It's been really something to read these posts over the past few days. I've been on this site for a few months, but almost exclusively in the male survivor forum, mostly because I'm a male survivor and those are my people.
But I figured I'd read a few of these "family" posts, because I wanted some perspective on my wife, who I love dearly, and who has been having a tough time lately when it comes to trust. I'm not cheating on her, but I did, and I know that one thing the liar sacrifices with his lies is his own credibility. So....
So I ended up reading your posts and comments. I feel for you, deeply. You're in a tough spot. I obviously don't know your husband, or anything other than what you've written about your situation, but here are some thoughts, for what they're worth.
In my experience, emotional honesty and emotional lies are at the heart of the problems that resulted from my abuse. To give you a brief version, I was molested/raped/blah blah by a neighbor's baby sitter when I was 12. Here's the fucked up part. He said it was fun. It wasn't. He said it was practice for women. Whatever. It was terrifying. It was brutal. It hurt like hell. And because of my shame, I was afraid to tell anyone. My mom was one of those people who could explain away crappy feelings and can't accept anything "negative," so she didn't put two and two together. What I mean is that I started typical acting out behavior. I smoked pot and drank at an incredibly young age. I stole shit. I got into fights. I was obsessed with sex. I was suicidal and depressed.
But mostly, I learned to distance myself from my emotions. And I learned to use emotions to get sex and affection, although I discounted anyone who loved me.
I'm telling you this, because it could be that your drive to help your husband may playing into your husband's problems. Now, I want to take a step back, here, and tell you something really important. When we talk about sex and relationships here, we need to be cold and clear-eyed, not moralistic. That might be hard, but it will help to understand things.
In my opinion, people become slutty (men and women) when they or someone else tramples their boundaries. Period. It's not because they're bad people. People lie because they're instinctively hiding something, or maintaining distance between the truth and the spoken word. I used to constantly tell the damnedest lies, and I'd wonder WHY WHY WHY? And I beat myself up about it. I'd call myself a sick fucking liar. I'd cuss myself out. But that's because I wanted to feel ashamed. As I've explained in other posts, I've learned from my therapist that shame, for me, was a way for me to gain control over the chaotic pain that had come into my life. If I blamed myself, well, the pain couldn't have been random, right? And if it wasn't random, it was maybe controllable. And finally, I was terribly ignorant about my own emotions. I have had to develop a language for talking about myself honestly.
My point is that your husband might well be lying, not because he's a bad man, but because for those of us who've lived with the terrible secret of abuse the truth is tied up with shame, self-loathing (and I mean really, really deep and profound self-loathing), incredible pain and decades of bad habits.
I managed to get through the first hard layers of my lies because the idea of losing my wife and family was more painful than keeping those horrid secrets.
But for me, it was different. My wife wouldn't let me leave. I expected that she would. She told me to stay in the house if I wanted to stay a part of her life. I was terrified to stay. But by persevering with my wife and with TONS of therapy, I began to connect my emotions to the real events of my life, and what a freeing thing that has been. It's been wonderful. But I tell you, it's still very difficult for me to avoid the easy path wherein I lie about my emotions, outwardly express feelings about something that might seem important but isn't, and then remain removed and cool in my interior.
That may well be what your husband is doing. You can't control him. You can only control yourself.
Plus, nobody knows the future. Your husband didn't when he married you. I doubt he believed that he'd stay remote from you. He probably didn't know how else to be. Maybe he still doesn't. It sort of sounds like it, especially if he's still sort of fucking around with the affair woman. I mean, that's just not healthy for him. He needs to start respecting himself and his own boundaries. What the hell is he saying to her when he's with her? That he's still talking to you but that it's going nowhere?
This dude could very well have all sorts of random narratives running through his life. He'll be a happier man when he sorts them out, chooses the life he wants to live, and then maintains one "self" everywhere he goes and with everyone he meets.
Good luck. I sure feel for you. Don't ever hurt yourself. I am suddenly recalling that you said something about feeling suicidal above.
If you remember one thing, make it this: emotions are like clouds, they pass. And things will get better. It will get better.
Take care. Bob