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Not telling the other betrayed spouse

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LearningToFly posted 10/24/2013 16:46 PM

I have been struggling with this for months now and believe that it is one of the major things holding me back from moving on with my WH. Please help me.

Last March I asked my WH if there was someone else. I was shocked when he said yes and relieved when he downplayed it. But, that didn't last long. He was deeply "in-love" with an old girlfriend. (from 37 years ago). They reconnected on FB and had spent a year and a half developing their relationship from afar. In April I found their secret email account. It took me over a month to read it all and it was horrific to read how he had betrayed me and how little he thought about me.

We started marriage counseling sometime after that (everything is a blur from that time). The first thing on WH agenda was to make sure I didn't contact his OW's husband (I had been unsuccessfully trying - they are in another state) and that I deleted the email account. (I changed the password once I got into it so that he couldn't erase it.) Because I want to stay married and hoped that counseling will help us make it through this I agreed to deleting the account and not contacting the husband. It is a thorn in my heart. I feel so unworthy of being on this site since that is one of the first rules after finding out about the affair - let the other BS know. I feel like I am being dishonest and selfish by not doing this duty. I also struggle with believing that WH doesn't really care if we work out he just doesn't want his AF to be angry with him by allowing me to contact her husband. I have told him this and he denies it.

The guilt of not telling is really holding me back from healing. I have talked over and over to my IC and to the MC. Both agree with WH, that I should not contact him because he is "volatile". I don't know if this is true or not but I wouldn't want to be responsible in any way for violence. It has been made clear to me that if I don't' comply with this not-telling-agreement, the MC will not work with us. I really think she has a lot of insight into what is going on with us and is not afraid to call us both on the carpet. She insists that I need to focus on our marriage and let them focus on theirs.

Has anyone NOT contacted the OBS and believe they did the right thing for the sake of their own marriage? Do you feel like you are unacceptable in the eyes of the others on this board? Please help me. I believe that time is running out for me, if I don't start moving forward in my marriage, its over.

LivinginLimbo posted 10/24/2013 17:07 PM

I sent you a PM.

Rebreather posted 10/24/2013 17:13 PM

Whoa! Ok. Slow down.

Nobody on this site is going to judge you on whether you told or not. There are many that have not told for an assortment of reasons. So, remove that from your state of concern.

That said.

Telling the other BS is really one of the most effect ways to ensure the affair ends and stays ended. In addition, it is a true sign from your wayward husband that he is accountable for his actions, and that he places your healing above all else.

It is common for MC to not understand this. Their goal is to help you in your marriage and many just don't "get" the larger picture of how to stop affairs from rekindling. Most of them do seem to think you should "focus on your own marriage" but it is a viewpoint I don't understand or agree with. I think for the larger good of society, the other BS should know.

The husband/wife of the other BS is *always* unstable. If we've seen it once, we have seen it one million times. I don't buy it.

This is all to say, I think you should do what YOU feel is right. Do not be held hostage to the demands of your CHEATING spouse or to a MC who is a bit misguided on the subject. Both should be supportive of you and what you need to do to feel fair and to heal.

lieshurt posted 10/24/2013 17:16 PM

Both agree with WH, that I should not contact him because he is "volatile".

Well, the OW didn't think he was so volatile that she couldn't cheat on him and possibly get caught by him, so why is it only an issue if you want to tell him the truth? The same for your WH....he doesn't want YOU to put her at risk, but didn't he do that every time they were in contact?

The first thing on WH agenda was to make sure I didn't contact his OW's husband

If you staying married is based on not telling the other BS, then what kind of marriage do you really have? To me, this shows your WH isn't truly remorseful at all.

hitbyatruck posted 10/24/2013 17:16 PM

I did not tell. My H had multiple affair but only one with a MW. I have a lost of reasons as to why it was best for my family not to expose. I took care of my family first. I am the Mom, my kids are first on my priority list.

I do not believe you a part of the lies, or that it is your responsibility to tell the other BS. You have to do what works for you.

I also do not like when a MC/IC advises not to tell and some members of the board tell you they are a bad counselor. Your MC probably knows more about your individual situation than the board does.

BUT BUT BUT obviously you are struggling. If part of your healing is telling than you have to do what is right for you.

Do you want to expose because you feel it is the right thing to do? Or because you feel everyone thinks it is the right thing to do?

Nothing about infidelity is fair. I made my choices on what would cause the least amount of harm to my children. Many don't agree with me here or IRL but they also aren't paying my MTG payment or health insurance.

I have many other reasons but you have to decide what is best for you.

TXBW68 posted 10/24/2013 17:44 PM

The only one that had an SO in our case was #2, who has been living with another woman for 10+ years. She was H's so-called "best friend" and had been considered "safe" given her lesbian status. They got drunk one night in 2008 and had sex at her place. I didn't find out until he moved back home in April of this year.

I didn't tell the girlfriend. It happened 5 years ago. I like the girlfriend. I didn't want to put her through what I had gone through for the last year. But, as part of our R, I made him cut all ties with that whole group of friends, not just OW2. Now, according to them, I am the "bad guy" for keeping my husband away from all of them. But, none of them know the truth about H and #2.

When I announced on here that I wasn't going to tell the girlfriend, I was slightly chastized too. I value the opinions given on SI so very much. But ultimately, we all have to make our own decisions. Do what you think is right in your case. If someone chastizes you for it, just keep in mind that they only have your best interest at heart.

LadyLove posted 10/24/2013 20:13 PM

I also did not tell MOW's BS because he also was supposedly "volatile". He may very well have been so, because he took his own life 7 months later (after DD). I do not believe that he ever knew of the A. I hate, hate, hate that MOW walked away unscathed from the A, but I have to wonder if I had told her BS about the A, might he have taken my WS out with him? We'll never know..

iwillNOT posted 10/24/2013 20:18 PM


This is a tough situation. I think it is all kinds of wrong that your MC and WH are dictating to you what you should Do "or else.".

What would you say to your own daughter or best friend if you were advising them in the same situation?

You say that the guilt is holding you back from healing. That you are being dishonest. That you feel like your WH just wants to make sure you don't upset his xAP. Your own words seem to be saying you feel you need to tell, but you fear consequences from your MC and WH. I am not trying to convince you, those are your own words. It seems you are being manipulated against your own conscience.

Put YOU first. Do what you need to do, for YOU. Whether that is to tell, or to let it go, or simply to put off deciding.

Maybe you could make a pro and con list for your own eyes only? Sometimes seeing it on paper makes it more clear.

Does the other betrayed spouse have a criminal history if he is so volatile? This might be helpful to know.
I think there are online background checking services for that kind of thing.

Good luck to you. I wish you peace.

painfulpast posted 10/24/2013 21:19 PM


I told. I would tell again. It, to me, is one of the best things I did after DDay. It gives a second set of eyes on the 'couple' and I felt he had a right to know. This is my story.

Your story needs to be what you want. It's interesting that you said it was a 'rule'. There are no rules about infidelity. It is a breaking of the rules, so there can't be rules, right?

If you believe he has a right to know, and you feel strongly about this, you should tell. If you believe it will help this EA end, you should tell. If you are worried that your H will leave, well, that's another story. My H at first said he would leave, but I wouldn't back down. He did.

Is there another reason, beyond protecting his AP, that your WH doesn't want you to tell? I'm with some other posters here - all of the OBSs are unstable, violent, will take everything from the AP, etc. Why? Because, just like your husband said dreadful things about you, the AP did the same. These disgusting comments about the innocent and unsuspecting BS are made to justify the A. If the BS is a wonderful loving person, then wouldn't the WS need to be a scum to cheat? Yes, so they tell the AP how awful the BS is. It's very standard, and it hurts, but just as your husband told lies about you, you can bet so did the OW.

If your MC is saying she won't see you if you tell, then to me she's just blackmailing you. How much can she 'get' you if you are hurting because of this, and she's threatening you? I'm not going to say that all MCs are against telling, but many are, and I don't know why. Telling is usually a non-issue. You tell, and that's it. Now both of the cheaters are on notice, and both are being watched, so if the A continues there is a much greater chance of it being discovered. Why an MC usually thinks this is a bad thing I don't know, but that's the standard line. Also, telling the OBS is in no way not focusing on your own marriage. It takes about an hour at best, particularly as this is long distance. It's an email, or a phone call. It is hardly going to make you lose focus.

If you feel strongly about it for you, then you tell him. If you are doing it because you are worried about the perception of others, then you shouldn't worry about it. This is about you and your marriage and what you feel is the right thing to do, not what a bunch of people on the internet think. Please, keep that in mind.

In the end, I told because I thought he absolutely had a right to know. I told because I knew if he had been the one to discover the A, I would want him to contact me. I would be hurt and further humiliated that everyone involved knew but me. I would have felt like he would be helping my WH get away with cheating by keeping his secret. I wanted someone on the other side that could make sure that she was also not still involved, because until I told, she continued to message my H. Having the OBS know helps, a lot.

It is your choice - not your husbands and not your MCs. If your H is going to leave you if you tell the OBS, then how much does the marriage mean to him? If it means less than the worry about OW, then he's not very invested in the marriage, is he? As has been said, he's clearly not remorseful. His loyalty is with OW, not you - if he leaves because you tell.

LTF, please, do what your heart says. No one else is living your life. You are. You have to live it for the rest of your life, so if you feel strongly about this, please don't let your WH or MC force you into something that is against what you feel is right.

WIgirl posted 10/25/2013 03:02 AM

I didn't tell for 3+ months and I felt OK with that decision. The advice from my IC was...what will it do for you? what are your motives? And at that time, I really didn't think it would do anything for me. I thought the affair was over and I really didn't want to inflict that pain on someone else if I didn't have to. And their problems are not my problems. I think also that I get stuck with those who say, "he/she has a right to know". Well, in my case, my FIL knew and a friend knew about H's affair...and neither of them told me. I'm angry that they didn't but I can understand why - I'm sure they hoped my H would come to his senses and end it on his own.

But, I ended up telling. Because the affair didn't stop when I thought it did. If you have any notions that the affair is still going on, I would consider telling. If you don't, then I can understand that you have your own reasons of why you might not want to. But I'm not sure that the OBS being "volatile" is a good one.

authenticnow posted 10/25/2013 05:48 AM

You have gotten really good advice here.

I want to add that my BH chose not to tell the OBS.

You need to do what feels right to you and right now it sounds like not telling isn't sitting well with you. As others have said, there is no one right answer. Please don't let your WH or the MC intimidate you into not telling or make you feel like it's wrong to tell. Follow your instincts in this.

sisoon posted 10/25/2013 08:05 AM

I think one of the reasons people her voice their opinions so strongly is that we all know we all have to make our own choices, and we know that no approach is best for every case.

So do you feel guilty because of the pressure of SI opinion, which could be wrong for you, or do you want to tell because your own gut/head/heart say you need to do this?

I have very serious questions about how your Cs are dealing with this issue. You sound very much afraid of them and of your H on this point. Fear is a lousy basis for C and an even worse basis for M.

Have you asked why they're so much against your outing the A? Do they have solid facts, or are they just accepting your H's word?

I'll be blunt - if they're just accepting your H's word, they're on his side, and your best bet is probably to fire these Cs. If it means firing your H, too, do it. (JMO, of course, but this really sounds abusive to me....)

If they have a theoretical opposition to outing the A, you probably could use new Cs, because all the decent and better stuff I've read on recovering from infidelity recommends outing the A.

Even more important, if my W is cheating, I need to know about it to protect my own physical and mental health.

Your H and your Cs have placed you between a rock and a hard place, and I'm immensely sorry they've done that.

What options do you have?

Fightingmad posted 10/25/2013 08:10 AM

I was told by the OW's BS and I am grateful. I had suspected so it confirmed that I wasn't crazy. It stopped the humiliation of being friends with tho OW which would have continued even though at that point the PA had ended.

I still have trouble with not having closure given I have not spoken with her. Everyone here tells us not to that it gives her power but a year out it still eats at me.

I believe you need to do whatever will give you peace. Its not about your WH, its not about the OW, its about what you need to heal and if that will help you take a step forward then do it. Just make sure you are doing for the right reasons and won't then feel guilty for being vindictive;

BeyondBreaking posted 10/25/2013 08:19 AM

Personally, I would let the MC walk, do the right thing, and contact the other BS.

1) You can go ahead and tell your MC that throughout history, bad things happen because good people sit back and say nothing. Yes, it is their marriage, not yours. However, I insist on trying whenever possible to be the kind of person who treats other people the way I want to be treated. If the situation was reversed- if it was the other BS who knew, I would be furious that person didn't step up and say something.

2) How do we know the other BS is volatile? Because someone who is a known liar (WS) in the situation says so? I would not trust that as far as I could throw it. Hearing that the other BS is abusive or dangerous is a manipulation tactic either by the AP or the WS to try and protect the AP from getting caught. Do you know how many people come here and say they can't tell the other BS because that person is abusive...and their WS told them this information? There must be abusive crazy people all over the place it is so common, according to affair partners.

3) The other BS is in danger. His life is literally at stake. Just because the affair with YOUR H has ended does not mean that the AP has not started up an affair with someone else. This man could get HIV or hepatitis from his wife tomorrow because you didn't speak up today.

4) The fact that WH is so invested in making sure that you DONT tell the other BS tells me that he is still holding feelings for and trying to protect his AP. That would create a huge problem with me.

If it were me, THESE REASONS would be why I would find another MC that supports your healing and your values (honesty, for example) and tell the other BS. Threatening to not see you anymore because of a personal decision you make that would help with your healing is really inexcusable of your Mc.

eachdayisvictory posted 10/25/2013 08:38 AM

my thought is this;
the ow did not walk away scott free. your H chose YOU, and that's got to be a very painful and hard pill to swallow. She's got pain, not to pity her, but maybe it will help you a bit to remember?

Mack9512 posted 10/25/2013 08:57 AM

I got the "OBS is crazy!!! His therapist is afraid for the MOW and his children!!! Don't say anything to him because he could snap!! I'm afraid for my life if you tell him!!" Guess what? I did tell him and he was a just a broken defeated man.

Telling the OBS was the beginning of the A finally and truly ending. Now....the fact that my fWH knowingly and willing brought this "psychotic" man into our lives is a whole different issue and one that, 7 months later, we are still working on. A perfect example of the selfishness of a WS.

LearningToFly posted 10/25/2013 17:39 PM

Thank-you for your empathy. I have thought and thought of how I could let the OBS know. I had tried a few different ways before we started marriage counseling. I wish I had been successful early on. It means a lot to not be judged by the people on the board. I too would want to know. If I hadn't found out, I don't think we would be together now. He would have walked away looking like a rose and continuing his affair. They had plans to leave their spouses and not announce their relationship with each other until some time had passed.

I think about that sometimes, what is OW doing now. Did she leave her husband since she had experienced "a real man" with my WH? Or did she finally realize that she needed to put out effort in her own marriage if she wanted to be happy. Or did she leave? Because its long distance and I asked WH to block her from FB, I have no way of knowing. (she blocked me long before I knew she existed.) I think about OBS and hope he is okay.

I feel he should know. I just don't know if I am the one who will let him know. I do know they were in marriage counseling and that OW had also seen her as an IC. The counselor knew about my WH throughout the affair. I hope it came out in counseling sometime soon after.

mainlyinpain posted 10/25/2013 17:53 PM

I find it incomprehensible that the marriage counselor would tell you she would stop counseling you if you decided to tell the other spouse about his wife's infidelity. This seems so manipulative and smacks of her self-preservation. I thought counselors were supposed to guide you to your own self understanding not instruct you how to live. I can only think that she is protecting herself against some negative outcome of your revelation and her thinking someone might blame her for knowing you were going to reveal. You don't need someone thinking of herself before you. Thats why your seeing her in the first place.
This really seems wrong wrong wrong.

BeyondBreaking posted 10/25/2013 18:53 PM

I do know they were in marriage counseling and that OW had also seen her as an IC.

It has been made clear to me that if I don't' comply with this not-telling-agreement, the MC will not work with us.

I see this being a HUGE conflict of interest.

Are you really comfortable with seeing this MC? I can't speak for you but I would not be.

This whole situation sounds very very wrong to me, and I would urge you to ditch this MC and find someone else IMMEDIATELY.

I would tell the other BS as well for all of the reasons above.

ionlytalkedtoher posted 10/25/2013 21:44 PM

the mc is wrong as well as your h. If you feel the need to tell then do so.

I have not told the OBS. Initially, I wanted to, but right now, I don't.

I was never told OBS is abusive or anything--in fact I was told the opposite that he is a really nice guy. I looked him up did research and even saw him on you tube talking and playing his music. He seems like a really nice guy. The person who is a complete B#### is OW. She is the abusive one.

I thought about it and she has information that could harm my family. At this point, I do not want to give her any power. the last time I texted her to leave us alone she threatened my family.

I could still tell if I want to but I have no desire right now. I feel bad for OBS but I honestly don't give a darn about either of them. Its his problem. He has to live with my opinion these types of things eventually come out anyway.

So no, I do not feel like you shouldn't be here....but I do feel you should make the best decision for you.

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