D-Day was a couple weeks ago. I was setting up some software for her, and had to check her email. A message preview from a guy had something about meeting when nobody else is around, I clicked it, searched for other messages, and found sexy pic exchanges. Immediately confronted.
They work together, and were exchanging risque pics and hyper-sexually-explicit talk: I'm going to do this to you, you're going to do this to me, and specifically calculating how to execute and hide it. In the past couple business days they had taken it physical, making out in conference rooms and cars. The day after D-Day, their office was going to open late, and they were going to go in early. To have an hour or two to themselves.
I can get into the timeline and the backstory and all of that, but I'm not sure it's necessary for this part - it was on a collision course. It was a plan. She admits that it was headed more physical, specifically her performing oral sex on him. What's worse, they were (coincidentally) scheduled to go on the same business trip for multiple nights in a beautiful location a couple weeks later.
So she didn't do it, but many parts of it were as close to done as any of us can see. Whether she breaks down afterward, I don't know. I could maybe see us surviving that? Maybe. I don't see us surviving the hotel. And that was the plan too, and they were excited about it.
In some ways, I feel it might have been better for her to consummate and break down before the trip, because I wouldn't feel like my marriage was potentially saved by dumb luck, and because it would be easier for her to internalize the gravity of her actions. She's there, she "understands," there's NC, beginnings of remorse, all of that. Very positive steps. But it still makes it more difficult for us to empathize with each other, because the decision is almost all of what matters to me, while the (lack of) execution still has quite understandable value for her. Especially as a woman.
Any tips for approaching what in all likelihood would have happened, and not just what did? Together and individually.
My WH did a similar thing with a co-worker. They began talking about how they liked it and asking one another if they were sweet on each other. I believe 100% it would have gone PA had I not stopped it, if I even did. He sent her a NC e-mail a couple of days after I confronted but they continued casual contact for months. I kept having to reinforce NC. It was awful. I never felt at peace until he found another job.
In response to changing jobs, she's very marketable, but in an imminent launch position - literally weeks away from a 1-2 level promotion. I believe she's committed to NC, and based on her response neither of us terribly fear an infidelity relapse with him or others. But I guess I still can't predict the future on how I'll respond to his continued presence. Or her, for that matter, in terms of discomfort. She doesn't have much forced interaction with him now, and the other positions would both require even less, but it's still likely that they won't be able to fully avoid each other.
But he's not there. When she had the NC talk, they discussed the trip, and he volunteered to drop out immediately. Which was an especially bold step for him, as it's work-awkward, home-awkward, and even more family-awkward as both he and his father had plans and tickets to extend it from a business trip into a father-son vacation. If he hadn't cancelled, my wife would have, and it wouldn't have been great for the just-mentioned promotions.
Her mother flew in from out of town to help me with the kids, and to make it so the house wasn't empty otherwise. We still had an edge-of-the-cliff, should-she-stay-or-should-she-go moment right as the airport deadline approached. And it's been up and down. But still more up than down.
And I'm 100% with you on the premeditation versus the act itself. I feel like a drunken, full-blown one night stand would have been infinitely easier for me to process than months of buildup and betrayal. But I look around, and see multi-year affairs, multiple affairs, and all of that, and think I'm still among the luckier of the unlucky. Cold comfort, but still some comfort when it comes to visualizing reconciliation.
How do you know he didn't go? Who told you he cancelled? Your WW? How can you independently verify that?
How do you know they didn't already get physical?
There is an unwavering constant when dealing with the initial revelation and confrontation after an A:
Cheaters Lie. Every time.
They lie to save, face, to save you pain or just because its hard to speak the truth. The initial admission is ALWAYS less than what really happened. Worst of all they lie to protect the AP and save their fantasy.
You cannot trust what she tells you and you most certainly cannot trust the POSOM to do anything honourable.
[This message edited by Twitchy at 1:17 PM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]
Away you will go, sailing in a race among the ruins.
If you plan to face tomorrow, do it soon. Gordon Lightfoot
How do you know he didn't go? Who told you he cancelled? Your WW? How can you independently verify that?
ohhh ^^^ this
I don't believe her.
I would be very suspicious.
I don't want you to feel bad, but cheaters have a way of fooling us BS's....initially.
Welcome to SI, I know it sucks to have to be here, but it's a great place to be.
As for the severity, I simply believe her, and she is terrible at lying. If I had randomly asked, "are you having any kind of an affair right now?" any time after it got real-ish I'm dead-certain she would have cracked. But I also believe that my entire world is upside-down right now, and trust in odds and collective experience, so I'll press some more anyway.
Relevant ancedote: when I confronted her, I asked, "are you having an affair with a guy named [John Doe]?" She froze and said, "what?" and I told her I saw something in her email and repeated the question. As far as she got to any kind of denial was saying, "oh great so now you're looking through my email?" That faux-outrage lasted all of 2-3 seconds, and then she spilled her guts. The meeting email was merely suggestive, not overt, and well within the domain of plausible deniability. There were pics from him in *other* emails of course, but she had room, and couldn't/wouldn't deny anything.
Good looking out though, I appreciate the consideration and will act on it.
There are so many levels of betrayal when a spouse cheats. In my case, the initial story was a FAR cry from the truth (e.g. he said they kissed only. The final version was that they were naked kissing in bed), I got a lot of TT (trickle truth); there was also the fact that he was going to leave on my daughter's birthday to go be with her (he claimed he didn't realize it was her birthday and would have cancelled the get together once he did), and the fact that the naked kissing happened while he was in another state with our kids who he ditched with his parents and I was home studying texting him to tell him how much I missed them
There is more, but you get the idea. My point is that there is always a lot of levels to the betrayal. I dealt with the what would likely of been, as something that did. He wanted to have sex with her, he lied to me so he could, he planned it, bought her a nice bottle of wine, and ditched our kids. The fact that he failed to perform the first night and was prevented from meeting her for the second, doesn't matter. Like your WS, mine holds on very tight to the fact that he didn't have sex; but he has had to come to understand that a) I don't believe him; and b) the distinction he is looking for isn't much of one when you look at all of the different betrayals present there.
I do agree with the others that you should be prepared for more information. Don't accept that you have the truth. The selfishness and compartmentalizing that allow cheaters to cheat in the first place also lets them rationalize lying about it afterward ostensibly to protect you the BS, but really to protect themselves.
The only thing I can hold on to is that those things didn't happen- even if they were planning on making them happen, it didn't get that far. It is precious little comfort but it's all I really have to hold on to.
Take you time to understand what has all happened, this can all seam like everything is moving increadibly fast when you first find out.
There are all kinds of affairs, how you best handle them depends on the affair and the people involved. Your particular situation is I think one of the most difficult to deal with. Right now you may think thankgoodness I caught her BEFORE she actually did it. My guess is at some point during the healing from this you will wish she went to that hotel and you found out after she did what she was going to do.
Be on guard, don't let her get a single point for actually not having sex. She does not get credit for that - if you try to R with her you need to approach it like she would have done what she was planning on doing. If you let her sidestep fully dealing with having an affair and put an * by it she will not do all the work she needs to do for it to be a successful R. If she tries to get credit for not actually having sex, go tell her to rebook that hotel room and then you can talk.
But I look around, and see multi-year affairs, multiple affairs, and all of that, and think I'm still among the luckier of the unlucky.
My WW had a 12+ year affair. I wouldn't trade spots with you at all. 12+ year affairs often stop with a snap of the fingers - your roller coaster is just beginning.
Before having deal with an affair we no so little about them and much of what we think before turns out to be incorrect.
She has been very candid about where she thinks it would have likely gone (her performing oral sex on him in a car or conference room), and where it would have been hard for her to imagine it going (him performing oral sex on her, or having sex). They were confined to work spaces, didn't want to use the respective homes, and couldn't admit to themselves what they were doing by getting a hotel room.
She's also terrified of STDs (I encountered this fear of hers when our relationship got physical), and had drawn an arbitrary line of "respect" that she wouldn't expose me to whatever might happen as a result of vaginal intercourse. BUT, even she admits that, had it gotten to the hotel, all bets might have been off (with him using a condom). But that was presuming she passed the first "test" of making it physically sexual, and both of us could see how that might have made her collapse.
The affair escalated to sexting for 2-3 weeks, and during this period she was sleeping terribly and constantly in the restroom. There was rampant illness in the house with the kids and such, and them sleeping horribly, so I didn't think of it as a cue. I've seen first-hand how guilty she feels when she gets physical "too early," her STD fears, etc. Her horrible direct lying skills. I can see all of it adding up to some kind of collapse, but maybe not. It's why "the trip" is such a landmark issue for me: that's the altar where she, in graduated form, could have sacrificed our entire marriage.
Just to add one more complication, assuming that you reconcile with your wife, you have another problem. Affairs, even unconsumated ones, almost never occur all by themselves. Your wife is unhappy with something in your marriage. It may not even be you. It may be something that she's mentioned a dozen times that you've ignored as minor.
In the spirit of cooperation in the reconciliation, try to find out what the problem was and fix it in some way or other. If you do not do this, you may be setting up a repeat of this affair with someone else.
Your D-Day sounds a lot like my own, complete with accidental discovery via computer and a quick showing of remorse.
One of the key things that has helped my wife and I heal, both ourselves and our marriage, is to keep communicating. We'd fallen out of the habit, once our kids were born, and even the kid-free time wasn't so much "alone together" as it was "alone, together" if that makes any sense. So post-D-Day we talked a lot. If the emotional rollercoaster dropped, we talked/called/texted. If the rollercoaster went up, we did the same. My wife was 100% available for me, and that was probably the most effective thing she did. There was no blame-shifting, or "yes, but..." on her part, just listening. And once the shock was done, she would do the same when her moods went crazy.
If you're like me, you may get obsessive over checking up on her online. That's alright and it's normal. It'll come and go, and even once things settle you may have days of paranoia. It's normal, if you can talk with your wife about it.
Now, I say to communicate a lot, the negative and positive. That doesn't mean, if you have doubts about your wife's honesty (and, honestly, who among us hasn't at this stage of infidelity discovery) it's alright to hold strategic stuff back, (For instance, I didn't tell my wife about how I'd positioned myself to have an advantage in a potential child-custody dispute until I was sure of her remorse and our healing) but if you're interested in reconciliation you need to be willing to risk a little bit.
I'm not much for hugs, too much midwestern guy in me, but head on over to the Menz thread in I Can Relate and we'll share a beer (or your choice of libation) with you.
And being a BH, with kids in the mix - part of my end (of the marriage problem, not the infidelity) is super-similar to yours, ascian. "Alone, together" summarizes that one element very well. And the custody-type thing too: I am getting a post-nuptual agreement drafted by pro-male lawyers, to insulate myself from an insult-to-injury type situation with a biased court system. She knows about it, and accepts it, although with understandable disappointment and fear. Fear for the relationship, not the outcomes - I'm really just looking to make it unbiased, not tilted in my favor.
And we are in a "radical openness" phase with regard to communication, which has really been wonderful.
[This message edited by obliquestrat at 3:15 PM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]
2-3 months later, I found out it was physical too.
I had a polygraph scheduled, when she came out with the physical piece.
Be 110% for sure that you know EVERYTHING!!!
If the AP has a SO, I would inform her as well.
Sorry you are here!!!
Research truth bias. You are inclined to believe whatever your WW tells you right now. Been there, done that. I wish I would have doubted my WW ALOT more than I did. You shouldn't believe anything your WW tells you right now. Trust, but verify.
A buddy of mine told me to put a GPS unit in my WW's car the week I found out about the texting (This was August). I said "She would never go to his house. She just got carried away with talking/texting. Plus, she's stopped." I thought I could read her just like you think you can read your WW. Mine too (I thought) was a terrible liar and had a guilty conscience. I was wrong. She came clean to everything I had evidence of and promised it would stop. She never called him on her personal phone again, but she was at his house 1-2 a week for months after that and lying about it all the time. Thank God I stumbled upon GPS records on her Google account, or I would have never known (this was November, she started going to OM's house in July, that I know of now).
I also made a crap ton of excuses for letting my WW continue with a non-profit activity the OM was involved in (similar to you with your WW's job). She assured me contact would be limited to the bare minimum. Wrong again there too my friend.
I would lay down a substantial sum of money that she has still been in contact with the OM. It doesn't just stop. You don't go from sexting to NC over night, ESPECIALLY when they work in the same building.
So, man, be careful. Trust, but verify for a long time. If I were you, I'd be snooping around and keeping tabs on her big time.
Hang in there brother.
[This message edited by RealityStinks at 3:41 PM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]
Your WW really needs to get herself to therapy to figure out why she would do such a shitty thing. A typical thing for WSs to do is to blame the marriage -- spark gone, you weren't paying enough attention to her, yadda yadda yadda. This is a hurtful and predictable first step. Because it couldn't be HER, oh no! "Successful" WSs go through a process where they start to understand how they are responsible for going down this road and what they can do to fix themeselves. No marriage is perfect, none of us is perfect. But cheating is never a solution, nor a constructive response. WS have to confront why they chose this destructive and cruel path rather than address any marital issues in a grownup way.
Good luck to you.