kiwigirl1

I desperately need some advice :(

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Hi everyone, I'm new here and just came across the forum in a Google search. I'm a convert (joined the church when I met my husband 18 years ago). I'm struggling with some issues and I have no idea who to talk to or where to turn. I wouldn't normally post this to strangers - it seems so random. But... I guess I'm desperate. I would love nothing more than to talk to my Dad - but he was killed some 18 years ago and I still miss him dearly. 

My husband and I were married in the temple, I held that very dear to me. 

In 2010/11 my husband had an emotional affair with a woman he met while playing out in his band. It was the hardest time of my life.... I had been his #1 fan, his supporter, and was deeply in love and full of faith in the connection, love and friendship we shared. He was never honest about what he did or was doing.... I found out only because of digging that I did because I "had a strong feeling". Something was off and I knew it. I eventually found out... and he lied over and over... denied things... then admitted them... he always wanted to "protect" me and not "hurt" me... hence the lies. Over 2011 and 2012 he would promise never to contact her again... then I'd find out he did... then we'd argue and he'd promise not to again. I got to the point where I was just emotionally DONE. It drained me...  damn near killed me. It was the hardest time of my life. Ultimately, I forgave him and we moved forward with life.... it made me a stronger woman.... but it wasn't easy. Important to note, when this all happened, we were inactive at the time. 

So life has been great....  up till April 2019. I went to visit my family overseas for 2 weeks.... everything was great I thought... we had rebuilt our marriage, I trusted him, I loved him more than ever. I thought he loved me. 

In May 2019 ... I checked my business messages and saw there was a message from this woman he had an affair with YEARS ago. She sent me a screenshot and said "is this your husband?". She had sent this message the day after I had left for my trip in April (I just never saw it till May as it was a business I wasn't very involved in). The screenshot was a my husband who had done a 'wave' on Messenger to her! I couldn't believe it!  This was the DAY I LEFT... that night. 

I confronted him about it (we're active again in church now so it must have a good explanation surely). He told me that yes he looked her up, he knew he shouldn't have... and that he accidentally tapped the wave button by accident. I found it hard to believe it was an accident!  But... I believed him. I questioned him more over the next few days - why was he looking her up?  (He claims he wanted to see if he still had her blocked) etc. Why not tell me if it was so innocent? I just found it all really unsettling. I asked if he had anything else I should know about. No, he insisted... just that and it was a mistake. 

A week later.... this woman messaged and asked if I was ok.... I said sure, and that he had just accidentally sent her a wave, and hadn't meant to....  she replied .... "um, no... he sent more than that"... and sent me a screenshot. It said 'Hey [insert his nickname for her!], hope all is going well for you'.

He had used the nickname he gave her (he wrote a song about her when this all went down years ago and that was the title of the song).... I was floored!! I was gutted. I was devastated. How could he... after all these years, message her THAT, let alone message her at all!!  Let alone the NIGHT I HAD LEFT!!!  He was extremely ashamed when he realised I had found out the truth. Bottom line is that this guy has never been honest and open with me - only AFTER he's been found out. 

Since that time I've been biding my time and just thinking about things. I cannot accept this.... I cannot accept that there's not more to this in his heart. 

We've spent the past few days away on holiday... we happened to drive through and stay in the same town this woman lives in. I have pushed and pushed for us to talk and open up...  and finally yesterday, he admitted he has feelings for her. He admitted it would be nice to see her. I said to him... look, I think you need closure... I think you should text her and go meet with her. I know, I must be freaking CRAZY to say that right?!!  I actually thought he might say no babe, I don't want to meet with her!  But nope... he found her number and texted her asking to meet!!!!!!  I was stunned - yes, probably my own fault.  She never replied, and they never met up. 

But now... what do I do with this?  He says he wants me, she's not his type (she's not a member), he says he would die if he lost me. But .... in my eyes, his actions betray his words!  I don't know what's true. I've done my best... I've been a supportive, loyal and loving wife. But I'm at the point where I want more than what I have been given. I'm disappointed, I'm disillusioned, I feel like I've given SO MUCH to this marriage of now 18 years....  yet I've gotten absolute crap in return. The hardest part is - I love him. 

I know that no-one can tell me what to do. I know that. I don't even know what my question is here. I'm scared to let go of this. But I know that I deserve so much more. Nothing changes the fact that he has feelings for another woman and HE wants us to just carry on like normal! I don't know what to do. I feel lost... I feel alone... and I have NO-ONE that I can talk to about all this. It's overwhelming and my heart hurts. 

He claims his feelings for her are nothing compared to what he feels for me (but this is what he does - when consequences come, he backpeddles and makes things not sound so bad).... I just feel completely messed up and I don't know where to go from here....  :( 

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@kiwigirl1, I'm sorry you find yourself in this position, it sounds like your heart truly does hurt.
From one stranger to another, I'll share a couple of thoughts in no particular order.

1. I hope that in typing out your feelings, even if to strangers, you found some kind of comfort in doing so. Simply verbalizing out loud or writing down your inner thoughts can be a healing process.  Keeping a journal can be extremely helpful if you have no one else readily available to talk with.

2. While in the mist of being emotionally hurt, traumatized or depressed... we typically are not on our "A" game. Doubt, concern, frustration, fear, etc. can easily begin to overwhelm: common sense, hope, rational perspective, etc.  I share this, so that hopefully you can take a deep breath and realize this is probably happening to you as your mind zips around back and forth playing out 100 different scenarios at once.     Pause.    Breathe.   Realize that you have more control in this situation than you might remember.

3. In your post, one thing that I noticed was a lack of sharing things that would surely strength you in this time of need. Rhetorical: How are your personal heartfelt prayers to our Father in Heaven going? What guidance have you asked for and received from the Spirit on this matter? Have you gone to the temple, alone, to meditate in peace on what to do? Have you asked your Bishop for advice? etc. I know you said you are active now, these are some of the many uplifting tools at your disposal that can help carry you through this situation.

Remember, remember the Atonement. It has the power to lift burdens, heal heartache and restore hope.
 

5 hours ago, kiwigirl1 said:

4. But I know that I deserve so much more.

4. Do you really know this? Do you honestly believe in your heart that you deserve so much more? Once you honestly believe this, you will take courage and actually stand up for yourself and your own self interest. Part of the problem of item #2 (above) is you can start to doubt if you truly do deserve more and start accepting fiction over fact, in this case perhaps the insincerity your husband feeds you about the other woman. Stay strong. Besides our Father in Heaven and the Savior, you are your number one advocate.

5. Decide what you want. Once you know what you want, act upon it. Do you want to work things out? Do you want to part ways with your husband? Do you want counseling with your husband? Whatever it is, seek confirmation from the Spirit that it is the right course of action and then act.

I'll stop here in the interest of not dragging out endless thoughts.
Hang in there, you can get through this.

Edited by NeedleinA

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44 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

1. I hope that in typing out your feelings, even if to strangers, you found some kind of comfort in doing so. Simply verbalizing out loud or writing down your inner thoughts can be a healing process.  Keeping a journal can be extremely helpful if you have no one else readily available to talk with.

Thank you.... you're completely right, just putting it into words really helped. In fact, I came back and re-read what I'd written...  and it's like reading about a stranger - I can't believe I'm in this predicament. Moreover, I can't believe I'm still in this marriage. I think that's a really good idea to journal - I did that all those years ago... that journal carries a lot of pain and one day I planned on burning it. I started keeping a journal again recently but have always tried to keep it uplifting. But perhaps I need to start writing again about what's going on - even if just for my own benefit - and sanity.

47 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

2. While in the mist of being emotionally hurt, traumatized or depressed... we typically are not on our "A" game. Doubt, concern, frustration, fear, etc. can easily begin to overwhelm: common sense, hope, rational perspective, etc.  I share this, so that hopefully you can take a deep breath and realize this is probably happening to you as your mind zips around back and forth playing out 100 different scenarios at once.     Pause.    Breathe.   Realize that you have more control in this situation than you might remember.

I appreciate you acknowledging my emotions.... sometimes I've considered the option that perhaps I'm overreacting - my husband has often said that if the shoe was on the other foot, and I had texted a guy I had had an emotional affair years ago with, he would just laugh it off. But he's also told me that if I had done what he did years ago - he wouldn't have stayed with me. But I truly appreciate your comments on this one... because you're right... my mind goes a million miles an hour... I need to just pause, and breathe. Thank you for noting this down - it's helped me more than you can ever know. It's hard to feel like I have control. Time to pause. And breathe. 

51 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

3. In your post, one thing that I noticed was a lack of sharing things that would surely strength you in this time of need. Rhetorical: How are your personal heartfelt prayers to our Father in Heaven going? What guidance have you asked for and received from the Spirit on this matter? Have you gone to the temple, alone, to meditate in peace on what to do? Have you asked your Bishop for advice? etc. I know you said you are active now, these are some of the many uplifting tools at your disposal that can help carry you through this situation.

Remember, remember the Atonement. It has the power to lift burdens, heal heartache and restore hope.

Ahhh this is something I'm REALLY struggling with right now. I was doing super well up to early December...  when my husband and I had a chat after church one day, as he didn't seem happy. He just seemed really down and unhappy and almost angry (well not angry, but intolerant) all the time. I tried to push for answers then, but got none. Instead, I got told that I push us too hard with spiritual things (I am a big advocate for reading scriptures, praying every night  - and personal development through books on Deseret Bookshop etc) - so yes I'm always mentioning things I'm learning and trying to open up discussions etc. But I never thought I was pushy....I lead but I didn't drive. It's just if I don't lead, it doesn't happen and it's imperative to me that our kids have this in the home (they are 14 and 15 yrs). But since that talk, it really made me second guess myself....  I stopped 'leading', backed off, read the odd thing myself... stopped reading and praying as that conversation really hurt me. I didn't understand then. I still don't. Perhaps all this that I have learned now was on his mind then..... who knows. So yes I'm active in the fact that we go to church... but we have no temple near us (it's 6 hours away), and it's closed for 3 years for refurbishment and making it earthquake proof - I think it's open in another 2 years (I'm down in New Zealand). But you bring up valid points - that I need to pray, that I need the Spirit with me....  but I'm really struggling with it because I feel so let down. I feel like I opened my heart again... and it's been trashed. Again. Yet, my husband seems to minimise his actions, and make me think that texting her last April is almost not a huge deal. 

1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

4. Do you really know this? Do you honestly believe in your heart that you deserve so much more? Once you honestly believe this, you will take courage and actually stand up for yourself and your own self interest. Part of the problem of item #2 (above) is you can start to doubt if you truly do deserve more and start accepting fiction over fact, in this case perhaps the insincerity your husband feeds you about the other woman. Stay strong. Besides our Father in Heaven and the Savior, you are your number one advocate.

I think I'm truly scared of letting go. For me, 18 years is extremely hard to let go of - even if a lot of it has been heartbreaking... because if I'm honest, that's how it's been. For 18 years he's been my future... my eternal companion. It's extremely hard to consider that changing. I think that's why I find it near impossible to let go. But yes I think I DO believe I deserve better... my husband has even said this to me.... but I guess what I'm waiting for is for him to BE that better person. 

1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

5. Decide what you want. Once you know what you want, act upon it. Do you want to work things out? Do you want to part ways with your husband? Do you want counseling with your husband? Whatever it is, seek confirmation from the Spirit that it is the right course of action and then act.

I would love this to work out... but in order for it to work out, I need him to make some serious changes. And I just don't think that will happen - at least, not until it's too late. That makes me deeply sad. I think sometimes the best thing we can do is remove our presence from them... perhaps that's what I need to do - at least for now. Perhaps that will kickstart something within him. 

 

I just want to say @NeedleinA, thank you so very much for your time.... for your thoughts... for your kind words. It is uplifting in such an awful time. Sometimes we think we're going crazy when we're in situations like this.... I consider "am I overreacting".... but no... I don't think I am. I believe that if your eternal companion is hurting, then you should be there to help them, love them, support them... and make it right. I'm not getting that from my husband unfortunately. In fact, he told me today that he loves me and wants to be with me, but this is over. That the kindest thing he can do is let me go because I deserve better.  I wanted HIM to be that 'better'... but I guess at this stage, that isn't going to happen. Again, thank you so much for bearing up a stranger in need at this time.... your words are more powerful than you might realise xo

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You are more than welcome @kiwigirl1.

12 hours ago, kiwigirl1 said:

in such an awful time.

When awful times come, especially the really awful ones, it is then that we truly are able to see what we are made of. We truly get to see what years of testimony building has taught us, and solidify what we really believe in. I've noticed that when presented with huge life altering challenges, individuals inevitably chose two different paths.
They either:
1. Fall apart. Begin to doubt in God, "why could he let this happen to me?". Their testimony is shaken if not crushed. They abandon the Savior and his extended hand and basically forget all the lessons they ever learned or taught about staying strong when trials arise.
OR
2. They cling even harder to God. They say, "I know that he loves me and whatever comes next, I prefer to travel down that path with him by my side than alone". Their prayers are more intense and sincere than ever. Their desire to be spiritual increases, and by so doing, they feel the relief of Savior's atonement more often during their time of need.

My prayer is that you will white knuckle grasp to the latter option and not let go.

Lastly, what your husband recently said to you, 'may' in reality be a blessing or answer to your prayers, thus allowing to you move forward without guilt or reservation.

12 hours ago, kiwigirl1 said:

In fact, he told me today that he loves me and wants to be with me, but this is over. That the kindest thing he can do is let me go because I deserve better.

I would contact your Bishop next. Allow him to counsel with you.
Best wishes.

Edited by NeedleinA

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Hi @kiwigirl1 this is probably not what you want to hear and I hope I have time to write a more considered answer later, but my initial thought is that no one, ever, has enough information to make a sound decision about what they do or do not deserve. How does anybody make that calculation? How can anyone decide what they do or don't deserve? When we start talking about what blessings we think we deserve, or what happiness we deserve, it seems to suggest that we know the ratio, or the formula or the rate at which obedience and longsuffering is translated into peace and happiness. We never know how much good stuff - scripture reading, prayer, temple attendance, service, fidelity, honesty, etc - will translate into how much good outcomes - peace, happiness, love, stability, etc. To think that a certain amount of good stuff means that you deserve something good and that you want it now, and that if you don't get what you feel you deserve, when you want it then you will do something not good, well that, to me, sounds like potentially dangerous thinking, with a strong focus on self. We can't know the rate of exchange whereby good deeds result in good outcomes, but God does, and He sees and knows all and he rewards each according to their desires and deeds, sometimes now, and sometimes later, and sometimes in the next life.

Two scriptures to ponder

14  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?
15  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
16  ¶ Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
17  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

(Old Testament | Malachi 3:14 - 18)

 

1  THEN said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (My own personal interpretation is that this verse might apply equally as well to offended spouses, and not just little ones)
3  ¶ Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
5  And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

(New Testament | Luke 17:1 - 5)

 

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Sorry to hear this is happening kiwigirl.  A few thoughts:

No matter what kind of a guy he is, or wants to be, he has destroyed your trust.  It's ok to not trust him.  Since he has a track record doing this crap and lying to you about it, it is healthy for you to not trust him.  You can say it out loud - "I don't trust him, because he has shown himself to be untrustworthy."  I mean, maybe you could have been more this or less that, maybe you've got your own crap to own here, but whether you do or not, his actions have destroyed trust, and that's an important thing to internalize.

If there's going to be healing and, well, a marriage, then someone needs to step up to the plate.  I'm not thinking about you - I'm thinking about him.  He has destroyed the trust, he needs to be the one making it up.  In a normal marriage, we all carry around a reservoir of trust, like a water bottle.  Your water bottle is now empty (or should be), and it's up to him to fill it back up through constant deposits.  Thing is, every time he shows you he is trustworthy, that's a few drops back in the bottle.  And every time he gets caught (or comes clean), it's like dumping out all the trust and you're back to square one.

Good time for some marital counseling for the two of you.  Any good counselor can teach the mechanics of this.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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There's good reason to believe that he may have overcome this.  I know that sounds puzzling, yes that's wrong that he gave well wishes to someone who was a little too good of a friend and lied about it (but I definitely let out a sigh of relief that there was no steamy talk or pictures--he was fooling himself and doing a sin common to man--but it was not something like King David).  So did he cross the line and is there no hope for the future? James E. Faust had incredible wisdom on the consequences of divorce: read the Enriching of Marriage.  I recommend looking up more talks to decide what justifies divorce and then take your answer to God--who I believe does care about your marriage.  For example, his meeting her would have been a huge mistake, but by the grace of God she backed out; I was not expecting that, were you?  You had every reason to believe she's wanting to divide you, by causing you to doubt your husband, by tattling on a harmless well-wish (I'm sure he reasoned it's just a friend contact, but lied because he didn't want you to take it the wrong way, it's not smart but it's not adultery).  Normally women would just back away instead of saying something, "hey your husband's into me, bet you're soooo mad."  Might as well have added, "so when are you going to break up over this?"  Him meeting with her probably was innocent in his mind, he would have said this is just a friendship and felt okay because he had your blessing, but it might not have played out that way.  I think he's paying you a compliment for sticking with him; that was a humble thing to say as he probably feels unworthy for being tempted, even though Christ himself was tempted, many people still feel like they shouldn't be tempted even if they didn't sin and beat themselves up over it. 

About leaving him...are you sure this will be worth it?  It may seem like a strong independent thing to do, and sometimes it is--but I'm talking about wives who are so emotionally or physically beaten down that they probably won't live long.  Divorce can fill people with such sorrow that they become weaker and more prone to attacks from Satan.  Not many people are walking on a cloud years after a divorce, dancing in the streets about their freedom, praising the day of their divorce and saying that it was the best several hundred or thousand that they've ever spent (they're expensive, even without children or assets).  I've even seen divorce regret blogs--and those aren't even temple marriages.  If you have any children they are going to be hit hard.  From what I studied in college, kids tend to do better with their father because he can pay for high quality care and take paid time off, but many moms send their kids into the streets or put them in front of the TV to get more time to make more money or go back to school themselves and that can be really hard developmentally and morally on children who then become very friend or media dependent.  Yes, moms matter tremendously with development, but it's all for nothing if they're too busy. 

If he's on the right path he should be willing to come up with a plan.  Boundaries for talking with other women, what is and isn't flirting, ways to enhance your marriage and keep it from deteriorating (couples getaway, class, regular dating), and counseling if you continue to fight about this.  I felt alone when my husband always belittled me and had a temper problem and a memory problem (which is not fun), and there's little no hope of having children again with how miserable he made me feel as a mother.  But that's what Satan wanted...he wanted me to feel alone.  Slowly I began to realize that I'm not alone with God's grace, even though I can't talk in person about these things.  Hey, he blessed both of us with the internet!

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You are justified in whatever you decide.  However, there are some things to consider:

- You have 2 children.  If you were in the U.S. I would advise you to wait until they are 18 years old and legal adults before you take any major steps.  

- Have you gone to your Bishop with this?

- Have you done marriage counseling?

18 years is a long time, you need to really ponder and pray the direction you want this to head.  

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 I am more concerned about the way he chooses to respond to all of this. You mentioned "my husband has often said that if the shoe was on the other foot, and I had texted a guy I had had an emotional affair years ago with, he would just laugh it off."  If that's true, I find it heartbreaking and the only reason he is saying this, it is because he has been unfaithful. He is basically saying you are making a big deal about it when it is not. And if this is the way he sees it, it means he has not taken responsibility for what he did and does not feel remorse in the least. Again, this is not about the emotional affair but the way he is choosing to respond: By lying, disrespecting you and making you feel like all of this is not a big deal. And when a person doesn't feel remorse at all, guess what happens? He/she might do it again. The question is: What will you do about it?

 

 

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