Although I am still feeling shame and embarrassment about his activities, I needed to tell my story, because if there are other women like me, who have been betrayed in the same manner, I would hope that they do not feel so alone. Although betrayal is betrayal, there is a deep shame in feeling that you were such a lousy wife that your husband turned to same sex fantasies to get his satisfaction.
I have been with my husband for 11 years, married for 10 years next month. We had a good life. We laughed together, spent time together, both had jobs, and our sex life was reasonably good.
About 5 years ago, we moved to the suburbs and were exhausted from commuting. Things changed. I can’t say for certain what it was. It was the way he looked, the way he spoke, he was short tempered and condescending to me, his moods were funny, he always had a hollow look in his eyes, and sex had fallen by the wayside. Knowing how exhausted I was, I simply thought he was feeling the same. He also started spending increasing time on the computer, or his laptop. Most nights after dinner, he would go online on his laptop in the sitting room. I would sit on the sofa and speak to him about this or that, but I was generally ignored. I received the occasional “sorry, what was that”, but otherwise he just focused on whatever he was looking at. I was starting to feel unhappy.
I found evidence on the PC that he was using a chat program, been viewing porn, and sending explicit email to another man. He gave me some half-baked excuses and I believed him as I could not fathom why my husband was doing this. He promised to not do these things again and I moved on with my life. I thought a little porn here and there was not the end of the world, as society gives the message that all guys look now and then.
My next find was that he was purchasing woman’s clothing online. I thought he was having an affair and buying the other woman gifts! When confronted he said they were for me, but they had not worked out and he had returned them. I didn’t really know what to think, and didn’t really believe him. Oddly I believed he wasn’t with another woman, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. I found nothing else for a long time.
Fast forward a few years. We move back to the city. Sex is non-existent at this point, the few times it’s attempted; he cannot get/maintain an erection. I find he is making more clothing purchases. When confronted he admits to cross-dressing, as a “stress reliever”. I research online and find a lot of info related to that. I tell him that if this is something he has to do, then he cannot lie about it or hide it, but at the same time, I did not want to be a party to it. I thought it was a bit of a fetish.
A while later, I find a gay site in his web history when he left his laptop unlocked to go to the bathroom. This time his excuse was that he went on to chat to some other people about cross-dressing, and why they do it. Apparently it “helped” him come to terms with it. He promised not to go on to it again. I sat there, hardly listening. I can’t recall what I said, or much of what he said. I knew I had to leave him, but that I wasn’t strong enough yet. So, the next year or so I quietly built up my savings account. I played the part of happy wife as best I could, but eventually I was so numb I shut down. I withdrew from him. Some days were not so bad. He’d be in a good mood and I’d put on a brave face and we’d have a laugh or a good time out, but most days I was a shell of a person, numbly going about my days.
My eye opening:
This year, we booked a once in a lifetime exotic holiday, with the desire being that we would spend the time to reconnect and find each other again. I was feeling a bit better. I shopped and bought nice dresses to wear. About 10 days before we were to go, he went into town to buy himself some clothing for the trip.
I had figured out how to monitor web traffic through our connection and finally had a couple hours to go check the results and see if there was anything there. I just knew he was up to something. I found it, the web address of the same site he had promised not to go to anymore. I went to it and trawled thought profiles. I found something that struck a chord with me. The face was not identifiable, but something seemed familiar. I could only see tiny versions of the photo being displayed as I wasn’t a member. I got out my credit card and signed up. I was now a fully paid member of a gay chat site.
What I saw horrified me. There, with the face blurred out, was my husband. A photo of him in a dress, in our bedroom of our suburbia house a few years ago. I went into his profile. Several photos of him in lingerie, posing seductively. The worst one was him, laid on our bed, legs spread, masturbating. I think my last shred of sanity broke then and there. Our bed, our sheets, his genitals, his body. Our marriage bed disrespected and put online for all to view. Intimate parts of him which only I or him should see, for all to view and masturbate over. I read the things he had put on his profile. After I was done, I vomited. I don’t remember much else. He came home, I asked him about it, and he lied. I handed him my wedding rings and asked him to leave. He did.
That was almost 6 months ago. Since then he has joined a 12 step fellowship and moved back into the house. Things are better. I do feel he is taking his recovery seriously. He sees a counselor weekly, as do I, and we are to have a few couple sessions soon. He has taken his counselors advice that he should not have free access to a PC at home, and is not to go online alone for any purpose whatsoever. My laptop is secure and he cannot access it, even so, at his suggestion, it is locked away if I am to be out of town.
He is not the man I knew the past few years; he is almost like the man I married. He has disclosed that it was all online, porn, chat, masturbation and phone sex with men. No physical contact whatsoever and that he is not gay. The same gender thing was an escalation, or so I am led to believe. I do feel silly when I look at it all in hindsight. The signs were there for me to see. I did not connect the dots, but I will not beat myself up over it.
These were not daily discoveries. I was not aware he was continuing the fantasies in his head. I loved my husband, and aren’t we supposed to trust each other and forgive? That’s what I did. Having said that, if I knew then what I knew now, I would have drawn my boundaries a lot earlier.
Will our marriage survive? I do not know yet.
Do I believe everything he’s told me? I’m not sure.
Will I be ok in the long run? Definitely, without him if need be.