Let me first share my story and then explain why I am here.
Over the 10 years of our relationship I have developed a culture within myself of deceit and selfishness. Always putting myself and my own needs/wants first. This lead to issues with addiction (smoking, gambling), lying (i lied as a general rule about things i was hiding and about everyday things that i probably didnt even need to lie about), and the pursuit of self gratifying behaviors which included illicit relations with three different OW.I should qualify here that by 'pursuit' i do not refer to a pro-active seeking out of these relations, but rather a complete and utter refusal to dismiss them when they came knocking and a strong desire to keep them alive once i let them in.
EA#1 with an ex colleague with whom i eventually strayed online & by phone. EA#2 with an old friend from high school with whom I confided about EA#1 knowing she had committed worse offences herself - with her I exchanged inappropriate emails & was sent explicit photos. And PA (partial affair)most recently with an ex customer with whom i did all of the above and also secretly met and physically interacted with (no sex)over a period of 3 months. I want to be very clear on this point - while i am aware that in the context of my BS's pain it is almost irrelevant and despite all the statistics and histories being against me here and although this will be at odds with the beliefs of many of not most of the BS's on SI, i did NOT sleep with this woman. I have been with BS for 10yrs and never slept with anyone but her, and only the one person before her. I make this point so harshly for reasons ill get to shortly.
I became infatuated with OW#3 and allowed myself to believe that i must be in love with her if i were to behave the way i was behaving. I convinced OW#2 (with whom i confided yet again) that i was, just so i would have someone telling me i was not a bad person. Over the 3 months i was driven to a sort of madness while we swung back and forth between acknowledging the wrong in what was happening and both trying to hang on to it. As the time went on the secrecy and severity of the rendevouxs escalated. I risked my career (which has since taken a hit) to make time to go and see OW#3. The worst part is - these 3 months, were the last 3 months of my BS's pregnancy with our DS. Our first. During this time i also comitted the heinous acts of seeing OW#3 on the same date as the 10yr anniversary of BS and I meeting. I wrote to OW#3 while BS was labouring in agony from a chair on the other side of the labour room. I even lied to my employer to get a personal day so i could chase OW#3 when she was not speaking to me - at the same time as i was missing my DS's final ultra sound.
My msg thread with OW#2 was discovered on my phone on DDay#1. On that day, my lost and wayward mind and heart injured my BS irreparably by starting off the conversation with 'I fell in love with another woman' (a sentiment I not only reject now but that makes me feel physically ill). We then talked, screamed & cried for hours while my BS began learning the details and unbeknownst to me, was desperately waiting for the words - 'i choose you, i want you, i beg your forgiveness, please dont leave me'.
But i was so convinced that this act meant the end of our relationship no matter what i said or did, that I sat there and offered no reassurance or fight to stay at all. I was shell shocked. And it wasnt until the most emotionally charged and powerful embrace i have ever felt in my entire life, that i realised i was dealing with a betrayed wife who was actually sitting there in the face of all of this horror - FIGHTING FOR ME!?!?! And that was the moment where my head cleared (at least for a time) and i realised the extremity of the love i had in front of me and how precious it was, and told my BS that i wasnt going anywhere, that i loved her and i was staying.
I insisted on breaking it off with OW3 on person, which she allowed (in retrospect she shouldnt have and i am ashamed for asking). I went to her, i spent about 2 hours discussing it with her and to my own detriment, softened it for her a fair bit because i didnt want to break two hearts that day. Pathetic. At one point, she asked me if this meant BS would leave me, and I said it didnt look that way, had i SLEPT with you, that would end it no doubt - and OW3 then joked about sending through a text saying we did sleep together just to force the break up and then followed that up with - 'dont worry, i would never do that'. I ended it, I left. That was that.
Two days later the stirrings in my head about everything in my past (OW 1 & 2, never quitting smoking) really started to scream at me and weigh down on my soul. The day it came out, OW#2 had told me that I had to stop lying to my BS when i was asking her to keep certain details of the PA a secret if BS ever asked her about it. As the day wore on (DDay#2), i gradually came to a realisation that all of this pain and suffering was pointless and meaningless if i did not put EVERYTHING out on the table. Every lie, every woman, everything. I realised that if i truly loved this woman and this child, that I owed them the opportunity to move forward with their lives based on the whole truth, and knowing who they were married to and lived with.
And so with great fear and anxiety, i put our son to bed, and i came out with the lot. This almost broke us as you can imagine. What REALLY didnt do us any favours was a very unexpected text message from OW3. I hadnt heard from her in two days and was not expecting to at all. But there it was nonetheless. A scathing message meant 100% for my BS, stating that 'the only reason she ever contacted me and SLEPT WITH ME... was because she thought i was single and didnt know i had a baby on the way'! So that scenario she joked about and said she would never really go through with... she did anyway. So there i was having revealed all, freed myself of all of my lifes horrendous bullshit - and OW3 throws that lovely spanner into it on Dday! As i have said, this did not happen. But I'm sure you will understand how much harder it made things receiving that msg. The last i have ever received from her.
I am sure many of you will be familiar with how things go for a while from that point so i wont bore you with those details (if you are still reading this far in, youve done well, thank you :))
So this is why I am here. I have sworn an oath of truth, openness, fidelity and commitment for the rest of our lives from DDay#2. Since then I have not spoken a word of a lie to BS - even when the information i know will near kill her (affair details etc). I have not been in contact with any of the OW at all. Nor have i wanted to. I have severed them all form my life in every way i can. I have deleted all social media accounts i held, i have changed my phone number, I have been regularly swapping phones with my BS and also making sure that where possible, the phone remains with her or in her view when i leave the room. We are both doing IC and MC. I have committed to ongoing IC well and truly beyond our marriage concerns because i believe i have some very deep and troubling longer term issues that may have played a part in the way i was living and i dont want that in her future or in our sons. I have repeatedly reinforced my stance that i never slept with any OW. I will reinforce it forever. And that is after having made my promises of honesty and dedication to this family. Should that turn out to be a lie, it would destroy BS utterly and wholly - i know this and i remain undeterred in my position.
I am here because after 3 months, we are having extreme peaks and troughs (to be expected i know) and when its good it can be amazing, when its bad it can feel like DDay all over again and feel like we are about to lose eachother. I am TRYING as many things and as much as i can think of to show my dedication and determination, to reassure BS of my commitment even in the face of constant and agonising reminders of what i did and what that made her feel and also in the face of all the questions about details that do nothing but hurt and destroy her more. (by the way, im more than aware that i deserve every minute of all of that and dont avoid it for a minute)
I dont feel like im doing enough though. I want to do more, i want more ways to show this woman that I can be the exception to what she is viewing as the 'rule'. That I wont relapse, i wont go back and give her another DDay, i wont ever do this again and more importantly i will never WANT to ever again.
Please WS's - PLEASE, can you share with me some of the ways that you have been able to demonstrate through your own pro-active actions that you are genuine, that you really do want to stay and to give yourself the way you promised you would when you got married. The way it was supposed to be. I am desperate to make this BS's reality. And i am willing to do and sacrifice ANYTHING in order to make it so.
Thanks so very much if you have read this much! And thank you in advance for any replies. It means the world to me.
I'm a WS, but I didn't see your previous post with the stop sign (I sort of come an go anymore...) but, hopefully you don't mind a WS response.
How does your BW view the illicit relations, as you call them, with the OW? I'm presuming there was sexting of some sort, given your description, so you were possibly looking at OW and sharing your body with OW? That may feel like just as big of a betrayal to your BW as if you had slept with one of them. It's a fine line between telling the truth (that you didn't sleep with the OW) and possibly disregarding the view that your BW has about what you did. Not saying you are doing this, just that it is something to be aware of in all of this. I remember saying to my BW that "I never slept with OW", and my BW didn't believe me...of all the things that I had done, I FINALLY told one thing that was absolutely true, and she didn't believe it...so I had to respect that she didn't believe it.
Like you, I also had a BW who was fighting for me, when I was convinced that what I had done was going to lead to D and the end of our M. It was a shock that she didn't leave, and honestly, given where I was at in my messed-up crazy mind at the time, it was an eye opener for me as well. This leads to a question for you, sort of a question about perspective, which is, did she fight for you or did she fight for herself?
The transparency, the counseling, the truth, is all good stuff to be doing. It may not feel like it's enough, and maybe it isn't, but it is a very good start. The other stuff is being present with your BW. You were absent during a major life event, and likely at other times too, so continuing to be active with your BW will help in the healing. Remember when the A's were going on? you probably were not talking to your BW much, weren't texting her, weren't planning things or helping out around the house. Were you hugging your BW at all during your A? changing those behaviors will help immensely.
Oh, and something else you mentioned in your post stood out...that you mentioned you never were pro-active in seeking out the OW. I sort of get that, but are you sure you weren't sending out signals? You mentioned that you refused to dismiss them, and then once you were in it, you wanted to keep it alive (sort of a drug-like effect). So you have some boundary issues. In not shutting these women down, can you see that you don't shut anyone down? is this your "style" of operating? Has this become the way you are to the extent that you are a very "open" person and people can pick up on that? Sort of subconsciously putting yourself out there? Just curious.
Anyway, I hope you get some more help here. Glad that you've found us.
I'm a BS, and I want you to know that what you are currently doing for your wife is a really good start. Telling the full, honest, ugly truth is really hard, especially when you are looking into the eyes of someone who has had their whole world implode, so I commend you on that.
It doesn't matter much to me as a BS if the affair was physical or emotional, what matters is that the person I loved and trusted had no problem decimating our marriage, and had so little respect for me, our kids, our extended families, and our friends. Your wife may feel the same.
Your D-days seem to be recent, so your wife will most likely be up and down for a while yet, but if you stay with her and let her feel what she needs to feel, and reassure her that you are doing the work, the rollercoaster emotions will lessen in time. (I hate that word, and I'm sure you will too, soon enough!). Unfortunately though, time is the one thing that we can't dictate, and the recovery process can be long; 2-5 years is the general consensus.
From what I've read here, you say you don't go looking for these encounters, but don't reject them when they find you. To me, this sounds like you have an issue with keeping strict boundaries, and keeping your marriage safe from outsiders. My fWH had the same problem. He was always flirtatious and funny around people, but never crossed any lines until his AP entered the picture.
Have you read "NOT Just Friends" by Shirley Glass? If not I would highly recommend that both you and your wife read it, this book, along with "How to help your spouse heal", were the two most eye-opening and relevant books to our situation. There is a section in Not just friends that gives suggestions for making your wife feel safe, and one about building the right boundaries around your marriage.
Honestly though, the best thing you can do for your wife is be PRESENT; watch her for signals that she is triggering, and comfort her while it is happening. Let her know where you will be, and what time you'll be home, and please call her if you are going to be late. Give her access to any accounts you have (e-mail, facebook) if she wants them. Talk to her about what she needs from you at this time, but just know that these needs can change daily, if not hourly. Listen when she talks, even if what she is saying cuts you to the core.
I'm not sure if I've been much help, but these things really help me through the worst times.
Good luck to you.
Thankyou for all your other advice too :-)
I think, if you are sincere, you are doing the right things. You can't speed up the process too much.
I want to R, but my heart is numb towards my WH.
Don't give up. Seems like your BW isn't giving up either. Good luck!
DD #1 26 August 2013 - EA on FB and phone with a former flame OW#2 for about 8 months
DD #2 30 April 2014 - EA/PA for 10 months in 2011 with OW#1
Hoping for R