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March 24, 2020 1:05 pm  #1

My story

I was married to my high school sweetheart after being apart for decades. We had everything in common, loved the outdoors, same sense of humor, and sense of adventure. It was like time had stood still, we clicked instantly. We waited a year until we were married. I have a daughter that was 11 years old when we married. His family was thrilled that we had gotten back together. He had been married very young and it had lasted about a year. He had dated and lived with several women, but said he didn't want to settle. That I,his sweetheart, had set the bar too high. I thought that was just a line, until one of his friends said to me when first introduced, "You are the girl that set the bar too high."  There were no red flags...he was a mans man, carpenter, played sports, muscles etc. 
I also thought him having male friends was great. We had his friend, D, over on Friday nights for dinner. Then we would go out so the two of them could play pool. His friend had girlfriends. Unbeknownst to me, there was so much more going on. 
Fast forward 9 years: There were bumps in our relationship. He "forgot" my birthday 8 out of 9 times, even after being reminded by my daughter 2 days before, there were never gifts, never celebrated our anniversary. I thought he was inconsiderate because he had been single his entire life. Sex was rare, and foreplay was nonexistent.
 I am naturally a happy go lucky, laid back, very trusting person. Laughed all the time, had friends, and described as a hippy child. Live and let live if you aren't hurting anyone. 
I never checked his phone. I trusted people implicitly.
Nov 2018- One day I was trying to update my google settings to make it more secure. I used his phone to read the article as I changed my settings. There was gay porn on his phone. I was bewildered, shocked, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I am not a reactionary person. I checked his phone every day. Gay porn. We were on the road together with our job. I googled husband watching gay porn and found the SSN website. I read every post. I  started searching his phone. I found men's phone numbers that I had never known, a video sent by someone in a hotel room with gay sex toys. To say I was devastated, heart crushed, shocked, etc. can't begin to describe the horror of knowing I had been with a complete stranger that had put my life in jeopardy for almost 10 years.  I had no one at all to confide in. My siblings have a disease they are dying from, my dad died years ago from this. My mom can't keep a secret and we weren't close for many reasons. I had left my friends behind to start this new career with him.
He gaslighted. I told him that if he was gay, he could tell me. I was safe. I would understand. He just became more cruel. I continued to read Sean's posts on SSN. It saved my life, kept me straight when I would begin to doubt. I gave our notice for this job, decided to move back to the state my family lives in. I got tested for HIV right away. Then when we got to our home I was tested again for HIV and STD's.  I was blessed. Negative. This was a month after I first found the gay porn. I didn't know what to do, my mind was never still. I couldn't sleep. I had no one. He swore he wasn't gay, had never acted on it. He moved with me. He worked long days, I was now really alone in this townhouse, new state, no friends, no job. There were days I cried almost nonstop, I had thoughts of this is too much, losing my entire family, my daughter not with me, it just wasn't worth it. My life and thoughts were completely disordered. This was now Feb. 2019.
I got a job and started early April. He was now working 3rd shift so I didn't see him except on weekends. He was on chaturbate, calling gay men, hooking up while I was on call working. I was on Grindr and other sites trying to find him. Torture. I read on SSN when you know, quit looking. I stopped looking. It was better.
I tried to compartmentalize. I kept a smile on my face at work. I thought it was working until the small group I had worked with for a couple of months asked if I was happy with my job because it didn't seem like I liked it. I then decided I had to tell them. God had placed me in this job with this group of people. They hugged me and supported me, guided me, helped me navigate through decisions. I read SSN every day.  During this time my sweet dog who was 11 1/2  got Cushings disease and died. One of our cats died. I went home from work and couldn't function some nights. 
I questioned whether, because of my age (54), I should split expenses with him since I absolutely was never going to date again. I had seen people on SSN that had to do it because of age. I knew I could never live like that. I am fortunate in my career, I make a good living and can support myself easily. 
As I healed,and stayed away from him on weekends, I started to plan a future for myself. I could do this with my new dog, and my sense of adventure. I was going to travel and work near my daughter, who works in beautiful Parks. 
My friends at work tried to get me to date. They told me about the dating sites these days. I could not go "just have fun" as they described it. I have strong morals, and was not going to compromise myself ever. I was not even ready for a person at all and did not ever want to hurt another person. I was never going to date. EVER!
I am at peace with myself. I was going to hike the Appalachian trail with my daughter. We had plans to do it in sections. 
Then he really ramped up the gaslighting, narcissistic behavior. He could see I was changing. I googled "survivor" songs. Demi Levato "Warrior" was my go to song. I listened to it for hours. On my phone before work, at home locked in my bedroom. At home when he tried to guilt me, make me feel like I am crazy, I listened to "Warrior."

I had long hair for him, because that is what he liked. Before him, I had always worn it short. Aug 2019- One of my off days, I got mad, really angry at him, messaged my dear friend at work, sent her a couple of short hair pics. She chose one, I called a salon, made an appt for that day. The stylist suggested we start slow because going from long to short can be hard she said. I told her to cut it all. She did. 
That weekend I took all my photos of him off my phone, wedding photos GONE, cut him out of good photos with my daughter. 
The next week I told him I wanted a divorce, the next week I threw my rings out the window into a median where no one will ever find such lies.
I fought back. I prayed, I confided in my sister-in-law. That has been good and bad. She has said things like, "You really know how to pick them." The only thing I did wrong was trust him when he said he loved me. His family and life long friends have no idea. 
My dear friend at work said" K, we are both 54, how do you want to live the last part of your life?"  I wanted "me" back, the trusting laughing, happy go lucky woman I had been. 
I wish I could say I was completely unscathed. I don't think anyone goes through being cheated on, plus the gay or lesbian" thing without a few scars. 
Our divorce was finalized in Dec. Just at a year. I did not out him to anyone that he knew or could hurt him. I don't have it in me to destroy another human being. 
He is still playing" straight." I believe he is a sociopath, as Sean described some of these people. I did not tell him where I am living, as a few times I felt he could be dangerous since I know his secret. I did tell him I had told my friends at work so he would know someone knew. He showed up at my workplace one day during this. Fortunately he couldn't find where I worked because of the many hallways. I let him know I was behind locked doors. 
I asked a man out for coffee early November. A man that works in a different department of the same place I work. I could tell when I talked with him that he was a good man. Actually, another friend kept repeating that, " He's a good man." I got the courage to ask. I was scared, really nervous. 
We went extremely slowly, open book, can ask and talk about anything.I was a nervous wreck whenever I was around him. He could see it and commented on it.  I never expected at 54 to have found the love of my life. It was a long time before we kissed. I can only describe that kiss as life changing. I did not know a kiss could be like that. I was dead weight, every bit of nervousness left. I was left with the knowledge that I was going to ok, my heart would be in safe hands, as would his. I waited until I knew I would never hurt him before I asked him for coffee. The love of a man that truly loves you with all of his heart is indescribable. To love a man the way I love him...there is no way to describe the depth. We sit together holding hands while watching t.v.  or listening to music. Somehow our legs just end up crossed just right. We fall asleep holding hands and wake up hours later still holding hands. I feel desired for the first time ever. I desire him when I am anywhere near him.  And when I look at him I see this incredible, handsome, beautiful eyes, crinkling smile, dry wit, best legs ever. The chemistry between us is electrifying. His heart is enormous, he helps a lot of people, is understanding, and kind to everyone. 
I look back at the last year and the nightmare is so far away, I rarely think about it. I am back to the trusting, happy go lucky woman I had been. Only better, because I now know what love is supposed to be. 
I am writing this because I  hope I can help even one person , the way SSN helped me, get through this without being destroyed.


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