Last Saturday my wife walked in on me having sex with her coworker in our family room; she was too shocked to react. She turned around and left immediately. When she returned that night, she asked for the truth and wanted to know if I had cheated in the past. Not wanting to lie, I started to admit everything as best I could remember. A lot has happened and it's hard to recall details from over 15 years ago, but my wife thinks I'm trying to hide the truth. We stayed up until about 4amÖme spilling everything and watching the life drain out of my wife. She hasn't kicked me out because she doesn't want our kids to know something is wrong. I keep asking her to talk to me, yell at me, anything...but I'm getting nothing if it doesn't relate to the kids.
She thinks our entire marriage has been a lie, I'm not the person she thought I was, she thinks I'm a sex addict and I use alcohol as an enabler. I've always loved my wife and can't imagine spending the rest of my life without her. I'm scheduled to start seeing a therapist to get to the bottom of my poor boundaries with women and behavior in general. My wife refuses marriage counseling at this point. I want to restart our marriage from a place of honesty and keep our family together. If that isn't possible, I want to become a man and father my children can respect at the very least.
I apologize for the length, but here's the timeline of my infidelity. I'm hoping someone here can relate and offer advice on how they've successfully dealt with long-term infidelity with multiple APs.
A month after our wedding, I went on a work trip to my company's office in AZ. At the end of my first day there, my team came to my hotel for a happy hour. My coworkers left until it was just OW1 and myself. OW1 just graduated college and had only been on the team for two months. The conversation became very flirty and I wanted to leave. I said I was going to bed and she better get home. She wanted to see my room as she had never been in that hotel before and it was one of the best in the city. She came up and we had sex two times before she left. We had sex again the next two nights before I went home. I went to that office for work once each year until 2002. We had sex on each of my trips until 2000. She didn't want to continue as her boyfriend proposed to her.
In May 1999, I had sex with a stripper at my cousin's bachelor party in Las Vegas. His friends had invited three strippers to my cousin's suite; there were 14 or 15 guys in total. One of the strippers was paying special attention to me the entire night. After their performance, the strippers stayed to drink. When I left to go back to my room, the stripper who had been paying attention to me said she was leaving too. She followed me to my room and said it would be impolite not to invite her in. She was aggressive and we had unprotected sex three times before she left. When I got home, I got tested for STDs. Thankfully all tests were negative.
OW3, wife's college roommate
My wife was pregnant with our first child in 2002 and I was traveling frequently for work. In October, I went to my company's Chicago office. Before I went, my wife suggested I call up her college roommate and her husband for dinner/drinks. My wife's friend's husband was out of town for work, but she said there was no reason the two of us couldn't meet. She came to my hotel for drinks. We got drunk and she admitted she always thought I was handsome and it was too bad we were both married. I told her no one would know if anything happened, she agreed. We had sex in my room that night and again at their apartment the next night. Never talked to her again and my wife and she drifted apart.
In 2005, we decided to sell our house and move to a bigger one since we were having a second child. Our realtor was 29 and divorced, she had married quickly to her high school boyfriend and they grew apart. She never gave signs that she was interested in me. Several times, she and I would look at houses alone when my wife was not up to it. One of the houses had elderly owners and they didn't want to leave for the viewing, so they stayed on the back porch while the realtor walked me through the house. In one of the guest rooms, she closed the door and came up and kissed me. Before I could say anything, she said, "shh," and dropped to her knees in front of me. I pulled her up and we had intercourse without taking our clothes off. She showed me the rest of the house as if nothing happened. We had sex five more times in five different houses. She ultimately sold us the house we live in now.
OW5, met on a flight in 2007
The woman seated next to me on a flight to Seattle chatted me up. We were both traveling for work and were staying at the same hotel. We shared a cab to the hotel, had dinner and drinks together. We had sex twice that night and again the following three nights.
OW6, gym trainer
I go to the gym regularly to lift weights. In late 2008, there was a new trainer who asked me if I needed help one day. We started chatting regularly when I was at the gym. The first time, we had sex in her car in an empty corner of the parking lot. We had sex about a dozen more times in her apartment over two months. It ended because she moved in with her boyfriend.
OW7, met at a conference
I was in DC for a two-day conference in March 2009. There were people from over 20 different companies. There were small breakout sessions and I ended up having dinner and drinks with my group. After drinks, one of the women and one of the guys and I walked back to our hotel together. The woman invited us to her room for another drink. The other guy left before me. I was ready to leave a few minutes after him, but she suggested I stay. She was unhappy with her marriage and said she hadn't been touched in almost a year. We had sex four times that night and once again in the morning.
OW8, wife's cousin's girlfriend
In August 2009, my wife's cousin and his girlfriend stayed with us for a long weekend. We hadn't seen him in over three years and never met his girlfriend before. Over the weekend my wife, kids and her cousin went to visit an uncle for the day. I stayed back to take care of the yard. His girlfriend was supposed to go too, but she wanted to enjoy our pool since the weather was hot. She asked me to have a few beers with her and to join her for a swim. We got buzzed, did a few laps. We ended up having sex in the pool and again in my guest shower. They left the next day. A few months later, my wife's cousin said they broke up.
OW9, tourist in hotel
In April 2011, my company sent me to London for a conference. I had never been before and stayed an extra day to take in the major tourist attractions. I met a German couple in their mid-30s staying next door to me. We spent my last day taking a tour bus, visiting sites, having dinner and going to a pub together. They invited me to their room when we got back to the hotel. I had sex with the wife, while the husband watched and encouraged me.
In July 2012, a divorced woman in her late 30s and her two children moved in next door. Her kids are the same ages as our kids and they became fast friends. In November 2012, my wife was promoted at work and as a result, was coming home late every night with the new projects she took over. My job was flexible and I was home around 5:30/6 everyday. Our neighbor would bring her kids over regularly in the evenings for play dates; when she noticed my wife was never around, she started staying and chatting with me. Things progressed and we had sex for the first time in January 2013 in my guest room while my kids and her kids were in my family room. We continued to have sex two or three times a week until June 2013. She sold her house and moved out of state.
OW11, wife's coworker
We had a small New Year's party at our home for friends and family. My wife invited her new coworker and husband who transferred from another office and didn't know anyone in our area. Over the course of the night, my wifeís coworker would find her way into conversations with me. When she found out I play tennis, she said she was looking for a partner. I didnít want to agree, but my wife pushed it. We met at the indoor court I go to regularly the following weekend. We played together for a few weeks, got to know each other better. The first weekend in March, she invited me back to her house for lunch. Her husband had gone back to their home state to see his parents for the weekend. She came onto me and I didn't refuse. We had sex two times in their bed. After that, we didnít see each other until last weekend. She knew my kids were at my in-laws and that my wife was spending the day with a friend. She asked to come to our house since she knew I was alone. We were in the middle of having sex, when I noticed my wife watching us through the doorway.
Well, your username is an understatement! IC, IC and more IC, IMO. MC at this point would be futile because the problem lies with you, not your M.
You have a lot of self work to do. If you're lucky at some point your BW will agree to R, but right now you need to dig deep and figure out why you started cheating on your BW from the get go and get to the root of your issues.
Have you ended all your affairs? Are you willing to go NC (no contact) with all the OWs?
"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."
I read your entire post.
Every woman came on to you, not vice-versa!!!???!!!
It's called blame-shifting, and that is one of the first rules on SI for a WS: hold yourself accountable. You took advantage of every situation and obviously lacked the moral compass to not engage with these OW.
You made your choices. Note I don't use the word "mistake." That's another rule for Waywards.
You need to dig a lot deeper into yourself.
Your wife is still in shock and will need her own timeline to process.
I would recommend that she consider joining SI and be able to get support from other BS.
You are definitely not ready for MC.
I'd also encourage IC. Primarily for your own benefit, but it will also be a positive step to show your wife that you are serious about fixing things.
She thinks our entire marriage has been a lie, I'm not the person she thought I was, she thinks I'm a sex addict and I use alcohol as an enabler.
I keep asking her to talk to me, yell at me, anything...but I'm getting nothing if it doesn't relate to the kids.
Based on what I skimmed in your extensive timeliness, all these women put the moves on you. You're the "victim". That same approach ain't gonna fly with your wife. You dropped the bomb, so you suit up and clean up. Your wife can sit back and watch. Maybe if you "get it" and make yourself safe and healthy, she will join you in R.
This is a process. A long process. Be prepared to put a minimum of 5 years into the effort.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?
Patterns can be so deceptive. They feel safe and familiar after so many years. Right?
I am sorry that this is happening to your family. I am sorry that your wife is feeling that her life has been a lie. I hope that she will seek out counseling once she gets over the initial shock.
I'm glad that you have set up a counseling appointment for yourself. I hope you stick with it. It can, fyi, take a few tries to get the right fit with a counselor, and also with antiDs if you decide to go that route.
As to your wife, it's hard for me to tell from what you've written if she is even willing to listen to you at this point. If she is open to hearing anything, I would suggest that you stick to maybe 2 points--
1. You will do the work to get healthy so that you can be the husband and father that she needs you to be.
2. The affairs were not to spite her, but were selfish acts in spite of the marriage and what you had together and as a family. Apologize as many times as necessary for your selfishness and for taking the M and her love for granted.
It can be so hard to tell when a BS actually wants space from you -vs- when they actually need you to reassure them. I feel for you. Good luck to you and your family.
IC, IC and more IC, IMO. MC at this point would be futile because the problem lies with you, not your M.
I want to jump right into fixing our marriage, but didn't really stop to realize I have to get myself together before I can even thinking of working on my marriage. All the affairs have ended and I'm not no contact with the OW, that was and never will be a problem.
In response to everyone, I have been blameshifting and I shouldn't play the victim. It takes two to cheat and I played my part. I let my ego and alcohol enable me in most of these situations. If none of these women made it clear they were interested, I wouldn't have pursued them.
I don't think I'm a horrible person, just a person who's done horrible things. I'm willing to do whatever my wife needs me to do, no matter how long.
Patterns can be so deceptive. They feel safe and familiar after so many years. Right?
You put it well, I remember being wracked with guilt and self-disgust the first time I cheated but it got easier and easier with each new OW. I just felt if no one found out, it was perfectly OK. My wife wasn't getting hurt and the OW didn't expect anything other than sex.
My wife questioned me all over again with more specific and explicit questions. I answered truthfully, but how do I assure her that I really can't remember certain details? It's very hard to remember 17 years ago; I'm not trying to hide anything from her.
Also, how do you answer or go around the sex questions? She's asked who my favorite OW was and why. I didn't answer her, but she is expecting an answer eventually.
MPM: She's asked who my favorite OW was and why. I didn't answer her, but she is expecting an answer eventually.
You don't have a favorite.
How could you have a favorite anything that has caused so much heartache in your life, your wife's life?
Lather, rinse, repeat.
And they meant so little to you, that specifics weren't worth remembering. Generalities are all you can provide.
If it's true, wear it like a banner.
As to the sex questions, how much does anyone really need to know? I'm all for keeping it as clinical as possible. Positions, acts, locations but not blow-by-blow specifics. Did it feel good? Sure, it was sex. Sex generally feels good. But it was not love.
FTR, I'm not advocating lying. I'm saying don't twist the knife. Give your truths, but don't add flowers and glitter. It wasn't pretty. Don't make it pretty.
Naturally, you will have to decide for yourself, and maybe with the help of your counselor, how you will answer the questions.
Most BSs will ask the same questions over and over again. It's important to consistently provide the same answer.
Same question = same answer.
If you get it right the first time, it will save you a lot of heartache down the road.
Alcohol was an enabler in most of my affairs, but I can't use it as an excuse. I'm a social drinker, I don't drink to the point of not having control of myself. I always knew what I was getting myself into, alcohol just made it easier. I hardly drink now and if I'm in a group setting for work or with friends, I only have one drink.
So, I would like to suggest that you start reading The Healing Library, in the yellow box, to the left of the screen. Don't limit yourself to only reading the WS FAQ, it might be helpful to read the BS one too. I would also suggest that you read these two posts as they can be very helpful in understanding your role in this journey.
Gently said, I would like to touch on a few points from your replies.
MustProveMyself - If none of these women made it clear they were interested, I wouldn't have pursued them.
Your right in one tiny respect. If these women were not interested, you would not have had the chance BUT, and its a big one, that logic is so faulty, its ridiculous. If you weren't interested in having sex, you would have been either obvious to their interest or you would have said no. Trust me, unless you were tied down and raped, your affairs were totally consensual. That means, you owe 100% of the affair. Don't minimize your role and put the onus on your partners. That's not being honest with yourself, with your wife and not with us. After all, remember, we've been there, done that and as a community, we're pretty good at noting the minimization at work.
MustProveMyself - My wife questioned me all over again with more specific and explicit questions. I answered truthfully, but how do I assure her that I really can't remember certain details? It's very hard to remember 17 years ago; I'm not trying to hide anything from her.
Your right, it would be hard to remember everything perfectly from 17 years ago BUT, instead of focusing on the one that you can't recall, why don't you work in reverse. I\m sure that the one from last Saturday must be fresh in your memory. As work backwards in time, the act of remembrance may help you in recalling details. Practice does make perfect, after all.
MustProveMyself - I'm willing to do whatever my wife needs me to do, no matter how long.
On one hand, I want to applaud you for saying this. BUT then, I look at the minimizing that your are coming up with and I wonder how committed you are to telling her the whole truth. Are you willing to do anything? And does that "anything" also refer to giving her clear and concise answers to the questions that she is asking, without reservations and trying to protect yourself?
MustProveMyself - Also, how do you answer or go around the sex questions? She's asked who my favorite OW was and why. I didn't answer her, but she is expecting an answer eventually.
In the sentence above, you said you were willing to do anything and yet in this sentence, you say you didn't answer a direct question. So, what is it? Total commitment to truth or just the truth that your willing to share? If you are going to commit, you have to do it 100% and not being truthful and honest is not a great sign of commitment. Each time you refuse to answer, it adds a few more weeks on top of the journey that you have to take in order to prove yourself.
MustProveMyself - By refusing to answer her questions, my BW feels like I'm trying to hide the truth so I can keep something special between myself and the OWs. I'm trying to spare her feelings and not cause any more damage. I know BSs want to know everything because it helps them in their recovery, but at the same time it causes more pain and hurt.
Nope. I don't believe you. I think if you dig deep enough into your feelings, your not protecting her, your protecting yourself. Each time she feels pain and hurt, your afraid of what her reaction might be. Your afraid that she will walk. Your afraid she won't believe. Its your fear that is ruling your decision to minimize and lie. Gotta remember, we've all BTDT.
MustProveMyself - My BW wants to call several of the OW to compare their stories ... don't know what good will come of it... I've told her the truth.
And do you seriously believe that she should trust that your telling the truth. the person who has lied to her for 17 years? Betrayed her time and time again? Seriously, after the level of hurt that she is feeling, she needs to verify and verify and verify each statement that you make. In view of your serial cheating, I am sure that your wife thinks that your lying again each time you open your mouth and who can blame her for thinking that.
If in fact you told the truth in your timeline, then you have nothing to fear that she calls to verify your story. You can't rip her heart apart anymore than you already have. The only hope that you have is that they will verify your story. If anything good comes of it, it will come when she can at the very least verify that your story has some truth, any truth. Until she does, all she knows is that for 17 years, you have lied and betrayed her time and time again.
MustProveMyself - I'm sure they'll twist everything around to put 100% of the blame on me.
Of course they will. Hell, do you think that they want to admit that they're cheating adulterers too? Nope, chances are they will lie, minimize and blame you in order to protect themselves. Just like you are doing by blame-shifting the responsibility onto them. You can only trust that they will tell the truth. Hell, if you really feel that you have been truthful, why not proactively schedule a polygraph? It might be one way for your wife to start believing your story.
It does seem that you will have a long hard road to regain your integrity. I would like to close by suggesting that you could read this thread in the I Can Relate forum. It might help you understand what your wife is going through and only by being supportive and empathetic to her hurt and needs, can you have a chance at reconciliation. http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=158617.
Sorry for the 2x4s but you really need to get squared away and on the sraight and narrow with due speed. Stop trickletrutyhing and minimixing. Honesty is the only thing that can save you.
Stilllovinghim - You have got to work every single day on yourself and on your M if you want this to survive. This is the most important thing in your life. This is the air in your lungs. Don't squander it.
[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:11 PM, April 4th (Friday)]
How do you handle running into a former OP? I was in the grocery store yesterday and not paying attention to my surroundings. OW11 came up and said hello to me; I didn't say hello to her and started to walk away. She followed me and said next time we need to be more careful. I just said I had to get home to my wife and family. When I got home, I told my wife what happened. My wife wants us to sit down with OW11 and her husband to talk about the PA.