My husband has had emotional affairs during our marriage and has physically cheated once during the dating time while in a serious committed relationship (which was disclosed to the me 9 years into our marriage). While he says he's never crossed the line physically during the marriage, there has been a series of lies associated with the emotional affairs that have been verified, making it difficult for me to believe him.
We have been married for almost 12 years. About a year into the marriage, my husband's ex-girlfriend starting calling our house. She had recently moved to the US. He said she didn't know anyone and she felt lonely and sad. I didn’t think much of it and he didn't seem to be trying to hide it at all. He eventually admitted he thought she was getting attached to him and I told him it would be best to end the friendship and not lead her on anymore.
Then about a year later, my husband went to a foreign country for research. He was there for two months. While there, he met a girl who was going through a rough time. She was a single mom who's husband had just left her. He spent time with her, walking with her after his soccer games and spending time on her porch talking to her, although he says there were people around during these times. The last night he was there she came and offered him "something to remember her by" and she wanted to give it to him in his room. He said he refused to let her in and she hung around for about 45 minutes until he final convinced her to leave. He walked her to the gate and then went to kiss her on the cheek (customary), and she turned her head and their mouths met halfway across the lips. He said that was all that happened. Later, I found a letter from the girl. It was in Spanish. I asked her husband why he was saving it and he said it wasn’t important so I asked him to throw it away. He refused. I asked if he would read it to me and tell me what it said (I don't speak Spanish). He refused and a fight ensued. He tore up the letter and threw it in the trash.
Six years later (8 years into the marriage), my husband came to me and told me he has been messaging another ex-girlfriend on Facebook and that it's been going on for around about 4 or 5 weeks and that he let it go too far and they ended up telling each other they want to be with each other and that they are in love with each other. When she wanted to come see him, he decided he didn't want to be with her and so he decided to tell me.
However, at the same time, he decided to also confess that while they were dating, he had had sex with another girl while doing research in another foreign country.
I was devastated and hurt. I felt betrayed and that my trust was broken. I had a hard time looking at him the same way. After some time, I finally forgave him, and he promised it would never happen again. We reconciled. But it didn't really go away. My heart was still hurting but I felt she had to forgive him for his sake, because he was sad about it. I had to convince him to end communication with the ex-girlfriend. He did not want to stop talking to her.
Three and half years later (11 years into the marriage), I found some communications on his Facebook messenger. He had started communicating with another girl he used to like. They had never actually dated, but on Facebook they were confessing their past feelings for each other and how he had wanted his parents to move to Texas so he could be with her (when he was 16). The conversation was very flirtatious and I was hurt. I felt that he was going down the same road again. I finally ended up telling him I had discovered the messages and initially he said he didn't do anything wrong, but then he apologized and said he wouldn't talk to this girl anymore. Then, 3 months later, he went to Florida on a ministry trip during New Years. He called the me on New Years Eve and said "I have something to tell you, but you're not going to be happy about it". He then told me that the girl he had been talking to had contacted him and wanted to hang out with him for New Years Eve and that her family was there so it was going to be fine. I felt frustrated and hurt because he had told me he wouldn't talk to this other woman anymore, but I just ended up getting off the phone and didn't say much. He went and spent time with the other girl. However, when he got back I mentioned that I did not want him to continue a friendship with her and he said "No, I wouldn't do that". Then, 5 days later, I saw him on his phone and he kept smiling. I asked him what he was doing and he kept dismissing it and saying "nothing". Then another 5 days later, I logged onto his email account to check their Amazon Prime order and saw that he had changed his Facebook password on New Years Eve Day. I had had his other password and could access his account but had rarely logged in. I knew that my husband never likes to change passwords. And he had changed it on the day he was meeting up with this girl in Florida. I found it very suspicious. So I checked his Facebook account from his phone. I found out that he had never cut off communication with the girl from Florida. He wasn't having long intimate emails with her but that he had kept in contact. She had come here in November and he had called her but she had missed the call. They didn't meet. Then, the day before New Years Eve, he had a text exchange with her and then deleted it. He then changed his password and initiated arrangements to meet up with her. The conversations were still flirtatious. Then, on that one night that he had been smiling, I realized it was because he was talking to the other girl on messenger. They were discussing how they felt and what they were thinking when they were hanging out. It was a very flirtatious conversation and at one point he said,
"Even though I told my wife, I was still wondering, 'What if?'"
She said, "What if what?"
He said, "You know, I've never been around someone I used to like before, so.....What if?.... You know, What if?"
She said, "I'm not sure what you mean by 'What if'".
He said, "Well, maybe we can come back to that later."
He then went on to tell her what a great friend she was and that it was hard to find friends like her. In opposition to what he had told me about not continuing the friendship.
When I confronted him, he answered with several lies that were verified as untrue by the text messages. He has continued to lie and change the details of the stories to benefit himself. I feel I can no longer trust him and I feel crushed by these emotional relationships outside of our marriage. I feel the marriage commitment to “forsake all others” has been broken. He said he never had feelings for these women but I have seen from the messages that he was the pursuer and that he was instigating and pursuing the connection with these other women. In the past he had claimed that these other women had pursued him, but from the recent evidence, it appears that this is not the case.
I am not opposed to him having mutual female friends. However, considering the inappropriate nature of the initial conversation with this recent girl, I felt that continuing this connection would be traveling the same path, especially since the conversation was not platonic but flirtatious. He also admitted at one point that he realized it was heading in the same direction as the previous problem with the ex girlfriend, but had still continued it when the girl from Florida contacted him. So, though he was convicted he was doing the same thing, he continued anyway.
What should I do? I want a divorce. Is that too extreme? I feel I can't trust him anymore.