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richard69 posted 2/20/2014 23:54 PM

I met my wife 15 years ago. We both worked for a child protective agency and I took her to a children's shelter. She is really wonderful with children. She was so glowing and loving towards the children that I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Soon we were dating and within a year we were married. She was really my first and only love although I was her fifth husband.

She had two sons ages 5 and 15. I became a father to the 5 year old who had no relationship with his father. Now age 20, I consider him to be my older son. My wife and I had our own son now age 12.

Life was not always perfect as my wife had a lot of trauma in her past. She always seemed to be suspicious of me and at times seemed to get angry at me for no reason. I was patient with her and things would always work out. I always thought she had a wonderful heart and never thought she could be unfaithful to me.

In mid 2006, a man and his wife moved next to her mother's house. My wife became friend's with the man and soon began referring to him as "her best friend" which I didn't like but I didn't put a stop to it either as I trusted her. His wife started calling me complaining that they were having an affair. I told her my wife would never do that.

Eventually he separated from his wife. Soon there after there were too many weird things and I could no longer be in denial. My wife and I had a big falling out and we almost separated. She admitted to a sort of emotional affair but insisted it was never sexual. Eventually whatever relationship she had with the guy ended and he moved away. This was near the end of 2007. Since that time I think she has rededicated herself to our marriage and we have reconciled.

However, the questions kept nagging me for years of whether it was sexual. Last month I came up with an admitting bizarre but effective way to determine the truth. I found out that she had had a sexual affair with this man that lasted for a year.

She at first denied it and now refuses to talk about it. I am fairly devastated that she would do that to me as I always loved her so much. I don't suspect anything since then and don't want to break-up my family but I just don't feel comfortable with her anymore. She always was the most beautiful woman in my eyes and now I don't even want to look at her. My emotions have been a roller-coaster. One day I want to leave, the next day I want to stay. I'm so disgusted with her and so lost. I don't want to hurt my sons. I don't know what to do.

NeedingAdvice posted 2/21/2014 00:25 AM

Richard, I'm sorry to hear your story and I can certainly relate to your pain. I am probably not the best person to be administering advice as I am new to finding myself in this situation and new to this forum as well.

What I do know is that there are amazing people on here who share words of comfort and wisdom every day and I'm sure soon enough someone will be along with wise words to share.

I only found out about my own husband's ONS (which had occurred 10 years ago) in October last year. Like you, I was very much in love and in a happy marriage and was also shocked to hear the truth. What I can tell you is that I experienced the same roller-coaster of emotions. Even though I had decided virtually right away that I would stay, there have been several times over these past months where I have questioned myself as I have struggled to come to terms with the pain.

From my limited experience, the only advice that I can give is to give yourself time and space. Don't feel pressured to make any decisions right away - just focus on taking care of yourself.

My thoughts are with you.

lovehatelove posted 2/21/2014 00:34 AM

I am so sorry you are going through this Richard.. it's the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me.. never did I realize just how traumatic :(

I am going through the same roller coaster of emotions.. most of the time I want to leave and divorce the asshole.... I see divorce in my future, but something is stopping me from actually going through with it...

on other rare occasions I wanna stay bc I see the difference in him...

I wonder if she doesn't wanna talk about it bc she fears she would just hurt you more..?

hurtingfool posted 2/21/2014 02:39 AM

This roller coaster is one I wish I was too short to ride on. I know how you feel when you look at her, I'm the same. Then I catch glimpses of what she used to look like to me and it screws me up more. I get the uncomfortableness. I get the lost feeling. The questions that run through my head drive me nuts as well.

Read The Healing Library in the upper left. Look into IC and possibly MC. I've only been to one session of each so far, but getting it out there has really helped. Though I had wanted them, having my IC say he doesn't think I need meds to get through this has built up some confidence. If he had prescribed them, I would of happily taken them.

I am curious as to how you were able to determine the truth, being a bizarre but effective way

The doubts over a long period of time were there for me as well. Well still are. Take some time to think over things. I don't know what my time frame is, but I do know that I will feel when enough is enough. Of course, if she isn't wanting to work on it/help you heal, well, it's gonna be a problem.

I'm sorry you are here, but this is a good place to vent and get advice.

jb3199 posted 2/21/2014 06:02 AM

Sorry that you find yourself here, friend.

You are regretfully now on an emotional ride that you never asked to be on...and it can be quite brutal. But here is the one thing, the most important thing, that you need to not only understand, but believe through and through---her cheating is 100% her fault. Period. Do not in any way, shape, or form, accept any blame(condition of the marriage, your lack of attention, etc.) for her actions. This is all on her, and if she isn't willing to accept and understand that, then you will never return to a healthy marriage.

It really will boil down to (2) conditions to save the marriage: First, do you even want to attempt to save it? And second, is she truly remorseful?

The answer to the second question is easy---she is NOT remorseful. Not even a little bit.....YET. I emphasize the "yet", because it is rare that waywards are instantly remorseful. Yes, it does happen, but not that often. And the reasons are many, the most common being that they have allowed their boundaries and coping mechanisms to become so skewed, that their mindset is basically rewired. They very often have rewritten the marriage, lost respect for you, and often even despise you. It sounds ridiculous, but that is often EXACTLY what they have done....because how could they justify cheating if you and the marriage were great?

As to the my first question---whether you even want to attempt reconciliation---that may take a little time for you to answer clearly. Just like your wife's head is currently screwed up, so is yours...and it takes time for the immediate emotions to settle down. In my opinion, best way to decide if you want to reconcile or divorce, is when you get yourself to a mental place when fear is no longer a factor of staying or going. It is then that your CHOICE will be a clear and healthy one. So even is your mind and heart are screaming "STAY", it would be best if you didn't feel dependent upon that urge.

The goal here is for you to survive infidelity, and often that means divorce. And for the record, I am all for reconciliation, but only if it is a healthy, committed effort by both parties.

So take time to ask yourself what you really want. Besides the obvious, like having your "old" wife back, what do you really want? After you decide, and it may take some time, then don't be afraid to act.

You claim that you knew something was wrong years ago, and it hasn't stopped nagging you. That is what infidelity does---it stays planted in our minds, and until we learn to deal with it in a healthy manner, it will continue to spread, like a cancer. It has to be targeted, and acutely dealt with, to stop the toxic spread. And it often hurts to do so, but the pain is far less in the long run, when dealing with it head-on. Don't be afraid to push for the demand such. Don't compromise your integrity for the fear of a failed marriage. Please read in The Healing Library(yellow box in top left corner). Read the threads in this forum with the bullseye icons...they are normally on the first few pages. Read up on the 180....a detachment tool that helps you get some emotional clarity for making better judgements.....even though it seems counterintuitive. Read, post, read, and post some more---the more that we know, the more that we can help.

You are going to make it through this, but like I said, it isn't easy....obviously. But you will emerge with a stronger will and resolve, because that is what is going to be focused on.

Good Luck going forward, friend.

craig2001 posted 2/21/2014 06:22 AM

Richard, I am sort of confused. Did your wife ever admit to having sex with this OM?

The best way to get her to talk is to make her feel at ease to talk to you, which in this case could be much harder since it sounds like other issues causes her to have a trust problem in the first place.

Maybe discussing her past trauma issues would be a good place to start, somehow get over and through those so she can trust you.

Woman with childhood trauma really do carry this into their adult life and it can be very hard to deal with. Has she considered any type of MC or IC.

I am pretty sure just asking your wife wont get her to talk, she has to feel like she can talk to you with honestly. That is truly hard and hard for a BS to understand.

SeanFLA posted 2/21/2014 07:36 AM

She was really my first and only love although I was her fifth husband.

I'm sorry for what you are going through. Many times what appear to be EA's or crushes end up to actually be full blown PAs when the truth finally emerges...and it does eventually.

I read this above and frankly I'm a bit shocked that you haven't even talked about this. Guess my question you think this was a red flag to begin with? Why was she divorced FOUR previous times before you met her? Did she ever come clean with you to begin with? After all you only dated for a year prior to marrying her. I'd be curious to her reasons why she has four (now probably a fifth) failed marriages. Something is dreadfully wrong here...or is it just me? She walked away from FOUR other marriages. Really gentle here because I know you love her still, but what makes you think she wouldn't walk away from your's given her history? My feeling falls on "some people just aren't good at marriage" kind of concept.

I don't mean this to be insulting, but I think you need a 2x4 here and wake up. The woman I was seeing the last two years was married twice. From really understanding her now she had the personality of "it's my way or the highway". And now I believe I see why she's been divorced twice. They say it takes two to ruin a marriage, even before infidelity takes place. She can easily walk away from it I feel. She has a track record of two failed marriages. She's a very nice person but very stubborn and her needs come first in her mind. Mine are second if not dead last behind her 24 year old son even and I've had enough. Much like waywards. It's selfish to me and she refuses to address it and will say whatever's on her mind, regardless if it's hurtful to me. Then she expects me two hours later to forget about it and be all loving to her...not gonna happen. As such I have no desire in the future to marry this woman given these red flags. It would be a life of her hurting me, then her telling me everything is my fault. In two years she's never apologized to me once, for anything. I find that very strange and a huge red flag. I had enough of that with exWW and it drove me to suicidal thoughts.

Sounds to me your WW has serious underlying issues. You need to put your "She's still so beautiful" fog to the side, get her off this pedistal you have her on and see her for what she truly is....somebody who will lie, cheat on you and even expose you to STDs. It takes time to let it all sink in. But she isn't the person you think she is. Get into IC and let somebody help you realize that so you can move forward and make the best decisions you can for yourself. This woman needs to address her personal issues first before you can ever address your marriage.

[This message edited by SeanFLA at 7:38 AM, February 21st (Friday)]

richard69 posted 2/21/2014 08:57 AM

Thanks everyone for your support. It's a great deal of help.

To answer questions:

The bizarre way I found out the truth is I pretended to be someone else, a friend of hers who I suspected knew about the affair, and had a chat with her online. In the chat, she admitted the affair.

I know she had four failed marriages before me. She had childhood trauma and sexual abuse which leads her to have intimacy issues. I always knew this and have always been patient with her. She does have a wonderful heart- or so I thought- so I would always work things through. I just never expected infidelity as I thought she loved me.

Her previous record for a marriage was 4 years. We have been married for 14. I do think she recommitted to our marriage after the affair but I cant get past it. My friends range in opinion from "just get over it" to "leave her" but I don't know what to do.

Her attitude doesn't help. She's even told me that if it bothers me so much I can leave but she wants to be with me. She wont say any more. I need more from her for this to work out but she wont give it, at least not yet.

craig2001 posted 2/21/2014 09:04 AM

Her attitude doesn't help. She's even told me that if it bothers me so much I can leave but she wants to be with me. She wont say any more. I need more from her for this to work out but she wont give it, at least not yet.

That is not a good attitude. She does need to understand that she has problems from her past and that is most likely the reasons she goes out and has affairs.

Were affairs the reasons for her divorces?

It is time she gets to the bottom of her feelings and can be totally honest with herself.

At this time in her life, she needs to admit, what in the heck does she want in life.

Maybe talking this out in front of a MC would help. She doesnt sound like she wants to talk to you about any of this, and that means she is still unable to deal with or admit that she even has a problem.

SeanFLA posted 2/21/2014 10:06 AM

She's even told me that if it bothers me so much I can leave

Yes she's unremorseful. Maybe it's an exit affair. And like I said based on this, she'll just walk away because it's what she's ALWAYS done my friend. Here's a few of the most difficult things to comprehend and learn to accept:

1) She's 52. She's been through this already and it doesn't scare her whatsoever. She's set in her ways and isn't going to change. I heard exactly that from the woman I was dating. I'm 51 and I'm not going to change. But I didn't want to believe that. Well it's finally sunk in and I'm tired. I gave up. Let the next guy have her. I cannot fix this and I'm not going to get sucked in to the drawn out drama trying. I'm just not happy right now in this relationship so it's unhealthy for me and she doesn't seem to care. All it will do is make you bang your head against the wall and look at the barrel end of a gun you point at yourself.

2) This has nothing to do with you. You sound like a great guy and a great husband for putting up with all this to begin with. The question is when do you say it stops?

3) Like my exWW her issues stem from her childhood trauma (FOO issues). This stuff reads like poetry in the world of psychology according to my shrink. They choose to run away from it instead of facing it in IC and fixing themselves. And unfortunately when they run, we are the ones that get trampled. And they just don't care. Then they wonder why they go from relationship to relationship and can't "find" the right person who understands them. It's because they don't understand themselves to begin with.

One life lesson I've learned in this horrible experience is this...EVERYBODY regardless of whom they are have their own agenda. You can think you know a person and then they turn around and do the craziest, most selfish stunts on the planet and you cannot figure out why. It has nothing to do with you. It's because they have their own agenda as to what they view will make them happy. I know you don't know what to do, but I can tell you the unremorsefulness and constant pang in your stomach is going to be the death of you emotionally as a person. You will look back and wonder why you have now wasted so many years of your life trying to love somebody that really doesn't love you back. My only advice would to be to start separating yourself from her and detach. Yes the thought of it hurts, but so will be her affairs 100 times more down the road. She doesn't truly love you, at least not right now.

[This message edited by SeanFLA at 10:09 AM, February 21st (Friday)]

kalimata posted 2/21/2014 10:48 AM


You made the most common mistake that betrayed spouses do when hearing about an A: denial followed by rug-sweeping.

The fact that you didn't tackle this head-on in 2007 is leading to this issue being raised again. In your WW's mind the A is old-history.

But for you the pain is raw and still gaping. I know how you feel brother. You need to take the same basic steps as do all betrayed spouses: 1) Gather evidence 2) Expose 3) Confront.

Look in the healing library for the best ways to accomplish #1 to #3 above. Once you have effectively confronted her, come back here and post what she says. We can give you guidance on what to do next.

Stay strong brother.

norabird posted 2/21/2014 11:00 AM

She's even told me that if it bothers me so much I can leave but she wants to be with me. She wont say any more.

If she wants you to stay, she has to show you actions to back it up. She has to apologize, and explain, and be remorseful. That is HER work to do. Passively placing the burden of maintaining or ending the M on your shoulders is SO unfair to you.

richard69 posted 2/21/2014 20:06 PM

Thanks again for words of advice. They tend to reflect what my therapist told me. I myself am a social worker like my IC and she explained that she sees many social workers and therapists for marital counseling. She states we tend to marry people with traumatic backgrounds and try to "rescue them" but this never works as you cannot be someone's therapist and spouse at the same time. What tends to happen is that the therapist spouse suffers a lot and tends to excuse the other spouse's behavior due to the traumatic background. However, people have to be held responsible for their actions. She strongly suggested I consider leaving and stop suffering, especially if my spouse refuses to take responsibility for what she has done.

Anyway I have a lot to digest. I appreciate the help and support.

SeanFLA posted 2/22/2014 16:00 PM

I went out on a couple of dates a long while back with a woman who was a licensed mental health therapist who had similar traits as to what you are talking about. In her first year of marriage she said she caught her husband cheating. She did little about it. So what does she do?...goes and has three children with him. Gee guess what...he continued his way throughout her marriage. Finally they divorced. But I was like WTF?'re a counselor and have a graduate degree in this crap!

She was like..."Yeah I know, but I thought I could stay with him and change him."

keptmyword posted 2/22/2014 16:17 PM

She's even told me that if it bothers me so much I can leave but she wants to be with me. She wont say any more. I need more from her for this to work out but she wont give it, at least not yet.

First, her adultery/infidelity had nothing to do with you or your marriage. NO ONE is compelled to lie, deceive and betray. Adultery is a PERSONAL failure, not a marital failure nor the result of a marital failure.

There is really only one way to deal with someone with this attitude. File for divorce immediately and have her served with the divorce petition.

If she falls one iota short of complete remorse and being horrified at what she has done then you have your clear answer. Either the reality of divorce forces her to face the hard reality of herself or she will run from the reality of herself.

happyman64 posted 2/22/2014 16:28 PM


It sounds like you love your wife.

And your wife wants to stay with you.

Does she love you?

Now if you want to work this nonsense out and continue to be married to her show her consequences.

I would pack her stuff up and move her to her mothers.

I would tell her to come home when she is ready to be honest with you, work on her issues and truly participate in the marriage.

She needs to see an IC. She makes the appt.

She needs to pick a MC and you go together.

She needs to be honest about her affair with family and close friends.

Do not let her get out of this.

If she can chat online with a friend honestly (you) she can come clean to family.

You cannot deal with the issues until the truth is on the table.


standinghere posted 2/22/2014 16:36 PM

childhood trauma and sexual abuse which leads her to have intimacy issues

at times seemed to get angry at me for no reason

she had a wonderful heart and never thought she could be unfaithful to me

I've been there and lived this. My wife had that wonderful heart, wonderful with children, and would never hurt one.

She reserved her anger and pain to take it out on me in her affair and other ways. Didn't even know why she was doing it. She'd been married only once before, it was an abusive relationship. Ours was not, she even has told me she's never been treated or even imagined being treated as well as I've treated her. I actually know someone else, who had 5 marriages, who has the same history, and they said that their 5th husband just wouldn't fight with them and they didn't understand and eventually got help because of that person's willingness to talk.

Sex abuse does this, and often the sex abuse is much more than the person realizes at first. When my wife was talking about something, at the very beginning of the talking, shortly before she confessed to the affair, she told me something and I said to her "you realize that this was rape" (she didn't, and she resisted the characterization of the incident, as well as multiple others, as being rape for a long time, despite three counselors confirming it, part of the resistance came from being told by someone in her family, after one of the rapes in a phrase similar to this "if you weren't beaten senseless and unconscious it wasn't rape").

The only answer is long term IC to get to the route of the issues, it is the only solution, and it is necessary to have good and continuous support for both parties. It took my WS two years of hard work, during which (after she began revealing the truth about the past) she became suicidal and had to be admitted to inpatient treatment.

Oftencheatedon posted 2/22/2014 16:49 PM

I have never cheated and am as certain as one can be especially at my age that I will not cheat. But I have to admit that I have one foot half out of my marriage because of the men who have cheated on me.

Is it selfish or is it self preservation? If your wife had 4 failed marriages maybe she felt she had to stay someone uninvolved?

But no matter what - cheating is never the answer. I've told my DH that if he should ever feel that he has to go get involved with someone else he can take 30 seconds and at least text me that he is moving on. It's the lies that I could never accept again.

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