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When to walk away, or forgive.

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FuglyUnicorn posted 2/4/2020 13:18 PM


First, I would like to say that I have posted something very similar on reddit, but the majority of that crowd simply says "Man up and divorce". I have a feeling it is easier for them to voice pride over consideration. What I am after here is advice from those couples that have given their partner another chance whether they deserved it or not.

Not to over simplify by any stretch, but here is a background and a timeline of events


I have been with my wife for 10 years. The first 9 I abused alcohol, badly. I was a neglectful partner and shitty father of our 2 girls (now 3 and 11). My longest periods of sobriety were 3 months at a time. My last slip, I had my epiphany how bad I was hurting my family. If I wanted to truly tell them I was sorry, I would show it to them by not drinking again. I have since put 105% effort into identifying triggers, and channeling through healthy outlets. This sobriety is so very rewarding at this stage as I see not only emotional, but physical benefits.


March - We (Wife and I) join a gym
April - Nothing to report
May - I give sobriety my 1000% focus, and have been growing wonderfully
June - I find hundreds of text messages between a trainer and her on the phone bill. When confronted, she says that she doesn't want words of affirmation from me.
July - I let my wife know that trainers conduct and hers are not appropriate with how they interact at the gym. Her hearing that I did not trust her brought up resentments of trust issues that I have placed on her for the prior 10 years.
August - I let my wife know that trainers conduct not appropriate with how they interact at the gym.
September - We start counseling. We have a good month
October - We a good month
November - We have another good month. Wife claims to feel "love" for me again.
December - Trainer starts dating a woman at gym that my wife knows. Wife is furious. Wife lets me know that trainer requested nude photos of her during this time frame. Wife finds new trainer. I let her know that I want to report him, but she needs to tell me what all these red flags are between the two. She claims that he is just slime ball.
January - Wife has phone-call / argument with trainer. She ends the convo, and refers to him as a lowlife at this point. She says a handful of things that leads me to believe that there was more between them, but on that same very day she tells me very intimately "I will do what it takes to earn your trust back".

At this time, she has me believing that she was apologizing for defending his gym interactions and "being right". All this did was raise another huge red flag. A week later, I could not let the red-flags from the prior 6 months go. I tell her if she wants to start rebuilding my trust she would come clean, and tell me what the hell happened. She tells me she cyber sexed him the day I got drunk in May.

Fast forward a week, and I finally put it on the table that she needs to tell me AGAIN, what happened as 100% of the red flags I have raised were correct, and the recent "break up" call, along with the sudden intimate apology was the last set of flags I could take. I know it in my bones that something is off. Two adults within living distance do not just cyber sex and train together 3 days a week. It was at this point she finally admits there was a "physical" attempt made. I tell her to F'king be out with it already. Sure enough, she admits to two sexual encounters with him in the summer between June/August of last year. When we started counseling, she claims that the physical side of things had stopped, as she wanted to be fair to to the kids and "us" while we were in counseling.


December my wife and her boyfriend (this trainer) broke up. They broke up by proxy in the form of instagram as this man posted photos of him and his new girlfriend. Now, if my wife was still stalking his instagram, there is still some emotional investment up until December of last year. Upon their argument over the phone in January, the man had said "I thought we were just having fun" which solidified his intention.

I believe my wife had started falling for another man that simply used her and was going to break this house apart in search for something I had not given her in years. She now wants to regain my trust that that didn't work out. Further more, I am not sure she would have told me about the physical affair if they did not fight and that "friendship" had ended- meaning our relationship was number 2, and who knows how long she would have kept that from me.

My wife had said the longer I have been sober, the harder it has been for her to tell me what happened. She says that she can understand how difficult it was for me to be honest when I was drinking with the fear that divorce is certain. She says that she can forgive and forget my past and is asking for another chance. I learned all about this on night. I have always told myself that a physical affair is an automatic deal breaker. However, now thrust into the situation I feel compelled to try it again for the kids accompanied with the fact that I am now truly sober and can be a partner.

She agrees with total transparency from our electronics, and says she will do whatever it takes.

Never in my life have I felt so shattered and absolutely betrayed. But never in my life have I been able to recognize I have hurt someone I love as much as what I have. I think in a way, we both may understand each-other more over the last year than what we ever have and there is a potential here to not only give it a second chance for our kids, but for ourselves.


When and how did you determine if things are too far broken to possibly repair? For the other folks, how did you find the courage to forgive and continue the relationship whether they earned it or not? How long did it take you to reach this conclusion and how are you doing with that conclusion today?

sorryforeverythi posted 2/4/2020 13:27 PM

I am sorry you are going through this it sucks.

What do you want to do? The advice you are getting from Reddit will be the advice you get from here from half the people.

You were a drunk, you were a shitty partner. Yeah, that doesn't give anyone a pass to cheat.

She chose to cheat on you. She chose to fall in love with another man. You are fooling yourself if you don't think they had sex.

Do you want to be with a woman that so willingly casts you aside to fuck another dude.

if the answer is yes, then reconcile and wait for it to happen again and again.

If no, then tell her you are filing for divorce, talk to a lawyer and see what she does.

Everyone here was a sub-optimal husband or wife in some aspects of their marriage. It doesn't give anyone the right to cheat on them. It gives them the right to sit down and have a fucking conversation.

You will do what you want, and other will give you a much softer view on your situation.

Good relationships last, bad relationships break, your's is broke.

Can it be fixed, maybe with lots of work. Do you want to fix it . Maybe, Does she? You need to find out.

Actions speak louder than words and she has shown you what she feels about you.

So listen.

notanotherchance posted 2/4/2020 13:37 PM

I never forgave. I also was under the you cheat we are done mantra. As a matter of integrity & morals I never switched sides & now am happily divorced.

Every BS has their own choice too make. If you are going to harbour resentment, hate & distrust, monitor their comm's for the rest of your M, wonder what your WS is doing whenever they stay out for extended periods of time & policing their every move then you don't have much of a M. Unless of course you can forgive & can live with what they did, has answered all your questions & is 100% committed to R then maybe just maybe you have a chance.

GoldenR posted 2/4/2020 13:39 PM

When and how did you determine if things are too far broken to possibly repair?

When I realized I was Plan B...the backup plan.

Which is exactly what you are.

Had her trainer wanted her, she would have left you. She grieved their breakup. And only then did she all of a sudden want you.

That's the definition of a backup plan.

Newlifeisgreat posted 2/4/2020 13:41 PM

If what she has been doing isn’t a dealbreaker for you, and I seriously do NOT believe you know everything, what does she have to do to cross the line of “unforgivable”??????

Stay strong
Stay Sober
And do what is best for you and your kids!!!

Good luck

Dismayed2012 posted 2/4/2020 13:57 PM

You must decide for yourself how much betrayal you can swallow. You should also know that your wife's behavior over her "break-up" with her boyfriend indicates that she was likely physical with him more than just two times. Realize that it was likely weekly if not every time they got together.

Also know that your behavior is no excuse for her betrayal. While you were drunk you weren't betraying her. You may have been a crappy person, but you didn't crush her world with an affair. She on the other hand, was getting attention from another man and quickly dropped her panties for him; violating all marriage protocol and simultaneously stabbing you and her family in the back. Her behavior had nothing to do with your drinking, etc. She would likely have done it anyway.

It's upon you to decide your own value. It's also upon you to decide how you want to live your life. Don't use your kids or your past as an excuse to live with a narcissistic cheater. You now know what your wife is capable of. You would do well to also realize that if you relapse and another man pays attention to her, she's likely to do this again and blame you again for it.

Whether you stay with her or not, choose to live your life free of drama and away from people who are prone to abusing and betraying you. You have options. Don't make her any promises and never allow anyone to make your life less than happy. You have value. You're the prize now. Take care of yourself and your future.

One other thing...Get a post-nuptial agreement in place as quickly as possible. Do it while she's compliant. Get it signed, sealed, and filed quickly for your and your kids' sake. I wish the best for you.

fooled13years posted 2/4/2020 14:16 PM

Your drinking problems were no more caused by her actions then her actions were caused by your drinking problems.

Had there been nothing else going on between them then I do not believe she would have been furious when the trainer started dating a woman she knew.

I tell her if she wants to start rebuilding my trust she would come clean, and tell me what the hell happened. She tells me she cyber sexed him the day I got drunk in May

I am afraid that you are going to find that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
What I am after here is advice from those couples that have given their partner another chance whether they deserved it or not

I divorced but that does not mean that I am pro divorce. No one on this site can tell you what to do but we can share our experiences with you.

You will have to decide what you are willing to do.

Good luck however you decide to proceed.

Alpargata posted 2/4/2020 14:18 PM

Hi, first off I am really sorry you are here, but I am glad you made your way to this place, plenty of people are on their way with great advise.

That being said, I read your post in reddit a few days ago and your wife is clearly trickle truthing you, meaning there have probably been many many more than two physical encounters. On your reddit post she had addmitted to sexting and an EA, then one PA attempt, now two full PA encounters, see a trend? everytime you pressure her she disclosures more and more, little by little hoping to minimize her actions.

I hope not, but you are probably still not at the bottom of it, and there can not be true R without full disclosure. Ask her to prove the two encounters story with a polygraph and watch her turn whiter than bleach.

Anotheron3 posted 2/4/2020 14:27 PM

I'm sorry this happened to you.

Only you can determine when it's right. None of us can tell you what to do. I think you know in your gut what you want, listen to it.

KingofNothing posted 2/4/2020 14:29 PM

What I am after here is advice from those couples that have given their partner another chance whether they deserved it or not.

I think I read your post on Reddit, but didn't reply. I am your target audience. I offered my xWW an opportunity to reconcile way too early. I made clear my expectations and it failed spectacularly. Well, I tried. She also did not deserve the gift I had to offer her, and ended up doing the psychic equivalent of spitting in my face for my troubles.

Based solely on what you have written here, I think the prevailing theme is that your wife has always had you as a fallback position, and kept you around because her attempts at a romantic attachment to her trainer failed pretty miserably. They were definitely not on the same train on that one. I note that her tone switched almost immediately after they had their relationship fight in January 2019. You noted that too. Suddenly, she's willing to do anything at all to regain your trust. Once again, I have a feeling of deja vu. Your wife is prodded by the "safe" part of her existence (her stable marriage with you) suddenly being threatened and not having options left. Suddenly you're important? Now she changes her mind? Yeah, that happened to me. I swear, this stuff is like a broken record sometimes.

You're a smart guy from what I'm reading.. maybe not a perfect spouse, but I get the feeling you know what's going on here. I think you are allowing her feelings and judgements concerning your sobriety color her pace of reconciliation a little. You feel guilt about relapsing and the impact of it on your marriage. Well, you should feel that guilt, but you must separate these issues. Your substance abuse problems does not define you as a man, nor does this define you as a husband. Your marriage is entirely separate. This may come across as harsh or judgemental sounding about your wife--- but a fact is a fact. You have to accept she chose to do what she did. Every step to her physical affair was a step that she could have turned back, chosen something else. She didn't have to flirt. She didn't have to text. She didn't have to send nudes. She didn't have to meet him after the gym.. she didn't have to have sex with the guy. At each and every step, she could have stopped. So you have to understand SI will be highly critical about blameshifting.

It's tough, isn't it? We all like to beat our chests and act tough and morally inflexible about physical affairs. "That's it, that's the deal breaker, if I found out she's done that, I'm walking"... and yet, it's not easy to walk out on a 20 year marriage. Your very moral inflexibility is the foundation of your love for her.. YOU might be a flawed instrument, but you were true to her.

I'm not going to bash your wife. I really hope it works out. I would just caution you it's a lot of work, and you MUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE FORGIVING. This is not the time for trickle truth. Remorse, yes. Transparency, absolutely. Restored Trust? It will take a very looooong time. So be patient, if this is what you want. She has a lot of work to do. You can't carry her.

I hope that helps.

Robert22205https posted 2/4/2020 14:30 PM

Take your time (months or whatever) to decide to D or R. In the interim judge her by her actions not her promises.

First, for a chance at a long term solution you need to know what it is you are forgiving. Any questions, blanks in her story, or remaining questions will come back later and undermine your marriage.

I suggest your wife provide a detailed timeline of her affair (who, what, where, including topics discussed with him: marriage, you, ...) - subject to a polygraph.

The prospect of a polygraph tends to save time by discouraging more lies. Plus writing it all down tends to de-romanticize the affair and reduce it to a series of sordid, selfish, deceitful acts of betrayal.

[This message edited by Robert22205https at 2:32 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

Evertrying posted 2/4/2020 14:30 PM

how did you find the courage to forgive and continue the relationship whether they earned it or not? How long did it take you to reach this conclusion and how are you doing with that conclusion today?

I found the courage to stay because up until his A started, he was a good, loyal and decent man. We had issues pre A that were never properly addressed until the A happened. Then everything came out like word vomit and it was time to fix our shit.

Our dday was 9/1/17 and it took 18 months before I knew for sure we could fix our marriage. It was a long and painful road for both of us, but the key was that we BOTH wanted the same thing. We still loved each other and wanted to stay together. At the two yr mark, I could feel us healing together and over coming all out pre A issues AND post A issues. He cut off all ties and communication with his AP, quit his job (that's where they met) and put all his energy into our marriage.

We are now 2 yrs and 4 months past dday and we are better than ever. Committed to each other and our marriage and our bond grew stronger. It was unfortunate that infidelity had to play a part in finding each other again, but sometimes you have to hit absolute rock bottom and start over new in order to fix all the wrong in the relationship.

Good on you for getting sober. Stay that way.

farsidejunky posted 2/4/2020 14:51 PM

Lying. Pride. Trickle-Truth. Gaslighting.

You cannot reconcile with someone who insists on such behaviors.

Look... You don't have to decide to divorce right now. But what you do have to decide is to remove infidelity from your life. The bright side is whether you choose to divorce or reconcile, your path will be very similar very early in your journey.

This includes demanding a detailed timeline of the affair, complete transparency of all electronics, no contact with the affair partner, and consulting with an attorney so you fully understand what divorce will look like for you so you have it in your back pocket as a contingency if nothing else.

However, there reaches a point whereby you reach a fork in the road. The direction you choose should be based on the following:

1. Can you not only forgive but also grow to trust the person in front of you again?

2. Are they demonstrating remorseful behavior? Not regretful behavior, but remorseful behavior. Google "regret versus remorse" to get a better idea.

Here is the deal, dude. Without both 1 AND 2, there will be no successful reconciliation. Sure, it can "look" like a reconciliation if only one of the two is present, but underneath that facade will be a shit storm of epic proportions, and it is the betrayed spouse that suffers the most in these situations.


Sorry you are here.

[This message edited by farsidejunky at 2:52 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

Marz posted 2/4/2020 14:58 PM

If she doesn’t fix or change anything repeats happen.

squid posted 2/4/2020 15:13 PM

Forgiving her at this point only lets her off the hook and shows her no consequences for her bullshit choices. She has done nothing thus far to show you that she is worthy of your trust. Talk is cheap. And cheaters lie. She lied to you a lot. She got caught and now she's offering a bunch of empty promises. Only time will tell you if she is worthy of forgiveness.

I'm also of the opinion that once you cheat, it's over. If she wants to save the marriage let her try. It's all on her to do it.

DoinBettr posted 2/4/2020 16:36 PM

You need 3 things to start.
you need a timeline from her of the whole affair.
Then setup a polygraph. She most likely will confess and you know it.
You need to get into AA with a sponsor.

Lastly, you need to tell her to write you a letter as yourself and her a letter as herself trying to save the marriage at this time. You need to do both as well.
This is so you both try to understand what the other person is feeling and explain to them the love you are trying to save.
Then write out 30 reasons to each other about why you should stay together. This is so you have some compliments to build up your lives.

Also, you and her need to confront the trainer. You should get him fired with her supporting you. If not, she quits the gym now.
If she balks, then offer her a bottle and ask her if she gets drunk are you allowed to have an affair? It will really put things into perspective.

northeasternarea posted 2/4/2020 17:02 PM

You can forgive and walk away. Reconciliation is hard work. Both parties have to want it.

[This message edited by northeasternarea at 5:09 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

FuglyUnicorn posted 2/4/2020 18:11 PM

I could forgive and walk away, but honest to God, I know I would never talk to this woman again unless if it was were and when to drop off the kids.

what does she have to do to cross the line of “unforgivable”??????

She just has to lie during this time of total transparency. That will be the final thread.

anoldlion posted 2/4/2020 19:05 PM

Everyone always says that there is never a reason to cheat. Maybe that's true, but my point of view is that cheating encompasses more than just having an affair with someone other than your spouse. To me cheating is anything you put before your spouse and family and is just as damaging as an affair with another person. In my view you cheated on your wife, with a bottle of booze, for 9 years. That bottle was more important to you than she and your family were. In the light of an affair with an AP we tend to lose sight of a lot of things that lead to the affair. There are many on SI that did nothing to deserve being cheated on. There are also many that thought more of their video games, going out with their buddies, their jobs, and a host of other things, than they thought of their spouse and their families. There are those that fall back on the excuse that their spouse should have told them how they felt before they cheated. I would be willing to bet that your wife told you numerous times how she felt in the 9 years you were having the affair with the bottle. I am no exception. My military career kept me away from home a lot. I was probably gone 10 years out of the first 25 years we were married. And yes she told me many times how my being gone affected her. She once told a friend of hers that I was having an affair with the Army. She said she wished my affair was with a woman because she could fight a woman but she couldn't fight the army. Did my wife have an affair. I don't know and I don't want to know and I will never ask. Once I stopped traveling and retired we now have a wonderful marriage. If anything did happen then it was because of my affair with the military. And to be honest I couldn't blame her. Most women want and crave attention. It's part of the husband's job to provide that attention. There are some men and women that has the gene that rises and cause them to stray no matter how great their marriage is. The spouses of these cheaters are the ones that deserve our sympathy. You want to decide if your wife deserves another chance. Ask yourself if you deserve a chance from her for a 9 year affair with the bottle. Give her the same chance she gave you. I do wish you well.

[This message edited by anoldlion at 7:09 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

Buffer posted 2/4/2020 19:15 PM

Brother FuglyU,
One day at a time.
You don’t need to have a decision now. Take your time, gather the information you need, how to do this is communication.
WW may think if she tells you all now you will return to the bottle. Do what is right by you to remain sober first and for most. Implement support structures to help and assist you when you find out the truth.
I am a gym head, I see the PT staff doing the moves on the wife’s all the time. Unfortunately what I see is a two way street both doing the moves on each other (I am into the study of body language). I have seen confrontation by the OP as well, not good in a workplace.
You and WW need to get STD and STI checks now!
Report the dude to management , you don’t dip your quill into the company ink!
IC for you and her. If you are doing AA keep it up, there are infidelity support groups as well. Be there sober for the children and let them know that you are working on yourself to be better for them.
Do not confront the AP, he prays on wives for a living.
If wife wants to continue with gym training we’ll there are female gym instructors who can take both you and her on as clients.
The big thing is take your time, read and give your WW the book how to help your partner heal after your affair.
Self help, no booze get that monkey off your back, water only and talk to the family pet when taking it for a walk. Don’t really start any 180 at the moment and hold off on the serving of any documents, but seek out legal advice for your location you need to know your rights and obligations.
Sorry you have joined the shitty club
Cyber hugs

[This message edited by Buffer at 8:10 PM, February 4th (Tuesday)]

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