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August 8, 2021 8:50 pm  #1

Effort, Guilt, Betrayal, and Damage

I should have come here years ago. I am fully divorced now but the process has been long and painful and I fear I have caused myself long term damage relationship wise by not standing up for myself.

She told me the week of my birthday in 2017. My response was anger and shock, especially when she told me she had told her brother a month ago. This is a brother who has serious issues and she stopped talking to for six months since he kept texting her really messed up pornography. Obviously her trusting him first with this instead of her husband was devastating.

Our relationship was atypical from the start, she was far younger than me (13 years) and we waited until she finished college to move into together and get married. My first clue was when she would "take naps" with college friend. Seemed odd to me but didn't raise huge flags. She was always athletic and tomboy like but that's not a flag at all. Then after we moved in she started reading lots of LGBTQ forums and websites, listening to podcasts, etc. Again not that big a deal right? Learning and having empathy for others is healthy, plus she had a former high school golf teammate come out in college so she said she was learning about her friend and her experience. 

Then after we had married and bought a house I found her watching women on women porn. Again, who am I to shame someone's kink? I know I watch stuff I wouldn't attempt in real life, that's what fantasy is all about. But then the intimacy started to fall quickly. She couldn't have sex without watching that first and lets just say it was always in a manner where she didn't have to look at me. I had dated someone in college who had been raped and this very much felt like I was doing it to her as she clearly was not enjoying me.

This is when all the pieces fell into place and I asked her about all these thoughts I had. I tried to be as non confrontational as possible but I flat out asked if she was gay. She denied it as I presented the evidence. This was a super critical part for us as we were trying to have a baby and she also kept saying she wasn't sure. I didn't want to be a super old father so I told her I could wait another year. She was so upset by my questions I felt I had two choices, either continue to emotional water board my wife into a confession or trust that she was 1. not gay or 2. possibly bisexual but had chosen me. To this day I don't think there was a correct choice.

We have two children and she came out to me when our son was 5 months old. I initially resisted, saying we needed to stay together for the children and finally relented around Xmas. This long period was made longer by my anger over her admission she had looked online for female prostitutes during a work trip which made then suspicious about her trips to see her friends in DC and Baltimore. She is the type of person who always is on her phone but when on these trips she would be out of touch the whole time until she was on the way home. Whereas I, even when on international travel was held to be in constant contact. She later admitted she had gotten drunk and told people she was gay numerous times on these trips, both pre and post children. 

After many arguments we finally settled on a co parent plan for our kids and agreed to take the state suggested 1 year of separation before divorce period to figure out who we were now and monitor how the children dealt with this new situation. Well that lasted a month and she started online dating I guess you call it her now girlfriend after they met in a support forum. Maybe that is what mentally prevented me from trying to talk to others like me sooner. I found out by catching her face timing said woman in the parking lot of work and she admitted it. I asked about our agreement and she said she couldn't stop now. It's only a month and you aren't even moved out yet I said. That was February 2018. She moved out in April and I had the kids the very first week. My family and I helped her move. Yeah remember that family she opened up to first, they shamed her relentlessly. It's better now but still. The day after she moved out our daughter (4 at the time) had a nightmare and woke up screaming for her mother. After trying to calm her for two hours I texted her mother and no response. I called quite a few times then decided to head to her apartment as my daughter would not stop crying. I got there and no answer. I tried the handle and it was open. No one there and money oddly scattered in her bedroom on the dresser.

I texted back asking where she was, that her apartment was open and I was calling the police. She then called back and told me she was in a hotel room with her now girlfriend. Then to make matters worse that same week on Thursday night our son came down with something that made him vomit uncontrollably. The nurse on call told me what to do and I had to make sure once he stopped to hydrate him with Pedialyte once every 30 minutes.  I called her for help and she refused. I didn't sleep for 3 days as the sickness ran through him, me and then my daughter. I had to call my mother once it looked like we were all ok to get some sleep.

We had also promised to still cover each other if needed for major work trips. Then when it came time she booked a trip to new Orleans and forgot. Once again my parents rescued me. On this work trip I first tried to separate myself and told her it was best if we didn't talk like friends anymore. When I then texted her that week about the kids she told me I was acting like an asshole. I had some beers that night and admittedly I got too angry and attempted to call her. She did not answer and I got more angry leaving awful messages then finally went to sleep. When I got back I apologized, no idea why and decided to just go along with whatever as she clearly would never bend. I was also nervous about her doing self harm if I pressed my side of things too much. Her mother had attempted suicide twice and she told me numerous times before she moved out that was considering it. 

I proceeded to try and support her so the kids would have a positive image of her. I would witness her angry at them for little reason at drop offs like when she tried to talk to me. When the kids, excited to see me would be chattering away after not seeing me for a week, wouldn't stop talking she yelled at them. I guess I tried to always be nice so she wouldn't be upset and yell at our children all week. I even switched our agreed week to week schedule twice knowing it was because her girlfriend wanted to as I was afraid of her taking it out on the kids or trying to take them away from me. 

She continued to take advantage of me for emotional support and I did also. I had stopped talking to my long term friends due to her and didn't make any new ones. I have work friends sure but no one I can really talk with about things like this. I have had 3 relationships since we split that lasted at least 5 months. The first I realize now was a fling for that person and that's fine. The second had objections to how close I was to my Ex and how I talked to her all the time. In the end it was too much for her, but I didn't see long term with her anyways so I didn't listen to her objections which I now feel to be spot on.

That brings me to now. I have been dating someone amazing for 6 months and the specter of me treating my Ex like my best friend still is possibly about to kill this relationship I want so badly to last. I have finally set proper boundaries I feel, (kid related only) and the ex has moved in with her girlfriend in another state. She finally agreed to me having majority custody of our children so I won that battle I feared so greatly and all my placation and cooperation was wasted. As a show of lack of respect on her part when we went to visit her family when our son was born I caught her brother's son who was older than our daughter touching her inappropriately. Not surprising given his father's history. A few months ago she begged to take the kids to go see her grandmother who wasn't doing well and I relented. Previously we had agreed she couldn't visit without me. She promised she wouldn't let the kids our of her sight if her brother came over. When they got back my kids of course instantly told me they went to his house and played hide and seek inside while the adults' hung out outside and drank.

So on top of all this lack of respect for me and wasted effort my current girlfriend found out that I hold told my ex intimate details about us and how often I spoke with her. My fault of course that I continued this co-dependent relationship but I had no one else to turn to. I felt judged and ostracized by people at work, like I made her gay and society at large does seem to judge men in divorces. It does seem most happen due to our actions but while she wasn't ready to come out everyone assumed I was a cheater or abusive. No mother would set up play dates with me or my kids, only her.

My current girlfriend also recently found a folder of pictures and other items in a file cabinet I haven't used in years of my Ex. I thought I had purged all memories so now I look like a liar. So I am not only left here with no marriage and children without a mother consistently in their lives but I may lose the best woman I have ever know now due to me still trying over the past 3 years to keep up a relationship with my Ex that has only brought me more pain. I thought this was in my kids best interest and also would make me more attractive to future partners since i wasn't just a bitter divorced guy and could act like an adult with my ex. I am forced to realize I was the only one ever putting any effort in and it has cost me everything. 

I don't judge her for being who she is. Her inability to realize that sooner was held back by many factors and it affects both of us. Her actions since that time have been made for her and her alone and that I do have issue with. 

Last edited by Papagumdrop (August 9, 2021 6:21 am)


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