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Found out about my wife's affair. I'm still the one groveling.

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dbellanon posted 5/11/2013 10:45 AM

Hello Everyone. My wife and I have been married for 6 years. We have a 3 year-old daughter whom we both love dearly.

A few days ago, I discovered that she was having an affair with a fellow graduate student at school. A little background:

About a month ago, my wife came to me suggesting that we go into couples counseling. This was not a completely surprising suggestion since we had been having some ongoing clashes that we were having some trouble getting past, but if you had asked me at the time, I would have said that our marriage was mostly functional and happy, but beleaguered by a handful of ongoing conflicts and problems: in other words, a normal marriage. However, it came out in the course of the conversation that she was having serious doubts about our marriage and our future together. I won’t give many details about the problems she raised, but let’s just say that it’s a familiar story of a husband cruising through marriage while his wife repeatedly feels that her emotional needs are not being met. Many of the problems she brought up were legitimate (while some were exaggerated or distorted), and when I began to see just how badly I had managed to hurt her by my actions, I was devastated, and of course with all of this language about the marriage not working out, I was terrified. After a few angry and heated conversations, I came to her on my hands and knees promising to change. I knew deep down that our problems could not possibly be all my fault, but I also knew that I wouldn’t get anywhere by finger pointing. I had already begun to push her further away when I lashed out at her during our initial conversations, and I couldn’t risk pushing her away any more. I had to focus on my problems and my faults and focus on giving up my own need for vindication in order to love her. Basic marriage 101 things that I learned too late.

So we had begun to go to counseling, and it became apparent that she was not so much interested in working out our problems in counseling to improve our marriage as she was in negotiating the end of the relationship. So I was desperately trying to be given the chance to change and show that I could change, but in many respects it seemed like she had already given upon me, too emotionally wounded and drained to even give it time to play out. She has been pushing for a separation, which I believe is simply a stepping-stone to divorce for her.

This whole time, I had been laboring under the assumption that, with some exceptions that I hoped would come out in therapy, my wife was primarily the wronged party. I was saddled with horrible feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and was terrified of the possibility that I might not be even given the chance to make things right when I knew in my heart and mind that our problems were not insurmountable.

That is when I learned about the affair. As is often the case, I learned about it through perhaps morally questionable means, snooping around in her e-mail account. It was a breach of trust, but when I confronted her about it, she was less upset about it than I thought she would be. She seemed more upset that she hadn’t managed to be more discreet (in other words, she seem like she was sorry that she got caught). She came clean. She told me what, I think, was everything: how she had met the guy at a party five months ago, hit it off and several months later reconnected. The scumbag took her back to his apartment and kissed her. She liked it, and the continued seeing each other. He knew that she was married, and that she had a kid and was okay with that. Hearing all of this, I somehow managed to remain calm, though every second of the revelation was like having a hot knife twisted in my gut. It was made worse by the fact that I heard little or no remorse in her voice. Her confession was almost starry-eyed. Later, she told me, she discovered that, in a crazy coincidence, a friend of hers in her book club had also begun seeing the same man. Needless to say, both of them were shocked and hurt. My wife’s confrontation with the guy revealed what, according to her, was a “miscommunication about exclusivity.” Apparently the scoundrel figured that since he was already seeing a married woman, the normal rules of exclusivity probably didn’t apply. And astoundingly, my wife seemed to accept that, and they agreed to have an “exclusive” relationship from that point out. My wife’s friend, however, was not so understanding, and had the thought that you are probably all having right now, which was to question how she could keep on seeing someone who had cheated on her! The language was, of course, intensely ironic, and I kept on wondering how it was in all of this that no one brought up that the real problem was the fact that she was cheating on her husband! They all seemed to accept my wife’s infidelity, which mad me suspect that I had been painted in their eyes as a real monster, a terrible husband somehow not deserving of fidelity. It felt like I was living in some terrible alternate universe, where not only had my wife turned against me, but everyone she knew had as well.

Having learned some of this through reading her e-mails, I had been able to steel myself somewhat for this conversation. I knew that the wrong response would be to immediately try to use this information as ammunition against her, in order to turn the entire situation around and make her the villain. Even if I was justified in that, I knew that it wouldn’t help, and she’d probably feel like there was no way to come back from this and quit on the spot. I wanted to shout at her, revile her, curse her for her betrayal. Nearly every part of me wanted to walk out on her right then and there, but a small part of me clung to the possibility that even this could possibly be overcome, and I focused in on it. For my daughter, if no one else, I thought to myself. So instead of cursing her, I told her that I loved her, and that even this did not change my resolve to save our marriage. She did seem surprised at this. She asked how I could love her after she cheated on me. Perhaps if we were in a movie, I would have heard those words and thought that my devotion had warmed her heart, but I don’t believe that was the case. She said that she thought that I was crazy for loving her, and I think she meant it just like that. She reaffirmed to me that she did not love me, and wanted a separation.

I wanted to tell her how she was not only wrong, but stupid for having an affair, because, after all, what kind of person fools around with another man’s wife aside from a dirty rotten scoundrel? But whenever I hinted at my opinion of her lover, she rebuffed me, saying that I had no right to judge his character without knowing him. What a strange situation to be in, but I had to acknowledge, painful though it was, that at the moment, she had a stronger emotional connection to him than she did to me, and that this reaction, though terrible and misguided, was natural. I told her what I was sure she already knew, that I didn’t want her to see him anymore. She told me she couldn’t give any guarantees.

The next morning, my wife called me and told me that she had broken off the affair. She revealed that she had told him that they needed to cut off their romantic relationship so that she could “Focus on getting out of her marriage.” I have no idea what this means, whether she is planning on getting back together with him after we separate, or what. It’s certainly not the reason I wanted to hear for her ending the affair! She seems more determined than ever to get out.

I haven’t forgiven her, and I don’t trust her, and I don’t even respect her anymore. I do love her, but loving her feels more like a torturous exertion of willpower than a warm feeling of affection, and I do it because of the fool’s hope that our love for one another can come back and be rebuilt, that trust can be restored over time, and we can somehow get over this horrible, horrible betrayal. Frankly, I don’t even know how I am holding on to this hope, because I feel like I’m emotionally at the end of my rope. I feel like a walking dead man, a corpse with no blood running through his veins who is somehow still walking, still going on. I am trying desperately to save my family, to save for our daughter a future in a loving household. I fear that I still won’t be given the chance. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on like this.

I am still not sure if my wife feels sorry for her affair. It sounded to me like she felt that it was largely justified due to the way I had treated her. And while I do have to accept responsibility for my failings as a husband, I refuse to accept responsibility for her adultery.

The emotional toll has been severe. I have never felt a pain this intense, this terrible, in my life before. Daily functioning takes a huge amount of energy that I don’t have. I want to just curl up in a ball and grieve, but every day I still have to get up and put on a happy face for my daughter and play with her and continue to raise her. I feel trapped and just want to scream. And the worst part is that I know that this is only the beginning. If somehow, my wife is convinced to try to work it out (and she seems impossible to convince), we have a long and torturous road ahead of us. If she refuses to get off of the path to separation and divorce, then it is going to be even worse. It feels like every time I feel like I couldn’t possibly be hurting more than I already am, something comes along that hurts even more.

She has already started looking at apartments for moving out. I have basically until July first before she’s gone. She says that she wants us to agree to a separation with joint custody, which gives me a little bit of leverage since she’ll probably want to avoid making it a legal battle, which means she will need to compromise with me, but apart from that, I am completely powerless. I feel like I have no choice but to try to make this work because the consequences of giving up are too terrible for me to contemplate, especially for our daughter, but at this point pessimism and despair are beginning to sink in. For the past month I have been trying, as much as my wife will let me (which isn’t much) to live out the kind of behavior that I should have been exhibiting for years, but between my wife’s continual emotional coldness to these efforts and the discovery of the affair, I am finding myself with less energy and drive for this every day. I’m not sure what to do. I am fairly certain that if I give up without continuing to try until the bitter end, I will have to live with regrets for the rest of my life, forever wondering whether it could have been better, whether we could have had our “happily ever after,” whether our daughter could have grown up in a complete and loving family. I feel like I know what I have to do, but I don’t know how, and I don’t know if I can, and perhaps most crushingly, I don’t know if it will make a difference.

I argued to her that we had every reason to at least try, and no reason not to. If we gave it a few months and it didn’t change her mind, then we’d just be back where we started, but if things did get better, then we could have years of happiness ahead of us, and we would be able to say that we delivered to our daughter a childhood in a whole and happy family. The benefits of trying outweigh the drawbacks spectacularly. She says that the downside is having to live with me for any further amount of time, which is apparently torture enough that she’s not willing to do it. I understand this to a certain extent because I understand probably even better than she does at this point what it’s like to be emotionally strung out and at the end of your rope with someone who has hurt you, but I still argued that this was a small price to pay for the good that could come.

Ultimately this did not move her, but she said that she would consider a month-long trial period leading up to her moving out, and that she’d take the weekend to think about it. I’m not hopeful that she’ll decide to do it, and if she does, my fear is that she’ll simply check it off of her list and leave me anyway, having the salve of being able to say she tried, when in reality both of us know that a month isn’t nearly enough. And what’s more, I fear that after putting myself on the line for another month, it will hurt even more when it still fails in the end. Still, it’s all I have.

And so after being betrayed, somehow I’m still the one with his face in the dirt begging to be given a second chance. How did this happen? What do I do?

hopefulmother posted 5/11/2013 11:12 AM


So sorry you are here. So sorry you love her so much. But, it really sounds like she has already checked out of your M. She may have done it long before the A.

Are you still doing M counseling?

Maybe you should let her go. Perhaps some time away, might make her realize she still loves you (only if she is in a fog).

tfkeel posted 5/11/2013 11:15 AM

I’m not sure what to do. I am fairly certain that if I give up without continuing to try until the bitter end, I will have to live with regrets for the rest of my life, forever wondering whether it could have been better, whether we could have had our “happily ever after,” whether our daughter could have grown up in a complete and loving family. I feel like I know what I have to do, but I don’t know how, and I don’t know if I can, and perhaps most crushingly, I don’t know if it will make a difference.

Welcome to the club none of us wanted to be members of.

As to your daughter growing up in a "complete and loving family", forget about it. Your wife has ensured that will never happen.

There is nothing "complete" or "loving" about adultery. Adultery is commited by people who have a total indifference to the welfare of their spouse, their kids, and their family.

And, as to your "happily ever after"? Forget about it. That's not going to happen anytime soon, if it ever does.
Your wife is only sorry she got caught, not sorry she did it.

As long as this is the case, NOTHING you can do, say is going to "make a difference". You are a "plan B", a "default". If she chooses you, it will be out of some kind of compulsion, not because she is in love with you and wants to make life with you.

Kids learn horrible lessons when marriages stay together "for their sake". Ask me. I stayed with the slut because I wanted my kids to have both their parents.

My son grew up and married a slut far worse than his mom. This one left him in the hospital with 12 stitches in his face. She has not only cheated multiple times, she has committed FELONIES for which he has nearly gone bankrupt twice tryng to keep her out of prison.

Kids are BETTER OFF with one moral, decent, upright parent than with two parents, one of whom is a slime-ball who considers only herself and her own feelings and doesn't give a carpenter's damn about anyone else, including her kids.

And, as for "the fog" ? Forget about that, too. It is a complete falsehood, a non-existent phenomenon.

People commit adultery because THEY WANT TO, and because they have NO RESPECT for the welfare of others.

she said that she would consider a month-long trial period leading up to her moving out, and that she’d take the weekend to think about it.

Adulterers all have one thing in common: they're LIARS. She is no more going to "think about it" than she is going to sign up for the first rocket to Mars. This is "trickle-truth".

[This message edited by tfkeel at 11:22 AM, May 11th (Saturday)]

mysticpenguin posted 5/11/2013 12:02 PM

You cannot "nice" someone out of an affair. Your wayward wife is completely checked out of the marriage, and as a result, gently, everything & anything you do falls on deaf ears.

Okay, you had marital problems. Two things: 1) Why did she decide to solve those by stepping out of the M as opposed to seeking counseling? 2) You were in the same crappy marriage and didn't cheat.

So -- this is on her. You have NO responsibility. Yes, you own 50% of the marital problems. That's it, though. As an adult, SHE is responsible for her own feelings. Needs not being met? You talk to your husband or a counselor. Unsure about the future of your marriage? Again, communicate, don't do a trial run of the single life.

So what do you do now? Personally? I say pull a 180. Read here:

YOU do not deserve to be Plan B, the fallback.

My advice is to pull a 180. And breathe. And eat, and hydrate.

[This message edited by mysticpenguin at 11:27 PM, May 17th (Friday)]

Shockleader posted 5/11/2013 12:06 PM

very, very well said tfkeel, and I'm in full agreement... WS Fog?, pffft, it's really a fully realized toxic cloud of lies, blameshift, me, me, me, anger, hatred, wonton deceit, thrill of forbidden fruit, and complete and utter COWARDICE!!!

I hate the term "wayward", as if they just went a little of course, and oooop's, our genitals locked up... BULLSHIT! They gladly chose to fuck over the person they were to protect, destroy many others for their selfish desires, and all they have now is lies, anger toward the BS, gaslighting, etc.

They are monsters, the enemy from the second they chose to cross a line they would have never wanted or allowed you to cross. I'm glad for folks who can truly reconcile, not hold it over the cheater, and live some other version of the M they have now; me, NO WAY, especially with what I have been through, and experienced with the pod person.

dbellanon, I truly feel and FULLY understand your pain, but real simple here from what you have written:

FUCK her and her excuses, blame shift, lack of remorse and a soul, decency, and zero care for your feelings. I say this with compassion, as I would not want another fella to go through the hell I have, and I'm trying to help you heal as fast as possible. You are in shock, and need to take very good care of yourself, and understand the flood of emotions you we be experiencing, many within the span of minutes. Serve her D papers now, and go from there... She is gone, long gone, and you will not love, sex, nice her back, and I hope the best for you friend, and for your DD. You WILL be OK, and SI will be your lifesaver through this mess.

gonnabe2016 posted 5/11/2013 12:17 PM

Dbell, it's time to let go of the rope. Your WW has given you no indication that she desires to R with you, and in fact, has told you that she wants out.

Believe her. Give her what she wants.
The only conversations to have with her right now should be about 'logistics'.
Grovelling, begging, pleading, being nice.....none of those things will work and will only serve to hurt YOU more.

You may feel as if you're dying inside, but DO NOT let her see it. Just don't. Cry in the shower, beat the shit out of a punching bag at the gym, run 30 miles....whatever. Just don't 'give' her anymore of your emotions right now.

And this:

she said that she would consider a month-long trial period leading up to her moving out, and that she’d take the weekend to think about it.

I went to Sultan on a Friday morning in Sept 2011 and I was a crying mess. I told him that I thought we should be together. We decided to take the weekend to *think about* what we would each need in order to make staying together happen.
He spent that weekend at a hotel. With his OW. Giving her the chance to show him why he should choose her, instead of me.
I didn't know about that until almost 3 months later.

^^Finding that out was devastating to me. Don't let ^^that be you. It sucks. Bad.

dbellanon posted 5/11/2013 12:35 PM

Thanks everyone for the quick and sympathetic responses. I'm going to wait to hear as many perspectives as I can before weighing in, but just very quickly, can someone fill me in on the abbreviations used here? I'm afraid I'm rather new to the lingo.

gonnabe2016 posted 5/11/2013 12:40 PM

Link to abbreviations:

Also, I believe there is an additional thread at the top of the General forum.

eta: yep, there was. Here's that one also.

[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 12:41 PM, May 11th (Saturday)]

heartache101 posted 5/11/2013 13:01 PM

WOW! Soo you have to prove to her you are worth her love? She has the affair and you feel the need to pull her to you??
Honey 180 her go file for separation get on with your life. Do the joint custody.

Sorry you are here.

Happydays posted 5/11/2013 13:32 PM

First, let me get this out of the way: Very well written. I could feel the pain as I read through.

Next. Shes checked out of the M.
I know this hurts because what you wrote is exactly how my ex behaved.

You don't have to feel guilty, you are a normal H and she is broken.

Protect yourself and DD both emotionally and financially.
She is way ahead of you in the planning department. You need to catch up.

From what I could figure out, OM is unmarried. So he has nothing to lose.

Save the evidences and record her conversations.

Be mentally prepared for a long battle.
I know you love her, but, right now you have to let her go. People do get back together even after the D.
My best guess is OM is just using her and will throw her out the first instance he gets ( with another fling) , this where WW gets the kick back to reality or realizes the pain of rejection.

Be civil, your anger on her will only justify her decision to leave.

This gets better eventually with time.

OK now posted 5/11/2013 13:55 PM

Be civil, your anger on her will only justify her decision to leave.

Well said Happydays, I couldn't agree more. Stop the anger and counterproductive discussions, this bird has flown and the sooner you extricate yourself from this marriage the sooner you can fully heal.

She is absolutely convinced she doesn't love you and the affair was her way of demonstrating this. No remorse; don't waste a month groveling in an attempt to change her minds.

Just calmly tell her that on reflection you agree this marriage should end and you both move on with your lives. Ask her to move out ASAP. Only by rejecting her will she begin to question her actions and wonder if she has made the correct decision. Let the affair with the OM run its course as you divorce her. She may see you in a different light as you move on and she is left alone minus her Casanova..

traildad posted 5/11/2013 14:05 PM

You are doing great man. Well written post. Take a deep breath, find some inner peace, and let her go. She wants out, and any attempt to pull her back in will just push her further away.

My xWW was just like yours. She almost gleefully talked about the A. She wanted out of the M, but was too cowardly to do it herself, the right way, so she had an A, threw it in my face, halfway pretended to want R, then had another A. She just wanted me to end it. So I finally did, but 6 months too late, 6 months of pain and suffering I did not need to endure.

That's why I say let her go. The only chance for R is for her to leave, somehow see how much she misses you, and comes begging her way back.

Bro hugs. This is the toughest thing to endure.

toomanyregrets posted 5/11/2013 14:38 PM

I'm so sorry your here.
No one wants what your going through.

It sounds like your WW has already left your M. She's totally in the fog with the OM.
Something tells me that once she leaves, and she will, the OM will loose interest in her. He's not about to raise another man's child. And he's already cheated on your WW at least once so she doesn't mean much to him except cheap sex.

dbellanon posted 5/11/2013 15:10 PM

I have no idea if this makes any difference at all, but my wife insists that there was no sex involved, whether that was because of some principle or simply because I discovered the affair before it had the chance to escalate to that, I have no idea.

annb posted 5/11/2013 15:42 PM

I'm so sorry you are here, but one thing you will learn like yesterday is that cheaters lie and lie and lie.

Cheaters Handbook 101 Page 1: We did not have sex. Deny, deny, deny.

Sorry to be so blunt, but so many of us here have heard the same line.

You need to meet with an attorney like yesterday. You need to protect your daughter.

Unfortunately, you cannot "nice" your wife back into the marriage. I don't think anything you do at this point is going to change her mind.

Buckle up, put yourself in the driver's seat.

One thing I did after my D-Day 8 years ago was pretty much putting on my bitch boots. I would not tolerate any more disrespect to me or the marriage. My way or the highway.

Read up on the 180 and implement it immediately, for your own sake.

Brokenheart777 posted 5/11/2013 15:46 PM

As always, it f*cking sucks that you find yourself here but this place will likely give you more strength and knowledge than anywhere else.

Like everyone else here, I am going to give you advice based on my experience. Everyone here told me very similar things to what they are telling you. Although not married or with a child, my WGF took a very similar course of action in ending our relationship and making me feel like I didn't do enough. It's going to be the hardest thing to pull back and not "TRY" for the sake of what your used to have and your DD but it is obvious that your WW has checked out a while ago just as my WGF did before she started an A and started blaming me for not doing enough for her in the relationship.
DO NOT beg, DO NOT try to convince her of the changes that you made. Those changes are fine and they are for YOU. It's time to focus on YOU and your DD. My friend told me to put this saying as the wallpaper on my phone when I was having trouble detaching from WGF (and still am) "The 180 is the only right thing to do". Please read about the 180 and detach from your, what seems like, completely unremorseful WW. Nothing about this will be easy. All the easy routes will be the wrong routes but you sound intelligent and strong.
I can't say it enough, pretty much everything that anyone says in here might as well be gospel spoken from the Infidelity Healing gods. Heed it. Wishing you strength. Post as often as you need to.

shiloe posted 5/11/2013 16:23 PM

Sorry for your pain. I have been where you are. We are here to help. You are getting good advice . . .
please take it to heart. Cheaters all say they didn’t have sex, if your wife had a talk about being “exclusive” they most likely are, doesn’t mean he will though (be exclusive to her). It is best that she leaves ASAP . . . she leaves the home, you and daughter stay. Please do the 180 now for your own mental health. I know it’s hard. You are on a long, rough journey, she may begin demonizing you, (probably already has) be ready for it, it just more knives to the heart. Just try to go no contact with her unless about child or finances.
She left you a long time ago, just never told you, now you must mentally steal yourself to leave her and the life you thought you had.
Again, I am sorry, no pain in the world quite like betrayal.

[This message edited by shiloe at 4:25 PM, May 11th (Saturday)]

PhoenixRisen posted 5/11/2013 16:50 PM

let her go.

Your daughter will still grow up in a loving family. She will just have two homes.

Contact a lawyer and move ahead with filing. You can still continue to work on saving your M, but at least you are actively moving ahead.

Go and open a separate bank account and take 1/2 of $ or as advised by lawyer.

Go to the Dr and get tested for STDs - who knows where OM has been & now you have been exposed to him.

Once OM realizes his mistress is single and wanting commitment I think he will back away - he was looking for fun, not a wife (and not one with a child). Once she's dumped and realizes she is a single mom, she will most likely realize what she has lost and beg your forgiveness. But the woman who is asking for forgiveness is no longer the woman you married, so that will be a decision you have to make - good luck my friend.

hatefulnow posted 5/11/2013 17:03 PM

Run Forrest! Run!!

StillGoing posted 5/11/2013 17:27 PM

Read this post:

It is a good quick start to advice and basic actions to take.

Understand that this is not your fault and it isn't about you. Also understand your wife is a liar and is not trustworthy - everything she says here is suspect. Any promises she might make, any agreements she might give you, even if they are written and signed in blood do not expect them to be worth the paper it's written on.

Take steps to protect yourself. See a lawyer immediately. Good luck, sorry you found yourself here.

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