The full back story is here -> http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=519502
The cliff notes version is still VERY LONG.
My wife and I are approximately 40 years old. We have been together about a decade, and married for about 8 years. We fell in love quickly, moved in together, got married, and have a 7 year old daughter together. We lived in Germany for most of those years and about 4 years ago we moved to Italy. Our marriage has had its ups and downs. About 3 years ago we hit a serious down point; we stopped doing things together, stopped having sex, stopped most of our talking together, etc. I am not sure which came first – I detached in response to her screaming incredibly hateful things to me or her screaming incredibly hateful things to me in response to me detaching. In either case, it got worse and worse during this two year period.
In Aug 2011my wife decided to pull away permanently without telling me. The hours of her work suddenly increased and 2-3 nights a week she would be out and come back home much later, she always told me it was work related.
In Winter 2011 my wife’s mother developed serious health problems, she would later be diagnosed with terminal cancer. My wife’s father has always had serious health problems, for as long as I have known my wife he is often hanging on to life by his fingernails, and often requires intensive care hospitalization. My wife began to care for both of them. She also had an argument with her best friend at this time. For a few months she stopped going out altogether except to see/care for her parents or for work.
It is important to realize that my wife’s family is abusive in EVERY sense of the world. Verbal abuse. Emotional abuse. Drug abuse. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. It was all there. As examples – my wife’s mother used to masturbate her brother at night to “help him” until he was about 12, as a small child my wife had to share a bed with a female cousin who masturbated herself every night before sleep, heroin addicts crashed out on the couch, etc. It all happened. My wife has massive black holes in her memory, whole years, where she can’t remember ANYTHING during that time.
Obviously caring her for parents and spending lots of time around them was very stressful for my wife. At this time I knew there were serious family issues, knew some of the issues, but had no idea of the vast extent of problems and issues – my wife told me some shocking stories sometimes but I never really understood how systematic and pervasive the problems were, nor the extent of them until very recently.
Early in 2012 my wife’s mother was hospitalized off and on and the amount of time she had to spend with both of her parents drastically increased, evidently Italian hospitals have no problems with shoving as much of what they should be doing to care for their patients onto the shoulders of the patients families (even feeding the patients, for example) and my wife felt obligated to take these burdens … so she spent a lot of time at the hospitals. She was going out “maybe” one time a week with her girlfriends and not staying out very late.
My wife’s mother died in July 2012 and her father was completely unable to run the family business. It quickly became apparent that massive amounts of cash were missing with no one knowing “how” or “where” the money had gone. By August 2012 my wife was working at the family business, which was time intensive in nature and as the extent of the problems became more clear she began to work more and more hours in an attempt to save it. Despite these long hours my wife began to go out more and more, spending longer out each night, and always going to the same club. By September she was going out almost every night. By the end of October my wife was sometimes spending the night out, claiming that she was staying at her cousins house or with a friend. Frankly it was hard to tell where she was and what she was doing because she was very secretive and the family business required her to get up very early in the morning (0400 or so) before I was awake and often I couldn’t really tell if she had even come home and then left or just stayed out. Sometimes my wife wouldn’t even come home at all, when she did it was usually only for an hour or two, and often for substantially less. Even getting my wife to come home for dinner or breakfast to see our daughter before or after school became very difficult and was a minefield for an argument. I tried to talk to her about always going out/being away from home, not seeing our daughter, not being around, etc but never did it in the right way. My wife was always angry at me about everything. We stopped talking. In the midst of arguments we would threaten each other with divorce or separation but we never did it. Whenever I asked where she was it was always “work” (which was 14+ hours a day) or out with her girlfriends.
In April 2012 my wife and her father had an argument over the family business - its expenses, how it was vital to cut labor costs, save money, etc – which resulted in her being basically fired. My wife cut down the nights she was going out from almost every night to 3-4 nights a week and was around the house more. We (my daughter and I) were both happy to see her more but my wife was very angry with both my daughter and I very often.
In mid May my wife again cut the amount of time she was spending out and by late May or early June she was only going out a few times a week. By mid June she had stopped going out at all.
In Mid June my wife and I talked. We discussed separating, divorce, or working on our marriage. She told me that she had met a guy during this time, that he worked at the club, and that they had an emotional affair that had lasted about a year. The only physical contact between them had been a 3-4 kisses. She had absolutely no remorse, no guilt, felt it was perfectly okay to have done this, she hadn’t considered “us” to be a relationship for a long time, told me that the emotional affair was still ongoing, and that she wasn’t prepared to cut it off. I told her that I was willing to try to save our marriage but that I wouldn’t compete with this guy and that she had to chose between us. A week later she told me that she chose me and disclosed to me that the emotional affair had actually ended several weeks before and that she hadn’t wanted to tell me that. However, he was still messaging and calling her on a regular basis (most of which she ignored). I insisted on no contact if he persisted and she reluctantly agreed with the club he worked at also being placed off limits. A few days later she blocked his phone number. Since this talk my wife has only gone to work and back home, with very few exceptions and for those exceptions I have generally known where she was and what she was doing (most were work related). I began to search online for websites that could help me understand emotional affairs, how to be a better husband, etc … and this is when I discovered Surviving Infidelity. I wish I had discovered it MUCH earlier.
My wife and I engaged in hysterical bonding heavily during this reconciliation. It resulted in an unplanned pregnancy about 4 months into the reconciliation and about 8 months after he affair ended (I am positive that I was the only one she was having sex with at this time). We decided that abortion was probably the smartest option. The stress of the abortion caused us to fall back on old patterns – her being angry and me withdrawing. We ended up becoming distant from each other although not as overtly hostile as we had during the preceding two years, and the reconciliation basically sputtered to a stop.
In early January 2014 my wife told me that a friend had gone to the club, seen the guy she had the affair with, and that they had for a few minutes discussed him. I was very angry because I felt this violated our no contact agreement (which included even discussing him with anyone) and felt very betrayed because she hadn’t immediately disclosed this to me as per our agreement.
On January 12th I asked to speak to my wife about problems and issues I could see us having and to try to come up with solutions so we could get “back on track” again. Much of what I wanted to discuss were things I had gleaned from SI. The talk didn’t go well. We discussed REMORSE, she still had none. We discussed people other than this guy that she had met at the club – I felt she had gone portraying herself as a person deeply unhappy in her marriage and that she had befriended people based upon that information and that they were toxic and increased the difficulty of maintaining no contact. She very reluctantly agreed. However, the conversation had gotten so heated that we decided to break it off until tomorrow.
On January 13th we talked again. We agreed for us to each go to IC and to go together to MC. After some blame shifting and justifying she agreed that privacy is okay but secrets weren’t and that it was bullsh*t for her to have waited a week to tell me about hearing about this guy. She agreed that lying was unacceptable and that lying included not just deception but also omission of facts. At this point I told her that the truth has a way of coming out, offered her a one week amnesty to tell me the truth, and that at the end of the week would be grounds for a divorce. She exploded screaming at me that I should just assume she did whatever with whoever, that I wanted to make her look like a piece of sh*t, and that she would just file for divorce. Then she admitted that her long term emotional affair had actually been physical, having sex 4-6 times. I think I was in shock. She still had no remorse. We discussed boundaries and the need to form them but agreed to put off discussing specific boundaries. We discussed removing toxic people (including those opposed to our marriage) from our lives and she claimed she knew none. She refused to commit to a reconciliation but said she would try it. The conversation ended in open hostility between us and we went to bed. In bed I started crying. We started talking and she told me that “ she was sorry for the pain she had caused, that it was wrong, but …”. I interrupted her and told her that there was no “but”. I owned at least 50% of the problems in our marriage but she owned 100% the decision to cheat, it was hers, and no “but” could justify what she had done. She minimized, told me she could see why this was important to me but that she couldn’t do this, but that she did want to reconcile.
The next morning I got a long text from her in which she told me that she had felt very confused and suicidal during the affair, that she had secretly been drinking almost a liter of hard liquor a week and remaining buzzed most of the day, and that she was sorry.
On January 16th my wife admitted to me that this guy had been in our house one time. Previously she had claimed all encounters were at his house. He had come over, cooked dinner with our daughter, my daughter had gone to bed, and then they had talked til 4am on the couch but that nothing had happened. It sounded fishy to me. That night I had a panic attack, sat up all night on the couch, and got less than an hour of sleep.
On the morning of January 17th my wife and I talked again. I wanted full access to all of her accounts, her phone, etc. full transparency. She refused and got angry that we always talk about her affair but never talk about the other issues. I explained that the other issues can’t really be dealt with until the affair is dealt with, they are two different things and that the affair would continue to linger in the background and eventually kill whatever reconciliation we had going on unless we solved it first. While at work she sent me a text saying she agreed but only after we had another talk, she had more to tell me, and wanted to understand the amnesty and how it worked. We had to postpone the meeting until the next day because when my wife came home she was so nervous she spent most of the night puking in the bathroom.
On January 18th we sat down to talk. My wife tells me that she had sex 4-6 times during her affair that began in October 2011 and ended in May 2013 but also had “other” sexual activity about 10-15 times, mostly blowjobs. Then she tells me that there were also five other guys that she was sexting with on her phone and facebook – no masturbation but lots of sexual talk and nude pictures sent. She said they had started at various time after September 2011 but that everything had ended by May 2013. She agreed to full transparency. She identified many toxic friends and agreed to remove them. I began a steady fall into deep depression and thought I had found “hell”.
On January 19th my wife asked to talk to me again. Then she told me that there had also been two one night stands, with two different guys – one is September 2011 (in our car) and the other in December 2012 (at his house).
Somewhere between D-Day 1 and D-DAY 4 my wife acquired remorse. This remorse has sometimes backslidden into justifications, blame shifting, passive aggressive resistance, minimization, etc BUT generally speaking her remorse has only increased as time has gone by.
Some of her behavior is befuddling, to put it nicely. She decided in March/April of 2013 to go “clean”. She deleted her facebook profile. Then re-added most of the people she had behaved inappropriately with back. Then deleted the account again after June. Then re-added most of the same people back. She told each that she re-added that she was going clean (again) and that she was dedicated to her marriage. However, some did not take her seriously and continued trying to entice her back into sexting and exchanging pics with them. She didn’t do it BUT she also didn’t stop it. When I saw this I exploded. She then blocked them all. Then deleted her account all together.
She has also given me transparency (passwords to all accounts, her phone, etc). She is being honest and telling me things that happen that I would never find out about if she didn’t tell me. She is open about where she is, who else is there, and what she is doing. She has not gone or done anything since June 2013 that would give me any doubts or make me believe that she is still having ongoing affairs. To the best of my knowledge she has strongly followed the no contact rules for everyone and cut almost everyone from her life (directly or indirectly involved in the affairs– and since most of her friends knew of her affair they were also removed as well as everyone she ever acted even slightly inappropriate with or who isn’t a friend of our marriage) in an attempt to remove toxic people.
I had served in the go-to special operations capable unit for the Marine Corps for four years, ending about 20 years ago. I had shoved a lot of stuff “into the box”. I realized that I had probably had PTSD when I got out which gradually faded in intensity over the years but that a few years after meeting my wife, but before I married her, that I had probably slipped into a deep depression for many years without realizing it. Gradually I had come out. The stuff my wife was telling me from D-Day 23 onwards has ripped EVERYTHING out of the box and has sent me into a massive psychological and emotional crash. I became suicidal. I stopped sleeping (I take pills now for it but still routinely only sleep 4 hours a night whereas before I was a very sound sleeper). I cry a lot. I get mind movies from operations I went on. I go into intense panic attacks. For awhile I was “blacking out” and would not know how I had gotten to somewhere in the house or how long I had been there. I couldn’t remember simple things and would forget what I was looking for while I was looking for it. A nervous wreck. Some of this is getting better now but most of it is still ongoing. I have searched for mental health care with the Dept of Defense (no help available to me because I am not in America as a former military or overseas as active duty), the veterans administration (about a year or two wait period), and the Italian health system (no English help available at all via the system). I can’t afford the private care costs here. So, no help available.
In addition, there is more than some evidence that my wife has some deep psychological problems. Abuse as a child. A complete lack of boundaries. Manic and depressive stages (during some part of the affairs she was sleeping 2 hours or not at all a night for months on end whereas now she is always tired). Guilt, destructive behavior, guilt cycles. Possible Border Line Personality Disorder (she matches the characteristics in a terrifying way).
At this point my wife is the stronger of us and has been the one helping me when I crash. For this I am very grateful while also being angry that I am being forced to eat the sh*t sandwich.
Since D-Day 4 there has been much trickle truth. I am unsure if this is the “correct” term to use. Most of what I know, including the evolving stories, has come from my wife with very little “discovered” by me. When I ask her a question she answers it. She rarely volunteers information but she does divulge it. Sometimes asking her a question causes her to think deeper about something and give me an answer that changes what she told me before.
This is a very touchy subject with us.
My wife claims some stuff is blocked very deeply and is just a black hole in her memory. I tend to believe her about some things. Some things are cloudy from the sheer number of people involved, the sheer amount of cheating, the extended duration of the cheating, and the length of time ago that some of it occurred. Some things I honestly believe she is lying about either from shame, to protect me, or to protect herself (as an example: the long term affair guy came and spent the night in our house with light, touching over clothes activity, and then slept on the couch. This story has evolved into he DEFINITELY fingered her in our bed, she masturbated him, there is at least a 50/50 she also gave him a blow job, and now she has no idea where he slept because she fell asleep while he was out of OUR bed and he was awoke before he did and she doesn’t know and can’t remember if she asked him to sleep on the couch or not – due to risk of daughter walking in and seeing him in bed with her).
Some trickle truth is serious stuff. She never mentioned several sexting/nude photos people. It’s possible there are so many that she forgot them. I wouldn’t have found out about very many at all if she hadn’t told me about them so it doesn’t seem logical that she would tell me about people A, B, C, D, E, and F that I would never have discovered but then hide person G who actually did less with her than person A. But new guys periodically get discovered or are revealed.
Some is seemingly really minor, without any apparent reason to hide it/cover up/lie because it is such small potatoes compared to the other stuff she is divulging. Where in town did you go with long term affair guy when out and about with him? The list keeps growing. Where were you all intimate? The list keeps growing. How often did he come by your work? The list keeps growing. How often did you all see each other? The list keeps growing.
In either case, the details continue to spill out and it is difficult to tell what is going to come out next and when it is going to come out. Each new revelation damages our relationship, causes conflict between us, destroys accumulated trust, and sends me back into a deep crash.
Finally about 7 weeks ago I got fed up with the trickle truth. My wife had written “a list” earlier that was woefully incomplete. So I asked for another list, this one “full and complete” with everything. One that would detail
- who knew what and when.
- where she did what with who and when (not just sexual BUT the vast bulk of where, who, what, when, etc.
- EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING.
My wife agreed and worked on the list for six weeks. She presented me with a 28 page word document a few days ago.
- About 10 NEW guys that she had told that she found them “attractive”, none before 2011. It never really went anywhere (no photos, no physical contact, no sexting) but it portrays a terrifying lack of boundaries and common sense. She says she wasn’t interested in having anything with any of them. However, she also wasn’t interested in having anything with ONS1 and wound up having sex with him in our car. She wasn’t interested in some of her sexting partners yet comments like this are what led to them sexting and her sending them pictures. She is currently trying to explain what she meant by “attractive” to me which is more complicated than it sounds because it was mostly German or Italian that she was speaking. She has no idea why some people she wound up going much further with and why some she didn’t.
- Lots of inappropriate behavior (examples: a guy telling her that he was going to have an affair and her telling him “what about me”, opening massive windows into our marriage to virtually everyone she ever met, contacting almost every former boyfriend that she ever had, flirting but not to point of sexting, etc) with lots of different people.
- Another guy that she sent nude photos too and was sexting.
- More details about long term affair guy. This includes how it led up to the affair, a more accurate version of what happened at OUR house with him that night, that they had sex at her parent’s house, and more information about how she felt during various stages of the affair.
- More details about ONS 1, her thought process, what led to it, and how she messed up.
- More details about ONS 2 including shifting the date of the ONS by several months.
- More details about one of the guys she was flirting with (kissed a few times).
- More details about some of the sexting/photos guys.
- More information about some of the incredibly bad decisions and the thought process behind them that she made that led to her doing so many selfish, destructive, and crazy things.
All of this, including the construction of the last list is complicated by the fact that we are (once again) experiencing a pregnancy and are (once again) having a procedure to terminate it.
The current timeline list looks like this:
Aug 2011 – she checks out of our marriage without telling me.
sept 2011 - she begins flirting with guy 1. around mid september they end up having sex in our car for ONS 1.
sept 2011 - she begins flirting and sexting with guy 2. they continue sexting, sending pics, and trying to arrange a 3-some for roughly 2 years. they meet one time and he kisses her, other than this there is no PA.
march 2012 –photos sent to guy 3, unsure at this point if he responded at all to them or just ignored them.
spring/summer 2012 - she has guy 4 come to the family business and hang out one afternoon. they flirt some, she sends him naked pics, and they sext some. she never seems him again however.
aug 2012 - she has guy 5 come to work at the family business. they both flirt at work with each other and come in on their off times to hang out with each other. one day he kisses her at work and she yells at him, he tells her she liked it. a few weeks later he tries again and she refuses to allow it. however, they both continue flirting with each other and seeing each other on their off time. she asked him out once, not sure if it would be considered a "date" but it never happened.maybe he kissed her a few weeks later when she was giving him a ride home.
oct 2012 - she begins going to a bar and meets guy 6. this is the guy who ended up becoming her LTA, both EA and PA. their first sexual encounter was in late october and their next sexual encounter was around christmas or new years (??) afterwards it heated up rather quickly with much sexual activity between them, including in our house and her parents house. she sends him many nude photos.
oct 2012 - she sexts guy 7 in feb 2012 and they exchange pics, etc between them. she has ONS 2 with him while meeting at his house to plan a tattoo.
dec 2012 and april 2013 - she sexts guy 8 and sends him nude photos.
feb/march 2013 - she sexts guy 9. they send each other nude photos. he is married and has children. after D-Day 3 i outed him to his wife who has since discovered that he has cheated on her multiple times with multiple women.
march/april 2013 - she sexts guy 10 and sends him nude pics. they make arrangements to meet, unspoken is that it is probably sex, but changes to his job force him to change his travel plans and he cant come to this city. he tries to meet her in paris. she considers it but backs out.
may 2013 - she ends her LTA and tells all of the men that shes still in contact with that shes done with it all.
????/2011 or ????/ 2012 – nude photos sent to guy 11. Unsure of extent of it at this point.
At this point I also need to put in lots of other people. Guys she told that were attractive. When she opened an account on badoo she had a guy who wanted to meet her, they met, and she was “shocked” that he wanted to have sex with her but she wasn’t interested at all so “nothing happened”. Some guys that she was flirting with. They all need to be added to the timeline as well. Right now I just can’t do it. When I see that timeline in all its notoriety I feel like throwing up. I just can’t summon the mental energy to do it right now.
For months I have been stressing to her how important it is that I know all the truth. That each new revelation feels like getting hit by a nuke, that it destroys all of the healing that I have done and puts me right back into hell, and that I can’t begin to feel safe until I have all the truth. That each new fact or change destroys any trust I have built back up in her and puts our relationship into below zero again. That the future success or failure of “us” hinges, in a large part on the fullness and completeness of this list. I explained over and over what was meant by “full”, “complete”, and “everything” while she nodded her head and told me that I had already said this.
Instead the list I got back is nothing like what I asked for. It was NOT full and complete. Not by a long shot. There are people I already know about that are not on it. There are details that I know that aren’t on that list. The list doesn’t provide lots of information that I stated (repeatedly) that I wanted on the list. It doesn’t answer most of the questions that I want answer (and not even the hard ones like “why” but the simple ones like “when you and LTA guy went out around town, where did you go”? I want specifics, facts, details – about everything. Yes, I understand she might not remember it. But I refuse to believe that she can’t remember that he met her at a tram stop near her work very often – why isn’t that on the list?
I have handed the list back and demanded that she do it again, full of examples of the additional information that I would like to have on it. I have told her that this is her LAST chance to do a proper list.
I don’t feel that my wife is “deliberately lying” to me. I just feel that she doesn’t seem to take it all seriously enough. That’s not acceptable to me anymore. She, once again, knows that she needs a full and complete list. She, once again, knows what is expected. She, once again, has started to work on it.
One of the most terrifying things I have come to realize is what I am expecting in the “new full and complete list”. I fully expect this list to take a long time to complete. I fully expect this list to be another half ass version in which she once again fails to put effort, attention to detail, time, and energy into it. In other words I expect more of the same. I have been through a false R when she lied to me about the extent of her inappropriate behavior ten months ago. I have endured numerous D-Days. I have been subjected to countless evolving stories, trickle truth, outright lies, deception by misdirection, omissions, minimizing, vagueness, and everything else that can hide the truth (whether intentional or not). I am now starting to accept that she is either unable or unwilling to provide the basic information that makes me feel even moderately safe. This realization hurts more than the cheating.