My wife and I have been together for almost 15 years - since I was 17 and she was 19. I remember feeling so amazing at the time that an older girl had interest in me. We bonded over tough childhoods, shared interests, shared friends. We got married almost 8 years ago. We have two beautiful children that we adore. We wanted better for them than the broken homes we came from.
I wasn't always the best husband. Until our first child was born, I had a difficult time with my emotions. I was moody often and would shut down if we fought, oftentimes not speaking to her for prolonged periods. I realize now how immature this behavior is. In the past few years I have made great strides to change and have been much healthier with respect to this kind of behavior. She was often sick with an immune condition and felt like I never gave her the appropriate attention - that I never cared enough to be with her or nurse her through her pain. She always questioned me as to whether I really loved her. I constantly re-assured her that I did love her, because it was the truth. This is not to say my wife was perfect. Oftentimes, when we fought, she would get so upset that she became physically abusive. It never got to the point that any real damage was inflicted, and I could never bring myself to file any complaints - both out of love and embarrassment. She felt like my emotional punching bag and during arguments she made me her physical punching bag. This is not to excuse either behavior - only an attempt at honesty. Neither of us were perfect. As I have seen here, we were each responsible for 50% of the marriage failing.
A little over three years ago, I felt as if we had turned a corner in our relationship. We were being much more open with each other. Fighting much less, and being more affectionate. She said she felt the same way. We got pregnant with our second child. After he was born in early 2012, she asked that I continue trying to better myself and work on my issues for her - to be more loving, attentive to her needs, to say I love you more without her saying it first, to do "little things" that proved that she was always on my mind. She felt that my priorities in life were our children, my career, my mom and sister, my hobbies and then her. I disagreed with her feelings and tried to assure her that she was at the top with our children. Yes I valued my career - for myself and to help provide for our family - yes I loved my mom and sister and yes I really like fantasy football and baseball - but the kids and my wife always came first in my heart. I didn't understand how she could question such an obvious truth in my heart.
We continued with our relationship being good at times, rocky at others into late 2013. She started going out more with friends and thanked me for giving her space. She began to open up to me about her sexual preferences - something she hid from me for years - I still don't understand why. I wasn't into everything she was into, but I told her I was willing to try anything to make her happy. I would often bring these up when having sex and sometimes she would allow me to try to fulfill her fantasies and other times she wouldn't. I knew I wasn't doing everything she wanted or needed, but I was trying my best and looking for balance. Looking through our texts from this time, she thanked me often for not fighting so much with her anymore, for trying so hard to make us work, for giving her the space she needed with her friends to have a life outside of our marriage. Now, I realize that we actually have lot in common sexually. I wish she would have been more honest with me years earlier. I wish I had been more honest with her.
In June of 2013, she lost her job. I wasn't pleased about this, as she took a substantial pay cut to leave her last job for this one, and she lost it in under a year. I was supportive, searching every day for a new job for her as my mission - but I did let her know that I felt she made a poor decision for our family, but that we'd get through it. She continued going out more at this point - often 3-4 nights a week, leaving me as the babysitter while she was out drinking and partying until early morning. This made me unhappy. I felt as if she wanted to not be with me anymore. I told her I felt this way. I told her I felt that I was trying my hardest and if it wasn't enough, we should split up. This happened in late August of 2013. We were basically separated but living together until October of 2013. At that point, I realized I made a huge mistake. I was upset with her choices, but I loved her so much. I asked for her back. She asked me to prove it to her. I did for weeks. We went on a date in early November. She upset me because she didn't wear her wedding ring on the date. She had stopped wearing it after our August fight. I never stopped wearing mine. When we came home from the date, she took a phone call from a man she met at the bar she hung out at. She said they were good friends and usually only texted, and that he was sick and would only call if he really needed something. This made me jealous and upset, and I was already upset about her not wearing the ring. I said a lot of terrible things - that trying to win her back was a mistake and that I didn't love her. Like I said, I was improving with my communication, but far from perfect. This was our second big break-up. She said she was going to take me back, but not after I broke her heart for a second time. I apologized almost immediately. I tried to win her back for months. We continued living in the same house. She continued going out, almost every night now. She continued to use me as a babysitter. I wasn't happy about the arrangement, but I loved her so much, I was willing to do anything to win her back. I gave her thoughtful holiday presents. I surprised her at her new job (that I helped her find) on Valentine's Day, personally delivering flowers to her. I constantly told her how beautiful she was and how much I loved her. She said she loved me too, but needed time to heal from having her heart broken twice by me.
My friends and family showed me photos on social media sites that she posted, being drunk and partying. They asked me if I thought she was faithful. I was blind. I had hope in her until the final days. I never thought she could do something like that to me, because infidelity was never a consideration for me. I shied from even talking to other girls - I understand that some affairs start out innocently enough, just by prolonged contact - I didn't want to even risk that happening. My wife and I talked about her being faithful. She said she was just out with friends. She would never do that to me. Her past boyfriend did that to her and she would never want to make anyone feel that way. I believed her. I was blind, with love.
In February, I found a note written to her from the OM from the bar she frequented. It was sexual in nature. She denied it was about her, saying it was a note she had helped him write to his girlfriend. I wanted to believe her, so I did. When asked by friends and family, I now replied that I didn't know but that I had faith in her and hoped for the best.
On May 13, 2014 I found another note - this one from my wife to the OM. It was very sexually graphic. Something she couldn't deny. I could barely breathe. I found it right before I left for work. When my babysitter showed up, I sent her home and took a day off. I frantically called my wife to confront her. It went to voicemail. I thought better of my rash decision at that point, and went to the bank. I closed out our savings account, took half for myself and deposited the other half in an account she had been using. I then confronted her. She took the offensive. She said she only cheated on me twice with the OM, when we were separated. She said she had stopped when I asked for her back because she loved me. She also said that he was her best friend now and she would not give him up.
I didn't believe her. I realized that earlier in the year she had given me her phone to make an image of when we switched phones. As the phone account was mine and she gave her phone to me freely, I believe I was legally entitled to the contents. I used software to decrypt the phone backup and learn the truth.
She had started a sexting affair with another man she knew as early as late 2011. She was pregnant with our youngest child. She had her first physical affair with this man in July 2012, while on maternity leave. She got a babysitter for our youngest child while our oldest was at day camp. I thought we were in a good place in our marriage. I was trying so hard and she recognized it, or I thought she did. She continued her sexting affair with this man, and had at least another three sexual encounters with him since. She had a second sexting affair that started in May 2013. This man lived in another state and they never consummated, as far as I know. She met the OM from the bar in May 2013. They started having a physical affair in July 2013. Our relationship was rocky, but we were still trying. Finally, after we separated, she had one more physical affair with a fourth man. She dumped him pretty quickly.
When I confronted her with these facts, she finally confessed to it all. She said she didn't want to tell me the truth because it would hurt me. She said she loved me, and that's why she let me keep trying to win her back. She was confused. Somehow, her confusion led her to the OM from the bar's bed every night for the past 10 months and not our bed. She was in love with him.
I begged for her back. I told her that I loved her and our family so much. I tried to reason with her. According to her, the OM was sick and may die soon. He is an ex-convict and a pothead. From their texts, I knew that he borrowed money from her repeatedly. In short, he is a loser. She wouldn't listen. She continued on the offensive. She blamed me for not making her feel loved. Not making her happy. She said I was unwilling to go to therapy - she's right about this - I declined because I didn't think it would work and didn't want us to sit in a room and blame each other for the state of the marriage. When I asked why she let me fight for her for so long when she had checked out of the marriage years before, she just said that she loved me and wanted her perfect family. She never once asked for me back. She let me kiss her once to see if there was still something there. She said again that she was confused and needed to think about it. I told her that she had to cut out the OM for us to move forward. She would need to be transparent with her phone and social media communications and she would not go to the bar anymore. She called this "slavery" and said she wouldn't do it. When I asked her if she was going out the day we kissed that she was confused and needed to think, she told me she wanted to see a girlfriend of hers and hang out. I asked her to compromise - to ask her girlfriend to come over to our house to hang out. Her friend "couldn't". My wife had to go out that night. I knew then that it was truly over for me. She would never stop. I didn't realize it until after that, but I was only concerned with her feeling something when we kissed. I don't think I felt anything. I had found this site and read the 180 a few days earlier.
She was abused as a child and says she was raped while in college and she got pregnant from this and aborted the child. I knew about the abuse, but she never trusted me enough to tell me about the rape until after I found out about her affairs, when she was finally telling me "the truth". She claims that I am a sexsomniac. She says that on at least five occasions, I raped her in my sleep. I can remember being woken up several times kissing her passionately in my sleep, but that is a far reach from kissing to rape. When I mentioned that she outweighed me by a healthy amount and I asked how I could have overpowered her, she just said that I did and held her down and took her clothes off. From reading all of her texts, I know how manipulative she is with men. She manipulated me for almost a year, letting me think I can win her back. She knows that I am a naturally guilty person. I have chosen to believe that she is lying about this because she probably is, and it is easier for me to live with without also having this on my conscience.
I am doing my best to follow the 180. I have tried to stop talking to her except with regards to the children. When I finally figured out the timeline the other day (there were a LOT of texts to get through), I told her that she was the one who left the marriage first back in 2012 - that the two times I "broke her heart" by leaving did not count. She continues to be on the offensive, blaming me for what she did.
I am making her sleep on the couch. We have agreed to divorce mediation. We will have joint legal and physical custody of our children, splitting up the weeks with them. We are each paying our own way, only providing child support for the needs of the kids - to be divided based on gross income percentage. She wants to be with the OM from the bar. I asked her for an 18 month morality clause after the divorce is finalized for the sake of stability and consistency for the kids - not to have the OM have any contact with our children on the days she has custody. I believe she will agree to these terms in mediation. She says she does not want to go to court. She knows I have thousands of texts, pictures and videos as evidence and I believe she is afraid of losing custody. I am afraid as well, and don't want to risk losing time with my kids and wasting money on a losing battle - nor do I want to put my oldest through any more pain. He already knows that mommy and daddy don't get along anymore and will live in different places soon. I never wanted my children to experience a broken home. I tried so hard to keep them from that.
It still hurts so much. My wife, me and our boys were out yesterday. The boys were riding their bikes, running around, blowing bubbles. The perfect happy family. But so far from it. That will never be. I needed a few minutes by myself after just to catch my breath from the pain.
I am doing my best to focus on my kids and moving forward. She always claimed that I stayed with her because she took care of me. I cooked for myself this weekend. It's not something I did much. She always said that she liked cooking for me and taking care of me. I wanted her to be happy so I did. She wanted the control. I loved her and let her have it. Families divide up the responsibilities. I thought this was part of it, but she used it against me. I am trying to take that part back.
I have never been with another woman. We've been together since I was 17. I have no idea how to date. I am trying to look at this new beginning with optimism, but it is scary and difficult. I am going for therapy. I've never done it before, but I don't know how to handle these emotions on my own. I know I need to take time once the divorce is finalized to find myself. Give myself time to grieve so I can be a good person if I ever have someone else in my life.
I have read a lot on this site and it has helped. I know there is probably no answer to the questions why? or how? It's far from satisfying, but it's the truth. Thank you to those who have posted here. I am not one that is naturally very big on community, I'm not religious, never really have been a people person. But I do take some comfort in how universal this experience - the pain, the hurt, the shock - seems to be. I am so sorry for the pain everyone else her has had to endure in order to help me with mine.