I wish this site was around 7 - 9 years ago when I was experiencing disturbing events with my now XWW similar to those described here by other men (and women). Interestingly enough, although my experience did eventually result in divorce, on my own I did manage to stumble upon many of the same issues, techniques, and decision-points that the SI community espouses. Even now, it is somewhat comforting to know that I did some things “right”, even if the outcome was not what I had hoped.
Back then, I found a stash of letters my now XWW and OG had exchanged. They apparently thought letters would actually be more secure than email and texts. Most were written by OG, but a few were letters my WW had started but then presumably decided needed to be re-written and so were not sent. The letters spelled out the arc of their relationship, OG’s attempted seduction of WW, her refusal, then reluctance, and eventual complicity, as well as the graphic detail in which OG recounts their trysts (almost like a sports announcer providing a re-cap of an exciting game’s highlights). Due to the detail (what she wore for him) and dates provided, I was able to piece together the precise circumstances of their meetings - - mostly at out-of-town business meetings - - even one time that I had called WW at her hotel just as OG apparently arrived for a hook-up. She had to hang up quickly because "room service" was there (which might be funny if this were a cheap sitcom and not a marriage). The best part was that I did not really need or care to hear her version of events as I had few questions unanswered.
But things do get better. Eventually, the upsetting dreams ceased and the movies in my mind stopped playing. We live in a society where a man with a cheating wife can be whipsawed by ill-informed and ultimately destructive notions of “cuckoldry”. While one may logically know that cheating wives rarely do it for the sex, it may be hard for men to get past both the self-questioning and concerns regarding what others must think. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that there is a precise corresponding concept for women to a man’s feelings of being cuckold. There may be some similarities… but the crazy range of emotions that men may iteratively experience - - from pain and devastation, to an odd (almost perverse) fascination with what transpired even to the point of feeling excitement, to self-doubt and guilt over that interest, and back to pain and devastation seems to be uniquely male.
Now, with several years (and miles) of distance, new relationships, rewarding work, friends and family, I can look back and appreciate the healing process that slowly unfolded and continues to unfold. Much of it aligns perfectly with various posts and suggestions that I have read here. Yet there is one relatively minor aspect of my experience that I have not noticed mentioned here at SI (maybe I missed any such similar threads; if so, this post may belong there). Some men may appreciate finding that they are not alone in feeling first devastated and later also a little turned on after discovering their WW’s infidelity. For men who may be wrestling with similarly strange feelings, I can tell you that the same letters I originally could not bear to look at soon began to read like those old letters to Penthouse Forum, only… a) They are true; and, b) I knew the woman. The way I rationalized this odd fascination was that although my XWW took quite a bit away from me when she made her very poor decisions, she also (inadvertently) left me something. So I decided to periodically peruse a letter or two, enjoying what little pleasure XWW could still provide me even if it was perverse. Frankly, I figured it was the least she could do and I also felt like I was forcefully reclaiming something from her that she had taken. It seemed to help. So if there are men who feel likewise conflicted about their strange emotional reactions to a WW, be aware that you are not alone and it need not be a sign of weakness or wallowing in misery. Although counter-intuitive, such practices may function (in an odd way) as a healing mechanism of sorts… a curious and (I suspect) uniquely male method of making lemonade out of lemons. Oh, btw I also sent a copy of the letters to OG’s W. That felt good too.