I got the general outlines on the sex (100+ times, where, where it didn't happen, some specific times/events where I felt like she took advantage of things egregiously), but didn't really need to know dates, positions, things done and said, blah, blah.
Maybe that's an LTA thing. I don't remember all the sex I had over a two year period, so I don't really expect her to, either.
If I didn't have a specific question in that regard, I defaulted to whatever answer gave her the least benefit of the doubt. In other words, assume it was the worst possible thing I could imagine and see if I could forgive that.
If I could, then we're good to go. If I couldn't, then I need some clarification/details.
To this day, I assume that everything and anything I ever did sexually with my wife, she did with OM. You don't have missionary sex 100+ times.
I assume they cuddled after they were done. I assume they shared pillow talk. I assume that sometimes it was gentle and tender, and sometimes it was rough and rowdy. I assume she blew him in her car, on his deck, and in his living room after they had tucked his kids in at night. I assume she was as freely naked and sexual and expressive with him as she was with me. I assume she received oral sex.
And the fact is, since my wife also does not remember most of the sexual experiences or much of that two year timeframe due to her bipolar stuff, i assume that even things she has said definitely did *not* happen did, in fact, happen.
Because I know my wife. And I knew my wife during the A. And I knew that the OM was over at my house half the fucking time when I came home from work. I knew they were hanging out at the beach with our kids in the summer while I was at work. I knew she came home wearing his shirts after "helping him clean" or whatever.
That means I assume she had sex in our bed, even though she believes she did not. I believe she would like to believe that she honored our marriage bed, but the woman I was married to during that time period didn't honor much...and I used to let the OM crash at our house at least once a week because he worked nights and it was closer to my house than his. So he was often asleep in our spare room when I left for work.
Knowing my wife, I can't imagine that there wasn't some bed hopping going on while I was gone. It would just be too tempting for her.
So, yeah, I assumed (and still do) that there are no sacred positions, moves, techniques, thoughts, places, things, events, anniversaries, holidays -- anything. I worked. My wife was a SAHM. She even jokingly referred to him as her "second husband" for the times I was at work, because they spent so much time together.
There was nothing to salvage. There was nothing special that remained. Anything you subsequently define as "special" or "just between us" is a mental gymnastic to justify your decision to stay. If you got divorced today, you'd do the exact same things with your next wife and call those "special" too.
They're not. They're just what couples in intimate relationships do, whether those relationships are illicit or not.
There's a big urge to hear the WS's self-justification of "I'm not like that" or "I wouldn't do that" and believe them -- because you want to believe them. You need to believe better of them than they were at their worst to justify staying.
I'm just telling you that it's probably a lie. Them lying to themselves and you agreeing to it, because you need something to place your hope in.
The way your wife is with you...that's how she was with him. The same mannerisms, the same habits, the same way she flicks her hair, the same subtle sexual cues, the same appetite, the same preferences and predilections, the same hunger and excitement, the same orgasms, physical response, moans, whimpers, sighs and clenches.
She saved nothing that was special between the two of you -- because you were not *special to her* while she was cheating. If she held you as special, she would have stopped herself before ending up naked on some other guy's cock.
Plus, you know, if they had any sort of regular thing going on, it's not like she's going to develop a whole new repertoire of sexual moves. She's going to go with what she knows. We're all creatures of habit like that.
I mean, she probably learned some new stuff, but that will largely disappear after D-day because of the negative associations and mind movies for her.
Give you an example: somewhere during the A, whether it was the OM's coaching or reading she was doing in order to please him, my wife dramatically improved her BJ technique. I mean, she suddenly had all of these extra things she did with her lips and her tongue that were like 10x more effective than anything she'd done previously.
It was one of the few decent turns I got from the OM in the whole A thing. I mean, how bad can a guy be when he teaches another dude's wife to give better BJ's, right?
That shit hung on for about 3-4 months after the A, then went the way of the dodo. No new techniques survived the A. None of the wild sex stuff. I'm sure that some of that was guilt, and some of it was the fact that I wasn't super-receptive to free sexual expression from my wife for the first couple of years after D-day. She's probably still got a nervous twitch from guessing how I might respond if she tried anything new *now*, more than six years removed.
And she'd probably be right. Not sure how I would react. I mean, I like sex with my wife, but I don't have much of an appetite for "new and different" these days. I've had enough of that shit to last my lifetime. I don't want to spend the hour of smacking our fuzzy bits together wondering where she learned that move after 20 years and under what circumstances. But, you know, maybe I'd be okay with it. After all, she's had 100+ more sexual experiences and twice as much audience feedback as I've had in the last decade, so it shouldn't surprise me that she's had more time to work the kinks out of her technique.
You just never know how you're going to handle shit.
Anyway, you want advice on this point: cheaters cheat; liars lie. You're never going to know exactly what happened. It's always going to be a mix of facts, how you imagine those facts, lies, inadvertent lies, lies the WS tells themselves, and things legitimately not remembered.
You will never know the truth. Never. Not even with a 100% remorseful and transparent WS...which you don't have. If you think you've got one, you just haven't hit the right button yet. No one is 100% remorseful. Not ever. You know that because eventually you'll hear some shit about silver linings or lessons learned, probably couched in all sorts of "it should have never happened, but..." logic.
Because you weren't there. It wasn't part of your life experience. You can understand it as a story, but that's all. In the same way that someone takes a book you love and puts it on the big screen -- you can recognize the story, but how they imagine it in their minds eye and how you imagine it are different. The experience is different, even though you both had the exact same access to the source material.
All you can ever do is watch the mind movie of your wife fucking someone else. You can never have the exact same experience -- and the truth is, the farther she gets from it, the more she'll color your narrative with how she wishes it had been ("I didn't like it", "It hurt", "I wasn't engaged emotionally", "I came, but not like I do with you") instead of how it was. She'll watch her own movie until it becomes something more palatable.
I figure that if you don't have all of the information within 3 months of D-day, everything you get subsequently is farther and farther from the actual experience. By a couple of years out, the narrative will only resemble the experience in broad strokes.
(If you want a clearer, more authentic idea, you've got to have journals. I read my wife's journal on D-day. That's how we *had* a D-day. I know exactly how her A went down from that few series of entries, including her hopping from her OM's bed because he couldn't get it up a third time and crossing the hall to join in with his ex-wife and her boyfriend because she wasn't done having sex yet. So she fucked both of them, too...then went on to talk about how much she wanted to fuck the 17 y.o. neighbor kid just because it would be rough and dirty and disgusting, and maybe she'd do that after I went to work on Monday. This is what I want you to understand: she reveled in it. She reveled in the behavior, the deception, the explosive sexual freedom, and yes, in some ways, the degradation. She reveled in the idea that I was at home watching the kids while she was fucking the OM, his ex-wife, and her boyfriend all in the same night, then coming home and kissing me on the cheek like the good little wife who'd been over at her gal pal's house studying all night. And then she told herself that I deserved whatever she did because of what I shit I'd been for all the years of our married life, and if I didn't care to ask her what she was doing, why should she care? You get the picture, yes?
BTW, I had to leave to take my oldest son back to his mom on D-day -- this all happened on a visitation weekend. In the 30 minutes I was gone, my wife collected and burned all of her journals. Probably a wise move on her part, in retrospect.)
Unless you've got a first person source like that, you'll never know.
That said, I agree with all of the stuff about making her drag it out and tell the gory details. Two reasons here:
1. Telling your husband about how you fucked another guy is a shame bomb. Having to do it over and over in detail layers that shame on good and thick. Repeat enough times, and she won't be able to think about any of the A without her gut clenching up. Shame will become the emotional response linked to anything attached to OM. This is like negative reinforcement psych 101 shit. Use it to your advantage.
2. As stated, when you steal the secrecy, you steal the power from the affair. There shouldn't be anything your wife gets to keep just between her and the OM. Unless, you know, you *want* her to keep it solely because it's eating at her.
(Sort of related: I hit a place two or three years ago where I felt like I had completely come to terms with the narrative of my wife's affair. I understand it. How it started, how it worked, how it ended. I've assimilated those things into my understanding of my relationship and my worldview. Some of those things are wrong. Some of them are lies. Some of them are 10x worse than anything my wife actually did.
That's okay. I'm at peace with that narrative.
I had to tell my wife that if she suddenly remembered some new detail or ended up on a medication that suddenly opened the lost parts of her brain up like a box, I DID NOT WANT TO KNOW. Even if the details were better. Even if it turned out that she'd only ever had sex with him once and imagined the other 99+ times.
Why? Because I've already fought the war. I've grieved. The experience of this movie has become my reality. If you change the narrative now, you've just wasted all those years -- again -- by telling me that what I had come to accept as truth was a lie.
I don't want to hear any more about my wife's affair. I have put it behind me. Anything that lingers, anything new, any change in the narrative is her problem, and she should expect to keep that shit to herself and take it to her grave.
I have run the course. I have fought the good fight. My days of combat are over and the long sunset of my glorious retirement begun.)
The shit is really that simple.