I was a member of this forum more than 10 years ago. I have all new email addresses and no idea what my username even would've been, so had to register anew. I divorced my ex in 2016. I went to therapy for a few years while single and in my post-divorce relationship (never got that serious). Then in 2021, I met my BF.
I truly believed this man would never cheat on me. I trusted him completely, more than I've ever trusted anyone. He works in the maritime industry, so he lives at work half the time. I have a regular 9-5 with a 3-month busy season that sees me working 6-7 days per week and extended hours.
He likes alone time more than I do - or, I think I just get all of my alone time while he's at work; I don't need more. So... earlier this year he started talking about taking a solo trip. He's done this before, in our relationship and in previous relationships.
I felt insecure and worried because we weren't in a great place. He had a medical condition last fall through the spring that meant he couldn't work. He was the least financially secure he'd ever been. I changed jobs and we moved twice in the past year, so I had financial and work stress; I started in busy season. I had a major loss in my family in the fall and due to his medical problem, he wasn't really there for me. I was resentful and busy. I know at times I was not nice, and I know I was being difficult. I felt him withdrawing, and thought I felt...what I'd felt with my ex. I thought I felt him cheating. But I truly, genuinely believed BF would never cheat.
I tried to silence my gut feeling. I thought I just felt that way because I was really busy, in a way I hadn't been busy since my cheating ex. I thought that's why it felt the same.
He got a new job in the spring, with a different schedule than we're used to. (Going from 28-75 days on/off, to 14 days on/off.) I felt like he was far away, emotionally. I thought it was due to the schedule. I know I acted out, seeking connection in maladaptive ways, and this pushed us further apart. I regret this now and I regretted it then, and started therapy again (July 31). He went to work, then we had 14 great days in August - one argument, about his upcoming solo trip (was to be his Septe time off) and fueled by my insecurity around it and by...alcohol. I decided to stop drinking. He said he had a great time in August, and he went back to work, and our relationship felt great. I thought we were back on track.
Then: Sept. His solo trip. I felt some insecurity; I definitely felt a bit rejected, but I worked through those feelings by myself and with my therapist, and was supportive. He was very communicative during his trip: pictures, lots of texts, phone calls. I felt cared for, included, connected. I was so happy for him. I was so glad that he felt fulfilled. He had a few days to go on his solo trip. Sunday morning at about 2AM, I found out.
I could not believe what I was seeing at first. My brain made up the WEIRDEST explanations. Slowly I realized it must be true. I felt, physically, the worst I've ever felt in my life. I couldn't reach him for hours, he didn't have service. All I wanted to do was hear his voice.
He lied at first but I was firm and patient. After the first few minutes, he started doing everything right - moved his flight home to the next available, at great personal expense. Booked a bed at a hostel and stayed there. Blocked the OW on everything. Never asked me how I found out. Didn't make it about himself. Has proactively decided for himself to go to therapy. Got the books my therapist recommended. Was in constant communication with me whenever he was awake. Because of where he was, he didn't arrive home for more than a day after my discovery, which was brutal. When he arrived, he sobbed. We spent the next few days here together... but then he had to go back to work.
My experience of this is totally different from the past. I don't know what to make of it. I feel calmer and more centered and able to extend compassion to both of us. I know there's anger and hurt but everything feels like it's moving in slow motion - like I always have time to relax, evaluate, look at my intentions, then take action. Part of me is angry that I have to do that exhausting work - and it is exhausting. Idk. Now I'm rambling.
I guess I have a lot of anxiety about...how to heal this, when we have this distance half the time, and we're only together 14 days (two of which are travel days so really..12) per month. I feel daunted by that. Then again I don't know how to heal this if you're together all the time either, so I guess it doesn't matter.
[This message edited by weirdsituation at 5:45 PM, Saturday, September 30th]