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BillyinArkansas posted 6/26/2013 09:02 AM

I'm a 41 year old guy. My wife is 34. We've been married for four years. After raising her for three years or more, last year I legally adopted her 13 year old daughter. They took a trip out to California to visit friends and family for a couple of weeks, and yesterday morning she told me that she had cheated on me. She wants to come home and talk about it, but also says that she has feelings for the guy and doesn't know what she wants. Lots more to the story I'll share maybe, if anybody cares, but right now I just need some input from others who are there or were there.

brokenfinger posted 6/26/2013 09:12 AM


We are here. The whole group. I have learned, so much, that I am not alone, and neither are you.

BillyinArkansas posted 6/26/2013 09:13 AM

More details: My wife is a recovering addict and I believe she relapsed on her trip because of being around the wrong old friends, that I believe had a lot to do with the cheating. My daughter (adopted)loves me and considers me her dad, but right now she is mixed up because she loves her mom and also because her mom took her and dropped her off with her biological dad, a really bad guy whom she hasn't seen in over four years, so that twisted her up, too. If I can't save my family, my wife will probably end up dead and my daughter's life ruined. I guess I need help in how to greet them when they get home, and make it through the first day or two. Really rough right now not to cry.

Shockleader posted 6/26/2013 09:22 AM


You would be hard pressed to find another group that cares more than this one, and they will be your life line through this mess. Understand, you are in emotional shock right now, that also has many terrible physical side effects

Please try to eat well, drink water, and let the tears flow!!! Understand, that like me, this event could be more painful than even the death of the person; I know it was for me.

Also, her not knowing what she wants is straight out of the cheaters handbook; it reeks of you being a possible plan B, and is totally unacceptable regardless of any situation... For Christ's sake, YOU ARE HER HUSBAND, any other thoughts of you not being the only one is not good.

There is plenty of time to get a better grip of the situation, I know the feeling of extreme pain, confusion, hurt, anger, hopelessness you are feeling, but know it will not always be this way. Take care, and know the good folks here want to help you through this terrible time forced upon you.

Skan posted 6/26/2013 09:27 AM

BillyinAK, I'm so sorry that you had the reason to come looking for us, but I'm so glad that you found us. This is the best place that you never wanted to be.

First off, yes, get your family home ASAP. You have a daughter who desperately needs you right now. Luckily, you've adopted her, so you have legal rights for your daughter. She's going to need you as the stable parent, especially after all her mother has put her through.

First off, please start reading. I have just bumped three things for you to look at. Look for the postings with bulls-eyes next to them, the titles are Before You Say Reconcile, Boundaries & Consequences, and Great Posts for Newbies to Read. Read the first post or two of each one most of the rest of the pages are people doing what I just did, which is bumping the threads up for someone to read. Also, take a look at the upper left corner where the yellow box is, and click on The Healing Library. Read that. There is a lot of good, tactical advice there for you.

Here's the thing. 1) Nothing you did, said, or were or were not, caused your WW (wayward wife) to cheat. You don't have the power to do that. It was all on her. No matter what problems there may or may not have been in the marriage, YOU didn't cheat, SHE did. Her decision, not mistake, her deliberate decision to cheat is all on her. 2) You do not have to make ANY decision right now. You can take your time to figure out what you want and need. Don't let anyone rush you through this process. 3) You are going to feel like your emotions are on the wild ride from hell. That's called the rollercoaster and its normal. You are not going crazy, you just feel like you are. You need to take care of yourself by staying hydrated, eating what you can, and getting what rest you can. Because your body is reacting as if it's been hit by a bus and it's going to go crazy for a while. I repeat, that is normal.

That's more than enough right now. Please start reading. And come back here often for venting, support, and advice. We have all unfortunately been there and done that. And we're all here for you.

BillyinArkansas posted 6/26/2013 09:30 AM

Thanks. That's why I'm here. What I'm trying to find is the strength to not push her away, and to get her to have true remorse and want to save our family as much as I do. I wrote down a list for whenever it is the right time for us to have our first face to face conversation about it when she gets here. Any input from you guys on what you think about it would be appreciated.

What I need from you.
1. For you to come back home.
2. For you to feel and express real remorse. Not just “I’m sorry”, or “I’m sorry, but…”. I need for you to not just understand how deeply you hurt me, and that it was wrong, but to really regret it, to wish that it hadn’t happened, and to pledge that it will never happen again.
3. For you to not want it to ever happen again, and to break off all contact with the guy it happened with, permanently.
4. For you to understand that as I go through the healing process, there might be times when I have emotional roller-coasters, and forget to not ‘punish’ you. I need for you to understand that the hurt won’t go away quickly. You need to accept that it’s a long road back, and part of the process. It doesn’t mean that I have given up, or decided to stop loving you. It just means that I am still hurting.
5. Rebuilding trust means that as the person who did wrong, you have to play this by my rules.
6. No more lies or secrets, not even about small things.
7. When you have an unexpected change in schedule or plans, I need a heads-up beforehand. No surprises.
8. I need for you to tell Maddie that what happened was because of the drugs, that it wasn’t the real you, that it was wrong, and that it is one more reason why drugs are horrible.
9. I need for you to agree that if we need to, meaning if we make it to this step and still need help, that we will get professional marriage counseling.
10. I need for you to try as much as I am trying, to rebuild us, for our future and for Maddie’s. I honestly believe that we are meant to be together, and that we can be happy together, if we work through this, but it will require effort from both of us.

Heavy Sigh posted 6/26/2013 09:44 AM

The tactic you're taking doesn't work well on a cheating female, even if those feelings you wrote are true. Cheating females don't respect the puppy-dog eyed looks and use your declarations of love and devotion to mean they can cheat for a lot longer and you'll still be waiting. Gotta play strong - not physically or threatening strength but calm, Clint Eastwood declarations of how this will all play out according to choices she makes.

It's possible she will try to hook you for child support (you legally adopted her daughter), move, and drug away her life with some loser using your money and ruining her daughter's life.

So first see a lawyer. Make sure you get good advice because you'll need strategy even though you want to reconcile. You may not have that choice if she can get money from you while living with a loser.

If you get primary custody, the teen is in a safer environment and you won't have to pay support. Even if daughter loves mom, who has been in her life longer, tell daughter that for now she needs a stable place to grow up and be a child and young teen without feeling pressures like she's got to take care of her unstable mom. That she can see her mom, but can't save her mom no matter how hard she tries since druggies can only save themselves. Give your daughter permission to not try to "save" her mom, because she needs someone to tell her that it's impossible and it's her job as a kid to be in school and be stable best she can be and do better in life than her mom. Also, if wife is back on drugs - random drug testing can be ordered - then she will lose primary custody.

First, tell your wife that if she wants to return to drugs and losers who use her for sex and drugs - and ruin her own daughter's life by being a poor role model and example - that you can't stop her from doing that. If she wants to not lie that life, she can come home and you'll help her. But you WILL stop her from putting your daughter in a home with a bad person, and with druggies, putting daughter at risk of molestation and growing up to think drugs are a way out of life's difficult moments and to use them as a cry for atteniton. That a daughter needs a grown up looking after her and not an overgrown drama queen llike your wife who apparently hasn't emotionally aged beyond 13 or 15 herself.. Tell her it's up to HER what becomes of her life and fate, and her daughter's future. She can go back to a terrible lifestyle, but you won't let her do this to your daughter without legal advice.

It's a strong message to send to wife: Fix your life, raise your daughter, act like an adult. You'll help her with that, but anything less, she can't "play" you or string you along. Let her know it.

[This message edited by Heavy Sigh at 9:53 AM, June 26th (Wednesday)]

BillyinArkansas posted 6/26/2013 09:56 AM

That was excellent advice. My fear is that since my daughter is 13, she might decide to go with her mom and there wouldn't be much I could do to stop her, but if it came to that I am willing to fight legally for her. I've read the "Before Reconciliation" primer and am reading the others, too. Your last paragraph really hit home. How do I greet them when they get home? How do I make it through the first day?

damaged71 posted 6/26/2013 10:08 AM

Billy read about the 180 in the library.


It's for your sanity not hers. You can't "nice" your marriage back together. No way-no how.

Be firm as listed above. You will see it on here if you read a little bit but here it is.. Being divorced isn't the worst thing in the world. Sharing your marital partner is. Let her know that's how you feel.

Sorry about this. It takes years to heal from this.

kiki1 posted 6/26/2013 10:27 AM

I'm sorry Billy.

BillyinArkansas posted 6/26/2013 11:37 AM

I read the 180. I want to be strong, but also I have to reassure my daughter that I love her and that hasn't and won't change. At the moment I am just trying to verify they are leaving on their way back. My mother-in-law is fully on my side.

toomanyregrets posted 6/26/2013 12:04 PM

I'm so sorry your here.

Stay strong, YOUR daughter needs you.

BTW, when are they due home ?

[This message edited by toomanyregrets at 12:55 PM, June 26th (Wednesday)]

Ghostrider posted 6/26/2013 12:07 PM

Billy, this is a long difficult journey no matter which destination it turns toward, R or D. You need to control the controllable. Your WW is not in your control. You can set conditions to her being part of your life, but you can't force her to be remorseful or self-aware. Focus on you and your daughter. In this moment of great stress, you have a chance to teach her how proper, strong and honorable men behave.

All the best. Stay strong.

Nailinmyforehead posted 6/26/2013 12:38 PM

Good luck, Billy, and be ready for the wildest , hardest ride you will ever take. You and Maddie are in my thoughts and prayers. I tried the nice guy, "Please straighten up" approach with my FWW, but it wasn't until I let her know that I was with her because I wanted to be, and that I did not need her, that she changed. Good luck.

64fleet posted 6/26/2013 13:28 PM

hey billy, you seem to have a good list already. I'm close to LR if you need a shoulder.

sportsfan posted 6/26/2013 13:32 PM

Welcome to SI, Billy. I've been here for a long time and have read a lot of stories, some very much like yours'. And i've seen situations like yours' fixed, partners like yours' become well again, marriages like yours' saved.

But some don't, unfortunately many don't.

I say this to you b/c you need to know that whatever happens, you need to become, and stay, in complete control. Make sure YOU are healthy, whether your W is or not. Be strong for your daughter as she needs her dad, adopted or otherwise, to lead her through this. She'll learn from this mess, good and bad.

You said that you "believe" your W relapsed ... are you 100% sure? If you're not then i'd have her tested for drugs. And while you're at it have her tested for STD's as well.

As suggested above, you really need to see a lawyer. Know your rights now. I hope your M doesn't end in a D, just don't be caught off guard should it. Do you have any legal rights to keep your DD should your W leave and want to take her along? You need to know.

As Heavy Sigh suggests; be Clint Eastwood. Firm but not an asshole. Determined yet non-threatening. Safe. Responsible. A hero to your DD and perhaps one day also to your W.

Keep reading, keep posting, keep looking forward and hang in there. We're here for you.

BillyinArkansas posted 6/26/2013 15:53 PM

I've called an attorney, the same one who handled the adoption, who is a friend of mine, and am awaiting a call back, to see what my options are if my wife, as she is now saying she might do, stays in California. On the phone today she said that if she comes back out here and things don't work out that she will be stuck without any family or friends or support network or a place, et cetera. She has apparently pawned my daughter off on her biological dad who is spoiling her, my daughter, to keep her confused. I asked my wife if she had been using and she denied it, but I don't know if I believe her, and now I don't know if she is coming home.

5454real posted 6/26/2013 16:47 PM

Brother, that's not an option for her. Bio dad gave up those rights when you adopted. Mom can't just up and displace your daughter from the family home.

Re-contact your lawyer and exercise your rights. What she is doing is at a minimum custodial inference and possibly parental kidnapping.


I think I can posted 6/26/2013 16:56 PM

Bio dad gave up those rights when you adopted. Mom can't just up and displace your daughter from the family home.

Everything above. She is your legal daughter and your wife cannot legally just take her.

gonnabe2016 posted 6/26/2013 17:03 PM

She has just declared *War* on you.

I'm not sure how you've been communicating with your WW up to this point, but it might be a good idea to use text/email so that you have her own words, in black & white, laying out her plans to keep your daughter away from you without your permission.

War, friend. No more 'nice guy' time. Do NOT make any concessions or show agreement or understanding about her newest 'plan'.

If she was supposed to come home today. She needs to get her ass home, with YOUR daughter, TODAY.

Get ALL over this, BIA. Quickly.

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