Just into the second year of my marriage, I found a charge on a credit card bill for an escort service during a time when my husband was traveling for work. I was devastated. We had a newborn. I went home and cried to my mom. She told me “oh…guys do things like that…don’t get worked up.” I told my father, he scoffed, called him a “dumb shit,” and looked back at the television. My mother told me to go back home and keep the peace. I told my mother-in-law…and I received the same message…it’s just what guys do. Really? I felt so alone and confused. I never told anyone again. I questioned every emotion I had surrounding the incident and buried them deep down inside of me with all the others not knowing how to cope with the pain and loneliness I was feeling. This was the beginning of a whole new nightmare inside of my already secret life.

I did what my mother told me to do. I went home. I did let my husband know I wasn’t happy about it, but I let it go, just like she instructed me to. We moved on. No harm done. A little mistake. An error in judgement. I had just had a baby. I obviously wasn’t what he needed or desired. I’ll fix it. I can be better. That’s all it could’ve been. Right?

Not really. He was just warming up.

As the years went on, the discoveries continued. A strip club visit here, another one there. Online chats with other women. Pornography on hotel bills and magazines hiding in his computer bag. Sex became less frequent. Then it became scary. One night he raped me. I was trapped underneath the weight of his body, may face buried in his chest, I was unable to get out. I told him to stop, I couldn’t breathe. But he didn’t. He was angry. He was in a different world. I did not know the man on top of me. When it was over I remember sitting alone in our bed crying harder than I ever had before. I remember thinking to myself that the intensity of my tears felt very foreign and weird. What was wrong with me? When he came back out of the bathroom I said to him “What was that?” His response, “Ya..that was bad.” and he got into bed and fell asleep. I must have stuffed this away too, because it took another 10 years to remember it happened.

I kicked him out a short time later when I learned he was still messing around. He lived on his own for six months. We went to counseling. He joined a sex addiction group. He went to therapy. I went to therapy. We had 5 children by this time. I told no one what was going on in my life. Despite the fact my family all lived within 10 minutes of us, I managed to keep this all a secret. After all, it’s what guys do. Who was going to help me? He said he was sorry. I told him he could come back home. I thought I was being the bigger person by being forgiving and loving and sympathetic to his “disease.” We carried on in peace. Things settled down and I trusted him again. For awhile.

The memory of the rape (and one other) was triggered by yet another discovery 8 years later. A text conversation I saw on his phone, which then led to the discovery of many, many more text conversations, and the discovery of coffee dates, hotel room charges during times he wasn’t traveling, meet ups in the parks during the day while he was supposedly working, an Ashley Madison account, among other dating site subscriptions. And these were all proceeded by the discovery of thousands and THOUSANDS of dollars spent on massage parlor escapades over the course of many, many years. Dozens, probably hundreds, of women. Too many to count or remember the details.

I left. I packed my bags and took off for three weeks leaving the kids behind with him. I told him I needed space to figure out my next steps and that he needed to figure out his own. I couldn’t live this way any more. I don’t know why I had endured this chaos for 19 years. I thought I had to. I was told to. I didn’t know how to fight for myself. I’d been trained from a very young age that I wasn’t supposed to fight back. I just didn’t know that brainwashing was what I was operating on all these years.

After some explosive episodes over the phone, and through texts, he begged me to come home. He told me he was sorry. That he had told me everything. He handed over access to the bank account and I took control of all the money. He promised to go to therapy. He had an epiphany at church one Sunday and decided to get baptized that afternoon. He had seen the light. He was sorry and he was willing to do the work to make this right. He wanted our family in tact. All my prayers were answered. I went back home. Foolishly.

Something was off. I knew it was. I could sense it, just as I had sensed before all the other discoveries. I wanted to believe this was finally over. I wanted to save my family. I was terrified of what divorce would look like. I didn’t want to hurt my children or disrupt their lives any more than I already had. I was trying to figure out what my role was in all of this breakdown. Was I too controlling? Too high maintenance? Not attractive or skinny enough? I was desperate to take the blame and fix it all.

I don’t know why all the other incidences didn’t seem like they were serious. Maybe because he insisted that he had actually never had intercourse with these women. They just “messed around.” He had always saved that for me. That was untouchable. At least that was what he said. I don’t know why I believed him. I don’t know if I did actually believe him. I still don’t. But I accepted it. I clung to it. But it suddenly became serious when I realized one of his employees kept coming up out of nowhere. A lot. They were just good friends. Right. I knew better by now. I set boundaries. He bucked them. I couldn’t control it. He had been having an affair with her all along. While I was away…when he was baptized and washed clean by the Lord…he intermingled her children casually with ours.

He was sneaky. He told me he was going for a “prayer walk” one night last summer while I was waiting for him in bed. He was gone for a long time. I tried texting and checking his location but his phone was shut off. We were talking in bed after he returned and I asked if I could see his Apple watch. I started scrolling through it. He forgot to delete the texts off his watch before he came to bed. I saw everything. He was walking with her. In our neighborhood. Talking about their future and their next steps. I was stunned. I didn’t even know what I was feeling. Was it rage? It was bigger than anger. I grabbed his phone and found the contact info for this woman’s husband. I called him, despite the fact that it was 2am, and informed him our spouses were having an affair. He informed me he already knew and this was the second affair his wife had had in their office. I hung up and stared in shock at my husband as he stared back in shock at me. He couldn’t believe my behavior. He had the nerve to tell me I was the one who was out of control.

But as the story goes. We danced again. I stuffed feelings and froze in time. I told him I wasn’t giving up on him. We went to therapy. He went through the motions. I believed he was truly done and wanted to change and save our family. We had made fools of ourselves in front of our children at times and we wanted to rectify that. Or so I thought.  He continued his affair, but he eventually got caught at work. Amazingly neither of them lost their jobs. Probably because he was an executive. I was humiliated. I’m still humiliated. But I haven’t left him. It’s been another year. I don’t know how. I feel trapped.

I’m scared. I’m lonely. I’m frustrated. I’m so hurt. I’m damaged goods. Who would want me after all of this? I’m 41 yrs old. I have six children now. I don’t even trust myself to make a good judgements on other people’s character. I expect the worst in every situation. I’ve been used my whole life and it’s all I know. I don’t even know what “real” love is or what it looks like. I hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me how great my life is. I have loving, supportive parents who have made great sacrifices for me all my life. I have a husband who makes good money and a big beautiful home. I don’t have to work and I can stay at home to care for our children…I should be thankful…after all, it’s just what guys do.

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50 thoughts on “It’s No Big Deal…

  1. This just infuriates me… How you’ve been, and still are, being treated. You deserve so much better. I know these are just words and can’t change things. So I’m sending you a hug instead. ❤

    Liked by 8 people

  2. You have put up with too much, but that is your right. I think facing life as a single mom of 6 children would scare anyone. I get that completely. You husband is a horrible person. Really horrible. I am just so sorry for you. My first husband fooled around too. I forgave him the first time, but not the second. He actually slept with the girl who lived downstairs while I was away in another city attending my brother’s funeral. I left. I had two children. I went on welfare and eventually remarried a man who is faithful.

    These kind of men don’t seem to have a conscience. My husband made promises too. All bullshit. He has now lived with or been married to at least 6 women since I left. My daughters do not respect him; not that I ever said anything against him. They came to that conclusion on their own.

    One time, he was living with a woman who said she didn’t know whether to leave my ex-husband or not. I said, “Get out while you still have your looks.” He was being mean to her, which always meant he had found someone else. It was all wine and roses until someone else came along.

    If you can make it financially, in my humble opinion, you should leave him.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. You are so beautiful and brave to share your story with us this openly. No one can tell you what to do, and I am sure you may not even be asking for specific advice. BUT–know that you are worth an infinite amount of love. You are worth your husband’s fidelity. AND if you have a look inside of yourself I am positive you will find the strength you need to make the right choice. For yourself and your children.
    #ThisIsNOTWhatMenDo

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Sending your strength and insight and confidence. You will know when you are ready, what is the best choice for you and your children.
    It is tough, it always is. No one will judge you, and if they do, it is their responsibility.
    Hugs
    Elisabeth

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I hate to tell you but your parents are not supportive of you, neither are your in-laws and definitely not your parents. If your husband makes enough to support his family there is enough to support you guys if you guys divorce. I am so sorry you have lived with this monster that continually hurts, degrades, and humiliates you. All men are NOT like your husband, father, and father in law. I am so sorry you have been exposed to such evil. You deserve a peaceful and loving life. I hope you will be able to love on yourself soon.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Truth be told, men and woman are human and they make mistakes that sometimes hurt the ones we love. It’s the measure of their love that keeps a them from ever repeating that mistake again. My heart goes out to you…. I felt as you do… but moved on and found the love of my life kids and all.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I just had to comment here. That is NOT what guys do, and it’s never excusable behavior.
    Don’t see yourself as damaged good. I mean, we are ALL damaged in one way or another but that doesn’t diminish our worth as people.

    I think each and every person out there deserves a shot at a situation where they are valued and respected.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I am so so sorry that these things happened to you. I am sorry your husband was a cheater/manipulator/rapist. How absolutely horrific. OFCOURSE you would find it hard to trust again. That is so normal. I mean the man you had a family with was a liar and a horrible human being. It is normal to be wary. And your mother’s voice needs to just be squashed. Squashed like a bug. It is voices like hers that leave a woman trapped, invalidated, and stuck in abusive situations. I am so sorry when you first told your family they did not back you 100% . You deserved so much better!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This is all beyond devastating! This is 100% on your husband. This is HIS lack of character and decency. He is an abuser and heartless and evil. You are lovable and can definitely find and have love in your life. And, yes, even with six children. I also want you to know that I do understand everything that you shared here regarding your struggle and lack of ability to leave for all these years. You do make sense, it is what happened to you that does not!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s so, so unbelievable…it was hard and shocking to myself even to write about it. I think that’s what makes me sit back and question it all and try to take the blame…that and it’s just a continuation of being mistreated in my childhood. There was never a moment in the last 37 yrs of my life where I was not being used and abused. I can’t even wrap my own head around it all. Thank you for sharing your understanding. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Secret Keeper. Thank you for posting this. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. The shame. The silence. The humiliation. You’re not alone and you will come to the right decision for yourself when it is right. But please know this:
    YOU ARE NOT DAMAGED GOODS. That is your shame and humiliation speaking. You feel contaminated by his behaviour and that’s understandable. But remember you are not your husband’s behaviour.
    Take care now
    Serena

    Liked by 2 people

  11. There are too many “I’s” in your writing which points to you are blaming yourself. You did nothing wrong, didn’t do anything to deserve this, treated like shit by your unsupportive parents and, all in all, he is a PRICK and will never change. A narcissist NEVER changes but only controls, and the only way to get out of this mess is to have no contact, otherwise nothing will ever change. So sorry for your horrible experience. Lots of hugs, Deb

    Liked by 2 people

  12. It is a big deal. It really is.
    This is a very complicated situation, and I won’t pretend to have the answer, or tell you what to do. But I will say this:
    You are worthy.
    You are lovable.
    You deserve love.
    You deserve respect.
    Your feelings are important.
    Your feelings are valid.
    Sending hugs. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Your life seems so much like mine! And even though I took a different route, I’m still questioning everything I do and feel … I hope things work out for you because if they do, maybe they will work out for me as well. Best of Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my. What a sad, horrific and traumatizing story. I just prat that you (or whoever it is about) may find favor with The Lord and he showers his Grace and Mercy upon you. Lost people (the husband) will reap what they sow in Hell when they have to stand in judgment before The Creator. I pray you find an answer to bring you to comfort and rest you deserve in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree with Cherished79:

    My husband is a narcissist as well which oftentimes is isn’t a choice. It’s the way they are. BUT everything you’re husband is doing to you is by CHOICE. He’s choosing to disrespect you. He’s choosing to sleep with these skanks. He’s choosing to disgard how you feel. He’s choosing EVERYTHING that’s he’s ever hurt you by. You don’t deserve a man who chooses to be this way to you. “what YOU allow WILL continue” SK. and it took me over thirteen years to finally come across a quote which said that. When I read it I pondered on it for days and thought, “Oh my God, who ever wrote this is absolutely right” the longer I stay with this monster, the more he’ll believe that it’s OK to treat you this way. He’ll believe that your allowing his disrespect, he can just keep doing it again, and again and again until when you try to put your foot down, he’ll practically laugh in your face.
    So, SK I know you’re scared, I know you’ve adapted to your comfort zone and you feel safer if you just stayed, BUT sooner or later you’re gonna snap…
    You’ll start having these thoughts, unhealthy thoughts, thoughts which if Evertime he left the house you’ll wish the worst for him until those thoughts became reality.
    SK, leave before it’s too late. Close your eyes and jump. It took me four more years totalling 17 to do it. I just finally left A MONTH ago… people would look down on me and say why didn’t I leave sooner or just do this or just do that, but what they don’t realize is this things aren’t as easy as THEY think. They don’t care what happens to you after you take that huge life changing jump. It’s scary. What you developed is a trauma bond with your husband.
    Read this : https://www.google.com/amp/s/avalancheofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/what-abusers-hope-we-never-learn-about-trauma-bonding/amp/

    Please read it. You’ll realize the game he’s playing or wish you’d never find out. I love ya girl…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Read this brought back some of my own memories as well when finding out my husband (at the time) was an actual sex and porn addict. How did I not know? I remember hearing “that’s what men do” bull crap. I am so sorry you had to experience all this. I know all too well the experience of this. Keep blogging, you will find healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is not what guys do! You may have a loving family that supports you and will be by your side whether you’re with him or whether you’re not. You are not damaged goods by any means of the stretch you need to pick yourself up you need to pack your bags up I’m sorry I retract that pack his bags and throw him out !he doesn’t deserve you!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You were not put here to be disrespected . Don’t give this guy another ounce of your time or energy. He may have money, he may be well-established but get a good attorney and throw him out! I know it can be a bumpy road but that’s OK everyone has survived a few bumps here and there. You’ll be fine remember you’ve survived this you can survive anything!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Beautiful friend, I am devastated for you. I’m barely clinging to words just reading what you have lived, so please forgive me if my comment comes out clunky.

    You deserve so much better than this. I am amazed by the magnitude of your strength. How you survived is beyond me, but let’s just say that it speaks to your character. Reading through this, I was desperately hoping you’d leave him at some point, but you stayed. I’m not criticizing or praising you for this; it’s your choice and yours alone, and those decisions are very personal and we can only make them with the knowledge and the tools and the resources we have available to us at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20, too. Anyone can place judgment and say “you’re ‘crazy’ for sticking with him, why didn’t you just leave?” But they’re not in a place to say that because they’re not you. So I’m definitely not judging one way or the other ❤️ I’m just hurting for you for what happened to you. I’m wishing it had turned out differently. Better for you. I admire you for who and what you are after all has been said and done. I hope you find yourself in a place where you can heal and transcend. A place where you win and it loses. A place where you reign and it is subject to your will. I stand behind you in support, and beside you as a (new) friend ❤️

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I imagine it might have been hard to write, but I hope it feels better to have released it into the world. You’ve just given a voice to probably hundreds of thousands of other women out there. Your courage is beautifully stunning. ❤️

    I hope that all came out right 😊

    Thank you for following my blog; having discovered yours was a beautiful gift, and I’m following it, of course! ❤️

    Hugs offered if you like them!
    ~The Silent Wave Blog writer/Laina 🌟🌟

    Like

  20. No, this is not just what guys do. You are in an abusive relationship. Abuse erodes a victim’s self-confidence and undermines her strength. You’ve learned to second guess yourself, rather than trust your own instincts.

    You cannot change your husband. You can change yourself and your situation. Only you can decide whether you want to do that. His betrayals have been profound. It is hard to imagine what else you might face that could be worse.

    What this post reflects is an intelligent and loving woman, in great pain — not “damaged goods”. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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