Please bear with me as this will take awhile to explain. I really need some advice and am hopeful someone can help me make a decision.
My parents and grandparents were all married for over 50 years and although times could be rocky, they worked things out and all of them stuck together. I do not believe in divorce except for extreme situations such as abuse or drugs or alcoholism. My husband grew up in a family where his mother and father divorced after having four kids, he being the oldest. The parents went on through to years to multiple marriages; mom was married four times, dad was married five times. The kids were shuttled between both parents and both sets of grandparents during their growing years. The parents are no longer living, nor are the grandparents. Needless to say, all of the kids have a very skewed view on relationships. Two of them vowed never to marry as they never want to go through what their parents did. One of them has left her husband and kids behind for the second time; left her daughter with her first husband and now her two sons with her second husband because "they don't make me happy". She has now picked up with yet another man. And my husband.
We met and fell instantly in love. We were engaged to be married within a month of meeting one another but didn't marry until a year later. We've been married 27 1/2 years now and have three kids. The problems started after our first child was born, seven years into our marriage. We both worked at the same hospital and his first affair was with someone who also worked there. My coworkers are the ones who clued me in on his activities, he didn't hide them. After finding out about it, I confronted him wanting to know why. Of course he had no answers. I threw him out and then discovered I was pregnant. When I talked to my husband about this pregnancy, he was horrible about it. He stated he wanted nothing to do with another child and as far as he was concerned, he had only one kid and he would never have anything to do with this one. I was so shell shocked, so depressed, so despondent that I allowed my husband to talk me into having an abortion. I went through it completely alone and never told anyone. It was the biggest mistake and biggest regret in my life. Several months went by and my husband sweet talked his way back into our marriage and our home and things were once again very good. My continued anger to date regarding this first affair is that the bedroom furniture we still have is what he bought when he moved out to an apartment. I can't get it out of my mind that I'm sleeping on a bed that he had lain with other women upon. My stubborn, practical nature will not allow me to replace it, it's too expensive.
I should stop here to say that my husband is a kind, generous, loving, giving, funny, sweet man. I've never heard him raise his voice, lash out in anger, belittle or judge anyone. When we first met, he wanted to go into the ministry for the Southern Baptist congregation.
Things were fine for several years and then history began to repeat itself. This time I heard about his affair with a different woman when his boss very gently and diplomatically informed me that she was firing my husband for morality issues. I later found out she had walked in on my husband and his trollop having sex on a desk at the office. This time I moved out with my son and got an apartment. I sought legal counsel and began motions to file for divorce but fate intervened again when I found out I was again pregnant. Laws in that state would not allow divorce proceedings during pregnancy. In the process of paperwork though, the other woman was summoned to provide financial records for the business that she and my husband had incorporated. She somehow managed to change paperwork to exclude him as a joint owner and threw him out. She then proceeded to blacken his professional name to the point that he could not find employment in their field in that city. It was during this time that he came crawling back to me. Of course I did not know about all of the details until much later, I only know that he came back to me saying all the right words and again, after many, many months, we reconciled once again. We moved to another state, where he was from and where his family still resided to seek employment. I was eight months pregnant at the time and it took me a very long time to get over the feelings of regret for having moved and gone with him. We had another child and our relationship was wonderful for several years. Truly wonderful! We had one more child and were happy, content, and the best of friends.
We then moved back to my home town so he could further his education and therefore his career and I could have help with the kids while working. I dove into work during a time when things in the medical field were changing quickly and not for the better. Longer hours with less staff, on call, tons of over time, holidays, weekends, etc. He also worked a lot of hours as well as finished his graduate studies. The kids kept us very busy as well and we were very involved in their sports, activities, schooling, scouts, etc. It was a crazy, busy time but we made it work and did as well as anyone under those conditions.
It was during this time that I accidentally discovered the internet histories, chats, webcams, and emails flying between my husband and several other women. We had many conversations about this which I consider cheating and he does not. It was a very rocky time but he finally agreed to curtail his activities and we moved on. He simply got better at hiding them. I found out later that he'd actually met up with complete strangers for sex that he had met on the internet. We went round and round. He finally stopped and things were fine for awhile.
I should at this point tell you that although I have met with counselors on several occasions, he always refused to go.
Several years ago, I inadvertently saw an email from a woman he'd befriended online who happened to be in the same field as he. At first glance I didn't think anything of it as professionals do share information sometimes. Then I read the part where she was going to drive to our town, go to the concert he and I were attending at the State Fair with our friends, and she and he were going to sneak away for a little time that evening. She planned on staying in town for the weekend and they could be together. I readily admit I looked for his emails after that and as the time drew near for the concert with our friends, the emails between them flew. They became very sexual in nature. Days before the concert, my husband informs me that he's going to have to work that weekend, in fact have to go in right after the concert and most of the weekend due to staff illnesses. Of course I called his department and upon checking the schedule, he was not posted to work and had in fact taken the day after the concert off. The email on the day of the concert listed the hotel and room number she was staying at while in town. At the concert, I had a great time but would not let him out of my sight, even to go to the restroom. When he went for a break, I'd go along. It was comical how flustered and angry he became. When he sulked on the way home from the concert, I informed him that I'd taken the next day off and since I knew he wasn't scheduled to work at all, we could spend the day together while the kids were in school. He was furious. I then informed him that I knew all about "her" and the plans they'd made. After being angry for awhile, he calmed down. He told me later that he'd called her and changed his mind and he wouldn't be seeing her. I read some emails between them that led me to believe this was true. Things between them died down to an occasional, what I would call normal friendly email exchange and had no sexual nature to it at all.
Over the years, I've read his signs- and yes, he always gives signs when things begin. His body language, his behavior, his actions, so many subtle things give him away. When this happens, I read his emails, monitor his phone records, check his bank accounts, and definitely watch his work schedule. Is it wrong of me to do so, yes. On many levels it is terribly wrong. But then again, I have absolutely no qualms about him seeing any of those things of mine. If there is nothing to be ashamed of, then there is nothing to hide. He, however, is more upset, more angry at my invasion of his privacy than the fact that he's cheating on me.
Two years ago, I was laid off from my job and have been unable to secure employment in my field since then. I do not want to move right now as our youngest is in high school and very active and our middle one just graduated and is in community college. It's just not a good time to uproot them. During this time, we were audited for taxes that my husband had always prepared himself and the IRS threw out some of the deductions he had claimed even though we had all the receipts and documentation for them. The IRS tacked on interest and penalties at an alarming rate and what should have been $15K for the four years they denied turned into $140K. I'm out of work, can't find work, applied for well over 100 jobs but was competing in an overly saturated market with new grads that made half what I made and no one would hire me. My husband then lost his job due to the economy and we eventually had to file bankruptcy. I was humiliated, humbled, depressed and despondent for quite awhile. We made do and we got by. The only problem arose when the attorney, and my husband, both failed to follow through with the state taxes and the deadline for adjustment passed. We found out about this when the state sanctioned my professional license and then the licensing bureau suspended it. I could now not find employment in my field of almost 30 years if I wanted to.
The only thing I could do was seek entry level positions in another line of work. I was fortunate to find a job that pays $11 per hour but has benefits. We've been without insurance for almost a year now. It's not what I was making but it's better than nothing and I'm thankful to have it at all. After insurance and deductions, I should bring home about $1200 per month. My husband is working a PRN job as well as went back to the company who laid him off but this time as a month to month contract employee. Together, we would do just fine.
Now to present day. He's up to these same antics again. With the same woman who missed seeing him at the concert again. This time they were to meet while he was on a business trip to Florida where she was vacationing with her children and grandchildren. When I called him on it, he again got so pissed at me for "checking up on him" more so than what he was planning. He's tired of my drama, he's tired of me not looking for work at all, he's tired of "everything" and wants a divorce. I'm not sure where he's coming from regarding the drama except that I explain to him that I know what he's up to and I'm so hurt that he feels I haven't looked for work, I have. It was because of his errors and then his inattention that my license is suspended. I'm tired of his cheating ways and his lying about it. When I mention to him that I wonder "if her husband knows what she's doing", he says he doesn't know. Interestingly enough, when he tells her what I've said about her husband, she all of a sudden in apologetic to causing any problems with his marriage and it would be best if they don't meet or talk any longer. Then he calls me the next day and says he wants to work things out, it would be best for the kids, blah blah blah.
Now to why I'm here: stay?
a) financially cannot afford to support myself or my kids alone right now
b) I do love him, he is a good person and a wonderful father
c) I do recognize that his childhood lessons about relationships is messed up
d) as a family, we are great together
a) our kids are 23, 18, and 16 and they would be devastated, our boys would more than likely not speak to their dad although our daughter is more forgiving
b) child support for only one child for only two years- I can't make it on my soon to be salary
c) I'm so afraid of losing my family and I feel like a failure enough as it is