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I'm devastated. I [27F] found out my husband [31M] has been cheating on me.

Wuyeh badjie

Sept. 08, 2019

I'm so devastated. I thought he was my soulmate. We have been married for 4 years. Apologies in advance, this is gonna be long...
Outside of our sex life, we had been getting along great - he's my best friend and my only family in the state that we live in. In regards to our sex life, for the past year or so, we have only been having sex every few week, because he has "been stressed from work and can't get in the mood." (No, I haven't gained weight or gone through any physical changes. I look the same as when we started dating.) I KNEW something was up, especially since he's been leaving early to go to work and staying out late to "go to the gym." He is into fitness, but not fanatical. I never accused him of cheating or lying, but I did ask him many times (after laying awake and crying) if he was still attracted to me and if something else was taking his attention. He would always gaslight me and make me feel completely crazy.
That was until a few mornings ago, I was looking for my husbands headphones in his work bag, since mine are broken. I found a birthday card in his bag (his birthday was about a week ago) with a cutesy message along the lines of "you always make me feel better...blah blah blah," signed the same unique pet name he has been calling me for years. I never invade his privacy or go through his phone, and I only looked at the card because I had a weird feeling when I saw it.
When I confronted him about it, he said that it was from a girl he met at Chipotle (she was working there) on his lunch break. She had been working and they got into conversation and somehow it came up that her mom had recently passed. Interesting convo for the Chipotle line... His mom passed 3 years ago and he claimed that he was helping her get through it; he had connected with her on an emotional level and that was it - an emotional affair. He claimed that he would see her at work to talk and they texted sometimes, but they never hung out outside of that. He said this had been going on for a month. I wasn't buying it.
I fought him for his phone, which he had changed the passcode to, and reluctantly he gave me the code. I looked for text messages, but they had been deleted, so I sent myself her contact info. Mind you, all of this happened an hour and a half before I had to leave for work. So I left a bit early and called her. She didn't answer, so I went to work and put on my best catatonic face, while my hands were still shaking and I was on the verge of tears all day.
Shockingly, she called me back around my lunch break. I returned her call and she told me everything. She has never worked at Chipotle. They met on the dating app OKCupid. He messaged her first. He had been to her house, taken her out to dinner, and even had sex with her multiple times. This had been going on for about 4 months and she had no idea he was married, she thought they were heading towards a relationship (they had even talked about "relationship stuff")...he even gave her a fake name. Now that I know he's been on a dating app, I assume he's done this with other women as well.
At this point, I'm disgusted and devastated. He's sleeping on the couch, but we're still in the same home. He has been apologizing profusely and saying that I'm his priority, he loves me, and wants to work it out. I still love him so much, and feel for him because of the loss of his mother. But I can't love him at the expense of doing the best thing for myself. I just don't think I can trust him again. People like him are the reason why before I met him, I didn't believe in marriage. I hate being deceived and he knew that trust and honestly was the most important thing to me when he met me.
The kicker is that I've told him multiple times that I would be open to an open relationship as long as there was good communication, boundaries, and transparency. He always said there was no way he'd be into that, and opted to do his dirt in the dark and be a complete coward. The fact that I found the card, gave him the opportunity to come clean, and he continued to try and deceive me tells me that he may never be honest with me, and will likely do this again. I don't think I can trust him again, and I wonder if I'll be able to trust anyone. I've loved him and been a great partner to him and if he ever had an issue, he knows he could have come to me with it.
Currently, I am in school SUPER full-time (learning a trade, so it's gonna be a year of Mon - Fri, 9 hours a day), I run a business which is still in it's beginning stages so I do not yet pay myself, and work a regular job 1 day a week. I never wanted to depend on a man for this very reason, but I trusted him and knew it would only be temporary. Unfortunately, I just started school so I still have almost a year to go, and I have no plans on quitting, but no idea what else I can do. I also don't have a car or many friends in this newish city. So basically - there aren't enough hours in the day for me to attend school and support myself if I chose to left, especially not in my expensive city. I really am in a pickle, and any advice or shared experience would be so helpful.
TL;DR I found out my husband was cheating from a birthday card, he continued to lie about what transpired between them, and I only found out the truth by contacting the woman he was cheating with.
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