair--I think it's abusive.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Wed, 10-23-2013 - 9:42am

 He is being more than abusive.  But you are letting him.    So you had a lover for one night big deal.  If you want a job then get one.  I suggest seeing a lawyer and get ready for some changes.   No one should have to leave their friends and be emotionally and physically constrained.  That too is abusive.  

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Fri, 10-25-2013 - 9:08am

I am not in the least surprised that you had an affair. I wouldn't even call it that. The only mistake you made imho is allowing him to find out about it. You're a saint that it's your first fling in 20 years of this. He is an abusive narcistic controlling s*** and you shouldn't have to put up with his nonsense. It's not easy to leave after so many years, and a life together. Yet... do you really want to live the rest of your life like this? How can you love him when he clearly doesn't - because those who love us do not abuse us....... I don't know what to say to make you feel better............. Sorry.