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Thread: What should he do to show remorse?

  1. #1
    JanuaryGirl
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    What should he do to show remorse?

    Hello All,

    I suspect that my husband has/is cheating on me. I haven't confronted him yet. (I'm getting a few things together just in case he acts a fool and I feel the need to leave right away). I haven't decided if I want to stay/forgive or not...a lot of it will depend on his reaction. But...as I've weighed my options, I've heard/read people say that the cheater needs to really work to show remorse and needs to have many ways of showing that he is no longer cheating, that he is sorry, etc. What does that look like?

    I tend to think that my husband will say sorry, say he won't do it anymore, then he'll leave it to me to figure out how to deal with it and regain trust. That definitely doesn't sound fair to me, but I don't know what is reasonable to demand/ask/expect regarding his attempts to regain my trust.

    I hope that makes sense and that someone can offer suggestions.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Mun
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    He should be an open book... and he should apologize to you and be open to do ANYTHING to make you trust him again. He should not put any conditions but be willing to do what it takes to earn your trust again... this could include counseling, going to church...whatever you want.
    ---and you still have the option of not accepting or changing your mind about reconciling.
    thats my opinion

  3. #3
    Hope75
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    Hi JG,

    Welcome to the forum!

    What makes you think that your husband is cheating?

    I think working to earn back trust and show he is committed to you means agreeing to go to counseling with you to determine what lead him to pursue an affair (if he actually did) and how to prevent that in the future by addressing the cause- be it lack of communication or closeness/satisfaction in the relationship,

    reestablishing trust and communication in the relationship... keeping promises and being where he says he is going to be, by acting loving and respectful and understanding that it is going to take time to earn back that trust.

    But also there will be work on your part because if you are going to take him back and forgive him that means taking a leap of faith and truly letting it go and forgiving him- no holding the affair over his head in times of pain or anger, treating him with love and respect, communicating honestly with him in therapy... you get the idea.

  4. #4
    Rabican
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    If you feel he is cheating, then confront him with your 'suspicion' but do not bring any real evidence to the table. If he denies it, tell him that you still believe something is wrong, and that if you are to work things out you need him to be honest with you. If he still denies it... show him the proof, and then you know that not only did he cheat, but he lied about it when confronted as well. That proves you have an uphill battle.

    The only way to move beyond that is 100% commitment from him thereafter. He needs to prove his ending the affair, he needs to be open, honest, you should have access to his email/ phone etc.

  5. #5
    JanuaryGirl
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    Mun, Rabican, and Hope, thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions. They are helpful.

    Why do I think he's cheating?

    After being out all night one night, he told me he had been at a strip club and then fell asleep (passed out basically) in his car. I knew he had been to strip clubs before we were married, but I didn't know he still went...as often as once a month. I was not happy with the strip clubs, but I was more disturbed that he had been lying about where he was going every time he went. The fact that he lied so easily was unnerving. It just seemed like there could be more lies.

    So, Rabican, I did do the “is there anything else I need to know/anymore secrets” conversation after finding out about the strip clubs. He said no. When I asked him those questions, my gut was feeling that something was up, but I didn’t really know. So does that qualify under your idea of confronting him with suspicion before showing the evidence?

    After reflecting on a few instances of late nights out and other stuff that never sat well and accepting that my gut wasn't feeling good about the strip club deal, I went digging and found phone records that show consistent calls to women and hotels.

    Here's a piece to the story I didn't mention at first...the women are escorts. I know that adds another dimension. But with calls to services, independent workers, and hotels, I doubt that it could be anything else. Do you think?

    He's not acting weird, not coming in late (most of the time), not treating me badly, or anything else. If I wasn't digging, I would never know. That makes it that much scarier.

  6. #6
    Hope75
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    Do you plan to confront him about it?

    You know, personally I feel that there are some forgivable offenses and some no so forgivable offenses.

    If there was a one time brief affair for which he has stopped on his own, confessed to you and felt intensely remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to repair your marriage, I'd be alot more inclined to forgive than if he were hiring different escorts and paying them for sex and lying to you repeatedly and you are the one who had to confront him over it.

    If what you suspect is correct this is not a one time thing that he realized was a grave error and stopped on his own and confessed to you....but repeated affairs with several different sex workers and put your health at risk repeatedly, lied to you and did not confess and did not stop.

    Is this forgivable in your book?

    I don't think I could, in all fairness, get past this if I found it to be true.

  7. #7
    BeStrongBeHappy
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    January, if you think he is cheating often and with prostitutes, i think your first concern should be to go to a doctor and get checked for STDs.

    this sounds like not just a little cheating, but a LOT of cheating, so i don't think you should be so ready to 'forgive' at this point. You need to protect yourself, and stop having sex with him, get yourself checked, and get professional counseling to deal with this. Prostitute addictions are frequently hard for them to kick, and until you are sure he has seriously kicked this problem (and tested clean for STDs himself), you need to be on your guard and worry about your health as much as your marriage.

  8. #8
    JanuaryGirl
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    Thank you both. I did go get checked out after I found out whose phone numbers those were on the phone bill. Thank God everything has checked out so far. I do presume it is a LOT of cheating. I can’t imagine any other reason for calling them, and there are a lot of calls.

    I do plan to confront him. I am a bit amazed that my mind even wanders to forgiveness because at my core, I don’t think it’s forgivable, but I’m confused by my reaction to it all. I’ve shed some tears, but I’m not livid or really angry. I may be in shock and in “mother mode” as I try to pull things together for my son and myself, but my emotions about it all have made me second-guess my “I’m out of here on the first thing smokin” attitude that I would have assumed I would have had. Like I said, I can’t imagine what else the situation might be, but I am still a little amazed that this is probably true, so I know there is a part of me that is hoping I’m wrong, so I guess I am playing out all scenarios. Since I know that that is my heart talking and not my head, I have started pulling together plans (a new place to live, job) to leave. I will confront him once I am a little more certain about where we (my child and I) are going to go and how I am going to independently support us. I don’t think my husband would leave us high and dry without any support, but I feel the need to be able to do this all by myself just in case he starts trippin’…I didn’t expect to be in this situation with him, so anything is possible and I want to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

    I really appreciate your insight and your posing questions and thoughts for me to ponder.

  9. #9
    JadedStar
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    Well January, you have a long hard road ahead of you. I wish I could be more positive here, but if this man has been doing a lot of cheating with prostitutes (i don't even call them escorts if they are having sex) then he probably has established deviant behaviors that are patterns...and patterns are just that and likely to continue.

    Sure he will show a lot of remorse I bet. I bet he'll break down even and sob, and beg for your forgiveness with promises of never again. He'll probably tell you "i am glad you caught me as i wanted to stop", or "it was my last time and i was getting ready to stop" or something like that. I have read more stories like this on forums than I have fingers and toes. they all play out similar when they are confronted. If you think he has been lying up til now just wait until you confront him. The lies are going to be fierce and convincing.

    I do not think there is a lot of hope for repair here. I wish I could tell you differently. This is not a man who got caught up in a wrong moment with a one time affair that he regrets. this is a man who has made extracurricular affairs with prostitutes a lifestyle. I don't think he can even give it up very easily even if he wants to. You asked what proper level of remorse should he show - I don't think that is your issue here. I have no doubt he will show a great deal of remorse and sadness, much regret. BUt that is no proof of anything changing. he will be mostly sad and upset he was caught.

    I think your husband would need a great deal of therapy to get beyond this. Not even couples therapy. At this point I think HE needs therapy to overcome what is obviously a serious addiction if this has occurred the way you think it has. And I won't kid you - sex addictions are the hardest of all to break.

    I really think at this point you need to be more concerned about your future and your child, and how you will make it without him vs how will you patch things up with him. The latter is far less a reasonable outcome at this point.

    And I can't tell you how sorry I am. Things like this can tear a person apart. I am sorry you are going thru this.

  10. #10
    treefrogkate
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    January, I'm so sorry you're going through this too.

    One thing to note, when you do bring it up, do NOT allow him to turn this back around on you for snooping in his phone records.

    I found out my ex-husband had started contacting one of his ex-girlfriends by email about 4 months after our wedding. He "confessed" because I walked in on him writing the email, and he thought I had already seen who he was writing to (I hadn't, because I wasn't looking, but ok). When asked, he said he wrote to her "maybe once a week, probably not even that much". I got the feeling he was lying through his teeth.

    I went into his email account to check, and holy crap, he had been emailing back and forth with her several times a day. All seemingly innocent, but still, he had lied big-time.

    When I confronted him, I said "Listen, I looked at your email account, and we can talk about that later. The issue right now is that you lied to me." and went from there. Every time he tried to bring up my snooping, I simply told him that we were not discussing that now, we were discussing his lying.

    That's my one piece of advice, anyway. Don't let him guilt-trip you. Yes, snooping isn't terribly great, but if you choose to stay with him after his explanation of the calls to escorts and hotels (and seriously, I'd like to see him explain that one away), then you can talk about the snooping. But make sure you stick to the situation at hand!

    Good luck.

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