Big sign number one: You are worried he is cheating. Women are equipped with intuition. We know he’s messing around before we see any symptoms. Believe in yourself.
I know as I look at the past that my abuser was never faithful to me. At the very least he was chatting up some woman somewhere. At the worst, he was having a full-blown affair. I like to think he wasn’t physically cheating during most of our marriage but I know that is a desire to protect myself from the truth.
How did he get away with it? From the beginning of our relationship, he set me up to believe I was a jealous person. We all have a natural amount of jealousy and he cultivated it and used it against me. How? I’m still not totally sure and it is something I’ll have to look back on and see how it played out.
He must have called me jealous at some point and realized it was a button he could push and so he did. Every time I said something about inappropriate behavior I was reminded that I was a jealous person. It got to the point I was afraid to say anything to him about anything that would cause the j-word to be played.
Right before he started his last affair he would speak about his love interest and his boss all the time. Now I know he was usually speaking about her when he pretended to be talking about his boss. That was a way to talk about her without arousing my suspicions. I had to hear all about how wonderful she was. Then he began texting her through group chats so it looked innocent. I knew he was getting too close to her and so did he but just like the alcohol abuse, he walked straight into almost daring fate to destroy his life.
Before the affair began he took me and our children to work so we could meet everyone there. She seemed excited to speak to me but I snubbed her. That was probably stupid and what the abuser wanted to see. He also told me that she was not all that and hoped I could see that now that I had met her. At this point, he said he was over her.
He and his boss took turns taking a small group of people to lunch every few days and she was one of this group. I asked him to stop going to lunch with her and he agreed. He began making nice dinners and taking the leftovers in for lunch, supposedly for his boss. Now we know boss=work girlfriend. #faceplant #noshame
Right after his affair began his work hours became longer and longer. I believed his lies that as soon as tax season was over he wouldn’t have to work so late. There was always another excuse as the hours became later and later. The excuses became less and less believable.
Right before the affair started he began sleeping on the couch, supposedly so I would sleep better at night. Since he had started drinking his snoring and restless sleep had become much worse. I begged him to come back to our bedroom. He would move back for a little while but then would return to the couch again. Eventually, I gave up and let him go.
I can go into makeup stains and other stains on his clothes but those signs are so obvious even I couldn’t bring myself to point them out to him. Some days he smelt of perfume which was explained away as the scented hand soap at work. And for the record her perfume is skanky. ;-)
One of the worst things his affair partner did was to send her child’s hand-me-down clothes home for my children to use. I even wrote that slut a thank you card. I quietly donated and passed along all the clothes so I wouldn’t have to see my children wearing them.
The abuser even had the audacity to offer to babysit her child for the day right before they began their illicit behaviors at work. He was so sweet that day while I help her mom starved child on my lap. He even shared a personal joke with me while this woman was in our house. I see now that was straight out of the narcissist's playbook to make her jealous and get her to commit to the next step with him. These narcs are pure evil.
Some of the other over the top signs were: her credit card in his wallet, messenger messages to her, texts to her, he locked down his phone and it was never out of his sight, he didn’t want me washing his laundry anymore, working every other Saturday, “work” trips, gifts, keeping condoms and extra underwear in his work bag. I know as you read this list you probably think I must have been really stupid or gullible and you would be right. I was in denial, trauma bonded and brainwashed by a master manipulator.
I had pride as a wife and made him buy new socks, underwear, and undershirts when I suspected he was having an affair. I was ashamed that he would let someone see the sad state of his undergarments. This makes me laugh so much to think of now. I’m sure he was afraid to buy anything new because I would suspect him of cheating. I made sure he was presentable to his mistress.
Now his slovenliness is her problem. She makes him wear shoes he used to claim to hate. Narcissists are pathetic and can’t even be true to themselves when they are trying to impress someone else.
The good news is that I am free of this burden and his affair partner now gets to learn what it’s like to be destroyed by him. I pray she gets out before it gets too much worse.
Please be smarter than I was and trust your intuition. I think I believed all his lies and chose to stay in denial because I didn’t think I could make it without him. That was the ultimate lie I told myself. I have been making it just fine without him since I left. My children and I never missed a meal or did without a safe place to sleep. It will work out somehow and someway. I have heard so many stories of women who were brave enough to leave and when they finally did the world opened its arms to care for them.
Catch up on the rest of my story HERE.