Years into their marriage, a wife finds out about her husband’s double life. Natasha* tells us about her shock at discovering the one dearest to her was a total stranger.
We married young, when we were in college. He was my high school sweetheart, a kind, gentle, God-fearing soul. We were far away from home and the distance from our families only added to the push to get married. So when he popped the question, I did not hesitate.
The early years were beautiful. We studied together, lived in domestic bliss and made plans for our future. After graduating, we stayed on in the USA to work and gain experience for a few years. He worked with a prestigious university, and I worked at a publishing company. Everything seemed to fall into place and we felt even more blessed when I became pregnant. With our second child, he advised me to stay at home and look after our children, which I gladly did. Raising our kids is not a sacrifice but a privilege.
A stranger’s email
One day, I received an email from a stranger, out of the blue. It contained a short message which said I should look at the attached pictures closely. When I looked at them, I saw that they were lewd photos of men’s private parts. Shocked, I started to delete them. Suddenly, something caught my eye. The private parts had a familiar mole. I had seen it before! I glanced through the other pictures and there was my husband, with his smiling face, in a lewd position, naked. My head spun and I ran to the bath to throw up.
My heart pounding, I wrote back to this person. Who are you? Where did you get these? How did you know my husband? The next day I received a reply. It was a woman he had had an affair with! After a few exchanges, I learnt that my husband had been cheating on me for two years, not just with one, but with many women. My heart broke. How could I have not known? He found his women online, at social networking sites. They would chat, it would turn to sex talk, they would exchange pictures and then make dates to meet up and have one night stands, sometimes more than once. This woman felt cheated because she thought he loved her.
As he used the same computer, I managed to access his social pages and messages, which I had never felt the need to do before. I didn’t think I could feel any worse, but I did. There must have been about 15 women. How incredibly selfish and reckless of him; he could have given me STD, or worse! And the exchanges, I just could not believe this man was my husband. It was a side of him I never knew existed. The kind of talk, the pictures, the sex, things they discussed and did. My face burned with shame, anger and humiliation. I found out that he had a penchant for big women, with big breasts. I am average sized but my breasts are small. I had never felt so inadequate in my life.
Now it all fell into place: the overtime hours, the impromptu work assignments outstation. They had been lies. How could I have been so blind? I believed and trusted him completely and he betrayed me.
When I showed him the pictures, he was shocked for a moment and then calmly said they meant nothing to him and that he was sorry, he couldn’t help himself, and would stop. Things became strained between us, even though I kept quiet to spare the kids a scene. I didn’t believe he could stop, given the magnitude of the betrayal. And I was right as more women came forward, even calling me on my phone and harassing me. We argued and fought, and he finally said I was the problem and that I did not satisfy him. I was not enough for him, didn’t have big breasts and wasn’t curvy enough. Feeling somewhat at fault, I contemplated breast surgery, even put on weight when other women were trying to lose it.
One night he said he wanted to talk, and instead of what I wanted to hear, he dropped a bombshell. He needed some excitement in our sex life he said. He wanted me to sleep with another man and for him to watch. I was stunned. He had been frequenting swingers’ sites and found that exciting. Crushed at his request and still feeling as if it was my fault for not being enough for him, I actually contemplated his request and wondered how I could bring myself to do it with a total stranger. If you really love me and want this marriage to work, we have to find new ways of recharging our sex life, he said. I was so afraid of him leaving me, yet I wondered who he was, this totally different man from the one I had married.
I talked to a counsellor without his knowledge as I was feeling torn and confused. I realised through the sessions that my husband had a sexual addiction problem and it was not my fault. He also became more distant and more uncaring towards me, and as time passed by, his escapades becoming bolder now that it was out in the open. I decided it was time to walk out with my kids as I did not want them to find out what their father was doing.
I have more peace of mind now after extracting myself from the marriage. It’s hard to bring up two kids on your own, financially and emotionally, but I’m taking it one day at a time. The last I heard, he had remarried a woman of his dreams, the ‘size’ of his dreams! But I doubt he has stopped his sexual escapades. I wonder how I missed all the signs of his infidelity. On the surface, before everything was exposed, we seemed to have a good marriage. His affairs were one thing but asking me to sleep with another man was just beyond belief.
5 SIGNS YOUR HUSBAND IS ADDICTED TO SEX
Leading US addiction specialist, Dr Drew Pinsky, offers warning signs of sex addiction:
1. Difficulty dealing with emotions
Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder where sex is substituted for human connection.
2. Changes in libido
Libido can increase or decrease. The addict may demand sex all the time yet never seem satisfied or avoid sex.
3. Excessive time online
Viewing online pornography and spending excessive time in chat rooms focused on sexual/romantic behaviours.
4. Mood swings before or after sex
Avoidance or agitated behaviour before or after sex can be another sign
5. Inability to socialise
Besides isolating themselves, a in unusual that the person is disconnected. classic sign of addiction, the person may also socialise inunusual settings or with unusual people.
*Names have been changed.