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I’m seeking advice from strangers as parts of my story involve sensitive topics that morally I don’t feel like I could divulge with those closest to me. Please bare with this long post as this has spanned the last 6 years of our relationship. TW: sexual assault.
TLDR: my husband is bisexual, probably, but more importantly he can’t stop lying.
I met and have been friends with my husband since we were 15. He was raised in another state with one parent and then was sent to live in my state with another (he had been getting into trouble). He is today much as he was then and by that I mean he really has always been just himself. He’s smart, street savvy, incredibly caring, helpful, strong and just has a great vibe. I’ve loved him forever! We have an amazing friendship at the base of our marriage and we have maintained a strong bond and have endured many trials in our relationship. We had a child very early on in our relationship and we really beat the odds in many ways. What we share is truly special. I would tell anyone that was putting up with nonsense with a significant other that a great true love was out there; that I had found it myself.
Well, we were married after 7 years of dating and I have to tell you I couldn’t have been more sure at the time of my decision or felt more secure that our love was forever. Up until this point I had never been given a reason to not trust him. In addition, his parents divorce was due to cheating and this trauma felt almost like an extra layer of security. A few months after we were married, something happened that changed absolutely everything.
One night I was in bed and my husband fell asleep early because he had work the next day. I had never snooped on his phone before..ever! And I can’t even explain what led me to do it this night except maybe curiosity? There was NO suspicion. Looking back I want to call it intuition but truly I was just fucking around and seeing what he does on his phone. Immediately I found messages with a woman through some stupid app game. It was a word game and it all kind of started over the use of dirty words. It was corny but it was definitely flirtatious and sexual in nature. He mentioned he has a son and she spoke about her own children. There was talk about the ‘next time he’s in (state)’ she can cook him breakfast and all sorts of nonsense. This rocked my world. I took pictures of the conversations and had one of the worst nights of my life. We had just gotten married. I was asking myself is this enough to end a marriage? Was this cheating? I was also aware that this kind of online banter/flirty can get serious kind of fast because everyone is able to be their most confident/funny/sexy self. Things you may not ever do or say in person. They had only been talking a week but what would have happened if they had carried on for weeks? Months? The next day he knew I knew and tracked me down when he got out of work– to ‘confess’. (For years he gaslit me and told me that him confessing that day was purely out of his own guilt of the situation and not because he knew that I knew already) which is a lie. I’m not sure he would have ever felt guilty enough to tell me if I hadn’t found out.
I let it go because at the time we had a 5 year old and it really didn’t seem like enough to throw it all away. I chalked it up to being human and that everyone makes mistakes. He was a first time offender. But that security that I had felt was gone. From then on I became a serial phone checker and drove myself crazy looking for what may be next. I didn’t want there to ever be an opportunity for him to betray me for very long.
Well, just a few months later came another shocker. I found in his phone’s download files a picture of a man dressed in lingerie (it wasn’t him). The picture was black and white which I thought was strange and I could not find the source. To be clear I don’t have a problem with him looking at porn or even him not being completely straight. To be honest, once the shock wore off I actually tried to confront him about the picture compassionately because I love him and I wanted him to feel safe enough to tell me what it was all about. When I did, he said it was a thumbnail from a porn video that he downloaded by accident. And that it was actually a video he thought featured a woman. I pressed him about it so much even though this all seemed like straight up lies. Again, I am asking myself – is porn something worth leaving over? Our sex life was always good and mutually satisfying.
Around this time, I confided in a friend on what I found. My friend had lived as a closeted gay man for years and years. He tell me that at some point, he had made arrangements with someone through craigslist and when it came time to exchange pictures, he sent a picture of someone else (another friend of ours) saying it was him. In return, the person he was speaking to said I know who you are and sent a picture of my husband. He said nothing ever came of it because he got spooked. And because he was sort of catfishing, he didn’t really know if the other person was being truthful either. When I brought it up to my husband, he brushed it off. What was I supposed to do with this information??
Years went by and nothing new came about. It just was never the same but our day to day was always great. It felt like I got to hang out with my best friend every day. We decided, after many years of having just one son, to add to our family. We got pregnant almost right away and had our daughter. Shortly after, (of course!) more craziness. My husband went back to work right away. While doing laundry and emptying his pockets I find a receipt for an adult store. The date on the receipt was his first day back to work. The sole item purchased was a bottle of Rush also known as poppers. Now, I actually had used rush as a teenager so I knew exactly what it was. Rush is a sexual stimulant for those that don’t know. I did research on the shop and even Rush and found that there are video booths where sex takes place (apparently especially between gay men and blue collar dudes getting out of work) I also learned that Rush is used often in anal sex because it relaxes the muscles and makes penetration hurt less. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself but I did several days worth of research before confronting him (all with a less than two week old might I add). I was fearful for what this could mean, especially at such a fragile time in my life where I really needed the support of a partner.
Again, I approached from a place of compassion and not anger and simply pleaded for the truth. I was hurt about so many things– that instead of coming straight home on his first day back to work – whether it was to see his new baby or relieve me from doing double duty he went to this place, that we never visited a sex shop together, used toys or anything of the sort. Again…he’s lucky to have an open minded partner…I actually happen to be someone acutely aware of the complexity of human sexuality and I am neither judgemental or vehemently against anything. It would have been fine if he told me. I was hurt that he didn’t feel that he could talk to me. I laid it all out for him– what I found, what I know about the store and what I learned about Rush. He tells me he bought the rush because it had been–and would be– a long time before we had sex. He says he bought the rush to help him be able to get off fast which I know it does. He said he actually hated the stuff because it makes your head pound and he threw it out. Apologized profusely. I bought the story at the time probably just to stay sane but as the months went on this whole situation ate at me. I became so resentful. I feel like I had so many red flags but no real answers. I’d bring it up here and there and tell him it was really bothering me but he never offered up any information. No indication any of these things are connected or noteworthy. It was driving me insane. I struggled to be intimate with him and I had to relearn to love him basically just as a friend. We get along so well. No fights, lots of laughs. This was never something I brought into the family dynamic. I felt deep inside there was so much more to this story. But I was so torn about ending things without anything concrete. Just as these unending thoughts were coming to a fever pitch and affecting me mentally I finally made a new discovery. Like fate stepped in. Again.
I was bathing our daughter one day and I’m kneeling at the side of the tub and I’m looking at my toilet. Our toilet sits on a base with the inner workings hidden within the base. There are holes on the sides with caps I guess in the event you need access. Something told me to open the cap and reach inside. I find a dildo, some sort of pussy-like sex toy, and 3 bottles of the Rush. My initial reaction was relief because of the way I had been gaslit over the last year. I didn’t know what any of this meant.
When I confronted him this time with what I thought was finally something iron-clad he broke down. He said that this was the worst part about him and that he was deeply ashamed. That he began exploring anal stimulation because it was something he had experimented with in a previous relationship. He said there hadn’t been much sex going on between us so he was using the toys. And that the prostate stuff is very enjoyable. Again, he threw away everything. I was uncomfortable with this because it was like he was suppressing it and honestly the more you suppress something the more it will fight to come out. It was a lot to take it and hard to come to terms with. But using toys isn’t relationship ending. All of these things combined was suspicious as fuck but what did it really point to?
With each thing discovered I’ve had to ask myself if it crossed a boundary for me. The shame is that without the lying I’d really be ok with him exploring a lot of these things. But the lying, the gaslighting, and the fact that it really didn’t seem like these were things he wanted ME to have anything to do with made me sad and suspicious that there probably more to what I’ve found. I found that eventually we slipped back into our very happy, normal life.
Again I would find myself feeling crazy. Like am I stupid or am I making too much of a big deal. The fact that a lot of this is taboo stuff made it so that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. For some reason out of respect for him I didn’t confide in anybody. Looking back maybe that was too gracious of me.
This past March, he went to another state for work and he would be gone a month. I’m not proud, but I had set up a way that I could partially surveil his phone activity (yet not all of it). Not shockingly at this point, this yielded yet more pieces to the puzzle of my husband. The first night he landed he downloaded Grindr. Now, my method of being able to see his activity allowed me to see whenever he opened an app. After the initial download– nothing. A week later, he opened the Uber app. I thought these two things combined– despite there not being any suspicious activity in between– meant I could confront him about it. He pretended to not know what Grindr was and he said he had been talking with his sister about signing up to be an Uber delivery driver and was showing her the app (???). Meanwhile activity showed he actually opened the driver app first (as if by mistake) and then opened the request a ride app. I made him screen share his phone on the spot and he had no Grindr app and there was no recent trips in his Uber history. I understand there are ways to hide apps and delete history but there would be no need yet necessarily as he still had 3 weeks out there. So, I had thought I had finally caught him cheating which would be a very clear boundary crossed but now it was cast in some doubt. Writing this all out cathartically helps me realize how troublesome all of this information is 🤦. Luckily, almost miraculously (again), I run into my friend who I spoke of earlier in the post. His daughter goes to the same school as my son. While we were cordial, we had been distant for a few years. Somehow one day we connected and he ended up coming over to hang out. Being he has a history of being a closeted gay man I spilled my guts to him about everything. He tells me with the utmost surety that my husband is lying. And that there was more to the Craigslist story he had told me years ago. That they actually met up and had sex. There were details in this story that I knew it had to be true. He made it clear that this happened previous to my relationship with my husband, but that it also didn’t seem like it was my husband’s first time. My friend felt terrible for keeping that from me but didn’t feel like it was his place. But at this point he felt like enough was enough.
This really clicked everything together. I was so angry that after all the opportunities and patience and grace I gave him to be safely open and honest with me he was still lying. Instead of approaching him compassionately I went crazy on him. He was crying and there was really nothing he could say. To me, this tied it all together. At one point I was like fucking say it (hoping he’d admit his sexuality) but instead he says what do you want me to say? I was raped when I was a kid and I’m fucked up. This admission knocked the wind out of me. Of course he was trying to put this forth as the reason for how fucked up he is sexually. I was tempted at first to put my issue aside and comfort him but I made it clear that although that is very terrible and we’ll talk about it, the problem at hand has been how he has lied and manipulated me to the point of suffering mentally and emotionally.
For those wondering, I do feel like his story of sexual assault is legit. There are times where I feel like maybe it was a little more on the consensual side (he went back/came across this person more than once) but it was still wrong as he was a minor. I don’t want to give too many details but it was a homeless man. He encountered him while taking a wooded shortcut home from school. The man threatened him by leaving things at his house to show him he knew wher he lived. And forced him to perform oral sex at knifepoint or else he’d hurt his family. I just feel like a lot of these details give the story validity. And it was after this happened that his behavior became unmanageable and he ended up being sent away (his family was not aware of what happened). I had to do research on the connection between sexual assault/sexuality and there is a correlation but it is not causality. And– this was the first time he ever actually admitted something without having to be confronted about it– but he said that around the time he had met up with my friend he had met up with two other men from Craigslist and gave them oral sex. Oral sex happens to be the method in which he was abused as a teenager (at knifepoint). Because I love him dearly just as a human being and friend I chose to stick by and help him sort it out. I made it clear therapy (individual and couples) is our only hope and not a definite fix. Of course in the meantime and going through the processes of therapy, we have started living our normal lives again. There was never tension shown in front of the kids..this means there were days, weekends, vacations, nightly family dinners where we were together and genuinely enjoying each other’s company and being with our kids who we love dearly. It’s almost easy to forget all of this even happened.
And lastly, we went on vacation and he had to return a few weeks ahead of us to start his new job. I decided at this time to really let go of all my suspicions and enjoy my time with the kids. Well we get back and everything was fine. We had a joyful reunion. The next day I’m doing housework and I find cough drops in his sock drawer. This seems so stupid but it planted a seed of suspicion that sent me off the deep end. First of all we spoke frequently and he never mentioned feeling under the weather. Second, we have a place where we keep all of our medicine things. Third, he left clutter kind of all over the house so why was it put away? I didn’t really even know what nefarious reason he would have to use or hide cough drops from me. But I decided he might have used it as an oral analgesic to give oral sex again. Nothing is off the table anymore as far as possibilities go. So I decide that since the trash from while I was still away hadn’t been picked up yet, I’d go through it. Never did I think I would be driven to sink so low. Well, in the trash was another bottle of Rush, these weird honey packets that are like corner store male enhancement supplements (empty) and a receipt for Rite Aid (we never shop at Rite Aid) where he bought Robitussin and the cough drops. Of course he has an answer for everything. The rush – he used it to masturbate while we were gone– why does he need to tell me when he jerks off. The honey packets were for sex when I got home (which, oddly, he was able to have sex back to back so maybe there’s something to it lol), and the Robittussin and cough drops were because he was feeling a little under the weather and didn’t want me to be worried (???) By the way, the Robitussin was no where to be found in the house. He said he was keeping it in the car and taking swigs of it so he wouldn’t have coughing fits at work. This all seems like bull shit to me but I also don’t know what it means. He made me feel stupid and crazy for coming to these conclusions. And the more I write out my story here I know for a fact I’m stupid and crazy. If anything this has been super cathartic. ✌️HelenGuest
So much to unpack here. Your husband is bisexual. And maybe not monogamous with you. Only you can decide if this is enough for you and your 2 kids. Obviously you suspected something or you wouldn’t have snooped through his phone twice. The level of surveillance you have on him is probably more stressful than just calling it quits. He can be himself and you can find someone enthusiastic about youronGuest
This reads like you are trying out a short story attempt on us. If what you wrote is actually real, then you should never have snooped, since you say you would be ok with all of this anyway, so what’s the point”. He clearly doesn’t think you’d be alright with it, or he wouldn’t lie.peggyGuest
I agree with Helen. He needs to be honest and you need to hear what he says. Then you either split up, as this does not work for you or you accept this side of him and his stops hiding it and his activities. I don’t see other choices.alicedelmarGuest
I’ve told him this. That we both deserve that. It is always at his insistence that we work on things. I’m not trying to hold him down. But thank you for your reply. Bisexuality isn’t a deal breaker. Cheating would be. If he downloaded Grindr and didn’t meet with anyone, does that matter? Or was the intention, the thought, as fleeting as it may have been, enough?alicedelmarGuest
Ha. It does seem almost made up. I wish…
I don’t fully understand why I’ve gone through such great lengths to see what he’s up to and still stayed either. I keep resetting my boundaries. We are both fearful I suppose.KateGuest
What do you need?alicedelmarGuest
I guess I’m looking to see if anyone can relate in any way? Give advice from experience? Or just hear someone else’s input instead of the echo chamber in my own head. This has been really isolating to say the least.KateGuest
He’s gay or bisexual and cheating on you is what I think. We get a lot of letters like this. Every word out of your husband’s mouth is absolutely bullshit. If you need to know he’s cheating on you in order to move on, maybe you should hire a private investigator to show you pictures.alicedeomarGuest
Kate, I appreciate your bluntness. Thank you.AnonymousseGuest
I mean, when I read your post all I could think was, after all of this, you’re still there. What do you actually need to see to leave? It’s not the bisexuality that is the issue, it’s the constant lying and probable cheating.
As Kate said, there are so many women who write in with your exact story, minus a lot of your evidence and poppers…and it’s sadly a very common theme around here.
I’m sorry but I do think you should move on, just to reset your boundaries and be able to have a normal healthy relationship with someone who isn’t constantly lying to you. You can have no relationship without trust and you haven’t trusted him for a long time. I don’t blame you.alicedelmarGuest
I guess I should have perused other posts here more. I know the way it’s laid out is kind of jarring but it really all unraveled slowly. Maybe if I was more of a hot head I would have been able to have the ferocity necessary to torch the relationship but instead I tried to approach everything calmly and really centered our children’s well being. Thanks for your response