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This Open Forum is funded and administered by the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides support to straight spouses and partners who have discovered that their spouse/partner isn’t straight. The results from SSN’s Annual Summer Donation Drive are in! Together with your help, SSN raised $16,381 during our annual Summer Donation Drive! That’s 109% of our goal! Learn more about how the funds will be utilized.


Straight Spouse Network Open Forum

This Open Forum is funded and administered by the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides support to straight spouses and partners who have discovered that their spouse/partner isn’t straight. Your donations allow us to provide important support and resources that straight spouses can't find anywhere else.

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January 22, 2021 12:48 pm  #1

Hard truths are better than sweet lies

Hello. I am so grateful to have found this support network as I had been feeling so isolated for the past few months. It has been so helpful to read all your stories and advice to each other and my heart goes out to all of you who are dealing with this very difficult issue. I hope to be able to participate and add something valuable to the group. My story here is long with more detail than you probably want but I found writing it all down very cathartic so I kept going for me, not for anyone else, feel free to skim!

I will start this by saying that I am currently in the best relationship of my life. We met a year ago and connected on a deep level. I met “ J “ on a dating app. I went on a whim with low expectations. We had a coffee and I felt comfortable with him. We started dating and he quickly asked if I would date him exclusively. I resisted at first because he had only been divorced 3 months from a 20 year marriage. But he pursued me ferociously and our connection was strong so I agreed. We delayed getting physical pending STD tests which took a while. During that time, we talked a lot about life, spirituality, past and future. We bonded over our previous marriages to emotionally abusive ex-partners.

We discussed the kind of relationship we wanted to build, a strong foundation in honesty, openness, acceptance, support, respect and love. We got so close. It is the relationship I dreamed about. He is my best friend, a passionate sweet and hot lover. He holds my hand, rubs my feet, tells me that I am beautiful, is curious about my thoughts and feelings and listens to me tell them. He talks about being soulmates, twin flames, and destiny. He writes songs about us, about me, he sends me lovely messages during the day when we are apart and leaves sweet notes when he leaves. We enjoy each other’s company and have deep discussions. We exercise together, shop together, clean together, we bought a house together. On a day to day basis, we are kind to each other, supportive of creative pursuits, respectful, loving, attentive, affectionate, romantic, sweet and passionate.

Early on we had both revealed infidelities in our previous marriages, we agreed that this would need to be a very open honest ongoing discussion. I revealed having been unfaithful twice after my ex became an alcoholic and physically abusive and we were no longer sleeping together. He initially said he had been unfaithful a few, times, later he said it was twice. After he moved in and I watched him lie to his kids and bandmates about some things and finally got him to admit to 4 infidelities while he was married.

The more time we spent together, the more I noticed little inconsistencies that I initially let go but eventually really started to bother me plus I could see that he was very compartmentalized, and there were parts of his life that he just didn’t talk about. I was initially concerned about his relationships with other women; was he a player or addicted to new partners, young girls, etc.? He is a few years younger than me, and plays in a local band. I noticed his facebook account was not listed under his name but under the name of his previous band, not his current band, his friends list was private and he could not be found by searching for his name, band name or email which seemed strange for a band’s public account. When we were out he would double take on pretty women. This bothered me, I am getting older and its harder to feel attractive. We live in a college town and it was uncomfortable that we would be checking out girls my daughters (and his daughters) age. It made me wonder if he was in the market for new partners. He was also closed about his work relationships. He is a nurse and works 12 hour shifts with lots of young pretty  women. When he leaves for work its like he disappears for 12 hours at a time and I never hear abput it. He will tell me about his patients and say things like, “WE had to do CPR etc” but never mentions the names of these people he spends so much time with, never shares funny anecdotes etc. It just seemed unnatural.

I did talk to him many times about my concerns. When it comes to infidelities, he said that is “all in the past”, that he “doesn’t need all that”, that he is “so pure” with me and that he cheated on his ex because of how much he was hurting in his marriage. He says his ex-wife was verbally abusive, belittled and ridiculed him, was extremely controlling. She made more money and had control of all the finances. He speaks of deep regret and guilt for the way he handled things. But there were inconsistencies in this part of his story too. And I kept asking for clarification, never feeling like I got it. In response to my questions, he gave me a key to his apartment while he still had it and the code to his phone.  He said I could look at anything at any time, he had nothing to hide. I didn’t for a long time.

I noticed that anytime he thought I might have something on my mind or be annoyed with him, he would pour on the compliments and be super attentive. I couldn’t stop thinking that he might be a master manipulator motivated by a need to feel that someone loved him rather than actually loving me. I questioned if some of this could be my issues stemming from trauma of my past two relationships, but I had to know for sure. So I started to dig and I told myself that he had given me permission but that since I was prying into his private past, I would not use anything I found against him, I would have to deal with whatever I found unless he was cheating on me. I know he did not intend for me to find what I found.

What I found was an enormous amount of info about what he was doing for years while he was still married, emails, messages, photos, accounts. It is clear that he was cheating on his ex-wife for many years, at least a decade. I found several email accounts with false names that he used for hookups, he  was on a fetish site, gay hook up sites, craigslist personals, facebook hookups, transgender dating and hook up sites, every dating site and app I have ever heard of, he had a google voice number, private messaging apps like whats app, kik, vault apps that hide photos and other apps on your phone, nude photos and video selfies, nude pics of many others and STD tests under false names. I’m sure I am only seeing part of the reality; every time I dig I find more. 

He had at least 3 passionate love affairs with women that lasted months to years and involved “I love you’s”. I found at least two other women he was intimate with but I don’t have much info on. There many conversations with men, transgender women and couples looking for sex and I counted five confirmed sexual encounters with men and possibly 2 or three with transgender women. I was able to gain access to many of these email and hookup accounts. It looks like he has not been active on them since well before we started dating. On the sites he described himself as hetero/flexible and as closeted bi. He said he loves both men’s and women’s bodies. He was looking for a transwoman because she would be a “woman with a dick, the best of both worlds.”

I have not found anything to indicate that he is currently engaged in any of this hookup behavior or that he has physically cheated on me. What I found that has occurred since we started dating is:
1.One google search for a trans/gay porn video, (although he may be using a private browser so that I can’t see),
2.He signed up for a gayhookup site three weeks after we started dating but did not load pics. The users can’t  interact with out a loaded pic, so he never fully activated it. It appears he did open one promo email from that site.
3.There are a few other promo emails from transgender and hookup sites that he opened while we were dating.
4.He has an email account specifically created to maintain contact with one of his female lovers. It appears this account has been active for over 6 years and there are periodic messages between them. Looks like they had a long flirtation then a passionate affair then stopped but kept in touch for the past 6 years. Their messages range from how’s your life to I'll love you forever and will never forget,  etc. As recently as 3 months into our relationship he told this woman how special she was to him. Since then he has only sent a few polite friendly responses to her continued out-pouring of love. There is no message telling her he is with me and can’t continue this way anymore, I wish there was because it would have meant everything, but there is not. He was also using this email account to hook up with male partners.
5. The other two female lovers: one cut contact with him, the other he was still in contact at the beginning of our relationship and he has since blocked her.

I am most troubled by the continued contact with the previous lover (he never told me about her and specifically told me he had cut off all contact with previous affairs) because it involves an emotional tie and it appears he specifically lied to me in order to be able to maintain contact with her. My initial feeling on discovering the contact with men was relief; other women were not the ultimate prize, but then I realized that I may not be the ultimate prize either. And when I came home two days later and he told me he had spent the whole two hours talking to the new young male neighbor, my stomach dropped and I realized that now almost anyone was a potential cheating partner.  There was no indication that he had any romantic attachment to any of the men; it was very graphic talk about sex and I didn’t see any friendships develop out of it. But this type of urge is easily satisfied with quick no strings encounters that are easy to cover up. So perhaps his concealing it is meant to preserve his ability to have access to it at some point. I feel like it is only a matter of time before these urges take over him.

With women it seems he has a need for intense passion. There has to be a deep soul mate aspect to it. I thought what we had was unique but I see this is how he is with all his love affairs. Many of the things he says to me, he said to these other women. It has certainly taken the wind out of my sails in this relationship, maybe he has meant what he said to all of us, I don't know. I wonder about the possibility that he is gay in denial, and uses women as a cover; like he needs all this drama with women to make it palatable. But I feel like he is probably heteromantic and bisexual.

All this info has helped me understand some things that did not make sense before. He told me his ex-wife still bitches about their whole marriage being a sham, his kids won’t talk to him and the depths of guilt and regret about how he behaved in his marriage and the quick ending,  This went on for years behind his ex-wife’s back and she must have discovered it. It explains his outspoken support of LGBTQ rights. It explains the certain giggle/ laugh at any gay references in movies or stand up.

It also means that he has built our whole relationship on lies, omissions and half truths. While looking me in the face and telling me that he wants an open honest relationship, that he understands my need for honesty and would never do anything to hurt me he was lying about the end of his marriage, the nature of his infidelities, his sexuality, his continued contact with past lovers. He did this knowing that my last relationship ended after I found out that man had a double life and it was extremely traumatic it was for me.

I have tried for many weeks to set up situations where he might feel comfortable introducing the subject of bisexuality, homosexual or transgender experiences. I have told him about my own thoughts and feelings about it in hopes that he would feel like it was safe to confide in me. I constantly remind him how I would prefer to hear the hard truth over sweet lies. He never takes the bait though not about this. He did tell me he had an experience in high school where he went to party with an older guy in the neighborhood who got him very drunk and he woke up with no clothes on. He said he didn’t remember what happened but that his parents and the police got involved because the guy tried to have nude photos of him developed.

I am torn about confronting him. I feel like if his feelings are real, there is so much good here and I don’t want to lose it; I have spent so many years alone. We aren’t married but splitting will be complicated because our finances are tied up in this house and moving would impact my teenage son who lives here too.  If I confront J, I tip my hand to the access I have to his communications and I feel like I need to monitor reality because I can’t get it from him.

While I am angry with him for the lies, I do have compassion for his struggle and don’t want to traumatize him by outing him before he is ready. Part of me wonders if he indeed was searching for some solace and acting out due to the stress of an abusive partner. Maybe he had the experiences he was looking for and can settle down into a loving relationship long term, but another side realizes that he is hiding a big part of himself that he has not come to terms with and that is not going away. I also feel guilty for having dug so deep into a part of his past that he is clearly not comfortable sharing and I feel like if I confront him, it may change how he feels about me.

I have been considering trying to “discover this secret email by accident” or just divulge part of what I know like the google search for gay porn. But I believe he will lie and just be on alert to cover his tracks better. It is frustrating to know that I will never be able to be sure about what is in his head and heart. The sad thing is, I am fairly open sexually; I did not get married until I was 35 and I had an adventurous past. If he had been open and honest at the start, we most likely could have worked through this and would be in a very much better place. It is the lies that scare me more than the sex.

My main take away is that honesty is not a currency he deals in, it’s not important, in fact he prefers deceit and his capacity for deceit is enormous. His default is to be very compartmentalized and can be manipulative. I have anxiety whenever I leave him alone or when he goes somewhere without me. I have anxiety about what relationships he may be developing at work. This is cutting into my ability to work and my stress level is high. I don’t know how to proceed from here. Thank you for reading all this!

Last edited by Hawklover (January 22, 2021 1:16 pm)


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