My husband has cheated from the start

I need advice on what to do next after uncovering my husband of 3.5 years, the man I’ve been with for the last 7 years, father of my son, has been cheating serially. I don’t even have all the details and number of times because he hasn’t shared anything on his own. I also am now suspecting he may be a narcissist as well and wondering therefore what is the right course of action. I am yo-yo’ing between my broken heart full of emotions and the logic of how to provide the best future for my son and I. Funny that I bought a book on affair free marriage a few days before I uncovered the real details of the past but at that time rather suspected a very recent event.

Before I go any further, my husband has been making plans with me for our future, ie working hard to start to make money, to plan for our son’s education, and when he was caught, he first told me that he loves me very much and we have great things to build and he is very sorry, until he got quiet the last three days.

The highlights are here. I am sorry for the length.

I found out a few days ago when my husband’s one of many different email accounts was logged on by him, on the screen for a couple of days, and ready to peruse. In 2 seconds I noticed something was up. He was having an affair with one woman, from another country, since we were dating, and through our marriage. He lied to her too, including telling her how much he wants to have a child but hasn’t found that special one in his life yet, when I was 3 months pregnant.

And there were other hurtful emails. He told her he is single, free as a bird, don’t want to settle down. They also definitely saw each other. In one of his overseas travels he emailed her his train itinerary to visit her with “finally, I can’t wait to see you” and she apparently has been to our city while we were dating… I emailed her, cc’d him, asking for how long has she been having an affair with my husband and looks like he lied to her too. I separately emailed him saying I have been suspecting and now see it was even more than what I knew about. I asked him to think hard whether he can have the transparency needed to gain my trust and to make this marriage work. After receiving my email, he came home in 30 minutes, saying yes he is a liar and our marriage hit rock bottom and we will save it. I asked whether he can be transparent with me from now on and be exclusive only with me. He said “why not, you are a good looking woman”. He also implied that he wouldn’t give me his cell phone code (all his emails, cell phone, laptop codes are hidden).

My husband has been without a job for 2 years, working hard to create different business ideas, and I have been working hard and earning the money, and also basically doing most of the housework. He then started telling me that we have to organize our home, clean up the mess (we have a 2+ year old, I work 50+ hours/week). He said as usual that he doesn’t feel like this is his home, even though I told him it is legally mine and his. Given the circumstance, thankfully the papers are in my name. I bought it before I met him and even after being married, I solely pay all the mortgage and living expenses. When I asked him how come he was seeing this woman before we even got married, and when my home was in complete order, he couldn’t explain. He has been hectic working on a project with a tight deadline (hoping to make money that one day we would be rich and I could stop working), so he asked if he can take the other computer to his other apt and I said yes. He shut down the first computer where his email was open and left. I know intimately the project he is working on so know it wasn’t a cover up.

An hour later he emailed the other woman and copied me telling he is very sorry for the email and the woman who wrote to her is his wife and mother of his son, he lied to her, he thinks his family is the right place for him, they should stop email and phone calls even if they only did it seldom and had an affair in distant past, and very sorry for lying to her.

Yes he kept an apt he’s renting the entire time we’ve been married, subletting to others. He kept it because ‘he wanted his own place and didn’t feel my home was really his home and didn’t have money to buy a home yet’. Now I am wondering whether he used it occasionally for his pleasures, since one evening I knocked on the door with my son (when he was expecting us), he answered the door in the dark, and shut it right back. He was there with another woman. It took us a while to get back in, and his excuse was he was talking with her and didn’t let me in because he was afraid I would get the wrong impression, he also kept telling me why he would bring a woman there when he was already expecting me.

Fast forward to next day last week, I found in one of our external hard drives, buried under folders of family and family members, a folder for "friends", in it, folders of two women’s photos taken dated after we started dating, sexual act photos of a few folks (none show him explicitly though I believe one includes him), a photo of the woman whose email started the whole spiral, and most importantly a folder named "me". In it, he had his best, physically attractive, looking shots, even one embracing himself naked from chest up, one photo of his ex-wife of 8 years, and in another folder under friends, one photo of me, titled “Sweet xxx”. I felt like I am being added to his collection.

I am now trying to determine if he is also narcissistic. I am thinking why he always wanted to do all the talking at any dinner table, inconsiderate to others but he had to put his word in. Yes, he is brilliant, but still; never to ask anyone else any question, always offer his own opinion. When I was buried in my work deadlines, never once was he appreciative (except few times when really drunk), but kept asking me to do something for him, review his document, provide my opinion. He is brilliant, with no money earned yet at middle age, although working very hard and long hours (at our home until last 5 days) on his business ideas.

Now 5 days later, he is still avoiding talking with me about this. He brought our son home 4 days ago from daycare and cleaned up the living room and kitchen then left to his other apt for work. He is staying there with a male friend who is renting half of the apt and working on the business project with him and whom I know and who came to visit me and my son couple of times since to see how we are doing.

When I called him 3 days ago after finding out yet one more online profile of his (with yet another photo, that also yours truly took) and a different name, asking him what’s the extent of his cheating and does he realize how much he’s hurt me and ruined the chance of family life for my son, he said he needs to finish work deadline and we will eventually talk. He said that he’s actually glad that this happened on some positive note and that maybe this will save him some money from his visits to the psychiatrist. He also said "I need you" without answering why. His friend, who came to see my son and I yesterday and today, saying my husband is very sad and loves me very much, obsessed with trying to finish up the work.

He had a rocky childhood, teenager hood that he didn’t even tell me all about. His mom left due to father’s abuse (beating, no love) when he was a very small kid. He also ran away from home when he was a teenager and lived on the streets (never wanted to give details) and then came back and finished to highest level of education. Does abandonment and abuse cause this?

I always wondered what impact an abusive father and abandonment by mom at young age would have as impact on a person. He did see his mother after he grew up, and she passed away already. My husband was very tender and loving in the beginning, although not lately, ever since our son was born our intimacy dropped while I ended up taking care of most things around the house and have arguments first time in our relationship. I was also surprised that the man whom I thought was egalitarian was letting me do most of the housework.

When I saw his photo hugging himself, well somehow it confirmed for me that he loves himself more than others. He had said he wants to go to marriage counselor with me, but also is now avoiding me. Although I keep asking if there is a way for a serial cheater and possible narcissist to be healed, I am so sad but I think I need to file for divorce. He already told me not to threaten him about him not seeing his son when I said our son will not have a family life. Clearly I would let him see his son, they need each other.

He was married before and told me that at the end she wasn’t good enough to be a mother, and kept telling me the things she was doing wrong. He said he cheated on her once when I asked in passing. I was tempted to write to her and ask what she really would share but am not sure if that is prying and his life with her has no consequence to ours now. Also, when I first met him, yes, he was too good to be true. He also told me in the beginning that he just wanted to have a child and that he easily gets bored and doesn’t want to marry again. I thought he mellowed out when out of the blue one night he said why not to get married.

I think I need to see a marriage councilor on my own, but don’t know how to find the right one. I feel like it would be naive to think we can save a marriage that never had the solid foundation as I found out he was not faithful from the beginning. Can I be wrong and can it be saved?


Your husband has cheated on you repeatedly from the start of your relationship and lied to you about it. And he only acted guilty when he got caught. Since getting caught, he has NOT done the things he needs to do in order to rebuild trust (e.g., telling the complete truth, turning over access to e-mails, online accounts, see, surviving infidelity).

In fact, it sounds like your husband is actively avoiding discussing the issue with you. At this point in time, what could possibly be more important than your marriage?

On top of that, the description of your relationship, even if you could ignore his cheating, does not sound healthy. Long-term, satisfying relationships are built on equity (both partners making equal contributions to each other’s life, see healthy relationships).

When trying to make sense of this situation, you most likely hit the nail on the head: Your husband sounds narcissistic. Such personality disorders are often caused by childhood trauma (or feelings of abandonment) and are very difficult to change.

Given all of the information you have provided, it might help to ask the following: What are you getting out of this relationship? Is it healthy for you? Why are you doing this?

If you are staying in an unhealthy relationship for your son, think of the lessons that you are implicitly teaching him. That it is ok to take advantage of intimate others. That it is ok, not to stand up for yourself. That romantic relationships involve playing games where there are winners and losers.

The best way to help your son right now is by helping yourself. Talk to a counselor about your situation. The easiest way to find a counselor is to make an appointment with several different therapists. You will know when you have found the right one for you.

Hope this helps.

 cheating husband | emails | troubled relationship | unpleasant discovery

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