So confused, am I being irrational?
Okay, so I posted on here once before about my husband who was drinking and verbally abusive and was advised by everyone that responded that I should leave him. Of course, coward that I am, I didn't. We have 5 children ranging in age from 13 to 21 months. I am 34, about to turn 35, and have been with him since I was 16 years old. He has cheated on me multiple times with multiple girls. According to him, the last time that he cheated on me was about 4 years ago. We were married almost 8 years ago, it wasn't until after we were married that he told me he had cheated on me several times with several different girls. Like, I'm talking more than 10 other girls over the course of 10 years, and a couple of those girls he carried on full-fledged affairs with, they told him that they loved him but he says he never said that he loved them. When he told me he was in the midst of a mental breakdown and ended up in hospital, needless to say the hurt he caused me is something that is basically forbidden from being brought up because he says that I could never make him feel worse than he already does and says it was the reason for his breakdown. He fooled around again when he, on a whim, said he needed to leave town and caught a plane that afternoon because he wasn't feeling right, he had sex with a girl outside somewhere after leaving a bar with her. He confessed to me months later. Despite all my suspicions over the years I never gave voice to them because I was afraid to hear the answer and afraid that it would mean that I would need to be strong and leave him. It was so much easier to be weak and passive, I thought. Lately I have been feeling so much the need to move on, to move forward. I am in a job that I hate, I hate the town that we live in (it's his hometown), and I just feel the need to see what else is out there for me. I think back on the years and think of all the times I should have left. I also feel like this is the bed that I've made and that I have to lie in it. My 13 year old daughter continually asks me why I don't leave him because she sees his verbal abusive and controlling ways. A comment that I've made to him is that it's like this is his universe and I'm just living in it. The other day she said to me, "It's like this is just Daddy's life and we're just a part of his life and can't have our own.", I was surprised to hear her words mirrored so closely to mine. He went out drinking the weekend before Christmas and got in 3 altercations, came home in the early hours of the morning with a big purple goose egg on his head from being kicked in the head, a black eye and fat lip. After that he has decided that he is quitting drinking and can't live without me, he called my mother and told her that he hasn't always treated me right and he's going to treat me like the princess that I am. Well that lasted about as long as his hangover, the princess thing. He hasn't drank again, yet. But, other than that, his behaviour hasn't changed very much. I've told him that I need him to stop drinking and that with the kids getting older it's getting so much harder to pretend that everything is perfect. All my kids (aged 13, 9, 7, 5, and 1) have witnessed him calling me names and telling me to shut-up, swearing, etc. I have talked to the girls and told them that they are never to let anyone, especially a guy, ever talk to them like that, I have also talked to the boys and told them that they better never treat anybody like that. But words are just words and my actions tell them that it's okay. This is the relationship that they will have as a model to them. Before I was with him I would have never dreamed that I would let somebody talk to me or treat me the way that he does, my parents had a very loving and respectful relationship, I feel like I lost myself. He's telling me now that he needs me more than ever, that he loves me and I'm the only one for him. And all of that is tearing me apart because right now more than anything I feel like I just wish he would cheat on me so I could leave him over it or have him decide that he doesn't want to be with me. I told him that I wanted to move and maybe wanted to go back to school and do something that I love because I hate my job, he said that I was being irrational (we've just built a house) and was having a mid-life crisis. I've slowly come to realize that I don't trust him at all, I wouldn't be surprised to find out he's cheated on me more than what I know about. I asked him the other night in bed when the last time was that he cheated on me, he responded by saying, "Why don't you tell me, you should know?", he said it several times because I keep pushing him before finally bringing up the time that he flew out of town. My instincts are telling me that his response was a guilty response and the response of someone who was trying to buy time to make sure he said the right thing. I've spent so many years of this relationship being naive, I really don't feel like I trust him at all. I feel like I'm building a wall around my heart because I don't want him to be able to hurt me again. I dream about having a man who just loves me and adores me and would never want to hurt me. The reality is now though that I've got FIVE kids, and that would be asking a lot for any man to be willing to take on a woman like that. I'm pretty, I'm smart, and I'm worth so much more than what I've had, but do I owe it to him to give him a chance right now when he's making so many promises and making the effort as far as drinking goes? He's always told me that I don't appreciate him and I need to see all the bad guys out there to make me see that, yes he's a better man than the male role models he's had in his life so he probably believes that, but I know that he doesn't even come close to the male role models I've had in mine. I would really appreciate any clarity or advice anyone might have. Thank you so much.