It gave me a whole new sense of what infidelity looks like
I was in my second marriage for three years, and my relationship wasn’t going well.
During our courtship, the man whom I believed was the love of my life quickly turned into an emotionally abusive man soon after the nuptials were over.
This went on for too long as I vacillated between trying to make my marriage work and wanting to give up and ask him for a divorce. He would deny me a divorce, threatening to keep me in the court system, bankrupt me, and make me homeless if I left him.
It wasn’t that he loved me so much, but rather that he was controlling and wanted any ideas to be his own, not mine.
For the first three years of my marriage, I was broken down into a shell of myself. After leaving my first abusive marriage, I couldn’t believe I put myself right back into another one.
Abuse creeps up on a person. It doesn’t start as name-calling, put-downs, hitting, or infidelity. At first, it looks like disagreement, “working through” your issues, or trying to learn about each other.
I didn’t know what civil conflicts looked like because I was never taught this. The subtle, passive-aggressive behavior was his way to slowly chip away at my foundation and keep me in line.
He also had a way of eroding my womanhood by denying an intimate relationship with me. After a couple years, our sex life was non-existent. He never pursued me, and he wasn’t interested in being affectionate with me (I’m a very huggy person). If I reached out for affection and intimacy, it was mechanical and heartless. I started thinking there was something wrong with me. I believed I wasn’t desirable. I became so depressed that I’d sit alone and cry, wishing I could disappear.
We’d bought a beach property together, and he was away for the weekend, working on the house renovation. I’d stayed home because I’d needed to work that weekend.
He kept all of our financial information stored on his computer, and I needed to log on to get some balances for the accounts. I can’t remember the exact reason, but I know it was benign. I had no reason to believe he was doing anything nefarious online.
When I pulled up the home screen, I was clicking through icons, trying to find what I was looking for. There was an unnamed file, and I clicked on it.
What came up socked me in the stomach and took my breath away.
There were hundreds of files. Each click put me into a short clip of some form of pornography. The more I clicked, the more my stomach sank down into my feet. I felt ill like I’d learned someone had died.
Then I clicked on a longer video, and that was the nail in the coffin of our marriage.
It was a video of a woman, dressed in a negligee, looking straight at the camera. She was talking to me, asking me if I wanted to pull out my dick for her if I wanted to rub it on her. Then she started taking off her top. There she was, holding her large breasts up to the camera, inviting me to put my member between her tits. She played with herself and moaned, encouraging me to come along with her to orgasm.
After the video was over, I felt dirty. I didn’t want to touch the keyboard. I didn’t want to be in that office. And I didn’t want to be in my marriage any longer.
I felt as if I’d just met the woman my husband was having an affair with. Beyond the umpteen video clips, this one was the most real. My feeling of being cheated on was no different than if my husband had been with a real person.
All my questions about our non-existent sex life had been answered.
He spent all of his sexual energy on his computer with these video girls. He had nothing left to give to a real relationship. He chose this because he didn’t know how to have a genuinely intimate relationship with a woman. I was the first-hand witness to this.
Something inside me changed. I realized I was trying to work on something unfixable. I needed the other half to try too, and he wasn’t willing. His video clips on his computer were hard evidence of that.
Having confronted my ex, he was confessional and made an attempt to try harder. I went through the motions, and I really wanted to meet him there, but I knew it was too late.
I changed into another person. I started going to Al-Anon meetings (yes, he was also a drinker). I learned through those groups that I needed to lead my own life, regardless of where my spouse was in his dysfunction. I started counseling with a woman who was skilled in working with women who had been in abusive relationships.
I started becoming my own person again. He still wouldn’t leave, but I no longer catered to his unreasonable demands. Over time, he realized he was unable to control me anymore. Eventually, he left. But only because it was his idea, not mine.
I recovered from a marriage that tore the insides out of me. I went on to pick up the pieces of my lost self, and became better at managing my life and who I let into it; I learned to set boundaries and know when to say no. I was intuitive to seeing crazy because I had lived with it most of my adult life.
I survived through my exes cheating with his computer. It sounds silly when I say it. But, it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a real-life person.
It was the behavior he exhibited that led to our dysfunctional intimacy.
It was the feeling I experienced when I found out. It was like every bit of cheating, the actions, and the consequences of the act.
I never thought that I was unjustified in being betrayed over finding porn instead of finding an IRL mistress. Some people might have told me that I was overreacting, that it was “just porn.” I knew what I felt, and it was wholly justified. It was the piece of evidence I needed (not that I needed it, but it helped) to make a conclusive decision for my own welfare.
Now, here I am, ten years later. I worked hard in those years between my last marriage and now. I’m remarried to a kind and sensitive man who loves me. We have a healthy intimate relationship and a great sex life.
In retrospect, I’m thankful for that video girl. She did me a favor, even though I didn’t know it at the time. She gave me the wisdom to see my relationship for what it was and helped me move on with my life.