My husband plays with my heart

I met my husband 8 years ago on an online Christian dating service. We lived in separate states but chatted daily and on the phone for several months. We visited back and forth for 6 months before he asked me to move to his state and we would get married (he had custody issues from his previous marriage) I was absolutely thrilled—it was my first marriage and his 2nd. We were so in love. I quit my job, sold my home, and me & my son moved (who was 8 at the time and has a physical handicap).

We were supposed to be formally engaged before I moved but he told me that it would be more "meaningful" after I moved to his state. I felt kind of funny about this—but had already sold my condo and gave my notice to my employer. We were not going to live together—so I had come out the month before my move and got an apartment rented that was accessible for my son. Within 2 days of arrival—I found that he was dating another woman (he claims they were just "friends"—I saw evidence that it was not) he had posted a personal ad in a newspaper and he had a long-distant relationship with another woman he worked with at the time—by the looks of those emails they were very sexual in nature which made me believe he also had a relationship with this woman as well.

I was utterly devastated and deeply ashamed that I had been so wrong and felt so betrayed. I confronted him with all this evidence and he broke down and begged me not to leave, he’d go to counseling, we’d go to counseling, and that he did these things because he was scared I’d leave him (didn’t make sense at the time to me).

I decided to stay in his state, and got a great consulting job and settled in. After a while he & I went to counseling but I couldn’t bring myself to trust him completely. I had my guard up and there was a very valid reason (as if the first betrayal wasn’t bad enough)—I soon found out that not only had he been married and divorced before—but he had a 1st wife and 2 adult daughters! I also found out that his 2nd marriage (the only one I knew about) ended because he had an affair with a stripper he met in a strip club when his wife was 4 months pregnant—he had told me he had an "emotional" relationship with a woman he met at the health club and that’s why his 2nd wife divorced him.... more lies... more deceit.. and really icky ones...

Over the next 3 1/2 years he & I would go in and out of relationship—he’d beg his way back into my life, I’d believe him until I’d find him cheating again—2 more times.

The last time we got together he & I decided to just be friends—I made the mistake of agreeing to this. He is very charming and funny and adventurous and generous—he has many wonderful qualities but some very very ugly character defects as well. We stay in touch—I keep my guard up—I started dating someone I met thru my office—nothing serious but until this point in time I hadn’t dating anyone else but this man I moved out of state for! I was very very confused because I still had feelings for my now husband—it was the holidays and he & I agreed to have a holiday drink (big mistake) and we ended up spending the night together. We got pregnant and he & I decided it was fate pulling us back together and we rushed to get married. we were so thrilled about being pregnant—and somewhere inside of me I wanted to believe that it finally worked out with him— we still had this trust issue and sure enough I started suspecting he was messing around (he travels and there were a few times he was unavailable at 2:00 a.m. where he was) but I never had any solid proof and he continued telling me he was being faithful, he’d never cheat on me again, he learned his lesson, he loved me and wouldn’t mess up our shot at marriage.

Our daughter was 4 months old when I found that he had joined an phone dating service and had gone out on 1 date with another woman—I called this woman and she confirmed that they had only met—and she told me nothing happened.... I was beyond angry and hurt. I asked him to leave—and he told me "it was his house—he wasn’t going any where" (I had sold my home when we got married—this makes 2 homes I have sold for him). I went on anti-depressants immediately—and went back to work full time (even though I had planned on working only part time with the new baby). He did go to counseling but I didn’t care—I was so deeply deeply betrayed and the history of all his past betrayals just overwhelmed me even more—since he wouldn’t leave the house (to give me some space) I bought a house in my own name and moved into it with my son and our daughter lives with me half time. He has remained in counseling for about 2 years—I went ahead and filed for divorce—and I have slowly slowly let the divorce progress—he has been very helpful with the new house and supportive even though he did not want me to move out—he had also started taking anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds which I did see a big improvement in his moods.

Even though I filed for divorce and he knew that I had done so—I hadn’t had the papers filed with the court yet. he & I agreed that we would discuss counseling and discuss what it would look like for him to re-earn trust— he was willing to take responsibility for why I didn’t trust him and be committed to doing whatever it took to reconcile. He & I talked daily because of our daughter and on occasion we would do things together. I did enjoy being together with him, his daughter, my son and our daughter together—when not immersed in the effects of unfaithfulness—we did have a fun & enjoyable family life. It hasn’t been all bad.

I’d go back and forth with the reconciliation—and every once in a while check his email and phone for signs. He gave me all his access/passwords so I could check when I wanted— and found nothing relevant—and he started treating me poorly exactly like he did when he was cheating—starting fights, not communicating, I realized that we were chatting daily but I was the one initiating all the contact—he had slowly backed off—when I asked him he got defensive—and told me I needed counseling for my issues— I told him that this is how he treats me when he’s cheating—he denied it—this went on for a few weeks and I decided that I didn’t want to put any more effort into the marriage.

I was done. I didn’t even want to try to figure out if he was cheating or not and went ahead and filed the papers with the court and had him pick them up. Three weeks have gone by and he hadn’t done anything with the papers—I asked him what was going on and he mentioned that he didn’t want to go thru with this—I told him that I did—that was last week—Saturday I got to thinking that maybe I was wrong—maybe he had been faithful these past 2 years like he has been saying—I hadn’t ever really found anything since the phone dating service—and he hadn’t really had an affair—so I logged into his personal email account and found what he had been up to—he had answered a personal add (he is 52—he was telling this woman he was 45—divorced—looking for a open, honest relationship with no drama). He also had joined a online dating service—and had signed up to do a speed-dating event this week.

I lost it—he was still lying he was still chasing and telling me that he’d never be in another relationship again.. blah blah blah...

What kind of man is he? What makes him lie? What makes him not care about the consequences of his games on women? Especially me and his children? What kind of role model is he going to be with our daughter? How could I be so stupid to spend 8 years with him and marry him and have a child with him?


People experience “love” differently. There are several different styles or ways which people fall in love. The description you provide of your husband sounds like a classic example of what is referred to as “Ludus.”

People who experience love as “Ludus” only feel good when they play games with other people’s emotions (see love styles).

Typically, these people are very charismatic, socially skilled, and derive pleasure from having multiple love interests where they are completely in control. Often they try to find partners, who are vulnerable, who are easily moved by their emotions, and who have an intense desire to be loved (see anxious attachment).

Our best advice is to talk to a counselor on your own (see emotional support). Try to get the help you need to move beyond this pattern of lies, betrayal and deceit.

If your husband is playing games with your heart, as it sounds like from your question, he will tell you exactly what you want to hear, but it will not be the truth.

You may also want to check out the following website, lovefraud, which also provides information about people who play games when it comes to love and romance.

 anxious attachment | cheating husband | end of relationship | ludus | online cheating | playing games

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