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TheGarden posted 9/25/2013 14:32 PM

Hi there. This is my first post, but I have been lurking and reading SI since just after my DDay in July.

About 10 weeks ago, my husband stayed out all night and got drunk with another couple we have known for 5 years.

These individuals were some of our closest friends, and they were an intimate part of our social circle. We saw them nearly every week, and even took vacations with them. The wife of the couple was one of my closest girlfriends. They are polyamorous, but knew we were 100% monogamous because we had discussed it with them on multiple occasions. I didn't care what they did in their bedroom, I respected their relationship, and assumed they respected mine, as our conversations about the topic were very civil and reasonable. I never expressed any desire to move to polyamoury with them or anyone else, nor did my husband ever express such a thing to me privately or during a conversation with them.

Anyway, WH came home from this "night out" late the next morning and immediately confessed to me that he had a significant physical encounter with the wife (AP) - no sex, but many other very intimate things happened that were definitely not within the agreed-upon boundaries of our monogamous, 8.5 year marriage.

APH (affair partner's husband) was present while this happened, and explicitly encouraged the physical encounter while it was happening with verbal commentary and encouragement.

When APH found out that I was unhappy about what had happened, his only comment to WH was "Didn't she know you were attracted to AP?" - as though the mere fact of WH's attraction to AP was some kind of reasonable justification for disregarding boundaries, and as though my unhappiness about the situation was some kind of unreasonable reaction.

Four days after all of this, I found out that WH and AP had been having an emotional affair as well, which started during a mutual vacation we took in April. They had been planning for three months to start having sex with one another, and were going to "tell me after I finished my dissertation".

(To add one more layer of crap to this whole thing, I am a late stage Ph.D. student, and DDay was 2 weeks before my final oral defense. I have spent 5 years working on this degree, many 14 hour days, and July was one of the most stressful times of my entire life to date - BEFORE the affair!)

I found out about the EA by reading email correspondence between the three of them, and WH continued to lie to me about it until he was confronted with the evidence.

I had no clue about any of this. Nothing was ever discussed with me, WH and I had never made any serious moves towards any kind of open marriage arrangements regarding AP, APH, or anyone else, and I had no idea at all that he had any feelings for AP beyond some mild flirtation.

After the revelation about the emotional affair, I asked WH to go no-contact with them so we could work on our marriage and so I could finish my dissertation. He agreed immediately and with little reluctance, but we were both too naive to know how to do it correctly. So he went over there in person, and idiotically cried on their shoulder about how sad he was to be losing their friendship, blah blah. They interpreted this action as "TheGarden is a horrible irrational harpy who is forcing her kind, sweet husband to give up his loving friend and his new polyamourous girlfriend, who was only trying to help him see the miracle of non-monogamy."

The day after we went NC, APH sent me a extremely hurtful email, in which he told me that I needed to manage my "irrational hang-ups", and scolded me about destroying WH' life, spoiling all their fun, and hurting their (AP's & APH's) feelings. He also blamed me for some other unrelated social problems WH has recently had.

There was no apology or explanation made for anything they might have done to contribute to this situation, nor was there any empathy shown for me in terms of what I might be feeling 5 days after learning about this, or about the fact that this could seriously impact my ability to finish my Ph.D.

That email was absolutely devastating for me. I felt like my heart broke into 10 million pieces, because I had not only been betrayed by my husband, but by two of my closest friends. WH and I had the worst fight in our entire 13 years following the receipt of that email, and during the heat of the conflict he physically assaulted me (he has rarely ever even raised his voice to me at any point before in 13 years of our relationship, has never before even called me a name or anything - talk about being in an affair fog!)

At that point, 1.5 weeks before my oral defense, it was pretty clear that I was not going to be able to defend my dissertation, and I went in the next day and told my advisor and committee that I was having some serious marital problems and had to cancel my defense date. It was one of the more humiliating moments of my life, and I am still feeling ashamed about it.

Since that time, I have been unable to work on my dissertation, and I am now starting to seriously doubt my ability to finish at all. I do not have a job, health insurance, or funding for the fall semester, and had to put my fall tuition on a credit card.

Also since that time, I have also discovered that WH was lying about a number of other things, including exactly how far they went physically on the night in question, that there was another physical encounter as far back as last August, that he had discussed a possible relationship between them as far back as last August, and that she had sent him BSDM/polyamorous-related pornography via email a week prior to our mutual April vacation.

One of the most awful aspects of this situation is that WH and I had had a number of conversations over the years about how we both believed that fidelity was important, and about how dishonesty after fidelity was the most destructive element of an affair. We had both explicitly promised one another to tell the truth immediately if either one of us ever made a "mistake" with another person. So the first time this ever happens, what does he do? TT and blatantly lie to my face for a month.

I am absolutely devastated by the secrecy and the lies, and the utter disregard for my marriage and my personal well-being that all three individuals involved in this situation have demonstrated over the past year.

I feel like a little discarded piece of trash that three people I cared for kicked to the side of the road in their zeal to get to some teenage petting and grinding on a couch.

To his credit, WH came out of the affair fog within a week or so and has been incredibly remorseful about everything since then (including about the physical assault, even crying and demanding that I call the police on him). He crafted and sent another, improved NC letter to AP after a month, in which he explained that he was just cheating with her, that the email APH sent was disgusting and cruel, and that the friendship between us all was irrevocably broken due to their mutual actions (WH, AP, & APH).

He also read a lot of stuff about polyamoury, because I told him I didn't want to be in a marriage under false pretenses - if he wanted an open marriage he needed to figure that out and tell me instead of just making decisions for both of us without my consent. He now says he is not interested in that lifestyle at all, it was just cheating and the usual sort of affair fog crap that WSs engage in with APs.

He has also been reading and posting on SI, and we have had a lot of discussions about why he made some of these terrible choices. He's done a lot of introspection, and discovered a few things about himself in the last few months. I am 95% sure that the TT has ended (my gut says it has), but of course now I can't be sure about anything in my life anymore.

Nevertheless, I am not that hopeful about anything. I kind of feel like our entire marriage was a lie. I don't know how to trust him anymore, because he was someone I viewed as being very honorable and kind prior to this incident. I would have bet any amount of money prior to the morning he came home after getting drunk with AP that he would NEVER have been the husband to cheat on me and abuse my love and trust for him in order to get away with lying about his infidelity. I feel like my loving, decent husband was replaced by an alien being or something. And now I really don't know for sure who he is. He acts like a good person now, and says all the right things, but he did that before the affair. I don't want to get divorced, but I sometimes have such negative emotions about him and what he did that I just can't imagine being in a marriage with someone I feel that way about.

I have told him I need to finish my Ph.D. before I can make any final decisions about the marriage. I am no longer lying in bed depressed all day long, and am able to do basic life tasks, but am still having trouble working on my research.

We have also decided that if we stay together we are moving away from our town. I totally outed WH and his APs to our entire social circle (100s of people!), which actually was very emotionally freeing. I didn't want to carry shame and secrets by myself, or pretend like nothing was wrong between the four of us. And I got a lot of needed social support in return (and some shocking infidelity-related confessions from a few friends I thought had happy marriages). But nevertheless neither WH or I want to ever run into AP or APH again, and that will be hard in our town without dumping all of our other friends. So we are just going to get a new start, which is something we were thinking about pre-A anyway.

I have a lot of nightmares, many of which involve physical violence against the AP, which is interesting because of the three of them, I feel most angry with the APH - AP and WH were "under the influence" of alcohol and affair fog/dopamine, but he had no excuse whatsoever for encouraging a good friend to destroy his marriage and for being so cruel to me after the fact (to me it's kind of like the difference between manslaughter and murder).

I also have no idea how to ever trust a friend again. It kind of seems like I've been burned by every female friend I've ever had in one way or another. But then again, I guess male friends aren't always trustworthy either. It just makes me incredibly sad. I was never the "jealous" type, always watching my husband if he was talking to a woman. When we go out now, I look at all the people around me and I just wonder which of them is really a terrible, selfish person waiting to hurt someone else who trusts them, or who might be pretending to love or care for someone just so they can gain access to their spouse. Not sure how to make or be open with friends again when I feel that way.

I am also really, really struggling with the polyamoury thing - it's a huge trigger for me now, and it seems like every other article on the internet these days is titled "Polyamoury: The Relationship Model of the Future!", and they're all about these fabulously happy people who are super-enlightened and have wonderful, loving, sexy-times relationships with their wife and 3 girlfriends and 2 other dating partners and their unicorn bisexual live-in maid and anyone who can't live that lifestyle is fundamentally psychologically broken and immature (basically the same kind of stuff APH sent me in his tramautizing email). And all about how poly people are more HONEST than monogamous people, and COMMUNICATE BETTER than monogamous people, blah blah blah. Really??? Where was MY honest communication when you were plotting with WH for months, sending him kinky BSDM poly porn, letting him drunkenly grope your genitals on your couch while his loving wife (your trusting friend, who wholly respected your marriage while you were undermining hers) was at home worrying about her dissertation defense and how to find a job that wouldn't destroy his career? How is that superior to my "unenlightened" monogamy, you lying, betraying bitch?


It just all sucks. This is the worst moment of my life so far, bar none.

thinmint posted 9/25/2013 14:47 PM

I think you did everything right.

But understand this, AP and APH did not make any commitment to you. It was all WS. HE was the one having the "monogamy only" conversations with you. He is the one who is responsible for your angst. He is the one who knocked you down 2 days before your oral defense. And he's the one you're taking with you.

You need to get some MC if you want to continue in the M.

callmecrazy posted 9/25/2013 14:54 PM

Wow, just wow. I am so sorry you are going through this. You want to turn to a best friend when this stuff happens and unfortunately there are times they are helping to stab you in the back. Take time and search yourself. Try IC and dont be scared to go to the DR. and get something to help get you through the emotional turmoil for a few months. I know I had to take some anxiety meds for about a month. Find a few people close to you to help you through. This stuff sucks. Im glad you found SI, it is a great group for support during all this stuff.

confused615 posted 9/25/2013 14:55 PM

Im so sorry.

You have every right to feel betrayed by your AP and thought they were your close friends..when it sounds like they have been plotting,with your WH,to betray you..and have been betraying you..for months. comes down to our WS's. But in a situation like this..when a person who you thought was your friend..fucks your have every right to be pissed and hurt.

Im very concerned that he hit you. He betrays you...then hits you? Is he in IC? Is he getting help for his anger? What is he doing to show you he wants to R?

[This message edited by confused615 at 2:55 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

TheGarden posted 9/25/2013 15:00 PM

Thinmint - I agree about having to take WH with me first and foremost, but they were also my friends. They didn't speak any vows to me, but they knew their actions would be extremely hurtful and damaging, and they were well aware that I trusted them. It's not like the AP was just some random woman that I can just forget about and move on from. I've actually read all 50 pages of the Double Betrayal forum in the last 10 weeks, and I know that it's a special kind of affair. I'm suffering the loss of my marriage (as I knew it), AND the loss of two very important friendships, AND the loss of trust in "friendship" more generally. It's been extremely hard emotionally.

nowiknow23 posted 9/25/2013 15:12 PM

Of course it has been, TheGarden. It's a betrayal from each one of them. I'm so sorry for what you've been put through.


EasyDoesIt posted 9/25/2013 15:28 PM

I'd focus on the dissertation and let everything else go to hell, to be honest. It would be a good step in the 180 and it might just wake his dumb ass up. You've worked SO hard to get the PhD......finish it.

RockyMtn posted 9/25/2013 15:39 PM

I'm with EasyDoesIt. I'd hate for this trio of selfish morons to take that from you. Can you get a hotel for 1.5 weeks? I know, that's a long time. It is just a thought.

Your WH should be on board with this Ph.D thing and do every damn thing to make it happen. Can he do that? Shut his mouth, go NC, stay out of your way, do all the cooking, whatever you need? That'd be a pretty big action step to demonstrate his remorse.

Also - the physical violence really scares me. We've heard here of BS lashing out at WS (not saying that is OK)...but this is a WS who has hurt you so immensely with his betrayal and then turns around and (literally) kicks you while you're down? That is a special kind of mean. Remorse isn't enough for this or the infidelity. He needs to start taking action - and quick.

TheGarden posted 9/25/2013 15:51 PM

@Confused - He actually didn't hit me, he kicked me and pushed me into a cabinet.

Nevetheless, there has been absolutely none of that kind of thing at all since that one incident. He was extremely remorseful literally instantly after it happened (asked me to call the cops on him), and has been very ashamed about it since then. He never, ever acted like that before either, not even one time in 13 years.

Then again, he never cheated or lied before in 13 years (that I know about), either, so I guess you never know about these things.

confused615 posted 9/25/2013 15:58 PM

You say he is posting on SI. I hope he posted on the wayward forum..and he told them he kicked and pushed you. This kind of abuse is very rarely a one time thing. he may feel like shit about it...that doesn't mean he won't do it again. He needs to find better coping skills so he doesn't abuse you any more than he already has.

What work is he doing on himself/ What is he doing to heal the damage he has caused? Does he answer all of your questions? Has he stopped lying? Is he completely transparent? Do you have full access to all of his accounts and his phone..passwords included? Did he get tested for STD's? Did you?

If he hits..or the police. You do not deserve to be abused because you are hurt and angry that he cheated on you.

1Faith posted 9/25/2013 16:09 PM

Dear Garden


I am so sorry that you are here. I am so sorry that you are dealing with this.

This is complete BS IMO.

Enlightened? Really? That is a screwed up way of justifying f'up actions. It is not enlightened it is abnormal and disgusting.


The AP H is trying to bully you into accepting their lifestyle. Attempting to bully and make you feel guilty for pulling your husband out of their f'up life and lifestyle.

Focus on you. Your truth, your desire for a healthy relationship - and YOU get to define what that is - not anyone else.

So sorry for your hurt and all you have been put through.

Good luck with your dissertation. Focus on YOU.

I hope you and your husband are in IC. It helps.


thisissogross posted 9/25/2013 16:12 PM

^^^what rockymtn and easydoesit said, can't emphasize it enough. You made a good call in being honest with your advisor, these things do happen in life and you have no reason to feel shame. Who knows what your advisor and comitte members have experienced in their own lives. So, you managed to extend your time and that's a good thing.

Don't let those yahoo's take a single other thing from you. It's already too much. Avail yourself of all the support you can (family, safe friends, therapy, medical intervention if necessary,groups, si) and focus on finishing your PhD.

He wants a chance to reconcile and prove he can be a man who deserves you? There's his opportunity to start showing you EVIDENCE that he can. Let him carry you through finishing your degree.

Eta: as long as you're feeling entirely safe though. Some of his behavior is concerning and that definitely needs to be addressed.

Also, really sorry about that stupid smiley, posting from new phone and no idea how it even got up there. Sorry

[This message edited by thisissogross at 4:19 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

TheGarden posted 9/25/2013 16:17 PM

He has answered all of my questions. I think he has stopped lying (at least my spidey-sense isn't going off anymore, like it was the whole time he was TTing), but I no longer feel that I can be 100% sure.

After the first week, he gave me all of his passwords to all of his accounts and everything, and has been very good about checking in - calling me when he's leaving work, letting me know where he is every moment of the day, etc. He apologizes endlessly, and has been patient when I get upset at random moments. He's working hard on the house so we can sell it and move quickly, even taking days off work to work on the house. He asked if I wanted to go somewhere to finish the PhD (just like someone suggested in this thread - I said no because I am paranoid about spending any more money in our unstable situation; I might need the money if I leave him). So he's actually been doing and saying all the right things - basically been a model WH since that awful night that APH sent that email and the proverbial SHTF.


It's like smashing a beautiful crystal glass on the ground and then standing over the shards apologizing to them. Ok, it's better than not apologizing. I feel terrible for the BS on this site whose WSs are completely unremorseful and never even said "sorry" (in fact, I relate, not having gotten any apology or remorse from my friends who helped WH cheat). If he wasn't doing all these things, it would have been over already. The D papers would have been filed, and he knows that.

So, apologizing and model WW behavior is a hell of a lot better than the alternative. But it doesn't put the broken glass back together, KWIM? The glass is still laying there all broken, and all the sorries in the world won't put it back together. That's what just breaks my heart daily. Like he just threw our marriage and my life on the ground and shattered it, and there's nothing anyone can possibly do to put it back together the way it was.

I spend at least 50% of every day thinking about this, and feeling sad and angry and, irrationally, like kind of a loser. Even though I know in the rational part of my brain that it's not really about me, it's about them and their brokenness and emotional problems, I still feel like a pathetic person who isn't even cool enough to have a loyal spouse or friends.

Anyway, nobody's going to finish the Ph.D. but me, and I just need to "woman up", I guess. He can help me (and will if I ask), but he can't write it for me.

rescuedog posted 9/25/2013 16:44 PM

Your "friends" sound like predators. And just before a great accomplishment doesn't sound coincidental. It reeks of vindictiveness.

bionicgal posted 9/25/2013 17:19 PM

Bless your heart.

Ok, to start with, polyamory is a load of BS. Take any considerations of it off the table. You are an educated woman, and you know rationalizations when you hear them. Show me a couple in their 60's who have been equally, happily polyamorous for 40 years with no malarkey and I'll eat my hat.

Secondly, my heart hurts for the triple betrayal. My H's AP was the female half of a close couple friend -- very similar situation. I understand the feeling of being preyed upon. . .the mild flirting that seemed like just affection. . . ugh. I get it all. The fact that OWH got his jollies off of it too, at your expense? He's a sick puppy. Be glad he is out of your life.

Then the ganging up on you? Typical affair fog and just totally reprehensible. I feel like I am not being much help here - I am just so mad for you!!

So, the good news is, your marriage is likely not a lie. You H has some issues, and clearly needs some counseling. Like your H, mine is a good, usually strong, decent man who was vulnerable, unhappy, and did a massively selfish and hurtful thing. I share your feelings about them seeming like aliens, but I do think with enough time, patience, hard work, etc. that things can be turned around if you guys want it. It isn't all or nothing. . . all good or all bad. All honest or all a lie. At one time I would have thought an affair was a deal-breaker, but I have learned a lot.

So, you *will* have friends again, but you'll perhaps see the "interesting" ones are more like dangerous ones. We used to joke that OW and her H were just crazy enough to be fun. Well, guess what? We get boring friends from now on.

I am sorry about you missing your orals, which is so patently unfair, but you will do them, and you'll go on with life. This is not the end, but a beginning. The pain is awful sometimes, but at just 3 months out, I can see the glimmer of an actually better marriage. It sounds crazy, but read the reconciliation stories, read the books, get some MC and IC if you need it.

You are going to be OK! Hang in there.

And I'll say it again: (and I am a liberal academic myself) polyamory is a rationalized, self-serving load of toxic crap!

[This message edited by bionicgal at 5:21 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

bionicgal posted 9/25/2013 17:28 PM

P.S. My H and I also made "the promise," to never hurt each other in this way. It feels incredibly hurtful, but it is so common. The old adage "no one envisions themselves an evil person" is particularly apt here. They don't often realize they are cheating until they are too far in to get out easily.

[This message edited by bionicgal at 5:28 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

TheGarden posted 9/25/2013 18:34 PM


"And I'll say it again: (and I am a liberal academic myself) polyamory is a rationalized, self-serving load of toxic crap!"

Thank you, thank you. This is the best thing I have read all day. It actually made me laugh, and I don't laugh much these days.

@rescuedog - The thought has crossed my mind. What really kills me is that the AP just got a very hard-earned Ph.D. herself last year, which WH and I spent a lot of time and energy emotionally supporting her through. If anyone in my life should have been there for me, and known how hard a time I was having, it was her. I have briefly wondered if there wasn't some kind of subconscious (or maybe even deliberate) sabotage going on there. But it's almost too painful for me to think about that possibility. I'd almost rather just continue thinking she was merely thoughtless, horny, and drunk or whatever. A person would have to be a seriously sick, evil person to do that on purpose.

Gemini71 posted 9/25/2013 19:09 PM

So sorry you're going through this TheGarden. My STBXH first told me he cheated on me through Craig's List. I believed we could work through his and our issues and R. Then I found out he had an affair with my BFF since 4th grade. That was the deal breaker. There is a special pain that comes with a multiple betrayal. Not only do you have to deal with the A, but the one person (or people) you would normally go to for support are helping to twist the knife in the wound.

I knew my BFF was in an open marriage, mainly because they had dabbled in polyamoury, and her H stopped sleeping with her, only the OW. I had helped her through the pain of that betrayal and rejection. She knew that we 100% were NOT in an open marriage, yet she had a PA with my H. My H and I had also had the "we would never do that" discussion.

I don't have any good advice for you, only the ability to say that I understand your pain. Definitely NC these people and concentrate on yourself. Your plan to move the another town sounds like a great idea. Give yourself some time and distance to heal. You do not have to make a decision about R with your WH right now.

Sending ((hugs)) and prayers to you.

HurtButHopeful? posted 9/25/2013 19:10 PM

Polyamorous is just a fancy new word for "wife swapping" or "swingers." "Open marriage" is another example.

t/j: My deceased dad met a neighbor when I was growing up who suggested a 4 some, and my dad nearly clobbered him! He wasn't about to share my mother with anyone, much less cheat on her himself.

Polyamoury is nothing more than two adulterers, or 3 or 4 having consensual adultery. Eventually one of them decides to get exclusive with the wrong person, and the left out person screams "that's not fair! They broke the rules!" Why didn't they just stay exclusive with their own spouse???

If I ever meet people who call themselves polyamorous, I'll grab my H and run!!! They are just OM and OW waiting for a crack other people's relationships so they can lure one of them into their sickening orgyfest.

end t/j


You've worked so hard for so long. Do whatever it takes to finish that dissertation. You won't regret it, but if you let your H's sh*t keep you from finishing, you will regret that decision for the rest of your life.

Stay in a hotel. Better yet, make your H stay somewhere else until you've finished school. Lower the stress as much as you are able. Get calming meds, whatever, finish your PhD ASAP.

Forget those "friends." Stop referring them as friends. Create a new word for them whenever you want to refer to them. They weren't friends, they were predators, as another person pointed out. Call them vultures, or just "those people."

Dropping all friends of the predators is a good move, especially if they still condone their predating lifestyle, now that they've seen their true colors.

Also, have you had sex with your H since he touched the predator? He and you both need to get tested for STD's. Don't have sex with your H until you know you are both clean.

Infidelity sucks, no matter how people want to paint it.


OK now posted 9/25/2013 19:34 PM

Screw all of them; your 100% focus needs to be on your Ph.D. Shut them out, move out of your home if necessary, but don't sell all your academic efforts down the river because of this cheating.

Identify what is important and concentrate on that. Right now its your Ph.D; worry about the rest after your dissertation.

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