A little background.
September 15-16, 2012, my final drunk as a practicing alcoholic. The details don't matter but after 3-5 bottles of wine There was a fight that afterwards I was calling friends at 2am looking for a place to stay for awhile. Being a sad/angry drunk for a long time I only had two friends left to call and neither would answer the phone. In the morning I found my bag packed by the front door. A friend came to get me (FYI I'm disabled and can no longer drive) that Sunday morning and I became homeless for about the next 4 months. Within 12 hours of having to leave my family I started having breathing difficulty. If I stayed still and setting up I was fine. Being a stubborn man I waited till Monday morning to go to my doctor, who sent me to the ER who after 8 hours admitted me to the ICU “step down” ward with a pretty serious case of pneumonia. While in the hospital I confided in a family friend the extent of my wife’s drinking. She went and hand a solo intervention with my wife and made her call someone at our church. Our sobriety dates are now 9/16 & 9/20. This Friday will be 9 months sober. I moved back into the house in late February, we are both working the steps in AA, are each in individual therapy and marriage counseling. Things seem to be progressing nicely both in sobriety and our marriage. Being an insecure ego-maniac with an inferiority complex, on 3/27/13 (my D-day) I snooped on an old phone of hers I was supposed to wipe clean and sell on ebay. I was looking for lawyers names, emails that may say thing like I hate him, or I can never forgive him or negative statements that may indicate how close I came to loosing her. I found nothing and was quite relieved. Then I saw a subject saying “Thanks for the inspiration!” I thought thats nice lets see who encouraged my beautiful wife in her new sobriety. This is what I read...(names x'd out to protect the guilty, Bold added by me)
Thank you for receiving my email, I hope it finds you doing well!
You told me several months ago that you started up with a program. It was inspiring to me!
I am celebrating 34 days of sobriety today through AA! : )
And I feel really good about this choice. It is long overdue, as I'm sure you'll agree.
I continue to have strong feelings for you, which I don't think will ever go away. And that's OK with me, I do not regret the past.
You are on my list of folks I'll need to contact again, when I'm at the appropriate step (which I'm a long ways from!)... And I hope that you will also be open to that communication.
So, you've been on my mind. I wanted to thank you again, you are an inspiration to me, and I hope you're doing well.
Well I about crapped my pants, I got sweaty and a bit queasy. I then searched by his name and found this from 4/16/12
Subject: Happy birthday!
Did you know that telling your birthday wish to the right person usually makes it come true?
I have found this to be the case most of the time. If you tell the right person.
Just a thought to consider,
To me this sounds like a flirt back in response to something he probably had said or written in the past.
Here is the most painful of the 3.
Date: September 20, 2012, 4:20:57 AM EDT
Subject: 3 Doors Down & Sara Evans - Here Without You
I had to look up IMY, it means “I Miss You”. What makes this so painful is I was still in the hospital and had given a do no resuscitate “DNR” order. She was home experiencing her final drunk missing her illicit lover and I was lying in a hospital alone thinking I was going to and even begging God to let me die.
I have now known for almost 3 months and have not confronted her. From other evidence I have it appears this affair ran from sometime in 2006-2010. But obviously she still has feelings for him. Since I found no emails from him it appears she was or is the pursuer or just forgot to delete her out bound emails. I also have some written evidence that there was some other improper relationship but only have some initials and something that says “conscious decision” and “not done this”.
I am fairly confident that sobriety has ended her desire for affairs. I have my reasons for not confronting her yet, and probably won't until August at the earliest. Right now I am gathering advice and making myself educated on recovering from affairs. You of SI are my next education tool and likely the most valuable. I have shared this with my therapist, our marriage counselor, our Pastor, and three other trusted people. I have received some conflicting advice and want to ask some questions of this community.
1.) To expose the affair(s) or not to expose? If you had offered me a million dollars if I had ever considered the possibility that my wife had had an affair I would have had to turn down the money. Next month we will celebrate our 16th anniversary (20.5 years together) and I doubt you could find a man so head over heels in love with his wife. We had some rough times when we were drinking, but the worst was after the affair period, 2006-2010. I was a sad and angry drunk the last 2 years or so being my worst depression and behavior. We have made great progress in marriage counseling and both committed to each other that divorce has never and will never be an option. I love her so much I am afraid to hurt her by exposing her sins against me, our vows and God. Perhaps her own mental punishment and confession to God and her sponsor (AA 5th step) is enough?
2.) Details – I feel a great need for details, every thought and action, leading up to, during and afterwards. Those of you who sought the details of your WS's affair, are you glad to know the details or have they contaminated your mind? I have a document of question prepared with over 300 questions. I feel that detailed answers will keep me from asking questions forever and I won't constantly be wondering if this or that thoughts.
Sorry for such a long post. I appreciate your time, experience and input.
I can't believe you haven't said anything! Of course you should know.
I didn't ask anything I wanted a mental movie of for the rest of my life. Warning, you can't "unknow" the information you ask for. But, then again, I"m female and love & affection was worse than the sex acts for me.
Try to eat, drink water, and sleep. Read healing library in left hand corner. Remember, TIME will be your enemy and best friend, and it was a thousand percent NOT your fault in any possible way. That's the good advice I got when I joined.
I feel your pain...I really do.
There is a rather rude, but true saying here, and it's that you can't un-f*ck that donkey. Now that you know, you can't "un-know." Meaning that if you want to pursue a true and authentic marriage with your WW, you need to not lie and she needs to not lie. Otherwise, you're hiding something from her and if you're hiding something from her, then you're not being honest. And frankly, since you've told your IC, your MC, and your pastor, well, you're not really hiding it, are you? I'd say that if you never say anything, there will always be that small voice in the back of your head judging every time your WW professes her love for you, her happiness in the marriage, or even the way that you prepare the Sunday eggs. And on her end, if she's truly horrified by what she's done, how can she possibly commit full heartedly, to you and your marriage? There will always be that dirty little secret between the two of you that leaves a rotten spot in your lives. You need to clean out that rot.
The need for details. Heck yes, we all need them. If only to take away the truly HORRIBLE images of what went on, with who, how long, how many, etc, et nauseum. I insisted on every sordid detail because 1) I had some truly horrific mind movies, and 2) I did not want to let there be one fantasy place for him to go, that didn't have my face imprinted on it. As with the above saying about the donkey, just remember that you cannot unknow what you know. So think carefully about your questions and what you really want/need to know. That's a question that only you can answer.
I commend you upon doing some research before confronting. But especially if you think that she has any feelings for the AP left, you do need to confront. You can certainly pick the time and place be it just the two of you alone, at your MC, or with your pastor. But if you are truly going to have a marriage of worth between the two of you, you both need to be utterly honest with each other and she needs to get the AP out of her mind as a fond memory.
Best of luck. Please come back often for support!
D-Day, June 10, 2012
I'm just going to tackle one of your questions for now. Details of the A are essential for most BS's to understand, heal from and eventually forgive. So you are completely justified in asking for a lot of information. HOWEVER. I would strongly suggest that you refrain from asking questions such as, "was he better than me in X, Y or Z manner?" Ask for facts, and about her emotional state, but do not ask her to compare you to him in any way.
There are a few reasons for this advice. Firstly, if your WW is still remotely foggy, or feeling vindictive, or defensive, or is simply having a crappy day, she may say something - whether true or not - that you will never be able to unhear. This could become a very difficult obstacle in your R. Secondly, you are the BH, not the OP. There IS no comparison between you. Do not ever feel that you have to compete against or prove yourself against the POS. Thirdly, this is about your WW, not about you, and not really about AP. Affairs happen because of flaws in the WS.
So stick to questions about what she did, what she thought and felt and you should be good. Many BS's find it useful to get a detailed timeline from the WS. Just be clear about what level of detail you're asking for so that she doesn't provide more than you're ready for.
As you know working the steps with AA involves you making amends with those you have hurt. Has your spouse reached this stage yet? If so she should have come clean at that time. If not, then I would be tempted to see what she does when she gets to this step.
I do think that you need to confront, and get it all out in the open though at some point. Having and A is not something healthy people do, and she needs to understand why she chose to do it, and blaming the alcohol is not the correct response. However whatever led her to drink so much may be the same reason for the A.
As you do the work of to stay sober, you know that you are effectively changing who you are, and both of you are changing your relationship, for the better. So this will help you both heal from the A in my opinion.
As far as details go, I agree with what others have said. For me I needed to confirm the dates it started, the question of safe sex (for my own health), and of course the how and why of how it started. As far as the real details of it I didn't want to know, and am thankful now that I didn't. I did intercept a few communications from her, and it was sickening for me to read, to see another woman call my spouse pet names, and read the ILY's. It still makes me wanna puke.
Expose the affair to others? I would say if her AP has a spouse she deserves to know what happened. If not, then consider who it's going to benefit by making it known.
You will find many great folks here, and much equally great advice.