I discovered about a week ago my wife of 10 years had been having an affair. In March of this year she had laid down the law about how I had been behaving in previous months for nearly half a year, and I have to take ownership of that part of my marriage. I was struggling financially, as a business I had was failing. I was raised with the frankly ridiculous value system where the man is measured for his ability to provide for his family. I was failing and as a result I fell into a terrible depression that culminated in suicidal ideation late last year. I did not know how to ask her for help.
When my wife snapped me out of my vortex of failure and self-flagellation, I returned to being the old me. Relaxed, unstressed, not much could faze me. I shared our finances with her and we were partners again. During this re-awakening I thought we were back on track as a couple with our three beautiful kids.
So I once again was me and was the attentive spouse, doing those things that helped make her whole. I supported her in all she did. I wanted her to be happy. She took on more and more work until I thought she had really overdone it, but she seemed to thrive on it, so I helped her with it. Also, a long-time friend of hers (whom she had a fling with 15+ years ago that never went anywhere … she wanted to have the student-professor fantasy fulfilled, and he is nearly 30 years her senior) started hanging with her for a once per week or once every two weeks night at the bar just to drink and talk shop. She was tactile with me and said all the right things.
But…my intuition told me something was wrong. I crushed it though, thinking "She would never do that to me." Cheat, that is. We barely had sex in the last few months, and as a couple it was how we had always connected. Fantastic sex followed by intimate moments after. We were always so honest and open during those times. She blamed a low libido, with little explanation. I asked for 10 minutes a night of just talk between she and I, after she put her laptop away, but she would just close her laptop, roll over and go to sleep. And when she woke up, she was on her smartphone, texting away.
This went on for months. Last week I was at her workplace. We were the last ones there. She asked me to do some calculations on her smartphone for a worksheet and walked off to do some printing. I did the calculations and finished the form. I then searched for a dirty joke I sent her on my phone in text, but couldn't find it. I figured I had deleted it, so I searched for it on her phone…under the term "orgasm."
It took me about three or four seconds to realize what I was looking at. My heart hammered out of my chest and I felt the sting of tears.
I asked her to step outside of the building as our three kids were using the office computers nearby. I said, "So, I finished the calculations, then I looked for a joke I sent you on my phone but couldn't find it, so I looked for it on your phone, and…for how long have you been messing around with Stephen?"
Her eyes searched mine. She was in shock. She didn't answer for nearly five seconds so I just walked away. She chased me inside in tears, begging forgiveness. Some digging on my part and heartfelt confessions on her part revealed that yes, she had cheated, although it was limited to feeling each other through their clothing, some french kissing, and some explicit sexting. If she had gone over THAT OTHER LINE I would have served her divorce papers several days ago.
Yes, it was her old fling. What made is really kind of gross is that he's now over 60, and not in a good way, has a beer gut, is losing his hair and has old skin. Pardon the judgment, but she is in her early 30s and remains physically beautiful, aside from her betrayal. It's jarring to think she kissed him.
She isn't making excuses -- she has taken full ownership of her cheating. Her explanation is that when I admitted why I was so depressed and dysfunctional last year, and that I was looking for life insurance policies during my suicidal period so that I could provide for my family one last time, she became terrified of losing me, and she instantly thought about protecting our kids. She then couldn't talk to me about this, stayed distant despite my re-awakening, and kept looking for escape through more and more work and messing around with someone she has no future with. An escape that required she kept finding more and more distractions to continue working.
Right now she's walking on eggshells around me. She's done the no-contact thing, and apologizes a dozen times a day. She cries, and begs, and asks me if there is anything she can do that I need. Me, I'm angry as hell right now. I'm a fit, attractive 40-something professionally employed man who in my immodest opinion is a hell of a package as a partner. And she had to go and piss on our marriage like that. I would have preferred she divorce me than do what she did. No idea if we'll reconcile. We'll see. I vacillate between burning anger and abject pain and tears. I wish I wasn't here, but I'm glad all of you have made this place so welcoming and accessible.
The OM will be pursuing a PA, did you WW agree to this? Thats the issue in question.
I'm a fit, attractive 40-something professionally employed man who in my immodest opinion is a hell of a package as a partner.
I'll bet you're right, and that your wife knows it, too. The thing is, her cheating was not about you or your marriage. It was about something wrong inside her.
You went through a terrible time of failure and depression, and yet you did not cheat. You did not escape into an affair.
Go very easy on yourself right now because you are locked into the roller coaster ride from hell. In the upper left of this sight is a yellow box with The Healing Library. It's really helpful to sort out the feelings and realize that your reactions are normal.
I remember that heart hammering feeling when I found an email from the other woman to my husband. And the shaking. I shook like a leaf for days. But, I am surviving and healing and you will too.
There was no "PA" - I checked the text history and there was considerable talk of how they couldn't cross that line. Also, my intuition remains really very strong, and I can tell if she's lying to me directly. I refuse to ignore what my intuition is telling me any longer.
But thank you for the words of guidance.
I've read some of your posts. You're a tougher person than I. You have my admiration.
She understands that I need to hear the "sorry" over and over again, but I wonder if it wouldn't be better, more genuine, if I let her apologize to me in her way. I wonder if that will meet my needs.
Things are very very touch and go right now. At this point I'd be just as happy to kick her ass to the horizon and move on with my life without her. I'm doing this for the kids, though. They're everything to me.
Consider this. Words are cheap. They can be easily uttered and mean nothing but noise. Actions speak louder than words. So, if she's action oriented, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Let her prove by her actions that she's remorseful and committed to R with you. Yes, if you need to hear her express her apologies verbally, then you should make that part of your needs from her. But actions, IMO, speak far louder. Consider that her words
She was tactile with me and said all the right things.
were during the time that she had her EA.
And you should be angry as hell right now. You have reason to be and you WILL be for some time. We call that the rollercoaster and your feelings will be all over the map for some time. You'll want to hug her and hold her tight, and then kick her ass out of the house. All normal. Don't think that you're loosing your mind it's part of the way the mind processes things.
So nows the time for you to take the time that YOU need, to figure out what you need and want. Obviously complete NC and a NC letter sent to the AP are in order, and you should be a part of that to make sure that it isn't an apology, it doesn't get into sentiment, but expresses frankly that getting involved was the worse mistake that she ever made, she never wants the AP to contact her again, and that she is totally committed to her family. Does the AP have a wife? If so, the BW needs to be informed by you. IMO, she has as much as a right to know the state of her marriage as you do, and two pairs of suspicious eyes will kill an A quickly.
Keep coming back for support. We're all here for you. In the "I Can Relate" forum, there is a very active group of "Betrayed Husbands" that you might want to check out. They are all great guys with really killer advice.
D-Day, June 10, 2012
You're a tougher person than I.
Wait and see, Arable! This experience has made me grow so much stronger and wiser.
As for apologies, I would let WW show you she's sorry in any way she can. The most important way to me would be to get into counseling, figure out why she's messed up enough to do this, and fix it.
At this point I'd be just as happy to kick her ass to the horizon and move on with my life without her.
Absolutely. If she is fiercely determined to R and motivated to work hard for years, and you know you would be ok without her, then I'd say there's a good chance your marriage will make it.
I'm just furious this morning, that she pushed thinking about me and our kids aside while she had her brief "fun distraction." And seriously? The guy was convenient, sure, and he's always been putty in her hands, but GROSS. GOD DAMMIT that's just repugnant. EW.
I've been working out much, much harder these days to get the anger out. By this winter I'm going to look ripped, and I wonder what she's going to think when she recalls that she messed around with a guy with old skin and a beer gut and put what we had at risk.
I am so angry right now I can barely see straight.
I think I passed a test this morning too. An ex-girlfriend messaged me. We're still friends but mostly out of touch. She's a flight attendant and has in the past offered to fly me wherever for free anytime I wanted it, no strings attached. She knows I'm married and I have kids and I'm a devoted family man. Her message this morning was marginally teasing as she doesn't know what's happened. I gave it some thought and realized it would be so easy to see her again, but you know, I am SO uninterested in the payback scenario. I might have been betrayed, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't hold on to my personal integrity. No matter how my wife and I end up, I want to be able to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself I did the right thing.
Stomach doing flip-flops. Have to go puke. Anger and extreme hurt does that to me, it turns out.
I am SO uninterested in the payback scenario. I might have been betrayed, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't hold on to my personal integrity. No matter how my wife and I end up, I want to be able to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself I did the right thing.
You may be too angry and sick to see straight, but you still have rock solid integrity--and the abs to match .
Now back to you... Having dealt with at least one known affair in 2010, and several more via text messaging, I implore you to do the following..
FIRST Take care of yourself. Easy to say, hard to do. Make sure you eat at least a couple of times a day and get some water.
THEN- Realize that she is in a fog right now...it is actually called "the fog" on this site. There is no way of curing the fog except by ignoring her and focusing on yourself. Everything she says right now is a lie, until proved otherwise. Don't trust her until you have both completed counseling. You busted her red-handed and she will say anything to keep from admitting a mistake including blaming you for her mistakes.
THEN- Read in the healing library about the "180" and follow those rules to the letter. Try to be positive when talking with her and agree with everything she says for a while.
THEN- Demand a no-contact contract with her in writing that includes consequences. Hold her to it. I did the same with my wife with a statement that WE could inspect OUR phones and computers anytime on demand, etc etc.
Most of all, remember your children (as I am sure you will) and demand long term couples and family counseling.
Take care of and protect yourself.
WA- June 2011
Separated Aug 2011
Counseling- Oct 2011
Reconciled- Dec 2011
Cont'd Counseling Jan-Jun 2012
Separated- Jul 2013
No marriage is perfect but you certainly can't make it better by having an affair.
I would have preferred she divorce me than do what she did
That was and still is my feeling as well. Just be honorable.
Your wife needs to get into IC to understand why she allowed herself to cheat.
You are right, she was selfish and put her needs before you or your family. Totally unacceptable. On every level.
Affairs are built on broken people telling and believing each other's lies.
Kudos to you on NOT seeking the revenge affair. It would only make you feel worse in the end. Don't stoop to their level and hold on to your integrity.
Your wife needs to understand that she can't "fix" this. Sorry doesn't quite cover this one.
Take some time, breathe and you don't have to commit to staying or going at this point.
Seek IC to help you navigate through your feelings. Your emotions will be all over the place for some time. Completely normal.
Good luck and be strong.
We are rooting for you.
[This message edited by 1Faith at 2:50 PM, July 18th (Thursday)]