The last few days I have been trying really hard to process things. I am realizing that it is harder to get into the mind of a serial cheater than the average person could ever understand. I don’t recommend it at all, actually.
One of the things that shocked me are all of the non-sensical “rules” he had about things. The way that he justified his behavior is absurd to me. For instance, once he found a new woman to sex chat with online, he was only with her. He didn’t seek out more than one sex chatting partner at a time. He said that would have been too much for him… Really? If I wanted random, fairly anonymous sexual contact online, I would diversify. Why only have one skank I could run to online? Why not 5 or 6? More chances to wank off! More diversity! More options! Nope… Not him. He had exclusive, monogamous relationships with his random internet sex hookups.
He also had a fairly standard progression to things. Go to chat room. Seek out women to talk to. Make sexual advances. Attach to the first person to respond positively (yeah, that’s right… just the first sad, pathetic woman with no self-esteem and loose morals). Escalate your chatting activity, phone sex, and virtual sexual contact for 3-6 months. Verbally abuse the woman to the extent she would allow – the more often you could call her a bitch, whore, slut, cunt, etc. the better. Once that got boring, choose a spot to meet up for in person contact. Drive (sometimes hours) to see her. Get drunk and high. Fuck her a few times (as often as he could get it up). Leave. Never speak to her again. Ignore all contact. Repeat.
Yeah… that was basically his pattern for 20 years.
Except… for when he was in a relationship. Then the rules were different. Don’t get me wrong, the above pattern was still basically the same. Actually, exactly the same. The only difference is that he had an “exclusive” girlfriend as well. He wouldn’t see the girlfriend and the internet sex buddy on the same day.
So, if you keep following that logic… He was more exclusive with them than he ever was with me! That’s right! He couldn’t have two internet skanks at the same time, but he could have one of them AND one of me.
Or, in fact, 4 of them and me. Never all at once – THAT would be going too far, of course.
I discovered that the entire time we were dating he was maybe exclusive with me for 6 months. He was involved in one of his fairly anonymous sexual “relationships” when we met. He slept with his latest internet whore in the beginning of us dating. That means he was probably close to the point in his cycle with the new harlot where he was getting bored. Luckily, since he started dating me, he changed that plan and just kept cyber-fucking women in chat rooms.
When he asked me to be exclusive with him he got rid of his latest internet flavor of the month. What followed was the 6 month period when he didn’t have a fuck buddy. Don’t worry, though, he was still hiding pornography and jacking off to that multiple times a day while denying me sex, and there were at least one or two visits to strip clubs in there. I still wasn’t alone in his head.
He can’t tell me a timeline for the other 3 – or at least he hasn’t tried to yet. I do know that they followed a similar cycle to above except at some point he would realized how fucked up his action were, feel guilty, and stop. He said the fact that he cared for me would trigger his guilt until at some point he felt worse about himself than good from what he was doing (as the buzz was fading).
Except for the last one. Apparently there was nothing disgusting, nasty or mean enough that he could say to her. And apparently knowing that our relationship was more solid and comfortable pushed him farther into his fantasy with her. He thought I would forgive him if he was caught. I’m so glad I lived up my part of that pathetic expectation.
When he made that revelation, I asked him why feeling solid and safe with me would cause him to act out more. He said in his mind he knew I would be there. I had already discovered him hiding and lying about pornography, which crashed my laptop, and seen a few chats accidentally, and hadn’t kicked him out yet. The more likely he could get caught, the more excited he was. He also said it was easier for him to lie to me than to come to me and express any fantasies. So in his mind, forgiveness = the ability to do anything he wanted to do and license to keep lying.
So how can I not expect the same behavior now? How does that not mean that forgiving him won’t just lead to the same thing? I thought I was at that point with the information I had, then all of this new information has again left me feeling devastated and on shaky ground. My entire picture of our relationship has shifted. Now I know that I was never his only “girlfriend,” although he never called the online skanks that. Now I know that he has had about 5 times more sexual partners than I thought. Now I know that only a week before our wedding he wasn’t committed to me. He wasn’t committed to us. He didn’t care about my feelings. He lied to my face, and asked his best man to do the same (I just found that out last night). If I forgive all of that am I just setting myself up for something much, much worse? (I think yes!)
To his credit, he did try to help me through this. He told me all of the things that have changed for him from then to now. He said that one key is that he knows he has a problem now. Before (as incredibly difficult as it is for me to grasp), he didn’t think any of his behavior was a problem. He would feel guilty and stop, yet somehow that wasn’t a problem. When he started back up because he couldn’t help himself, that wasn’t a problem in his mind. When I caught him, and he continued lying, he didn’t see the problem. Now he does.
He also had medication to help him think clearer since he had undiagnosed mental conditions before. Now he said he can think in the more linear process that the rest of us use. He has accepted what he is, and he is going to therapy to correct it. He also said that he knows forgiveness isn’t a given – that maybe I won’t be able to forgive him – or if I do that it will cause a lot of pain and hurt.
I still have a lot of concerns. I still have a lot of fears. I have a lot of questions, a lot of worries, a lot of problems with the things that he revealed. I’m not sure what to do with them all right now, but I’m trying my best to hold on and keep going.