I caught my husband sexting and planning to fly down a girl from Ukraine for a rendezvous in Goa. He apologised in front of the entire family, called it a ‘mistake’ that he would never repeat. A year later I caught him with another phone, where he has been sexting various models and hookers and inviting them for office parties for his foreign clients. He again apologised and promised to never stray again. Now I can’t trust him. I have lost my sleep, lost weight and feel depressed all the time. I don’t know what to do.
Ans: The same manner in which the crossfire between two warring factors leads to inevitable civilian casualties, it is common for a person to become an emotional casualty when he/she gets caught between a partner who lies and an ulterior or morally dubious secret agenda. You are witness to your husband’s philandering ways and you are understandably disturbed by it.
A facade in any relationship can quickly turn into a recurring fable that could invite frowns and keeps the truth off the table. What’s really going wrong between you both? Be honest with yourself. This is a question that is easier to ask than to answer. If your husband is fibbing and cheating through a committed relationship with you, it’s probably because he’s looking for something that he isn’t finding in his relationship with you.
Has he ever mentioned not finding sex as exciting anymore with you? Are there certain other emotional issues at large that have driven a wedge between both of you? Such reasons need to be investigated and discussed so that his mind space and yours can be better understood and a negotiation can perhaps even be facilitated under the guidance of a counsellor. Many people are unlikely to easily part with information that could compromise their leverage in any situation or relationship.
Anything that makes your husband look desperate, greedy and uncertain will significantly destabilise him and the narrative he is building and portraying. This is probably why he chooses to lie and pat things down repeatedly. Defensiveness and false promises are made by both genders if they are afraid of losing their leverage and privileges by conceding too much or talking too much or changing too much.
Relationships are nuanced collaborations but are essentially lived out as unfortunate power games where the ideal of collaboration often takes a backseat to pave way for a sort of competitiveness between the husband and wife. Score keeping begins. Despite the temptation most people have to label behaviour as good and bad, let’s steer away from such simplifications to keep our judgement as neutral.
Would you say that your husband is a selfish man or someone who doesn’t care about your needs? Has he been living this double-life for as long as you've known him? These answers will inform you in part about his agendas. It’s important to be able to understand what is truly important to him and what choices he is prepared to make to get what he wants (even if it means hurting you in the bargain). In every relationship, we have to give something up to gain something since no relationship can solely work on one-person’s terms.
Your weight loss, depression. sleeplessness is indicative of the fact that you are unhappy. To address the issue with him and find happiness again, some mediation will be necessary because getting emotional may further prompt him to improve the quality of his lies to keep you in some kind of ‘fool’s paradise’ while the extra-marital affairs continue. See a marriage counsellor to set priorities as a couple and find a way out of this together.