When I first confronted my WW about her affair, she wanted me to promise not to tell anyone. Of course, by that time, I already had told a couple of people, but I agreed not to expand the circle of confidence any further. She was worried about her reputation, both personally and professionally, and since I was still hoping to work things out, I wanted her to feel like she could still save face after this.
But now that we are heading for divorce, I no longer feel obliged to keep her secret. But the question is, where do I draw the line? Who has to know, and who doesn't?
There are a few of my closest confidants whom I have told, but the temptation to tell more people is severe. This is partially because my WW has been "gathering her army" for some time, long before I even knew about her dissatisfaction with the marriage or her affair. She has told her side of the story (with all of its distortions, blameshifting and libel) to numerous friends, though only a few know that an affair was involved. She hasn't been considerate at all in slandering me to all of her friends. I feel like she shouldn't get to paint herself like a long-suffering saint who was suffering at the hands of a neglectful and abusive husband. People should know her for who she is.
But the problem is that this feels too much like revenge. I don't want to simply mirror what she has done by trying to get as many of my friends (most of whom are still technically "our" friends) on my side, and to get them to see her as the villain. And I don't want to smear her reputation all across town. Well okay, I do a little bit, but it doesn't feel right. At the end of the day, she is still my daughter's mother, and I need to give her some consideration for that. And... as monumentally unlikely as it seems, it's impossible to know if we won't some day find a way to come back together. Do I really want to burn all of our bridges?
A part of me wishes I could stitch a scarlet letter into her clothing, a warning for other men to stay away, an outward symbol of the shame that she never inwardly felt or acknowledged. But this is the bitterness talking, and I don't want to do anything out of bitterness that I'll later regret.
So whom should I tell? Obviously, my inner circle of confidants, and most of them know already. But as we make this divorce more and more public, how should I explain it to people? I could say that we had irreconcilable differences, but I hate that phrase, because usually all that means is that one or both people weren't willing to work on the marriage. It makes it sound like I was a willing partner in the destruction of our family. I was not. I can say that she wanted the divorce, but I didn't, but that reinforces her version of the story, that I was the one causing the problems and had to be dispatched. And hell, even just telling people that she had an affair is an oversimplification. The marriage isn't ending because she had an affair. It's ending because she's making it impossible to recover from our problems. No answer seems adequate, but one that leaves out the affair seems most inadequate of all, at least to me.
Anyone have thoughts or experience on this? Whom did you tell? Did you tell anyone and later regret it?
[This message edited by dbellanon at 6:18 PM, June 6th (Thursday)]