I'm so thankful to have found this site. My story is almost outlandish. WH and I have been together for 17 years, married for 15. We have two children, 11 and 8. There have always been some communication issues, but for the most part we have been a good team. We started discussing our marital problems in October and had decided to separate, seek counseling, and try to work things out. At this point I had no clue about the A.
Fast forward to January 4, the anniversary of the day we met 17 years earlier. We were driving home from a vacation that we took with our kids (we were in the process of separating but were getting along quite well). I picked up his phone to look at vacation pictures and instead caught a glimpse of a woman in her bra and panties. It was literally a split second and he took the phone and said he would upload the vacation pictures to my computer when we got home. He didn't realize I had seen anything. This was totally innocent on my part. I have always trusted him implicitly, probably to a fault, and have never been the wife to check his phone or computer. He was in the car with me so it wasn't as though I was sneaking to look at his phone.
We get home and of course my suspicion has been sparked. I was thinking perhaps he had joined a dating site since we were separated (he was living in our house but not in our bedroom until he could rent an apartment). The day after we got home, he went to the store so I went and checked his computer. I was very cautious because he works almost entirely on computers for his career and I was concerned he could tell I had been on there. I found some call logs from girls contacting him. They had seen his profile on a dating site. Nothing scandalous and no plans to meet.
The next day my kids went back to school from Christmas break. About a half hour before I had to pick them up I decided to check his computer again (he works from home but had gone on an appointment). There were no new messages from anyone, but at this point I decided to look at his photos and I no longer cared if her could tell I had been on his computer. I didn't even know what photo app he used so I just picked the first thing I saw. There were all of our vacation pictures and then countless folders down the side of the screen. I spotted one with a questionable title so I decided to open it. Still thinking it wasn't going to be anything completely horrible. What I saw was eviscerating. There were multiple videos of him having sex with another woman in various hotels. Extremely explicit. I was in a total state of shock and instinctively grabbed my phone and took pictures and video of what was on the screen. Then I went to school and picked up my kids. I don't even know how I was able to do it.
I wanted to sleep on this information to have a little time to process everything but that night I couldn't hold my tongue. I confronted him about it and he was shocked that I knew. He of course tried to blame it on me. I drove him to an affair, etc. I made him call his mother the next day and tell her because she knew we were having problems and were considering separation. I wasn't about to have her think we were splitting because I wasn't trying hard enough.
He moved out a week later and though he claimed the affair had ended weeks before, they were still in contact with each other. He admitted that he met her in Vegas the first weekend in September. She was there for her bachelorette party and was getting married the next week. She was marrying someone she had been with for years and with whom she had two children. She wanted to call off the wedding but had spent tens of thousands of dollars for a destination wedding so she went through with it. He didn't meet her again until mid October. He was supposedly traveling on business. He said he continued communicating with her after Vegas because he didn't want her to feel used. I told him that was very chivalrous. Anyway, she lives in another state so she would fly places to meet him and he would drive all over the Eastern US "visiting clients." They met about 5 times from what I can tell and made a video of each encounter. He said it was physical at first but became emotional. She said she loved him and he told her as well but now says he didn't mean it. They commiserated over their horrible spouses.
For the first 6 weeks or so he was very defiant, blaming me, going on dates with women he met on match.com, pressuring me not to tell anyone, so worried about his reputation. I told some close friends because I needed support but I have no intention of trashing him because of our children. Now, he finally seems to realize the devastation he has caused and he wants me back. He says he will try to win me back until I marry someone else. I have always told him that cheating was the ultimate deal breaker. If he cheated, it was over. I still believe that but of course I am grappling with the destruction of our 17 year history and our family. He did not have to earn my trust, it was given freely and completely. He has shattered that and I don't know how he can regain something that he never earned in the first place. It's just gone.
I will forgive him for the sake of my kids, but I can never forget. Especially since his ego allowed him to video everything. I don't have to imagine what happened because I have the images burned into my mind forever. The nurturing and loving part of me is so sad for him. I truly finally believe he is sorry and that is what hurts. I'm watching him have to face the consequences of his actions. In my mind, the consequences of cheating are that the relationship is over. I don't really feel it's in my power to remove those consequences. That may sound crazy but it's so black and white for me.
Oh, and two days after DD, my beloved uncle, who was like my father, was diagnosed with cancer. He died less than two months later, just a few weeks ago. I couldn't tell anyone in my family about what I was going through because I didn't want to burden them as he was dying. I was devastated by his death and it's been horrible dealing with that in addition to the A.
Thanks so much for reading my story. It's so helpful to see that I'm not crazy for thinking the things I do for feeling the way I feel.