About a year ago (not long after the death of my mother in law) my wife spun out of control. She began to go out at night with some girlfriends to concerts or a club (almost always the same club). She usually came back about 12 or so at first. Later, she began to go out more and more – sometimes 3-5x a week. On a few occasions she spent the night out, claiming to be spending the night over at her cousins house. Her choosing to spend almost all of her time out of the house made me angry and although I missed and still loved her … I didn’t tell her because I was proud, hurt, and angry. It also left me as the primary care giver for our daughter.
This past summer we started to talk. We realized that we had both given up. We confronted a choice of deciding if this is how we wanted to continue, did we want a divorce, or were we willing to commit to a reconciliation. She freely admitted that during this period there had been another man, he worked at the club she went to every night, and that they had an emotional affair that lasted about six months. She told me that she had felt alone, lost, afraid, sad, and that this man could have been anyone (meaning there was nothing special about him, he was just the first guy she had run across). One of her friends advised showing caution but ultimately told her that if this guy was what she wanted and if she saw no hope for the marriage then she might as well do it, one friend knew about the affair but never commented on it, a third friend possibly knew (it was never discussed with her) but never commented on it, and the affair was kept very secret from everyone else. My wife claimed that the affair was mostly emotional and that the physical aspects had been exchanging a few kisses in hiding (backroom at the club, in the car, etc), once going to his house for about 30 minutes, him coming to her work for lunch a few times, and twice kissing him in public. She admitted that she had found him sexually attractive and that after awhile she had gone to this club just to see him. She told me that she did not consider this emotional affair to be “wrong” because she had no longer felt that she was married. She also claimed that the affair was still ongoing, that she wasn’t prepared to cut it off, and that she would not do so until she was sure that a reconciliation would work.
Over the next couple of days we discussed the issue. We both apologized for much that of the hurtful things we had said and done to each other. We decided on a reconciliation. Since this time she has not left the house to go out at night and when she does go out she is careful to explain where she is going, for how long, etc. I am not worried that she is still seeing him.
I began to investigate online marital advice and help sites. This is when I first discovered Surviving Infidelity.
As a condition of this reconciliation I demanded a “no contact” with this man (no texts, calls, visits at work, information passed back and forth via friends, or going to this club). I also demanded a “total honesty” with each other. She agreed to these two conditions.
She had some demands for me as well – changing both the tone and substance in how I spoke to her as well as contributing more to the family in terms of economics (I was unemployed for a long period, got a contract which paid me to write a book which has taken 2 years to write but got too big and now needs to have some pages chopped in order to be marketable – its complicated and I have learned more about publishing than I ever wanted to whilst writing this book – but until the book is marketed worldwide I do not receive more monies from the book).
We began our reconciliation. We agreed that what had happened in the past belonged in the past, that she had been 100% forthright (which I believed because when she told me the details she had no incentive to be honest with me), and that we wouldn’t discuss it again unless something new arose.
The guy wrote my wife a few text messages on her phone to which she did not read or reply. My wife was open about it, we discussed it, and eventually she agreed that if it persisted she would block him. He persisted and she blocked him. She then admitted that the emotional affair had actually ended some weeks before and that it had ended because he kissed her on the street and in mid-kiss in all came crashing down on her. She said that she felt a wave of physical disgust and self loathing which prompted her to end it but that she had not wanted to tell me until we actually began the reconciliation.
However, she also stated that she did not feel guilty or remorse for having had this emotional affair because she had not felt that she was married but that such an affair would be wrong in almost any other circumstances, including during a reconciliation. I expressed that I felt an affair was always wrong and that nothing justified it.
Then we had sex. I assumed she was “still” on the pill. She informed me about ten seconds after orgasm inside of her that she wasn’t, and that she hadn’t been for several years because she hadn’t been having sex. We discussed the “morning after pill” but didn’t do it due to the difficulties of obtaining it in Italy (very difficult). We realized a few weeks later that she was pregnant. We decided on an abortion due to the state of our finances and relationship but had to wait a few weeks to obtain it. She became very angry at me, which made me feel that our relationship was becoming what it had been before so I withdrew, which caused her to withdraw, and although we weren’t as bad off as before we had definitely F’ed up the reconciliation.
We existed in a state that wasn’t quite sincere reconciliation but also wasn’t hostile. Sometimes we kissed or hugged but mostly we were just polite to each other. We spoke about reconciliation again. She let me know that she wasn’t sure if she wanted too.
She told me that what I had done in the military (I have been out for almost 20 years) scared her. I served on a special operations capable unit in the Marine Corps and performed multiple operations around the globe, some of the details she knows about. There is no hiding the knife scar on my throat and I admitted to her that on an operation someone stuck about half an inch of knife into my throat missing my larynx, etc and that I had killed them with their own knife. I admitted not knowing how many people I had killed and that not knowing this didn’t bother me at all. The kind of details that perhaps I should never have shared. It is only recently that I have come to accept that I suffered post traumatic stress disorder for over 15 years triggered by the loud sounds and especially helos, exhibited paranoia (wondered if being followed), and have an extremely tough time trusting people. Most of these symptoms have faded and now I am just a reclusive person that tends to avoid contact with people I don’t know, which naturally tends to limit the number of people that I know. She confessed that knowing these kinds of things has made her afraid of me and she is subconsciously afraid that one day she will see this “other me” come out. I reassured her that this was the past, that I had done absolutely nothing wrong, and that I was no longer that person.
She then agreed to try a reconciliation but was not willing to make any commitments towards the reconciliation or us because she had not seen any substantive changes in me. Our reconciliation didn’t go as well this time, it didn’t go badly but there was not a honeymoon aspect to it either. We were both much more cautious.
About a week ago my wife informed me that one of her friends had gone to this club, seen this guy, sent her a text stating that she had seen this guy her, and my wife had delayed informing me of this news for roughly a week. I was very upset while she stressed that it wasn’t a big deal and that she had delayed telling me because it had slipped her mind until then. . I stressed that the “no contact” meant exactly that and that if her friends were not willing to respect that then she had to end the friendship or the reconciliation. Our compromise was that she would warn her friends, again, to not communicate to her about this guy or to this guy about her AND that if such communication happened again she would sever the friendship with that friend forever.
A few days ago my wife was going to go to a “self help group” with three other women, one a close friend and the other two strangers. She google mapped the location, told me that she wouldn’t go because it was only a block or two from the house of the guy, and that she didn’t want to run the risk of seeing him. She re-arranged the meeting to her office to avoid the risk.
I could see definite improvements in the honesty level although we were still distant as a result of our behavior during the time period of the abortion. In an attempt to repair the obvious problems with her I asked to speak with her the day before yesterday. I wrote a 4 page list of “points” – things that bothered me – to discuss with her.
We talked about an hour. The talk did NOT go well.
The very first point was remorse. My position was that there is NO justification for cheating in a marriage, that I considered an emotional affair to be cheating, and the alternative to marriage is divorce at which point she was free to do whatever she wanted. I owned responsibility for my actions that led to the problems in our marriage. I refused to own any responsibility for her cheating and told her that at some point she would have to show remorse (an acknowledgement that she was wrong, that she understood how much damage she had done to us then and now, an apology, and a promise to never do it again). She refused and tried justifications, smoke screens, and the kitchen sink approach (throw everything unrelated in and use the confusion to change the subject). I refused to accept the justifications and told her that I do not need this remorse NOW but that it is essential to our relationship that this remorse be shown and that the longer she waits the harder she makes the reconciliation and healing process.. She tried to offer a half apology that consisted of justifying and blaming me for her actions which I refused to accept. I told her that I KNEW that she felt remorse and guilt because as she had been faced with choices she had made the wrong choices and knew that she had made the wrong choices. She had justified to herself but still knew that it was wrong. I told her that I KNEW that she wasn’t the kind of person that could do something so wrong and not feel a trace of remorse
The second point was this club that she had gone too. She had met many people there and added them to her phone lists and facebook. I felt that she had gone to this club portraying herself as a unhappily married woman who was willing to cheat. Therefore her friendship with these people was based upon a false perception of her. I believe that these people are toxic for our life and increase the difficulty levels of maintaining a “no contact” rule. She claimed that none of them knew about the affair. However, more to shut me up than anything else she finally agreed to sever contact with them.
At this point the conversation was heated and we both felt that it was wisest to break it off.
The next night we watched a movie together and avoided the topic but then last night she asked me what things I still had to say. So I got the list and we began to talk again.
- We began with remorse. She again refused to show remorse. I told her that my opinion hadn’t changed, wouldn’t change, and eventually her failing to offer remorse would doom us. However, I agreed to set this topic aside for now and continue onwards.
- We agreed to mutual counseling and individual counseling.
- She agreed that privacy is okay whereas secrets are not and that we needed total and complete honesty – honesty which included telling the truth and not lying via omission. We committed to this honesty level again. I told her that I believed keeping the text regarding this guy secret for a week was bullsh1t, it constituted what we had agreed was contact that that she had agreed to immediate disclosure. I let her know that this kind of behavior was toxic, destroyed trust, and was unacceptable. She tried to minimize it but eventually owned up that it was wrong and that it would never happen again.
I then told her that the truth has a way of coming out eventually and that without doubting her I was granting her an amnesty for 1 week regarding falsifications or omitted facts for anything important to our relationship. I let her know that I wasn’t asking for details of what she had told me before and that I did not want to know those details. I meant things that were substantially different than what she had told me. If she admitted during this week anything than we could deal with it as part of our reconciliation and move forward with total honesty. However, if something substantially different came out after this amnesty period then I would sever the reconciliation and would file for divorce. I again stressed that this amnesty was not due to distrust but because I did not want an errant fact coming out later that would destroy our marriage whereas revelation now would not be so disastrous. As examples I used finding out that she had been to his house much more than just one or two times, finding out that the nights she claimed to be at her cousins she was instead with him, or learning that the contact has continued despite her agreeing to no contact.
She exploded. She accused me of constantly bringing up the same things and wanting to know despite stating that I do not want to know. That she wasn’t willing to deal with this, she found it weird and offensive, that I could imagine whatever I wanted and that I should assume that she did whatever with him that made me feel better and her look like a piece of sh1t, and that she wanted a divorce. I told her that I trusted her and that it was a “just in case”. She then admitted that she had slept with him 4-6x times. Stupidly I asked if he was good in bed. She said no. I told her that I needed some time.
I sat in silence and absorbed the information and realized that it answered a lot of questions I had wondered about – for instance, why a 6 month relationship that never progressed beyond kissing. I also realized that although it hurt it had happened in the past, was not continuing, and that it really didn’t change anything. I considered her to have cheated before and the fact that she cheated “more” than I had thought didn’t really change the fact that cheating is cheating. She insists that they used a condom, I am not sure if I believe her so despite her having been tested for STDs when at the hospital for her abortion long after ending her relationship with this guy I am insisting that she be tested again. She has agreed. I have told her that I am still willing to reconcile and that I do not need or want to know more details than what I already know now. There was still no remorse and I again mentioned that this was deadly.
- the next point was forming strong boundaries. We had to ensure that the “rules” were known, agreed to, and breaking them carried consequences. We could discuss the boundaries later and mutually form them. As an example I mentioned flirting – some is ok (altering voice or mannerism to attract attention) and some is not (using flirting to check for sexual availability, complimenting sexually, or trying to get someone into bed). We agreed that we would discuss each instance that occurs and come to a solution but that this kind of behavior in general is inappropriate and those engaging in it with us need to be warned and possibly removed as friends. She agreed but says that it never happens. I observed that it happened at least once.
- the next point was privacy. I believe that she has her stuff, I have my stuff, and we have our stuff. She can talk about her stuff to whomever she wishes but talking about our stuff or my stuff to others is a violation of my privacy. A counselor was preferable and I was willing to grant one same sex friend for each of us (of good morals, who has not opposed our marriage, and was not supportive of the affair) to be people we confide in. She refuses and states that she has many friends and that she wants this support network. We agreed to talk about this point later.
- we then talked about toxic people.
She agreed again to remove people from her life from the club. However, some of these people she knew before then (Italians seem to keep every friend ever made since birth and have huge social circles) and she did not think it was fair to lose them. I conceded her point.
People who are opposed to our marriage, have shown they will violate the boundaries of our marriage (used flirting example again from above), and that are otherwise harmful to our marriage need to be removed. She stated that there are none. We agreed to talk about this later.
Friends who engage in cheating or condone cheating need to be removed from our lives. If we believe it is wrong then why surround ourselves with people who reinforce immoral behavior. She disagreed. I observed that if her circle of friends and shaken her, screamed at her, and told her “what are you doing” before she had engaged in an affair that it would have been much less likely to occur as compared to a group of friends who all cheat and don’t think it’s a big deal. She agreed but with the caveat that we discuss them on an individual basis if she discovers in the future that they are cheating and that we will decide what to do mutually. I agreed.
- I told her that I am interested in meeting her friends since I know few of them. However, I am much more interested in meeting new friends together and forming a new life together. She agreed. I then told her that I was not interested in associating with the ones who definitely knew about the affair and especially not the one who sort of condoned it. She agreed. I told her that I did not want these people in contact with our child, not even on trips to the park or shopping. She disagreed. I agreed that my request was unfair.
- we agreed to a method of conflict resolution. We agreed to once again utilize the time out method BUT that we had been doing so incorrectly before because when we called a time out we never actually brought up the subject again. We agreed that leaving it buried was unhealthy.
- I noted how a reconciliation had no chance of success unless both parties wanted it to work and were willing to commit to it. I told her I was committed and asked if she was. She said she was not sure. I told her I would grant her six months, at the end of that six months I would ask again, and based upon the answer she gave and the state of progress I would decide whether I was willing to remain committed or not. This angered her but ultimately she accepted that it was fair.
- I asked to spend more “together time”. That it was hard with a daughter, work, etc but that it was important. At this point the conversation was pretty hostile. She stated that I was trying to create rules and order her on what to do, think, and feel. She said it was very late (it was) and that it was best to go to bed now and talk about this later. I agreed.
She refused to hug me and we went to bed with a curt goodnight. I laid there a few minutes and began to cry, silently I thought. She heard, asked me what was wrong, and leaned over to talk to me. She told me that she was sorry for the pain she had caused me, that she had been wrong, BUT … . I interrupted her and told her the “but” was the problem. There is no “but”, that I claimed at least 50% of the problems in our relationship and that I know I hurt her deeply. However, she owned 100% the decision to cheat and there is no “but” to justify it. She told me that she could see why this was important to me but that she could not do this. We talked a bit more and she told me that she does want to reconcile. She wants stability in our lives and wants us to get better.
This morning she went to work and called me on the way there. She told me that she does want us to work and that she is willing to commit to a reconciliation. She had to get off the phone when she got to work but wrote me a long chat message. In this message she told me that she is very sorry for the bad she had done. She was confused at the time and was feeling suicidal. She had started secretly drinking during the day (a few liquers, not enough to get drunk but enough to feel light). She was hunted by her thoughts, felt she was damned, was angry at everyone (especially me) and herself. She hated herself for being weak and allowing that contact with the guy. She did not like what she did and would not do it again. She then asked me to accept her apology and genuine remorse. She asked if we can put these hurtful things in a box, close it, and never open it again. She told me that she always feels judged and that I do not accept her or her opinions. She said that she hated that life was a struggle.
I told her that I had believed she had told everything before and that this had come as a shock to me. I told her that she knew all the facts and that this was the distant past for her so she had plenty of time to assimilate this information and determine its significance. However, for me this was brand new. I found out last night. It will take me some time assimilate this information. However, I can and will put that information in a box and we can then move onwards from it. I thanked her for her honesty and acknowledged that it must have been difficult for her. I thanked her for the sincere remorse. I told her that it was important to me and her for the healing process and that what she had just told me was sufficient for me. I forgave her, not in a condescending way, but because it is important that she know that I forgive her. I told her that with all the truth out and the honest remorse the issue is now closed, in my opinion. I again stressed that the amnesty period still runs (she responded there is NOTHING else to tell). I reassured her that her differences aren’t resented but rather enrich us and I will be more accepting and that I love her as she is.
We agreed that both of us tend to hear the other filtered through the behaviors and words of the past and that we tend to assume things are meant worse than they are due to this. We agreed to work on this. She no longer drinks during the day nor does she feel suicidal both of which were very good news! I stressed again that her being with this guy was wrong and nothing excuses it. I also stressed that I had hurt her, abandoned her, and pushed her away when she needed me most. This didn’t cause her to cheat but I damaged her and then put her in a vulnerable person. For this I asked her forgiveness. I stressed that some things in the past had to be dealt with lest we repeat the same mistakes but that the past is not and will not be the focus, rather the focus will be on the future. I told her that some things are worth the struggle and that to me she was worth the struggle.
She responded that in the midst of the terrible year she had she gave up on us. That this was a mistake. She acknowledges that the time she spent out was time stolen from me and our daughter. That this damaged her relationship with our daughter and with me. She thought she could find peace by staying away and that he was just someone to use, like a drug, to hide the pain but that he only made the pain worse. She says that entire period of her life was F’ed up, that she can’t undo the things she did wrong, but that she can try to solve the issues and make the right from now on.
I told her that nothing was so broken between us, between her and our daughter, or all of us that it can’t be repaired with time, love, and understanding. We agreed to also make our daughter a priority.
She told me that she loved me, for the first time since the abortion. She has said that she needs to let go of the bad, forgive, and that she has rediscovered that I am not this bad guy but that she loves me. I told her that I have done the same and feel the same now.
I stressed again that we needed total honesty, a commitment to each other, an agreement on how to handle conflicts and problems, removing toxins from our lives and from around us, to form boundaries together, and to each day find the things we love about each other and emphasize them (which doesn’t mean we ignore the bad but that we focus on the good).
This is where we stand right now.
Any help, suggestions, comments, advice …. It will be MUCH appreciated. I am sorry this was so long!
[This message edited by william at 7:11 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]
from 09/11 - 05/13
2 ONS, 10 sexting partners, 1 LT EA/PA
??/06/13 DD/1 - admits to LT EA, begin false R.
01/13/14 DD/2 - LTA was PA.
01/18/14 DD/3 - sexting 5 guys.
01/19/14 DD/4 - 2 ONS with different guys
Stop being a doormat and start making some demands that you don't let her talk you down on.
Look at it this way. Do you want to stay together with your W if she isn't all of these:
* Loves you
* Nice to you
* A wife
* Not blameshifting
Right now your wife is none of the above. Frankly she treats you quite badly from what you write.
Realy Think about what you want and need to heal and have a chance of regaining trust in your wife. Write that down and tell here that those are your demands. She either agrees and works very hard on that or you divorce. No buts, ifs or Changes to your possition.
If she is not on the train then she doesn't love you anyways.
I am so sorry you find yourself here with all the rest of us.
I've read your whole story and think that you are doing a lot of things right (but I am no expert and base my opinion on what I've read and how many things I've done WRONG!). I'm impressed by your ability to sit down with your wife and talk through things with a specific agenda and points to cover. I think it's excellent that you know when to "table" an issue that is getting too emotional. Revisiting it when you need to. You seem to have a good handle on what you need and expect in the reconciliation process.
Know that it will continue to be a jagged path. I think of it as a graph of the stock market. Lots of ups and downs, periods of growth marked with moments of backsliding. Progress has to be measured by the overall trajectory. It seems like you know that already, but just know it will continue.
You seem to be very calm in your approach, judging by your written words. I can only imagine (projecting?) that you don't always feel so calm in real life? Be sure you are taking care of you: staying hydrated, eating, sleeping, exercising. You seem to have a good handle on the other aspects of this process, so I'm guessing you've heard that advice numerous times on other threads. Remember to do it for yourself.
My own experience with remorse is that it has come slowly. I think it is different for everyone. I think it may be an evolving thing for your wife. My impression is that for some WSs, it washes over them like a tidal wave, for others it is like a rising tide. I don't know if either is right or wrong, they are just different.
I am also of the belief that we need to look forward while learning to understand and accept our past. If you are an author, I would think you may also be a reader... Perhaps a book like "the Five Love Languages" might be helpful to you and your wife. It is a very simple concept, but has really impacted our understanding of each other. It is really helpful (IMHO) to work on showing love for each other while working through the R process.
I wish you the best. Wiser souls than me will be along shortly, I'm sure, with other insights and advice. Keep posting. There are a lot of people here who understand, care, and would like to help.
7 months ago i found out my wife cheated on me. Yesterday I discovered she had lied about the scope of the affair.
During this 7 months I have come to terms with the fact that she stole a pear, last night she admitted she also stole an apple - bad analogy I know, but the important point to me is that she stole rather than what exactly she stole.
I also say this realizing that it is still sinking in and that there is a LOT of rage bubbling under the surface. It may really bother me tomorrow that she also had sex with him but the fact that she gave her heart to him for 6 months bothers me much more right now. I don't know how I will feel tomorrow.
I do know that eventually the affair can't be the central glue of the relationship. EVERYONE, eventually, has to either put it into a box or give up on the relationship. I say that with absolutely no disrespect to anyone struggling with this.
You don't believe that she was sufficiently
* Loves you
* Nice to you
* A wife
* Not blameshifting
May I ask WHY?
My demands are non-negotiable and are as follows: - absolute honesty with no concealment or secrecy
- a commitment to us and our marriage
- no contact with this guy
- a remorseful apology?
- an acknowledgement that cheating is wrong and unacceptable.
- mutually agreed upon boundaries (which I fully expect to heavily influence the forming of) that define what is and isn't acceptable behavior.
A violation of any of those demands = divorce with no further chance of reconciliation.
Sorry for your pain. Gently, is there any chance she was already pregnant(OM) when she had sex with you?
Keep posting, you will find a wealth of wisdom here.
Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then --- Bob Seger
Thank you. The club no one wants to join ...
I write everything down and then refuse to deviate from my list. In the past arguments evolved into the kitchen sink and we would discuss 200 things with no resolution. Now I tell her that we can discuss her stuff later and I am happy to do so but that I will not respond to or discuss anything other than the point in front of us. This is new from me and it infuriates her but seems effective because we do actually resolve stuff. Maybe she will learn to love the approach as she sees it working, who knows. I figure I put up with enough that she can tolerate me writing a list on the computer, and then writing down an overview of her response, and then my response to that, and so on. It also helps clarify exactly what is said and the meaning of what is said. She came over to read the responses and to "correct" a few, which I found to be positive.
I learned in the military to ignore the stress, do a task properly, and then move on to the next task. Otherwise known as anal retentive.
The first 3-4 months I was a nervous wreck. I had to come to terms with her cheating. It destroyed me. Now ... I don't know why it doesn't bother me more right now that she also had sex with him. I guess because I had already come to terms with her cheating. For me the fact she F'ed him is important but not as important as the fact that she lied and said she didn't immediately after swearing to maintain complete honesty in our relationship. THAT really bothers me. Look me in the face, promise you recognize the importance of the truth, promise to tell the truth, and then lie. ARGH!!
I also suspect this will sink in and hit me hard sooner or later. Right now I feel numb and actually quite calm and collected. However, I can feel an ocean of rage under that.
I try to take care of myself but honestly am doing none of those things. I will try harder. Thank you enough for caring!
I think my wife had lied to herself for a long time. I think my repeatedly stating that
- that her reasons were only justifications (even when I thought "only" an emotional affair) for doing the inexcusable and unjustifiable
- that I KNEW she had to feel guilt and shame and that she lied to herself and me to avoid facing that.
- that it would not just disappear and that I would not accept anything less than a full statement of remorse (which I got out of the healing library actually).
I think she KNEW it was wrong, was in denial, had to confront it, and once the BS was revealed the horror of her situation broke her. Deep down she IS a good person that did bad. The bad had to bother her. I don't know everything about her (obviously and especially after this) but I do know that.
I will find the book and read it. Thank you!
Actually your advice has been good and I thank you. Stick around and watch the implosion of my sanity.
I am so sorry for you! I'm not happy but I knew I couldnt forgive without remorse or move on. I am not sure 100% if I am content with the remorse I got but I told her I was so I guess I better be. My changing yardsticks on her now wouldn't be fair either.
I KNOW nothing she did excuses what she did.
I also know that when she needed me i discarded her, ignored her, and gave her nothing.
I didn't cause the affair and I am not responsible for it. She owns that mess. However, I am not without guilt in the destruction of our marriage before the affair. In effect I threw her out on the street and then wonder why she stole. The stealing is wrong. Always. However, I bear partial responsibility for the state of our marriage that left her vulnerable.
I am watching her like a hawk. Are there any actions you would suggest to watch especially for?
NO. The dates don't match and ours do. I thought about that.
Otherwise known as anal retentive.
Look me in the face, promise you recognize the importance of the truth, promise to tell the truth, and then lie.
However, I can feel an ocean of rage under that.
she lied to herself and me to avoid facing that
Stick around and watch the implosion of my sanity.
I love analogies. I recently saw one on SI that helps me. We were bankrupt and my WS chose to rob a bank. No matter my level of culpability in our state of bankruptcy, my WH made the decision to rob the bank. He convinced himself this was the best/easiest/only solution. He even told himself he was doing me a "favor" and that I would be happy we were no longer bankrupt. He needs to figure out why. Especially, if one day, he walks into a bank and the vault is open, the guards are gone, and the risk of being caught are low. I need him to know exactly why he will never rob another bank, whether we are bankrupt or rolling in dough. That's when I will start to feel safe. It's okay and even helpful to realize the part you played in the bankruptcy. Keep earning more money and watch your spending. But never take responsibility for "making" her rob the bank. That's on her.
First, you feel what you feel. Some have a toughter time with the emotional cheating than the physical. I'm not at all arguing with you about how you should feel in this regard. What you feel is the truth for you. And francly I tend to agree with you.
As to your question WHY
Your wife, from what you write, doesn't seem to own her Sh1t! She downplays every bad thing she has done. Balmes it on you. Won't apologize, Shows no remorse. She might do a half harted apology but unless your wife is realy begging you, Crying on her own and in front of you etc... she is not remorsefull and basically doesn't regret what she did. Therefore she also doesn't love you. All this behaviour she shows for me does like she treats you like c*ap. Also again not the way somebody that loves you would treat you.
I know a lot of people here on Si and other forums do speak a lot about the affair fog and such but I kind of do not agree with that. Yes you might have butterflys and act a bit crasy when you are in the initial stages of a relationship but you still know right from wrong. Basically I Think it is a cop-out used by a lot of people. But thats me...
Regarding your demands they are a good start I Think. One thing I don't like though:
- a remorseful apology?
She needs to heartfully apoplogize to you for the rest of her Life. You are, if you stay together, gonna trigger for the rest of your Life. You will get less and less of these triggers but they will Always occur. Also a remorsefull WS would do this 10-20 times a day early on and still keep doing it for a very long time.
I would add full transparency to your list. You get all her passwords and are allowed to check them whenever you want. It's upp to you if you want to though. She lets you know what she is doing where she is going who she is meeting etc. This is for her to earn back your trust. A remorsefull WS does this willingly.
Read a few other threads and the healing library here to figure out what you need from your wife. Everybody is different. Some needs GPS tracking, phone records, Daily checking of phone and emails and comparing that to phone records. But you need to figure out yourself what you need.
But please whatever you do don't put anything in a box. You are gonna suffer for it later on. It's the duty of the WS to help the BS difuse the anger/pain/sorrow. She needs to let you vent, she needs to let you ask her the same questions 100 times if you need. She needs to show empathy when you cry she needs to take your angry outbursts, and yes ther will be those and she needs to do all of this without blamshifting or showing anger.
Your wife is nowhere near the Place she needs to be. She wants to sweep it under the carpet. What she basically is saying is "Get over it and lets move on".
I should have said watch her actions or lack of action. Do her words match her actions.
This is the key!
I've taken some things and added them to my list of "points"
The requirement for access to all email accounts, the phone, etc with passwords for instance has been added with the notice that changing them or having secret accounts or phones will be considered a deliberate violation of our honesty and transparency promise and due to the deliberate nature of the violation it will end our reconciliation.I have also included a demand of no deleting anything, moving it to spam is okay but deleting it is not. Further, the fact I "could" see something doesn't mean I have and does not absolve her from having to tell anything that is vital to our relationship.
I've also started to define what "in the box" means.
For instance, I understand they had sex but do not want to know things like spit/swallow, who did what to whom, or things like that. I acknowledge she has remorse and it is sincere. Those things can go in the box now.
Some things are not in the box yet but will go there when I can find closure on them - who initiated the affair, despite interest & availability & opportunity to have sex much more often than they did why "only" 4-6 times (this was something that I wondered when it was believed to be "only" an EA - why not sex - so now that I know it was a PA ... why not more sex). When did the relationship move from emotional to physical? I don't need or want lots of details but do need this information to eventually move on.
Some things I do not want to know now I may want to know later. If and when I do I expect to be told and they can go in the box too.
Some things will never go in the box - requirements of honesty, passwords, commitment, etc.
Some things that I think are in the box will pop out later.
We spent last night playing Chinese checkers and backgammon. We didn't discuss the problems we face. I can't handle discussing them every day.
Some people doesn't want to know every details some do. If you don't want to know the details then tell her so and don't ask those questions. That's fine and up to you.
You should never put anything in a box though. You never know when or if you need to ventilate or ask more questions. In a few years you might even need to know all the details. Don't commit to filing things away to never be brought upp again. You need to be able to ventilate/discuss/bring upp anything at some later time and I Think it is very important for your own Health and successfull R.
So you should add this demand to your
requirements. You are allowed to bring upp anything related to the affair at any Point in time for the rest of your relasionship if you feel that you need to discuss it. THis doesn't mean that you should do that everyday all the time. A good idea is, once enough time pass, to set aside a few hours every week where you are allowed to bring these things up. The rest of the week you do not.
Furthermore, you are making a very black and white situation into a huge gray mess. You are overloading yourself with too much information that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. And that is she has slept with another man and lied to you on multiple occasions. Try and keep your focus on that tidbit for the time being. All this collateral nonsense needs to be pushed to the side and concentrate on the core problem. I know you think that your situation is a unique one, but the simple fact is that it is not. In fact its very typical of a standard affair. Something the forty thousand plus members here at SI have experienced. And in your defense we have all thought the same way you are thinking. But we have come to realize that there are certain things that work and there are those that don't. And your plan simply will not work. Here are some stone cold, tie tested truths. You can not change her, you can not nice her, love her, buy her, negotiate her etc. back into the M. She will see all of these as signs of weakness. And a WS thrives on a weak BS. She will walk all over you like a cheap rug. She has already started with the blame game and consuming you with all sorts of nonsense. Simply put she is a cake eater. All these deals and timelines do is give her more time to see the OM. All the while your holding out hope and trying to do the right thing at home. Basically holding down the fort, while she gallivants all over town.
What will work is hard truths and consequence. She has broken her vows to you and her child. She has blown the family unit apart and must be held accountable. Do not give her 6 months to decide what she wants. Tell her that she must decide now what she wants for herself. Force her to make a decision of you or the OM. If she cant decide you make the decision for her. Show her cheating ass the door and send her packing to the OM. That's right, let him have her. But keep in mind that when she goes so does all the benefits of being M. That means no emotional, financial, physical etc. support from you. She is on her own and now must live with the consequences of her decision. Slam the door and change the locks cause Alice does not live here anymore. Naturally she will run to OM. But do you really think he wants her ? Sure he may have told her he does. But think about this for a minute. Right now he gets to bang a M woman. One who he does not have to deal with all the time. He does not have to make a financial or emotional effort with her cause she is giving up the goods for free. And you my man are picking up the tab for his pleasure. More likely he is going to run for the hills leaving her all alone with her decision. He will just move on the next M woman and continue his immoral ways. Chances are he probably has a few going at the same time. So your WW is really nothing special. And she needs to live that scenario. She needs to feel and experience it firsthand. While this is going on you need to start thinking about your own well being. Protect yourself and your child legally, emotionally and physically. Your own healing must take priority now.
Its time to man up Marine. You know better then to negotiate with terrorists. Chances are good that she will come running back with her tail between her legs begging for forgiveness. If you are inclined to take her back make sure you have some rather firm boundaries that need to be observed. With some rather harsh consequences should she cross them. And to be honest you might not even want her back after all the shit she pulled. And there is nothing wrong with that. She is the one who made the choice to cheat. And she must live with those choices. R is a gift that is offered by the BS to the WS. A gift that should not be given lightly and without much thought. Her mindset right now is that what your offering is her right. But that simply is not the case. And she must understand that she lost all her marital rights when she chose to bang another guy. I apologize if I was too blunt, its not my intention to cause you further harm. On the contrary, I'm actually pulling for you dude. It pisses me off to no end when I see a brother going down the same road I did. Semper Fi !!!!!
I absolutly fucking hate the part of A's where she goes out to bars till 3:00am if they come home at all. My WWF did this to me while I waited up for her looking out the window like a puppy.
180D her ass now! Dont look back.
Maybe just maybe she will come crawling back crying and begging. When she does, show her no mercy.
Good point about things popping out of the box. I will make sure that I clarify this point with her.
I can appreciate that is confusing for you, it sure as heck is for me. I also appreciate the blunt reply.
-Her affair ended about 8 months ago. It was voluntary and I did not know about it at the time.
-D-Day 1 (emotional affair admitted) was about 7 months ago and followed by Reconciliation 1 which also included a no-contact agreement.
-We had sex about 6 months ago.
-She received confirmation that she was pregnant about 4 months ago and had the abortion about 3 months ago. Reconciliation 1 ended during this time period.
- Reconciliation 2 began about 1 week ago. D-day 2 occurred a day or two after (that emotional affair was also a physical affair).
After admitting to an emotional affair my wife stopped going out at night. She blocked him on her phone at least 6 weeks before we had sex. I KNOW that she had regular periods for the months before we had sex. No Stockholm Syndrome but we HAD discussed long before her going off the pill but then we fell into a silent period between us and never discussed it again; I had assumed that she hadn’t actually done so and she assumed that I knew she had. I honestly believe it was an honest mistake because as soon as I came inside of her, she completely panicked and NO ONE is that good of an actress. We discussed a morning after pill but it was not possible due to the difficulties of obtaining it here in Italy (Catholic country). She had her period a few days later but then missed the next one. Hospital trips were scheduled, the hospital had her come some weeks later to take a pregnancy test, it came up positive, and a month or so later she had an abortion.
Conceivably it is “possible” that this pregnancy was from the other guy but extremely unlikely. Again, no denial but the facts make it so. She hasn’t gone out. Her whereabouts are known. The only possible time period she could have seen him would have been at lunch. Time makes it impossible for her to have gone to his house and where she works makes it impossible to have some tryst in a car or behind some bushes or whatever. Those aren’t possibilities. It is possible that he booked a hotel but even that is unlikely for several reasons (she had voluntarily shown me his unread messages and her sent box to show me that she hadn’t replied to them which then escalated to blocking him, their affair had voluntarily ended months ago, Italy isn’t America and bringing a guest to a hotel and checking is not a quick process – for instance they need to photocopy the identification and send it to Interpol, etc). It is “possible” but again, I believe it to be extremely unlikely.
Further, all evidence does point to it having been me. I have seen the papers from the hospital, we had unprotected sex during her peak pregnancy period, and of course there is the matter of the periods.
I realize that this is something that I should look at closely and I have looked into it with a deeply suspicious eye. However, I am convinced that it was me.
I wasn't very clear on the timeline and the details of the pregnancy. I apologize for the confusion. My initial post was really long and I was a bit afraid that if I gave ever more details it would get so long that no one would be willing to read it all and offer help. Mea Culpa.
3: No contact
The no-contact has been in effect since reconciliation 1. It includes no contact between them, no messages or information about either to the other passed by friends, and any contact will immediately be disclosed.
She claims he is still blocked. I have not yet asked for passwords, access to phone, etc. I will and will check to ensure that it is being kept. She has not gone out of the house at night since reconciliation 1 so it is impossible for her to have met him out. It is possible that he came to her work but she claims that it has not happened.
One of her friends did go to a club, see him there, and sent her a text stating “guy X was at the club tonight”. She disclosed this information to me one week after receiving the text claiming that she did not see it as important. I have told her I do not believe her when she told me “she didn’t think it was important” because I KNOW she knew it was important because we agreed that it was, that this is a violation of the no contact agreement and the agreement to honesty, it was choosing herself, her lies, her secrecy, and her relationship with guy X over our relationship and that it would not be tolerated. She has again re-committed to immediate disclosure, has again sent warnings to her friends to stop passing information, and has agreed that any friend that does so again will result in either that friendship being severed or I will end the reconciliation and file for divorce.
I am unsure why you believe that she is still with the other man and me. I would NEVER tolerate this.
She divulged that she had been engaged in an emotional affair that had ended about a month ago. We discussed divorce and decided instead on reconciliation. We agreed on a no contact.
But I was very unprepared. I had not researched things online, not found this site, etc. I still believed that the affair was “only emotional” and had to come to terms with this. I stupidly agreed early on that we had to stop talking about emotional affair and get over it. It took me several months to do so. Sometimes I would ask questions but mostly I dealt with it on my own.
I made Alot of mistakes possible during this time in how I dealt with this, in how I chose to sweep it under a rug, and in how I allowed our relationship to be defined (more on that in reconciliation 2).
The abortion traumatized us and we withdrew from each other. Reconciliation one sputtered into failure about 4 months ago.
Reconciliation 2 began about one week ago. This time I was much better prepared. I had researched affairs, found this site, read relationship advice, and had thought long and hard about what I would (and wouldn't accept) and what I would require.
I had several requirements that were non-negotiable. We discussed them in this order. The first night we spent about an hour and made it as far as remorse before the conversation ended. We skipped a night and then discussed them again, starting from the beginning again and working our way through the list. D-Day 2 occurred on this second discussion. In order to avoid confusion I will put the resolution to the points as they come BUT it is important to realize that some of the positions within these points have evolved during the multiple discussions on them. A good example is the remorse. At first our conversations about remorse involved “only” an emotional affair” but once the physical affair was revealed then they began to encompass that as well.
- Agreement to total honesty and transparency within our relationship and regarding all information that impacts or is vital to our relationship.
Agreement. However, the true details of the affair were not divulged at this time. We have agreed that this includes attraction to others and temptation.
- Continuation of the no-contact rule.
Agreement and assurance that the contact had ended and would not be resumed. It came out AFTER these discussions that a few days before them a friend had sent a text stating that she had seen the OM at the club. I was livid that it took a week to reveal this. She tried to justify but finally owned up that it was wrong. She has agreed to, again, tell her friends that this is unacceptable and that a repeat of this behavior will result in a severing of the friendship. I have also informed her that if she does not sever the friendship then I will file for divorce and that if she tries to hide it then I will view that as a violation of our honesty agreement and will file for divorce.
-No resumption of this affair or other affairs would ever be tolerated. Agreement.
-Remorse (as defined by the healing library).
At first I got justifications and blame shifting. Stuff you all have heard yourselves – our relationship was dead to me, I was sad and alone, I don’t think it was wrong because …, etc. Then I got the partial justifications – ok, it was wrong BUT …. . Two days ago I got complete and genuine remorse. Displays of it have continued since. I do not believe that she has hit her peak of remorse yet but I do believe that the walls of lying, self deception, cognitive dissidence, etc are crumbling and now she is facing the stark horror of what she has done without the BS to prop her up.
- An amnesty period of 7 days was offered during which any dishonesty could be revealed (with the clear understanding that revealing it did not mean instant forgiveness but rather as a part of total honesty and transparency) with the understanding that ANY contradictory or substantially different facts coming to light after this period expired would automatically end the reconciliation and that I would file for divorce.
She immediately erupted into anger and told me to assume whatever and that this reconciliation would never work because I couldn’t let go of the past. Finally she admitted that the affair was physical. The details she admitted are as follows: they always wore condoms, there were a total of 4-6 sexual encounters, definitely 2 of her friends knew of the affair and it is likely that a 3rd has figured it out but that no one else knows, and the only sexual encounters were at his house.
I find this incredibly painful, am upset that it was not revealed earlier, but am willing to accept these as facts and reconcile.
The amnesty period is not over. It is possible more sh1t comes bubbling out during out. If so I am still willing to accept these as facts and attempt to reconcile.
We have agreed that any facts coming out after the amnesty that substantially differ (sex much more than 4-6 times, sex anywhere other than his house such as in our car, a definition of EVERYTHING included in the word “sex” aka handjobs, bj’s, fingers, etc) or substantially contradict the facts provided (more than one affair, etc) will result in me filing for divorce.
- Marriage and individual counseling.
- The need to agree upon strong boundaries in our behavior with each other and others.
- A right to privacy within our marriage
I believe that opening a window into our marriage is dangerous. I offered counselors and one close friend of the same sex (with strong morals, not opposed to our marriage, and who did not condone her relationship with guy X). She believes that she has many close friends and wants to feel free to discuss issues with them. We agreed to continue discussing this.
I have not yet but will inform her at our next talk that I have an anonymous forum online that I will keep anonymous from her for now, ask her if this is acceptable for her, get her agreement not to snoop (I control the home pc and hide the tracks to the forum), and will ask her if she is willing LATER to also come to the forum and participate in the wandering spouses section and in agreement with the rules of the forum.
- Removal of people and places from our lives that are toxic.
I require her to sever relations with the people that she met at the club. She has agreed but with two exceptions (both women that are close friends). I can accept this and we are in agreement.
I want her to sever all friendships that involved inappropriate flirting or dirty talk. She claims this has never happened. I intend to bring up the fact that this DID happen at least once and it led to an affair and that she probably does have some friends who have expressed interest and that leaving them as friends is dangerous because she has proven that in some circumstances she can’t resist temptation on her own. I will also make clear that concealing this information will be considered a violation of our honesty agreement and will end the reconciliation. We are still in discussion and have not resolved this issue.
I require her to remove all people from our lives who are opposed to our marriage, have shown that they are interested in violating the boundaries of our marriage, or are otherwise harmful. She agrees but says there is no one like this. We are still in discussion and have not resolved this issue.
I require her to remove all people from our lives that are cheaters or believe that it is okay to cheat from our lives. I believe that it creates an unhealthy and risky moral environment. She believes that she is strong enough to avoid influences from others. She counter offered that all those who cheat in the future we could discuss and decide mutually what to do. I agreed that this is sufficient for the future. Our next discussion will be tonight and I plan on pointing out that she has proved she is not strong enough to avoid temptation alone, that we both need a strong support network that refuses to condone cheating and will call out unacceptable behavior. We need to remove those who have cheated from our lives. Obviously this is tricky because there are different degrees and also some people cheated in the distant past (in high school, for instance). We need to define this and will probably have to go case by case. This is still unresolved.
- Conflict resolution
We have committed, again, to the time out method and agreed that calling time out doesn’t bury an issue forever but that we need to resolve them.
- commitment to the reconciliation and the marriage
During reconciliation one I heard that she was scared of me because of what I had done in the military and have also heard that she is committed to the reconciliation but is unsure of commitment to the marriage.
During reconciliation two I told her that this is unacceptable. If one or both of us are not committed than the reconciliation had zero chance. She has told me that she is committed to the reconciliation and the marriage. I intend to ask her again to ensure that this is indeed the case. The six months is a period I gave in which I stated that I will ask her again at that point in time and then I will decide what I need to do from there. Sorry for being unclear. Sometimes it is very difficult to be clear when your heart has been scraped out with a spoon.
- Integrating me into her friends network and creating a whole new network of common friends .
- More time together
Black and white:
She admits that she is 100% to blame for having an affair, that no matter what the state of our marriage she chose to have an affair and that nothing within our relationship justified or allowed this gross violation of our oaths, that her affair has greatly complicated our reconciliation, that her affair has caused massive damage to our relationship and our family (including our daughter who does not know about it but does know that mamma was out instead of at home), that she is responsible for the damage this affair has caused, that she is deeply sorry for this affair, that it will never happen again, and that she will have to WORK to heal all of the damage she has caused.
Before the affair there were lots of problems in our marriage. These problems did not cause the affair. These problems did weaken the marriage. These problems still exist. They need to be resolved too and can’t just be swept under the rug. Some were her fault, some mine, some both of us, etc. There is plenty of blame here for both of us to wallow in.
Finally, she does not have contact with the other man. That is ended. She is not blame shifting anymore. That period lasted throughout the first reconciliation and until our first deep talk in the second reconciliation. She is willing to provide any information or help I need to help.
I think she is facing some serious personal demons right now because of her behavior. I know facing those demons is hard on her, the best thing for us … but it still hurts to know she is in pain too.
I want you all to know that your help is invaluable. Please do not hesitate to call me out on bs nor to tell me when you think I wrong. I need you all to do this. Thanks!
[This message edited by william at 7:21 AM, March 19th (Wednesday)]