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Just found out and looking for some support/suggestions

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footguy posted 10/21/2013 11:44 AM

So my wife left on a trip to figure herself out at the beginning of August. She complained that she did not like herself, felt like she had fake relationships, felt like she was a fraud, did not feel like she was where she wanted to be professionally...that she didn't deserve me, that she did not feel worthy of love. I questioned if there was another man at the suggestion of family and friends and she replied quickly with a 'no' or 'I wish there was as that would be easier to explain/deal with'. She left for 2-3 weeks. Came back and then promptly moved all of her things out of the house. She went to her parents place with no idea of how long it would take to work on herself and only the commitment to start counseling. She started counseling and has been through 4 sessions. She would always tell me that the counseling helped and even suggested that one day we go together. At the beginning of October after a few months of being in contact but apart she finally admitted to me that after 5 years of marriage, she could no longer keep the horrible shameful secret that she had been unfaithful to me, not only through our entire marriage, but even before we got married. She had a two month affair a few months before we got married as she claims she was struggling with getting married in general and was trying to sabotage the wedding. She had a two week affair a year or so into our relationship, another affair a few times with someone, another affair that lasted a few times and the big kicker in the last affair that started in nov 2012 and lasted until early september 2013. That affair resulted in her getting HSV-1 on her genitals. She left for her sisters and moved out because of this. She said that the last long affair was one where he knew how horrible she was and he loved her anyway and even though she did not love him, she felt good as he knew all of her flaws and how terrible she was to me but he accepted her.

We have gone to couples counseling one time, I have gone to 2 different counseling sessions and have another set for next week.

We are on speaking terms and she has told me that she ruined the marriage and wants nothing from me. She feels a huge amount of shame, disgust, regret....she knows that her actions have taken their toll on not only her and I, but her family, my family, our friends and loved ones.

The strangest thing about the whole situation is that I feel that I might be willing to take her back in time. What she did was never about our home life or how happy we were as a couple. She said that she was scared of being vulnerable and honest with me, but in her affairs there was no vulnerability and that she had control. Her actions have really messed up a lot of people and she knows it. How would it be possible that through 4 counseling sessions she could be a changed person and recognize that she needs to change? Especially after 5 years of lying to everyone around her each and every day.

[This message edited by footguy at 11:45 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

angerisme posted 10/21/2013 11:53 AM

She said that the last long affair was one where he knew how horrible she was and he loved her anyway and even though she did not love him, she felt good as he knew all of her flaws and how terrible she was to me but he accepted her.

The crap they say is stunning!

I am so so so sorry this is happening in your life. So you know, I am married to a serial cheater. 1st time I caught him was 8 years ago and he said it was a ONS. He still sees her, and he also has a woman from 6 years ago too. Now that I am done, he sends me love letters that he hides from HER. The point is...THEY ARE ALL NUTS AND CRAZY OR THEY WOULD NOT BETRAY THEIR FAMILIES!

So you need a plan. For a week you need to sleep as often as possible. Eat healthy meals or at the least drink protein drinks. You may need a prescription for Anti depressants but I am against xanax during this time ALTHOUGH there are people that take it too hard and the xanax saves their sanity.

Make an appointment with a lawyer just for information. You will need to know the unemotional facts so you can make the best decision for your OWN situation. Also, do not believe a single word she says!

footguy posted 10/21/2013 12:02 PM

I am very level headed about the situation. I saw a lawyer the moment she left the first time as it was odd why she felt the need to leave. I am sleeping and have lost some weight, but am dealing with it pretty well (I think). I must still be in denial as I am not a crazy rage monster and I am being very civil with my wife.
The weird thing is that even though she has betrayed me and lied to me, deceived me and completely wrecked things in so many ways I have this feeling that I am honoring her in sickness and health by giving her another chance and if she messes that up that is it. We have no kids, so now would be an ideal time to cut ties if I felt the need to move on. I married her for a reason though and it is very difficult to hate her even if I hate her actions.

how messed up am I?

Merlin posted 10/21/2013 12:11 PM

You are not messed up at all foot.

You are in a messed up situation that is none of your doing.

I never had the rage stage. Too much to do with the kids, filing for divorce and getting raped by the legal system.

It's always been this way - the worse things get, the better I get at handling it.

It's only later, when the smoke begins to clear that the awfulness of what waywards do sinks in. The destruction I almost unimaginable - marriage, family, kids, friends and everything else is affected.

Reconciliation or divorce - seat backs and tray tables in the upright and locked position. Prepare for a wild ride.

Ashland13 posted 10/21/2013 12:31 PM

I felt like you did for a while, footguy. I felt like it was about him and even though he did some wretched things behind my back, for a time, I wanted to try.

Over time, though, I discovered that even I had a threshold and couldn't tolerate being jerked around anymore or seeing our DD hurt anymore by X. And I didn't want to be "Defendant", I found it important one day to be "Plaintiff" and show that I did have backbone, even though nobody thought so, including him.

For a time, too, I felt like by filing, I was handing him to Fatty B (OW) on a silver platter...but, she will not have the best of him as I did. She will have a skeleton of who he was and the burden of taking care of him in elderhood, if they last.

That's where I think maybe you have to journey too, foot, is to find what you're willing to put up with and not. One thing that struck me too, was the lack of respect that I felt after discovery-realizing what he was out doing while I stayed home and suffered some of the worst pain of my life, and seeing our child's pain while he was out enjoying life-no more.

I wish you some peace on this journey and that the answers you seek will come sooner than later. There is nothing like the pain that comes with these discoveries, but comfort in small bits can be found in the meanwhile. It may not be obvious, but is there and kindness in the world still does exist.

footguy posted 10/21/2013 13:38 PM

Another thing that is messing with me is that now she says she is convinced that fidelity and honest are the way to go. She says that she will never do this to another person ever again. I feel cheated. Why was I the lucky one to deserve this? And I feel very strange admitting this, but after years (11) of introducing her as my girlfriend and my wife I have this odd sense of ownership. I think we all do to a degree. I don't yet know if I truly want to be with her as I don't know that she was ever truly with me, or if I just don't want anyone else to be with her as I have defined her as mine for so long.

happyman64 posted 10/21/2013 14:09 PM


You have a great attitude but your wife is pretty messed up.

She not only lied and cheated on you but she seriously put your health at risk as well as her own.

I can understand you honoring your vows but she has not. Not only that but she has been cheating on you for the whole relationship.

If she is in contact with the OM then reconciliation is not really in the equation.

And dont you deserve someone better??

Keep the focus on you.

No matter what course your relationship takes IMO I would divorce her just to clear the slate.

She killed your marriage all on her own.

She will never respect you if you are too nice.....


heartache101 posted 10/21/2013 14:21 PM


When they show you who they are (yours showed 5 years of being unfaithful) believe what you see! She has not had enough time to SHOW you who she is. She has to earn that.
We are all capable of change but not snap I am a new person. There are people on here that have soul searched and went to therapy for years and still don't understand why they cheated... They can't believe who they were.... etc....
Only you have to be satisfied with her journey back to you and the marriage. But believe me she needs to show you who she is...Not just speak it.

footguy posted 10/21/2013 15:41 PM

Thanks for all of the support and help. As much as it sucks to see other people going through similar situations it does feel good to know that others have survived it. We had not had sex since she left for her sister's place and that was because she contracted HSV-1. She said at one point that she feared that we had no chemistry and that she was unsure if I was the one for her even after all this time. It is clear to her now that her affairs killed any chance of us really exploring our chemistry as any effort that she put into cheating on me would completely take away from energy that she should have been putting into our marriage/sex life. We had great chemistry early on and before we got married it waned a little which coincides exactly with the first affair. It is impossible to truly be intimate with someone that you are supposed to be completely open, honest and vulnerable with when you have this/these horrible secrets in your head. I can't see how anyone could harbor that guilt, shame and disgust with their own actions for any length of time without it coming out at some point.

I almost want to hear a happy story at this point as I do want things to work out. I do want to have the relationship that I thought we always did.
I know that boundaries are important and I am having a hard time defining those as I do feel like I actually have her back and that when we talk, see each other and kiss that she is invested in things as opposed to being distracted.

sailorgirl posted 10/21/2013 17:06 PM

There are some very hard won happy endings on the Reconcilliation board. It is a good sign that your wife is in counseling, but four sessions is not enough to undo all her damage.

You sound very stable and wise and I would take your time and observe her behavior.

Did she have a troubled FOO (family or origin)? Such as alcoholism, abuse, neglect or abandonment?

Bigger posted 10/21/2013 17:57 PM


The theory most of us adhere to here on SI is that infidelity is always due to faults in the wayward spouse. Your wife cheated because there is something missing in her and it’s nothing YOU can provide, not any more than you could prevent her cheating.
This is so important. Why? Well – If we acknowledge this then we can also acknowledge that we alone can’t fix whatever was/is wrong. Your wife needs to realize why she fears commitment, why she thinks having an affair is a good way to deal with it and what she wants to do.
This alone won’t “fix” the marriage. It’s something she needs to do irrespective of your future together. You can’t make her do it and she has to want to do it.

But in that lies what hope your marriage might have…

Before I go on – In brutal honesty and as bluntly as I can put it – Your easy option would be to divorce. Do that, do the intense work of recovery you need and six months from now you will feel OK waking up in the morning. 12 months from now you might even forget your pain for hours at a time. 18 months you will be fine and living a good life.
Stay with her and if all things go to plan then you have a similar path ahead, only you have someone to share parts of it but ALSO someone that can drag you down and put you back at square one.

OK – I mentioned hope…
The “hope” is that she seems to have affairs for very little mutual emotional reason. She doesn’t necessarily bond in a deep emotional way with OM. So she probably has these affairs with these men for the same reason and that reason is in her and what she needs – not what these men can offer long-term.
The reason there is “hope” in that is if your WW can (with the help of IC) address this issue and find other sensible ways to deal with those needs. (Contrary to believes these needs are seldom physical. She doesn’t need a better lover, more sex or more intimacy. It’s often a need for verification or self-worth or even a need to be degraded).

But foot – YOU can’t fix her. If you want to work on things then you can offer her a safe-haven while she goes to IC. A place to feel safe where you give your marriage a chance for as long as she is working at healing. You two could go to counseling to learn how to communicate better and start healing your relationship. But unless and until SHE works on herself you are doomed to have repeats.

DefeatedDad posted 10/21/2013 18:47 PM

Foot guy I'm so sorry this happened to you. Your WW is truly a broken woman. She is a serial cheater. This behavior is extremely hard to change, because it sounds like she cheats for validation.

I think she loves you, but she is not monogamous and never will be. There are just some people who are not cut out for marriage and your WW is one of them.

You need to divorce her and move on. More heartache is all you will reap if you take her back.

I can say one positive thing about her: at least she is not blame shifting and blaming you for her straying. It sounds like she actually does love you and has as much respect for you as a broken person like her can have for someone else, which is not much.

footguy posted 10/21/2013 20:44 PM

She has never wanted a long term relationship with other men, or so she says. She has not blamed me at all. The first affair was because she was not ready for marriage and she claims that when that happened and she felt like shit and guilty and, and, and.... she said that she never saw herself as a cheater at all before she cheated and felt terribly for it. I don't know why others happened as she knew that each one was wrong and never felt good about herself. She didn't even like or respect the guys. She never felt better about herself. She is pretty messed up. She swears that she will never do it to me or anyone ever again, but how can I really trust her? Her whole family knows and she is now accountable for what she does. I do think that if she relapses they will be less forgiving and supportive.
She does cheat for validation. She is beautiful, but be saying that a thousand times hasn't been enough. She is very selfish and very vain as well.

And I still love her. I wish I could disconnect my heart and my head. I know what is 'best' but don't want to accept that it is the right thing to do.

Crushed1 posted 10/21/2013 22:09 PM

She is "selfish, vain", and a serial cheater. These are all deeply rooted issues and it will take major self introspection to turn from being this person she is. But maybe that is who she is, actions speak louder than words.

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