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Advice needed. Don't know what to do. Very long.

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query posted 10/29/2013 20:57 PM

A year and a half ago I began an affair that lasted nearly a year. I take full responsibility for this choice. I need advice, and I donít want anyone to think the background explanation of what happened is an excuse. No matter how difficult things were, I crossed a line that should never have crossed.

Two years ago I was transferred out of state to a much colder climate from a big city to a very small city. I have a very good job in my career of choice so I went. I was so lonely away from my family. We are very close. Shortly after the transfer I lost the family member that was closest to me to a drunk driver. I was over come with guilt because I hadnít been there. I was a mess. Shortly after that I was assigned to a project with a very senior colleague in his late 50ís. He specifically requested me. I was so flattered! Little did I know. He has been married for over 35 years and has grown children and grandchildren. The two of us had to work very closely every day for long hours focused. I told him about the loss because I was still struggling. He was supportive, would leave me encouraging notes, send me ďhang in thereĒ texts etc. I became more and more emotionally dependant on him. After a few months he escalated his attentions, leaving me cards, little gifts, calling me at home etc. I told him it made me uncomfortable. He backed off. Way, way off. I panicked. I felt so dependent on him. Ididnít even realize I was suffering from depression and needed help. I began to accept the cards, little gifts etc. After a few months he ďconfidedĒ in me about his miserable marriage, cold wife, only there for the kids, separate bedrooms etc. By this time he was central to my life. I believed him, crossed the line, and started a physical affair. This was so contrary everything I always have believed that it constantly upset and depressed me. I would try and pull away and then would have panic attacks out of fear of him not being there for me. Any time I would talk about the affair being wrong, he would cut me of completely emotionally. I would have panic attacks and would relent. And of course we still worked together all the time.

This went on for 10 months. No one knew. I had this horrible secret. I couldnít believe it was me. I was so ashamed and felt worthless. Finally I sought help and went to a therapist. She saved me. While she didnít take away my responsibility for entering in the affair, she also helped me see that he was a manipulative predator. She said that if his wife had found out, he almost certainly wouldíve dropped me like a hot potato, laid low for a while, and then moved on to his next target. She said that given how skilled he was, heíd probably been doing it for a long time and was already prowling for his next target. By the time the project ended six months ago, I was strong enough to end it for good. I was, thankfully, transferred two months ago back to our headquarters and my family. Iím coping with the loss of my loved one with the help of a grief support group and detoxing from him.

Iím struggling with is whether or not to tell his wife. I have evidence (cards, notes, emails, hotels we were at when he was supposed to be someplace else, etc.). I have been reading here for about a month. From everything Iíve read, the most likely response is that his wife will believe whatever her husband says and blame me completely. Iíve read so many posts about OW predators (and I am absolutely convinced that some of them are), but never about married man predators except betrayed men posting about their wives. Some of the cheating husbands here must be predators too. What are the chances that his wife will come after me personally, expose me to my colleagues etc.?

I donít need to tell her to ease my conscience. I have to live with what I did but I also understand how it happened. I was targeted by an evil, manipulative, controlling man who knew exactly what he was doing. I want to tell her because sheís married to a monster. And shouldnít someone know that? Everything Iíve read here says the betrayed spouse deserves to know. But what good will it do if her immediate reaction is to blame and despise me, perhaps even attack me, so she can rationalize staying married to her husband? I have a very advanced degree and work in a male dominated field. If you cause trouble, you might win your point but your career will be a dead end. Thatís what would happen to me. And there are people who depend on me, loved ones who Iím helping through college. Iím so paranoid about it that I asked someone very close to me to use an email from her domain when I registered here just so it couldnít be traced back to me. So I go back and forth about this and what my responsibility is here.

Again, Iím not looking to make any excuse for my choices. The affair was so far out of the realm of normal for me that I can only remember it with disgust. I am confident that Iíve moved past that terrible dark place and that I will never do such a thing again. Iíve forgiven myself. I know Iím not a bad person even though I did a very bad thing. I just want to do the right thing now.

I would really appreciate any advice about whether or not I should tell her. Thank you for reading this.

authenticnow posted 10/29/2013 21:29 PM


Welcome to SI. I'm glad you have come out of lurkdom and are posting now.

Before you think about telling OW's wife, I think it's important to think about where you are with your own BH. Have you told him the truth about what happened? How does he feel about telling OM's wife? That's something that you need to decide together.

What is the state of your M now? Are you trying to reconcile?

Have you talked to your IC about your poor coping mechanisms and worked on healthy tools to deal with your grief?

I'm trying to say that I think you should focus on your healing and fixing, and your M, and not worry so much about xOM's wife (right now). I didn't mean to sound cold, but I think your BH should have a say in this, and I think you need to focus on what's going on with you.

query posted 10/29/2013 21:31 PM

I realized I must have posted this on the wrong forum as it was moved. I'm sorry. I welcome any advice from anyone here whatever their role. I am really troubled by this and want to make a decision one way or the other. I just want it to be the right thing.

authenticnow posted 10/29/2013 21:35 PM

That's okay. We just figured you'd get some good support in the Wayward forum and we didn't want to trigger any of the BSs in General.

query posted 10/29/2013 21:39 PM

Thank you for your reply. I'm not married and never have been. My education and research have always been the most important to me. Yes I have worked on those issues with my therapist. I also went on antidepressants for six months which was a huge help to me in dealing with my grief and the emotional dependence I developed. As I said this was so out of character for me. I feel like I have emerged from a very dark place.

Dreamland posted 10/30/2013 00:50 AM

I as the BW would tell everyone where you work how you are so educated but couldn't figure it a married man is married and you are just as manipulating as he is.. Fix yourself first. YOU chose to cheat.. Period..leave the BS out of it..

MC_Jack posted 10/30/2013 01:28 AM

Dreamland- not a very helpful post...not sure what you are saying really.

It is true that here on SI full disclosure to a BS is almost dogma. I do not read cases too often like yours where since you are unmarried there is no BH that might want to disclose. Also you have ended on your own. I say let sleeping dogs lie. The BW probably would not appreciate hearing from you as opposed to another BS. So, indeed work on yourself and maybe try to get a different job.

Also, about predators. There are more male predators out there. Young men are sometimes conditioned to equate self esteem with sexual conquest. Infidelity stats point to more unfaithful Hs than Ws. On this site though, I have long noted that BWs fixate a lot of anger at the OW, more so than BHs do with OMs. That fixation leads to blame, claims of OW being predatory whores. Often there is a tendency toward denial of any predatory behavior on the part of the WH men that create all these bunny boilers.

authenticnow posted 10/30/2013 05:14 AM


I'm sorry, my mistake. I assumed you were married and shouldn't have.

I think continuing to work with your IC and keep looking inward is a good idea. I think that detaching from OM and anything to do with that situation is a good idea.

I'm glad that you're coming out of your dark place.

isadora posted 10/30/2013 05:27 AM

Tell the BS. Give her the facts and let her make her own decisions and conclusions. If she chooses to blame you so be it. You have no control over what she thinks. If she blames you it is a consequence to your actions but it shouldn't define your healing.

Do not attempt to make her see that you are a victim too of her predatory husband. Just because he pursued doesn't make him a predator. My FWH is KISA. He chose APs that he felt needed saving.

jemimapd posted 10/30/2013 06:06 AM

I'm a BS and I am sympathetic to your situation. This man played you at a time when you were grieving and you did come to see that independently and make the right decision.

He sounds a lot like my husband! He had one woman he was seeing and was lining up another for when the first one finally woke up and realized he wasn't leaving me.

I would wait a little while and focus on your recovery. Telling the betrayed wife will bring out the predator in him again. He will fight back. Yes, he will tell her a pack of lies. My WH did that. But at the same time she may be living in a state of misery and confusion, knowing something is wrong but not knowing exactly what.
So glad you found us and please keep posting!

20WrongsVs1 posted 10/30/2013 07:13 AM

query, welcome to SI. FYI, you would've had a softer landing here posting in Wayward Side with a stop sign. This is a supportive community of women (and men) who have BTDT and come out the other side.

You lucked out, finding such a good therapist in a small city. She gave you fantastic advice. If you need any more help detoxing from AP, I recommend the book Psychopath Free. It describes how a predator grooms his prey and uses push-pull techniques. Sounds like your AP was straight out of the book.

You're struggling with telling the BW because you believe she has a right to know what she's married to. That's commendable, and I'm definitely in the "tell her" camp. I would consider mailing her a package with a very short apology note and some evidence, and open up an anonymous email account where she can contact you for verification.

The likelihood of her outing you to your colleagues is slim, IMO. Your AP was your supervisor, which could expose him to sexual misconduct charges that could get him reprimanded or fired. Whether she chooses to R or D, my hunch is she wouldn't risk that, with him so close to retirement age.

What you've read here about women being predatory is mostly denial. Do not take that to heart. My xAP also appears to have convinced his BW that I pursued him...ludicrous because he contacted me on a cheaters' website, paid for a hotel, etc. If it assuages OBS's pain, though, let her comfort herself with that falsehood until--one day--the truth sinks in.

Even though this was out of character for you, are you working to figure out why you were such an easy mark for this guy? Just trusting that you learned your lesson and "you'll never do it again" isn't sufficient. Until you dig deep and figure out why you made that awful choice, you're at risk of soothing yourself that way again, under extreme stress.

mindbody posted 10/30/2013 08:22 AM

query, I agree with 20WV1 about telling the BS. There's really never a perfect time for you to tell the BS nor a perfect time or way for the BS to hear. If this is weighing heavily on your mind now, I think you should do it now.

Down the road, you may wish that you had done many things differently in your own healing. Like myself, I think the majority of other BS/BSO believe the OP's BS should have that information. It's impossible to predict how the OM's BS will react in regards to your career. Under the circumstances of him being a very senior colleague, OM's career could be adversely affected as well. Still, IMO BS needs to know.

I would suggest that you also mention, if true, that you will have no contact with OM ever again. I would also let her know that you take full responsibility for what you did as well and tell her she can contact you if she has any questions.

I also agree that working on you is very important. I seem to think that getting this disclosure to BS is an important part of your healing as well. I think it's good that you are stepping up to the plate and facing what you have done.

Good luck.

shiloe posted 10/30/2013 08:28 AM

Telling her is the right thing to do.

Dreamland posted 10/30/2013 09:24 AM

Sorry I have to Chime in.. Who is to say who is predatory.. I disagree that he was a predator. Why because at some point you found out he was married. And honestly a man in academia that age would most likely be married. Don't victimize yourself see yourself as a participant who was seduced. It's like having a shitty boyfriend and you figured out he isn't worth your time. So good for you that you got out of a toxic place.
So since you are out of the relationship correct then their marriage is none of your business. What makes you think the wife doesn't already know. Or that there were others...
This is Not your battle.. You are not part of the marriage focus on yourself and realize that you had a part in the affair but no part in the marriage.
You are most likely angry at him at the way he treated but don't act like him. Walk away with your head high and forget about him. He was not worth it.

query posted 10/30/2013 10:03 AM

Thank you for the responses. I will reread them when I have time and respond at length. One thing that jumped out at me was the mention of him "grooming" me and using push pull. That is exactly what my therapist said he did.

I hesitate to risk disclosing too much information but do want to say that I lost my twin. When I left for this assignment, it was the first time in our lives we had ever been separated by distance like that. We were a daily part of each other's lives for all our lives.

StrongerOne posted 10/30/2013 10:35 AM

Whether he's a predator or not, I do think you have a moral obligation to tell his BS. 20wrongs and mindbody have given you good advice on how to approach it. I still feel bad that I did not inform the MCOW's BH (I'm the BW) early on -- I chose to believe my H, who chose to believe the MCOW, that her BH knew and didn't care. I feel that I did not act with integrity when I chose to believe those stories

The BS has a right to know about the truth of his or her marriage. And, even if this man were not a predator, just a garden variety cheater , you are still witness to his hurting her. You have an obligation to help people who are being hurt, if you can at all do so. That is what a person with integrity does.

sailorgirl posted 10/30/2013 10:36 AM

Oh, query. I am in tears for you losing your twin.

I am glad you're here at SI. There is so much wisdom on the Wayward board. They will help you recover and see things as clearly as possible.

Yes, adults are responsible for their actions. You could have tackled your emotional brokenness in a healthy way from the start. But I have a lot of compassion for people who are damaged in this way--poor boundaries, poor coping skills. It usually comes from prior abuse or a love-deficient childhood. That's not an excuse, it's understanding.

You will figure out how to not only survive the grief of losing your twin, but eventually thrive. You will go beyond being a victim of this WH and become strong and healthy.

In my situation, both AP's were broken. OW used her damage like a weapon, and fWH let her because he was hurting and messed-up (really hurting going all the way back to childhood).

Welcome to SI, and I feel your loss and how you lost yourself.

DixieD posted 10/30/2013 11:22 AM

Query, I'm sorry you lost your twin. That must have been hard for you.

Before you jump to the conclusion of 'grooming' and predators, and YES I do believe they are out there.....understand that a lots of WS say they are in loveless marriages and their wives don't care about them and they have been in separate bedrooms for years. And, most WS drop their AP's like hot potatoes on dday. Some, not all mind you, think of themselves as victims. They want other people to see them as victims. Not all those things, even combined, makes someone a predator. It's standard text out of the WS handbook.

Did you feel sorry for him? If so, you need to figure out why. You didn't know his wife's side on the story. Why were quick to believe him?

Of course he didn't want the affair to end, you were giving him something he wanted. He was thinking of himself. Selfless people don't usually have affairs. And people will treat you only as you allow yourself to be treated.

Maybe your therapist is right but therapists can be also be wrong.

So take a very long, hard and critical look at yourself before focusing on this guy being a predator.

If you contact his wife, and I do believe that is the right thing to do, but not necessarily for that reasons you are putting forth. You will have to admit to your role in all this and be willing to take the consequences of that. Whatever they may be, and you won't get to control what that is.

heartache101 posted 10/30/2013 11:22 AM


I am sooo sorry for your loss honey I couldn't imagine..

You know you have to tell the BS.. I would set it up to where you request NC unless she goes thru a mutual friends email etc...
Let her know you mean her no harm etc...She needs to know..
If he was your super or boss then he can get in trouble for his actions and he probably should. Think of all the lives he has probably tried to ruin..
I hope it doesn't jeopardize your job profession and it shouldn't. A boss or someone of higher position should be held accountable!

query posted 10/30/2013 11:24 AM

I wasn't abused or denied love as a child, but I was raised in a family/culture where respect for authority was integral. I have come to see, with the help of my therapist, what a deep depression I was in with both the loss of my twin and the separation from my family. Also, I moved from a warm, sunny climate to a very cold climate which contributed to the depression. I was in such a dark place and this man offered me at first support and understanding, gradually increasing his attention as my dependence on him grew and eventually withdrawing it totally whenever I tried to separate even a little from him. It is easy to say that as I knew he was married, he wasn't a predator and I wasn't a mark for him, but unless you have been in that dark of a place psychologically, you cannot know how you would react when dealing with someone who obviously knew exactly what he was doing and how to do it.

In reading here for a month I've seen many posts about predators who went after married men or women when they were weak, when they were vulnerable etc. I have no doubt that it happens with both married and unmarried predators. I am going to read the book on Psychopaths. Thank you for the recommendation. I feel that I was in a perfect storm of vulnerability at the time for all the factors I've explained. That doesn't mean I'm not taking responsibility for my choice. I'm just trying to explain the facts of where I was and what was happening. I don't think I would ever fall victim to such a person again no matter my circumstances because I would recognize the behavior. My therapist, who I left behind when I moved, agrees.

He did not let me go easily. At first he tried his usual push pull. When that didn't work he began to make subtle threats against me regarding my career and actually began stalking me. It was at this point thankfully that I was transferred back to our HQ and to a different division. I am now completely out of professional and personal contact with him.

Could he still harm my career? Yes, most definitely. I work for a large multinational corporation. Sadly, the ramifications for what is seen as a voluntary affair are usually not great for the man and much worse for the woman. That is the reality of life. If I expose and if his wife believes whatever he tells her and lashes out at me in some of the ways I've read people doing here (exposing at work, to your parents even if you are an adult, etc), it could cause serious damage to my career. Mine, not his. If she tracked down my parents which wouldn't be difficult and told them, they would forgive me and understand because they have been through hell, too, with the loss, but it would add to their pain and they are truly innocent.

I am considering having my friend from my grief group, the same one who suggested I read here to make up my mind about this issue, contact his wife anonymously and say that she has evidence that her husband had an affair. She would give her a way to get in touch with her. If she does contact her, she will tell her that the affair partner (me) will give her all the evidence and that I am no longer in touch in any way with her husband and do not wish ever to be and that I want no further contact with her either. I just want her to have the information because I am sorry I engaged in the affair and I feel she has a right to know. Does this sound like a good plan? Then I can well and truly leave all this behind me.

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