While it's been a number of months since I found out I thought I"d post here since I'm new to the boards and it seemed like a good place to start.
DH and I have been married for 14 years and have 3 younger children (4, 8, and 10). I teach part time and my spouse (WH) works at a local hospital. For the past few years WH has been unhappy and pulling away. I feared that he was having an emotional affair with one of the women he works with (his floor has many young, single, attractive women who are free and wild). He was the only nurse on the floor with children. He was exchanging many texts with the people on his floor, would go out the bars after work and come home impaired, and had very little patience for our current life situation (the typical chaos and stresses associated with 3 young children).
In May of 2012 he went out to a work party with his coworkers and came home that night highly impaired. When he came to bed he kept his phone by the bed and texts kept coming in. He passed out and so I looked at his phone, wondering who is texting in the wee hours of the morning. Turned out to be one of his young, attractive coworkers. She apologized for her inappropriate behavior (did not specify what the behavior was). He later wrote that he didn't mind and that "had he been single the night would've ended differently." I later found out from the wife of another nurse (a friend) that this OW and my WH were hanging all over each other that night while I was at home watching the children. When I confronted him the next morning he swore he was just being funny.
However, there were other instances between the two that were questionable. The OW went to a wedding and asked my WH to pick her up afterwards and take her to the bars--and invited him and the rest of their coworkers to go with. I said absolutely not, but he did anyways. He tried hooking the OW up with my single brother a month or two later, and we all went out in a group. Only it was obvious the OW had her eye on my husband (strange considering she's 8 years younger and he's married with 3 kids!). Anyways, I put my foot down on all of it and I thought things had calmed down. We were coming off of a few rough years of marriage and went to see a counselor, which didn't help. Thankfully, things seemed to be better and OW seemed to have dropped out of sight, though they were still working together.
Fast forward to this spring. WH applied for a position on another floor and was hired. To celebrate they all went out after work. I, of course, stayed home. Turns out that the OW lives only a few blocks away. WH gives her a ride home and next thing you know they slept together. He lied about it, though I could sense something was wrong. Over the next 2 weeks (which included my birthday) they were constantly texting each other, and they made arrangements to meet up again. Eventually he admitted to just kissing her, and I then asked to stay clear of her and to not go out or let her in our car again. She can take a cab if she's intoxicated. However, he decided to go out after work again but promises she won't be there. Unfortuantely for him he is seen by an old friend of mine--she calls to tell me that she saw an affectionate woman get into our car with WH. When I confront him it comes out that they slept together once, but they were drunk and he was horrified the next morning that it was a mistake. This, of course, was a lie.
Over the next few weeks part of the truth trickles out. He admits to having sex with her twice, and meeting up and making up after work twice. Pieces of his story that trickle out to this day do not match what I was experiencing or what he had told me (lying about having to work late, even though when I called his floor he had already left).
When I confronted him it took 3 attempts for him to break it off with the OW. Once they sat on the phone (him in the garage in the car, not wanting me to hear their conversation) for 60 minutes. A week or two after they broke it off he met up with her at a bar and gave her a ride home. He said that she had an offer for him and he was intrigued. I gave him an ultimatum, and in the end he called and broke it off again. The time span between the first time they had sex and when it was finally broken off was about 4 weeks.
We decided to reconcile. We went to MC for a few months, which was helpful. At one point I laid out my notes about what was going on during that time (as a science teacher I take careful notes), and sort of explained what had happened. There were a few occurrences--times when I'm guessing the met up for sex--that he said "he doesn't remember" or "I just misspoke about when I was at work." Long story short (too late?), what he told me does not match with what my gut tells me based on my experiences & the evidence. Additionally, he plays off the depth of their affair, stating he was never really into her that much. But based on the texts I have seen, the high quantity of texts between the 2 of them, and how unhappy he was for so long... plus he had a hard time giving her up--I have a hard time believing him.
At this point he has promised to sever all contact with her and avoids the floor she works on (his former floor). He has stopped attending all the social events organized by his former coworkers and has had to end friendships because they were good friends with the OW. He appears to be trying very hard--has been willing to discuss (though being adamant that his story is accurate and that it was only twice and he didn't care for her that much). He has apologized multiple times, over and over, and has informed 2 of his male work friends so they know that he can't go out with them if there's any chance she'll be there. Finally, he is working his butt off at home--laundry, taking care of the kids while I do homework for my masters, makes dinner, does dishes, cleans the house, and brings me flowers.
Our wedding anniversary was in August and we went away together for a few nights. We discussed how we wanted to be stronger, happier, and use this experience for growth--to have a stronger marriage. I, in turn, did not want to turn into a bitter, angry woman, but instead practice compassion and forgiveness (often easier said than done!)
That being said, months later I still have this awful feeling in my gut like something is still not right. There are little weird things that bug me--such as him searching for used phones on craigslist from his new iPhone. Or sometimes he leaves for work early, and since they work the same on week he could be stopping to visit her. Or not... it could be nothing. But over the last few weeks he's getting more and more impatient and frustrated with us--very similar behaviors to what things were like before this all went down. I've read about the honeymoon period--I'm guessing that's over. And while I"ve been working hard, going through IC and reading awesome books, journaling, taking care of myself, etc... he has not (just going to MC with me).
The loss of trust is so very difficult. It could all be a manifestation of my pain and betrayal. True recovery and reconciliation requires me to be open and vulnerable--so difficult after the painful betrayal. On one hand I want to have a happy marriage and move onward, but on the other hand I don't want to get hurt again and I'm not entirely sure he's doing the work to help move us forward. I cannot change him and do the work for him.
It is exhausting--to daily work on pushing these painful thoughts away so I can function and do my job. And now that he's sliding back into old behaviors (easily frustrated and being miserable), I'm finding I don't want to live like that. But how do you force someone to do the mental work?
Whew! Thank you for listening. This has been such a rollercoaster journey. I do not wish this experience, pain, or betrayal on anyone (though secretly I hope karma gets the OW).
Thanks for listening,