Husband kept a big secret from me
We have been married for 2 years but together about 7 years total. Our relationship has been strained because of his drinking too much and spending money frivolously. Dealing with that took a toll on me so we are not very close anymore. As if that wasn't difficult enough, I recently discovered something... very odd.
I had always been curious why his aunts are quite friendly with his ex mother-in-law. None of them live in the same state, so it's not like they are neighbors. A few years ago, I discovered while doing online ancestry, that many of my now husband's ancestors lived in the same town as his ex MIL and ex-wife is from even though he grew up across the country from them. Of course I asked him about this and he said it was just a big coincidence. Of course I felt there was a story there, but he never came up with any other explanation, even though I've asked numerous times over the last few years. I trusted him because I felt like I could.
Well lately, I've been around one of his aunts more frequently and noticed how often she brings up the husband's ex MIL. So I recently asked my stepdaughter about why her grandmother is so involved with her aunts (from the other side of the family) and she replied that it's not her story to tell. I asked my husband and he gave me the same reply... I don't know, blah blah blah. I then did some research on the internet that now I wish I had done YEARS ago but didn't think I should have to. I discovered that my husband and his ex-wife are actually related--I think 3rd cousins. They had a child together, my stepdaughter, so that's why the aunts talk to the old lady--they are first cousins! It all makes sense now. I confronted him about all of this and he admitted that he married a distant cousin but didn't know her growing up because they lived several states apart. He said he never wanted me to find out because he is ashamed and embarrassed by it, understandably.
We have been through so much in the last 7 years and I literally saved his life (he has a personality disorder and was suicidal at one point). I have done so much for this man and he is on a good path right now to accomplishing some of his life goals. I have supported him emotionally and financially when he had nothing, and he took a lot out of me physically and mentally. My main concern has always been honesty and he knows it. That is my number one goal in any relationship--honesty. Like most people, I had been burned before by a lying man. But I feel as though I did not get the opportunity to make an informed decision about dating him and ultimately marrying him because I never was told the truth about his past. Now, not only do I have to deal with "he married and had a kid with a relative" but also that he lied to my face about it numerous times over the years. How he thought I would never find out is beyond me. He must be dumber than I ever thought. The tough part is that it's in my face more now than ever since I've gotten closer to his aunt.
My question is, do I try to forgive him for all of this? And if so, how on earth do I deal with the fact he lied to me and is the type of person who marries a relative (which I don't understand even though I know it happens all across the world and has since the beginning of time). I feel like I should drop it and move on, but I am so angry at him and disgusted that I married someone who chose to lie about a huge part of his life. I feel betrayed because there are countless times he told me that he could never lie to me. Umm, hello. Please shed some light on this! Thanks
Since he's on a good path now as you've said might be best to try and work through the lies. The biggie here is the drinking and money spending.
Yeah, agree with Scopesie - biggie for sure. *Two* biggies, actually. So, I have to admit - I too wonder why you'd wait until the final leg of your whole, by the sounds of it, quite successful (considering), support and encouragement campaign to start toying with the idea of pulling out altogether. To me, it seems as if you're making a meal of what, in comparison to that 'meat and two veg', is but a mere starter. Or aperitif, even. After all, the decision to withhold then permanently keep this 'shameful' secret got created *prior* to your betterment campaign and its effects. So it's a *past* crime, isn't it, despite still a 'live' one in terms of product... regarding the *when* the crime got committed, I mean.
Is it not possible you've simply reached a point of dawning regarding having gone beyond the end of your tether, *without* needing any 'new' thing as your catalyst? I mean - PD? And you a truth-lover?...as such, someone who'd expect a show of gratitude in the form of a confession/a complete spring-clean of his closet, commensurate with the incredible loyalty and emotional proactivity you've shown him? I.e. a bit of meaty payback? You must be KNACKERED by now?! Maybe, now that *he's* mostly behaving himself, giving you time to redirect your attention back onto yourself, you've only just had the room to feel it?
What about a good few weeks' zero-contact break with a view to seeing which set of feelings surfaces strongest or as the clear 'winner'? You're justified, surely? In fact, if in a relationship with a PD of any variety, I would tell them that regular holidays from said personality is *vital* with a capital V! So maybe you should make taking a wee 2-week break a couple of times a year as a regular feature, regardless?
On the *other* hand... One could say that once he'd had enough evidence to realise you, amazingly enough, were in it for keeps (as opposed to 'the usual' expectation and outcome), that might have made it even *more* imperative not to whip out an overdue skeleton?... in case he destroyed a precious and *very* rare opportunity (an exceptionally emotionally-mentally hard-working woman) by proffering a final straw with which to break the camel's back? Think about it: unless he was the village idiot, why would he do *anything* to scupper the relationship or its quality by that late and wholly hope-inspiring point? Ref the inevitable coming to light, in that context one *would* clutch at straws re you hopefully never finding out. See what I'm saying? Crossing his fingers and hoping to hell would still be the safer and more sensible option.
Tough call. Which is why you need a mini separation...see how you feel once you've vitally re-charged those batteries. Quite possi- actually, I'm going to go out on a limb in saying, quite *probably*, the batteries being so out of juice is the thing that's urging you to run-run-run at what only *seems* like an illogical point in the whole proceedings.
On the other hand *again*: you're presumably not married so ...should you *have* to work that hard to get a normal(ish), healthy and lasting relationship?
So you see, there are arguments For and Against. I think basically it'll come down to a three-columned table, labelled For, Against, and Don't Know/Grey Area, under which you list all the things about the relationship which enhance your life and sense of self versus which don't and which you couldn't say either way (or just don't tend to bother you much). Because, really, this is a wholly personal and subjective choice. So you need to plonk everything on the scales to feel which - Stay or Leave (or stay separated for longer) - is heaviest.
If you're still stuck at that point or you want to do the Insta- but legitimate version then I cannot recommend enough Mira Kirschenbaum's book 'Too Good To Leave/Too Bad To Stay'. It's like a truth serum in book form (and I challenge you not to read it in one sitting!).
Thanks for the feedback. Just to be clear, he never voluntarily confessed this information. I found it on an ancestry website and literally told him, " your daughter's great grandmothers were sisters, why didn't you ever tell me?" I confronted him with facts so he didn't really have any out at that point. The biggest stinger for me is how will I ever believe anything else he says? And what else has he lied about? He should have told me this before we got married. We had a conversation about secrets and lies before the wedding and agreed there were none to be found out later... that is the biggie. Yes, the PD, drinking, and spending money on collectibles is hard enough to keep under control and yes it is exhausting for me. I think you are correct that I just cannot handle one more thing...and now I have two more things. Trust is broken and I don't know if that can be repaired.
I moved out of our bedroom already into the guest room and keeping my distance as much as possible (we have a big house). It's not feasible for me to just leave my home that I pay for and disrupt my life anymore than it is. I work, cannot take time off right now, and have nowhere to go if I did decide to bolt for a couple of weeks. I have no one locally to depend on.
I will give it a few days and see how I feel. Neither of us can afford to stay alone in our house, so we would have to sell it if we divorced. That could take time and money, so that's a problem. If it weren't for the house dilemma, I would probably leave. I think I've realized that much.
I know the trust issues are a deal breaker and the reason for not telling you about this past is because he's ashamed, but that was the past before you both married. Looks like Soulmate has something with the book (too good to leave/too bad to stay)
Personally if I were you I'd give him one more chance. And I'd tell him that too.
Ancestry website noted, but just confirms what I hypothesised.
He also 'shouldn't have been' a PD before you married him. But shoulda-woulda-coulda are the last words of a fool; you hadn't 'worked' on him enough for him not to automatically lie/stay cagey (deep habit) at that earlier point, had you. So again, he was a liar at that point, ergo lied, logically enough, and then didn't dare 'un-lie' (which is a show of improvement to his sense of survival). You're in it now, at a crossroads in terms of should you pull out now while you still can or finish what you started. If the extent of progress you've made is true, then the answer's on-paper obvious, isn't it - BUT your feelings count too/more. That's why you need a breather - so that you can know any decision is the TRUE and better long-run one.
Emotional distancing, although a form of breather, isn't the same as not being in the same house under the same roof. But if your feet are telling me you're not READY and/or need to temporarily leave in baby-steps format, starting with 'in your head'-first and the real set of feet second, then, that's that, que sera (for the mo.), perfectly understandable...You're in a process and it takes its own time - so all the 'just isn't practicals' in the world mean nothing. If needs equalled must yet, those so-called barriers would - poof! - suddenly become immaterial, you can bet your a*se on that (because they always do). So the fact they're still barriers right now tells us all we need to know, i.e. are at said crossroads, therefore neither turning right nor left nor proceeding straight ahead. That's why it's called 'at a crossroads': faced with a decision but not yet having made one.
Natural, normal, healthy, no need to rush things, take your time. You're not in charge, anyway, your inner wisdom is. And it knows what it's doing and how much it/you can take so - sit back and let it do its thing, it's far cleverer than Conscious You anyway (all of ours is).
Plus there's always Scope's sensible suggestion. And, when I did it, I would make clear that I wanted *all* skeletons, past/present, laid out on the table so that any decision I made were a fully-informed thus true and lasting one. You can always kill the existing relationship and almost immediately start a brand new one (and noddalodda people know that - because they think "a relationship" is an entity in its own right whereas, no it is not, it's merely a manifestation of a shared emotional state as provides the basis for re-making the decision to stay in it to win it, every...single...morning).
No worries, you're at the crossroads and that's where you SHOULD be, being an intrinsically perfectly healthy person, regardless of type (carer). If you *weren't* at that point, THEN I'd be worried. Capiche?
PS: were you a carer to someone in whatever way disabled as a kid or are you a natural-born rescuer type?
"Our relationship has been strained because of his drinking too much and spending money frivolously."
"Dealing with that took a toll on me so we are not very close anymore."
"As if that wasn't difficult enough, I recently discovered something... very odd."
Now you have your strike three. (Although it might be just "odd" that he left out the relative connection, but, really 3rd cousin? Maybe you were looking for that 3rd strike - to make the out.)